Re: Cosmology and Boltzmann brains

From: Brent Meeker <>
Date: Wed, 18 Jun 2008 17:51:19 -0700

GŁnther Greindl wrote:
> Brent,
>> scientific theory. Occams razor is a vague desiderata. You can justify
>> almost anything by choosing your definition of "complex", e.g. theists
>> say, "God did it." is the simplest possible theory.
> no you can't:
> most relevant quote from the above post:
> This lets us see clearly the problem with using "The lady down the
> street is a witch; she did it" to explain the pattern in the sequence
> "0101010101". If you're sending a message to a friend, trying to
> describe the sequence you observed, you would have to say: "The lady
> down the street is a witch; she made the sequence come out 0101010101."
> Your accusation of witchcraft wouldn't let you shorten the rest of the
> message; you would still have to describe, in full detail, the data
> which her witchery caused.
> Witchcraft may fit our observations in the sense of qualitatively
> permitting them; but this is because witchcraft permits everything, like
> saying "Phlogiston!" So, even after you say "witch", you still have to
> describe all the observed data in full detail. You have not compressed
> the total length of the message describing your observations by
> transmitting the message about witchcraft; you have simply added a
> useless prologue, increasing the total length.
> The real sneakiness was concealed in the word "it" of "A witch did it".
> A witch did what?
> same goes for "god did it"
> Cheers,
> GŁnther

That's a computer scientist's idea of explanation, a definite description.
  In fact you can use an ostensive definition, "That.", while pointing and
no description is needed. "The witch did it." is a casual explanation, not
a description, and a casual explanation is often the kind needed since it
tells you something you can do to change "That", e.g. "kill the witch".

But I agree that the problem with God or The Witch as a theory is that they
can explain anything and so fail to explain at all.


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Received on Wed Jun 18 2008 - 20:51:31 PDT

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