Logic, Reason, Logical Fallacies, and Honest Discussion

If you’ve ever taken a basic introductory course to philosophy, one of the first things you’ll learn is the notion that nothing can be proven, only disproven, as our “reality” is wholly subjective to individual perception.  I can drop a ball and use the ball falling to the Earth as evidence that gravity exists, but this evidence in no way proves it.  For all we know with our still expanding consciousness, a giant pink unicorn holding a magnet that attracts all matter could be living in the center of the Earth.  Even IF you could see this unicorn, the sight alone wouldn’t prove that is, in fact, what is causing matter to fall to the Earth.  Once you understand this basic principle, you’ll lay the path toward freeing yourself from the need to be “right.”

Chris Rock once said that it’s better to have ideas instead of beliefs because ideas are easily changed.  Beliefs are harder.  I absolutely agree with this notion…

If a person believes something to be true, they will do whatever they can to keep that belief alive, as once again, it is directly linked to Ego.  If a person, instead, has an idea about how the world works, when presented with new information, that idea can be re-evaluted and adjusted accordingly with ease, as the individual doesn’t identify with the idea.

“Proof” Is Connected To Ego

Anyone claiming to have “proof” of something is, in actuality, only looking to reinforce their own core beliefs by convincing you of theirs.  They want to be “right” and “fear” being wrong.  I’m sure everyone reading this has come into contact with someone like this at one point.  Regardless of what kind of evidence to the contrary you present, they maintain their own position.

Compared to someone claiming to have evidence.  A person coming from this mindset generally has little interest in whether or not you decide to agree on objective facts.  Why?  Because they are no more certain of their ideas than you.

There is No Proof

Reality is wholly subjective to individual perception, therefore, by definition, what we see is a reflection in ourselves.  We agree on observations we can objectively observe for ourselves, but a shared agreement does not constitute proof.

One most also consider that the very perception of our reality is limited to our narrow sensory perception.  What we see is, in actuality, old information, as light has a constant speed.  So already we are dealing with slightly old information, which is then decoded by our brain.  Consider that we are only actively aware of ~1% of the electromagnetic spectrum we call visible light…In other words, we are blissfully unaware of nearly all of creation.  Something to consider when one thinks about cause and effect.

Logic Helps Us Discern Between Truth and Untruth

One most also consider pairing evidence with logic in one’s search for truth.  You may have considerable evidence suggesting one hypothesis, but if that evidence must also be paired with illogic thinking, you should consider stepping back and re-evaluating your position accordingly.  The universe obeys universal laws.  Nothing is random, it only appears that way.  Many things sometimes appear illogical, but the more they are better understood, the more patterns emerge, and the more we learn that they fall right into line with the universal laws.

One topic this has particularly stood out to me on, is the issue of Flat Earth.  Ultimately none of us can prove whether or not the Earth is flat or spherical.  All we can rely on is evidence.

I’ve delved into the Flat Earth theory and have read literature, watched and listened to videos, and there are many interesting points raised.  However, these points do not consist as evidence, as there are also differing plausible explanations.  Conjecture is great, as we should always question, and always ask “Why”, but when we begin to suspend logic, we begin operating against the pursuit of truth.

In order for Flat Earth to be true, in my view, a great deal of untruth must also exist, from atmospheric diffraction (bending of light by the Earth’s atmosphere) to the observable universe being essentially a massive hoax.

Doesn’t mean I claim to know that the Earth is spherical, or that I can prove this.  Based on the amount of evidence readily available, the Earth, in my view, is spherical.  When more evidence comes to light, my ideas will change accordingly.

Don’t Identify With Your Beliefs

Ultimately the point of this post is to not identify with your beliefs.  If you identify with your beliefs, you are, in fact, identifying with the egoic mind (false sense of self) and will do absolutely everything in your power to maintain your own delusions, if conflicting information is ever presented.

Use of Logical Fallacies

The term “logical fallacy” is viewed as a negative thing by many.  When engaged in discussion, I make it a point to highlight people’s use of logical fallacies in an effort to keep the discussion honest.  If someone is engaging in repeated use of fallacies, they are not engaging in discussion (the goal of which is progress) but rather, in argument or a debate (the goal of which is victory ie ego).  People don’t like when others do this, because it exposes the illogic of their assertions, and thus, invalidates them.  People engage in these behaviors in order to manipulate their opponent to argue on their terms

Most common ones I observe are:

  1. Cherry picking: choosing to only address points that reinforce one’s position
  2. Strawman argument: misrepresenting the perceived opponents position in order to better attack it
  3. Answering criticism with criticism: instead of actually responding to a statement or question, the person attacks a different point to distract from their own perceived weakness
  4. Ad hominem attack: attacking the person rather than their position.
  5. Emotive argumentation: using emotionally charged words to illicit an emotional response from the perceived opponent in order to distract from the actual topic of discussion

These are never pointed out to make people feel stupid, although that is generally the perception.

Kill Your Ego

Kill your ego and free yourself.  Remove any feeling of needing to be “right.”  Ego thinks in terms of right and wrong.  Your true self, your essence, pure consciousness…Is only concerned with being aligned with the truth.