EppsNet Archive: William of Occam

It’s Not That Hard to Be a Saint in the City

25 Apr 2014 /
Pope John Paul II

Pope John Paul II

Pope John Paul II is being canonized this weekend because of 667,302 prayers for divine intervention, he miraculously answered two, years after he was already dead.

What sort of evidence is required to certify that an earthly phenomenon was caused by a dead person?

William of Occam would have pointed out that there are simpler explanations for a sick person getting well, e.g.,

  • The disease responded to treatment.
  • The disease went into remission.
  • The patient was misdiagnosed and did not really have the disease in the first place.

I assure you that if 667,302 people with diagnosed medical ailments prayed to my dog, in at least two of those cases (and more likely, thousands), something unusual would happen.

Years ago, a lower GI series revealed that I had a golf ball-sized (4 cm) tumor in my colon. The doctor did a colonoscopy a few days later and the tumor was gone.

It’s a miracle! Unless something was wrong with the production or reading of the x-ray and the tumor was never there at all.

I didn’t say any prayers so no one will be getting a sainthood out of it. Or maybe I myself am a saint!

Update: This.


Occam Has Mislaid His Razor

18 Apr 2013 /
William of Occam

William of Occam

Silicon Valley Discriminates Against Women, Even If They’re BetterPBS NewsHour

An academic says that Silicon Valley is “not a meritocracy.”

He doesn’t offer any evidence to support that. He just looked around and noticed more men than women in the high-tech workforce.

The fact that there are more members of Group A doing X than there are members of Group B doing X is not evidence that members of Group B are being discriminated against in their efforts to do X.

In particular, he says that only 3 percent of tech firms in the Valley were founded by women, as though founding a tech firm is a fun thing that everyone should want to do.

Founding a startup is an ultra-high-risk activity that requires insane amounts of time and sacrifice. Do you want to have friends? A social life? Do you have a family? Do you want to have a family? Do you want to see them sometimes?

The fact that more men than women are founding startups is not evidence that women are being discriminated against. The simplest explanation is that women just don’t want to do it as much as men do.