Sunday, September 11, 2011

Fuckem's Razor

Bonesparkle:

Occam’s Razor, in Newton’s formulation, says that ”We are to admit no more causes of natural things than such as are both true and sufficient to explain their appearances.” Put more directly, this means that when trying to understand things, the simplest explanation is usually the right one. Occam’s Razor is credited to 14th century logician and Franciscan friar William of Ockham.

Fuckem’s Razor, on the other hand, derives from the teachings of another Medieval monk, Robert of Fuckham, and it posits roughly the opposite of Occam’s Razor. To wit, when confronted with a problem, the most complicated and obscure explanation is probably correct. At the very least, all conceivable factors must be debated, on an equal footing, regardless of their plausibility or how much evidence supports them.

I’m sure this is all fairly confusing, so let me illustrate with a couple of examples. Say you’re in your house, it’s hot as hell and the place is collapsing around your head as you try and make out what’s going on. Occam’s Razor would note the flames leaping into the sky, the clouds of choking smoke and distant scream of approaching sirens in suggesting that your house is on fire. Fuckem’s Razor, on the other hand, obliges the objective observer to consider all the possibilities. Since scientists have not been able to conclusively rule out the possibility of either alien life or the existence of parallel dimensions, we must, in the interests of intellectual rigor, admit to the extreme likelihood that your house is under attack by bug people from the 18th Dimension.

Brilliant. From now on, when presented with yet more evasive hairsplitting from agnostics (especially those who get overcome with the vapors due to the impudence of those New Atheists), I'm just going to mutter "Fuckem's Razor" to myself and crack up giggling.