Moses and the Ten Commandments
Occam's razor (also written as Ockham's razor, Latin lex parsimoniae) is the law of parsimony, economy or succinctness. It is a principle urging one to select from among competing hypotheses that which makes the fewest assumptions. -Wikipedia
In other words given the facts the simplest answer to a problem is usually the one that is correct -R Joyce
Quite often I wait until just after midnight to post which is necessary for our birthday celebrations. At that time on the Cartoon Channel a program comes on called "Robot Chicken," which is stop-motion animated comedy television series created and executive produced by Seth Green and Matthew Senreich. You may remember Seth as Dr. Evil's son in the Austin Powers films. Wonderful actor. I don't know who the hell Mr. Senreich is, and couldn't care less.
Robot Chicken is a sketch comedy show that parodies a number of pop culture conventions using stop motion animation of toys, action figures, claymation and whatever. It is usually very funny, at times gross, and always delightfully inappropriate. It has won an Annie Award and four Emmys, and I believe has been nominated for some more Emmy Awards at this years upcoming ceremony.
One such sketch I saw recently was a repeat of their Christmas show and featured the Virgin Mary and her fiance Joseph sitting at a table one morning in their home. Mary said to Joseph, and I paraphrase here: "Oh Joseph, thank you for being so patient. I feel I have been fulfilled with the spirit of the Lord having entered me giving me with child."
At that moment one of Joseph's male friends walks up to the open window from outside and says to Joseph, "Hey Joseph! How's that banging Mary while she's asleep thing working out?" Joseph remains silent. His friend looks around and notices Mary. "Oh hi Mary. I didn't er.. see you sitting there, er..." Mary looks to Joseph.
End of scene.
I mention this to help illustrate how the Occam's razor theory works. On one hand we have the hypothesis of the virgin birth of a human being, in the above instance that of Jesus Christ, yet a phenomenon never before observed or recorded in the history of human beings before or since, versus explaining the birth of a human being by way of sexual reproduction, a phenomenon that has been observed and recorded quite often.
Although the above example may have a subversive nature to it, it seems to be easier to understand than Mary being impregnated by the spirit of God and a virgin birth.
Now a lot of people really want to believe that Mary was a virgin when she gave birth to Jesus. They really, really, really, want to belive that. They would probably get very upset when told there are other explanations. But like life after death, Heaven and Hell, and idea of Compassionate Conservatism, just because you want to believe it's true doesn't make it true.
As the late Dr Carl Sagan once put it, and again I paraphrase: "We must courageously go where the evidence takes us. Not where we would like it to go." That is if we chose to live our lives and foster our world views using reason rather than fantasy, or an adult view versus that of a child.
Most adults have given up on the notion of Santa Claus coming down the chimney on Christmas Eve, or the Tooth Fairy leaving money under our pillows in exchange for our baby teeth. But for the majority of Americans at least, the ideas of God and religion continue to persist into adulthood (peer pressure probably being a major factor. "Everybody else believes it, so I should believe it too"), despite there being more evidence for Santa and the Tooth Fairy.
But let's make this clear. Those who purport or advance a theory, any theory, have the responsibility to provide evidence for that theory, not the other way around. If you say something exists it's your responsibility to prove that it indeed does exist. You can't say it exists simply because others cannot prove that it does not, that's not their job.
So if you say God exists, and talks to us through the Bible, and wants us to act in certain ways, and talks to you or through you, as many have claimed, it's your job to prove that God does indeed exist, in a verifiable, empirical manner, or you really can't be taken seriously in any adult conversation about how the world works. You can't tell me God exists because of some feeling you may have, or a grilled cheese sandwich has the face of Jesus on it. There are simpler explanations for feelings and patterns observed on material objects other than the existence of omnipresencent and omnipotent supernatural beings.
Why does it have to be this way? Good question! Glad you asked.
Because that's the way science works, and science, whether you like it or not, is the best and simplest way we have to know, really know, how nature and the world around us works. You may not like the results of what answers science provides to us, such as the theory that a God is not necessary in order to explain how the universe works, but that's the way it is. I may not like the bill I get for the food that I buy, but if I'm a responsible human adult I pay it anyway. If an electrical current runs in a certain direction that is not convenient for my plans or comfort, no matter how much I want it not to be that way, it will still remain the way it was.
I believe we all intrinsically know this to be true.
The burden of proof is well established in other matters of our everyday life such as our legal system. If you sue someone it is up to you to provide the evidence to put forth that law suit, not the defendants
We are going to review Dr. Sagan's famous Baloney Detection Kit in a day or two to help us understand what we're discussing now, and how to tell if someone is trying to trick us into believing something that isn't true, or to buy something that we don't need, or who is just plain wrong about an issue, but for some reason that is important to them needs you to believe it too.
There I was Sunday working away on my computer, every once in a while taking a break to check my Email, which on the weekends is usually a lot less than I receive on weekdays. I don't know why. People taking days off I guess, like MSNBC, who explore prisons on the weekends. Anyway, I received an Email from Claire McCaskill, the lovely democratic United States Senator from the state of Missouri, where my grandmother used to live.
She writes to me all of the time. I can't get her to stop! She must love me or something (many do), but she keeps asking for money although we've never met. Occasionally I give her some.
The cash is to help her retain her seat in the Senate which is seriously threatened this year due to the Koch Brother's controlled Supreme Court having decided in Citizen's United that corporations and other secret entities such as foreign nations can contribute unlimited funds in our national elections, equating money to free speech.
I don't know about you dear readers, but I've never heard a dollar bill say a damn thing in my entire life.
Clare was being threatened not by anything she had done during her tenure, other than being a democrat, but by the amount of out-of-state cash that had been flooding into Missouri to her opponents in an attempt to win her seat and by extension give control of the U.S. Senate to the Republicans.
It wasn't looking too good for Claire, or the Senate.
But then I read her Email.
To be continued