Occam's Razor and Conspiracy Theories - Talk About Marriage
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post #1 of 42 (permalink) Old 12-01-2016, 02:40 PM Thread Starter
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Occam's Razor and Conspiracy Theories

In another thread in this sub-forum the debate turned intractable (it's always a matter of time before that happens) and the final statement before the mod locked it was that I should apply Occam's Razor to my argument.

Occam's Razor says that when there are two explanations for an event or set of events the simpler explanation is better. The reason is that the more complex explantation usually requires that we believe in postulated event(s) for which there is no proof.

The reason I like Occam's Razor is that it invalidates all conspiracy theories. The common thread in conspiracy theories is that they postulate some hidden agreement made by unknown parties for unknown reasons. That's multiple unknowns to support a theory that can be explained in a far simpler way by another theory.

Under Occam's Razor, HRC created a private email server because she's a dunce not because she was trying to hide financial dealings (that haven't been found by the FBI) from prying eyes. That's the key: financial dealings that were not found. If those dealings had been found, the dunce theory would be false and the criminal theory would be true. But as it stands now the financial conspiracy is false and the dunce theory is true.

I think Occam's Razor is a great tool for reasoning but those prone to believing conspiracy theories just aren't capable of reasoning that way.

Also, most people apply it selectively when it suits their purpose.

Thoughts?

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post #2 of 42 (permalink) Old 12-01-2016, 02:52 PM
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Re: Occam's Razor and Conspiracy Theories

There's no way you're going to convince me that a woman who ran a tough white house when her husband was president, was a US senator and Secretary of State and runs a huge foundation had an email server because she was a dunce.
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post #3 of 42 (permalink) Old 12-01-2016, 03:01 PM Thread Starter
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Re: Occam's Razor and Conspiracy Theories

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There's no way you're going to convince me that a woman who ran a tough white house when her husband was president, was a US senator and Secretary of State and runs a huge foundation had an email server because she was a dunce.
She's obviously a dunce with respect to technology. I know plenty of people who are accomplished in their fields but illiterate when it comes to technology. And where's the proof of her illegal dealings? It isn't there. Occam's Razor says she's a dunce.
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post #4 of 42 (permalink) Old 12-01-2016, 03:02 PM
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Re: Occam's Razor and Conspiracy Theories

I think Occam's Razor should be applied to most situations.

Now, if you want to use Occam's Razor to propose HRC is a dunce, then you would need to apply that to her character... which means if you supported her for POTUS, you weren't supporting a competent person for the office, but a dunce, and you knew it. Are you willing to claim that?

I think use of Occam's Razor actually would disprove that HRC is a dunce. I also think that the "hiding financial dealings" doesn't really hold up to scrutiny. If it were just about hiding finances, she'd have kept state business on state servers, and private business on private servers, thus hiding her information. Which is completely allowed as far as I'm aware. It's much more likely that she didn't want people looking to her emails, and wanted to avoid scrutiny / embarrassment that would potentially arise from future emails being released.

I'm down with you on Occam's Razor though. If anyone's is making complex, convoluted explanations for why HRC did this, they need to have some evidence to back it up.
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post #5 of 42 (permalink) Old 12-01-2016, 03:11 PM
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Re: Occam's Razor and Conspiracy Theories

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She's obviously a dunce with respect to technology. I know plenty of people who are accomplished in their fields but illiterate when it comes to technology. And where's the proof of her illegal dealings? It isn't there. Occam's Razor says she's a dunce.
I never said there were illegal dealings, however there are probably a ton of embarrassing emails in there that aren't the purview of the FBI investigation, such as her speeches to Wall Street executives. And remember that she didn't need to be good at technology. All she needed was a checkbook and someone to do it for her.

Again... not illegal but she knew what she was doing.
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post #6 of 42 (permalink) Old 12-01-2016, 03:14 PM
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Re: Occam's Razor and Conspiracy Theories

Right, in this instance, I think Occam's Razor is - she really didn't want to carry 2 phones (I had to do it in the past, it sucks), some tech guy she trusted said "yeah, we can make that happen" and they did.
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post #7 of 42 (permalink) Old 12-01-2016, 03:18 PM
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Re: Occam's Razor and Conspiracy Theories

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I also think that the "hiding financial dealings" doesn't really hold up to scrutiny. If it were just about hiding finances, she'd have kept state business on state servers, and private business on private servers, thus hiding her information.
Here's the thing... that never works. If you have two completely separate lives it will, but when you have your aides, who work on foundation, election and state department stuff (maybe not "work" but comment on, such as "I don't think you should take that $500,000 from that prince" kind of thing), you can never keep the two from co-mingling.
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post #8 of 42 (permalink) Old 12-01-2016, 03:20 PM
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Re: Occam's Razor and Conspiracy Theories

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There's no way you're going to convince me that a woman who ran a tough white house when her husband was president, was a US senator and Secretary of State and runs a huge foundation had an email server because she was a dunce.
No Dunce.

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post #9 of 42 (permalink) Old 12-01-2016, 03:46 PM
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Re: Occam's Razor and Conspiracy Theories

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Here's the thing... that never works. If you have two completely separate lives it will, but when you have your aides, who work on foundation, election and state department stuff (maybe not "work" but comment on, such as "I don't think you should take that $500,000 from that prince" kind of thing), you can never keep the two from co-mingling.
Keeping separate emails is basic practice for those handling classified information, and is a requirement of the position. This is explained to anyone who is given clearance/access to such information.

I don't buy the "she did it to hide illegal activity" because doing this was in fact a crime, which she was aware of--as all employees with access to this information have to take oaths, sign contracts, etc regarding what will be done / cannot be done. By choosing to break the law in a way that could not be hidden, she created a situation where she would be investigated at some point.

The fear wasn't of illegal activity being discovered, or at least it seems unlikely. When we take into consideration the sleazy and dishonest behavior of the person we are discussing however, what we could easily expect is that she didn't want things that may hurt her public appearance coming to light until after she was out of politics.

This is in alignment with the demonstrated aversion of HRC and her subordinates to FOIA requests. It seems more likely that she didn't want the public to see things done as SoS, at least not until later.

It just doesn't seem to hold that "the most qualified person to be President since FDR" was breaking the law in a very noticeable way, to avoid being caught breaking the law in a very not-noticeable way.

If she was doing this, it would actually support the "she's retarded" argument lol.

Of course, I really don't know why she did it. Her motives are conjecture. And in any discussion of her motives, I have to make that clear.
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post #10 of 42 (permalink) Old 12-01-2016, 03:56 PM
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Re: Occam's Razor and Conspiracy Theories

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There's no way you're going to convince me that a woman who ran a tough white house when her husband was president, was a US senator and Secretary of State and runs a huge foundation had an email server because she was a dunce.
Absolutely, she was trying to hide things most notably her foundation's illegal dealings. She's not a dunce, there was a reason why she tried to get away with using a private server, she's just pissed off she got caught.


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post #11 of 42 (permalink) Old 12-01-2016, 05:48 PM
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Re: Occam's Razor and Conspiracy Theories

Y'all are fairly simple-minded.

Let's say you were in the same position and were hypothetically interacting with a large donor for some not so pure motive.

Would you use email for that? Official, your own, or a commercial email service?

Or do it the time honored way, behind closed doors?

I've had email since 1982, and there are many things I discuss in person only.

She was not do bright about setting up the server and thinking she'll get away with it (http://www.politico.com/story/2016/0...l-email-227889) but the very thought that she didn't think about makes me wonder.

It's like the Reagan era operative (IIRC) who thought pressing delete actually deletes something...

Don't attribute to malice that which can be explained by stupidity...



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post #12 of 42 (permalink) Old 12-02-2016, 06:55 AM
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Re: Occam's Razor and Conspiracy Theories

Just because some people theorise that a conspiracy is taking place or that it took place does not mean that the conspiracy did not take place:-

7 Insane Conspiracies That Actually Happened

https://uk.news.yahoo.com/5-conspira...130654757.html

This is one example of the conspiracy theories in the Yahoo link:-

Quote:
The Conspiracy: The US government poisoned alcohol during Prohibition
Often a conspiracy grows from a vacuum of evidence, or the idea that a cover-up must have occurred to explain a dramatic event. What is shocking about this ‘conspiracy’ is that it happened in plain sight – and was reported by the press at the time – it’s simply that history forgot about it, making it seem like a ridiculous fabrication. In essence, the US government was knowingly killing people by poisoning alcohol.

According to Slate, after Prohibition was introduced, methods to curtail drinking became more extreme after people (unsurprisingly) continued and bootleggers made a fortune. The short story is that many were redistilling widely available industrial-use alcohol. For years, toxic chemicals had been added to it to stop people drinking it but, given it could be purified, the government acted to double the poisonous components.

According to TIME, (Death from Drinking: A Short History of Fatal Booze) Seymour M Lowman, assistant secretary of the treasury in charge of Prohibition, even said 1927, that drunks were “dying off fast from poison ‘hooch'” and “a good job will have been done” if America became sober because of it. Of course, people continued to drink – and around 700 people died through this poisoning until Prohibition ceased in 1933. However, the shocking story only truly re-emerged in recent years.
Would anyone who knew him, teacher, politician, dedicated temperance proponent, have considered it possible that Lowman (an ironic name, under the circumstances?) was actually conspiring to murder fellow American citizens? Probably not, but he was.

The problem with the over-enthusiastic employment of Occam's Razor is that it can cause a nasty cut to the person wielding it, so it should be used with great caution.

There is a corollary to Occam's Razor devised by Doctor of Medicine author Doctor Sir Arthur Conan Doyle:- "When you have eliminated the impossible, whatever remains, however improbable, must be the truth".


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post #13 of 42 (permalink) Old 12-02-2016, 07:56 AM
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Re: Occam's Razor and Conspiracy Theories

I liked Carl Sagan and the movie Contact, but wished he hadn't popularized the use of Occam's Razor. It's good Hollywood though.

While I'm at it, I'm not too happy with Apple making words like "form factor" and "skeuomorphism" hip either.

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post #14 of 42 (permalink) Old 12-02-2016, 09:20 AM
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Re: Occam's Razor and Conspiracy Theories

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Originally Posted by MattMatt View Post
Just because some people theorise that a conspiracy is taking place or that it took place does not mean that the conspiracy did not take place:-

7 Insane Conspiracies That Actually Happened

https://uk.news.yahoo.com/5-conspira...130654757.html

This is one example of the conspiracy theories in the Yahoo link:-



Would anyone who knew him, teacher, politician, dedicated temperance proponent, have considered it possible that Lowman (an ironic name, under the circumstances?) was actually conspiring to murder fellow American citizens? Probably not, but he was.

The problem with the over-enthusiastic employment of Occam's Razor is that it can cause a nasty cut to the person wielding it, so it should be used with great caution.

There is a corollary to Occam's Razor devised by Doctor of Medicine author Doctor Sir Arthur Conan Doyle:- "When you have eliminated the impossible, whatever remains, however improbable, must be the truth".
The problem with many "Conspiracy Theories" (A term I'm not fond of) is that often there is ample evidence of some action happening, but what happens is some people take this information, and mix it with wild conjecture.

I had started to write up a post on this, and the relation to Occam's Razor yesterday. I think one of the best examples is what has been termed "The Franklin Coverup". Here is a perfect example of a "Conspiracy" that definitely happened, although the levels of collusion are hard to really ascertain. It's possible that the Omaha Herald, Omaha PD, FBI etc did not necessarily collude, as much as they all acted in bad faith simultaneously. Without evidence of their collusion, it's best described as a "Conspiracy of Silence". It is well documented, if you have the fortitude to go through the primary documents, that these organizations all worked diligently to silence the witnesses and victims. It is also well documented that these kids did go to the White House, as well as to other late-night parties with power brokers. There is every reason to suspect that children were being sexually abused, and that it was being filmed / photographed to blackmail people.

Powerful organizations, especially before the heyday of the internet, can silence people.

The problem lies in jumping to conclusions that require several unknowns or trying to tie all of these terrible actions together as part of a grander conspiracy without evidence.

Another great example of an ongoing "conspiracy" is the Rotherham situation. (which sadly there are many towns experiencing this in the UK, and it is well documented, but Rotherham is the only one that has received attention, and it has to this day not been addressed)

Last edited by Kivlor; 12-02-2016 at 09:24 AM.
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post #15 of 42 (permalink) Old 12-02-2016, 09:34 AM
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Re: Occam's Razor and Conspiracy Theories

Another example of a Conspiracy Theory, where Occam's Razor is being ignored is the ongoing cases of what are being termed Twittergate and Pizzagate (God, I hate that people add "Gate" to everything now, when a scandal happens. Watergate was a complex of buildings folks.)

There is some concerning information that deserves scrutiny in Pizzagate, but jumping to the conclusions that people are is out of line. And of course, by jumping to conclusions and publicizing it loudly, the citizen investigators completely tipped their hand, and have given any bad actors that potentially were there notification and all the time in the world to cover it up, while simultaneously making themselves look unhinged. If there was indeed the heinous activity they suspect, it will never be discovered.

The Pizzagate situation of course has been handled poorly by Twitter and Reddit, who have been banning discussion of these topics. Reddit has taken the lead on this, and what is leading to the accusations of "conspiracy" and the accusation that Reddit's CEO is a part of it all, is that A) Reddit has several pedophile subreddits that are not being banned B) the CEO of Reddit is the sole moderator of a cannibalism subreddit that is closed to the public and C) the decision to silence this discussion came from the CEO. These are some big assumptions, but I understand why people are jumping to conclusions. They still should not.

Twittergate is, on the other hand, completely documented. And the truly concerning thing is that Twitter has taken to banning the people who discovered it and chose to publicly report to the FBI the pedophiles they have found sharing CP on Twitter, and sharing coded links to it. There were thousands of accounts reported...

Now, the problem here is assuming that Twitter is doing this to protect pedos, instead of just assuming that they didn't want the negative attention, which is more likely without some further evidence.
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