Providing Simple Answers to Complex Questions

Engineering conforms to scientific worldview so engineers prefer to base their decisions on hard data and rigorous hypotheses testing. As demonstrated by success of science and engineering over the past 500 years, such approach is extremely efficient in the long run as it builds a complex edifice of knowledge and understanding so that learning can be reused over and over again. Unfortunately scientific approach is not generally applicable since most questions and decisions we face in our lives are too complex to be amenable to rational analysis.

But people crave for simple answers even if the answers are wrong since it gives them a (false) sense of security and responsibility for their decisions is outsourced to somebody else. If you want to understand this phenomenon observe yourself in a situation where you deal with an expert in a field which is completely alien to you. In most cases, the expert will not be willing to provide you with a categorical decision but will provide a range of answers with detailed description of circumstances when the individual answers apply. The expert understands that the right answer depends on information and circumstances beyond his or her control, but such amorphous answer will only frustrate you and make you even more lost and all that you'll crave for is somebody who'll give you a solid ground to stand on.

I still don't know what is the right response in such case. If I don't provide a clear cut answer, I feel like an arrogant jerk. But if I do provide a simple recipe, I feel like lying. No escape there.