Sunday, September 1, 2019

Sunday Miscellany

NOTE: I started this last Saturday - a week ago. Finishing it just fell through the cracks until now.

A Chinese student in America is bewildered by some of the differences in the cultures. Some of the differences he noticed might be due to his presence in a college community. But, many of them are cultural - in America, most of its citizens operate according to the cultural norms of Western Europe, where the original Americans (mostly) came from. I say original Americans, to distinguish them from the occupants formerly known as Indians, and now, indigenous peoples.

Want to sound all smart and informed about the 1st Amendment? Download this book (free link expires Sept. 9, so don't delay).

Free Speech has no greater champion that Camille Paglia, who has long talked and written - in nonapproved ways, to the grim disfavor of Modern Feminists - about men, women, and the complicated relationships between them, and society. City Journal has a feature on her career defending the right to say, write, and do exactly as she pleases.

And, last, an article in Popular Science, about rational thinking, and its disconnection from ability to think rationally.

In other words, even high-IQ people can have tangled, illogical thinking.

That isn't a surprise to regular readers of Liberty's Torch - we regularly skewer the illogical thought processes of Liberals. But, to be fair, even non-Liberals often engage in mushy thinking, with results simply confirming their biases.

I'm not a terribly high IQ person. I'm smarter than the average (probably not by all that much), but I know that my biases can lead me to erroneous conclusions - that, in fact, they have in the past, and probably will again in the future.

I consider myself lucky to have had a dad who understood logic sufficiently that he was able to pass on the basic ideas of the Syllogism - that logical process that is defined thus:
A form of deductive reasoning consisting of a major premise, a minor premise, and a conclusion; for example, All humans are mortal, the major premise, I am a human, the minor premise, therefore, I am mortal, the conclusion.
When discussing principles and positions with others, I'm always struck by how few are able to understand what, to me, is dead-on simple. They truly have no understanding of that type of reasoning, and cannot follow the inherent logic of it. Their "reasoning" is emotional, echoing that of other people whom they associate with, and immune to change based on logic.

As a kid, I loved the logic puzzles in science magazines, whether they involved spotting the logic flaw, untangling the seating arrangements, names, and occupations of train riders, based on very limited information, or using patterns of letters and their frequency to decipher cryptography puzzles. Those activities didn't involve very high levels of intelligence, just application of known principles, and a little logic, to the problems. With only an average intelligence, children can - and were - taught the methods, and could apply them to practical problems.

That skill is one of the targets in modern American education. Can't have the proles able to spot the logical fallacies in the politicians's/Elites' arguments, can we now?

For a fuller description of the failure of American public education, go here.

No comments: