The Illusionary Occam’s Razor
I’ll continue with the Greek Tragedy stuff a little later. This felt like a more pressing piece to speak on today. The subject of course as one would imagine is the idea of Occam’s Razor. Now this is a relatively simple concept that essentially boils down to the following.
The Simplest Explanation is Often the Correct one.
Now I feel that the common misconception here is that any answer as long as it is simpler than all it’s competitors is the correct one. However as I’ve stated before anything that explains everything explains absolutely nothing. Essentially if you make an explanation broad enough it can be used to answer all of life’s questions, it is ambiguity that we often allow to take hold in explanations that creates a false sense of security. In fact it is ambiguity that cannot exist when deciding upon an explanation using the Occam’s Razor.
One thing we must remember that gets missed many many times, is the following quote.
"Simpler theories are, other things being equal, generally better than more complex ones"
– Swinburne 1997 and Williams, Gareth T, 2008
The key word there being "other things being equal". This is where ambiguity breaks down against clarity. In many, many cases we find that people feel they can quote Occam’s Razor to justify their response of "Because". I’ve spoken on it before when discussing the God Problem, people feel that by saying "well because" they have suddenly defeated their opponent. However it comes down to our ability to concretely envision something, can you truly vision what you are postulating or are you merely examining an abstract and speaking about it as if it is a concrete thing.
We cannot truly conceive the nonphysical world communicating or altering our physical world, in doing so we begin to attach physical traits to nonphysical things. This attribution is an error that is commonly refuted by saying "because". Occam’s Razor is not a magical cure all and it would seem that many people erroneously believe that it is. This is where the divide between faith and science seems to burst forth like an infant from the womb. The latter defines something concretely and then displays it ambiguously and for decades it results in ambiguous information being thrown about as if it is concrete fact.
This is absolutely no evidence at all that would suggest that there is a nonphysical world attached in any way shape or form to the physical one. All explanations that seem to support this notion that there is do not have solid evidence to prove so they rely on the Illusionary Occam’s Razor.
So the next time you think that Occam’s razor is the best explanation for your theory. Keep in mind that it requires that all other things be equal, ambiguity is always the lesser to certainty. Likewise as I’ve said before if you are willing to ignore the evidence of the physical world for no better reason than to fulfill confirmation bias then you might as well not debate at all. Nothing can be said to change your mind.
I hope this short lesson was entertaining :). This is my 11th entry in a row, which is exciting because both my father and myself currently share ages that are multiples of 11 :).