Thursday, March 19, 2009

Ockham's Razor

What is Ockham's(or Occam's) Razor? It is a principal of thought, which is as follows:
"Entities should not be multiplied unnecessarily."

Now, this is commonly paraphrased as follows:
"The explanation of any phenomenon should make as few assumptions as possible, eliminating those that make no difference in the observable predictions of the explanatory hypothesis or theory."

And, finally, is boiled down to the idea that the simplest explanation for an event is usually correct.

Why do I bring this up? Well, I wandered by Jacob Stein's silly blog again. He had an entry entitled "God - The great explanatory principal." He starts with this line:
"[Occam’s Razor – the simplest answer is the best]"

The whole point of it boils down to this line:
"The simplest answer is: God did it."

He fails to see that suggesting a supernatural entity as a answer for the supposed problems he presents(all of which have completely natural answers to begin with) is a complete violation of Ockham's razor: he's suggesting an non-physical entity where one is not required for explanation.

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