How can we arrive at truth through using faulty logic?

Discussion in 'General Philosophy' started by wegs, May 14, 2016.

  1. C C Consular Corps - "the backbone of diplomacy" Valued Senior Member

    Simenek might have been mistakenly conflating Aristotle with Plato in that quote when he refers to innate knowledge. But its purpose was as an example of what scientists themselves believe in regard to the role of systematic thinking in their enterprise and the latter's degree of significance; and not an exploration of how accurate / inaccurate _x_ physicist's historical knowledge is of philosophy.

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    Donald Simenek: Science proceeds from facts to laws to theories by a difficult-to-define process called induction. Induction includes pattern-recognition, brainstorming, tinkering, creative guessing and that elusive "insight". It is not a process of deductive logic. Theories and laws are required to be of such form that one can deductively proceed from theories to laws to data. The results of deduction [if used as a mediator in science] must meet a stringent standard: they must agree with experiment and with observations of nature.

    Mathematics is a process of deductive logic. Therefore it is ideally suited to be the language and the deductive link between theories and experimental facts. Because of this, some non-scientists think that mathematics and logic are used to "prove" scientific propositions, to deduce new laws and theories, and to establish laws and theories with mathematical certainty. This is false, as we shall see....
    --Uses and Misuses of Logic

    As if to emphasize the point further before proceeding, he provided a bevy quotations himself, like this one from Joseph Wood Krutch: "Logic is the art of going wrong with confidence."

    Simenek, on immutable truth in science: [...] Some people are profoundly disturbed by the fact that reason alone can't generate truths. When the use of mathematics and logic in science is explained to them they respond, "If mathematics and logic can't produce absolute truths, then they produce only untruths or partial truths, and are therefore worthless." This sentence is itself an example of nonsense clothed in the appearance of logic.

    It must be admitted at the outset that science is not in the business of finding absolute truths. Science proceeds as if there are no absolute truths, or if there are such truths, we can never know what they are. As the pre-Socratic skeptics observed: If we were to stumble upon an absolute truth, we'd have no way to be certain it is an absolute truth. The models and theories of science are approximations to nature—never perfect. But in most cases we know rather well how good they are. We can state quantitatively the limits of uncertainty of numeric results, and their range of applicability. Yet there's always the possibility that we may find exceptions to one of our accepted laws, or may even find alternative theories that do a better job than older ones.

    Some critics of science attack this process of science, on the grounds that it cannot produce absolute truths. Theirs is a black/white view of the scientific process. Never mind that they have not proposed any other process that is capable of producing anything near the power and comprehensiveness of present science. They say that "Theory X" isn't perfect therefore it is "wrong".

    The results and predictions of a theory, being well tested, will not crumble if the theory is someday modified, drastically changed, or even replaced with another theory. The results or predictions of a theory are not all suddenly rendered "wrong" when a theory is modified or replaced. These results and predictions may be improved in precision or scope. Sometimes the predictions of a new theory have greater scope than the old one, predicting things the old one didn't (and things that we never had observed or tested before). Very often a new theory is sought because the old one, while its predictions were mostly correct, predicted a few things that just weren't confirmed by good experiments...
    Last edited: May 15, 2016
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  3. wellwisher Banned Banned

    • Bigotry and eugenics are a dangerous mix; it should go without saying that such concoctions are unacceptable, but since it needs to be said, take note.
    The conclusions of logic are only as good as the premises. If the premises are not sound, the best logic will not work. As an example, say I assume the moon is made of cheese. If the moon was made out of cheese, and I go to the moon, I only need to bring hamburgers to make cheeseburgers. The logic is sound, but will lead to a wrong experimental conclusion, because the cheese premise was wrong.

    Say I don't buy into the premise, that the moon is made of cheese, like everyone else. I claim I will need to bring cheese to the moon, to have a cheese burger. This logic will appear flawed, in terms of the collective assumptions, since to everyone else, if the moon is made of cheese, then I don't need to bring cheese. After flying to the moon and being ridiculed by everyone for bring cheese, it turns out I am the only one prepared for a cheeseburger.

    Knowledge is like a house, where ideas build upon previous ideas. Sometimes you need to go back several layers of logic and premises until you reach foundation premises; basement of thought, before you can see flaws in premises, which can render good logic, invalid or make bad logic, valid.

    If you look at modern PC, they use emotional blackmail to force people to accept bad premises. Guilt and fear are used to force conformity to assumptions. If buy into the bad premises, then the logic will seem to add up and leads to conclusions, which become the extrapolated as more bad premises for further collective reasoning.

    For example, if you look at issue of transgender, say for the sake of argument, we assume there is a gene that induces this behavior. What is also be true is, there is an entire chromosome composed of dozens of genes and cell differentiations, connected to secondary sexual characteristics; X or Y Chromosomes, that run contrary to this. The question becomes, can one gene trump the impact of dozens of genes and still allow a centered person?

    One is socially expected to automatically buy into the one gene is more important, premise, using emotional blackmail; guilt and fear. If you do buy into this premise, then subsequent logic can seem sound. However, the conclusions will always be flawed , even of the logic appears to be sound. One may need to go back to the foundation premise. One can be right, but appear to be wrong, if the herd is living a delusion of good logic and bad premises.

    Relative to transgender, if science was advanced enough to replace/add an X or Y Chromosome, instead of cosmetic surgery and drugs, so the added chromosome is consistent with the sex preference of the extra gene, the math would add up. This is a more sound premise, based on math, but will it will be called flawed logic, since it does not follow from the collective premises.
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  5. Spellbound Banned Valued Senior Member

    Each word is a symbol and the people who are the greatest word-smiths may also be the greatest warriors of humanity. They do not sit around trying to imagine what to say or to think about outside observations. They do not isolate outside and inside at all. Outside and inside is all a matter of perspective. The emotions in me and the low feelings may easily be observed for the sake of comedy by superinteligent aliens lounging around in a spaceship. We must not base our intentions on either logic or emotion, as both are at odds and continue to fight a never ending battle with each other. What we must base all of our intentions on are not qualia or the past and our emotional conditionings, but rather on nothing.
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  7. Beer w/Straw Transcendental Ignorance! Valued Senior Member

    But the moon is made of cheese - that's God's creation.
  8. Spellbound Banned Valued Senior Member

    God bless us all...
  9. wegs Matter & Pixie Dust Valued Senior Member

    This is a great read, thank you for posting it. Agree that science isn't interested in finding absolute truths, and your last paragraph (which I've bolded) is exactly what I was hoping someone would clarify (for me), and you have. Nicely stated! That's the crux of it all right there, can a new theory trump an old one, and would that render the former theory meaningless.
  10. wegs Matter & Pixie Dust Valued Senior Member

    Good points here wellwisher! Regarding a topic such as the transgender issue, that is so complex and there is so much that we don't know about it to say that one theory over the other is using faulty logic.
  11. danshawen Valued Senior Member

    1) Truth is a VALUE

    There really are no absolute truths, even in mathematics, for a truth is a value, not an absolute.

    For human beings, the truths we value or seek are precisely the ones that impact our survival. If there is a fire and there is suddenly is no air to breath, we immediately flee the fire and seek to find a place to stand or crawl where breathing is restored. We might pause for a moment to consider certain other truths about the fire. Where did the fire start should take a lower priority in the hierarchy of truths we seek than, say, whether there is a loved one whose life may also be threatened by the incineration?

    You may have noticed that we landed on the moon, and in the process learned a lot of truth about how it was formed, but how much more important today is it for us to identify and track larger objects floating in space whose trajectories may result in a collision with Earth? The value placed on exploration for its own sake has been replaced by a consideration of the truth of the practical application of the technology. It isn't because we ran out of things to explore that we now value one over the other.

    We value truths with survival imperatives more than those we deem less important. We do this every second of every day of our lives, if we wish to go on living.

    2) The absolute truth defined by mathematics is lost on the real world

    The absolute truths of mathematics fall one by one whenever they are translated into something that is real. For instance, two apples plus two apples equals four apples until you attempt to distribute those apples to four friends and two of them complain that the apples you have just given them are full of worms or are made of plastic or wax. Where is the absolute truth of your math now? How do you figure out what to do if one of those apples was poisoned or has an embedded razor blade, not to put too fine a point on it?

    Did you bother to calculate the respective probabilities of those contingencies before serving the apples? Of course, you did not, because the only value you associated with the math is the uniformity of the distribution of the apples. And did you weight the apples before passing them out? Did you weigh the people you gave the apples to and assess their dietary needs? Next time, better make apple sauce.

    As I said, no absolute truths, even and especially in mathematics, because no matter how limited and focused the definition, when the math is translated into reality, there will be issues not taken into account by any limit of calculation.

    In reality, there are no absolute truths, and even if there were, what value would those have on issues related our survival, and if they have none, why should anyone care about them?
    Last edited: May 21, 2016
  12. PhysBang Valued Senior Member

    Ah, yes, wellwisher comes around to his imagined boogeymen.
    No. We do not. That someone genuinely identifies as a given gender cannot be genetic, since gender roles and behaviors are social constructions.
    What is a "centered person" and why does it matter? It is well known that a single gene can make dozens or hundreds of genes irrelevant. It is well known that certain environments can make dozens or hundreds of genes irrelevant. One cannot go looking to genes to explain everything about an organism.
    Nobody makes this argument. You are merely trying to say that you don't like being asked to treat other human beings with respect and you are trying to label the disgust that other people feel towards you because of your bigotry as "emotional blackmail". I'm sorry that you are viewed with the disgust you advocate towards transgendered people.
    There is no math here. Gender cannot be determined by an Z or Y chromosome alone, and neither can biological sex characteristics.
  13. wellwisher Banned Banned

    Does this mean that DNA evidence can no longer be used in crimes? For example, say the DNA evidence says a person was at the scene of the crime. He/she claims they were under the influence of the "other" that is not DNA. Does this "other" render the DNA evidence void, because one cannot be defined by their DNA.

    As an example, a transsexual person leaves saliva at the scene of a crime. The DNA evidence says the alleged criminal was a male. The criminal then claims they are a female at the time of the crime. Does that female claim, render the DNA evidence void, since the DNA evidence does not say a female?

    As another example, I claim that I can turn myself into a ghost. When I do this I have no ability to move matter because I am a ghost. Therefore I could not have stolen the diamonds. The DNA evidence sees nothing unique. Does the ghost claim win?

    Or say there was a unsolvable crime, where the royal crown was stolen out of the case in the middle of a pressure sensitive floor. People have heard that I claim I have wings and I can flight. Wings and my ability to fly is not in my DNA, therefore DNA evidence will free me. But since I claim this special skill, that is not part of my DNA, can they call me in for questioning? Can they then railroad me since DNA does not prove anything?

    What Obama is doing is making jobs for lawyers.
  14. river Valued Senior Member

    Really ?

    Is not the fact that we need air , water and food ; for our survival an absolute fact. And NONE have anything to do with mathematics. Nor a value .

    But have ALL to do with just existing .
  15. PhysBang Valued Senior Member


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    People can be identified by their blood type. Do you think blood type determines gender?
    The problem is, you think that the DNA says male. It does not. It cannot.
    This is an interesting fantasy, but there are no decent studies about the relationship between ghosts and DNA. There is a lot of information (that you would prefer to be ignorant about) about the relationship between gender and DNA.
    Why would someone keep cheap whiskey in the middle of a pressure sensitive floor?
    Again, you are fantasizing here about something, just like you fantasize a specific relationship between DNA and gender that does not exist.

    Don't blame Obama for the fact that people find you disgusting because of your bigotry. Obama did not make you a bigot.

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    Last edited: May 22, 2016
  16. krash661 [MK6] transitioning scifi to reality Valued Senior Member

    Truth is singular. Its "versions" are mistruths.-- cloud atlas
  17. river Valued Senior Member

    How can we arrive at truth through using faulty logic?

    We accept the logic behind this perceived truth.

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