While discussing the creation of this blog, the most common thought shared among myself, Paul, and Kyle was a concern over the near complete absence of logic and reason in society. While politics is the obvious shining example, one need not wander far from that topic to find a similar vacuum throughout our culture today.
What then, is logic? Or reason? They are not interchangeable terms. Reason is described as being subject to opinion, as opposed to logic, which is an actual science with rules and tests to guide one’s thinking process. To many, if something just seems to make sense, then it must be logical. In many cases, that would be incorrect. I contend a dumbing-down of our society has been going on for decades now, to the point your average person is totally incapable of applying basic concepts of logic and/or reason. Given my future posts here will likely include no small amount of discussion of the same, I think it may be useful to both myself and future readers to touch on some basic concepts.
There are types of reasoning, two of which are inductive and deductive. Deductive reasoning is from the general to the specific. “All Drebs are left-handed. Harold is a Dreb, therefore Harold is left-handed”, for example. Inductive reasoning is the inverse; from the specific to the general, e.g., “Kathy is from the Pacific Northwest. Kathy’s I.Q. is only 10 points higher than the minimum required to be self aware. Therefore, all people from the Pacific Northwest are blisteringly unintelligent.” As you can see, conclusions aren’t always valid. A third type of reasoning is called abductive, which can be described as “take your best shot”. Multiple pieces of evidence are considered, some possibly conflicting or irrelevant, and a conclusion is drawn. This is the type of reasoning you might use when answering questions like “Is she guilty or innocent of this crime”, “…from what illness is this patient suffering?”, or “…which one of these jackasses is going to get my vote?”
One definition of logic: “The science which studies the formal processes used in thinking and reasoning.” Since it is a science, there are specific rules which determine whether or not your reasoning is sound. There are simply too many to list – my intention is not to write a textbook! In the course of my lengthy and varied formal education, I never once took a dedicated course in logic. As a student of the subject, I simultaneously enjoy being able to discern faulty reasoning as it is encountered as well as feel overwhelmed at the frequency with which it is found. In my future posts I hope to illustrate some of these rules as well as learn more about them myself. Hopefully, I’ll find a way to do so which will be thought-provoking rather than a possible cure for insomnia. Since we are now in the midst of a Presidential election, there will plenty to discuss, no doubt. This could be a wild ride, folks!