Saturday, 10 December 2016

Occams razor

Occams razor

The truth seeking method which is called as Occams razor is a principle attributed to the English logician and philosopher William of Ockham. It says that the explanation of any phenomenon should have as less guesses as possible. According to science it is like, the fewer the assumptions the better it is.

Scientists use Occam’s razor as a tool when they develop theoretical models. However in science the preference for simplicity in the scientific method is based on the falsifiability criterion. Simple theories are preferred than more complex ones because their level of testability is much higher. Another reason why simple theories are chosen over complex ones is because for each explanation of phenomenon that is accepted, there are a large number of possibilities with much more complex alternatives.

To better understand this, an example will be of great help, once when you wake up in the dark of the night after having heard a sound in the kitchen and on investigating you find a sharp knife on the floor, you immediately get a rapid set of images of what happened or how it happened. For now, let us take to explanations. The first explanation is that the knife fell on the floor because it was not hung/ put on the rack properly. The second explanation is that the house is haunted by the ghost of the previous occupant who killed himself/ herself by using the same type of knife and that his spirit which still tires to reach for a knife and in the process, it falls down on the ground.

Now when we test these two explanations we find that it is much more reasonable to go with the first explanation rather that the second. The first explanation makes only one simple assumption saying that the knife wasn’t placed properly. Coming to the second explanation we see that there are many assumptions that are made. Assumptions such as life after death, that spirits exist, that spirits haunt human beings after having left the human beings body ……. and so on. All these cannot be tested and hence it seems much more reasonable to go with the first explanation rather than the second.

This same analogy can be applied to the existence of all things including us namely the rationalist evolutionary explanation and the creationist intelligent design explanation. I support Mukul Sharma’s opinion, because he says that God made everything. This truth is so simple and clear.

‘The first explanation assumes that an unexplainable Big Bang when nothingness exploded to create space, time energy and matter that gave rise to nebulae, galaxies, stars and planets. In this explanation, there are a million assumptions out of which most can’t even be properly tested. In the second explanation, it is quite simply put: God made everything. There is only one assumption here i. e. there is a Creator. There is no choice at all as to how the Occam razor principle should operate here.

This one assumption along with 3 other sub- assumption is the biggest even made by any human in the history of humanity and hence science doesn’t let this principle guide it in this case. The magnanimity of this assumption is so vast that it automatically subsumes all other assumptions, including the millions of assumptions of the rationalist evolutionary explanation by a degree of infinity. The only way is to start believing in faith.

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