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Monday
Mar232015

Is Logical The Right Word?

The first class that I ever took that was an honest to goodness introduction to logic started with this. 
The instructor asked for a show of hands of everyone who was familiar with the show "Star Trek" . I'm pretty sure they all went up. 


"Good.Now keep them up if you liked Mr. Spock."


No change as I saw it.


"Now keep your hand up if Mr. Spock was an influence in your taking this class."


Most stayed up, including my own.


"Now, keep your hands up, only if you realize that almost every time Mr. Spock used the word "logical" he used it wrong."


Not a hand remained standing , including my own.


Its true. Almost every time Spock announces that something is logical, he uses the word incorrectly. "Reasonable" just doesn't pack the same dramatic impact.


If something is logical, there can be NO OTHER explanation for the situation. Stating that two plus two equals four (in base ten arithmetic) is very logical. Merely saying that putting a Democrat and a Republican in the same room will result in an argument is reasonable, but not logical. Thy might not even talk politics. Its not even unlikely that they might discover common ground. Maybe they will both agree that a certain senator should go to jail for what he did.


After years of watching the show, I have to agree. He means reasonable when he says logical. In all but a very few cases, his conclusions ignore outcomes that he can't foresee. They are not "logical" in the true sense of the word.


In the real world, almost nothing is.


That last statement should in no means be interpreted as a reason to abandon logic. Hardly. The search for understanding should never be abandoned merely because it is fallible.   


Would you stop eating because you once tasted something bad?
That's  not reasonable.


Almost every time you  hear anyone say that something is logical, they don’t mean that it’s logical –in fact, they mean something almost exactly opposite – that it seems correct based on intuition and common sense.
And common sense tells us that the world is flat. 


Okay, bad example. I’ve repeated this little axiom of mine for years, usually to be called out with, “That’s not true, everyone knows the world is round. “


Fair enough, but what do your  common senses tell you? Can you see the curvature of the Earth? Do you have any “sense” that the planet is spinning to the east at  an incredible speed? 


If your honest with yourself you will see that your brain inputs, sight, sound sense of motion, tell you none of this. Using “logic” by most peoples understanding of it,  you must deduce that the Earth is flat.


When more information is injected into the equation,  then the shape of the Earth can become , well, at least reasonable.


Not every logician accepts this idea that the use of such a word as logical is wrong in this case. Some even suggest that reasonable is to weak a word to be used for the right effect. 


There is an episode of Star Trek- The Next Generation that features a race who are just about to make the step that the Vulcans did long ago. That is, control their emotions and use logic. Interestingly, they never refer to their conclusions as logical, bur reasonable.  The episode is called “Who Watches the Watchers.

 

Tuesday
Mar112014

Obscure Joke of the Week.

Werner Karl Heisenberg was driving through Pasadena when he was stoped by a motorcycle cop.

 

"Do you know how fast you were going?" asked the officer.

 

"No sir, but I know exactly where I am."

Monday
Dec092013

Ted Nugent (As if Anybody Cared)

In a December 4 column for conspiracy website WND, alleged former rock star  Ted Nugent gave  to world what he calls "a Great Compromise". 

A compromise that would trade closing the gun show loophole for closing what he deemed "the federal voting loophole." His proposal, disenfranchising all individuals who do not pay federal income tax . 

Then, he would agree to close the "gun show loophole." Here suffering from "Cat Scratch Fever"

Implementing this plan would involve taking away the vote from a large number of Americans who work but do not owe federal income taxes as well as retirees and some individuals who cannot work because of illness or disability.

Ted seems to think this is a compromise that both sides can live with. 

I think Ted did a lot more drugs that I did back when.

Monday
Dec092013

You Too Can Guru

Now, the secrets of spreading Cosmic Bullshit can be yours. 

Aint you glad you asked.

Monday
Dec092013

When people act with absolute knowledge, this how they behave.

You know, I've lived a few years, and as such I've seen that there is not so much evil in the world as there is misdirected good. 

Run that through your mind a few times today. 

A real problem is when people are so sure they are right that they don't allow for any other opinion than there own. My own observation is that this "my way or the highway" crap comes from people who are so insecure in their own world view that they need others to embrace it so to validate themselves.

People who cannot live with their own doubt must control the actions and beliefs of others. They must, at all cost, make others conform to their view or they loose the battle for their own soul. Or at least they appear to think.

Absolutism means you  must make everyone just like you. Even at the cost of another living fully functioning human being. 

Jacob Bronowski, in his excellent television series, The Accent of Man" says it here in words and images that far out weigh anything I can type in a blog.