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Occam's Razor. Does An Informal Argument...


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#1 Adam Nagy

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Posted 22 December 2009 - 04:17 AM

This topic is derived from:

http://www.evolution...?showtopic=2981

While Occam's Razor is an informally reasonable consideration, how much power does it have, and how formalized can it get, to be perceived as a staple contention when arguing for atheism?

#2 Guest_martemius_*

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Posted 22 December 2009 - 05:08 AM

My basic line of thought is, broadly speaking (and I'm not specifically talking about christianity here), that atheism is the belief that natural processes account for themselves, and that theism is the belief that some higher power is operating through those natural processes -- i.e. that the natural processes are certainly still there, but there's a certain cognizant something at the root of them. That seems to me to be an unnecessary addendum, and hence at least for me, Occam's razor rules in favor of atheism.

But I really don't want to push my religious beliefs on anyone because, quite frankly, I don't care whether or not a god is out there -- even if I could somehow infer that one's out there somewhere, I would have next to no way to determine which creator is the correct creator, and consequently I wouldn't be able to change my life in any meaningful way [having said that, I could rule out certain creators, such as, incidentally, the Christian one, since he makes claims that we can test and falsify -- but there's other forums for that, let's not get into it here :lol: ]. All I really care about is when theists twist science to match their ends (whether intentionally or not), as happens here on a daily basis.

#3 Adam Nagy

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Posted 22 December 2009 - 05:13 AM

My basic line of thought is, broadly speaking (and I'm not specifically talking about christianity here), that atheism is the belief that natural processes account for themselves...

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I have to stop you right there.

That idea violates logic and reason right at it's core. To say something causes itself is irrational. Now you may ask; Didn't God cause Himself? The simple answer and a Biblical mandate is that God is uncaused.

#4 Adam Nagy

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Posted 22 December 2009 - 05:16 AM

But I really don't want to push my religious beliefs on anyone because, quite frankly, I don't care whether or not a god is out there

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Then what are you doing here?

#5 Adam Nagy

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Posted 22 December 2009 - 05:18 AM

All I really care about is when theists twist science to match their ends (whether intentionally or not), as happens here on a daily basis.

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Are you equally concerned about evolutionists who twist science to match their ends?

#6 Guest_martemius_*

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Posted 22 December 2009 - 05:23 AM

Sure, I don't mind saying that my religious system of beliefs is somewhat religious in nature -- like I said, I don't spend much time thinking about theology and I don't really care what religion or system of beliefs I should really be classified under.

The simple answer and a Biblical mandate is that God is uncaused.

Why can't I equally well make it an axiom of nature that physical laws are uncaused?

Then what are you doing here?

I answered that in the last sentence of my previous post.

#7 Guest_martemius_*

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Posted 22 December 2009 - 05:24 AM

Are you equally concerned about evolutionists who twist science to match their ends?

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Sure, but I don't see it happening nearly as often, and misuse of science within the scientific community isn't nearly as widespread as misuse of science within religious and other non-scientific communities.

#8 Adam Nagy

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Posted 22 December 2009 - 05:34 AM

Why can't I equally well make it an axiom of nature that physical laws are uncaused?

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There are many reasons. I'll start with the observation of entropy. How is it possible that a Universe, with a state that is heading towards a heat death, get to where it is... if it is eternal and uncaused?

Frankly, martemius, theists and atheists alike reject the steady state concept. So you would basically be saying that you reject reality and substitute your own. If that is your wish, let me know so that I don't waste my time debating you.

#9 Adam Nagy

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Posted 22 December 2009 - 05:36 AM

Sure, but I don't see it happening nearly as often, and misuse of science within the scientific community isn't nearly as widespread as misuse of science within religious and other non-scientific communities.

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Keep looking. I believe you will change your mind if you are willing to simply follow the arguments logically and with humility.

#10 Ron

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Posted 22 December 2009 - 05:55 AM

My basic line of thought is, broadly speaking (and I'm not specifically talking about christianity here), that atheism is the belief that natural processes account for themselves,


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How does that 'natural process' account for itself? What drives it? How does Occam's Razor support this?

and that theism is the belief that some higher power is operating through those natural processes -- i.e. that the natural processes are certainly still there, but there's a certain cognizant something at the root of them.  That seems to me to be an unnecessary addendum, and hence at least for me, Occam's razor rules in favor of atheism.


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It seems Occam's Razor supports a system of thought that design follows designer, and an effect requires a cause. The point that Occam's Razor somehow supports something coming from nothing is absurd.

But I really don't want to push my religious beliefs on anyone because, quite frankly, I don't care whether or not a god is out there ââ¬â


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What you don't seem to understand is that, by simply coming here and arguing (the original definition for apologizing) you are 'pushing' your religious beliefs. And therefore do care whether or not there is a God.



#11 Ron

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Posted 22 December 2009 - 06:01 AM

Sure, I don't mind saying that my religious system of beliefs is somewhat religious in nature -- like I said, I don't spend much time thinking about theology and I don't really care what religion or system of beliefs I should really be classified under.


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Again, the fact that you spend time here arguing disproves your assertion

Why can't I equally well make it an axiom of nature that physical laws are uncaused?


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Because you would then have to explain what is it is that is driving 'nature'. Or, are you insinuating that 'Nature' itself is sentient?

I answered that in the last sentence of my previous post.


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Actually, you didn't answer that question. You feigned indifference, and that was pointed out by both Adam and myself.



#12 CTD

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Posted 22 December 2009 - 06:02 AM

Why doesn't Occam's Razor apply to Silly Assumptions? Well, in evoland, anyhow...

(And no, I really don't need help answering that one :lol: )

#13 Ron

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Posted 22 December 2009 - 06:13 PM

Why doesn't Occam's Razor apply to Silly Assumptions? Well, in evoland, anyhow...

(And no, I really don't need help answering that one  :lol: )

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Well, apparently evolutheists can use Occam's Razor to explain away any pesky little facts that will put a womping on their religion! :o

#14 Guest_Thanos_*

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Posted 24 December 2009 - 11:06 PM

Occams razor only applies when two explanations have the same conclusion.

Evolution vs Creation arguments do not conclude the same thing, therefore occams razor can not be used by either side.

#15 Adam Nagy

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Posted 25 December 2009 - 09:04 AM

Occams razor only applies when two explanations have the same conclusion.

Evolution vs Creation arguments do not conclude the same thing, therefore occams razor can not be used by either side.

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That's a good point, Thanos. Even after that, it is still an informal argument because there are certainly cases where the unusually or more complicated answer is the actual answer. We call them freak occurrences.

#16 Guest_Thanos_*

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Posted 25 December 2009 - 12:30 PM

That's a good point, Thanos. Even after that, it is still an informal argument because there are certainly cases where the unusually or more complicated answer is the actual answer. We call them freak occurrences.

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I think the biggest problem is people don't know when to apply Occams Razor. Once again, understanding something before using it will help any conversation upon the topic.

Yes, there are exceptions to Occams Razor, just like everything in life, there's exceptions to every rule. You can not look at life as black and white :D

#17 Ron

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Posted 25 December 2009 - 12:49 PM

I think the biggest problem is people don't know when to apply Occams Razor. Once again, understanding something before using it will help any conversation upon the topic.

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Which goes back to the original question...

#18 Guest_Thanos_*

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Posted 26 December 2009 - 05:11 PM

Which goes back to the original question...

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I think this is the best video I've seen about Occam's Razors. Except the fact at the end when he talks about changing Occam's Razor to his own little version.

#19 Ron

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Posted 29 December 2009 - 05:45 AM



I think this is the best video I've seen about Occam's Razors. Except the fact at the end when he talks about changing Occam's Razor to his own little version.


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It still doesn't cogently answer the questions: How does 'natural process' account for itself? What drives it? How does Occam's Razor support this?

In fact, how does Occam's Razor comport with atheisim?



#20 Adam Nagy

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Posted 29 December 2009 - 05:48 AM

It still doesn't cogently answer the questions: How does “natural process” account for itself? What drives it? How does Occam's Razor support this?

In fact, how does Occam's Razor comport with atheisim?

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I have a feeling that Thanos is going to get increasingly frustrated here because he is determined to make atheist talking points work on their own merit without actually examining them. We ask questions about the talking points... he comes back with more talking points. He won't last with that mindset. I either see the light bulb going on or insults starting to fly. The common occurrence unfortunately leans towards the second type of response.




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