The Limits of Rationality

In combating fallacious arguments and fighting the ever growing tide of bullshit flowing in onto reason’s shores, one has a set of parameters used to comb out the shit from the treasure, these sets of parameters are what is known as a heuristic, and in a specific set of circumstances one’s heuristics are more than sufficient for discovering the validity of an argument, but sometimes it is not enough.

Sometimes rationality itself is not enough to discover the truth of something, one must be willing to test one’s assertions and assumptions. Take evolution, for example, if one were to use Occam’s Razor, then creationism would seem to be the more parsimonious explanation for existence than science itself, requiring only one assumption, that is, “Goddidit”, versus the several assumptions required for science to be true, that is, that the laws of nature we observe today have remained uniform throughout the past, and that a statement has to be testable to be shown to be true, if you can’t falsify it, then it ain’t truth.

But an observation of reality shows us that the exact opposite is true of creationism, “Goddidit” isn’t an explanation, it’s an excuse, a cop-out. If you don’t know how something works, just say “Goddidit” and the problem solves itself. It’s intellectually lazy, one of the biggest sins one can commit in my eyes. Absolutely everything once said to be of supernatural origination turned out to have natural causes.

People once said that diseases were caused by demons, now we know that they are caused by pathogens, and other natural causes. In some cases, what is seemingly more parsimonious than its competitors, requiring only a few assumptions versus the many of its competitors, isn’t necessarily true, and that is the reason why we must test our assumptions, even if the result defies common sense and understanding.


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