First Principles

first-principle-quotes-4A first principle is somewhat similar to the concepts of axioms and maxims. However, the former is a truth taken to be self-evident, whereas the latter a starting point for further reasoning. A first principle on the other hand, is that on which everything else is constructed, the foundation of a life. These are frequently imbued in men during their childhood, as a form of social programming, in order to secure the investment of the male into the existing social order. A first principle of many blue pill men, is the framing of all female behavior in a positive light, which creates the foundation for events such as oneitis and white knighting. For if the female may never be perceived as engaging in negative behavior, it follows that her position may never be a lower one in his mind.

The chosen first principles determine not only the manner in which a person processes information, and weight put on certain pieces of information. It determines the preferred data, the preferred methods of reasoning and the frame in which conclusions are formed. Thus, it follows that eliminating non-productive first principles from mental programming, and reprogramming the mind to utilize principles of higher quality and efficacy.

A prime example of faulty principles is illustrated in the story of a man who was programmed with a set of first principles:

A) Always be a good person

B) All rich people got rich by engaging in devious behavior.

Is it a surprise that this man struggled with his finances throughout his life? His first principle since birth inevitably linked financial success with behavior, which is not good. As his primary principle was “Always be a good person” it follows that in his mind, financial success would implicitly and intrinsically be in violation of this principle. Continue reading

Sophism : How to actually make logic abuse

sophistThose of you who have read my posts on logic, and particularly my posts on logical fallacies, should be familiar with how you can call someone out when they make fallacious or spurious arguments against you. This was my own motivation in immersing myself in the field of logic for years, the ability to become a human logic machine. This is its own reward, the ability to use reason as a rapier can be exhilarating and bring great intellectual satisfaction, however logos alone is not an effective tool for the rhetorician.

In ancient Greece there was a group of teachers that were called the sophists, they were teachers of many things but are perhaps most renowned for teaching the tools of convincing rhetoric. Depending on who you read on the topic of sophism, Plato for instance derided them for using their knowledge to their own ends rather than seeking justice and truth, you may have a different picture. The modern meaning of the term, has come to mean one who uses the tools of logic and rhetoric to deceive someone in a debate. The term “sophistry” has come to be defined as using sophisms for subtle and deceptive argumentation or reasoning.

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When ideas (should) die.

The concept of falsification is central to ideas in the sciences. To prove something true is much more difficult than to prove something not true. If we adopt this principle when dealing with ideas, and systems of thought, how would we go about determining when an idea can be dismissed and should be removed from the toolbox of ideas?

If we use Marx’s communism as a baseline, as this is a system that has on multiple occasions been implemented fairly in line with the conditions laid out in “Das Kapital”. In each case the implementation has resulted in tyranny, mass murder and a lack of rights for the individual. This holds true in the Soviet Union, Cambodia and North Korea, plus many of the less well-known communist states in Eastern Europe and Africa. In every case there has been a tendency that progress towards the ideal state Marx describes stops with the dictatorship or rule by the revolutionary committee.

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Fun with fallacies 20: The fallacies of #Gamergate

fun with fallacies 20When I started this series, it was more to drive me to write something on a regular basis, so that if I get busy, I will have some content to post. Since this is post 20 in the series, and we have quite a few to go, I figured I’d make a special post on the two new fallacies I saw emerge from #gamergate.

For those of you who didn’t follow it, #Gamergate is a quantum-state topic, for some it is the gaming communities rise against what is a clear lack of integrity from gaming professionals. Triggered by the discovery that an indie game “developer” who got great reviews for a game that is unplayable, based on sleeping with a string of members of the gaming press. Continue reading

Fun with fallacies 19: You are like Hitler!

false analogyThe fallacy of a false analogy happens when someone is making an argument in the form of an analogy where the analogy is lacking in certain aspects that make up a good analogy.

The basic form of an argument from analogy tends to be similar to this:

P and Q are similar in A, B, and C

In P we have also observed X

Therefore Q also probably has X

An example of such an argument could be

Ivan and Boris both work out hard, eat right and get extreme results in body composition

We also see that Boris takes anabolic steroids.

Therefore, Ivan probably also takes anabolic steroids.

The factors that either add to or detract from an argument from analogy are:

A) Relevance (positive or negative) of known similarities of the two things to the similarity inferred in the conclusion.

B) Degree of relative similarity or dissimilarity of the two things.

C) The amount and variety of instances that form the basis of an analogy.

This is generally not the type of fallacy you end up evaluating on the fly. In verbal discourse analogies tend to be superficial at best, and used for humorous effect, rather than as a piece of complex reasoning. They serve a purpose in rhetoric by “short-circuiting” a persons mind, by triggering associations.

For instance, when I say that “My opponent is like Stalin” the audience’s minds start doing the X from the argument themselves. I don’t even have to do the A, B, and C for this to happen. This is why good analogies are central to becoming a great orator or manipulator. I remember hearing someone say that the worst way you can punish a child, is by telling them “Go to our room, I’ll be up to punish you in 10 minutes” because the child’s mind starts creating their worst case scenarios for what the punishment will be.

This is what a great orator does with the false analogy, he creates what appears to be an argument, that the audience then convince themselves of in their mind.

Speaker: Trump is like Hitler!

Audience: He said it, so in what ways is Trump like Hitler?

What happens in their mind is that they come up with the best reasons for why Trump is like Hitler, rather than evaluating and dismissing it as fiery rhetoric. This is also congruent with salesmanship tactics, where putting your client in the position where they are selling your product to themselves increases the chance of making a sale.