Necessity and plurality are the critical elements inside Ockham’s Razor, and not this business of the simplicity of any particular explanation. How does agency block the introduction of a necessary alternative, and how does the ethical skeptic go about establishing a case for its necessity? Such critical questions revolve around the distinction between valid probative confirmation and the pseudo-inference of linear affirmation bias.
Ockham’s Razor is the mandate that, inside reductionist science: plurality should not be posited without necessity.1 In straightforward terms this means that, in order to conserve parsimony, one should not propose study of a new explanatory alternative, nor add features to an existing alternative or the null, without a well established case of necessity to do so. Both of these flavors of additions in conjecture if you will, constitute conditions of what is called ‘plurality’. Plurality means in this context, ‘more than one’ or ‘more than currently exist’. Ockham’s Razor therefore is asking the researcher, ‘When is it indeed necessary to add another explanation, or to add features which should be tested in order to improve an existing explanation?’
This principle of course has nothing to do with simplicity and everything to do with epistemological risk. A state of being apparently ‘simple’ can be just as risky in epistemology as can a state of being ‘complicated’. Ockham’s Razor therefore, leverages its application upon this fulcrum – this threshold of a Wittgenstein logical object called necessity. Of course, implicit in this apothegm is the principle that, once a solid case for necessity has been established, then both the consideration of a new explanatory alternative, or added features to an existing alternative, become justified inside any pathway of research. The purpose of this blog article is to address that threshold, that fulcrum upon which Ockham’s Razor leverages its wisdom – the Necessity of Plurality. When and how do we achieve such a feat, and what are the symptoms of a condition wherein forces of fake skeptical agency are at work feverishly to prevent such a critical path step of science from ever occurring in the first place? Possessing the skill to discern a condition of plurality is critical to any claim to represent the philosophy of science, skepticism.
Its Abrogation: The Circular Simplicity Sell
God exists. This is the critical thesis of Question 2 inside Saint Thomas Aquinas’ The Summa Theologica.2 That such a critical path assumption is ‘simple’, is the critical thesis of Question 3 inside that same foundational work of Christian apologetica.3 Finally, Saint Thomas Aquinas begins that work with the provision that such a simple presumption is ‘necessary’.4 The theological argument outlined in The Summa Theologica flows along the following critical path of logic:
Question 1: God is necessary as an explanatory basis for all that we see
Question 2: God is self evident
Question 3: God as a principle in and of itself, is simple (return to Question 1)
Aquinas is fatally wrong here. The only thing simple about God as a principle, is the spelling of the word. The actual critical sequence of sleight-of-hand employed in Aquinas’ argument here starts with Question 3, flowing into Question 1 and finally to Question 2. However, he purposely places these out of order in an effort to conceal from his reader the circular nature of the contention, along with the subsequent basis from which he drew necessity. What he is doing is postulating Question 3, and then ‘affirming’ (see below) that assumption through reinterpreted observations in Question 1 and 2. The actual flow of Aquinas’ argument proceeds thusly:
And thus Aquinas’ argument circularly complies with ‘Occam’s Razor’, in that since God is by manifest evidence (this is not the same thing as ‘probative observation’), a simple principle, therefore now it is also a necessary one. You draw attention to and speak of yourself. Everyone knows that drawing attention to or speaking of one’s self is the practice of a narcissist, therefore it is a simple explanatory option, and now the necessary null, that you be regarded as a narcissist. Furthermore, since that accusation is assumed now ‘necessary’ it can be shown to be self evident, through this new attention towards your every action, along with the resulting linear affirmation bias (see The Map of Inference and below) – that you will ultimately be affirmed (infer ‘confirmed’) as a narcissist.5 Under this same logic, there does not exist one thing now that I will encounter in my life, which cannot be framed or re-explained inside the conforming context of my desired conclusion (see Qualifying Theory and Pseudo-Theory). This is how the circular simplicity sell works, it involves a principle of pseudo-inference called linear affirmation bias.
Linear Affirmation Bias
/philosophy : inference : induction : pseudo-inference/ : a primarily inductive methodology of deriving inference in which the researcher starts in advance with a premature question or assumed answer they are looking for. Thereafter, observations are made. Affirmation is a process which involves only positive confirmations of an a priori assumption or goal. Accordingly, under this method of deriving inference, observations are classified into three buckets:
2. In need of reinterpretation
3. Dismissed because they are not ‘simple’ (conforming to the affirmation underway).
Under this method, the model is complicated by reinterpretations. Failing the test that a model should be elegant, not exclusively simple. By means of this method, necessity under Ockham’s Razor is assumed in advance and all observations thereafter are merely reconfigured to fit the assumed model. At the end of this process, the idea which was posed in the form of a question, or sought at the very start, is affirmed as valid. Most often this idea thereafter is held as an Omega Hypothesis (more important to protect than the integrity of science itself).
Now, set aside of course the premature contentions made inside Questions 2 and 3, that ‘God is self evident’ and ‘God is simple’, and focus instead on the first trick of this pseudo-philosophy. The sleight-of-hand proffered in this form of casuistry, is embodied in a violation of Ockham’s Razor called an invalid ‘necessity of plurality’. Saint Aquinas begins his work in Question 1 by assuming necessity. A nice trick, and one I would love to pull off inside a laboratory setting. Things would always go my way; conclusions would always turn out as planned – as long as I can dictate the necessity of the questions I want asked.
As a note, the ignostic atheist does not object to the idea of God as does the nihilist Atheist. They simply object to logically invalid or manipulative pathways of arriving at such knowledge as a predefined destination. If one is to discover God, the above pathway is not the way of going about such a task. Logic’ing your way into a proof or disproof of God is foolishness; the self-aggrandizing fantasy of the theist and Atheist.
Moreover, as long as you afford me exemption from having to establish a case for necessity, I can invalidly swing the direction of research towards any particular conclusion I desire. Both the religious and the nihilist use this technique in order to squelch thinking they find offensive. Both cults have learned how to employ this technique of linear induction, along with its interpretive confirmations (see below), to control the direction of science. Hence existence of the obtuse form of parsimony, ‘Occam’s Razor’.
Allow me the privilege of in advance establishing the necessity of the questions asked, and I can prove absolutely anything that I want.
This is much akin to the philosophical apothegm ‘Grant me one miracle and I can explain all the rest’. It behooves the ethical skeptic to understand the role of necessity in the development of an alternative – and in particular, understand when an agency has bypassed the burden of necessity (as has been done by Aquinas above), or even more importantly when a case for necessity has indeed been established – and is being artificially blocked by fake skeptics.
It is not proof which they are in reality demanding, contrary to what fake skeptics contend
(in science there is really no such thing as proof), rather it is plurality of explanation which they fear most.
As it pertains to fake skepticism, it is this case for necessity of plurality which must be blocked at all costs.
They cannot afford to have more than one explanation (their simple one) be researched by science.
A Case for Necessity
It is a set of observations, and nothing else, which ultimately serves to establish a case for necessity. This is why the scientific method must begin with observation and not by means of the ‘asking of a question’. When one asks a question – one assumes necessity a priori; much akin to the trick played by Saint Aquinas above. For example ‘Are you beating your dog?’ is not a scientific question, because it exposes itself to the ad hoc nature of arrivals of affirming evidence (only positive feedback), and does not rely upon the epistemological principle of a model’s predictive, consilient or probative power. This contrast between affirmation versus predictive model development – in essence the contrast between Occam’s Razor and Ockham’s Razor, is exhibited below.
Predictions are derived in advance from inductive modeling, and are placed at risk. Affirmations are ad hoc in nature, and further then are reinterpreted to fit according to an anchoring bias. Necessity (N) therefore under real skepticism, is something one establishes – and can never be something that a researcher assumes in advance.
So, given the abject reality of linear affirmation basis which inhabits The Affirmative Model ‘Occam’s Razor’ above, when indeed does a body of observation, therefore lead to a case for necessity? There are five conditions wherein a case for scientific plurality can be established through observational necessity. It is important to remember however, that in none of these cases is any particular answer proved (in other words, plurality exists or persists). Nor is any claim being made that science has been completed – as a case for necessity constitutes the beginning of the scientific method and not its completion.
The Five Cases for Necessity
I. When a consilience of observation has implied/predicted that the null may indeed possibly be false.
Example: The idea that our current 53 event vaccine schedule is ‘safe’, has been brought into question through a myriad of observations by parents and administering medical professionals. This does not mean that vaccines do not work – but rather straightforwardly, that the unchallenged null hypothesis, that vaccines do not also bear unintended and long term health consequences, has been brought into legitimate scientific question.
II. When one or more null-falsifying/probative observations have been recorded.
Example: Observing the presence of something assumed to be absent. Finding one incident of permanent cerebral injury (encephalitis) immediately after receipt of a vaccine. Such an observation serves to introduce necessity of plurality.
III. When risk incumbent with the null is greater than any particular alternative’s risk in epistemology.
Example: Deploying a pesticide under a presumption of safety, backed up by a couple confirmatory studies conducted by the company which stands to profit from the deployment of that pesticide. Despite immaturity of the study suggesting a lack of safety, such plurality must be assumed under a principle of precaution.
IV. When the null hypothesis, in order to avoid being falsified, has become more complicated than any of its alternatives.
Example: Monarch butterflies are being impacted indirectly by man made global warming and not by the direct impact of glyphosate on their annual migratory breeding grounds.
V. When the credibility or unbiased nature of the science which served to establish the null, has come into question.
Example: When Monsanto internal communications shifted from a theme of promoting scientific studies, to an oppressive policy of ‘no challenge left unanswered’ – countering and squelching opposing viewpoints in the media at all costs.
This therefore serves to introduce the condition wherein agency attempts to manipulate necessity so as to control the reigns of science.
The Four Abuses of Necessity on the Part of Fake Skeptics
Blocking Necessity – the principal tactic of fake skepticism. By asking for ‘proof’, the fake skeptic is in essence attempting to block access to the subject by science. This is a Catch 22 Proof Gaming or non rectum agitur fallacy.
Equating Simplicity with a Lack of Necessity – another key tactic of fake skeptics. An appeal to ignorance is an example of this tactic. Because we see no evidence for something, the simplest explanation is that it does not exist.
Equating Simplicity with Necessity – a tactic of fake skepticism. The existential Occam’s Razor fallacy appeal to authority is an example of this. Because an explanation is simple, therefore it is the truth. No further science is warranted.
Assuming Necessity – a final tactic of fake skepticism. The Confirmative Model (above) is an example of this. Because an idea tickles me emotionally, therefore it is granted immediate necessity – not having to justify itself nor satisfy the rigor of probativeness, consilience nor predictiveness.
All of these conditions are conditions of corruption of the scientific method, for which the ethical skeptic must be ever vigilant.
The Ethical Skeptic, “Necessity – A Case for Plurality”; The Ethical Skeptic, WordPress, 19 May 2019; Web, https://wp.me/p17q0e-9KR
- Encyclopedia Brittanica: Occam’s Razor; https://www.britannica.com/topic/Occams-razor
- St. Thomas Aquinas; The Summa Theologica; Benziger Bros. edition, 1947 TREATISE ON THE ONE GOD (Questions -26);Translated by Fathers of the English Dominican Province; https://dhspriory.org/thomas/summa/FP/FP002.html#FPQ2OUTP1
- St. Thomas Aquinas; The Summa Theologica; Benziger Bros. edition, 1947 TREATISE ON THE ONE GOD (Questions -26);Translated by Fathers of the English Dominican Province; https://dhspriory.org/thomas/summa/FP/FP003.html#FPQ3OUTP1
- St. Thomas Aquinas; The Summa Theologica; Benziger Bros. edition, 1947 TREATISE ON THE ONE GOD (Questions -26);Translated by Fathers of the English Dominican Province; https://dhspriory.org/thomas/summa/FP/FP001.html#FPQ1OUTP1
- One should also note that the circular simplicity sell is most often employed to condemn or manipulate persons – and not to dispassionately research a subject