Eating Popcorn With A Spoon

05 August 2005

Occam's Razor

Occam's Razor... Maybe it's just the discussion boards I've been visiting the past few months, but it seems that Occam's Razor is mentioned much too frequently. To steal from the above linked wikipedia article:

The simplest explanation is the best.

Works nicely in day to day life in many situations. But, we all can see that it's not a rule to which many people adhere. (e.g. it's easier to sit on the floor, yet everyone buys manufactured chairs.) I hear Occam's Razor frequently in the context of religion as espoused by atheists or the occasional diest, and always by the scientist-wannabe. However, I think the statement is the antithesis of science. Let's face it, if you were raised in a society that taught that a god was responsible for those things that weren't easily understood, well, to believe in god is the path of least resistance.

I'm of the opinion that challenge feeds the scientist desire. I have an annoying habit of citing the movie "They Might Be Giants" when I discuss science:

Dr. Watson: You're just like Don Quixote. You think that everything is always something else.

Justin Playfair: Well, he had a point. 'Course he carried it a bit too far. He thought that every windmill was a giant. That's insane. But, thinking that they might be, well... All the best minds used to think the world was flat. But what if it isn't? It might be round. And bread mold might be medicine. If we never looked at things and thought of what might be, why we'd all still be out there in the tall grass with the apes.

You have to ask "what might be" when approaching science.

Now, I fancy myself a theist of sorts. And I feel that science and faith should go hand in hand. But I also feel we need to redefine religion. The normal Joe on the street probably has a clue, but those preaching and teaching religion are out of touch with reality. I don't have the answer, however I feel it's fun to play "what if I were to make a new religion". A favorite site of mine is called Godchecker where you can research the myriad of gods that already exist.

My favorite "religion" is the Church of the Subgenius. They nicely have stated the basis of most theist faiths. May you google them now. If you just want a lifeless summary, you can read what the wiki has to say, although it won't give you the full dose of slack.

Damn, my mind is drifting, forgot where I was going with this post. Oh well. I'll summarize: Occam's Razor is nice when applied to common daily chores, but it has nothing to do with religion or lack there of. In reality, we are complex people, and we savor complexity, right or wrong, for good or bad. But, when looking at your faith, try to keep this other comment in mind from "They Might Be Giants":
Dear friends, would those of you who know what this is all about please raise your hands? I think if God is dead he laughed himself to death. Because, you see, we live in Eden. Genesis has got it all wrong. We never left the Garden. Look about you. This is paradise. It's hard to find, I, I'll grant you, but it is here. Under our feet, beneath the surface, all around us is everything we want. The earth is shining under the soot. We are all fools.

So, go now, and may you start eating popcorn with a spoon.


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