After the debate in The Contrafiction and Christ, something struck me: I lacked solid support for some of my premises. As I argued that a great problem with the Bible and Christian doctrine is that it invites so many interpretations, I became aware that I don’t know why that is a problem. I am going to give a preliminary argument for epistemic parsimony that I worked out while writing this, and then I am hoping ya’ll will jump in and give some better ones. Please keep your answers parsimonious.
- Parsimonious explanations are more easily used by the human mind. In other words, they allow a closer match between our ability to perceive reality and reality itself (Potentially human perceivable reality).
- Parsimonious explanations make clearer predictions and are easier to falsify.
- Parsimonious explanations prevent a falsehood from being believed to the elimination of a true premise. In other words, I don’t believe what I haven’t discovered and only believe what has been discovered, so I don’t believe a falsehood that prevents me from looking for or concluding something that may be the truth (http://home.sprynet.com/~owl1/simplicity3.pdf).
- If parsimonious explanations are easier to cognize, then they allow for a truer human understanding. If a theory is difficult to cognize, or impossible to cognize effectively, then a person is more likely to believe or assert something equivocally—and thus he is more likely to have a false belief or spread a false belief. He is unable to truly assert or deny to himself a theory because he cannot cognize it effectively.
- If a person doesn’t have a good reason—a reason that that person understands (cognizes completely or effectively) and is able to see the limits of and defining context—then they should not believe what they believe.
- A person who doesn’t have solid reasons for a belief is more likely to be wrong than correct. Without contextual, factual reasons for a believe, a person faces that their explanation (believed on the basis of reasons they don’t understand) is one out of an infinity of an explanations, where, obviously, the infinity is more likely than the one. Parsimonious explanations allow a person to provide a limited context to continually narrow the realm of probability that they are correct or incorrect.
If an idea is parsimonious, it is easier to cognize, which makes it easier to assert or deny. If it is easier to assert or deny, then it aids in reducing (hence, increasing the probability of alternate options) or increasing the probability of an options (hence, decreasing the probability of alternate options). If an idea is more probable, then, analytically, it is more likely to be true. If an idea is parsimonious it is more likely to be true.
Aside Concerning The Contrafiction and Christ:
Believing in a god, without an empirical justification for god and especially given the complete lack of parsimony, means leaving context and accepting that it is infinitely more likely that you are wrong about your belief than you are correct. Parsimonious explanations, like science and philosophy strives for, lock down probability into the context of the apparent, and allows belief to be justifiable or falsifiable—or at least more or less probable—within that context of the necessarily, limited, apparent world. Faith, in general, however, reaches outside the context of the apparent and attempts to grasp limited options out of infinity, facing infinity of alternate explanations.