September 25, 2015

The Ockham's Razor

The Ockham’s Razor (as stated on Wikipedia) … is a problem solving principle devised by a man called William Ockham, who was an English Franciscan friar, a scholastic philosopher and theologian in the early 14th century.

In simple words, the principle is that … when you have two competing theories that make exactly the same predictions, the simpler one is the better. The idea is to “shave off” the unnecessary elements, hence the word “razor”.

(Sourced from internet)
Let me illustrate this principle by giving you an example that happened in a recent event here not too long ago … during the recent rally against corruption, people were spreading via social media a photo of (the very famous Hong Kong superstar) Andy Lau wearing the yellow t-shirt with the event's logo standing among the crowd of protesters in the streets of KL.

I received this same photo from a few Whatsapp groups and what I cannot believe is that the people who sent me this photo actually believed that Andy Lau came to support the rally.

Look, let me explain this … two theories can happen here :-

First … the photo is a FAKE. Simple, someone doctored it to make it looks like Andy Lau is wearing the yellow t-shirt standing among the rally crowd in KL.

Second … someone actually invited Andy Lau to come to KL to support the rally. And for that to happen, one very influential person must first contact Andy Lau's management company and explain to them the details about the rally against corruption in Malaysia. Then the management company will have to look into Andy Lau’s super busy schedule to see if he is available on that particular day. Assuming that he was available, then the company will have to ask Andy Lau if he would like to show his support for the rally which probably has absolutely nothing to do with him … it won’t bring him any good but on the contrary, it may have very damaging effects on him in Malaysia. Then the Hong Kong superstar would have to seek legal advice from his lawyers on the risks and consequences on his status and not to mention the possible ban (on all things related to him by the Malaysian government) that he may be subjected to for attending the rally and showing his support against corruption by the government leaders and maybe even jailed for wearing something declared illegal. And assuming that the Hong Kong superstar is agreeable to all the hassles, all the risks and consequences that he may faced and he actually did come to KL and attended the rally … how come there was absolutely no report of this in any of the major newspapers or major news websites on the internet???

Hey! Excuse me! Dey! Think lah … the above two scenarios … which one is more believable??? This is very simple … this is where Ockham’s Razor is to be applied … when you have two competing theories that make exactly the same predictions, the simpler one is the better and most likely to be true.

(Sourced from internet)
And there was even a photo of Obama smiling and holding the yellow t-shirt … I am not going to waste time trying to explain again.

We all received many UNVERIFIED, UNTRUE and UNSUBSTANTIATED photos, videos, news and other stories that are being shared over the internet. With the convenience of smart devices and social media platforms, many people are too eager and too fast to simply post, send and share without thinking.

Sad as it is, there are too many who don’t (or for some reasons known only to them, refuse to) use common sense and simple logic in their thinking process ... just believing whatever they read or heard … sharing and spreading rumors without understanding the adverse consequences.

Please THINK and THINK AGAIN before you hit the button to post, send or share something with your friends and social groups … ask yourself … is it TRUE? Is it VERIFIED? Is it CONFIRMED? Is it POSSIBLE? Is it BIASED? Is it FAIR? There must be a filtering process where you need to apply a bit of common sense and simple logic to differentiate between those that carry a bit of truth, possibility or likelihood from those that are just nothing but a whole lot of rubbish.