Tuesday, August 26, 2008

Occam's razor


- Occam's Razor. The simplest explanation is always the best.

- And you think one is simpler than two?
- Pretty sure it is, yeah.

- Baby shows up. Chase tells you that two people exchanged fluids to create this being.

- I tell you that one stork dropped the little tyke off in a diaper. Are you gonna go with the two or the one?
(from House M.D.)


DOGGETT: You're familiar with the principle of Occam's Razor?
SCULLY: Yeah, you take every possible explanation and you choose the simplest one. Agent Mulder used to refer to it as Occam's Principle of Limited Imagination.
(from X-files)

Hahaha!!! I really enjoy these quotes :)



For some reasons I find it annoying every time someone casts the notion of Occam's razor. It's like they refer to some punditry concept which has to make you shut the fuck up without an explanation. "What you say is wrong because... Occam's razor!". Occam's razor pervades everything you say. It's not clever anymore. It's so trendy as that Einstein quote that we use the 10% of the brain or something. Duh :P

Don't get me wrong. I might have used the razor several times in my life. First of all in my attempt to seek some truth which is as close to... true as possible. I had to wipe out all of which I had been taught since childhood and start with nothing (But what seems more simple? My notion that we are living in a great complicated delusion? Or the fact that life is plain and simple and it's just me who are making it fuzzy? Doh, I guess even the notion of simplicity isn't simply defined afterall :P). Even my current opinion that neither god nor a meaning in this universe exist but it's all our creations and we have to wipe out every thing we were raised to believe in order to discover what's behind the mask, is actually using mr.Occam :P

So yes, it's a philosophical system they say (not a proof). But most skeptics always use to pray on it solely. It really gets annoying as this is the only thing they have to say! I have another concept that explains it nicer. It is the idea that at the end it's all about belief (should I call it the belief razor or the Optimus razor? ;). Regardless if you are skeptic or a paranormal nut. Occam's razor, always pointed out towards anything that goes out of the ordinary, is just a classy way to justify their dis/belief.

As for me, I will continue to be greatly entertained each time when something proves to me that the simplest explanation is not always the most possible.

p.s. We need more than lame reciting of Occam's razor and then resting the case..

Friday, August 22, 2008

Metaphysics and disbelief

I decided to start a new series of posts in this blog, that have less to do with my life and more with my old interest for paranormal phenomena, motivated from recent changes in the way I see all this fuzz about the unexplained, the believer's dedication to their side of truth and the debunker's insistence to disprove everything.

The last book I bought on the field had something to do with the year 2012 (Why do people hope for something out of the ordinary to happen, even if this would mean doom and destruction? Why do I secretly hoped that something from this being true? I ask the question because I am disappointed by myself, how I fall in the same category). I have read most of it in the train travelling from Thessaloniki to Athens and back. It was in the middle of June as I remember. I came in Athens to DJ some Amiga demos on a club or something. Now I was coming back home.

In the beginning of the book, the author made you believe that it's not another book by another nationalistic author who wants to believe (or to sell) that the ancient greek gods are coming with their spaceships to save the greek nation or something. From the beginning, the author showed that he had more serious intentions, as to save the reader from the upheaval this subject creates. He mentioned that he doesn't favor any nation, he doesn't put any mainstream aliens in this story, that once upon in the past humanity were wiped out in several periods by natural phenomena, similar as to the ones that are coming near the end of 2012. This thing made me believe that I can trust the author. No aliens, no fancy apocalypse, not favoring nations or religions, just straight raw facts.

After a lot of pages though, the story started to get more incredible. A brown dwarf sun approaching the solar system after several thousand years, a big conspiracy of the elite trying to hide it in order to only save themselves and even a hiding reptilian race (no aliens you said?). And there I was testing belief. How much more focused was I to see what I wanted to see. And how easier it was to believe the replies against the debunker's voice. I was seeing what I wanted to see. And I wanted to believe.

The crisis started at that point. I felt like I was getting away from my quest to seek for the truth. The only true facts (do they exist?) behind all our delusions. I had also seen how much of a believer I am. Don't get me wrong, most writers on paranormal present the facts in such a way that it makes you think that they can't be wrong. No matter the doubt, if I wanted to believe then those writers would give me food not only to believe, but even doubting that most paranormal stories could be somehow misunderstood. They were giving me only the data necessary to make the story feel more true.

I always disliked the people that are called "skeptics" today. Because they seemed to be as eager to debunk everything as much as fanatically as the people who wanted to believe. I even liked the attempt of some people who decided to call themselves zetetics, as a response to blind skepticism. I adored (and still adore) fringe scientists who take the risks to start research into subjects having to do with psychic powers, alternative theories or anything paranormal. Although I recently have my doubts, that maybe their research can be still biased, based on what they want to believe, what they want to see on the results (usually the results of statistical data). I don't have proof about that, I am not saying they are crackpots, I am just starting to become more skeptical. But I really want to see more and more scientists trying to research these hard subjects as objectively as possible. The truth can be found through research, not denial. Maybe it's like being an agnostic rather than an atheist.

However, as I started changing and read some skeptic articles (while also reading about psychological experiments that show how unbelievably we are deluded by the most simple things), I grew more on the idea that maybe, maybe,. even all of these paranormal stories could be cases of delusions, misunderstandings or something else. That even if there are some witnesses from well educated people, air control operators, pilots, astronauts, scientists,. that YES, even these people can make mistakes sometimes (or maybe they have a secret agenda :). My perception switched in a world where there is a possibility what sounded improbable (that all these witnesses can't be wrong, at least a tiny percentage of them could still hold something) can actually be true. Maybe this one crumbled my world of ufo, aliens, fairies, ghosts and strange phenomena into dust while it brighten my view on how deluded can we be or how our perception can be mistaken, how far from the truth we may be, yet thinking that all these make sense.

I think that I have a wider view of the truth. I would like to write several posts in the future in this blog, refering to amazing examples showing that things might not be as they seem, that me and you are living their illusion right this time, I'd like to point arguments towards/against both sides (believers vs skeptics). I'd like to show counter examples on examples that try to say something. This blog will continue with more content about paranormal phenomena, analyzing the religion of believers and skeptics, examples and counter examples that show both sides could be true or wrong or how deluded we may be (I used the word deluded/delusion for the nth time :P). There are really many things running around my head that I'd really like to write here..

Also, the real reason for making the turn from a believer to a disbeliever was not something on the book or some thoughts about it. I think I was emotionally unstable during that time (same time when I desperately needed some drink and got banned from Pouet) and I found a reason to burst. And generally changes feel good in a shaky life (but later I truly changed my mind after reading the skeptics articles). I am not going to praise any "religion" (either belief or skepticism or debunking), I am not going to stay in any of them forever, it's not my quest to join on army of thinkers but to find the truth. And the truth is dynamic, it seems to be changing sides..

I will be back. There are a lot of things I want to write about.

Sunday, August 17, 2008

Where is all the fun?

Sometimes I watch a demo that is very unprofessional, undesigned, 1999 alike (or 1994 should I say? :), considered crap but I like it. Sometimes I play doom WADs that are technically below average and without much challenging gameplay but they have that something which inspires me on creating my own levels. Yet I read the reviews on Pouet for demos or in doomworld/idgames ftp for WADs and it seems there are some people who take it too seriously. Maybe I am wrong, but it feels like they don't vote based on the fun factor they had while watching/playing, rather than considering whether something on the demo/level is right or wrong. It seems that if rob is jarig gets too much votes, someone needs to thumb it down, no matter if he liked it or not. Maybe in the same way some people feel like having to thumb down some minimalistic demo because of ideology (Ok,. it's not hard to think why most people can't have fun with minimalistic or noise demos :P). In the doom department, someone told me that I am a retarded who votes too high for crap WADs. Maybe I exagerated with Ruba's map but there are some minimalistic level without too much fuzz and detail (while I am a sucker for detail in doom WADs at the same time) that had too inspiring rooms/places and simple yet effective gameplay which I enjoyed more than confusing big levels. I vote based on how I feel during that time, not considering whether something needs more praise or is more close to the definition of art.

Ok, maybe I confused demos/WADs in there, but you can replace it with everything else. Demoscene is the primary thing for me, doom is just an additional hobby. I just asked first myself about fun and where it is, after reading some retarded comments for some doom WADs. In the doom community was this question raised in a greater sense because there is a major difference with the demoscene. People play Doom levels (a game that is almost 15 years old) and then they have the need to be serious critics on WADs and bash everyone else who disagrees. At least the demoscene is an art community and it would make more sense. But doom? We are here to create and play inspiring WADs, not being serious about who releases what crap and if he deserves a little praise or not.

But it is the same. One reason we do it (I mean, the exagerated creative hobby that steals most of our life) is because it's something creative that gives us sense, and then makes us feel important by contributing in the community and getting praise. Some people maybe feel like more important by forming more "serious" looking opinions on the new releases. If it's something seems to be banal or kitsch, regardless if it has some appeal, it should be downvoted because it's not supposed to be "proper art". What do these words really mean anyway? I was listening to some song by Tatu and someone told me that it sucks because it's "commercial" (or "popular"). Who cares? That song has something that makes me love it. And he told me, it sucks because it has that something and everybody loves it while it's not an important song. Who the damn gives a fuck? I mean,. do we listen to the songs or watch demos or do anything because they are considered "important"? Or because we just want to enjoy them???

And this reflects upon my life. Sometimes when I play a game, watch a movie, read a book or meet some people, I do care. I do care too much. I have to finish the damn game, see that movie because it's important, finish the book because I have more to read and I don't feel very literate yet. I go to meet some people because I think I "have to" be social. Somebody seems to worry because I have not done "the most important" thing, getting a girlfriend. I am almost 30. This is crazy! But I feel like caring less than him. If girls and sex are the most beautiful aspects of life, if it's the most natural thing in the world or the human psyche, then why am I oblidged to do it, why should I be scared, why should I be extremely anxious? Something doesn't make sense here..

I think that to keep asking myself the same question each time I see loosing the balance of my emotions is a good think to do. Where is all the fun? Why are we doing things because we must and not because we like them? Why girls had to become such a nasty thing for us few unfortunate, something that makes us struggle just by the thought of it instead of being natural pleasure? Why do sceners watch demos and get serious and dissatisfied by the latest releases or argue so much about what should be right and what wrong on the scene? Why WAD critics (some have never created a doom level or just retired from activity) take it too seriously when it's just a damn game? Why should I drink coffee and act in the expected way, be "social" in the way I am supposed to and not naturally social? Don't speak to me about what's natural and what is retarded as it seems that we have lost the meaning of fun. Sometimes I am wondering about those people driving succesful lives, whether this is really their thing or they do pretend to be "successful" without really liking it? At least if not most of them then some of them might be this way.

There is no meaning in my preaching. It's just some speculations. This post (and maybe most of my older rants in my blog) are primarily written so that I remind myself of how things might be and in what delusion do I live in. Maybe the hard critics really enjoy doing it. Maybe what is boring for me is fun for other people. Maybe it doesn't work the same way for everyone of us. Maybe I just avoid blaming anyone with these final words. At the end, I believe that fun is not universal but what might be still true is that several of us are oppressed to live based on what is considered right and not what we really enjoy. And then we tend to pass the same critics to other people, because it's supposed to be the right thing. And we forget what is truly natural for each of us.
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