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A Question About Occam's Razor

ToastOfDestiny
Posts: 990
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8/22/2009 11:16:24 AM
Posted: 7 years ago
I was thinking about this yesterday - Occam's Razor states that all things being equal, the simpler of two theories is to be preferred, right? A lot of atheists use this to cut out theism (science v. science + religion; plain old science wins). It occurred to me that this cutting out may be based on a false premise. All other things are not equal.

A lot of weak theists subscribe to the 'first cause' God, who has been hands off since creation. While this may seem to be an unneeded element, perhaps it is not.

I've kept fairly well abreast of modern science and astrophysics, and know that the 'cause', per se, of the Big Bang/inflation is currently unknown. If such a thing is necessary, wouldn't that invalidate the Razor's use? The idea being, all other things are not equal, and that theism explains something that science does not.

Am I mistaken? Is there a need for a first cause (I'm pretty sure there isn't, but I can't find the info on the 'beginning' in my reading without scouring each book)?
At 10/11/2009 8:28:18 PM, banker wrote:
Our demise and industrial destruction
At 10/11/2009 10:00:21 PM, regebro wrote:
Only exists in your head, as already shown.

At 10/11/2009 8:28:18 PM, banker wrote:
reveal why you answer with a question mark
At 10/11/2009 10:00:21 PM, regebro wrote:
Because it was a question.

RFDs Pl0x:
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regebro
Posts: 1,152
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8/22/2009 11:24:03 AM
Posted: 7 years ago
At 8/22/2009 11:16:24 AM, ToastOfDestiny wrote:
I was thinking about this yesterday - Occam's Razor states that all things being equal, the simpler of two theories is to be preferred, right? A lot of atheists use this to cut out theism (science v. science + religion; plain old science wins). It occurred to me that this cutting out may be based on a false premise. All other things are not equal.

Yes, they are. Religion has consistently failed to provide any answers to any real questions.

A lot of weak theists subscribe to the 'first cause' God, who has been hands off since creation. While this may seem to be an unneeded element, perhaps it is not.

I've kept fairly well abreast of modern science and astrophysics, and know that the 'cause', per se, of the Big Bang/inflation is currently unknown. If such a thing is necessary, wouldn't that invalidate the Razor's use? The idea being, all other things are not equal, and that theism explains something that science does not.

No, that's not an explanation. We don't know what the cause is, or if there is one at all. You say "God", and then you now have TWO things that need to be explained, namely how God did this, and what created God. Because saying "God is all powerful and can do what he wants" is not an explanation, it's a cop-out.

So Occams razor applies.
So prove me wrong, then.
I-am-a-panda
Posts: 15,380
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8/22/2009 11:25:23 AM
Posted: 7 years ago
Firstly, Occams razor takes everything into account that each side has. Provided each side can explain everything, the simpler their argument and less evidence and theories they must rely on the better.

That said, it doesn't mean The Bible vs. Hundreds of scientific studies and books means the bible wins. If one side can be proven wrong, then Occams Razor isn't needed.
Pizza. I have enormous respect for Pizza.
ToastOfDestiny
Posts: 990
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8/22/2009 11:29:59 AM
Posted: 7 years ago
I'm not talking about religion (Christianity/Hinduism/Islam/Judaism) but theism, plain and simple. Just a belief in the benevolent caretaker God.

An answer that, unfortunately, suffices to explain God without telling us anything about him, is that he has always been/will be extrauniversal, and therefore our laws and perceptions are irrelevant in terms of describing him.

Scratch this whole argument. Occam's is more specifically defined "of two competing theories which make the same predictions, the simpler is to be preferred", which puts science on top.
At 10/11/2009 8:28:18 PM, banker wrote:
Our demise and industrial destruction
At 10/11/2009 10:00:21 PM, regebro wrote:
Only exists in your head, as already shown.

At 10/11/2009 8:28:18 PM, banker wrote:
reveal why you answer with a question mark
At 10/11/2009 10:00:21 PM, regebro wrote:
Because it was a question.

RFDs Pl0x:
http://www.debate.org...
JustCallMeTarzan
Posts: 1,922
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8/22/2009 7:36:57 PM
Posted: 7 years ago
At 8/22/2009 11:16:24 AM, ToastOfDestiny wrote:

I've kept fairly well abreast of modern science and astrophysics, and know that the 'cause', per se, of the Big Bang/inflation is currently unknown. If such a thing is necessary, wouldn't that invalidate the Razor's use? The idea being, all other things are not equal, and that theism explains something that science does not.

Science + "We don't know what, but there is an explanation.' VS
God + magic.

What was your question again?

Am I mistaken? Is there a need for a first cause (I'm pretty sure there isn't, but I can't find the info on the 'beginning' in my reading without scouring each book)?

If you buy in to the notion that there is a causal chain that goes back however long, and that this is impossible, then as soon as you posit the first cause, you lose your need for one because you gave up causality and must therefore give up the very reasoning that you based the need of a first cause on.
TheSkeptic
Posts: 1,362
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8/22/2009 7:55:32 PM
Posted: 7 years ago
If you buy in to the notion that there is a causal chain that goes back however long, and that this is impossible, then as soon as you posit the first cause, you lose your need for one because you gave up causality and must therefore give up the very reasoning that you based the need of a first cause on.

Exactly. One of the many flaws of the First Cause argument is that it invalidates a premise you must assume for it to work (causality).

Furthermore, Occam's Razor also wishes for the explanation to have at least assumptions as possible, assumptions meaning the unexplained. For example, if we posit God as the creator then we have a whole abundance of unexplained things - what is the nature of this God, how did this God create the universe, why did this God create this universe, etc.
Spaghettim0nst3r
Posts: 366
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8/24/2009 1:26:38 PM
Posted: 7 years ago
At 8/22/2009 11:16:24 AM, ToastOfDestiny wrote:
The idea being, all other things are not equal, and that theism explains something that science does not.

The difference between providing an explanation of something and simply suggesting a possibility is too great not to outline here.

Religion enhances no understanding of the universe by asserting "god did it ~ somehow" when talking about the first cause, or for any issue. It's simply an unproductive assertion that moves humanity no closer to a real explanation. If the purpose of Science can be said to enhance the understanding of the universe for human beings then it does so through explanations. "God did it ~ somehow" explains nothing.

Its just an attachment, shaved away by Occam, because it is completely superfluous to the subject of gaining knowledge and enhancing our understanding of the universe.

Religious people simply feel left out because they have been SQUELCHED by the power of science to provide reliable testable explanations. As our knowledge grows, religious people are finding they have less and less to say... so when they see a GAP in knowledge they lunge for it with GOD OF THE GAPS arguments like the first cause garbage.

...and they fail.
ToastOfDestiny
Posts: 990
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8/24/2009 2:28:47 PM
Posted: 7 years ago
At 8/22/2009 7:55:32 PM, TheSkeptic wrote:
Furthermore, Occam's Razor also wishes for the explanation to have at least assumptions as possible, assumptions meaning the unexplained. For example, if we posit God as the creator then we have a whole abundance of unexplained things - what is the nature of this God, how did this God create the universe, why did this God create this universe, etc.

Thanks - I didn't know about that part of the razor.
At 10/11/2009 8:28:18 PM, banker wrote:
Our demise and industrial destruction
At 10/11/2009 10:00:21 PM, regebro wrote:
Only exists in your head, as already shown.

At 10/11/2009 8:28:18 PM, banker wrote:
reveal why you answer with a question mark
At 10/11/2009 10:00:21 PM, regebro wrote:
Because it was a question.

RFDs Pl0x:
http://www.debate.org...
DATCMOTO
Posts: 6,160
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8/24/2009 8:53:32 PM
Posted: 7 years ago
At 8/24/2009 1:26:38 PM, Spaghettim0nst3r wrote:
At 8/22/2009 11:16:24 AM, ToastOfDestiny wrote:
The idea being, all other things are not equal, and that theism explains something that science does not.

The difference between providing an explanation of something and simply suggesting a possibility is too great not to outline here.

Religion enhances no understanding of the universe by asserting "god did it ~ somehow" when talking about the first cause, or for any issue. It's simply an unproductive assertion that moves humanity no closer to a real explanation. If the purpose of Science can be said to enhance the understanding of the universe for human beings then it does so through explanations. "God did it ~ somehow" explains nothing.

Its just an attachment, shaved away by Occam, because it is completely superfluous to the subject of gaining knowledge and enhancing our understanding of the universe.

Religious people simply feel left out because they have been SQUELCHED by the power of science to provide reliable testable explanations. As our knowledge grows, religious people are finding they have less and less to say... so when they see a GAP in knowledge they lunge for it with GOD OF THE GAPS arguments like the first cause garbage.

...and they fail.

No, 'God did it' by His Word: He says it and it is done! It is human science that is a 'theory of the gaps'.. the gaps just getting bigger!
The Cross.. the Cross.
Floid
Posts: 751
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8/25/2009 6:17:07 AM
Posted: 7 years ago
No, 'God did it' by His Word: He says it and it is done!

Circular logic at its finest. We know God exist because it says so in "his word" and we know "his word" is true because God says so.
DATCMOTO
Posts: 6,160
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8/26/2009 3:31:36 AM
Posted: 7 years ago
At 8/25/2009 6:17:07 AM, Floid wrote:
No, 'God did it' by His Word: He says it and it is done!

Circular logic at its finest. We know God exist because it says so in "his word" and we know "his word" is true because God says so.

We Know because we (Christians) are no longer DEAD in our sins and the fact that God is real and the TRUTH is as plain to us as the noses on our faces..

You shall KNOW the truth and the Truth shall set you FREE.

ALL you ALL do is keep swimming around the goldfish bowls of your own cleverness..
The Cross.. the Cross.
regebro
Posts: 1,152
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8/26/2009 4:04:03 AM
Posted: 7 years ago
At 8/26/2009 3:31:36 AM, DATCMOTO wrote:
At 8/25/2009 6:17:07 AM, Floid wrote:
No, 'God did it' by His Word: He says it and it is done!

Circular logic at its finest. We know God exist because it says so in "his word" and we know "his word" is true because God says so.

We Know because we (Christians) are no longer DEAD in our sins and the fact that God is real and the TRUTH is as plain to us as the noses on our faces..

In other words: You haven't got a clue, but you claim you do.
So prove me wrong, then.
DATCMOTO
Posts: 6,160
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8/26/2009 4:45:11 AM
Posted: 7 years ago
At 8/26/2009 4:04:03 AM, regebro wrote:
At 8/26/2009 3:31:36 AM, DATCMOTO wrote:
At 8/25/2009 6:17:07 AM, Floid wrote:
No, 'God did it' by His Word: He says it and it is done!

Circular logic at its finest. We know God exist because it says so in "his word" and we know "his word" is true because God says so.

We Know because we (Christians) are no longer DEAD in our sins and the fact that God is real and the TRUTH is as plain to us as the noses on our faces..

In other words: You haven't got a clue, but you claim you do.

I guess putting words into my mouth could be one way to keep up with me..
The Cross.. the Cross.
Floid
Posts: 751
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8/26/2009 4:52:43 AM
Posted: 7 years ago
We Know because we (Christians) are no longer DEAD in our sins and the fact that God is real and the TRUTH is as plain to us as the noses on our faces..

I know because I (am not a Christian) that I was never DEAD in my sins and the fact that God is an imaginary being created by ancient, barbaric people is probably the TRUTH is as plain to me as the noses on your faces.

That is the problem when you just randomly starting making things up, anyone can make any statement and claim it to be true. There might be a god or that might be any number of them, I don't know for certain. But I am pretty sure if they are out there and they are smarter than us, then they didn't do something as silly as come up with a set of barbaric rules like people had to sacrifice animal to be appease and then decide in some stroke of utter stupidity that to be really happy he would sacrifice his own son to himself so that he can forgive people.

There just isn't to much that is smart about that. Smart being examine a situation and make a rational decision based on what is makes sense. Sacrificing your own son to yourself so that you can forgive people instead of just forgiving people does not fit into that criteria.
DATCMOTO
Posts: 6,160
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8/26/2009 5:11:01 AM
Posted: 7 years ago
At 8/26/2009 4:52:43 AM, Floid wrote:
We Know because we (Christians) are no longer DEAD in our sins and the fact that God is real and the TRUTH is as plain to us as the noses on our faces..

I know because I (am not a Christian) that I was never DEAD in my sins and the fact that God is an imaginary being created by ancient, barbaric people is probably the TRUTH is as plain to me as the noses on your faces.

That is the problem when you just randomly starting making things up, anyone can make any statement and claim it to be true. There might be a god or that might be any number of them, I don't know for certain. But I am pretty sure if they are out there and they are smarter than us, then they didn't do something as silly as come up with a set of barbaric rules like people had to sacrifice animal to be appease and then decide in some stroke of utter stupidity that to be really happy he would sacrifice his own son to himself so that he can forgive people.

There just isn't to much that is smart about that. Smart being examine a situation and make a rational decision based on what is makes sense. Sacrificing your own son to yourself so that you can forgive people instead of just forgiving people does not fit into that criteria.

The Jews sacrificing animals (a spotless lamb) was a SHADOW of what was to come: THE spotless Lamb.
You cannot judge God: God judges YOU and unless you accept His Son and His Sons sacrifice you WILL be judged guilty.

Humble yourself: begin with 'I want the truth WHATEVER it is (EVEN if it's Christianity) and WHATEVER it costs me'.. begin with THIS.
The Cross.. the Cross.