Monday, June 14, 2010

Occam's razor

Occam's razor or Ockham's razor. noun: The maxim that the simplest of explanations is more likely to be correct.

[After William of Ockham (c. 1288-1348), a logician and theologian, who is credited with the idea.]

From Word-A-Day: Ockham's razor states that "entities should not be multiplied needlessly". It's also called the principle of parsimony. It's the idea that other things being equal, among two theories the simpler one is preferable. Why razor? Because Ockham's razor shaves away unnecessary assumptions. Ockham's razor has applications in fields as diverse as medicine, religion, crime, and literature. Medical students are told, for example, "When you hear hoofbeats, think horses, not zebras."

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

This theory has many practical applications for life in general. Sadly, we have many today who are being conditioned to look for the alternative, sometimes through no fault of their own.

Jesus used simplicity for us when He spoke in parables. Can man be blinded as to not recognize something for what it really is, and seize upon it? We do not know if the opportunity will ever arise again. It seems as though what is popular at the moment is not the simple or apparent option. One may see a dove when it is actually a fish. Conversely, another may see a mere grain of sand when it is a field ripe unto harvest.

Shall we neglect the priceless gift which God has given us in favor of a trite and patronizing exaltation of flesh? Jesus was a simple man while here on earth. The early Christians sought after the example He set before us. His footprints are still here for us to take hold unto. Yet, they are now much harder to see, as the simplicity has given way to the paved roads which man has heaped upon himself.