Logic & Evidence vs. Abuse & Trauma

I would like to point out a pretty good example of how it is that indoctrinated people “think” these days.

Somebody recently posted this question on reddit:

Reddit amateur economists and philosophers, what are the standard rebuttals to arguments against a progressive tax?

Let me first say I’m American, and in the south, so I get a lot of anti-government/anti-tax people starting conversations with me.

I get into it all the time with people who advocate “fair” taxes and flat taxes. I am of the opinion that these taxes are regressive and shift the tax burden to those who can least afford it, but I often find myself backed into corners where I have to admit that I want corporations to pay a large portion of their profits in taxes. What are some key points I can use to drive home the necessity of a progressive tax?

How can I prove that progressive taxation is the only feasible tax system for America?

You notice how he puts the conclusion first and then tries to look for every conceivable justification that amateur economists and philosophers can possibly throw at him?

This is not an isolated event. This is how most people try to tell themselves that they are participating in intelligent public discourse.

Why do we reasonable people quickly get frustrated with the thought-zombies around us who say things like the above?

Because our process is “Question >> Logic >> Evidence >> Conclusion”, we automatically tend to assume that everyone else goes through this process as well.

We forget that the majority of people around us went through “Mental/Physical Abuse/Neglect >> Trauma >> Coping >> Conclusion >> Contrive evidence and logic to back up traumatic conclusions”. – A childhood scar tissue in other words.

So then people like us often get frustrated if we don’t understand how this kind of traumatic mindset works.

We think that, since logic and evidence is at the root of all our conclusions, surely we can start with logic and evidence and gently guide them to the right conclusions that same way. We forget that it never was logic and evidence that got them to hold their conclusions in the first place.

Thus we have to show compassion, rather than frustration, with people who have been indoctrinated and traumatized in one way or another.

If we don’t, then this in itself is a failure on our part to use logic and evidence to arrive at conclusions on how to best communicate knowledge to those who were never taught how to think, to give them the proper “tools”, as it were, to reason through questions from first principle and arrive at reasonable conclusions themselves.

This is why I think I should try a bit harder to focus on communicating the method of logic and evidence to people, rather than force-feed them my own conclusions.

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Logical Fallacies, Religion, and Hypocrisy

All bigoted beliefs by definition defy the consistency of reality, that is – logic. Thus, wherever you encounter bigotry, hypocrisy is not far.

Religion, as a subset of bigotry, is by necessity one of the most fertile grounds for hypocrisy.

Not that I care for this person’s blog at all, and not to pick on the guy in particular, but this is the kind of stuff that you always need to look out for to sniff out moral corruption, hypocrisy and irrationality at its core.

Here the guy kindly instructs the reader on All About Logical Fallacies. In particular he enlightens the reader about the following:

Argumentum ad populum: This common logical fallacy relies on the fact that “everybody” believes it or accepts it as true, therefore it is true. It can also be used to replace specific authorities with a more collective “all scientists”, “all politicians”, “all reasonable people” claim.

Illogical Ian: I know its true, because everyone says its true!

Logical Leo: I don’t think it’s true. So since everyone doesn’t say it’s true, it must not be true, then?

Illogical Ian: Well, most reasonable people say its true!

Logical Leo: It wasn’t too long ago that most reasonable people though that slavery wasn’t a terrible idea.

Illogical Ian: That’s a different thing man…

Logical Leo: And not too long ago, the vast majority of the American public supported the invasion of Iraq.

Illogical Ian: Hold on…

Logical Leo: I can give you plenty of examples where public opinion, or the opinion of a large group of any people, turned out to be wrong. In fact, I can only say with certainty that no one knows everything, or really, anything. At some point, some part of their understanding will be proven wrong. Hopefully, at that point, they will embrace the new understanding and logic. Either that, or leave themselves behind on the dustbin of history.

So far so good. The claim that something is true because many reasonable people think it is, is a rampant fallacy indeed. Thus our friend from above justly cautions:

If you use any of the logical fallacies below, you are embracing deception and lies. Pay attention to this and rid yourself of all logical fallacies.

Awesome! Great! Yay! Let’s see how consistently he applies his own preachings.

In this post he writes about Eye Witness Accounts from 2000+ years ago which supposedly constitute convincing evidence about the truth of claims in the Bible, all based on Lee Strobel’s “The Case For Christ”.

Aside from the fact that I can’t wait for this guy to act consistently and also make the same case for Zeus, Hera, and 10,000+ other gods from long gone superstitions, based on their “eye-witness accounts”, another person wrote a comment about this post:

There is absolutely no substantive, rational evidence provided by Strobel to support the divinity of Christ or miracles performed. Likewise, to claim that the four gospels provide an accurate portrayal of Christ when a number of alternative gospels were suppressed by the early church is amusing at best.

… to which the author replied with what he considers evidence, in particular he said this:

Hundreds of millions of people worldwide have attempted to follow Jesus, and have received some sort of divine manifestation that his teachings are true and that he is, indeed, all that he claimed to be in the Bible. Prove that these hundreds of millions of people are lunatics, liars, or frauds.

Sounds familiar, Illogical Ian, doesn’t it?

Now, I’m sure the guy is currently busy as hell, ridding himself of this logical inconsistency, just as he cautioned his readers to do.

Because, as we all know, it’s important to practice what you preach, right? Right?? =)

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Existence, Logic, Evidence, Truth, Knowledge & Bigotry


Matter is everything that has a detectable mass. It consists of elementary particles. Some particles form electrons and protons. Those in turn are the basis for atoms. Multiple atoms can form molecules. Matter is what forms the different objects that we can observe around us.

There are also some other particles which do not constitute matter, but are rather considered force carriers, such as a photon which is a carrier for light.

In any case, the existence of an object is broadly defined as its consisting of one or several connected particle(s).

Human Observation

A human being, too, is an object that consists of matter. He can observe and confirm the existence of other objects via his senses of sight, hearing, taste, smell, and touch, if need be aided by certain devices, which are all means to trigger chemical reflexes in his neural system and his brain. Man’s consciousness, the sequence of all such reflexes, is an effect of the existence of his brain.

Consciousness allows man to formulate propositions, that is statements about (1) the physical observable properties of an object and (2) its actual movements relative to other objects. It also allows him to group objects with similar observable properties into the same conceptual categories and thus to speak of objects in the form of concepts.

Logic & Validity

Logic is the examination of a proposition’s compliance with 3 axioms: the law of identity, the law of non-contradiction, and the law of the excluded middle. These laws are derived directly and objectively from the consistency of reality.

The law of identity says that the statement A = A (at the same time and place) is always true. For example, the statement “that rock on the ground is that rock on the ground” is always true. The statement “I am myself” is also always true in that same regard. The proposition “The law of identity is invalid” implies that A = A is false. This would mean that A = non-A is true. This would imply that the statement “The law of identity is invalid” is identical to saying “The law of identity is valid”. Thus anybody who tries to oppose the validity of the law of identity affirms the law of identity in the very process, making it an irrefutable axiom.

The law of non-contradiction says that claiming A AND non-A (at the same time and place) is always false. No proposition can be true and false at the same time. The statement “I am sitting at my desk and I am also not sitting at my desk at the same time” is always invalid. The proposition “The law of non-contradiction is invalid” validates the law of non-contradiction. For if it was invalid, then the proposition “The law of non-contradiction is invalid and valid at the same time” would be correct. But then the person advancing the proposition would always have to affirm as valid the statement “The law of non-contradiction is valid” as well. Thus the law of non-contradiction, too, is an irrefutable axiom.

The law of the excluded middle says that either A OR non-A is always true. This means that, for example, the statement “I am either sitting at my desk or I am not sitting at my desk” is always true, there is nothing in-between. The proposition “The law of the excluded middle is invalid” validates the law of the excluded middle. For if it was invalid, then the statement “The law of the excluded middle is either valid or invalid” would be false. But that would mean that “The law of the excluded middle is invalid AND valid at the same time” would have to be true. But in that case the party advancing that proposition would always have to affirm as valid the statement “The law of the excluded middle is valid”.

The logical examination of a proposition is very helpful because it can save you a lot of time. If a proposition fails the test of logic, there is no need to move on and look for evidence. If I say that there are cookies in the jar and these very same cookies are also on the moon, then you don’t need to open up the cookie jar, fly out to the moon, search the whole planet for cookies, etc. Since reality is consistent, and logic is just a derivative of reality’s consistency, any proposition that fails the logic test is by definition false.

A proposition that passes the logic test is valid. In order for it to be considered true, however, it still needs to pass the test of evidence.

Evidence & Accuracy

Evidence is the sensual, sufficient, and direct observation of objects in reality with the objective of testing the accuracy of a certain proposition. If the observed properties and/or movements of existing objects match those advanced in the proposition then it can be said that evidence exists to corroborate that proposition.

Any proposition that cannot be confirmed by evidence is inaccurate and thus its truth, if any, cannot be confirmed until proven accurate.

Any proposition that is confirmed by evidence can be considered accurate. The more evidence exists to corroborate a proposition the higher its degree of accuracy.


A proposition that is both valid and accurate can be considered to have been proven to be true. But as humans are fallible in their observations and thinking, they may, at times, make mistakes that lead them to ascribe truth to propositions that are actually false. Thus, there is always room for correction in the pursuit of knowledge. This of course does not mean that reality or truth are in any way relative.

Knowledge vs. Bigotry

One’s knowledge is the set of those propositions that one subscribes to that have been proven to be true via logic and evidence. Any activity that involves the discovery of true propositions may be referred to as the pursuit of knowledge.

Bigoted beliefs are the false propositions one subscribes to in spite of missing or even contrary evidence. Any activity that involves the defense of false propositions in the face of missing or even contrary logic and evidence may be referred to as bigotry.

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