Angels and Assholes #22...2016 - Occam's Razor

In my next novel, Will, (coming out this fall) Will—the main character—feels scoundrels use complexity to confuse issues to their advantage. “Keep it simple,” he says.

Occam’s razor is a philosophy devised by William Ockam, a Franciscan Friar and philosopher. He maintains the simplest answer is most often correct. Scoundrels “stack” information to confuse what the solution or answer to an issue might be…obscuring the existence of a simpler explanation. Occam’s razor proposes to pare down information to make discovering the truth easier.

An example: a large foreign mining company is proposing a copper, nickel, precious metals mine adjacent to the Boundary Waters Wilderness Canoe Area, one of the largest, internationally famous wilderness areas in the world… and it’s right here on the Minnesota boundary with Canada. If you ask Twin Metals, the mining conglomerate, about the potential impact to the environment, you’ll be referred to a 3,000 page document that deals not only with pollution but politics, jobs, the economy, stock prices, foreign investors, shareholders, etc. Seem like a “smoke screen?”

Although there is a multitude of arguments on both sides, if we pare the information down to find the truth: there is not a single precious metal mine that hasn’t or isn’t polluting (you may be familiar with the King Gold Mine in Colorado that polluted the waterways of Colorado, New Mexico, Utah, and the Navajo Nation). WHEN the Twin Metals mine pollutes, since it is in the Boundary Waters watershed, it inevitably will pollute the (currently) pristine lakes, streams, and rivers of the Boundary Waters wilderness. The truth is: if there is to be a mine, it should not be adjacent to the BWWCA. Period.

I think in the next few “A & A’s I’ll apply Occam’s razor to some “complex” issues. Seem like a good idea? If you’ve got any suggestions, let me know.