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 Post subject: Occams Razor
PostPosted: Tue Jan 25, 2011 3:58 pm 
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The Ferryman
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I ask ..

Is the application of Occams Razor by the "arch sceptic" (as Dok calls them!) initself an application of Occams Razor?

Let me explain .. When faced with a potentially paranormal experience - is the sceptics immediate reach for an explanation under the rules of Occams Razor itself an application of Occams Razor?

So .. When faced with a potentially paranormal experience - the first instinct of the sceptic is to try and apply Occams Razor .. Is THIS decision - to LOOK to apply Occams Razor to explain a phenomenen WITH Occams Razor - itself an example of Occams Razor?

If so - is it a valid? Is it like a "double negative" and cancel each appication of Occams Razor out?? :D

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 Post subject: Re: Occams Razor
PostPosted: Wed Jan 26, 2011 11:29 am 
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The Ferryman
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Well would say 'Yes, most definitely', if nothing else just to wind them up. :twisted:

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 Post subject: Re: Occams Razor
PostPosted: Fri May 20, 2011 2:08 pm 
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The Ferryman
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If a group of three people clearly see a bat while on a vigil in an old castle, Occams Razor would state that they saw a bat. It is the simplest explanation.

If a group of three people clearly see a ghostly monk walk through a wall while on a vigil in an old castle, Occams Razor should state that they saw a ghostly monk walk through a wall, but it never seems to be employed in this way does it? The simplest explanation in this case would be put down to group hallucination and the like.

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 Post subject: Re: Occams Razor
PostPosted: Fri May 20, 2011 4:00 pm 
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The Ferryman
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Still .. the simplest answer (applying Occams Razor) is to search for an explanation using Occams Razor ..

My real questions are - if Occams Razor is applied so much and so often :

1) Why isn't it blunt by now? and
2) Does old Occam now have a big shaggy beard seems everyone keeps nicking his razor? The simplest answer would be "Yes"

But what do YOU think .. ?

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 Post subject: Re: Occams Razor
PostPosted: Tue Sep 27, 2011 3:03 pm 
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The Ferryman
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Occams Razor

http://www.debunkingskeptics.com/Page3.htm

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 Post subject: Re: Occams Razor
PostPosted: Tue Sep 27, 2011 3:19 pm 
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The Ferryman
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Some very good points and it makes perfect sense. I hope I can remember some of these arguments when people start banging on about Occams Razor to me in the future.

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 Post subject: Re: Occams Razor
PostPosted: Sun Sep 23, 2012 6:19 pm 
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Someone Very Strange

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The use of Occam's Razor necessarilly concludes that all the surrounding variables to any phenomena are ignored - concentrating only on the central issue.

If everything is ignored and only a small piece treated as valid, how on earth can you arrive at a fair and unbiased conclusion

ergo

the Use of Occam's Razor means you haven't got enough information to make a balanced decision.


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 Post subject: Re: Occams Razor
PostPosted: Wed Dec 19, 2012 4:32 pm 
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Scaredy Cat

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Quote:
The use of Occam's Razor necessarilly concludes that all the surrounding variables to any phenomena are ignored - concentrating only on the central issue.


Actually the opposite is true. It's precisely because we need to try and account for all the variables involved in an experience, and explanations should be based as much as possible on evidence and not beliefs or conjecture, that the "simplest" explanation is often true. By simplest, this means the one where any variables can be accounted for, needs less variables to work, or leaves less variables unexplained.

Absolutely Skeptics misapply this to support their views. But I also think believers misunderstand what it implies - much like the word scepticism. In essence it says "where two or more theories predict the same result, the simpler one is more likely to be true". And that's the part Skeptics misapply - not that it is true, but that it's more likely to be.

To take Dok's example, if we applied the principle we'd say - 3 people witnessed a ghost, what's the most likely explanation? Two theories might be;

It was a ghost
It was caused by expectation, group psychology and light levels

The first has so many variables for which there is essentially no evidence.

The second has variables for which there is much evidence of them effecting perception.

So the second is most likely to be correct. Not that is. It also doesn't say a thing whether ghosts are "real" or not. Simply that the second explanation is most likely to be true (in that it explains why the 3 people might have seen a ghost), and the theory leaves less variables unaccounted for.

As to the original question, you'd have to have competing theories explaining why people use the principle, which wouldn't be Occams Razor, as it's a principle to apply to theories, not an explanatory theory itself, if that makes sense!

If it's used objectively and without an agenda I think it's very useful when looking at explanations for alleged paranormal experiences, including/especially ourselves as "investigators".

...probably sounded a bit of an arse here, but hey-ho!


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