DEBATE & LOGIC

Definition of terms and explanation of concepts

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Arrow
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DEBATE & LOGIC

Post #1

Post by Arrow »

Howdy, folks.

It is clear from reading the threads in the debate forum that significant confusion exits as to what constitutes a "debate" and as to the proper use of logic.

I offer below two definitions, there are of course others.*

debate
n 1: a discussion in which reasons are advanced for and against some proposition or proposal; "the argument over foreign aid goes on and on" [syn: argument, argumentation]

2: the formal presentation of and opposition to a stated proposition (usually followed by a vote) [syn: disputation, public debate]
Definition 1 is referring to discussion, and as this site has a discussion forum, it belongs there. Definition 2 seems closer to the one we're looking for. As to how "formal" DC debates are supposed to be, that is up to the site operators.

*source: WordNet ® 2.0, © 2003 Princeton University

With regards to the use of logic, I quote The Athiesm Web

http://www.infidels.org/news/atheism/logic.html

"Introduction
There's a lot of debate on the net. Unfortunately, much of it is of very low quality. The aim of this document is to explain the basics of logical reasoning, and hopefully improve the overall quality of debate.

The Concise Oxford English Dictionary defines logic as "the science of reasoning, proof, thinking, or inference." Logic will let you analyze an argument or a piece of reasoning, and work out whether it is likely to be correct or not. You don't need to know logic to argue, of course; but if you know even a little, you'll find it easier to spot invalid arguments.

There are many kinds of logic, such as fuzzy logic and constructive logic; they have different rules, and different strengths and weaknesses. This document discusses simple Boolean logic, because it's commonplace and relatively easy to understand. When people talk about something being 'logical', they usually mean the type of logic described here.

What logic isn't

It's worth mentioning a couple of things which logic is not.

Firstly, logical reasoning is not an absolute law which governs the universe. Many times in the past, people have concluded that because something is logically impossible (given the science of the day), it must be impossible, period. It was also believed at one time that Euclidean geometry was a universal law; it is, after all, logically consistent. Again, we now know that the rules of Euclidean geometry are not universal.

Secondly, logic is not a set of rules which govern human behavior. Humans may have logically conflicting goals.

Arguments
An argument is, to quote the Monty Python sketch, "a connected series of statements to establish a definite proposition."

Many types of argument exist; we will discuss the deductive argument. Deductive arguments are generally viewed as the most precise and the most persuasive; they provide conclusive proof of their conclusion, and are either valid or invalid.

Deductive arguments have three stages: premises, inference, and conclusion. However, before we can consider those stages in detail, we must discuss the building blocks of a deductive argument: propositions.

Propositions
A proposition is a statement which is either true or false. The proposition is the meaning of the statement, not the precise arrangement of words used to convey that meaning.

Premises
A deductive argument always requires a number of core assumptions. These are called premises, and are the assumptions the argument is built on; or to look at it another way, the reasons for accepting the argument. Premises are only premises in the context of a particular argument; they might be conclusions in other arguments, for example.

You should always state the premises of the argument explicitly; this is the principle of audiatur et altera pars. Failing to state your assumptions is often viewed as suspicious, and will likely reduce the acceptance of your argument.

Inference
Once the premises have been agreed, the argument proceeds via a step-by-step process called inference.

In inference, you start with one or more propositions which have been accepted; you then use those propositions to arrive at a new proposition. If the inference is valid, that proposition should also be accepted. You can use the new proposition for inference later on.

Conclusion
Hopefully you will arrive at a proposition which is the conclusion of the argument - the result you are trying to prove. The conclusion is the result of the final step of inference. It's only a conclusion in the context of a particular argument; it could be a premise or assumption in another argument.

The conclusion is said to be affirmed on the basis of the premises, and the inference from them. This is a subtle point which deserves further explanation.

Implication in detail

Clearly you can build a valid argument from true premises, and arrive at a true conclusion. You can also build a valid argument from false premises, and arrive at a false conclusion.

The tricky part is that you can start with false premises, proceed via valid inference, and reach a true conclusion.

There's one thing you can't do, though: start from true premises, proceed via valid deductive inference, and reach a false conclusion.

Also, the fact that an argument is valid doesn't necessarily mean that its conclusion holds -- it may have started from false premises.

If an argument is valid, and in addition it started from true premises, then it is called a sound argument. A sound argument must arrive at a true conclusion.

Fallacies
There are a number of common pitfalls to avoid when constructing a deductive argument; they're known as fallacies. In everyday English, we refer to many kinds of mistaken beliefs as fallacies; but in logic, the term has a more specific meaning: a fallacy is a technical flaw which makes an argument unsound or invalid.

Arguments which contain fallacies are described as fallacious. They often appear valid and convincing; sometimes only close inspection reveals the logical flaw."

This source goes on to list and explain most of the fallacies. My quote above is not complete. The source provides more examples. Click this link to a good funny example of a bad debate.

http://www.infidels.org/news/atheism/sn-python.html

This post if for your information. Please, don't expect me to defend it. :D

Peace,
Arrow

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Re: DEBATE & LOGIC

Post #2

Post by Bugmaster »

Arrow wrote:Firstly, logical reasoning is not an absolute law which governs the universe.
I hate to play angel's advocate, but I think that at least one user (harvey1) would disagree with this line. We're actually having an extended debate on the subject.

A better way of saying this might be something like this:

Being logical is not the same thing as being right. For example, the statement "all men have four legs; Socrates is a man; therefore Socrates has four legs" is perfectly logical, but nonetheless false.

Arrow
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SAY WHAT?

Post #3

Post by Arrow »

Dear Bugmaster,

Don't make me come over there! "Angels" advocate or not, I will!8)

But seriously, folks,;)

Bugmaster wrote:
Arrow wrote:
Firstly, logical reasoning is not an absolute law which governs the universe.
Arrow actually wrote:
With regards to the use of logic, I quote The Athiesm Web

http://www.infidels.org/news/atheism/logic.html
The statement you attribute to me is a quote from the above source. If you have a problem with the source, take it up with them or find your own source. :eyebrow:

Bugmaster also wrote:
A better way of saying this might be something like this:

Being logical is not the same thing as being right. For example, the statement "all men have four legs; Socrates is a man; therefore Socrates has four legs" is perfectly logical, but nonetheless false.
In my post I also state that my quote of the source is incomplete, and go on to say that the link includes examples. The link I provide makes an almost identical statement to the one you make above and provides a very similar example. :blink:

So why are you bugging me, Bugmaster? :D

I read the link you referred to. I had read it before, and had some comments I wanted to post, but I was too busy defending remarks I never made. #-o :D

Anyway, thanks for your interest. The debate on material and non-material interaction is of interest to me. I'll try and get my two cents worth in over there.

Peace,
Arrow

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Falsifiablity

Post #4

Post by McCulloch »

Wikipedia wrote:Falsifiability, or defeasibility, is an important concept in the philosophy of science. It is the principle that a proposition or theory cannot be considered scientific if it does not admit the possibility of being shown false.

Falsifiable does not mean false. For a proposition to be falsifiable, it must be at least in principle be possible to make an observation that would show the proposition to be false, even if that observation has not actually been made. For example, the proposition "All crows are black" would be falsified by observing one white crow. A falsifiable proposition or theory must define in some way what is, or will be, forbidden by that proposition or theory (e.g., in this case a white crow is forbidden). The possibility, in principle, of observing a white crow to disprove this proposition thus makes it falsifiable.
WordNet, a lexical database for the English language, Cognitive Science Laboratory, Princeton University wrote:(adj) confirmable, verifiable, falsifiable (capable of being tested (verified or falsified) by experiment or observation)
Examine everything carefully; hold fast to that which is good.
First Epistle to the Church of the Thessalonians
The truth will make you free.
Gospel of John

Kadmon
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Debateing According To Encyclopedia / Merriam-Webster Dictio

Post #5

Post by Kadmon »

Debate or debating is a formal method of interactive and representational argument. Debate is a broader form of argument than logical argument, which only examine the consistency from axiom, and factual argument, which only examine what is or isn't the case or rhetoric which is technique of persuasion. Though logical consistency, factual accuracy as well as some emotional appeal to audience are important elements of the art of persuasion, in debating, one side often prevails over the other side by presenting superior "context" and/or framework of the issue, which is far more subtle and strategic. In a formal debating contest, there are rules for...more »



Main Entry: debate di-!bAt
Pronunciation: \ di-ˈb�t, dē- \
Function: noun
Date: 13th century
Results
a. a the formal discussion of a motion before a deliberative body according to the rules of parliamentary procedure b. b a regulated discussion of a proposition between two matched sides

Merriam-Webster Online Dictionary copyright © 2009 by Merriam-Webster, incorporated


Main Entry: debate
Function: verb
Inflected Form(s): de·bat·ed , de·bat·ing ,
Etymology: Middle English, from Anglo-French debatre, from de- + batre to beat, from Latin battuere
Date: 14th century
Results
intransitive verb
14th century
1. 1 obsolete fight contend

2 a. 2 a to contend in words b. b to discuss a question by considering opposed arguments

3. 3 to participate in a debate transitive verb

transitive verb
1 a. 1 a to argue about - the subject was hotly debated b. b to engage (an opponent) in debate

2. 2 to turn over in one's mind - he's still debating what to do - Synonym - see discuss

Related Forms
1. de·bate·mentdi-!bAt-munt \ -ˈb�t-mənt \ noun
2. de·bat·er noun

Merriam-Webster Online Dictionary copyright © 2009 by Merriam-Webster, incorporated

Susma
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Re: SAY WHAT?

Post #6

Post by Susma »

Arrow wrote:Dear Bugmaster,

Don't make me come over there! "Angels" advocate or not, I will!8)

But seriously, folks,;)

Bugmaster wrote:
Arrow wrote:
Firstly, logical reasoning is not an absolute law which governs the universe.
Arrow actually wrote:
With regards to the use of logic, I quote The Athiesm Web

http://www.infidels.org/news/atheism/logic.html
The statement you attribute to me is a quote from the above source. If you have a problem with the source, take it up with them or find your own source. :eyebrow:

Bugmaster also wrote:
A better way of saying this might be something like this:

Being logical is not the same thing as being right. For example, the statement "all men have four legs; Socrates is a man; therefore Socrates has four legs" is perfectly logical, but nonetheless false.
In my post I also state that my quote of the source is incomplete, and go on to say that the link includes examples. The link I provide makes an almost identical statement to the one you make above and provides a very similar example. :blink:

So why are you bugging me, Bugmaster? :D

I read the link you referred to. I had read it before, and had some comments I wanted to post, but I was too busy defending remarks I never made. #-o :D

Anyway, thanks for your interest. The debate on material and non-material interaction is of interest to me. I'll try and get my two cents worth in over there.

Peace,
Arrow


Dear Arrow, you say that your statement,
Arrow wrote:
Firstly, logical reasoning is not an absolute law which governs the universe.
is from this source, http://www.infidels.org/news/atheism/logic.html.


I think you owe it to your intellectual integrity to cite verbatim the words from that link most expressive of the thought: "logical reasoning is not an absolute law which governs the universe."


However, I agree with that thought: "logical reasoning is not an absolute law which governs the universe."


For example logical reasoning cannot prove that you and I exist.

But there is one rule that binds the whole universe of discourse, and that is that parties to any discourse, call it debate, argument, conversation, discussion, etc., they must frist come to agree on the understanding of the concepts they are using which are represented by the words they use to convey the concepts.

I for one always find it impossible owing to psychological factors in atheists to get atheists to come to agreement on the concepts of the words used in a proposition, like for example, "The universe is the evidence for God's existence."

The first thing they will say is that it is a primitive God that I am talking about.

That is to be polite in a way from their part, but pretty soon they will bring in their cue words, like God is a Flying Spaghetti Monster, an Invisible Pink Unicorn, a Celestial Teapot, etc.

When to be purely into ideas they can just say that they do not accept any concept of God whatsoever: because any concept of God whatsoever is an invalid i.e. impossible concept, period.

Then the thing I will do is to ask them to tell me what is an impossible or ivnalid concept, and how God the concept of in their mind qualifies as an invalid or impossible concept.

At this point they will say they are out of the discussion: because I am lacking respect for them for not taking their positions as absolutely unchallengeable truths.


So, you see? all the time they are not at all interested but even aggressively hostile to work together to first agree on the meanings of the concepts crucially vital in the proposition, "The universe is the evidence for God's existence," namely: universe, evidence, God, existence.



!!!ADDENDAUM!!!: I must apologize to you Arrow because there is really such a line in that infidels link, namely, "Firstly, logical reasoning is not an absolute law which governs the universe."
Google wrote:Atheism: Logic & Fallacies
www.infidels.org/library/modern/mathew/logic.htmlFirst, logical reasoning is not an absolute law which governs the universe. Many times in the past, people have concluded that because something is logically ...


But I must still fault you for saying nothing of your own personally arrived at thought about the limits of logic -- which however is a discipline of a limited entity, humankind.


Learn to think about what you read and see whether the writer is talking useless things or useful things but with no leg to stand on, and then think by yourself what is your take on the question, and use your own words to express your own thought, don't be copying words in the internet or in print published sources, because you are not a recorder/player, but a human which is a thinking entity possessed of reason and intelligence -- and also important self-expression.



Did I assault your sense of the respect I owe you?


But I guess you are not supposed to think in this thread but to just produce the thoughts of other people in their dictionaries and in their websites, which are to be faithfully taken as constitutional laws -- just reproduce their texts, no thinking allowed.




Susma

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Re: SAY WHAT?

Post #7

Post by Goat »

Susma wrote:
Arrow wrote:Dear Bugmaster,

Did I assault your sense of the respect I owe you?


But I guess you are not supposed to think in this thread but to just produce the thoughts of other people in their dictionaries and in their websites, which are to be faithfully taken as constitutional laws -- just reproduce their texts, no thinking allowed.

Susma
You do realize you are responding to a post that is 5 years old, and to someone who has not been around in almost that long? It seems to be rather pointless to insult someone who has been absent for so long... or even to respond to them.
“What do you think science is? There is nothing magical about science. It is simply a systematic way for carefully and thoroughly observing nature and using consistent logic to evaluate results. So which part of that exactly do you disagree with? Do you disagree with being thorough? Using careful observation? Being systematic? Or using consistent logic?�

Steven Novella

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