August 11, 2006

To Paul

Since the argument has been going on for awhile, I think it's time to put down some basic truths through analysis.

For one thing, we have this here argument over facts and logic and so forth. The way I see it, arguments are composed of a few things. An argument being a statement saying something is true or something is false.

Arguments require evidence, facts, and correlational supports. These are justifications, things that justify whether an argument is true or false. But an argument is just statements of fact. Arguments use facts, evidence, and justifications in order to support a hypothesis that claims to know the truth of something else entirely new.

For example, someone could say that it is a fact that Bush is a liar. That would not be a fact, that entire statement would be an argument, justified by itself basically. Basically a circular argument presents its own justifications, instead of finding it somewhere else or linking you to it via logic, reasoning, or html sources on the net.

What would be a fact is whether Bush knew Alpha, Gamma, and Delta were true. Then the other fact would have to be that Bush said something about Alpha, Gamma, and Delta that was inconsistent with what he believed. Thus then the argument that Bush is a liar, would be supported by those previous two facts. Facts are specific data collected on specific instances and locations in space-time. Facts are limited, in that they only describe one event or one person or one action. Arguments are not limited because they can string a lot of facts together to form a reason chain or a logic chain.

So now we come to the other thing that makes up arguments, reason and logic. Reason and logic are most of the time interchangeable, in my view reason is superior to logic because reason has some real life wisdom inherent in the processing ability. Logic is pure and undiluted, but that just means it can be systematically wrong. Reason is superior because it also uses human intuition and what makes "sense", not just on a logical level, but on an instinctual and experience based level as well. But for argument's sake, we'll settle for the interchangeability between logic and reasoning. Logic, then in the end, simply connects facts together in a way that is systematic, objective, reproducible, and otherwise compacting facts and evidence into a configuration that makes sense and is not contradictory. Therefore two facts that state a mutually exclusive conclusion, would not be something that could pass logical consistency if logic was used to try to use both facts to prove one or the other. There are some basic rules that logic cannot violate, but within those rules, logic is pretty predictable.

Now let's talk about the types of logic. There are inductive logic and deductive logic. THe problem occurs when someone is using deductive logic and thinks they are using inductive logic. So, if someone claims that they have the truth and facts on their side, that this allowed them to draw a scientifically proven conclusion, but in actuality that someone was using deductive logic based around a priori faith convictions, then we have a problem. Our problem is that person thinks his facts lead to the formation of his ideology and beliefs, except in reality his beliefs and ideology lead to his awareness of the facts that agreed with him.

Since deductive logic starts from the argument and goes to the end, it can be easily confused with inductive logic which takes the end result of reasoning and facts and ends up at the beginning, the hypothesis argued by the original argument. One goes forward from the beginning, the other starts at the end and goes towards the beginning.

So I think Paul's problem is really that he confuses his facts with his arguments and his arguments with his facts. A lot of what he has said about me or Bush supporters are not wrong in terms of general arguments, but are also wrong in the specifics. It is not that Bush supporters like me don't criticize the President, it is simply that we criticize the President for things that Paul doesn't think is in need of criticism. For example, while we accuse Bush of being too honest, Paul accuses Bush of being too dishonest. Why are there two arguments arguing for mutually exclusive things, it cannot both be true that Bush is too honest and that he is too dishonest. One or the other has to be wrong.

So how does a person go about judging which is wrong and which is right? You have a few choices. You can either focus on the facts, and attempt to divine instances in which Bush lied specifically, then draw your conclusions from a consistent analysis of Bush's behavior and psychological behavioral model. Or you can use deductive logic to determine what the facts should be, if Bush was too honest or too dishonest.

The crafting of the required list of logic gates, of the 1s and 0s, require knowledge and ability in deductive logic. An example of deductive logic is when Bookworm learned that guns were not the tools of menace that she has always believed up to a certain point. Bookworm escaped from the belly of the liberal because she was a liberal. As thus, she came to face facts or evidence or reasoning that conflicted with her a priori assumptions of what is true and false. When those conflictions grew too great to sustain the a priori arguments for liberal truth, Bookworm discarded those assumptions and took up new beliefs that better fit the facts. This is what humans call changing their minds.

Inductive logic is not so useful in this case, because inductive logic requires that someone be objective and unbiased, that they not have a belief in one or the other conclusion. We have heard about scientists with "pet theories" that change the data and the experiments to have favorable outcomes that support their pet theories. We do not want that perversion of inductive logic. To use inductive logic, you must be a tabula rosa, you must be a true neutral. Few humans are true neutrals, we all have our prejudices, our beliefs, and our fundamental assumptions that support our world view.

So when Paul talks about how he has all the facts that Bush's policies are a failure and Bush is a liar, that cannot be true via logical consistency. Facts are not arguments, facts do not say whether something is always true or always false. Facts only say that something was true in this moment in this time. How can Paul believe Bush has lied, via inductive logic, when he has no factual evidence backing up his claim to the knowledge of what Bush believed and what he said or did that was inconsistent with Bush's beliefs? Of course you could lack a direct input/output of a person's thoughts, but even then you can come up with reasons using the facts discovered by psychology and human nature, in order to construct a reasonable explanation of Bush's actions using factual evidence and consistent real events. Paul has not done this for some reason.

And what I think is truely invalid in terms of the structure of arguments, is when Paul says that because he has all the facts, anyone else with an argument contradicting his premises, are ignoring facts. Facts are not finite however, just because someone has 100/100 facts that prove his position, does not mean that the next 101st fact will not dismantle that position.

That is the vulnerability of inductive logic, it is prone to inadequate factual representation of reality. For Paul to claim that he has mastered the factual representation of reality through some kind of omniscience, is rather too much of a stretch to believe in.

So now you know that you can tell the truth of Bush by using inductive or deductive logic. Deductive log starts from the premise that Bush is too dishonest, for example, and attempts to trace the logical consequence of that premise in real terms. By comparing and contrasting with various real event consequences supported by facts, a person can use deductive logic to determine whether the a priori premise was correct or not. You can also use inductive logic, but this requires that you not take a side. Paul neither used inductive logic, because he took a side, nor did Paul use deductive logic (he claimed that evidence backed his arguments without explaining the evidence that backed the other a priori argument position). Because Paul mixed and matched, the result is not very coherent.

2 Comments:

Anonymous Anonymous said...

Well, I'm slightly flattered that my arguments have compelled you to dedicate a post to me. (Blush).

Most of your post, of course, says nothing. It's merely you saying the same thing in a bunch of different ways. So I'll focus on the rare nuggets of substance.

What would be a fact is whether Bush knew Alpha, Gamma, and Delta were true. Then the other fact would have to be that Bush said something about Alpha, Gamma, and Delta that was inconsistent with what he believed. Thus then the argument that Bush is a liar, would be supported by those previous two facts.

Okay, to stay with within your format:

BUSH:
“Now, by the way, any time you hear the United States government talking about wiretap, it requires — a wiretap requires a court order. Nothing has changed, by the way. When we’re talking about chasing down terrorists, we’re talking about getting a court order before we do so.”

In this case, the "Alpha, Gamma, and Delta" consist of the fact that the NSA spying program involves wiretaps without warrants. We know that in the statement above, Bush is saying something inconsistent with what he believes. That is, Bush is saying that wiretaps always involve warrants, while he believes the opposite to be true. How do we know that this is what he believes? Because he approved the warrantless wiretapping himself:
http://www.msnbc.msn.com/id/10488458/

In order to prove that Bush did not lie, you would need to show one of 3 things:
1) The NSA spying program did in fact always involve warrants
2) Bush was misquoted above, and never actually said anything of the sort
3) While Bush may have said that, and the spying did not involve warrants, Bush believed that warrants were involved. This wouldn't be much of an excuse, for a president to speak knowledgably about something and be utterly wrong. However, to prove even this, you would need to prove that Bush could issue a very significant intelligence gathering order and then not know about it later.

While you're working on that, I suggest you save your energy because there are probably hundreds of examples like this. To prove that Bush is "too honest," you will need to refute each and every one.

For example, while we accuse Bush of being too honest, Paul accuses Bush of being too dishonest. Why are there two arguments arguing for mutually exclusive things, it cannot both be true that Bush is too honest and that he is too dishonest. One or the other has to be wrong.

And that would be you.

Because Paul mixed and matched, the result is not very coherent.

After writing that post, you're in no position to declare what is coherent and what is not. I can't remember when I've read such a verbose, rambling set of drivel.

-Paul

12 August, 2006 15:44  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

It is a FACT Bush said God told him to invade Iraq. It is easily deduced, then, that either Bush really heard God talking to him, or that he did not, and he lied about this. Which one of the possibilities you hold more likely will say a lot about the nature of your conception of Bush.

Babel

18 August, 2006 18:53  

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