History Main / OccamsRazor

12th Jul '16 6:23:31 PM nombretomado
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The Razor is commonly misinterpreted as saying, "''The simplest theory is the best.''" or, even worse, "''The simplest theory is always right.''" This is not correct in RealLife unless it is the simpler of two theories which make predictions with identical degrees of accuracy. All other aspects of the theory have to be equal before simplicity is taken into account. It also requires that ''all the data are accounted for.'' Newtonian physics are simpler than modern theories and were sufficient to take man to the Moon, but (with all due respect to the man) [[IsaacNewton Sir Isaac]] simply could not explain ''all'' the data eventually collected--especially since a lot of the offending material had not ''been'' collected when ''Principia Mathematica'' was published. This required some other smart man--namely, AlbertEinstein--to formulate more complex theories, particularly the outrageous stew we call "UsefulNotes/{{Relativity}}" which functions along completely different rules. Now, Occam's Razor would suggest that there must be some Grand Unified Theory that explains why physics work one way on an atomic level and completely differently on a larger-than-atomic level. Much of the last century of scientific research (including Einstein's) has centered around trying to come up with one. They haven't succeeded. So far, Occam's Razor is wrong, and the universe simply functions according to completely different sets of rules depending on an object's physical size, for no good reason whatsoever. Nobody likes this, but in the end, nothing says that an explanation must ''be'' simple.

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The Razor is commonly misinterpreted as saying, "''The simplest theory is the best.''" or, even worse, "''The simplest theory is always right.''" This is not correct in RealLife unless it is the simpler of two theories which make predictions with identical degrees of accuracy. All other aspects of the theory have to be equal before simplicity is taken into account. It also requires that ''all the data are accounted for.'' Newtonian physics are simpler than modern theories and were sufficient to take man to the Moon, but (with all due respect to the man) [[IsaacNewton Sir Isaac]] simply could not explain ''all'' the data eventually collected--especially since a lot of the offending material had not ''been'' collected when ''Principia Mathematica'' was published. This required some other smart man--namely, AlbertEinstein--to UsefulNotes/AlbertEinstein--to formulate more complex theories, particularly the outrageous stew we call "UsefulNotes/{{Relativity}}" which functions along completely different rules. Now, Occam's Razor would suggest that there must be some Grand Unified Theory that explains why physics work one way on an atomic level and completely differently on a larger-than-atomic level. Much of the last century of scientific research (including Einstein's) has centered around trying to come up with one. They haven't succeeded. So far, Occam's Razor is wrong, and the universe simply functions according to completely different sets of rules depending on an object's physical size, for no good reason whatsoever. Nobody likes this, but in the end, nothing says that an explanation must ''be'' simple.
27th Apr '16 8:40:29 AM DesertDragon
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'''[[http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Occam%27s_razor Occam's Razor]]''' is an epistemological razor[[note]]a logical principle that is used in deductive reasoning to evaluate threories[[/note]] first described in the 14th century by [[http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/William_of_Ockham William of Ockham]], an English Franciscan friar and philosopher. It is often used to evaluate the usefulness of a theory. Its main tenet is that "Entities must not be multiplied beyond necessity." It can be summed up with the phrase "When you hear hoofbeats, think horses, not zebras."[[note]]Unless, of course, you live in the Serengeti where the reverse condition applies. And even then the thunder of hooves might be wildebeeste.[[/note]]

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'''[[http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Occam%27s_razor Occam's Razor]]''' is an epistemological razor[[note]]a logical principle that is used in deductive reasoning to evaluate threories[[/note]] first described in the 14th century by [[http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/William_of_Ockham William of Ockham]], an English Franciscan friar and philosopher. It is often used to evaluate the usefulness of a theory. Its main tenet is that "Entities must not be multiplied beyond necessity." It can be summed up with the phrase "When you hear hoofbeats, think horses, not zebras."[[note]]Unless, of course, you live in the Serengeti where the reverse condition applies. And even then the thunder of hooves might be wildebeeste.[[/note]]
"
4th Feb '16 7:09:26 PM AgProv
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'''[[http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Occam%27s_razor Occam's Razor]]''' is an epistemological razor[[note]]a logical principle that is used in deductive reasoning to evaluate threories[[/note]] first described in the 14th century by [[http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/William_of_Ockham William of Ockham]], an English Franciscan friar and philosopher. It is often used to evaluate the usefulness of a theory. Its main tenet is that "Entities must not be multiplied beyond necessity." It can be summed up with the phrase "When you hear hoofbeats, think horses, not zebras."

to:

'''[[http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Occam%27s_razor Occam's Razor]]''' is an epistemological razor[[note]]a logical principle that is used in deductive reasoning to evaluate threories[[/note]] first described in the 14th century by [[http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/William_of_Ockham William of Ockham]], an English Franciscan friar and philosopher. It is often used to evaluate the usefulness of a theory. Its main tenet is that "Entities must not be multiplied beyond necessity." It can be summed up with the phrase "When you hear hoofbeats, think horses, not zebras."
"[[note]]Unless, of course, you live in the Serengeti where the reverse condition applies. And even then the thunder of hooves might be wildebeeste.[[/note]]
19th Jan '16 7:32:54 AM PixelKnight
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'''[[http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Occam%27s_razor Occam's Razor]]''' is a logical principle first described in the 14th century by [[http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/William_of_Ockham William of Ockham]], an English Franciscan friar and philosopher. It is often used to evaluate the usefulness of a theory. Its main tenet is that "Entities must not be multiplied beyond necessity." It can be summed up with the phrase "When you hear hoofbeats, think horses, not zebras."

to:

'''[[http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Occam%27s_razor Occam's Razor]]''' is a an epistemological razor[[note]]a logical principle that is used in deductive reasoning to evaluate threories[[/note]] first described in the 14th century by [[http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/William_of_Ockham William of Ockham]], an English Franciscan friar and philosopher. It is often used to evaluate the usefulness of a theory. Its main tenet is that "Entities must not be multiplied beyond necessity." It can be summed up with the phrase "When you hear hoofbeats, think horses, not zebras."
17th Dec '15 9:19:21 PM Red-Dead-Redeemer
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# they develop interstellar/intergalactic travel [[note]]This is not only a question regarding faster-than-light travel, but social development. Human technological advancement has only accelerated in the past 300 years, which was by no means inevitable, and for our first ''150,000 years'' remained almost entirely stagnant. Knowledge may also be forgotten or lost (as has happened multiple times in human history when important libraries were burnt). In short, technological advancement is not a given. Even an intelligent species may never advance beyond medieval or even stone age technology.[[/note]]

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# they develop interstellar/intergalactic travel [[note]]This is not only a question regarding faster-than-light travel, but social development. Human technological advancement has only accelerated in the past 300 years, which was by no means inevitable, and for our first ''150,000 years'' remained almost entirely stagnant. Knowledge may also be forgotten or lost (as has happened multiple times in human history when important libraries were burnt). In short, technological advancement is not a given. Even an intelligent species may [[MedievalStasis never advance beyond medieval or even stone age technology.technology]].[[/note]]
10th Nov '15 5:39:21 PM nombretomado
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# were able to pay off and swear to silence ''thousands'' of people working at NASA and other companies for forty years when they couldn't even pull off a [[RichardNixon simple burglary]];

to:

# were able to pay off and swear to silence ''thousands'' of people working at NASA and other companies for forty years when they couldn't even pull off a [[RichardNixon [[UsefulNotes/RichardNixon simple burglary]];
12th Sep '15 1:42:51 PM WillBGood
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!!!Also called:

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!!!Also Also called:
3rd May '15 7:44:09 PM MAI742
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# were willing to throw billions away for smoke-and-mirrors attempts,
# were smart enough to fool 99% of the population (which some would contest),
# were simultaneously stupid enough not to cover their tracks,
# had the technological and film-making ability to actually fake the moon-landing footage[[note]]This seems logical - after all, surely it would be easier to fake some film than actually ''go to the Moon'' - but it relies on comparing two totally different fields. In fact, the technology to fake the moon landings ''[[http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=sGXTF6bs1IU did not exist]]'' in 1969, whilst the technology to actually go there and shoot some footage did.[[/note]]
# were able to pay off and swear to silence ''thousands'' of people working at NASA and other companies for forty years when they couldn't even pull off a [[RichardNixon simple burglary]]
# were able to pay off and swear to silence [[RedsWithRockets the Soviet Military (and its intelligence directorate, the GRU)]] [[BalanceOfPower during a period where the Red Army, its budget, its personnel, and its material was subjected to intense and ongoing analysis by its enemies]] (the Communist Party and [[StateSec the KGB]]) without arousing their suspicions, or paid off and swore to silence all three factions, despite [[UsefulNotes/HistoryOfTheColdWar the natural inclination of all three to seriously humiliate their mutual enemy]].
# either persuaded the Soviets to destroy every record of the deal so thoroughly that no trace of it remains in now-declassified Soviet archives, even though the Soviets had never bothered to do anything of the sort before ([[TheGreatPoliticsMessUp on the grounds that their country would endure until the end of human history and said archives would never be seen by hostile eyes]]), or have since bought the silence of TheNewRussia as well.

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# were willing and able to throw expend untold billions away for of dollars more than they were ever officially allocated on smoke-and-mirrors attempts,
attempts;
# were smart enough to fool 99% of the population (which some would contest),
contest);
# were simultaneously stupid enough not to cover their tracks,
tracks;
# had the technological and film-making ability to actually fake the moon-landing footage[[note]]This seems logical - after all, surely it would be easier to fake some film than actually ''go to the Moon'' - but it relies on comparing two totally different fields. In fact, the technology to fake the moon landings ''[[http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=sGXTF6bs1IU did not exist]]'' in 1969, whilst the technology to actually go there and shoot some footage did.[[/note]]
[[/note]];
# were able to pay off and swear to silence ''thousands'' of people working at NASA and other companies for forty years when they couldn't even pull off a [[RichardNixon simple burglary]]
burglary]];
# were able to pay off and swear to silence [[RedsWithRockets the Soviet Military (and its intelligence directorate, the GRU)]] [[BalanceOfPower during a period where the Red Army, its budget, its personnel, and its material was subjected to intense and ongoing analysis by its enemies]] (the Communist Party and [[StateSec the KGB]]) without arousing their suspicions, or paid off and swore to silence all three factions, factions despite [[UsefulNotes/HistoryOfTheColdWar the natural inclination of all three to seriously humiliate their mutual enemy]].
enemy]];
# and either persuaded the Soviets to destroy every record of the deal so thoroughly that no trace of it remains in now-declassified Soviet archives, even though the Soviets had never bothered to do anything of the sort before ([[TheGreatPoliticsMessUp on the grounds that their country would endure until the end of human history and said archives would never be seen by hostile eyes]]), or have since bought the silence of TheNewRussia as well.
27th Apr '15 3:12:28 PM Scorntex
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After that, you'd think that the simplest explanation was to, you know, actually send people there (''ThatMitchellAndWebbLook'' has a brilliant series of sketches on this idea, [[http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=P6MOnehCOUw including the moon landing]]).

to:

After that, you'd think that the simplest explanation was to, you know, actually send people there (''ThatMitchellAndWebbLook'' (''Series/ThatMitchellAndWebbLook'' has a brilliant series of sketches on this idea, [[http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=P6MOnehCOUw including the moon landing]]).
4th Apr '15 5:19:23 AM Morgenthaler
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->''"When I see a crop circle, I could hypothesize a conspiracy of local farmboys who spent a whole night in a field trampling crops down with primitive earthling tools. [[InvertedTrope But a much simpler hypothesis would be a fellow alien with a crop-writer who wanted to contact a ship in orbit.]] Hitchhikers do this all the time."''

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->''"When I see a crop circle, I could hypothesize a conspiracy of local farmboys who spent a whole night in a field trampling crops down with primitive earthling tools. [[InvertedTrope But a much simpler hypothesis would be a fellow alien with a crop-writer who wanted to contact a ship in orbit.]] orbit. Hitchhikers do this all the time."''
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