Questioning Logic?

We discuss logics all around, including contradiction logics if one so wishes.

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Purple Knight
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Questioning Logic?

Post #1

Post by Purple Knight »

I routinely question many of the so-called rules of logic. I don't believe a negative is inherently logically superior to a positive, even in a void. I can give you an example of me doing this.
Purple Knight wrote: Mon Dec 21, 2020 11:15 pm
AgnosticBoy wrote: Mon Dec 21, 2020 7:20 pmI won't go as far as saying that Trump would've found enough fraud to overturn the election had he been successful with getting both manual recounts with added oversight, but the main point is had there been fraud, then it would've likely been caught under those conditions (recounts w/ added oversight). But as it stands, that wasn't done, and therefore I can't claim that this election had no fraud nor errors, and without knowing that, I can't claim that elections are "fair".
This is a perfect example of why I tend to reject the atheist mantra that negative claims are automatically superior to positive ones.

"The election was fair." Well, that certainly seems like a positive claim, ne?

"There was some sort of fraud or cheating." Oh. Well. This seems like a positive claim, too.

Yet these are logically contradictory premises. One must be true and the other must be false.

Which claim is positive and which claim is negative is often a matter of phraseology and there's not a clear, logical answer.
So yes, I question this supposed rule that a negative is automatically better than a positive.

I also question whether ad hominem is a fallacy. I lean toward it's not one.

Why don't more people do this? If we treat logic like a religion aren't we as bad as the other guys? Not just as bad, but worse, because I don't think religious people are getting a fair shake here, and this is the bit that bothers me.

Too many religious people have simply accepted that logic-philes (logophiles actually means you like words) get to set up the board and determine how the pieces move, and who gets the first one. We say, oh, black gets the first move, and then we always give ourselves black.

Now see here: We have rigged the game. We have rigged the game by forcing them to play on our board when we're just as religious as they are if not more. If this was not the case, more people would be questioning these rules.

I still don't believe in God and I still do believe in logic but this is why I want a bloody fair fight, for crying out loud!!!

The religiosos ought to have kicked over this board long ago, but they were tricked into thinking the board was fair. It wasn't. So here; I'll do it for you: You can bloody well question these supposed rules. Any of them. Especially anything informal. Question it. All of it. You're allowed. Encouraged.

*kick*

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Re: Questioning Logic?

Post #11

Post by Purple Knight »

Kylie wrote: Fri Apr 23, 2021 10:26 pmLikewise, I (and many other atheists) simply do not believe that God exists. That's different to believing that God does not exist.
Most people only say it this way and make this distinction because it's a hot issue. There are a lot of atheists who would say it this way, but then outside of this debate, when asked if unicorns or fairies existed, they would have no problem answering affirmatively, no, they don't exist, or no, there are no such things as ghosts.

So let's take God out of it and talk about Ghost Hunters. Why will so many people actively disbelieve in ghosts, or Santa Claus, or magic? Are they wrong? Ought they to say, there might be ghosts, just the same as a cat might be sitting outside your door? Ought they to say that they simply do not believe ghosts exist, but that that's different to believing that ghosts do not exist?

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Re: Questioning Logic?

Post #12

Post by Kylie »

Purple Knight wrote: Fri Apr 23, 2021 11:04 pm
Kylie wrote: Fri Apr 23, 2021 10:26 pmLikewise, I (and many other atheists) simply do not believe that God exists. That's different to believing that God does not exist.
Most people only say it this way and make this distinction because it's a hot issue. There are a lot of atheists who would say it this way, but then outside of this debate, when asked if unicorns or fairies existed, they would have no problem answering affirmatively, no, they don't exist, or no, there are no such things as ghosts.

So let's take God out of it and talk about Ghost Hunters. Why will so many people actively disbelieve in ghosts, or Santa Claus, or magic? Are they wrong? Ought they to say, there might be ghosts, just the same as a cat might be sitting outside your door? Ought they to say that they simply do not believe ghosts exist, but that that's different to believing that ghosts do not exist?
And I will say the same thing.

I do not have a belief in ghosts, because no sufficient evidence to support their existence has been presented to me, and any evidence to support their existence I have found flawed. However, if I was to say that ghosts aren't real, then I am not making an absolute statement that I have determined that the existence of ghosts is completely impossible. Rather, I am saying that I simply lack belief in ghosts and that I believe they are not real, because it's far to awkward for me to say, "I lack a belief in ghosts, however I am not saying that I believe the existence of ghosts to be impossible, since there could conceivably be some rational argument that shows they exist."

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Re: Questioning Logic?

Post #13

Post by Difflugia »

Purple Knight wrote: Fri Apr 23, 2021 7:07 pmIf the personal attack is relevant then I'm not sure why we should disregard a good reason to discount someone's argument, simply because it happens to also be an attack (ad hominem abusive).
Here (and in the rest of the thread) you're mixing up logical arguments with ones of probability. The question isn't whether the ad hominem is valid as evidence of probability, but whether or not it proves something one way or another. If one is personally weighing probabilities, then where the claim comes from can reasonably be part of that calculus. A logical argument, however, isn't about weighing evidence, it's about proving things one way or another.

If I read an article in The Sun or The National Enquirer, I'll treat it with a different level of skepticism than if I read it in The Telegraph or The New York Times. That doesn't logically prove that an article in one of the former is false, but I'll certainly weigh the evidence differently.

From your original post:
Purple Knight wrote: Thu Jan 14, 2021 12:30 pmWhy don't more people do this? If we treat logic like a religion aren't we as bad as the other guys? Not just as bad, but worse, because I don't think religious people are getting a fair shake here, and this is the bit that bothers me.

Too many religious people have simply accepted that logic-philes (logophiles actually means you like words) get to set up the board and determine how the pieces move, and who gets the first one. We say, oh, black gets the first move, and then we always give ourselves black.

Now see here: We have rigged the game. We have rigged the game by forcing them to play on our board when we're just as religious as they are if not more. If this was not the case, more people would be questioning these rules.
The fact that it looks rigged to you is why you're atheist. If you go back and read a lot of arguments based on logic, you'll see that most Christians on this board seem to think that the "game" is actually rigged in their favor instead of yours.
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Re: Questioning Logic?

Post #14

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Difflugia wrote: Sat Apr 24, 2021 1:19 pmHere (and in the rest of the thread) you're mixing up logical arguments with ones of probability. The question isn't whether the ad hominem is valid as evidence of probability, but whether or not it proves something one way or another. If one is personally weighing probabilities, then where the claim comes from can reasonably be part of that calculus. A logical argument, however, isn't about weighing evidence, it's about proving things one way or another.
I disagree. Informal arguments don't prove anything conclusively either. If they did, they would be formal arguments based on categorisation; they would be deductive reasoning.

http://thelogiccafe.net/logic/ref1.htm
Usually formal logic can also be called deductive logic because the form of thinking allows one to deduce it's conclusion from its premises (as in the Chris process of elimination example argument described just above).
Informal logic is usually called inductive logic. Reasoning based on informal, inductive logic moves from statements of evidence (the premises) to a conclusion that extrapolates from, amplifies, or generalizes the evidence.


There is therefore, little reason to disregard any relevant evidence in an informal argument. This is what this rule against using this informal fallacy is asking us to do: Disregard relevant evidence in an informal or inductive argument simply because that evidence happens to be an attack.

I get to question this. I get to question anything. (I'm even allowed to question even formal, deductive categorisation-type or true/false logic but that would be nonproductive since if deductive logic is broke we can't know anything.)

That's the whole point of scepticism.
Kylie wrote: Fri Apr 23, 2021 11:46 pmRather, I am saying that I simply lack belief in ghosts and that I believe they are not real, because it's far to awkward for me to say, "I lack a belief in ghosts, however I am not saying that I believe the existence of ghosts to be impossible, since there could conceivably be some rational argument that shows they exist."
Well you'd be the oddball there, though I admit I'm with you. I'm with you even though doing this indiscriminately has gotten me called some nasty names such as idiot and gullible. One of the things I refused to actively disbelieve (genetic memory) was later proven to be true and now the former colleague acts as if he never made fun of me for it.

Most people (those who have called me those names for simply refusing to actively disbelieve in something) believe, affirmatively, and will state affirmatively that there is no such thing as a ghost. They will actively believe the negative unless strong evidence is presented (or unless the positive is their pet belief such as their religion).

Now I get that we're not disagreeing. You're saying the default is non-belief, not active disbelief. I just think active disbelief is the standard default for most people and that's what I'm against. You could even ask people what they think about whether or not ghosts exist to measure this. The standard default of active disbelief is what I feel is a rigged board against the religious.

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Re: Questioning Logic?

Post #15

Post by Kylie »

Purple Knight wrote: Sat Apr 24, 2021 7:08 pm
Kylie wrote: Fri Apr 23, 2021 11:46 pmRather, I am saying that I simply lack belief in ghosts and that I believe they are not real, because it's far to awkward for me to say, "I lack a belief in ghosts, however I am not saying that I believe the existence of ghosts to be impossible, since there could conceivably be some rational argument that shows they exist."
Well you'd be the oddball there, though I admit I'm with you. I'm with you even though doing this indiscriminately has gotten me called some nasty names such as idiot and gullible. One of the things I refused to actively disbelieve (genetic memory) was later proven to be true and now the former colleague acts as if he never made fun of me for it.

Most people (those who have called me those names for simply refusing to actively disbelieve in something) believe, affirmatively, and will state affirmatively that there is no such thing as a ghost. They will actively believe the negative unless strong evidence is presented (or unless the positive is their pet belief such as their religion).

Now I get that we're not disagreeing. You're saying the default is non-belief, not active disbelief. I just think active disbelief is the standard default for most people and that's what I'm against. You could even ask people what they think about whether or not ghosts exist to measure this. The standard default of active disbelief is what I feel is a rigged board against the religious.
Why am I the oddball?

I simply said that if I say, "There's no such thing as a ghost," I actually mean, "I lack a belief in ghosts, however I am not saying that I believe the existence of ghosts to be impossible, since there could conceivably be some rational argument that shows they exist," instead of, "I have hard evidence that the existence of ghosts is completely impossible."

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Re: Questioning Logic?

Post #16

Post by Purple Knight »

Kylie wrote: Sun Apr 25, 2021 12:18 amWhy am I the oddball?
Because most people are active disbelievers in things that haven't been proven. The statement there are no such things as ghosts expresses a positive claim that ghosts do not exist. I would wager that if you ran a poll, the vast majority of people would agree with that statement.

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Re: Questioning Logic?

Post #17

Post by Kylie »

Purple Knight wrote: Sun Apr 25, 2021 11:38 pm
Kylie wrote: Sun Apr 25, 2021 12:18 amWhy am I the oddball?
Because most people are active disbelievers in things that haven't been proven. The statement there are no such things as ghosts expresses a positive claim that ghosts do not exist. I would wager that if you ran a poll, the vast majority of people would agree with that statement.
As I have made clear, that phrase is a shorthand.

And I'm sure that if you ran a poll, most people would say that they don't believe in ghosts but would be willing to change their mind if presented with sufficient evidence to do so.

In fact, I think I will indeed go and start a poll. viewtopic.php?f=17&t=38270

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Re: Questioning Logic?

Post #18

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Kylie wrote: Mon Apr 26, 2021 12:13 amIn fact, I think I will indeed go and start a poll. viewtopic.php?f=17&t=38270
I think that's a great idea, but to be honest I would prefer a poll that more generally samples the population.

I expect to get at least some agreement on this forum, and most will choose that they don't believe in ghosts but evidence would change their minds.

I also think it would be a fairer poll if it said:

1) Ghosts do not exist.
2) Ghosts do exist.
3) Ghosts might exist.

Simply because everyone will almost always say that evidence would change their minds even if it wouldn't.

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Re: Questioning Logic?

Post #19

Post by Difflugia »

Purple Knight wrote: Mon Apr 26, 2021 12:46 amSimply because everyone will almost always say that evidence would change their minds even if it wouldn't.
In a binary sense, this is trivially false. If we had the quality of evidence for ghosts that we have for cars, for example, everybody would believe in ghosts. The question is what quality of evidence is required.

If I interacted with a ghost every day and needed the help of one to get to work on time, I would believe in ghosts. On the other hand, if cars were invisible and the only person that I knew to experienced one was my sister-in-law's credulous cousin, then it might seem (frustratingly to some) like no amount of evidence would ever convince me that cars were real.
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Re: Questioning Logic?

Post #20

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Difflugia wrote: Mon Apr 26, 2021 9:39 am
Purple Knight wrote: Mon Apr 26, 2021 12:46 amSimply because everyone will almost always say that evidence would change their minds even if it wouldn't.
In a binary sense, this is trivially false. If we had the quality of evidence for ghosts that we have for cars, for example, everybody would believe in ghosts. The question is what quality of evidence is required.
Yes, we would. You, and I, and Kylie would. Now if we means most people on the planet, your example applies, but only to a world like the one you're referencing where ghosts have always been about. If ghosts have not always been around, I think (though perhaps I'm giving people too little credit) that even if sufficient evidence surfaced, most people would cling to their active disbelief like a life preserver.

Remember what the going rate was for a postulation that man could build a flying machine? Before the Wright brothers, you'd usually be met not with maybe it can be done, but with it can't be done.

I don't think I'm wrong that in general, the deck is stacked against the religious because of active disbelief.

I might be wrong that it applies on this forum, however.

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