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Tony
11th January 2012, 17:32
What is Occam's Razor?..or how do we keep sane?:flock::flock::flock:

Occam's (or Ockham's) razor is a principle attributed to the 14th century logician and Franciscan friar William of Ockham.  Ockham was the village in the English county of Surrey where he was born.

The principle states that "Entities should not be multiplied unnecessarily."  Sometimes it is quoted in one of its original Latin forms to give it an air of authenticity:
The most useful statement of the principle for scientists is
"when you have two competing theories that make exactly the same predictions, the simpler one is the better."
"Scientists must use the simplest means of arriving at their results and exclude everything not perceived by the senses." 
Occam's razor is often cited in stronger forms than Occam intended, as in the following statements. . .
"If you have two theories that both explain the observed facts, then you should use the simplest until more evidence comes along"
"The simplest explanation for some phenomenon is more likely to be accurate than more complicated explanations."
"If you have two equally likely solutions to a problem, choose the simplest."
"The explanation requiring the fewest assumptions is most likely to be correct."
. . .or in the only form that takes its own advice. . .
"Keep things simple!"

Tony
11th January 2012, 17:44
How to make life complicated, just translate vegetables for aliens!

zGBTrCZObyA

araucaria
11th January 2012, 18:02
In many cases, just one assumption will go a long way: infinity.

Unfortunately, science doesn’t like infinity. It has a process called renormalization to remove any infinities.

Example: sustainability of any kind is impossible in a closed system (the entropy principle). The Earth is a closed system, ergo environmental sustainability is impossible. But adding infinity to a closed system produces an open system. Problem solved. :)

jorr lundstrom
11th January 2012, 18:21
http://i600.photobucket.com/albums/tt81/sakasvattaja/NOTHINGISCERTAINEYELOGO.jpg

alienHunter
11th January 2012, 18:27
Hi araucaria,

I would agree but Earth doesn't really require the additional parameter to sustain itself...It is a 'limited' closed system and therefore non-entropic events are allowed. I've had some good discussions on the 'application' of Occam's Razor during philosophical debates. It's been awhile but I think I came to the conclusion that Occam's Razor is predicated on faulty, self-fulfilling, circular logic. Which points to one of the reasons I dislike pedantic/dogmatic science. If you use it, it will get you!

Dawn
11th January 2012, 19:06
I don't really use this logic either, at least not consciously. I usually don't really come to conclusions. I just make hypothesis, which is a form of questioning, and watch to see what shows up in response. I also have the ability to listen to opposing views and see both sides as valid without picking one. It took me a long time to get to this place, but I like it. This way my mind is never 'made up' which would force me into defending any mental position I take. And I am always 'in the question' watching for what shows up next. This is a very relaxing way to live.

Of course if I was a scientist, this would be a useful tool to help me in creating new gizmos. Or would it? When I create something I just focus on it for a time and I suddenly 'Know' or 'see' exactly how to make it all come together. I don't 'think' about it... it is more like dancing with creativity as an energy and watching what 'pops up' suddenly as a result.

My favorite thing is realizing I am wrong! That way I get to go down an entirely new path of discovery. Sometimes my programming fights this like the devil itself. Then I have the chance to clear up stuck programming... and then I have the opportunity to see the world with fresh new eyes and curiosity, instead of from a fixed position.

To see the world as through the eyes of a child.... Ahh! Joy itself!

toad
11th January 2012, 19:17
It is usually misconstrued when dealing with two problems that 'the simpler of the two are usually correct' or true. But in reality it deals with two competing theories and the one that makes the fewer assumptions is usually the correct one.

Tony
11th January 2012, 19:31
I am only relating this to all the ridiculous theories about ETs. That Ets are watching us, that Ets are doing things to people.
Why on earth would you put this down to ETs first, when there are daft humans about?!

araucaria
11th January 2012, 19:46
Hi araucaria,

I would agree but Earth doesn't really require the additional parameter to sustain itself...It is a 'limited' closed system and therefore non-entropic events are allowed. I've had some good discussions on the 'application' of Occam's Razor during philosophical debates. It's been awhile but I think I came to the conclusion that Occam's Razor is predicated on faulty, self-fulfilling, circular logic. Which points to one of the reasons I dislike pedantic/dogmatic science. If you use it, it will get you!

Thanks alienhunter

Could you please explain what you mean by 'limited' here, when I am suggesting unlimited? I'm not sure if I understand.

I don't think infinity is an 'additional' parameter at all - it is absolutely fundamental.

alienHunter
11th January 2012, 19:49
It's funny that I actually approach most things that way too and I can't tell you how many times I've been bitten because of it...I always remain convinced that I was right and was stopped short of success, though. :confused:


I don't really use this logic either, at least not consciously. I usually don't really come to conclusions. I just make hypothesis, which is a form of questioning, and watch to see what shows up in response. I also have the ability to listen to opposing views and see both sides as valid without picking one. It took me a long time to get to this place, but I like it. This way my mind is never 'made up' which would force me into defending any mental position I take. And I am always 'in the question' watching for what shows up next. This is a very relaxing way to live.

Of course if I was a scientist, this would be a useful tool to help me in creating new gizmos. Or would it? When I create something I just focus on it for a time and I suddenly 'Know' or 'see' exactly how to make it all come together. I don't 'think' about it... it is more like dancing with creativity as an energy and watching what 'pops up' suddenly as a result.

My favorite thing is realizing I am wrong! That way I get to go down an entirely new path of discovery. Sometimes my programming fights this like the devil itself. Then I have the chance to clear up stuck programming... and then I have the opportunity to see the world with fresh new eyes and curiosity, instead of from a fixed position.

To see the world as through the eyes of a child.... Ahh! Joy itself!

¤=[Post Update]=¤

You are right, of course...


I am only relating this to all the ridiculous theories about ETs. That Ets are watching us, that Ets are doing things to people.
Why on earth would you put this down to ETs first, when there a daft humans about?

Tarka the Duck
11th January 2012, 19:50
The funny thing is...from my non-scientific viewpoint, Occam's razor is all about simplicity - the simplest solution - and
it seems some people are making this very theory incredibly complicated!!
Relating stories about how you personally approach an argument isn't really relevant ;)

Kathie

alienHunter
11th January 2012, 19:53
I say we apply Occam's Razor...


The funny thing is...from my non-scientific viewpoint, Occam's razor is all about simplicity - the simplest solution - and
it seems some people are making this very theory incredibly complicated!!
Relating stories about how you personally approach an argument isn't really relevant ;)

Kathie

¤=[Post Update]=¤

welll, we can...is Tarka going to get upset? b.t.w. I hear you!



Hi araucaria,

I would agree but Earth doesn't really require the additional parameter to sustain itself...It is a 'limited' closed system and therefore non-entropic events are allowed. I've had some good discussions on the 'application' of Occam's Razor during philosophical debates. It's been awhile but I think I came to the conclusion that Occam's Razor is predicated on faulty, self-fulfilling, circular logic. Which points to one of the reasons I dislike pedantic/dogmatic science. If you use it, it will get you!

Thanks alienhunter

Could you please explain what you mean by 'limited' here, when I am suggesting unlimited? I'm not sure if I understand.

I don't think infinity is an 'additional' parameter at all - it is absolutely fundamental.

Seikou-Kishi
11th January 2012, 20:03
How do we keep sane?

That's making one hell of a faulty assumption lol.

The real question is: how do I claw it back? Lol

Tony
11th January 2012, 20:13
Some of you are making the wrong assumptions.

If there is a problem with say, a device. One would simply look at it, smell it, test for continuity.
One would look for and eliminate the simplest solutions before looking for something more complex.

Guessing or opinion plays no part in solving any matter. That is what headless chickens might do!

Too many times on threads we read...“I do this”... “I do that” “I feel..I..I..I.

“I” clouds the issue!

¤=[Post Update]=¤


How do we keep sane?

That's making one hell of a faulty assumption lol.

The real question is: how do I claw it back? Lol

By letting go of assumption.

VaughnB
11th January 2012, 20:22
I saw 'em on sale at Walgreen's

music
11th January 2012, 20:27
In Ockham's time, his principle could be used to "prove" that the sun revolves around the earth, and that that the earth was likewise flat. The more complex a system, the less predictive the power of Occam's razor.

Occam's razor is used in systematics to assign the taxa of life to a box within the Linnaean classification system. In phylogenetic analysis, a matrix of taxa character traits is subjected to computer based analysis to determine a relativistic tree of life for the taxa involved. The razor is invoked in systematics as "parsimony", wherein the most most parsimonious (least unlikely) answer is assumed to be correct. That is: the phylogentic tree that takes the least "evolutionary" steps to explain the relationship of taxa is the accepted one, so e.g. we get a tree where a bat is more closely related to a mouse because they both have hair, and they are both more closely related to a bird than a fish, because the bat, mouse and bird get their oxygen from the air via lungs.

This is fine in simple systems, but the more complex the system, the less likely it is that Occam's razor is a useful tool. In systematics, for example, the phenomena of convergent evolution, parallel evolution, and evolutionary reversals all work to add noise to the analysis, and the razor does not deal with noise well. Taxa are living, evolving things, and in a real sense, when we try to classify anything, we will always find items that we can place in no preconceived box.

Like everything, there is no black and white, only a living continuum of grey determined by the ratio of black to white within the given subject or object we are examining. At the fine scale (species level taxonomy and finer), Occam's razor would be my least-favoured tool of discernment.

So, I am saying, I guess, that simple is better only where one is dealing with simplicity.

alienHunter
11th January 2012, 21:04
I guess I should have just gone with my instinct and responded...Yes.


What is Occam's Razor?..or how do we keep sane?:flock::flock::flock:

Occam's (or Ockham's) razor is a principle attributed to the 14th century logician and Franciscan friar William of Ockham.  Ockham was the village in the English county of Surrey where he was born.

The principle states that "Entities should not be multiplied unnecessarily."  Sometimes it is quoted in one of its original Latin forms to give it an air of authenticity:
The most useful statement of the principle for scientists is
"when you have two competing theories that make exactly the same predictions, the simpler one is the better."
"Scientists must use the simplest means of arriving at their results and exclude everything not perceived by the senses." 
Occam's razor is often cited in stronger forms than Occam intended, as in the following statements. . .
"If you have two theories that both explain the observed facts, then you should use the simplest until more evidence comes along"
"The simplest explanation for some phenomenon is more likely to be accurate than more complicated explanations."
"If you have two equally likely solutions to a problem, choose the simplest."
"The explanation requiring the fewest assumptions is most likely to be correct."
. . .or in the only form that takes its own advice. . .
"Keep things simple!"