Rules - I appreciate and concur with your concerns. You would be pleased to know the level of verification we employed at Thiel. Serious science.
But there is this other dimension. In my acoustic guitar design and archival recording I have identified an accumulation factor. Recording engineers and piano techs and other technical artists also experience this phenomenon. When on a particular path of exploration, guided by both cognition and intuition, there are many choices which are not provable or even discernible. But a conglomerate effect becomes identifiable / meaningful over time. There are so many subtle factors contributing to the overall result, that each of them could be ignored or over-ruled, but they can matter in their aggregate.