Archive for the ‘logic’ Category

Cease and desist

OK, this is pretty hypothetical stuff and is aimed more at the US “Conservatives” who tend to be more moronic and fringy than non-US conservatives.  After all, most of the readers of my blog are referred by a former member of Margaret Thatcher’s cabinet! I should add that this is why I don’t really look at comments. But here goes…

I am not sure of what you are trying to persuade me about your “point of view”, but basing your argument solely upon an idea’s being “liberal” isn’t really valid, especially if the programme in question happens to have been suggested by the likes of Richard Nixon (e.g., environmental protection and gun control)!  If anything such an argument tend to show is that you are fairly ignorant.

And I don’t give a shit if you are a rocket scientist with patents, because ignorance means being in a state of not knowing.  That means you can be smart as fuck, but you are still an ignorant bastard!

To go a step further, ignorant arguments are just not persuasive–no matter how much you repeat them in the hope that repetition of a lie will make it true.

If you are too lazy to actually look into the topic, I am not interested in wasting my time listening to your repetition of nonsensical propositions.

First off, I actually have a life and things to do that are far more important than listening to you babbling (even if it is on a keyboard).  The fact that you are spending an inordinate amount of time just reading this blog makes me wonder about you.  You are putting far more into what I write than I do (as I just made a long overdue correction of a three year old typo).

And as for your comments, you have been asked not to post them here since they are rude, harassing, and just plain off pointless.  As I said earlier, you are only persuading me that you are a moron.

But, even more importantly, you are a moron who is coming close to breaking the law.  The First Amendment only protects you against government interference with your speech, private entities are under no obligation to you in any way.

And trust me, your “conservative” clowns will sell your arse out when it comes to free speech knowing full well that they would have to allow Unions, Socialists, and others to express their points of view.  They can’t do anything which might cause people to actually think about what it going on--and you are one of the ones they prefer to see not thinking–because people might start to ask questions.

But, that is a digression, what you believe to be free speech can be seen as harassment, threats, and intimidation placing them firmly into the category of being illegal.  That means such things as civil and criminal liability if you don’t get your shit together (although, I seriously doubt you could get your shit together).  You don’t want to loose your right to keep and bear arms, or are you hoping that people who harass and threaten are given a pass to keep their guns until they actually go on shooting sprees?

In short,  you are losing your argument, but are too dim to realise it.  That means you continue a course of conduct which is just downright counterproductive to everything you are hoping to achieve.

I am also going to ask where exactly you get your “facts” as they don’t coincide with reality.  Maybe they do in your universe, but not in the one I am inhabiting.

Is that in simple enough language for you to understand, or do I need to dumb it down further for you?

Reason, Change, and the progressive mind

In my post: Why People Don’t Believe Scientists Even When There Is ‘Consensus’ (via A Thinking Person) I mentioned that he explained:

the phenomenon of where people accept studies that are poorly supported over those with oodles of support, peer review, etcetera. That is people are more inclined to believe things that fit their worldview. Change requires effort and is uncomfortable, thus people prefer inactivity and status quo.

In the ideal world, people would be logical rather than susceptible to their emotions. Unfortunately, people are more inclined to let their emotions sway them, no matter how irrational that may be.

I am not alone in wondering this as other progressives, such as George Monbiot recently wrote an article in the Guardian, which was posted to his blog about this phenomenon.

We see someone who is Jewish allying herself with neo-nazis or a person who feels free because he can work 62 hours and not have any vacation which are totally irrational positions. George Monbiot points out that:

[we are] forming an orderly queue at the slaughterhouse gate. The punishment of the poor for the errors of the rich, the abandonment of universalism, the dismantling of the shelter the state provides: apart from a few small protests, none of this has yet brought us out fighting.

The acceptance of a course of action which run contrary to perceived interests is the pervasive mystery of the 21st Century. But most Progressives use the enlightenment model of thinking which holds that people make rational decisions by assessing facts. Psychological experiments are showing that it doesn’t work the way we would expect. Instead of performing a rational analysis, people accept information which confirms our identity and values, and reject information that conflicts with those values. We mould our thinking around our social identity, protecting it from serious challenge. Confronting people with inconvenient facts is likely only to harden resistance to the conflicting idea.

The US Tea Party crowd angrily demands that they be left without healthcare, while insisting that millionaires should pay less tax. People in the US insanely demand their “gun rights” and are easily manipulated with wedge issues. Not that they are the only victims of this irrationality as other countries seem set to abandon the social progress for which our ancestors risked their lives with barely a mutter of protest.

Our social identity is shaped by values which psychologists classify as either extrinsic or intrinsic. Extrinsic values concern status and self-advancement. People with a strong set of extrinsic values fixate on how others see them. They cherish financial success, image and fame. Intrinsic values concern relationships with friends, family and community, and self-acceptance. Those who have a strong set of intrinsic values are not dependent on praise or rewards from other people. They have beliefs which transcend their self-interest.

We are not born with our values. They are shaped by the social environment. By changing our perception of what is normal and acceptable, politics alters our minds as much as our circumstances. In addition, advertising and the media are used to persuade people by obsessive promotion of celebrity, fashion, fast cars, expensive holidays: all of which inculcate extrinsic values. They also suppress intrinsic goals by generating feelings of insecurity and inadequacy – which means reducing self-acceptance.

George Monbiot
suggests that:

People with strong intrinsic values must cease to be embarrassed by them (those who encourage selfishness). We should argue for the policies we want not on the grounds of expediency but on the grounds that they are empathetic and kind; and against others on the grounds that they are selfish and cruel. In asserting our values we become the change we want to see.

I have to admit a dilema in dealing with the severely brainwashed since I am not sure than anything short of a religious experience would convert them from their positions. It will take quite a bit to change our society so that it values community and family, not just work. We must stand up for those who believe there is more to life than the bottom line.

Perhaps the most important point that George makes is that we shouldn’t rely upon politicians to bring about this change as “their ambition must supplant peace of mind, family life, friendship – even brotherly love.” We must assert the values that we believe in and become the change that we seek.

See this report for more on the concept of reenforcing beliefs:

The “Breda Fallacy” Solution Alternatives

Calling a blog a fallacy seems a bit to me like saying: Everything I’ve ever told you is a lie–including that (i.e. Everything I’ve ever told you is a lie). That makes me curious as to why no one has asked the question “why the Breda Fallacy?” I mean, I see how the gunloons jump on anything they see as falsehood, yet have left alone something with falsehood written right in the title for all this time. You’d think there would be an explanation of the name out there already, but…

Personally, I think the “Breda Fallacy” sounds a bit like a thriller novel (e.g., Robert Ludlum and why I almost called this post the “Breda Solution”) written about the The Dutch War for Independence or 30 Years War and Centring around the Siege of Breda. Can’t really imagine the plot line. But we could have painters such as the Brueghels and the Philosopher Spinoza involved (if he weren’t later in time, although maybe he’s involved as a baby).

There is another Breda which I didn’t pay much attention to: Breda Fucili. The reason for this is that I’d think Breda would make more of this connection if it existed, unless her implication is that Breda Fucili’s products are crap. That might not play with her sponsors if she knocks product. In fact, tying Breda Fucili with falsehood doesn’t seem too bright an idea for a gun blog.  That’s why I haven’t mentioned it until the “final product”.

Anyway, It seems that the Breda Fallacy has nothing to do with logic or rhetoric at least according to my sources on that topic. In other words, there was no joy in that search. I did put the posts up with logic, rhetoric, cognitive, and psychology tags  in the hope someone might offer an explanation, but no joy in that regard.

Although another possibility arose in the search for the Breda Fallacy using my Dutch sources:

Een denkfout, ook wel cognitieve fout of redeneerfout, is een irrationele, foutieve gedachtegang die een negatief zelfbeeld in stand houdt of versterkt.

Here’s my translation:

A fallacy, also called cognitive error or reasoning error, is irrational, faulty logic which maintains or enhances self-esteem.

My error (denkfout) may be that I looked in the wrong disciplines (Logic and Rhetoric) and didn’t consider that the fallacy could be from another discipline (psychology in this case).

The Psychological use of fallacy as something irrational “which maintains or enhances self-esteem” ties in with MikeB and JadeGold’s comments to the first post. Of course, using those two creates an interesting paradox since MikeB and JadeGold are seen as liars, yet my interest is in why call the blog something that can be interpreted as the “Breda Falsehood”?

Although, the fallacy of accident where the exception to the generalization is ignored does sound promising. After all, I can understand not wanting to fit into a group and feeling ignored for it. Although that does fit in with the psychological use of fallacy (maintaining or enhancing self-esteem).

Another possibility is that she is posting things that she finds are untrue and is indeed having a joke on the gunloons. I have researched the gun rights claims and found them to be without base (e.g., “self-defence is a right”).  Breda is a reference librarian, I imagine her research skills are pretty good (this is a figure of speech called litotes), perhaps she came to the same conclusion.  Maybe her game is that she knows that people will accept what fits their beliefs and she is having a laugh at how gullible people can be, even if they are “intelligent”, because they lack critical reasoning skills. As I said in my first post, I am all for her if this is the case.

To be quite honest, my inquiry into this matter doesn’t reflect too well on Breda. I’d love to say she was using a neat intellectual concept as the title of her blog, but the chances of that seem remote. The reason for the blog’s name will be known only to Breda, which is her privilege.

Not that I wouldn’t happily post (or not post) her explanation for the name–whatever that may be.

I would even post a cover story of her choice if the name does refer to deceiving the gunloon crowd.  As I said in my original post, I am very sympathetic to seeing them shown up for being fools.

On the whole, I do have to admit that this has been a fun project.

Why People Don’t Believe Scientists Even When There Is ‘Consensus’ (via A Thinking Person)

This explains the phenomenon where people accept studies that are poorly supported over those with oodles of support, peer review, etcetera. That is people are more inclined to believe things that fit their worldview. Change requires effort and is uncomfortable, thus people prefer inactivity and status quo.

In the ideal world, people would be logical rather than susceptible to their emotions. Unfortunately, people are more inclined to let their emotions sway them, no matter how irrational that may be.

Why People Don't Believe Scientists Even When There Is 'Consensus' An interesting study, soon to appear in the Journal of Risk Research, by Yale law professor Dan M. Kahan and colleagues, suggests that people tend to disbelieve scientists whose cultural values are different than theirs. I'm not able to determine when this study will be published, but you can find an abstract at this link, and I was able to download a preliminary version of the whole article in PDF by clicking on the link on that page that says " … Read More

via A Thinking Person

Posted 27/09/2010 by lacithedog in logic, persuasion

The “Breda Fallacy” is still a mystery

Amusingly enough, wordpress generated a link to the post Logical Fallacies — the Non Sequitur. This seemed appropriate to me as the name “Breda Fallacy” is turning out to be a bit of a non-sequitur:

This term is often applied in a general sense to any sort of logical fallacy, more specifically referring to any chain of reasoning and argumentation where the conclusion doesn’t follow from the premises, or any argument where a logical connection between premises is implied that just ain’t there.

Thank you, Troythulu!

I have to admit that a relationship of this to the Sieges of Breda is an intriguing possibility. In fact, the connection to Breda in the Netherlands is something which has me very intrigued.

No joy on searches of “Breda logisch denkfout” and “Breda retorisch denkfout”.

A possible explanation has come up:

In logic and rhetoric, a fallacy is a misconception resulting from incorrect reasoning in argumentation.

Basically, there are many kinds of fallacies. BUT…THIS one stuck out most:

Accident (fallacy): when an exception to the generalization is ignored.

There you have it. I don’t want to…nor do I try to…fit in the same group everyone else that looks like me has been thrown in….and at times, I feel like I get ignored for it.

Personally, I am still looking for an esoteric logical or rhetorical device called the Breda Fallacy.

It would be nice to have a helpful reference librarian, but I am having fun trying to suss this one for myself.

BTW, no word from my friends in Breda.

What the fuck is the “Breda Fallacy” anyway?

OK, my undergrad degree had a strong element of Philosophy and when I hear the word “fallacy” it makes me think of this:

In logic and rhetoric, a fallacy is a misconception resulting from incorrect reasoning in argumentation. By accident or design, fallacies may exploit emotional triggers in the listener or interlocutor (e.g. appeal to emotion), or take advantage of social relationships between people (e.g. argument from authority). Fallacious arguments are often structured using rhetorical patterns that obscure the logical argument, making fallacies more difficult to diagnose. Also, the components of the fallacy may be spread out over separate arguments.

And Breda is a place in the Netherlands. It could be the bint’s name as well.

Unfortunately, I can’t make a connection between the two things: Breda and Fallacy. I’ve contacted some Dutch friends from Breda who happen to deal with logic and rhetoric on a professional basis to see if they might shed some light on this. Until then, the title of this blog seems pretty esoteric to me.

Unless, of course, I want to go with “a fallacy is a misconception resulting from incorrect reasoning in argumentation”: meaning this is some bint’s fucked up thoughts.

You’d think that someone who is a reference librarian would be able to scoop out the facts.

And have her shit together enough so that people with backgrounds in logic wouldn’t assume that her blog is a fourth box of BS (although three seems a surfeit of BS to me). Unless that’s her intent. What if Breda is having a big arsed joke on her public knowing full well that “nobody ever went broke underestimating the intelligence of the American people”.

And the gun loon crowd are truly a bunch of cretins who can be sucked in by a pretty face giving them what they want to hear while she’s laughing all the way to the bank at their stupidity.

And people wonder why I think my dog is smarter than most people. She definitely seems smarter than a reference librarian from Ohio. Unless our librarian is having one big laugh at the Gunloons’ expense: then it’s mazel tov, sister!

(BTW, the word “Bint” comes from Arabic where it just means girl: it does have a derogatory meaning in British slang. She’s an islamophobe and I’m British with a knowledge of Arabic which means that my use of the word “bint” could take either meaning. For those who call me stupid: I am certainly using language well. Perhaps far better than this bint.)

More "Turtles all the way down".

In my original “Turtles All The Way Down” post, I discussed the argumentum ad populem and how people can be wrong. Despite holding incorrect opinions, the masses refuse to see reason. This is despite being shown their opinions are wrong.

Needless to say, we have this love of long discredited statistics concerning defensive gun use by the gun cretin crowd.

They insist that Lott and Kleck are “peer reviewed”. Well, yes, they are peer reviewed and found to be seriously flawed. Yet, the gun cretin crowd will trot them out to try and refute more accurate statistics.

The New England Coalition to Prevent Gun Violence blog post Say what? How many defensive gun uses? Points out a sidebar in an Article called “Who is the Armed Citizen?” in the National Rifle Association’s magazine America’s 1st Freedom highlights one of the gun lobby’s favorite pieces of research – a 1995 study by Gary Kleck and Marc Gertz that reported an astounding 2.5 million defense gun uses each year in the United States. But for some curious reason the author neglected to mention the numerous, peer reviewed, refereed, academic articles that have been published over the last decade that clearly refute Kleck’s astronomical claim.

Never mind it’s well known that applying Kleck and Gertz’s methodology to a 1994 ABC News/ Washington Post survey of 1500 adults of which 10 percent answered affirmatively as to whether they had ever seen an alien spacecraft. Of these, six percent stated they had come into contact with a space alien. If extrapolated to the national population using Kleck and Gertz’s methodology, this would translate into almost 20 million Americans who had seen a spacecraft from another planet and more than a million who had actually met space aliens.

You can Read some of the other refutations of Kleck and Gertz’s methodology for yourself:

* “The gun debate’s new mythical number: How many defensive uses per year?” Journal of Police Analysis and Management, 1997
* “The myth of millions of annual self-defense gun use: A case study of survey overestimates of rare events” Chance – American Statistical Association, 1997
* “Defensive Gun Uses: New Evidence from a National Survey” Journal of Quantitative Criminology, 1998
* “The Relative Frequency of Offensive and Defensive Gun Uses: Results from a National Survey”, Violence and Victims, 2000
* “Myths about Defensive Gun Use and Permissive Gun Carry Laws” Berkeley Media Studies Group, 2000
* “Comparing the Incidence of Self-Defense Gun Use and Criminal Gun Use” Harvard Injury Control Research Center, 2009
* And the list goes on…….

But perhaps the most egregious part of this article is the reference to the work of researchers Phillip Cook and Jens Judwig. In a 1997 article in the National Institute of Justice Research in Brief titled “Guns in America: National Survey on Private Ownership and Use of Firearms”, Cook and Ludwig conclude “The NSPOF-based estimate of millions of defensive gun uses each year greatly exaggerates the true number, as do other estimates based on similar surveys. Evidence suggests that this survey and others like it overestimate the frequency with which firearms were used by private citizens to defend against criminal attack.” Yet in the sidebar article the NRA inexplicitly claims “researchers Cook and Ludwig confirmed the results of the Kleck/Gertz study.”

That doesn’t really surprise me since the gun cretin crowd will grasp at straws to try and buttress their position. For example the following quote:

It must be made a sacred maxim, that the militia obey the executive power, which represents the whole people in the execution of laws. To suppose arms in the hands of the citizens, to be used at individual discretion, except in private self defense, or by partial orders of towns, counties, or districts of a state, is to demolish every constitution, and lay the laws prostrate, so that liberty can be enjoyed by no man is a dissolution of the government. The fundamental law of the militia is, that it be created, directed, and commanded by the laws, and ever for the support of the laws. Adams, John, A Defence of the Constitutions of Government of the United States of America,1787-88, p. 474-5

The gun cretin will see the phrase “To suppose arms in the hands of the citizens, to be used at individual discretion, except in private self defense”. Nevermind that the entire quote supports the concept of the militia. In fact, the first quote is only a part of the whole sentence which is:

To suppose arms in the hands of the citizens, to be used at individual discretion, except in private self defense, or by partial orders of towns, counties, or districts of a state, is to demolish every constitution, and lay the laws prostrate, so that liberty can be enjoyed by no man is a dissolution of the government.

Which sounds pretty negative about “arms in the hands of the citizens” to me.

Anyway, I have a really hard time accepting the arguments from the gun lobby.

Turtles all the way down

The most widely known version appears in Stephen Hawking’s 1988 book A Brief History of Time, which starts:

A well-known scientist once gave a public lecture on astronomy. He described how the earth orbits around the sun and how the sun, in turn, orbits around the center of a vast collection of stars called our galaxy. At the end of the lecture, a little old lady at the back of the room got up and said: “What you have told us is rubbish. The world is really a flat plate supported on the back of a giant tortoise.” The scientist gave a superior smile before replying, “What is the tortoise standing on?” “You’re very clever, young man, very clever”, said the old lady. “But it’s turtles all the way down!”

OK, I’ll have to admit to intellectual laziness since I learned about this from the first season of QI instead of reading Stephen Hawking. Where I picked it up isn’t as important as the concept of knowledge and myth.

For some reason some ancient beliefs and superstitions have not given way to logic and science. The popular imagination holds a belief, yet refuses to shed it to fact. Ignorance keeps hold even though knowledge has tried to explain facts.

“But it’s turtles all the way down!”

The argumentum ad populum. Someting is true because many or all people believe it. There is a converse to this the argumentum ad verecundiam, the argument from authority or appeal to authority is a logical fallacy, where it is argued that a statement is correct because the statement is made by a person or source that is commonly regarded as authoritative.

But, if the people or the authority is wrong, then that does not make the proposition true. So, even if 5 out of 4 of the Supreme Court justices rule that someting is the law, that does not make it proper law.

I have to admit, that any legal scholar if pressed would say that if something is not mentioned in a law, that it is not applicable, yet the argument in DC v. Heller was given court time.

The question is how does one educate the people that the popular beliefs about the Second Amendment, in particular it’s being an “individual right” are The Emperor’s New Clothes. There really isn’t anything there. Heller was pure partisan politics which is the only reason that piece of intellectual dishonesty could have been written.

Everyone who has read the decision has found it wanting, with the exception of some gun control groups who are happy that it allows for reasonable restrictions and the “me too” crowd of Second Amendment “Scholars”–of couse. I have to admit that it is a harbinger of ill when I think of this in light of Cass Sunstein: “The Second Amendment: The Constitution’s Most Mysterious Right”, but I am not sure how the ill will come about.

The problem is that it is difficult dealing with ignorance as the quote at the beginning points out.

So, it is a chore to deal with it whether the ignorance comes from the people or those in power