How To Solve Complex Problems

I liked this a lot when I read it on TED:

Now I’m not trying to deliver a nihilistic message here. I’m not trying to say we can’t solve complicated problems in a complicated world. We clearly can. But the way we solve them is with humility, to abandon the God complex and to actually use a problem solving technique that works. And we have a problem solving technique that works.

Now, you show me a successful complex system, and I will show you a system that has evolved through trial and error. (08:11)

He excerpted that from a talk by Tim Harford which you can access in its entirety by going to TED’s site. But, I liked it even more when I read this from
Walter Russell Mead:

If there is one phrase in the global climate debate that sets my teeth on edge it is this: the claim by so many greens that the “science of global warming is settled.”

Really?  “Settled?”  The essence of science is that it is neversettled.  Science is a frontier, not a town.  That the science of astronomy was ‘settled’ is what the Inquisition said to Galileo.  It is what the Ptolemaeans said to Copernicus.

And he says to the point of Harford’s about complex systems:

Greens need to oversell the science because the messy, complicated truth is not enough to sell the world on a complex and extremely dubious policy agenda.  But science is messy and the science of complex systems is messier still.

Would that more people listened to advice such as this.

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