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Counter-Intuition: From “How to Write about Law” (Forthcoming)

Science is the formation and verification of hypotheses.

A counter-intuitive hypothesis is always  interesting but is unlikely. The counter-intuitive hypothesis will probably attract interest, because it looks unique, new, shiny! But who wants to attract a reputation for being wrong? One must be most careful with counter-intuitive ideas, more critical than usual. How likely is it that everyone else is wrong, or that you have discovered something no one else has? Not very.
Whenever we have a counter-intuitive idea we should ask where we got that idea, why we believe that idea may be the case. It’s not like everyone else on earth is perfectly honest all the time.
Of course, State actors meet with the problem of “unintended consequences” all the time; that is the product of not thinking through ideas to their logical consequences, or failing to foresee the reactions of others to our own actions. Others’ actions are never entirely foreseeable, and so to some extent unintended consequences are inevitable. It’s not that others are stupid or thoughtless: it’s simply that in war “the enemy gets a vote” – and they vote with bullets.
So, the penalty for being wrong about these things is severe.

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