Layne's Laws

  • Layne’s First Law of Ignorance: We don’t know how much we don’t know.
    • Corollary 1: We don’t know how much we can’t know.
    • Corollary 2: Ab esse ad posse. If it happened, then it’s possible.
    • Corollary 3: All statistical models fall prey to division fallacies. Knowing what the group does gives no certain knowledge of what the individual is doing.
  • Layne's Second Law of Ignorance: Ignorance is the state of not knowing enough to know that you don't know enough.
  • The Tree Branch Law: A theory which contradicts a fundamental presupposition of reason (e.g. the principle of non-contradiction) must be ruled out a priori because it saws off the tree branch on which the reasoner sits.
  • Atheist Law of Natural Preference: If it could have resulted from natural processes, even if odds against were 10googol:1, then it did result from natural processes.
    • Corollary 1: The universe and earth are old enough for any natural result to have occurred, no matter how improbable.
    • Corollary 2: Past conditions were sufficient to guarantee even the least probable natural result (cf. Weak Anthropic Principle).
    • Dawkins’ Postulate: P > 0.
  • Layne’s Counter to ALNP: The law of probability proves that God has a sense of humor.
  • Iron Law of Homilies: Lukewarm preaching leads to lukewarm Christians.
  • Layne’s Contradiction of Simplified Ockham: If the simplest explanation were by necessity the most likely true, we should never have given up Ptolemy for Newton and Einstein.
  • Layne's Definitions:
    • A skeptic is a person who questions all beliefs but his own.
    • A cynic is a person who questions all motives but his own. 
  • Anderson's Law: “As a debate involving the Catholic Church (either a discussion about the Church specifically, or a discussion in which the Church is taking a position) grows longer, the probability of someone mentioning the sex scandal approaches 1 (100%).”
    • Layne's Corollary 1: When mentioned as a comparative, the comparison will be not only invalid but far-fetched.
    • Layne's Corollary 2: The earlier in the discussion the scandals are mentioned, the greater the probability the rest of the discussion will follow the mentioner down a rabbit hole.
    More to follow as I think of them ....