“What is the first business of one who practices philosophy? To get rid of self-conceit.
For it is impossible for anyone to begin to learn that which he thinks he already knows.”
Epictetus (~55-135 AD)
The first topic of this blog will right be one I consider extremely important. This blog hopes to help you in making you better prepared to enter deeper into the rabbit hole the world surrounding all of us seems to be.
The term rabbit hole comes by the way from a known spook novel, but known to so many people that the metaphor sticks and is not spoiled by the spookiness of the author, Lewis Carroll. The book is of course Alice in Wonderland.
Aren’t we all Alice?
Aren’t we all surrounded by a Wonderland of staged events, manipulation, lying, and trying to get us, the sheople, in line with the idea some psyopaths have set out as their life plan? I think we do.
Back on-topic. The first important part of everyone’s toolbox in life should be, and that’s why it is very much suppressed to us, is logic.
Logic is a threat to psychopaths. Psychopaths are sick people. They suffer from a very serious mental illness. For those who have first-hand experience with psychopaths in their lives you probably can tell it is both horrible (being a part of it) and illuminating (no links to “Illuminati“ here, just the English word for a valuable learning experience) at the same time.
Most people do not encounter psychopaths on a first-hand basis. They do however a lot without noticing it on a much farther distance, but really getting to know psychopaths is rare. Luckily. Most people are not psychopaths, yet generally honest, mostly moral, a bit clumsy and too easily deceived, but good people.
To understand psychopaths it also doesn’t help much to turn our eyes to movies and series that picture them, as those are, ….surprise, surprise, … created and brought to us by… psychopaths.
Would you trust the crappy car dealer to write objectively about crappy cars? I wouldn’t.
I start with psychopaths because understanding them is vital to understand “the world“, but let’s tie it with the main topic; logic.
Logic is a basic tool in everything we do in terms of looking at our surroundings. It may be that we don’t notice it, but logic is inside all of us. One of the best examples is children. Children are logical by nature, mainly because they haven’t been spoiled by the “education“ prison, set up surprise surprise, by psychopaths. They reason from a logical standpoint, naturally, instinctively.
Logic has many foundations and effects. Logic leads our lives insofar the normal day-to-day business goes. If someone claims A but sells you B, he/she is not acting logically. If the consequence of action X is result Y based on the causal relation X->Y, it makes sense.
People can be very logical, at least when we behave like we people are, and have been for thousands of years, among each other, trading, talking, living.
A major difference comes into play with looking at “events“ presented to us, logically thinking people, from the outside. The outside is ruled (at least they think that) by… psychopaths. Psychopaths have a unique “gift“. It is not so much the goodness of this “gift”, but more the dangerous aspect of it that is important. A psychopath is able to hold two (or more) completely contradictory (and thus illogical) viewpoints in his/her head and present them with a smile.
That is strange for normal people. If the waiter of the restaurant of your choice for tonight tells you the dish you picked is both horribly bad and amazingly good, you would question that waiter’s mental condition, not?
Psychopaths lack this natural, normal reaction. They are able to do this and even convince others in a perfect straight way. That makes them so dangerous and “intelligent“. Not all psychopaths have high intelligence, but when psychopathy goes hand-in-hand with intelligence, that’s when the ground gets dirty. And really dirty.
When you Google “logic“ you get about 118,000,000 results. However, the usual first appearing page in a Google search, Wikipedia, does not appear in the first 25 pages! Encyclopedia Brittanica appears first, at page 23, RationalWiki one page later. You have to “show omitted results“ to get some Wikipedia pages on logic, on page 18. The first search result is actually some rapper?! And many gossip stories about this rapper. Lots of companies that do not have anything to do with logic. That says a lot; logic is not out there in the open. Logic is also not taught to the level it deserves in the child prison system; schools. Why? A possible answer is that psyopaths know they rely on deceit and logic, when applied consistently, defeats deceit.
Of course you can tweak the search results by using “logic Wikipedia“, but that would be begging for results. At the end of this blog post you find a list of logical fallacies, that I won’t cover in detail in this post, others have done a great job in that already. There are many fallacies and they are used everyday by everyone, including me, even in this post, but it may help your life and view at the world to study them and train yourself in avoiding logical fallacies and thus becoming a more logical thinker.
In the comments section below please point out logical fallacies you spot in my own text, I can only appreciate your efforts in helping improving myself.
A semi-logical term I want to highlight, as it is used widely by people. It is the term Occam’s razor. It claims that the least complex explanation must be the most correct one. Luckily, even in the introduction section on Wikipedia it is stated that it is not considered an irrefutable principle of logic or a scientific result, but many people still see it that way or apply it as if it were carved in granite.
The idea that the least complex explanation is the correct one is based on subjectivity, it is not an objectively derived definition. Because what is complex? And also, how do one defines correctness? What are the criteria? Those questions are usually not asked in the cases when people use the term in everyday speak.
In the scientific method, Occam’s razor is not considered an irrefutable principle of logic or a scientific result; the preference for simplicity in the scientific method is based on the falsifiability criterion. For each accepted explanation of a phenomenon, there may be an extremely large, perhaps even incomprehensible, number of possible and more complex alternatives.
Another term that has been used in truth seeking communities I have seen is Falsus in uno, falsus in omnibus, meaning ‘false in one, false in all“. This actually is not a philosophical, but a legal statement. But people have use it in the context of truth seeking logic. Which is interesting, as the legal system does not have anything to do with logic and actually works against it. Why are some people allowed to write texts on paper and then enforce those texts on other people, while you and me are not allowed to write a text on paper and use the fact it is written down as a tool to enforce those ideas on others?
The term is used for witness testimonies in a court of law to discard certain testimonies because the witness was not telling the truth about a specific subject. In truth seeking, it is widely applied to organizations and individuals on- and offline to question their credibility. That would be ok if it is not the only basis for the questioning of the credibility of those people or their claims. Does not telling the truth about one point destroys the complete credibility of someone on all other points? Without proper scrutiny of those points, or at least a decent selection of them?
This statement has been applied a lot to NASA, reasoning “they lied about landing people on the Moon, so it means no single point of information spread by them can be trusted“. Which is quite curious. Of course repetitive and continuous lying does not help in boosting someones credibility, and everyone has his or her own standards in place to measure/assess that credibility. But if we would apply this “rule“ to NASA, it would for example mean (future) solar and lunar eclipses that are presented on NASA websites are fake, where they obviously are not, we can observe those majestic spectacles in the skies.
I find it interesting to see that challenges based on or related with logic have been put forward against so-called “fringe theories“, “pseudoscience“, “conspiracy theories“ and similar labels given to alternative views or questions asked about the many stories we have been fed with.
Let’s take for instance the Crackpot Index. It was presented in 1992 “semi-seriously“ by mathematician John Baez as a measure to question alternative views in physics or mathematics, but essentially is applicable (and has been applied) in a broader sense when challenging other so-called “official“ stories.
The Crackpot Index
(with an application to mainstream views)
A simple method for rating potentially revolutionary contributions to physics:
A -5 point starting credit.
How nice, credit should be given where credit is due.
1 point for every statement that is widely agreed on to be false.
Isn’t “widely agreed on“ an appeal to group authority? Who decides what is true or false?
2 points for every statement that is clearly vacuous.
Vacuous, having or showing a lack of thought or intelligence; mindless or empty, isn’t that challenging someone’s characteristics and motives? In philosophy that could be called a Bulverism – the assumption and assertion that an argument is flawed or false because of the arguer’s suspected motives, social identity, or other characteristic associated with the arguer’s identity.
3 points for every statement that is logically inconsistent.
In a list of logical inconsistent fallacies, the hubris!
5 points for each such statement that is adhered to despite careful correction.
Bulverism again, Mr. Baez?
5 points for using a thought experiment that contradicts the results of a widely accepted real experiment.
Looks to me like:
- Appeal to group authority (widely accepted) – acceptance by others is not an argument by itself
- Bulverism (real) – an allegedly real experiment (like playing golf on the Moon) might be actually a thought experiment
5 points for each word in all capital letters (except for those with defective keyboards).
5 points for each mention of “Einstien”, “Hawkins” or “Feynmann”.
Typos can happen, but with writing names it can become quite offensive for people, agreed that shouldn’t happen.
10 points for each claim that quantum mechanics is fundamentally misguided (without good evidence).
Bulverism – what counts as good?
How do we know quantum mechanics is real? Any experiments done?
10 points for pointing out that you have gone to school, as if this were evidence of sanity.
It may even well be actual evidence of insanity.
10 points for beginning the description of your theory by saying how long you have been working on it. (10 more for emphasizing that you worked on your own.)
Does time spent on anything mean or doesn’t mean anything? Who defines that? Does perfecting a sculpture reflect the time spent on it? Is throwing paint on a canvas in 5 minutes “just as good“ as painting the Sistine Chapel for 20 years?
10 points for mailing your theory to someone you don’t know personally and asking them not to tell anyone else about it, for fear that your ideas will be stolen.
No worries, I won’t do that.
10 points for offering prize money to anyone who proves and/or finds any flaws in your theory.
Also, I won’t do that. Damn, already 20 points lost.
10 points for each new term you invent and use without properly defining it.
I agree, that is very bad, but many times can be seen in the mainstream too. Even using terms that don’t have a definition widely agreed upon.
10 points for each statement along the lines of “I’m not good at math, but my theory is conceptually right, so all I need is for someone to express it in terms of equations”.
Does this also refer to those scientists who have proposed a theory and then others “prove“ them right? Or even to the opposite, where first the maths was worked out and then the concepts were observed or “observed“?
10 points for arguing that a current well-established theory is “only a theory”, as if this were somehow a point against it.
Except for the many cases where the current “well-established“ theory IS only a theory; why are mainstream researchers not held to the same scrutiny as alternative researchers? Who decides that?
10 points for arguing that while a current well-established theory predicts phenomena correctly, it doesn’t explain “why” they occur, or fails to provide a “mechanism”.
See last point
10 points for each favorable comparison of yourself to Einstein, or claim that special or general relativity are fundamentally misguided (without good evidence).
What did Einstein do to deserve such an exceptional God-like status? Wasn’t he just a man working on some equations?
10 points for claiming that your work is on the cutting edge of a “paradigm shift”.
Again, what about the many mainstream claims doing the same?
20 points for emailing me and complaining about the crackpot index. (E.g., saying that it “suppresses original thinkers” or saying that I misspelled “Einstein” in item 8.)
Don’t worry, I won’t email you. Feel free to email me.
20 points for suggesting that you deserve a Nobel prize.
I’d rather not, too many liars have received that “prize“, I’d rather not be part of them.
20 points for each favorable comparison of yourself to Newton or claim that classical mechanics is fundamentally misguided (without good evidence).
It is up to others to compare me to other people. I do not think classical mechanics is fundamentally misguided, in fact I think it is extremely useful to challenge the later mainstream claims.
20 points for every use of science fiction works or myths as if they were fact.
Does that also apply to NASA actually basing their designs, names, stories and inventions on science fiction works (H.G. Wells, Isaac Asimov, Arthur C. Clarke, many others) and myths (the names of planets, moons, etc., and “spacecraft“)?
20 points for defending yourself by bringing up (real or imagined) ridicule accorded to your past theories.
This indeed is a fallacy. But at the same time ridicule is evidently happening big time by mainstream believers when addressing (or not even) alternatives to their views. Remember Mr. Baez, you called this list the Crackpot Index…
20 points for naming something after yourself. (E.g., talking about the “The Evans Field Equation” when your name happens to be Evans.)
But it is ok to ask a friend in the “scientific community“ to name something after you, right?
20 points for talking about how great your theory is, but never actually explaining it.
Just 20 points? I would give this a much “higher“ status.
20 points for each use of the phrase “hidebound reactionary”.
20 points for each use of the phrase “self-appointed defender of the orthodoxy”.
No other points for other terms? Like “consensus“, “well-established“ and other terms used by mainstream scientists and historians creating stories and ideas?
30 points for suggesting that a famous figure secretly disbelieved in a theory which he or she publicly supported. (E.g., that Feynman was a closet opponent of special relativity, as deduced by reading between the lines in his freshman physics textbooks.)
30 points for suggesting that Einstein, in his later years, was groping his way towards the ideas you now advocate.
What is so special about Einstein? Is his fame not just as relative as he generally saw “the Universe“?
30 points for claiming that your theories were developed by an extraterrestrial civilization (without good evidence).
Is there any good evidence for extraterrestrial civilizations in the first place?
30 points for allusions to a delay in your work while you spent time in an asylum, or references to the psychiatrist who tried to talk you out of your theory.
Don’t we spend all day in a kind of asylum, given the many strange stories that are fed to us?
40 points for comparing those who argue against your ideas to Nazis, stormtroopers, or brownshirts.
Any other labels eligible for gaining points, or only those three?
40 points for claiming that the “scientific establishment” is engaged in a “conspiracy” to prevent your work from gaining its well-deserved fame, or suchlike.
A conspiracy is a covert (occluded from public view) operation to organize something. Throwing a surprise birthday party for someone is already a “conspiracy“. Are you claiming the scientific establishment is not preventing good ideas to come out? Why would you label those ideas “pseudoscience“ and label the presenters of them “Crackpots“?
40 points for comparing yourself to Galileo, suggesting that a modern-day Inquisition is hard at work on your case, and so on.
No comparisons wanted to Einstein (10 points) or Newton (twice that), but Galileo is top of the list even doubling on Sir Isaac! Any others I am questioned if I compare myself with them? What about comparing myself to a hairdresser or snail, is that allowed? Or do I gain points for that too?
40 points for claiming that when your theory is finally appreciated, present-day science will be seen for the sham it truly is. (30 more points for fantasizing about show trials in which scientists who mocked your theories will be forced to recant.)
Mr. Baez, what are your own views of present-day science, and the field of quack, sorry quark mechanics in particular? How high on the Shamness Index do those ideas end up?
50 points for claiming you have a revolutionary theory but giving no concrete testable predictions.
Now we’re talking about quantum “physics“, are the predictions based on real observations or just mathemagical equations?
You see, many of these points can and in my view should be rewarded to the so-called “establishment“, the mainstream stories as well. The problem is that that is not done on a large scale, hence the term “fringe“, and actually I think it would be a good idea to start doing this. Massively. We will see more on this elementary tool of logic in my next blog post.
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List of links that may be useful to you about logic:
- A good place to start
- Causal reasoning
- Fallacies of Relevance
- Fallacies of Presumption
- Fallacies of Ambiguity
The funny and sharp video series by Social Experimentalist on YouTube: