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#213

Northampton Jesus Centre Events

emoticon:computer We have finally got an online events calendar for the Northampton Jesus Centre:

This will be kept up to date and has our weekly programme plus special events and activities. Smile

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Posted by Fuzzyman on 2007-08-09 00:47:26 | |
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#212

Leviticus - a Much Maligned Book

emoticon:movpy2 When I was young I attempted to read the Bible from cover to cover. I almost did it as well, working my way through all the old testament and most of the new testament. I got as far as Revelations before I got weirded out and stopped. Laughing

Leviticus is a book of the bible that has a bad reputation amongst both Christians and non-Christians. Amongst Christians it is known as having endless pages of genealogy that is tedious to read. It also enumerates the Jewish law, parts of which are seriously out of context for today's culture and regarded with incredulity by non-Christians.

In fact Leviticus has some things going for it as well. One of my favourite blogs, Zen Habits about living a simpler life, mentioned it recently.

In a post entitled 18 Practical Tips for Living the Golden Rule he says:

"thou shalt love thy neighbour as thyself." Leviticus 19:18

I love the simplicity of the Golden Rule, its tendency to make those I interact with happier, and its tendency to make me happier as well.

Like many pearls of wisdom it can sound trite when read at a glance, but is difficult, challenging and rewarding if really taken to heart.

This is the same for another of my favourite bible verses, also from the old testament:

"man looks at outward appearance, but God looks at the heart." 1 Samuel 16:7

This is from when the Prophet Samuel is looking for the next King of Israel. It is a pleasant enough homily, but difficult and life changing to take to heart. Both verses are also great antidotes to Western selfishness...

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Posted by Fuzzyman on 2007-08-06 20:39:23 | |
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#211

Occam's Razor

emoticon:exclaim I've been reading Wikipedia, it's an extraordinarily valuable source of information. Astonishing to think that this enormous resource can come into existence through the collaboration of people across the internet.

I've also read that some teachers are forbidding their pupils to use Wikipedia as they think it is unreliable. This seems almost criminal in that teachers should be jumping at the opportunity to engage children in the process of creating knowledge. Anyway, that is all besides the point. I stumbled across the page on Occam's Razor.

Occam's razor is a scientific principle that is often quoted. It is also often used in religious debate to argue that God is an unnecessary hypothesis. This too is besides the point.

What interested me was that (as usual) the common understanding of Occam's Razor is incorrect. Occam's razor in the Latin is "entia non sunt multiplicanda praeter necessitatem", which translates to "entities should not be multiplied beyond necessity".

This is often 'simplified' to, "out of two theories the simplest is most likely to be correct" - which was my understanding of it. The Wikipedia page argues that a better simplification would be, "out of two theories the one that makes the least assumptions is likely to be correct". So between a simple theory and a complex theory it is not necessarily the simplest that is to be preferred, but the one that makes the least assumptions.

It is also interesting that it is difficult to provide any scientific basis for the principle itself that doesn't turn out to be circular reasoning.

I like Jerrold Katz's explanation though:

If a hypothesis, H, explains the same evidence as a hypothesis G, but does so by postulating more entities than G, then, other things being equal, the evidence has to bear greater weight in the case of H than in the case of G, and hence the amount of support it gives H is proportionately less than it gives G.

—Katz 1998

If theory H takes the evidence to support N entities, and theory G takes the available evidence to support less entities, then the available evidence provides more support for each of the individual assumptions (entities) in theory G than in theory H.

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Posted by Fuzzyman on 2007-08-06 02:33:11 | |
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Archives

The Old Blog Archives

There was so much ancient wisdom distilled into my old blog, that I couldn't let it just creep ignominiously into the pages of cyber-history. More to the point I'm still getting some hits from google with the old entries. Here are the archives of my previous Blogger based blog.

The Old Voidspace BlogThe Old Techie Blog

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