Occam's Razor

If you're not familar with Occam's razor, it's the basic idea not to multiply anything beyond necessity. But it's been expanded well beyond its original idea proposed by Occam in early 14th century. To those young, it's sometimes amazing many ideas really aren't new, but just resurrections or variations of older ideas. The times may have been different, as people's perspective, but people still think out loud.

Occam's original idea is translated to say, "Entities should not be multiplied unnecessarily." This idea has been borrowed, sometimes misappropriately, by many for a variety of reaosns, especially in the sciences. I don't understand why biology uses it in taxonomy, when it seems to me evolution uses the shotgun approach, it multiples things beyond necessity to see what survives, and it keeps doing this until a variation doesn't or can't survive beyond one generation.

In recent times, Occam's razor is simply the "Keep It Simple Stupid" (KISS) approach, but I'm not sure that's a fair application, because it uses it to keep things at their least, when the ideas was meant for an explanation, looking for the least number of factors needed to explain anything. The KISS approach means don't create more than you need. The thought is the same, but sometimes you can not think beyond some ideas or ignore others to what you think is simple.

I sorta' use this approach in most things I do, which is also a variation of the splitter-lumper mentality in taxonomy. I call mine the controlled chaos approach. I lump common items into catagories for general organization and then by groups, otherwise it's chaos, meaning nothing is in any order and subject to change anytime. This avoids having to actually organize beyond the group, you know those people that organize everything down to the smallest thing.

Sometimes it pays to listen to history, as Henry Daivd Thoreau said, "Our life is frittered away by detail. Simplify, simplify."

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