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InvisibleSwami
Eggshell Walker

Registered: 01/19/00
Posts: 15,413
Loc: In the hen house
Occam's Razor
    #576418 - 03/12/02 02:17 AM (14 years, 10 months ago)

This principle devised by 14th century logician, William of Occam goes roughly like this: "When you have two competing theories which make exactly the same predictions, the one that is simpler is usually closer to the truth." (This has been retranslated many times and is not an exact quote.)

For example:

If I get ready to go to work in the morning and my car is not there, the most likely explanation is:

A. It was stolen.
B. It shifted to another dimension.
C. Aliens took it for study.

This makes sense to most people. But then we start talking about Reptile / Mantid-Entity contact. With an extremely small number of people experiencing this and only after repeated dosing on a mind-bending substance we may come to the conclusion that:

A. These people are suffering delusions brought about by altered brain chemistry.
B. They are the chosen envoys for interspecies contact from the gamma quadrant.
C. The Reptile / Mantid entities are always present, it's just that 99.9999% of human's vibrate at a level that is insufficient to allow recognition.

Choose wisely now, this is a quiz about Occam's Razor.


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The proof is in the pudding.


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InvisibleUlysees
Power of Lard

Registered: 10/06/01
Posts: 5,060
Re: Occam's Razor [Re: Swami]
    #576440 - 03/12/02 02:36 AM (14 years, 10 months ago)

A. These people are suffering delusions brought about by altered brain chemistry.

Suffering?

Fa la lalalala lala la la la la


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InvisibleSwami
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Re: Occam's Razor [Re: Ulysees]
    #576468 - 03/12/02 02:58 AM (14 years, 10 months ago)

I stand corrected.

A. These people are ENJOYING delusions brought about by altered brain chemistry.



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Anonymous

Re: Occam's Razor [Re: Swami]
    #576470 - 03/12/02 03:01 AM (14 years, 10 months ago)

lol... i like that one better.

:wink:


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InvisibleUlysees
Power of Lard

Registered: 10/06/01
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Re: Occam's Razor [Re: Swami]
    #576491 - 03/12/02 03:43 AM (14 years, 10 months ago)

hehe, that's more like it.


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Offlinealphatrion
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Re: Occam's Razor [Re: Swami]
    #576519 - 03/12/02 04:37 AM (14 years, 10 months ago)

Nice quiz!

With an extremely small number of people experiencing this and only after repeated dosing on a mind-bending substance we may come to the conclusion that:

A. These people are suffering delusions brought about by altered brain chemistry.


I have 2 problems with the way you are putting it:
* the majority of people experiencing alien contact do experience this without 'repeated dosing'. I am really interested in other explanations.
* "suffering delusions", even if they were who says that altered states of consciousness do not give us more/different insights into our reality than our normal waking consciousness? For example: mdma... now i really understand what the problem is between you and me... i verbalise this understanding and *poof* the conflict between us is not there anymore. mdma seems to highten emotional awareness.

So I would put answer A as: some people experience entities for some unknown reason X which most people do not. If it is unknown you cannot say it is an illusion.
Answer B Is like you suggested to complex, how do we now that they are chosen?
The problem I have with answer C is that vibration hasn't been defined. I would refrase it like this: Entities are always present, but not everyone is aware of them because of a yet unknown reason X.


Choose wisely now, this is a quiz about Occam's Razor.

I understand occam's razor perfectly (i would choose the car stolen explanation) but will not be tempted to answer A or any other answers for the reasons above. Also I can't choose between the refrased answers A and C on the bases of occam's razor because they are just as complex.
So what now?
A. I am disqualified for giving this answer
B. I don't understand occam's razor
C. Please fill in yourself







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InvisibleSwami
Eggshell Walker

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Re: Occam's Razor [Re: alphatrion]
    #576539 - 03/12/02 05:18 AM (14 years, 10 months ago)

who says that altered states of consciousness do not give us more/different insights into our reality than our normal waking consciousness?
Sometimes the trippers themselves, and they say this by checking into an ER at the height of the trip because they believe that they are insane.

Please give ONE example of a contribution from this type of mindset (other than entertainment such as X-Files screenplays). Just one.

Using your logic, who is to say that the patient at a mental institution really isn't Napolean or Jesus? That is the beauty of your type of semantic arguments. They are based on shifting sands. If we all spoke and thought this way, there would be no science or progress or perhaps even civilization. One could wake up one morning and say, "Gee, how do I really know that I am married and those are my children?Perhaps those are implanted memories." This type of mental masturbation has no end...

People: Total Recall and The Matrix were JUST movies!

some people experience entities for some unknown reason X which most people do not.
Let's review. We (society-at-large) know for a fact that some people DO have mental imbalances. We do NOT know for a fact that any human being is in touch with alien entities.

Forget causation for a moment and tell me which Is MORE likely to be true; that they are unstable or that they REALLY are in touch with alien entities. Please answer.



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OfflineGlacius
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Re: Occam's Razor [Re: Swami]
    #576544 - 03/12/02 05:52 AM (14 years, 10 months ago)

Well, I think there is cetainly a spiritual side to the mushrooms, and you may meet entities and so forth, but one must remember that it is all in his head. The reason for this is altered brain cemistry. Now, the simple explaination theory, and far as i am concered is bullshit. The simplest answer is not always the correct one. And as for those crazy people on television that say they have been abducted are either crazy, or just acting like children, and wanting some attention. And i'f they did see aliens, and the inside of a space craft then they were dreaming. Of caurse life exists elswhere in the universe, but it's not coming here and abducting people. These people are either insane, or just cant tell a dream from reality(stupid). Most of them, you can tell they are just flat out lying by looking at there face. They need attention. These people have not grown up yet. I'f you cant tell reality from a dream there is something wrong. Now, there is definetly something out there that is strange, and a lot of thing exist here on earth that we are unaware of, but it is just simple minded to say"it's aleins".
Sorry i'm kind of off-topic, but sort of on the same subject. I had to get that out.


--------------------
addicted to reason
a hollow understanding trapped me
I cannot see outside but its calling


Edited by Glacius (03/12/02 05:57 AM)


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Offlinealphatrion
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Re: Occam's Razor [Re: Swami]
    #576583 - 03/12/02 08:13 AM (14 years, 10 months ago)

Sometimes the trippers themselves, and they say this by checking into an ER at the height of the trip because they believe that they are insane.

I cannot remember stating that EVERY altered state gave insights into our reality.

Please give ONE example of a contribution from this type of mindset (other than entertainment such as X-Files screenplays). Just one.

I gave you one in my previous reply, why did you ignore that one?

Using your logic, who is to say that the patient at a mental institution really isn't Napolean or Jesus? That is the beauty of your type of semantic arguments. They are based on shifting sands.

You put it into the extreme, i just wanted to say that you have to keep an open mind. I am really with you that we can only advance if we have intersubjective agreement.

People: Total Recall and The Matrix were JUST movies!

I think they are not. Sure you don't take them literally. Most movies are just entertainment, but I prefer movies with some meaning in it. Narratives can be very powerful, especially mythological ones like the Matrix. Some people (theo- and antroposophists) believe that The Matrix and Lord of The Rings are examples of 'exact fantasy', reflections of the Akasha chronicles or Akashic records. Others say they are part of our collective unconsciousness. I find those interesting ways at looking at things - i think it is also an explanation why people like those movies/stories. My life is being enriched if i relate it to those types of stories.

Forget causation for a moment and tell me which Is MORE likely to be true; that they are unstable or that they REALLY are in touch with alien entities. Please answer.

Ok, if I forget causation, postmodernism etc. and would look at it from a strict empirist perspective: I would choose for the it's all inside the head idea instead that they really met aliens just to be on the SAFE side.

But then these thoughts cross my mind:
* you have the 'man is a multidimensional being' theory in which both assumptions (aliens in the head and outside the head) can be true at the same time.
* Consciously interacting with imaginary entities doesn't have to be illogical... psychosynthesis for example works this way. (I'm arguing with aliens but I know that they don't really exist).
* What does "mentaly imbalanced" mean?... that you for example see aliens. So if you see aliens you are probably mentaly imbalanced? Thus labeling someone mad who isn't mad... hmm i have to be very careful.
* What do we really now about "mentally imbalanced", DSM IV is just a cookbook. We started just 100 years ago with psychology, so now the accent in psychiatry is on 'chemical imbalances', this positivistic attitude will change as new theories and ideas will come about as a result of the debate about the nature of reality. Science develops all the time.
* For me someone is healthy if she/he is happy and can meet the daily demands of life and a healthy society. So what if my collegue is convinced that he is talking to aliens... i will confront him with my questions of course.. but if he isn't doing anyone harm what is the problem with it?
* Seeing aliens can be seen a religious experience and i will respect that.
* Am i disrespecting other people's experience?
There are lots of people who have experienced something they cannot explain satisfactory in the frame of science although they are aware of occam's razor and a lot of other neat things.
* What if there really were aliens!



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OfflinePachanguero
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Re: Occam's Razor [Re: Swami]
    #576605 - 03/12/02 09:22 AM (14 years, 10 months ago)

When you have two competing theories which make exactly the same predictions, the one that is simpler is usually closer to the truth."


Close, but not exact. I am not a philosopher, but from what I remember in my philosophy classes, Occam's Razor is a tool used by philosophers and in predicate calculus to simplify theories. It does not guarantee that the result is "more true". The only thing the Razor states is: if a fact or event does not have any apparent impact on the reasoning of a theory, it can safely be removed from the logic behind that theory and thus ignored.

Now, let's say we want to reason that something exists... a chair, a street, our spouse or brother, even our own bodies or our own selves. Okay. So how do we know that any of these things really do exist? Or are they a product of our imagination. Now, let's assume for the sake of argument that we are all really living inside a Matrix-like thing: that someone or something has created a virtual world that we cannot distinguish from reality (think mad scientist with a brain in a jar). If we accept this as true, then no physical object we "see" can be real. To take it a step further, if we assume this to be true, we cannot be sure that anyone other than ourselves is real. Going further still, how can we be sure that we are ourselves human? Could our cognitive and emotive processes be not simply the product of some advanced computer algorithm humming away inside some bit of silicon? And so on, and so on ad infinitum.

Now here is where Occam's Razor comes into play. When trying to come up with a theory that something exists (or prove if we are/are not brains-in-a-jar), we can apply Occam's Razor to say that any fact or theory or hypothesis or whatever that does not have any noticeable impact on the observable resulting logic can be removed. In this example, we can use the Razor to cut out all that brain-in-a-jar Matrix stuff, since the result (our reality as we know it) is the same with or without all of that. Thus we arrive at the simpler philosophical conclusion that yes, the chair, street, our brother, our spouse, and even ourselves do indeed exist in reality.

Occam's Razor does not prove the "brain-in-a-jar" concept false. It simply says that it can be ignored and TREATED as false. Other philosophical and scientific customary practices (perhaps there is another theory or law to govern this) state that something is false until it is proven to be true. Thus we can safely assume (for now) that our brain-in-a-jar theory IS FALSE until such time as verifiable empirical evidence presents itself to completely prove otherwise.

I really want to believe that strange and wonderful things exist. Occasionally I do. For the most part, though, I do not see sufficient verifiable proof.



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Anonymous

Re: Occam's Razor [Re: Swami]
    #576747 - 03/12/02 12:25 PM (14 years, 10 months ago)

Swami:
"...the one that is simpler is usually closer to the truth".

emphasis added.

Another example:

I look up in the sky and see a large glowing orb travelling slowly providing warmth and
light, creating day out of night. Where it's light shines green plants grow and provide
food for my kind and the animals we hunt. Where it's light is blocked, the plants shrivel
and die. The most simple explanation:

A: It is the sun god, the source of all life

B: It is a glowing ball of gases (mostly hydrogen) in which the process of nuclear
fusion combines lighter elements into heavier elements with a resulting byproduct of
electromagnetic energy. This energy, in the form of wave that sometime behave as
particles or possibly particles that sometime behave as waves, travells at 186,282
miles per second through the void of space eventually striking the surface of the leaves
of the plants. These plants capture this energy and use it to alter chemical bonds
creating new molecules from those in their environment. These new molecules are
used by the plant to build the structure of it's body and it's seed for continuation of
it's species. Foraging animals eat the plants or their seeds and chemical processes
within the animals' digestive system, break down the chemical bonds of the plant
material, using for both the creation and repair of the animals body and as a source
of energy to maintain the processes necessary for the continuation of the
animal's life... etc. etc. etc.

Possible Conclusion: Occam's Razor is the source of religion.


Edited by Anonymous (03/12/02 12:26 PM)


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Offlinekyuss
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Re: Occam's Razor [Re: alphatrion]
    #576830 - 03/12/02 01:52 PM (14 years, 10 months ago)

yeh definatly mate, psychedellics are usefull for providing insights into the mind. one thing most people forget that it holds a mirror up to our thoughts and magnifies our thinking. alot of these reflections come back in wierd forms, as the human brain is a symbol processor so alot of really mundane things appear in wierd forms. i bet you that during the victorian period trippers were obsessed with religion (blake?) as it was the dominant mystic symbolism of the time, nowadays we have aliens and interdimensional wierdness so this is the dominant tripper symbolism (generally), obviously when the mind is magnified a million times and we learn a mundane truth such as how our rational mind logically finds the solution to a problem from two seemingly opposite notions (id and superego?) the revelation is going to come to one in the form of easily digestable symbols. the trick is to reflect on the experience in sobriety and apply it to reality to learn what it really means.

excuse me for rambling i don;t really know what iam talking about but it sounds profound and somewhere undeerneath all the bullshit is what iam trying to say. I think i know what i am trying to say but i forget the point halfway throgh writing it.


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OfflineskaMariaPastora
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Re: Occam's Razor [Re: Swami]
    #576857 - 03/12/02 02:19 PM (14 years, 10 months ago)

Also, the term "simplest explanation" is rooted in our prevalent cultural and scientific beliefs. At one point in history the sun as God was by far the simplest explanation, whereas today giant ball of hydrogen is much simpler. Who knows what will be deemed simpler in the future? Plus, we do not live in an easy, simple world. The universe is vastly complex, more so than we can probably ever imagine. To say that whatever is easiest to understand by our feeble brains is correct is not a very good proof of truth.


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Anonymous

Re: Occam's Razor [Re: kyuss]
    #576867 - 03/12/02 02:32 PM (14 years, 10 months ago)

kyuss:
"... i don;t really know what iam talking about..."

Other than the above excerpt, I think your analysis was very good.


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OfflineLearyfan
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Re: Occam's Razor [Re: Swami]
    #576874 - 03/12/02 02:40 PM (14 years, 10 months ago)

Unless you have scientific proof of what happened to your car, you shouldn't say anything.



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Mp3 of the month: BLC - I Don't Wanna Go



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Offlinekyuss
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Re: Occam's Razor [Re: skaMariaPastora]
    #576902 - 03/12/02 03:10 PM (14 years, 10 months ago)

yeh right - the simplest explanation to a problem is also linguistic, 'god' is much simpler to say than 'hydrogen ball fusion quantum flux hyperdimensional fuckfuck blah blah' - the meaning of the word 'god' probably meant something compleatly differently in the olden days, as language is learned like chinease whispers simple yet ancient concepts which are represented by these linguistic symbols have evolved to addapt to a new cultural environment (memetics?).

As language is a cultural/scientific thing, this would tie in with your idea. I study english language (still cant spell) and psychology at university so thats how i attacked the problem, so the way we think about a problem is culturallry determined by our education and environment. but hey we still came up with the same conclusion!


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InvisibleSwami
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Re: Occam's Razor [Re: ]
    #576915 - 03/12/02 03:17 PM (14 years, 10 months ago)

A: It is the sun god, the source of all life

B: It is a glowing ball of gases


Um, nice try evolving, but I have to give you the (quiz show) buzzer on this one. Because you used more words to describe B, that makes A simpler? Not hardly.

Changing your intent somewhat, note that there are thousands of religions describing "The source of all life..." each with highly complex and intricate mythologies.

Yet the science behind the sun is pretty much accepted world-wide.


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Offlinekyuss
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Re: Occam's Razor [Re: Swami]
    #576925 - 03/12/02 03:33 PM (14 years, 10 months ago)

yeh but A and B are the same thing really just viewed from different angles, what u call a thing makes no differences to what it actually is.

for instance the scientific word for weed is cannabis sativa var. californian orange. most people call it weed or grass or something. you cannot apply occams razor to that because they both meen the same thing.

is that what you are getting at Swami?


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InvisibleSwami
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Re: Occam's Razor [Re: Pachanguero]
    #576926 - 03/12/02 03:34 PM (14 years, 10 months ago)

Good elaboration and a better presentation than I gave. Thank you for your input.


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InvisibleSwami
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Re: Occam's Razor [Re: Learyfan]
    #576938 - 03/12/02 03:45 PM (14 years, 10 months ago)

Unless you have scientific proof of what happened to your car, you shouldn't say anything.
I would expect MUCH more from a true Leary fan. Leary was an intelligent and educated man with keen insight. Would he make such a pointless statement?


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The proof is in the pudding.


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