Re: PHIL: Re: low profile

Mark Hoheisel (
Tue, 15 Oct 1996 01:56:34 -0400

Michael Butler wrote:
> How do you measure the "betterness"?

> Occam's razor: don't complicate theories beyond necessity. Sounds
> good. OK, say my theory of everything (TOE) is: "God did it." Hard to
> get simpler than that, no? You say your necessity is different from
> mine? *Ah...* QED.

Perhaps you measure the 'betterness' in falsifiability. The problem
with God-did-it TOE, or many conspiracy theories, or at least some of
the low-profile theories, is that they're too robust. My sense of
occam's razor is to pick the simplest theory that fits the facts.
Typically that produces a fragile theory.
Given zero evidence of ETs there are two sets of theories: low profile
(including zoo hypothesis), and they-ain't-there (including 'well maybe
they're there but there is really far away' etc.)
The low profile set (like the God TOE) is almost immune to
falsification. The No-ET set crashes with any evidence of ET's at all.
Low profile or God TOE or conspiracy theories are not simple when the
standard of simplicity is easy falsifiability.
What I meant to suggest with the 'Anvil of Stars' reference and
comments on 'What's natural life?' is that having superhuman
intelligences engaging in contests with active deception, means that
there's nothing much from a merely human, still 20th century, point of
view that could possibly falsify the core theory. Ditto for God TOE.
What could possibly be acccepted as conclusive evidence against it?