Newton's Flaming Laser Sword
Newton’s Flaming Laser Sword is a philosophical razor devised by Mike Alder in an essay on the conflicting positions of scientists and philosophers on epistemology and knowledge. It can be summarized as “what cannot be settled by experiment is not worth debating”.
From the original essay:
It seems to me fair game to use the Flaming Laser Sword on the philosopher who meddles in science which he does not understand.
- When he asks questions and is willing to learn, I have no quarrel with him.
- When he is merely trying to lure you into a word game with no prospect of leading anywhere, you have to decide if you like playing that sort of game.
Mathematicians and scientists feel that they have found a more difficult but much more satisfying game to play. Newton’s Flaming Laser Sword is one of the rules of that game.