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Reply #8


Response to Zalatix (Original post)

Sun Jun 17, 2012, 01:11 PM

8. Let's call this "Occam's Taser."

It jolts the reader into senselessness without actually getting you anywhere.

The first place you have to start are with facts. For example, it's the population of the poor that disproportionately increases year-over-year. It controverts your hypothesis.

Analogy is a poor basis for arguing facts. The closer the analogy is to reality, the better the basis for an argument that's taken to be true--on the other hand, the closer the analogy is to reality, the less the need for the analogy.

Then there's critical thinking--Occam's razor being part of critical thinking, sensu lato. You have to look at your "facts" and distinguish between facts that are supported by observation, facts that you are merely assumption, explicit assumptions that may or may not be true, and then figure out how they all fit together. If everything hangs on one assumption, then the truth of the proposed conclusion is no fitter than the assumption. If you need to assume the conclusion to make sure that you interpret ambiguous facts the correct way, you don't have a necessarily valid conclusion. If you don't know how valid your facts are, there's no way of knowing how valid your conclusion is.

I also like Hanlon's Razor. Since I quote poorly, i'll just paraphrase. There's no need to assume malice when simple stupidity accounts for the data. Most people assume things are personal because they don't like the idea of something impersonal causing them grief.

I'd propose Igel's Razor: However important you think you loom in other people's motives and reasoning, odds are they don't ascribe nearly as much importance to you as you believe they ascribe to you.

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