Expecting Short Inferential Distances - LessWrong 2.0, Oct 2007

Basically, it is very hard to explain new concepts

In the ancestral environment there were no abstract disciplines with vast bodies of carefully gathered evidence generalized into elegant theories transmitted by written books whose conclusions are a hundred inferential steps removed from universally shared background premises.

When I observe failures of explanation, I usually see the explainer taking one step back, when they need to take two or more steps back. Or listeners assume that things should be visible in one step, when they take two or more steps to explain. Both sides act as if they expect very short inferential distances from universal knowledge to any new knowledge.

via @agentofuser

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