Saturday, December 02, 2006

Ockham's Razor

According to Wikipedia, Ockham's razor is a principle attributed to the 14th-century English logician and Franciscan friar William of Ockham. Basically, what this principle says is that when given two equally valid explanations for a phenomenon, one should embrace the less complicated formulation.

So, for example, what if all of a sudden, while bathed under an intense beam of light, my friend was simply drawn up into the air by some invisible force. Should we safely assume that he was abducted by an alien space craft? After all, what else could it be? Well … isn’t that what our friend William of Ockham is saying? Why else would he have disappeared? Wouldn’t alien abduction be the most obvious reason?

Now there may be somewhat of a hint of humor in my conjecture but I think you get the point … I think that William of Ockham hit the nail on the head. All too often we try to explain a way of getting around something we don’t understand when, in fact, the answer may be staring us right in the face. Sometimes it is that simple. Maybe it is time to admit that “Yes,” the Bermuda triangle really does sink ships and down planes or “Yes,” Moses really did part the Red Sea. Sometimes, it is easier to keep it simple ... Kind of reminds me of the KISS method ... Keep it simple stupid (No, I am not calling anyone stupid. It's just a saying.)

So, what about it? Are you willing to pay heed to William of Ockham? Or do you still feel the need to state complicated explanations? Maybe you believe that the bermuda triangle has methane gas problems or that an earthquake caused the Red Sea to part just as the Isrealites' backs were to the proverbial wall... Well, you choose. I choose William!

Sometimes we just have to keep it simple. It's as simple as that!

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