Sunday, April 21, 2013

Occams Razor

Image via Razor Cartoon

Occam's Razor, named after the English medieval philosopher and logician William of Occam (1285 - 1349), is one of the most widely known and yet widely misunderstood philosophical principles around. It does not, and I repeat, does not state that the simplest explanation is most likely the correct one.

Rather, the principle stated baldly is that Entitles should not be multiplied beyond necessity.

Occams Razor essentially concerns the burden of proof. If you posit a that God, and only a God, can create the universe then the burden of proof is upon you to demonstrate this assertion. If you claim a soul is necessary for human aesthetics or human reasoning or human morality, then the onus is on you to prove it.

Consider extra-terrestrials, abominable snowmen, withes and demons, angels and gods. The point is not that none of these entitles exist; nor is the point that we know they do not exist. Instead the point is that we are entitled is presume that they do not exist until those who claim they do give us positive reason for supposing they do.
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