Monday, January 21, 2013

Dennis on "Occam's razor"

Occam's Razor

"If you have two theories that both explain the observed facts, then you should use the simplest until more evidence comes along"
"The simplest explanation for some phenomenon is more likely to be accurate than more complicated explanations."
"If you have two equally likely solutions to a problem, choose the simplest."
"The explanation requiring the fewest assumptions is most likely to be correct."
. . .or in the only form that takes its own advice. . .
"Keep things simple!"

Dennis Diehl - EzineArticles Expert AuthorThe other day the owner of where I work came in distressed over losing the corporate check book.  He asked if I had seen him come in with it.  No, I had not.  I asked if he had it when he was home and got in the car.  He said he thought he had but must be mistaken because he looked in the car too.  I said to go back to the car where he'd probably find it.  He did .......and he did.    Occam's Razor!   That is where it had to be and simplest place to look. 

I misplaced a key to a locker at work last week and started the usual, "someone stole the key..blah blah."  I caught myself and went back to Occam.  I had the key in my hand.  I just got back from the restroom.  I washed my hands and threw the paper towel into the newly emptied trash can.  "It's in the trash can,"  I realized.   It was.  I had thrown it out with the paper towel.  Thank you Occam.

In the COG we have been and continue to be supplied with any number of  interesting people who simply can't stand not rising to some lofty position in the spirit and power of Elijah, John the Baptist or Herbert Armstrong.  We have the antics of those that since they have no other person willing or able to ordain them because they are their own Church leader, have to proof text and twist  history long past or just past their way through the Bible and come up with...."and yes brethren...I am an Apostle."  They don't call it "His-story" for nothing. 

Others, pulling the same stunts in the privacy of their self important minds come up with other titles for themselves.  One is "That Prophet," and two others are the Two Witnesses who better hurry and make good on it because there are ten more waiting in the wings to be the Two.  But they just tell everyone this is who they are or the office they hold AND that it was given by GOD of all things, and evidently thousands believe them!!!

Of late, we have been somewhat taken back by Bob Thiel's self ordination and misapplication of having hands being laid on him, being given a "double portion" whatever that meant to him and coming into home plate a Prophet.  Really?  It's that easy?   I have watched his prophetic ministry videos several times and, not to be unkind but...really?   I have read his rationale for getting to be the Lone Ranger Prophet for the age here and again can only come up with...really?   Such complicated stuff and the kind of self promotion that the faithful or brain dead, whichever one it really is according to Occam...(guess?), simply get to accept without question it seems.  Actually COG members never seem to question much.  That button has been disconnected evidently long ago.

Would it not be hilarious if a COG member after just being told "I am an Apostle" said "Oh no you aren't!!"

I only know of one time when this happened.  It was after THE tape sermon where Joe Tkach announced "the Changes."   Mostly, Sabbath was out if need be etc.  In one local congregation a rather average , good old boy type was called on to lead the final song.  He said...and I wish I had been there,  "Well if that ain't the biggest load of shit you ever heard!  Let's all take our hymnals, stand and sing to the REAL God!"    LOL, I fell out hearing that from a relative who was there and think the boy should get a medal. 

A current example of the Razor might be whatever the heck is going on in the mind of Manti Teo and the tale of his poor not dead not girlfriend.  This evidently mythological tale that he has spun is so complicated I won't repeat it but when it is all said and done, what will Occam's Razor say?  Probably he made it all, may have some mental problems and can't explain what he was thinking when he did that.  That of course will come until all the convoluted tales fall apart.

In the same way,  I am sure Lance Armstrong had amazing explanations for his amazing performance but from the git go, Occam would have simply said,  "He's doping."  Pretty simple actually.  It also would have been the correct answer long ago.

So, let's get back to the Apostles, Watchers, Evangelists, Prophets and Witnesses of the Church of God.  I won't tell you what I think is the simplest answer for me.  You decide which is for you.
While a pretty pared down version of Occam's Razor says, "the simplest explanation is usually the most correct," let's go with that as it is the simplest.

1.   Dave Pack is truly the only God Ordained Apostle in this age and RCG is the one true Church on earth.
1a. Dave Pack made up a prooftexting sermon spread over four hours to solve some problems of possible Evangelists defecting to him and as a Pastor "rank" guy had to have more Bible umpf.  Dave is probably not who he thinks he is and RCG is just one more example of a minister not wanting and never able to work for or under anyone else.

2.   Ron Weinland is truly, along with his wife, one of the Two Witnesses of Revelation no matter what's going on.
2a. Ron had deluded himself and God probably has not chosen him for a such a time as this and can't wait around for him to get out of prison.

3.   Gerald Flurry is truly that Prophet spoken of in Malachi and heads up the one true remnant of the Church of God which is the Philadelphian in nature and calling.
3a. Gerald Flurry is kidding himself, is NOT the prophet spoken of in the Bible and has no clue what brotherly love is if you go by the horror stories.

4.   E.W. King is the reincarnation of the one true WCG and Herbert Armstrong still lives.
4b. E.W. King is bonkers.

5.   Dr. Robert Thiel has been set apart as a prophet because when anointed for a minor malady noticed the unsuspecting and sincere minister mentioned a "double portion."  This was then taken as the sign he was called to be a Prophet and his rejection by the Living Church of God proves he is correct and what he noticed about LCG getting off track is true.
5a.  Dr. Robert Thiel is delusional, a little weird and just another misguided person who is a little God haunted and overly Bible soaked. He's not a prophet and if he doesn't do better in his presentations probably won't even make one.
I think we get the point.  I'll spare you using Occam's Razor to question fantastic stories in the Bible that just don't ring true much as Lance Armstrong's or Manti Teo's don't. 

We could ask, which is easier to believe...Children who growl, gnash, writhe and throw themselves often in the fire are possessed by a wicked spirit in high places...or....they had an epileptic episode which no one could explain medically?

We could ask which is easier to believe..  The Old Testament accurately predicts the very things that happened in the New Testament.  Or...The writers of the New Testament used the Old Testament to write the stories which is why they seem so accurate. 

We could ask, and some do, was Jesus  Lord, Liar, Lunatic or Legend?   I spare you.

We could ask, "Which is more logical?  The New Testament Gospels, Epistles and Letters that talk as if soon really meant soon and the day being at hand really meant their day was at hand...and goofed.  Or...The NT scriptures that talk about Jesus coming as soon are dual and those days were only a type for our day which really is the final soon 2000 years later."?

We could use Occam's Razor to ask if the Book of Revelation, upon which the COG's base their entire existence was written to show "things which must shortly come to pass," for the "them" of their time , really for us today because  Jesus didn't really mean those listening to him then should be taken for  the generation that shall not pass until the Son of Man appears.

We can even go for the details with Occam's Razor and ask if we really think Roman guards fell asleep at the tomb so disciples can steal the body and so that's the excuse why Jesus body is gone.  Or we can think, "The Roman's would execute any soldiers that fell asleep on guard to prevent this with such a famous rebel and would not really do or say something so stupid.


6.  I and the very small number of actual members of my Schism, Splinter or Sliver COG are the only true Christians following the only true ministers with the only true explanation and interpretation of scripture on earth today.
6a. I may be kidding myself and missing out on many wonderful opportunities to explore things my current Apostle, Prophet or Witness would not approve of. 

7.   All these men will live to see Jesus Second Coming and be proven right
7a. All these men will die in time and the beat will go on. 

"The simplest explanation for some phenomenon is more likely to be accurate than more complicated explanations."


Anonymous said...

Truly do I wish to have had a working familiarity with the principle of Occam's Razor when I got hooked on HWA's delusional vision of reality as a naive, poorly educated teenager.

Ideally, it would have inspired such simple questions as "If the Bible really is the inspired Word of an omnipotent God, then why doesn't it mention anything definitive about the existence of dinosaurs on the ancient earth?" Surely an all-knowing Creator would have had such knowledge, would have known mankind wouldn't have made such discoveries until much later in history, and would have known of mankind's fascination with such creatures once their past existence was discovered by the forerunners of modern archeology.

This is just one of many such questions I sorely wish I would had asked back then.

Anonymous said...

No wonder COG ministers subtly and sometimes not so subtly tend to tamp down among their congregants the natural human tendency to ask penetrating questions - for such questions are just too threatening to the phony basis of their livelihood.

Anonymous said...


What was your actual opinion of Herbert Armstrong while you were employed in the ministry? Did you respect him as a minister, or did you see and experience things that made you doubt he was the man he claimed to be? I am curious what you personally thought of the guy, and if you know if other ministers had red flags too while in the hayday of WCG....

Anonymous said...

good question, my presbyterian background, normal upbringing, balanced parents seemed to have natural barriers in place when I went to Ac and WCG. I was not overly concerned with or thought much of US n BC stuff. Seemed like a who cares topic to me. HWA seemed grandfatherish but again, when he said some things I thought were speculative I didn't care and figured he find out he was wrong . (Like the day I read national geographic dino egg find in HWA's very office and that night he said Dinosaurs could not reproduce, satan's world and all that. I didn't care but knew he was wrong.

I did not see HWA as knowingly caniving or deceptive. I did think he was a bit too full of himself at times but he was old and would die. GTA would refresh the church and all would go I cut GTA some slack on his expanatinons of evolution but liked the guy, though I knew first hand he did not like me.

From day one Gerald Waterhouse got under my skin and I hated his cheerleading. I often wondered if he believed it himself or just fliped a switch in his head and the recording came on.

The night I had dinner with all the pomp at HWA's he had just returned from seeing Sadat, he turned to me and said, "I don't eat like this often. I usually have a simple meal alone at the kitchen table.That seemed more true to me.

Ipad at work,, small keyboard


Anonymous said...

I found more often that men that seemed buttkissish praised HWA more than he was comfortable with, called him Apostle when he never did and said things about how it all was and who HWA was that I don't think he bought into himself. I found more of those under him saying things that troubled me that he did not say. Of course he could have said stop and I only once saw him do it.

Joe Tkach Sr, to me , was more out of his element , a mystery to me as to where the hell he came from and never sounded all that sincere. He had no training, was a lousy theologian and seemed like a thug. I called him one day to see if HWA is getting a divorce and he yelled over the phone "Squelch it!!!" and hung up. lol. Never called again


Anonymous said...

Dennis wrote: "...that night he said Dinosaurs could not reproduce, satan's world and all that."

So HWA believed that dinosaurs could not reproduce? Never personally heard him mention that during all my years in Pasadena. I wonder then how he would explain their continued existence through, what, about 170 million years? Just curious. It seems so many of HWA's arbitrary pronouncements were not very well thought through at all, but since he was God's Apostle, he must have been right!

Amazing what ideological blindness can do to a person.

Anonymous said...

it was a bible study and he put dino's during satan's rebellion between Gen 1:1 and 1:2. Not God's creation. It was lame but neither HWA , GTA or any ministers I knew gave any way to actual paleontology and human origins were just coming into their own back then with Leaky in Oldavai Gorge etc. dd

Anonymous said...

In hindsite, I wanted to be a minister and encourage with what i saw in the Bible was more encouraging than the Presbyterians told me growing up. I believed WCG view and you could not have talked me out of it. I did not realize how precious genuine theology,history and science well done I was getting. I was a naive 18 year old. But.....I was an "ELDER" by 23 lol,,,(head slap)


Anonymous said...

I'm sitting alone here in the Massage Studio break room now wondering what the hell all that was about!!! lol

What a trip.....This can't be my incredible human potential!! argh..Or maybe it is! .amen


Anonymous said...

Dennis, if I was there, we'd have a couple sub sandwiches, a couple beers, and toast the fact at least we aren't under COG delusion anymore. Unless you like KFC ;)

Thanks for your openness and candidness.

Anonymous said...

KFC works!! I know one major anxiety issue is that no retirement and little SS used to be a concept for the future. Now I see the future arriving and my anger towards WCG,Tkaches and such comes out, which I don't like. I resent my millionaire nutcase Apostle goofballs. I was asked to "take the church on your own" but once was enough and these SC wanna be in charge types would have had me for lunch in six months here. Greenville went for 300 ish when I came to 450 down to 125 when I left and now has 0 in CGI mode and a scattering elsewhere. It sucked out my soul and the pressure on me was just too much . Transitions are messy and I slipped into "no one is going to ever again tell me how it all is again" mode, for better or worse

Allen C. Dexter said...

"I slipped into 'no one is going to ever again tell me how it all is again' mode, for better or worse."

You and me too. Realizing what a fool you've been and how hypocritical everything was does that to any honest person. I've been wrong a lot, but I've always stiven to be absolutely honest.

So many have to have something authoritative to hang onto. I'm exactly the opposite. Standing on my own two feet doesn't scare me. No way am I going to worship anything I have to be in terror of. What a horror flick that is!

Douglas Becker said...

Herbert Armstrong was a crook.

Pretty much all you need to know.

Michael said...

Re: "7. All these men will live to see Jesus Second Coming and be proven right
7a. All these men will die in time and the beat will go on. "

I believe one of the surest bets any person can ever make is "Please set any time period of your choosing (1 years, 5 years, 20 years, 50 years, etc.) I wager that the 2nd coming will not take place within that period." Money in the bank.

Douglas Becker said...

I believe one of the surest bets any person can ever make is "Please set any time period of your choosing (1 years, 5 years, 20 years, 50 years, etc.) I wager that the 2nd coming will not take place within that period." Money in the bank.

Can't lose on that one: According to Scripture, Jesus rose to the Father to be accepted and came back to earth to be with his disciples for 40 days.

So therefore, the Second Coming is already past. Christians look for a third coming.

Anyone who is looking for Christ's Second Coming are about two millennia too late -- they can't even get that right.

The Late Prophet.

Now that has a ring to it.

Byker Bob said...

Occam can be good. But, I shave with Norelco.

It is good to go back to the simplest explanation as a first step, but sometimes simplicity can be deceptive. The problem with Armstrongism and its teachers is that they often attempted to embellish simplistic pap into rocket science that "nobody has preached for 2,000years!". The "science" was flawed, however, leaving one with huge ego over knowing nothing significant or substantive.


Anonymous said...

Douglas Becker says, "Christians look for a third coming."

Christians aren't the only ones; a woman doesn't have to be a bride of Christ. Some plain old human men can bring it about. I usually get a second coming, and if my man does me right, sometimes a third.

Randie R. Swigler

DennisCDiehl said...

BB notes:

" is that they often attempted to embellish simplistic pap into rocket science that "nobody has preached for 2,000years!"

very true. Like most literalists, WCG would have been better to leave the science up to scientists. Can you imagine being in Southern California, home of some of the best paleontologists and just down the street some guy is teaching Dinosaurs did not reproduce and "A Whale of a Tale" was the answer to all their hard but incorrect work. lol

Anonymous said...

I guess Thiels copy of Mystery of The Ages also has the same line blanked out that Gerald Flurry removed - “No prophets are mentioned as having either administrative, executive or preaching functions in the New Testament Church”.

Byker Bob said...

Simple can be a two edged sword. Occam's Razor seems to compliment it, but there are times when we are also criticized for finding simple solutions.

Basically, you gotta do what works. There are always going to be people who try to yank the rug out from under you, or try to get you to reinvent the wheel.


Anonymous said...

Maybe Thiel, Flurry, and Meredith would love to stay a week in
1. The Campus will always reflect the highest standards of HWA.
1a. The Campus is now Hollywood and nerds from all over the country flock to Nerdvana, do Microsoft commercials and make a laugh of Herbert's kingdom.

"Nerdvana" :D

Loma's Academic Center has been turned into Nerdvana. Yes, Loma would be SO proud. Herbert's lil kingdom has been nerd-ized!!!

Questeruk said...

Another Occam’s razor scenario.

Most of the disciples had conflict with the authorities, which meant, for both themselves, their wives and their children imprisonment, torture, and often a painful death was the result, if they held on to the veracity of their writings.

Considering that, were the writings that eventually formed the new testament:-

1. A work of fiction, Jesus Christ was an invented figure, which the writers devised to perfectly fit their interpretation of the old testament scriptures.

2. There was such a person as Jesus Christ, who (rightly or wrongly) the disciples considered to be the fulfilment of the old testament scriptures.

Apply Occam’s razor to the above.

Would you give your life for something which you know was a work of fiction?

Which is the simplest explanation? Dennis, what think you?