Parsimony and the D-words

H. M. Hubey (
6 Nov 1995 20:40:09 -0500

Methinks that those who avoid the D-words
should stop making the parsimony argument
usually called Occam's Razor (or Ockham's Razor).

For one thing, it implies direction. How did the
thingamagic know enough to know which is simpler
and go in that direction? Or in a less glib manner,
if in fact we know what is simpler, we already have
a direction for evolution, which means that it's
deterministic. If we cannot know what is more
parsimonious, and hence simpler, then the whole
concept is meaningless and cannot be used.

Furthermore if what is simpler was so easy to
determine we would have cracked the code of
the selection mechanism and again have determinism.

I humbly suggest that this argument not be used.
It only works for simple and nonliving things because
we tend to think that there's no way in which something
so complex could occur if we are dealing with rocks,
planets etc. But evolution belongs to another game
altogether. If things tended toward simplicity instead
of complexity, we'd have no evolution at all.


Regards, Mark