Ockham’s Razor and the Cause of the Fire at Notre Dame Cathedral, Paris, France   Leave a comment

Above:  Notre Dame Cathedral, Paris, 1901

Image Source = Library of Congress

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Ockham’s Razor, named after William of Ockham (1285-1347), theologian, academic, and Franciscan friar, is a principle sometimes spelled “Occam’s Razor.”  However one spells it, the principle is that one, lacking evidence for a complicated explanation, should assume that the simplest explanation is true.  The simplest explanation is often true.

French authorities are investigating the cause of the unfortunate fire at Notre Dame Cathedral, Paris.  News reports tell me that they have ruled out arson and terrorism.  Nevertheless, certain figures of alleged news media (I mean you, Fox News Channel and spin-offs.) are stoking the fires of conspiracy theories and Islamophobia.  Bigotry is always wrong.

My training as a historian teaches me not only to use Ockham’s Razor but to allow for the passage of time when evaluating claims.  Temporal perspective does help to define the discipline of history, after all.  My historical training tells me to wait until the French authorities complete their work and reveal their conclusions.  Ockham’s Razor tells me that the cause of the fire could have been very simple, even accidental.  Ockham’s Razor tells me that the cause of the fire may be related to renovation work.  Fire investigators know their business; we should trust them.

I am content to wait and withhold judgment, for I do not wish to indulge my ignorance and fall into prejudices.

KENNETH RANDOLPH TAYLOR

APRIL 17, 2019 COMMON ERA

WEDNESDAY IN HOLY WEEK

THE FEAST OF DANIEL SYLVESTER TUTTLE, PRESIDING BISHOP OF THE EPISCOPAL CHURCH

THE FEAST OF EMILY COOPER, EPISCOPAL DEACONESS

THE FEAST OF MAX JOSEF METZGER, ROMAN CATHOLIC PRIEST AND MARTYR

THE FEAST OF WILBUR KENNETH HOWARD, MODERATOR OF THE UNITED CHURCH OF CANADA

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