The fatal nicks in Occam's Razor

Lee Merkel merkel at
Wed Apr 15 00:10:09 EST 1998

SW wrote:

> Occam's Razor is merely the way any problem or mystery should be
> approached. With common sense logic and without a vested interest in
> what the solution 'should' be.
> Stephen Walsh

 Inherent in Occam's razor is the fact that it WILL be wrong
 with a varying ratio, depending on the nature of the subject
 being studied.
 It assumes the least unusual explanation for everything.
 However, many things in our anthropocentric view of reality
 occur in ways certain to make Occam's Razor very
 uncomfortable. You may find these occurrences in places
 like "news of the weird," the Congressional Record, declassified
 CIA and FBI files, and the pages of science journals (many
 discoveries surprising to logically efficient minds turn up
 as journal reports).
 In many such cases, Occam's razor fails the test.
 When you use Occam's razor, you're going to cut yourself
 a lot, unless you limit it strictly to first-approximations and
 very, very rough drafts. It's inadequate in itself for dismissing
 reports of unusual activity.

  Lee Merkel

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