A World Full of Simplistic Logic

Humans base much of their lives on the flimsiest of logic. Most human brains are lazy, if not lazy and stupid. They will take a simple idea “that they just know is true,” then build wildly ambitious ideologies and belief systems around the central simplism.

Simple Minded at the Root

Simple Minded at the Root

Ideologies are presented in many complex and intensive ways — scholarly papers, books, magazine articles, political speeches, motion pictures, university lectures, children’s storybooks, and more. But at the heart of every strongly-held belief is a blind leap of faith, sometimes in the form of an abbreviated, tenuous syllogism. True believers deny the importance of the “simplistic core of belief” and point to sophisticated models and arguments supporting their stance. But when confronted with strong evidence contradicting their cherished beliefs, they always fall back upon the unfalsifiable core.

Here are a few such blind leaps of logic, with brief rebuttals in parentheses:

Earth is finite: Therefore Peak Oil Armageddon

… (while the Earth is finite, humans have barely tapped into the available energies)

Carbon Dioxide is a greenhouse gas . . . Atmospheric CO2 has been trending upward: Therefore Climate Apocalypse

… (despite being a greenhouse gas, CO2 apparently has much less effect on climate than previously believed)

Sunshine and wind are “limitless and clean”: Therefore big wind and big solar energy are destined to replace hydrocarbons and nuclear power in driving huge electric power grids

… (intermittent unreliable energy sources cannot supply affordable high quality power to meet demand in industrial societies)

Without government you just have anarchy: Therefore, big powerful central governments in charge of every aspect of modern life are necessary

…(too much government can blunt intrinsic drive and creativity, reducing quality of life and economic activity)

Injustice and inequality are common in capitalist societies: Therefore capitalism is evil and must be destroyed

… (injustice and inequality are common in any society that is the least bit heterogeneous and multicultural … besides, economic discipline is tough on a dictator, so moral outrage must be used to remove the constraints that tie a dictator’s hands )

Nazis claimed that some races and religions were inherently inferior, violent, stupid, lazy, and corrupt: Therefore everyone of European extraction is a racist, and must pay an eternal tribute and reparations to all other populations — particularly perennially violent and underachieving third world peoples.

… (one easy/sleazy way to deny demonstrable differences between breeding populations, and a politically convenient dismissal and demonisation of the population that has been the greatest source of Human Accomplishment)

Islam is a religion: Therefore muslims can do anything they like under the religious flag of Islam, and anyone who objects is an Islamophobe who is to be prosecuted by civil authorities

… (appeasement in the face of religious barbarism)

Russia is the largest nation by land mass and was once the biggest part of a superpower called the USSR: Therefore Russia should always be feared as a superpower and be treated with excessive deference and respect, no matter how badly or “Hitleresque” the Russian government behaves

… (appeasement in the face of state barbarism)

The universe and all we see in it could not have just made itself: Therefore ___________ Fill in the blank with the religion of your choice.

… (This example illustrates a logical fallacy that made many religious abuses possible in history, and that continues to enable religious and political persecution in many parts of the world. Our inability to thoroughly document the origins of life and the universe is no reason to support any particular religion or any religion at all)

And so on. These are more like emotional reflexes than logical deductions, and the emotional bases for these and other deep beliefs can go far back into childhood, before speech, before there is even an organised “self” capable of mounting a defence against an irrational world.

Notice that each argument most of the arguments above have only one premise and one conclusion. One premise is not enough for a true deductive syllogism, but to a “true believer,” it is more than enough. Sometimes the premise is true — in the sense of a “truism.” But the devil is always in the details — details which must be kept hidden by those who hold the balance of power.

The conclusions in bold type above constitute much of the core of conventional wisdom that is taught in universities, practised by labour unions, and secretly believed by many persons in positions of power in government, media, academia, and other powerful cultural institutions. Because the reasoning is so shaky and slipshod, dominant elites in these institutions have no intention of allowing any reasonable alternative points of view to be given a wide airing if at all preventable.

True believers in various ideologies will claim that they are being treated unfairly, if you expose the central delusions within their motley — but often powerful — belief systems. And one should expect them to take themselves and their ideologies quite seriously. But you don’t have to.

In fact, the sooner that these flimsy ideologies — and others like them — are widely scorned and rebelled against, the sooner humans can go about building the foundations for an abundant and expansive human future.

Official institutions of societies which claim to be most necessary are often those that are killing the ability of humans to think and act for themselves. That simply will not do.

A lethal combination of crippling debt and dysgenic decline threatens modern societies. Both problems are made worse by overly large and expensive governments of an excessively meddling nature. Under such accelerating stresses, critical systems of at-risk societies are likely to begin to break down.

How such societies respond when city-wide breakdowns (think Detroit) spread to states, provinces, and entire nations in the advanced world, will prove their mettle.

HFTB. PFTW. This would be a good time for finding or founding a networked resilient community, liberally leavened with Dangerous Children.

More: Everything You Think You Know, Just Ain’t So …. Part 2 . . . . It’s okay to change your mind if you do so for good reason . . .

Ideology is for stinkers . . . Ideology is a haven for groupthink conformity, an excuse not to think for oneself. Combined with the twin crises of uncontrollable debt and dysgenic decline, ideology is the toxic icing on the cake for a declining and confining human future.

Knowledge vs. Belief … As long as you know you are crawling out on a limb, and have your contingencies planned, beliefs can be fine tools of exploration. Just don’t take them too seriously. Demonstrable knowledge is something quite different, and makes an abundant and expansive human future possible.

The brief rebuttals in parentheses above are well supported by 10 years of postings on the Al Fin blogs, © Al Fin Blog Syndicate.

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