In Reply to Parent Post by Jim Wynne
I was referring to the apparent denigration of "guess fests." When causes are unknown, it's almost impossible to discover them without understanding why some potential solutions are wrong. People who are innately good at problem solving often have little patience with people who aren't as good at it as they are. There's value, however, in hearing ideas and getting inexperienced people involved that extends beyond solving the present problem.
Ah yes - it's true that individuals should learn hwo we rule out all other factors except the causal mechanism. The approach I apply actually requires testing of all possible alternative theories without excluding one at a time which can be very expensive and time consuming. Certainly I don't exclude others opinions or guesses out of hand, but I don't chase each one individually. I utilize a convergent process of elimination based on undertanding the funciton of the process and/or product involved. So there is inclusion of current knowledge and growth of knowledge as the investigation progresses. It's just a controlled growth that follows the scientific process.
On the other hand I was indeed denigrating "guess fests" as they too often only feed the ego of the guesser and end in diversionary activity at best and destructive competition at worst.