View Poll Results: How valuable is common sense?

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19. You may not vote on this poll
  • It is extremely important to the exclusion of other methods

    2 10.53%
  • It is very valuable and more important than other methods

    8 42.11%
  • It is no more valuable than other methods of data synthesis (such as science)

    5 26.32%
  • It is less valuable than other methods

    3 15.79%
  • It is of little to no value

    1 5.26%
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Thread: How valuable is common sense

  1. #31
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    Re: How valuable is common sense

    Quote Originally Posted by megaprogman View Post
    1. I wasn't trying to prove anything or accomplish anything, but rather see what others think. Without that sort of intent than there is no failure, especially since someone responded to my question with their own view. That would mean I accomplished my purpose.
    2. As of the votes right now, if averaged, than common sense is viewed as slightly less relevant than other forms of information, which, if there was a competition (and based on my statement in the OP) would indicate a slight preference against the value of common sense. But as I stated this is not a competition
    3. I find it odd that you think it is some sort of competition.
    I find the poll odd because of what you wrote in nnumber 2 "slightly less relevant than other forms of information" - common sense isn't a form of information but rather a way to process information. A scientist views data, does experiments and then using the tools of common sense, comes to a conclusion. They don't just say "Common sense would tell us blank". And if they do say that, what they mean is that based on the current evidence, common sense would say X. But with further research, common sense now tells us Z. It's not a means of information, but rather a means of decision making. So perhaps I just don't understand what you are trying to ask. But I can't choose scientific evidence, for example, over common sense. A good scientist will have them go hand in hand.

  2. #32
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    Re: How valuable is common sense

    Quote Originally Posted by The Mark View Post
    That's an interesting idea, but I was actually describing what I personally thought of as the definition of "common sense".

    It was apparently not entirely in step with the Wikipedia definition.

    But that brings up an interesting thought.

    Perhaps what many people consider "common sense" is not actually such, or perhaps what Wikipedia defines as "common sense" is something else entirely?

    I think there is a lot of grey area between a lot of peoples ideas as to what constitutes 'common sense, conventional wisdom, wisdom and wittiness.'

    I don't profess to be an authorty on the subjects, myself.

    I consider myself nothing more than a 'casual observer.'


  3. #33
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    Re: How valuable is common sense

    When thinking about common sense you need to analyze it at different levels of society.

    "Common sense" is formed by your own experiences (the individual level), your family and friends (the community level), and the society at large (the education system, national interests, laws, etc.)

    I find that common sense at the societal level is often informed by laws, and not really by logical or ethical understandings per se. On the community level, there things that are shared as common sense between most communities but there are differences too. For instance, in some communities people who are struggling are expected to pick themselves up, but in other communities it's expected that the community shares the burden. In both communities, their ways of doing things are "common sense". It's in the culture.

    The individual levels of common sense are the most irrational and I find it's where the most conflict takes place. Each person's individual experience is true to them and so their common sense is informed, but it doesn't translate to another individual's experience necessarily. The conflicts that take place at this level are mostly over ego attachments to an individual's way of perceiving things and they aren't as willing to shift from that way of thinking. On the flip side, a lot of people just assume that everyone else shares their view of common sense, because the very words "common sense" imply that we all should know it and live by it.

    Then of course, there is the aspect where people are aware of their own common sense but choose to willfully ignore it for whatever reason.

  4. #34
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    Re: How valuable is common sense

    Quote Originally Posted by megaprogman View Post
    I question its value because it tends to rely on assumptions and personal observations vs what I consider to be more objective forms of data gathering and synthesis, such as science. What is your opinion?
    Scientific methodology allows for real life experiences, personal observations.
    The Scientific Method Today
    Somewhere in the website the author explains that scientific methodology includes personal observations.

    Data can lie or mislead, especially when variables are not known or can never be known.

    A couple examples: Social programs that work on paper, fail when implemented because the vital variable... human nature is eliminated. Here it would be far better to use common sense and say, this scheme will fail based on the fact these programs are used and abused throughout the world. Regardless of culture.

    Of course, you could argue the fact the programs are failing to live up to anything close to their promises is data to support "common sense".

    Another is an argument about autobahns. What I call the greatest stretch of gas guzzling roadway in the world. Now, I didn't know the breakdown of autobahn with and without limits I had no idea, but having driven from Stettin to Nordhorn, Flensburg to Freilassing, Stuttgart to Passau and everywhere in between, I know you can gun it. 150km/h is a comfortable speed, and I've been up to 270km/h... legally... early one summer morning when the roads were pretty empty.

    Now Wikipedia has the breakdown of 25% with speed limits, 25 without, and the remainder with suggested limits. Someone looking at the data can come to the false conclusion that German roadways are restrictive in speed. Wrong conclusion, as the long stretches between metropolitan areas are the roads with few to no limits. Further, the suggested limits are just that; suggested. They are not commandments.

    The country has a suggested speed limit of 130km/h, but... as noted in wiki, According to a 1995 study, the average speed traveled on German autobahns was 134 km/h (83mp/h). That means the recommended speed was exceeded on average!

    Someone living in Germany need only apply common sense gained through experience to know the autobahn is a great place to test the finest of German and Italian engineering, and without fear of breaking the law.

    For the person looking at the data only, they could draw (and have drawn) wholly false conclusions.

    Of course, the hallmark of a good scientist, researcher, or anything for that matter is absolute honesty.

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    Last edited by zimmer; 06-24-10 at 06:37 PM.
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  5. #35
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    Re: How valuable is common sense

    Quote Originally Posted by megaprogman View Post
    Personally, I do not believe that your argument is valid and this is why I did not address it. I will continue to not do so unless there is a time I feel that it is valid. You are free to use that to prove whatever point you feel you must make if it makes you feel better, as it provides no harm to me for you to do so. However, I did wish to point the flaw in your reasoning as those sorts of things irritate me in general. You misused words in your argument, I pointed it out, you backtracked, case closed.

    Overall though, the people on this forum are quite capable of posting their thoughts about the matter if they wish to do so and are quite able to provide their own take, even if it has little to do with mine. I do not think they need you to be their champion. But as I posted in the last paragraph, if you feel good doing it, go ahead.
    I will happily accept your non-answer as you admitting that you were wrong.

  6. #36
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    Re: How valuable is common sense

    Quote Originally Posted by Southern Man View Post
    I will happily accept your non-answer as you admitting that you were wrong.
    You can take it how you wish, however, I do not believe I was wrong.

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