Friday, July 2, 2010

Occam's Razor

Occam's Razor. A simple, yet arguably one of the most powerful tools in any critical thinker's toolbox. Recently I had to explain the sheer improbability of the moon landing conspiracy and faking to a coworker who is convinced that humans have never landed on the moon. I explained that the simpler explanation is usually the best. Which is a gross oversimplification but I felt that "Plurality should not be posited without necessity" or even "Entities must not be multiplied beyond necessity" would both be beyond the level of conversation of someone whose greatest conversation has finished with some of the worst fart jokes I have EVER heard. So I stuck with "the most simple solution is most likely the answer". I discussed with him the sheer size and complexity of the space program up to and including the Apollo program (and even the up-until-recently cancelled Constellation program). The hundreds of thousands of people that were involved in design and engineering, the mission planning and mission control, and not to mention the kind fellows like Niel Armstrong and Buzz Aldrin. I feel obligated to include this video

Buzz, you are among a very select, lucky few who deserve every ounce of that punch

Now, which seems to be more likely, that all these people legitimately worked on an actual project, Built the rockets, capsules, rover, landers, command module, and computers that sadly are well outpaced by any cellphone even after it goes through a spin or two in the washing machine. Or that at least a large portion of these people were either payed off or given the Jimmy Hoffa treatment. Not to mention that in the almost 40 years since, not one family member has come forward with evidence even remotely suggesting that it was faked.
And finally I pointed out that at the time we were in the heat of the space race... Russia (USSR) was watching every move we made with insane intensity, had they had even the remotest inkling that anything was hinky they would have gone to town and taken NASA to task over it.

Now on the positive side of things it seemed that I didn't have to go into all of the other arguments that the nutters toss out such as radiation, or the flag waving, dust falling etc etc etc...

So to return to my original premise, Occam's razor comes to the rescue. As a tool for rational and critical thinking, Occam's razor is quite possibly unsurpassed in it's usefulness.

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