Occam’s Razor

As an engineer and amateur logician, I’ve recently become fascinated with the concept of Occam’s Razor.

From Wiki:

Occam’s razor (also written as Ockham’s razor, and lex parsimoniae in Latin, which means law of parsimony) is a problem-solving principle attributed to William of Ockham (c. 1287–1347), who was an English Franciscan friar, scholastic philosopher and theologian. The principle can be interpreted as stating Among competing hypotheses, the one with the fewest assumptions should be selected.

Maybe put a bit more straightforwardly, if you’re trying to figure out the cause of something and there’s a simple explanation and a really complex one, the simple one is probably right.

I’m a baseball guy, so here’s the first example of Occam’s Razor that came to me. I’m a Washington Nationals fan so I wanted to understand why Daniel Murphy hit .347 this season, narrowly missing the NL batting title while Danny Espinosa barely cleared the Mendoza line, hitting only .209. Both players play on the same team at the same home park and both are middle infielders. Murphy bats left handed and Espinosa is a switch hitter, which should actually give him a slight edge. Yet, Murphy hit 136 points higher than Espinosa. Why? There are two possible explanations.

Explanation #1: There is vast racial bias in umpiring. Murphy is white and Espinosa is Hispanic. Thus, the umpires make more bad calls against Espinosa due to his race. You might try to advance two counter arguments to disprove this. One might be that there are numerous Hispanic umpires in MLB, including Angel Hernandez in the NL, widely known to be the worst umpire in pro ball. The second counter argument might be that, having watched 150 Nats games like I did this year, you observed that nearly all of Espinosa’s strike outs (he struck out 174 times to Murhpy’s 57) came on swinging strikes, not called strikes. Ah, OK, but that counter argument could be quickly dismissed by “implicit bias.” In other words, Espinosa somehow knows that umpires, even the Hispanic ones, will be biased against him and will call a curve ball that lands 3 feet out of the zone a strike, so he swings at it. Murphy knows the same pitch will be called a ball so he lets it go. Got it?

Explanation #2: Murphy is a better hitter than Espinosa

In lefty world, the second explanation would be completely ditched in favor of the first. Even a liberal who had watched Espinosa stand up there and flail at the ball 174 times would conclude that the only reason Murphy hit better was racial bias among umpires. The leftist would cavalierly disregard his or her own observations and objective facts and statistics differentiating the two players and conclude racial bias.

Now, as another example of Occam’s Razor, no less convoluted, let’s look at the differential crime stats b/w blacks and whites in this country and explore racial bias in policing. The stats show that blacks are committing violent crimes at about 8 times the rate of whites and are arrested, convicted, and incarcerated at a much higher rate.

Explanation #1 for differential crime stats: There are 900,000+ cops in the US at the state police, county sheriff, municipalities, big cities, small towns, etc. levels. Every one of them, close to a million of them (even the black ones) is engaged in a massive conspiracy to disproportionately arrest, convict, and incarcerate black males compared to whites. Despite the vast size of this conspiracy, not one of the over one million participants (not even counting the judges, DAs, public defenders, etc.) has spilled the beans, not even the black ones.

Explanation #2 for differential crime stats: Vast numbers of government bureaucrats, nearly all of them leftists, because that’s who tends to work in government, have a conspiracy to simply make up the crime stats published by the FBI. In fact, whites commit violent crimes at exactly the same rate as blacks.

Explanation #3 for differential crime stats: Blacks commit more crimes that whites.

Occam’s Razor points us pretty sharply at #3, but leftists will continue to ignore the data and William of Ockham’s 700 year old axiom to cite explanations #1 and #2, despite their near complete implausibility.

Look, I don’t like explanation #3 any more than you do. And, we could probably polish off a few Coors Lights (or whatever crappy craft beer you drink that was brewed in some guy’s basement with his feet) talking about WHY #3 is accurate. And, it is imperative that we work together to reverse this trend. But, if we ignore Occam’s Razor and continue to entertain explanations #1 and #2, we will never get anywhere. Instead we end up with lies like “hands up don’t shoot,” “Trayvon Martin was a good kid,” “Michael Brown was good kid,” and the entire BLM movement. We end up with black murder rates going up 30% in every major city because cops stop doing their job in fear of being fired or worse for, well, doing their job.

As a final note, with all of his warts, a vote for Donald Trump is a vote for William of Ockham. A vote for Hillary is a vote for more delusional logic, more crime, and more young black men dying. That would be a tragedy.

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About Bruce Robertson

Bruce Robertson is an amateur writer and professional provocateur
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7 Responses to Occam’s Razor

  1. I absolutely love the notion of Donald Trump as a reasonable person comparable to William of Occam!

    • He seriously is on this topic. He’s willing to talk about the world the way it clearly and objectively is while Hillary and the left perpetrate lies that would make Stalin blush.

  2. Kelly says:

    No words.

  3. Andy says:

    You had me until you mentioned Coors Light. Degenerate.

  4. Sr smith says:

    As I understand it, Occam’s razor warned against making too many assumptions. One literary paraphrase I recollect is that “it is never useful to make any more assumptions than is absolutely necessary to prove your hypothesis.” It is not about choosing the more likely or the simplest explanation, but about minimising speculation, especially in the absence of reliable evidence of causality. A notable contemporary mention of Occam’s razor in popular fiction was made by Michael Slade (pseudonym; the author of many excellent psychological horror novels) in his 1996 or 1998 novel “Primal Scream” (also released by the name of “Shrink”, as I recollect) where a woman, after having engineered some vicious deeds, tries to assert that “the female of the species is (therefore) deadlier than the male,” to which the male detective replies, “Occam’s razor: it is never useful to make any more assumptions than is absolutely necessary to prove your case; (so it is sufficient to say that) the female of the species is AS DEADLY AS the male — I know some VERY deadly men,” which is a terrific exit line and also seems to be a good and simple illustration of the basic principle of Occam’s razor.

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