Akram’s Razor, debasing philosophical discourse on the Internet

In order to share an amusing anecdote, I’m going to have to admit doing something I suspect many of us do secretly late at night when no one is watching.  I periodically Google myself.  Yes, I do it and I do it regularly.

I like to think it’s less ego than procrastination and idle curiosity–it is interesting to observe how information spreads on the Internet and what better case study is available than one’s own webpage–but I’ll leave that call to the shrinks.

Another motivation is, having shot off my mouth and passionately debated on various mailing lists and fora for so many years–when it comes to pointless bickering over religion and politics, I’m an bona fide O.G., or Original Gangster, a grizzled veteran of countless skirmishes on Usenet, Bitnet, CompuServe, AOL, …; in short, I was a young man with an Internet connection, strong views, and little to do–I am eager to see some of my more egregious declarations and faux pas’ of years past scroll off the intial screen.  With every new email or article that gets indexed, it gets a bit harder to dig up the dumb stuff of my quarrelsome youth.

Curious to see whether my rants had seeped out of the Blogosphere into the traditional Internet–a curious concept; the gradations of what constitutes being "published" are getting ever finer–I ran a Google search for the phrase "Akram’s Razor".   

Most of the search results were what I expected, namely links from people’s blogrolls (for which I’m appreciative, of course).

One result was quite bizarre, though.  In a discussion of Intelligent Design, someone recently referred to "Akram’s Razor" instead of the well known philosophical principle of "Occam’s Razor" (to which my blog’s title is admittedly an allusion)!

Sorry I got side tracked in my thoughts. The reason it agitates me that people are ignoring darwinism is that no other theory has come up with nearly as much evidence in support. The day that a theory gains more solid evidence is the day I start believing in a new theory. The main problem with ID is that it’s like saying that gravity is magic or that the sun is powered by hope. You can’t prove it, and your playing off of people’s emotions to create "science." It’s like some horrible form of Akram’s razor. That is to say that the most simplistic answer is the correct one. [emphasis added]

Don’t know whether to be flattered or horrified.  The poor soul, who clearly knows what Occam’s Razor is, has gotten so confused by my ramblings that he’s referring to a non-existent philosophical principle.  That’s about as clear an example of an intellectually corrupting influence as you get.

  • Abuljude

    Hey, I Google my last name *routinely*. It’s not so much ego, I say to myself, as it is wanting to know where my name ends up. (This is relatively easy to do if you have an uncommon last name, as you don’t get millions of hits.). In particular, as I have almost no paternal relatives in the West, I can find out if I have cousins who have also migrated outside their homeland.
    It is amusing what I can find: I get a lot of misspelt versions of a Hebrew name (listed in things like 5K race results). I am also a main character in some sort of ‘Dungeons and Dragons’ fantasy game. A fairy – don’t know what to do with that. But the absolute *ick* came when I discovered that my last name ended up in a story of – I shudder to even recall it – sexual bestiality! Now, just try and top that!

  • svend

    I’d like to have a more unique lastname. Too many freakin’ white’s out there.
    No, I certainly can’t top that. There’s always something to be grateful for!

  • svend

    That’s a fascinating use of Google, btw.

  • http://vonaurum.wordpress.com vonaurum

    You are getting famous brother. :)


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