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In response to Occam's Razor
Comment author: dudeicus 23 March 2011 03:25:47PM -1 points [-]

Occam's Razor is "entities must not be multiplied beyond necessity" (entia non sunt multiplicanda praeter necessitatem)

NOT "The simplest explanation that fits the facts."

Now thats just purely definition. I think both are true. I think there are problems with both. The problem with Occams razor, is that yes its true, however, it doesn't cover all the bases. There is a deeper underlying principle that makes Occams razor true, which is the one you described in the article. However summing up your article as "The simplest explanation that fits the facts" is also misleading as in, while it does seem to cover all the bases, it only does so if you use a very specific definition of simple which really doesnt fit with everyday language.

Example: Stonehenge, let me suggest two theories, 1. it was built by ancient humans, 2. it fell together through purely random geological process. Both theories fit with the facts, we know that both are physically possible (yes 2. is vastly less probable, ill get to that in a second). Occams razor suggest 2. as the answer, and "The simplest explanation" appears to be 2. also. Both seem to be failing. The real underlying principle as to why Occams razor is true, is statistics, not simplicity. Now dont get me wrong, I understand why "The simplest explanation that fit the facts" actually points to 1., but then you have to go through this long process of what you actually mean by simplest, which basically just ends up being a long explanation of how "simple" actually means "probable".

Anyways, I'm just arguing over semantics, I do in fact agree with everything you said. I just wish there was no Occams razor, it should just be "The theory which is the most statistically probable, is usually the right one." This is what people actually mean to say when they say "The simplest explanation that fits the facts."