Intelligent Design

Does citing PCID justify censorship?

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A web page on “Einstein’s razor” at Wikipedia and ResearchID cited:
* Q. T. Jackson (2005) describes:

“a corollary from Occam’s Razor, which I shall call herein ”Einstein’s Razor.” The notion that a theory should be as simple as possible (but no simpler). . . Einstein’s Razor brings forward the following notion: ”even when a simple explanation is theoretically sufficient, it is sometimes insufficient to reach desired goals.” That is, some ”needs” or ”goals” are not necessarily attainable by the simpler of two or more systems. . . . When Occam’s Razor is insufficiently sharp to split hairs, Einstein’s Razor is required.”


Telesis-Driven Introduction of Complexity into Apparently Sufficiently Non-Complex Linguistic Systems, Progress in Complexity, Intelligence & Design, Vol. 4.2 November 2005.
FeloniousMonk promptly deleted all edits including the link to “Einstein’s razor” from Intelligent Design, and then marked the “Einstein’s razor” page for deletion.

Cohort JoshuaZ recommends:

delete This appears to be a neologism, used primarily by proponents of intelligent design. A google search returns 143 hits the first of which is from the more or less defunct PCID of the pro-ID ISCID. The remaining hits are primarily forum posts discussing it.

Does citing PCID and ISCID justify deleting “Einstein’s razor” because it is “pro-ID”?

If you think this is anti-ID discrimination and against academic freedom and free speech, then please provide supporting comments to retain this article at: Wikipedia:Articles for deletion/Einstein’s razor

Your comments to help edit and expand the article on “Einstein’s razor” would also be welcome.

Please comment on whether you think “Einstein’s razor” is indeed just a “neologism”, or if it provides a useful differentiation from Occam’s razor. e.g.,

1) Is neo-Darwinian evolution with “random mutation” and “natural selection” an example of providing the “simplest” scientific hypothesis per Occam’s razor?
2) Or is that an improper use of Occam’s razor?
3) Or is “RM + NS” “too simple” and in need of a better theory per Einstein’s razor?

12 Replies to “Does citing PCID justify censorship?

  1. 1
    Gerry Rzeppa says:

    I don’t think “Einstein’s Razor” — or at least the concept behind it — is as recent or narrowly applied as some appear to think. Mortimer J. Adler wrote of the idea as early as 1967: “Occam’s razor is a two-edged instrument — one that works in opposite directions. It eliminates theoretical constructs that cannot be shown to be necessary for explanatory purposes; but it also justifies the retention of theoretical constructs the need for which can be shown.”

  2. 2
    Frost122585 says:

    I always loved that quote of Einstein’s. I thought that it was rather witty. In any event it applies directly to ID because it the explanation such as methodological materialism is not adequate or too “simple” an explanation to account for all of the probabilistic resources then we need to find a new theory. ID, it just so happens, fits the razor hand in glove.

  3. 3
    Larry Fafarman says:

    The notorious arbitrary censorship in Wickedpedia was well-described by radio talk show host Bill Greene, who said something like,

    If you come in with an alternative point of view, a cabal of politically correct, brown-shirted fascists immediately descends upon you and reverts your entry. . .they say that your entry just gives undue weight to a point of view, a fringe theory, pseudoscience, blah blah blah blah blah . . . . They have this set of rules which they have put in place that they just lawyer you to death with. They hound you out. You either change over to their point of view, or you just leave. Or they ban you . . . Don’t think it doesn’t happen, because it does happen all the time.
    — from
    http://www.uncommondescent.com.....a-new-one/

    An easy solution to many Wikipedia disputes is as follows: (1) add a brief description of the disputed item (e.g., the term “Einstein’s Razor”); (2) briefly describe the dispute (e.g., some people believe that “Einstein’s Razor” is not a common term); and (3) add links to Wikipedia discussion pages and external websites where the dispute is discussed or debated. Another solution to some Wikipedia disputes is to put an item in a “trivia” section. The Wickedpedian solutions to disputes — long edit wars and “lawyering to death” by Wickedpedian control-freak administrators — are unworkable and unacceptable.

    I gave up on Wickedpedia a long time ago — the control freaks there just won’t listen to reason.

  4. 4
    Frost122585 says:

    The important thing is that they have an article on David Icke and Retilian Hybrids.

    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/David_Icke

    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Reptilian_humanoid

    Maybe this is where our tax dollars for secular science should go.

  5. 5
    DLH says:

    Frost122585 at 2

    I always loved that quote of Einstein’s.

    Can you or anyone point to where this quote is documented?

    PS Found:

    “The supreme goal of all theory is to make the irreducible basic elements as simple and as few as possible without having to surrender the adequate representation of a single datum of experience”. Albert Einstein 1933

  6. 6
    Frost122585 says:

    its just Occam’s Razor with a witty twist that demands an even more logical and simple requirement for a proper theory- namely, that it actually explain things!

    This was Einstein’s way of describing the purpose of science and theory which is to reduce things into a manageable comprehensible “unified theory” which he spent the better part of his life looking for. He however wanted to make the point that truth was more important than theory. He had misgivings with quantum theory because it did not reconcile with general relativity. General relativity which was more geometric having to do with the larger scale phenomena of the universe did not have the trouble of “uncertainty” that QM had. Therefore the great physical dichotomy evolved. Was the true nature of the universe Einsteinium in that it displayed object predictability and design or was it more unpredictable and random as quantum theory described? To this Einstein made his most famous quote “God does not throw dice.”

    Though Einstein could never prove that the quantum world was indeed reconcilable with General Relativity his view of the true nature of physics still stands as a possibility today- and that is why he said “not simpler”– we cant be content with the dichotomy between the micro and the macro- there must be unity even if it requires a more complex explanation.

  7. 7
    Larry Fafarman says:

    Leo Stotch said,

    Maybe we should work to get it into the common parlance before worrying about Wikipedia?

    That wouldn’t do any good because it would still be a neologism and Wickedpedia is not supposed to allow neologisms — see

    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/W.....neologisms

    Believe me, I know from personal experience — there is just no satisfying those Wackopedian control freaks.

  8. 8
    DaveScot says:

    With all due disrespect and contempt for Wikipedia’s left-wing political bias in this case I’d have to agree that “Einstein’s Razor” doesn’t rise to the level of warranting an encyclopedia entry. Sorry. I call them like I see them.

  9. 9
    DLH says:

    DavdScot
    Appreciate the frank feedback. This may end up as comments on Occam’s razor or Einstein’s quotes.

  10. 10
    Larry Fafarman says:

    DaveScot said,

    With all due disrespect and contempt for Wikipedia’s left-wing political bias in this case I’d have to agree that “Einstein’s Razor” doesn’t rise to the level of warranting an encyclopedia entry.

    Maybe a reasonable compromise in this case would be to incorporate the “Einstein’s Razor” article into the “Occam’s Razor” article and redirect the “Einstein’s Razor” link. The problem is that the Wickedpedian control freaks have so often refused to compromise or listen to reason. Examples:

    (1) The Discovery Institute article has a long section attacking the DI study that charged that the ID-as-science section of the Kitzmiller v. Dover opinion was virtually entirely copied from the ACLU’s opening post-trial brief. The Wickedpedians refused to allow a link to a DI article that defended the study. At one point, the attack on the DI study included the unsubstantiated and absurd claim that Judge Jones approved Wesley Elsberry’s text comparison computer program for the purpose of determining the extent to which two different texts contain the same ideas. See —

    Discovery Institute article:
    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/D.....udge_Jones

    Relevant Wikipedia discussions on the DI article are at (these are archived discussion pages — the discussion pages were subsequently vandalized by that skunk FeloniousMonk):
    http://en.wikipedia.org/w/inde.....sey_Luskin

    http://en.wikipedia.org/w/inde.....comparison

    http://en.wikipedia.org/w/inde.....rt_opinion

    (2) The control freaks refused to allow links to my blog articles that rebutted attacks on Florida K-12 education commissioner Cheri Yecke in her Wikipedia biography. Wikipedia has a rule against using personal blogs as references, but links to other personal blogs were allowed in the biography. See
    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/T.....ent_design

    (3) The control freaks refused to add “Of Pandas and People” — the book that Judge Jones ruled could not even be mentioned in Dover classrooms — to the Wikipedia list of banned books. The Wickedpedians completely rewrote the whole banned books article to avoid listing the book. See (these are also archived discussion pages):

    http://en.wikipedia.org/w/inde.....and_People

    http://en.wikipedia.org/w/inde.....nged_books

    Wikipedia — an online open-editing encyclopedia — made the big mistake of trying to look like a printed encyclopedia. That is why there are all those vague Wikipedia rules — e.g., no original research, notability, “reliable non-partisan source,” and NPOV (neutral point of view) — that the Wickedpedian control freaks can so easily manipulate to “lawyer to death” those who disagree with them.

  11. 11
    Frost122585 says:

    In regards to Dave Scott’s opinion– fair enough but don’t you think then that “reptilian hybrids” should be removed as well?

    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Reptilian_humanoid

    I think that Einstein’s razor is a very important notion in the philosophy of science especially in regards to Occam’s razor which to me is more than a good rule of thumb but still always questionable. For the record, I think it would be reasonable to put the Einstein notion in the Occam’s razor article until it gained some more relevant historical traction.

    So while I appreciate your opinion Dave, I think we can infer based on other articles of less importance and substance that Einstein’s razor that this one is really being removed ultimately because of its political exponents and possible implications.

    There is a book called The Quotable Einstein that I was reading one time- you can probably find a reference to the quote in there. Either way it should be more relevant and substantive than the Reptilian Hybrid article.

    Also if the writers of the article want to make the quote more historically tractionable I would include in it the philosophy of conspiracy theories- because lord knows there is no shortage of them. Conspiracy theories go on the hunch that while the cover story looks like the most simple logical answer that there is usually “unexplainable” questions or phenomena that contradict the accepted thesis. The point is, that to a conspiracy theorist things are usually much more complex then they seem, and that- investigation and science should dig deeper until all of the question are answered barring no level of extremity in the resultant explanation.

    For the record I am not a conspiracy theorist nor do I hold any positive belief regarding any of the famous ones (JFK, RFk, MLK, Roswell, Pearl Harbor, etc.). I also don’t consider Einstein’s razor a necessary rule for ID to be feasible. ID is perfectly reconcilable with Occam’s razor.

    Reptilian Hybrids might be a more likeable subject matter then Einstein’s razor but it is not more historically or substantively relevant. Though Einstein’s razor is less well known that is not a reason to dispel it. Certainly wikipedia is full of obscure topics.

    Einstein’s general relativity was an absurd idea to many- and still is today, yet that didn’t not stop him from asking the tough questions that lead him to his famous conclusion. Perhaps, sometimes sciece needs the wisdom to think outside the box.

  12. 12
    Frost122585 says:

    “The supreme goal of all theory is to make the irreducible basic elements as simple and as few as possible without having to surrender the adequate representation of a single datum of experience”. Albert Einstein 1933

    DHL, that is a beautiful quote. Very Kantian- of course Einstein finished The Cretique of Pure Reason at the age of 14.

    Kant’s dictum was “All knowledge (or philosophy) begins and ends with expierence.”

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