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Not Knowing Why Something is Better or Worse Means You Believe it’s Magic

In the software development field you often get zealous people evangelizing that certain techniques or methodologies have certain side effects or help produce certain results.  They often don’t detail the causation of the results to the particular technique or methodology.  Sometimes it comes in the form of “use that for this”, or “I use this to do that”; and sometimes it comes in the form of “this helps to do that” or “they didn’t use this so it must be bad”.

There’s nothing wrong with taking the advice of someone you trust; but do yourself a favour and think about the technique or methodology being espoused.  Don’t indulge in magical thinking and not understand what you are using.  It may very well be that the advice you’re accepting is true; but if you don’t know why something does what it does you have much more tendency to misuse it.

The converse is also true.  If someone tells you a particular technique or methodology is bad, find out why it’s bad.  If you simply accept that it is bad and avoid using it you essentially believe some magic makes it so.

If the person espousing said technique of methodology can’t back up the claim, then I’d seriously consider simply ignoring that person.

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