Occam’s Razor
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07-05-2017, 06:20 AM
Occam’s Razor
We talk about this principle often, here I have found an interesting history of Occam’s Razor and its many iterations and limitations. A nice summation and a quick read. Enjoy.

Excerpts:
“Occam’s razor (also known as the ‘law of parsimony’) is a problem-solving principle which serves as a useful mental model."

"A number of mathematical and scientific studies have backed up its validity and lasting relevance. In particular, the principle of minimum energy supports Occam’s razor.”

"The concept of Occam’s razor is credited to William of Ockham, a 13-14th-century friar, philosopher, and theologian. While he did not coin the term, his characteristic way of making deductions inspired other writers to develop the heuristic.”

"In theology, Occam’s razor is used to prove or disprove the existence of God. William of Ockham, being a Christian friar, used his theory to defend religion.”

"In contrast, Thomas Aquinas used the concept in his radical 13th century work, The Summa Theologica. In it, he argued for atheism as a logical concept, not a contradiction of accepted beliefs.”

“Many modern atheists consider the existence of God to be unnecessarily complex, in particular, due to the lack of empirical evidence.”

“Failing to observe Occam’s razor is usually a sign of bad science and an attempt to cover poor explanations.”

"Isaac Newton used Occam’s razor too when developing his theories. Newton stated: “we are to admit no more causes of natural things than such as are both true and sufficient to explain their appearances.”

“Modern doctors use a version of Occam’s razor, stating that they should look for the fewest possible causes to explain their patient’s multiple symptoms and also for the most likely causes."

“Occam’s razor has long played a role in attitudes towards the punishment of crimes.”

“When it comes to solving a crime, Occam’s razor is used in conjunction with experience and statistical knowledge.”

“It is important to note that, like any mental model, Occam’s razor is not failsafe and should be used with care, lest you cut yourself.” Dodgy

“When using Occam’s razor to make deductions, we must avoid falling prey to confirmation bias and merely using it to backup preexisting notions.”

“Occam’s razor is complimented by other mental models, including fundamental error distribution, Hanlon’s razor, confirmation bias, availability heuristic and hindsight bias. The nature of mental models is that they tend to all interlock and work best in conjunction.”

“I am quite sure now that often, very often, in matters concerning religion and politics a man’s reasoning powers are not above the monkey’s.”~Mark Twain
“Ocean: A body of water occupying about two-thirds of a world made for man - who has no gills.”~ Ambrose Bierce
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07-05-2017, 06:46 AM
RE: Occam’s Razor
A follow-up on Mental Models with many hyperlinks.

The Farnam Street Latticework of Mental Models

General Thinking Concepts (10)

Inversion
Falsification
Circle of Competence
Principle of Parsimony (Occam’s Razor)
Hanlon's Razor
Second-order thinking
Map is Not the Territory
Thought Experiment
Mr. Market
Probabilistic Thinking (See also: Numeracy/Bayesian Updating)
Numeracy (18)

Permutations & combinations
Algebraic equivalence
Randomness
Stochastic processes (Poisson, Markov/random walk)
Asymmetry
Compounding
Inversion
Multiply by Zero
Churn
Law of Large Numbers
Bell Curve/Normal distribution
Variance
Fat-tailed processes (Extremistan)
Bayesian updating
Power-law distribution (Exponentials)
Regression to the Mean
Order of magnitude
Game Theory
Systems (23)

Scale
Law of Diminishing Returns
Pareto Principle
Feedback loops (and Homeostasis)
Chaos dynamics (Sensitivity to initial conditions)
Preferential Attachment (Cumulative Advantage)
Emergence
Irreducibility (Complexity, Minimums, Time, Length)
Tragedy of the Commons
Gresham’s Law
Algorithm
Fragility – Robustness – Antifragility
Backup systems/Redundency
Margin of safety
Criticality
Network Effects
Black Swan
“Via negativa” – Omission/removal/avoidance of harm.
Lindy Effect
Renormalization Group
Spring loading
Recursion/self-similarity
Complex Adaptive Systems
Physical World (11)

Laws of Thermodynamics
Reciprocity
Velocity
Relativity
Criticality
Equilibrium
Activation Energy
Catalysts
Leverage
Inertia
Alloying
Biological world (18)

Incentives
Cooperation (Incl. symbiosis)
Tendency to minimize energy output (mental & physical)
Repeat what works & has been rewarded
Auto-catalysis
Adaption
Evolution by natural selection
Competition over scarce resources
Red Queen Effect (Co-evolutionary arms race)
Replication
Hierarchical/organizing instincts
Self-preservation instincts
Simple physiological reward-seeking
Exaption
Extinction
Ecosystem
Niches
Dunbar’s Number
Human Nature & Judgment (26)

Trust
Bias from Incentives
Pavlovian mere association
Envy & Jealousy Tendency
Tendency to distort due to liking/loving or disliking/hating
Denial Tendency
Availability Heuristic: Recall what is salient, important, frequent, and recent.
Representativeness Heuristic
a. Failure to account for base rates
b. Stereotyping Tendency
c. Failure to see false conjunctions
Social proof (Safety in numbers)
Narrative Instinct
Curiosity Instinct
Language Instinct
First-conclusion Bias
Tendency to Overgeneralize from Small Samples
Relative Satisfaction/Misreaction Tendencies
Commitment & Consistency Bias
Hindsight Bias
Sensitivity to Fairness
Tendency to overestimate consistency of behavior (Fundamental Attribution Error)
Influence from Authority
Anchoring & Sunk Cost Tendencies
Influence from Stress (Incl. Breaking point)
Survivorship bias
Tendency to want to do something (Fight/Flight, Intervention, Demonstration of value, etc.)
Tendency to be Over-Confident
Tendency to see what we believe
Microeconomics and Strategy (14)

Opportunity Costs
Creative Destruction
Comparative Advantage
Specialization (Pin factory)
Seizing the middle
Trademarks, patents, and copyright
Double-entry book-keeping
Utility (Marginal, Diminishing, Increasing)
Bottlenecks
Prisoner’s Dilemma
Bribery
Arbitrage
Supply and Demand
Scarcity
Military & War (5)

Seeing the Front
Asymmetric Warfare
Two-front War
Counterinsurgency
Mutually Assured Destruction

“I am quite sure now that often, very often, in matters concerning religion and politics a man’s reasoning powers are not above the monkey’s.”~Mark Twain
“Ocean: A body of water occupying about two-thirds of a world made for man - who has no gills.”~ Ambrose Bierce
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07-05-2017, 06:51 AM
RE: Occam’s Razor
(07-05-2017 06:46 AM)Full Circle Wrote:  A follow-up on Mental Models with many hyperlinks.

I bookmarked your link for later perusal. Thanks.
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07-05-2017, 06:56 AM
RE: Occam’s Razor
(07-05-2017 06:20 AM)Full Circle Wrote:  We talk about this principle often, here I have found an interesting history of Occam’s Razor and its many iterations and limitations. A nice summation and a quick read. Enjoy.

Excerpts:
“Occam’s razor (also known as the ‘law of parsimony’) is a problem-solving principle which serves as a useful mental model."

"A number of mathematical and scientific studies have backed up its validity and lasting relevance. In particular, the principle of minimum energy supports Occam’s razor.”

"The concept of Occam’s razor is credited to William of Ockham, a 13-14th-century friar, philosopher, and theologian. While he did not coin the term, his characteristic way of making deductions inspired other writers to develop the heuristic.”

"In theology, Occam’s razor is used to prove or disprove the existence of God. William of Ockham, being a Christian friar, used his theory to defend religion.”

"In contrast, Thomas Aquinas used the concept in his radical 13th century work, The Summa Theologica. In it, he argued for atheism as a logical concept, not a contradiction of accepted beliefs.”

“Many modern atheists consider the existence of God to be unnecessarily complex, in particular, due to the lack of empirical evidence.”

“Failing to observe Occam’s razor is usually a sign of bad science and an attempt to cover poor explanations.”

"Isaac Newton used Occam’s razor too when developing his theories. Newton stated: “we are to admit no more causes of natural things than such as are both true and sufficient to explain their appearances.”

“Modern doctors use a version of Occam’s razor, stating that they should look for the fewest possible causes to explain their patient’s multiple symptoms and also for the most likely causes."

“Occam’s razor has long played a role in attitudes towards the punishment of crimes.”

“When it comes to solving a crime, Occam’s razor is used in conjunction with experience and statistical knowledge.”

“It is important to note that, like any mental model, Occam’s razor is not failsafe and should be used with care, lest you cut yourself.” Dodgy

“When using Occam’s razor to make deductions, we must avoid falling prey to confirmation bias and merely using it to backup preexisting notions.”

“Occam’s razor is complimented by other mental models, including fundamental error distribution, Hanlon’s razor, confirmation bias, availability heuristic and hindsight bias. The nature of mental models is that they tend to all interlock and work best in conjunction.”

Not sure what the point of this post is.

Occam' razor certainly is part of what modern scientific method principle of "don't over complicate your model with excess baggage" is based on.

But philosophy is not what we solely rely on now, scientific method in it's modern form has built upon the core concept of compare and contrast with control groups and hand it over for independent peer review.

Occam's Razor still is not intended to point to any god. It isn't there to point to Allah or Yahweh or Jesus or Vishnu or Buddha.

It only says that out of all the the possible things that might fill in the gap in data, the formula with the least baggage used to solve the problem is going to be your most likely answer.

The problem with religion, is there is no simplicity at the start. Religion starts off from the bat with tons of superfluous assumptions.

So what is the point of this post? Newton was smart, but that doesn't make his personal god believe true. Newton also postulated alchemy for a while and that was absolute garbage. Theist apologists love to quote Aquinas too, but that is also bullshit. Aquinas had no modern understanding of science.

When you see ANYONE of any religion, and they all do it, bar none, when you see someone arguing science and religion to get it to point to their club, they are merely retrofitting after the fact and that is a bullshit tactic.

Scientific method is a tool, a neutral tool, it is not a religion and it is not there to point to one club over another. I have seen that false bullshit tactic, taken by not only Christians, but Jews and Muslims and Hindus and Buddhists.

Occam's idea simply panned out to be damned good intuition, but it didn't get built on by religion, but our human evolutionary curiosity and ability to make discoveries.

We have gone way beyond simply Occam's idea just like DNA has built upon and upheld Darwin, so today's modern science cannot be ignored.

Poetry by Brian37(poems by an atheist) Also on Facebook as BrianJames Rational Poet and Twitter Brianrrs37
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07-05-2017, 10:21 AM
RE: Occam’s Razor
(07-05-2017 06:56 AM)Brian37 Wrote:  Occam's idea simply panned out to be damned good intuition, but it didn't get built on by religion, but our human evolutionary curiosity and ability to make discoveries.

Aristotle and Ptolemy both beat Occam to the punch by about a 1000 years.

#sigh
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07-05-2017, 10:50 AM
RE: Occam’s Razor
(07-05-2017 10:21 AM)GirlyMan Wrote:  
(07-05-2017 06:56 AM)Brian37 Wrote:  Occam's idea simply panned out to be damned good intuition, but it didn't get built on by religion, but our human evolutionary curiosity and ability to make discoveries.

Aristotle and Ptolemy both beat Occam to the punch by about a 1000 years.

Not an either or proposition, Occam built his idea on prior data. Darwin was also building upon prior data of other scientists.

As a species we far to often think of single ideas as magically popping out of nowhere and that simply is never the case. We add to prior things and tweak them over time.

It still remains no matter whom you want to point to in our species history, that our species ability to be curious and make discoveries is not a patent owned by a label, but is in our evolution.

We can see other species think, and reason out a problem, just like a dog can figure out how to get over a fence, or figure out which hand you are hiding the treat in. Just like we have video of other species of our primate cousins using sticks as tools to get at termites they eat for food.

We know that certain species of octopus can think and figure out how to get into a jar.

We stupidly call people "inventors" but that really does not negate our species competition that leads to someone beating everyone else to the patent office.

Occam does not have to be the first and he had to have an upbringing and education to lead him to add to what others had speculated it prior.

Non of what Aristotle said would make the gods of his polytheistic time real either.

Poetry by Brian37(poems by an atheist) Also on Facebook as BrianJames Rational Poet and Twitter Brianrrs37
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08-05-2017, 09:52 AM
RE: Occam’s Razor
(07-05-2017 10:50 AM)Brian37 Wrote:  
(07-05-2017 10:21 AM)GirlyMan Wrote:  Aristotle and Ptolemy both beat Occam to the punch by about a 1000 years.

Not an either or proposition, Occam built his idea on prior data. Darwin was also building upon prior data of other scientists.

Yup, Occam gets the credit so there is that. Kind of like Newton getting the credit for the calculus even though we use Liebniz's notation. Kinda like a double fuck you to Gottfried. Math is a cruel cold-hearted bitch of a mistress.

#sigh
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08-05-2017, 10:14 AM
RE: Occam’s Razor
I think at this point, it's clap-trap.
Models are as complex as they need to be. No more. No less.
For example, when they have one of consciousness, it's gonna be very complex.
Parsimony may be valid at times, but not universally valid.
Some things just are complex.

Insufferable know-it-all.Einstein God has a plan for us. Please stop screwing it up with your prayers.
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08-05-2017, 11:34 AM
RE: Occam’s Razor
(07-05-2017 06:56 AM)Brian37 Wrote:  
(07-05-2017 06:20 AM)Full Circle Wrote:  We talk about this principle often, here I have found an interesting history of Occam’s Razor and its many iterations and limitations. A nice summation and a quick read. Enjoy.

Excerpts:
“Occam’s razor (also known as the ‘law of parsimony’) is a problem-solving principle which serves as a useful mental model."

"A number of mathematical and scientific studies have backed up its validity and lasting relevance. In particular, the principle of minimum energy supports Occam’s razor.”

"The concept of Occam’s razor is credited to William of Ockham, a 13-14th-century friar, philosopher, and theologian. While he did not coin the term, his characteristic way of making deductions inspired other writers to develop the heuristic.”

"In theology, Occam’s razor is used to prove or disprove the existence of God. William of Ockham, being a Christian friar, used his theory to defend religion.”

"In contrast, Thomas Aquinas used the concept in his radical 13th century work, The Summa Theologica. In it, he argued for atheism as a logical concept, not a contradiction of accepted beliefs.”

“Many modern atheists consider the existence of God to be unnecessarily complex, in particular, due to the lack of empirical evidence.”

“Failing to observe Occam’s razor is usually a sign of bad science and an attempt to cover poor explanations.”

"Isaac Newton used Occam’s razor too when developing his theories. Newton stated: “we are to admit no more causes of natural things than such as are both true and sufficient to explain their appearances.”

“Modern doctors use a version of Occam’s razor, stating that they should look for the fewest possible causes to explain their patient’s multiple symptoms and also for the most likely causes."

“Occam’s razor has long played a role in attitudes towards the punishment of crimes.”

“When it comes to solving a crime, Occam’s razor is used in conjunction with experience and statistical knowledge.”

“It is important to note that, like any mental model, Occam’s razor is not failsafe and should be used with care, lest you cut yourself.” Dodgy

“When using Occam’s razor to make deductions, we must avoid falling prey to confirmation bias and merely using it to backup preexisting notions.”

“Occam’s razor is complimented by other mental models, including fundamental error distribution, Hanlon’s razor, confirmation bias, availability heuristic and hindsight bias. The nature of mental models is that they tend to all interlock and work best in conjunction.”

Not sure what the point of this post is.

Occam' razor certainly is part of what modern scientific method principle of "don't over complicate your model with excess baggage" is based on.

But philosophy is not what we solely rely on now, scientific method in it's modern form has built upon the core concept of compare and contrast with control groups and hand it over for independent peer review.

Occam's Razor still is not intended to point to any god. It isn't there to point to Allah or Yahweh or Jesus or Vishnu or Buddha.

It only says that out of all the the possible things that might fill in the gap in data, the formula with the least baggage used to solve the problem is going to be your most likely answer.

The problem with religion, is there is no simplicity at the start. Religion starts off from the bat with tons of superfluous assumptions.

So what is the point of this post? Newton was smart, but that doesn't make his personal god believe true. Newton also postulated alchemy for a while and that was absolute garbage. Theist apologists love to quote Aquinas too, but that is also bullshit. Aquinas had no modern understanding of science.

When you see ANYONE of any religion, and they all do it, bar none, when you see someone arguing science and religion to get it to point to their club, they are merely retrofitting after the fact and that is a bullshit tactic.

Scientific method is a tool, a neutral tool, it is not a religion and it is not there to point to one club over another. I have seen that false bullshit tactic, taken by not only Christians, but Jews and Muslims and Hindus and Buddhists.

Occam's idea simply panned out to be damned good intuition, but it didn't get built on by religion, but our human evolutionary curiosity and ability to make discoveries.

We have gone way beyond simply Occam's idea just like DNA has built upon and upheld Darwin, so today's modern science cannot be ignored.

Knowledge, interesting read = The Point

“I am quite sure now that often, very often, in matters concerning religion and politics a man’s reasoning powers are not above the monkey’s.”~Mark Twain
“Ocean: A body of water occupying about two-thirds of a world made for man - who has no gills.”~ Ambrose Bierce
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08-05-2017, 12:49 PM
RE: Occam’s Razor
I think the Razor is still useful when considering untestable assumptions. The more unsubstantiated assumptions you have to make before an idea would even be possible, the less likely it is. Virtually any half-decent explanation that doesn't require such assumptions is bound to be more likely.

For example, who killed that guy over there? Was it a ghost? Considering the existence of ghosts usually requires making several assumptions about things not yet shown to be possible, it can be moved to the back of the list. It's a stupid hypothesis that shouldn't even be considered, while we have a huge wealth of possible explanations that use methods we know are at least possible.

The same thing applies to Jesus "resurrecting". Any other explanation grounded in the possible, even if it is a stretch, is still more likely.

I have a website here which discusses the issues and terminology surrounding religion and atheism. It's hopefully user friendly to all.
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