Irrational Rationality

March 23, 2021

Why do some people believe clearly false ideas?

It’s a question I’ve been turning over in my mind for… ah, no reason, really, just random thoughts, definitely not anything political. And since these random-but-clearly-not-political musings are bouncing around my head, I figured I could examine a couple non-politically charged ideas:

  • QAnon? Nope, staying far away from that.
  • Holocaust deniers? Hmm… no, if only because it turns my stomach.
  • Chem trails? Meh… so last decade.
  • Illuminati? So last century?
  • Bill Gates seeding the world with metal snow? A little to far into the crazy.
  • Flat Earthers? Ah, so I kind of feel like that one’s cheating.

Actually, let’s go with that: flat earthers. There are a not insignificant number of people that believe the earth is flat, truly. On the face of it, this is a remarkably obvious and to many, a stupid belief. There’s an astonishing amount of ‘proof’ that we live on a very large sphere called a planet. Not only are there clues to this on the ground, but if we just look up at the sky, we can see pretty much everything else out there also is a sphere. Then there’s all the videos and images from the international space station, satellites, the shuttle, etc, and it becomes pretty hard to believe that we’re living on anything but a spherical planet.

It might seem the only way to not believe the earth is a sphere is to dig a deep hole and bury yourself deeply within it. Yet I guarantee they’ve seen it all.

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An Illusion of Distance

February 16, 2021

One doesn’t exist.

Does that sound strange, or is it obvious? On the one hand 1, the word ‘one’ means nothing without a reference. For it to have meaning, you must specify. One person? One table? One pencil? One… yeah, you get the idea. So one alone, is meaningless.

On the other hand, there are innumerable examples of one. There is only one me, one of my wife, one of each of my children. There is an infinite supply of examples that we can point to and say: that is only one.

But what is one? What does it mean?

  1. Badum bum. 

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Deceitful Logic

February 13, 2021

I’ve mentioned this before, but I’m becoming convinced that logic cannot prove anything. Or, perhaps, I should say it cannot prove anything material.

if A equals B, and B equals C, then A must equal C.

Categorically, this is true. The problem with this statement (and all logical derivatives) comes not from its definition, but from its application.

Specifically: we can’t apply it.

What is A? What is B? What is C? How do we “prove” they are equal?

The moment you attempt to apply this to the physical world, it breaks down. To prove A is equal to B, we must be capable of fully defining A and B.

We can’t.

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The Honorable Judge Aaron Hayman

February 9, 2021

So, I’m having a rather entertaining debate with a friend on Facebook who thinks the election was stolen. We are currently arguing over what constitutes evidence. I’m mostly sharing this cause I had a lot of fun writing it and believe it’s entertaining. It also just happens to reflect my stance on things.

Also, I spent almost two hours on this and I didn’t want it to get lost deep in a Facebook comment thread.

Names have been redacted to protect the innocent. Except mine, but then, I can hardly be called innocent.

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Certain Doubt

January 29, 2021

I’m pretty sure I’m broken.

I had a ~conversation~ debate with my boss; he literally owns the business of which I am an employee. He has very specific political beliefs 1 and he wants to debate them. He’s not just trying to get you to agree; no, he actually appreciates a difference in opinion.

Yeah, I know. Crazy. We get along great.

Yet it was during one of our weekly conversations that I realized I am truly broken.

  1. No, I will not discuss the details. They’re not the point. 

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Argumentative Assertion

January 26, 2021

Argument by Assertion: An informal fallacy whereby a proposition is enforced by assertion rather than any actual proof.

See Also: Argument by Repetition

I recently read an article about something I believe really important: systemic racism. It made me genuinely angry, though perhaps not in the way the author intended.

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January 17, 2021

What’s the term for a statement that contradicts itself if it’s true?

Is that a paradox?

I’ve been thinking through this one:

Any singular truth is a lie, not because the statement is false, but because it stands alone. Like the facet of a diamond, it cannot encompass the whole thing.

I like this because it summarizes something I believe: that truth is always more complex than any pithy statement we can attach to it. Yet this statement, if true, means it must be a lie since it is singular.

There are outs to this. I could add an adverbial clause (Generally, any singular truth is a lie) or an adverb (Any singular truth is almost always a lie), which remove the absolute nature of the statement. Yet this diminishes the impact. The whole reason I think this is important is because “we all” (let’s just say mankind) have a tendency to believe that our truths are absolute and obvious, while everyone else’s are clearly suspect. The absolute nature of this statement encourages self reflection: if all singular statements are a lie, then we must assume our personal truth can only ever be partial.

But then, maybe not. I doubt any soul-searching deep shifts in belief have ever occurred because some arrogant ass (me) uttered a pithy contradiction on the internet.

Perhaps I should settle for irony:

Any singular truth is a lie, not because the statement is false, but because it stands alone. Like the facet of a diamond, it cannot encompass the whole thing. Except this one. This one isn’t a lie. It is, of course, the only absolute singular pure truth in all of reality.

Yeah, sure. Let’s go with that.


November 12, 2020

I don’t want to be angry.

And I’m not.

But I am tired of people trying to make me angry.

As of late, there seems to be a constant stream of accusations, outrage, and a general miasma of “can you believe” from those who want me to be angry. They want me to be mad at something that’s happened, something that was said, some clearly evil thing that was done.

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Begging Questions

October 22, 2020

Begging the question: A logical fallacy whereby a presupposed conclusion drives the questions of the argument to support the conclusion.

You see, the process of destroying a nation is simple.

Belief is most often driven by fear. Not always, mind you — love and hope are also strong — but fear is the strongest motivator. And so in order to install belief, you must stoke fear.

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