Tag Archives | Logic

Children and the Great Blur

Boy 1900 hgAll children suffer when they are born to varying degrees. This is no pessimistic life-is-an-illness-with-a-terrible-diagnonis-because-its-outcome-cannot-be-but-fatal rigmarole. Far from it; however, only occasionally childbirth is an entirely smooth process, and psychologists of all schools cannot stop telling parents how important it is to reassure the newborn immediately, to establish the “bond” with the mother, etc., etc. It must be owned that there is a sharp contrast between the liquid womb environment and the outer, dry world of sharp lights and loud sounds. Childbirth can indeed be seen as, or actually be, a trauma.

At any rate, after a successful delivery—let us assume it is a vaginal one, the labor has been brief and the pregnancy as devoid as the delivery of any complications—the infant is in a state which could be defined, if somebody cared to be frank about it, catatonic. It will take months for the infant to start crawling. Later on, the upright posture will be a hard-won conquest.… Read the rest

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Crows Are Capable Of Human-Style Reasoning

Today, this news, tomorrow, a bird parliament. Crows living in a controlled environment have shown that they possess a sophisticated form of reasoning believed to be a hallmark of humanity alone, Wired writes:

A type of sophisticated thinking known as “causal reasoning” [is] inferring that mechanisms you can’t see may be responsible for something. But humans aren’t alone in this ability: New Caledonian crows can also reason about hidden mechanisms, or “causal agents,” a team of scientists report in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences. It’s the first time that this cognitive ability has been experimentally demonstrated in a species other than humans.

The tests show that the crows are “capable of causal reasoning,” Taylor says. “We expected the crows to initially be scared of the moving stick. Instead, they only became scared when they could not attribute the movement to a hidden human—which suggests the crows were reasoning that the stick’s movement was caused by that human.” The crows, he says, apparently don’t expect an inanimate object to move on its own.

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Jenna Jameson Endorses Mitt Romney

Photo credit: Luke Ford, lukeford.net

Well, why not?  After all, wafflemongers like Alec Baldwin get to have opinions all the time.  It must be admitted, Jameson’s ideas do have a direct simplicity that is very disarming.  Would you rather be popular or be correct?  And if reality is nothing more than a consensus construct, doesn’t being popular essentially make you correct?  If that’s your criterion, wouldn’t Jameson be a better keynote speaker at an economics symposium than Joseph Stiglitz?  From Nick Wing of the Huffington Post:

Retired porn star Jenna Jameson waded into the 2012 presidential race on Thursday, choosing a San Francisco strip club as the venue to announce her support for GOP presidential hopeful Mitt Romney.

CBS San Francisco has her comments:

“I’m very looking forward to a Republican being back in office,” Jameson said while sipping champagne in a VIP room at Gold Club in the city’s South of Market neighborhood.

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Logical Fallacies (Video)

A great primer for the emerging auto-didactic class. "Sorta on the side of evil, if you want to persuade people, mastering fallacies is a very useful skill. If you want to defend against being emotionally manipulated, knowing about fallacies is very useful." —Dr. Michael Lobossiere
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Why Nobody Cares What You Think (And What You Can Do About It)

Electro-CollarLet me start off by stipulating that I am TOTALLY in your corner, homes. I completely feel your pain, the frustration of having to repeat even the simplest proposition over and over and over (and over) again and just not being heard. It’s a real cross to bear, no?

But we can’t just drop it because some lunkhead refuses to see sense. We’ve got a point here, and even if we personally are not inclined to waste our time on trying to educate some feeble-minded half-wit, the integrity of our position is at stake. It’s not like we can just abandon ship in midstream here. Not without seeming to concede our point to some feckless, illiterate buffoon, anyhow.

I’m sure that’s what most of the problem is here. These people just don’t have the smarts or technical background or personal experience to see things our way. After all, they say, “No sense, no feeling.” That HAS to be why they seem to absorb round after round of our impeccably crafted logical salvos and still keep coming back parroting the same tired old chestnuts in response, as if they hadn’t heard a think we’ve said.… Read the rest

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Phishing For Trolls With Jesus

JCThis is a test. This is only a test. Had this been an actual religious emergency, the omnipotent creator of the universe would surely be sending plagues and pestilence, lightning bolts, or perhaps a herd of stampeding unicorns to trample all of the blasphemous infidels slandering his good name. But …. being as no such divine punishments have thus far materialized, I guess we’ll just have to settle for the inevitable intervention by a mob of his angry, self-proclaimed minions here on Earth. Or, failing that, I suppose any highly-opinionated Internet surfers will suffice.

Before jumping straight into throwing rocks at the hornets’ nest though, it might be useful to first define a few key terms just so there’s not any confusion among a certain segment of combative readers as to what particular words actually mean. Semantics, after all, is extremely important if language is to be anything other than meaningless noise.… Read the rest

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Reclaiming Skepticism | Corbett Report: Episode 221

Via The Corbett Report :

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Skeptics are those who advocate taking a provisional approach to all claims and carefully evaluating all the evidence before coming to a conclusion. In other words, the very process that The Corbett Report is engaged in every week, right? Well, not according to the self-professed “skeptics,” many of whom are content to skewer others for their logical fallacies yet frequently deploy logical fallacies of their own when “debunking” the “conspiracy theorists” that seem to be popping up everywhere. Join us today on The Corbett Report as we note the hypocrisies of the supposed “skeptics” and embrace the term as our own.
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Eat The Academy

On Preventing the Ceremonies of Dumb People in Hollywood From Being a Burden on Their Parent Companies or Country, and for Making Them Beneficial to the Public

Kill screen from the Cartoon Network video game Orphan Feast

Kill screen from the Cartoon Network video game Orphan Feast

“I am giving an account of what…ought…to be.”
William Daniel Defoe, A Friendly Proposal for Foundlings and Bastard Children Moll Flanders

Much like the birth of Christ, historians of film rarely agree on when it happened: the birth of cinema, that is. Perhaps even more controversial, however, is the question of paternity. Who’s your daddy, indeed?

Francophiles will forever laud Méliès, Teutons will zealously campaign for Murnau, the Russians <3 Eisenstein and proud Americans some of D.W. Griffith’s first, err, exploits. And yet, no matter the geographic genesis of film, one fact about its origin remains clear across the national board: it was, in fact, a silent birth. #Scientology.

If radio had delivered the psychologically bewildering disembodied voice (i.e.… Read the rest

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The Science Of Why We Don’t Believe Science

scopeWondering how evolution developed us into creatures who don’t believe in evolution? Mother Jones explains why large numbers of people tend to believe things that make no sense, and why the human brain is averse to evidence and reasoning:

An array of new discoveries in psychology and neuroscience has further demonstrated how our preexisting beliefs, far more than any new facts, can skew our thoughts and even color what we consider our most dispassionate and logical conclusions. This tendency toward so-called “motivated reasoning” helps explain why we find groups so polarized over matters where the evidence is so unequivocal: climate change, vaccines, “death panels,” the birthplace and religion of the president (PDF), and much else. It would seem that expecting people to be convinced by the facts flies in the face of, you know, the facts.

The theory of motivated reasoning builds on a key insight of modern neuroscience (PDF): Reasoning is actually suffused with emotion (or what researchers often call “affect”).

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Top 10 Logical Fallacies in Politics

Aristotle.

Aristotle.

And all this time I thought politicians just spoke a different language that only sounded like English.  E. Magill writes in Open Salon:

The human brain is wired all wrong. Those not versed in logic are blissfully unaware of how much our brain messes up the most basic of arguments, leading to the mess of random thoughts, non-sequiturs, cognitive dissonance, white lies, misinformation, and syntax errors that we call consciousness. Luckily, there is one place where all of these logical misteps can be exemplified: politics. What follows is a crash course in some of the most prevelant fallacies we all make, as they appear in modern American politics. And though I consider these the “top 10″ logical fallacies in politics, they are not in order, for reasons that should become clear rather quickly.

#1.

IGNORATIO ELENCHI

The man who invented Western philosophy, Aristotle, considered ignoratio elenchi, which roughly translates to “irrelevant thesis,” an umbrella term that covered all other logical fallacies.

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