Saturday, April 11, 2015
The simplicity of Occam's razor (#2262)
In a complex and ever changing world, it is important to be able to conclude and answer without making everything subject to an absolute. There are times when an answer is needed regardless of the fallibility of the answer. Our best guess has to do when we are at a crossroads in which no answer is worse than a less than perfect answer. The necessity of concluding far outweighs the inhibiting reality of not concluding. Now not in all cases but in most. That is why it is important to winnow things down to their simplest components. Which is where Occam's razor comes in. Choosing to go with the simplest explanation when two or more competing theories are in play is generally the right choice. What this allows us to do is come to agreement in a more efficient way to allow for progress to continue. We won't always get it right but for the most part we will. The fact that trial and error is a method for progress is indisputable. That we can improve on trial and error is also indisputable. But the greater good is served when we do both at times when doubt is a factor. If we can eliminate most of the doubt associated with finding an answer then we do that first but when it is time to decide we must give ourselves an answer regardless of the imperfection the answer may hold. Moving forward is the key to our society and waiting to find a perfect answer is both illogical and actually regressive. We humans are not static beings, we need to move about and that moving about should be within the confines of forward progress however imperfect that progress may eventually expose itself to be. Living in a world where chaos is diminished and improvement is the goal is our best hope for keeping the human species viable as an intellectually enlightened being, regardless of the less than perfect path we take. We can always adjust our imperfections later as we stumble across them but to stand still waiting for the perfect is not a sensible or logical option.