I’ve been thinking about how modern society explains various phenomena, everything from simple everyday questions to the grand complexities that vex the lay thinker’s ability to make sense of a confusing world. More and more, it’s become clear that we’re relying on Fuckem’s Razor, the little-known Medieval principle of implausibility. I’d like to take a moment to explain this theory for those who haven’t encountered it before.
Wait, you say – don’t you mean Occam’s Razor?
No, but thanks for raising that. Occam’s Razor, in Newton’s formulation, says that ”We are to admit no more causes of natural things than such as are both true and sufficient to explain their appearances.” Put more directly, this means that when trying to understand things, the simplest explanation is usually the right one. Occam’s Razor is credited to 14th century logician and Franciscan friar William of Ockham.
Fuckem’s Razor, on the other hand, derives from the teachings of another Medieval monk, Robert of Fuckham, and it posits roughly the opposite of Occam’s Razor. To wit, when confronted with a problem, the most complicated and obscure explanation is probably correct. At the very least, all conceivable factors must be debated, on an equal footing, regardless of their plausibility or how much evidence supports them.
I’m sure this is all fairly confusing, so let me illustrate with a couple of examples. Say you’re in your house, it’s hot as hell and the place is collapsing around your head as you try and make out what’s going on. Occam’s Razor would note the flames leaping into the sky, the clouds of choking smoke and distant scream of approaching sirens in suggesting that your house is on fire. Fuckem’s Razor, on the other hand, obliges the objective observer to consider all the possibilities. Since scientists have not been able to conclusively rule out the possibility of either alien life or the existence of parallel dimensions, we must, in the interests of intellectual rigor, admit to the extreme likelihood that your house is under attack by bug people from the 18th Dimension.
Another example. Say your planet is getting hotter and experiencing greater degrees of climate disruption, and further, that human society has pumped ever-increasing levels of greenhouse gases into the atmosphere. Meanwhile, nearly all of the world’s credible scientists are in agreement that human activity is the major cause of the problem. Occam’s Razor would suggest to the average person in the street that perhaps these greenhouse gases, which are known to behave in particular ways, have something to do with the changes in your climate.
Fuckem’s Razor, on the other hand, takes into account zillions of other, less evidenced possibilities, and concludes that the real problem is space rays.
Science owes a deep thanks to Robert of Fuckham and his legions of contemporary disciples, who remind us of the importance of debating the crucial issues of the day and accounting for every single potential explanation, no matter how remotely plausible it may seem to the highly informed observer.