Logic Can Save the World

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No, I haven’t been watching too much Star Trek. Logic is something that we need more of in social policy, economic policy, elections, foreign policy, education, voting, and personal decisions of all sorts.

(Note to you psychologists: I know that decision making is not really a rational activity. I’m choosing to politely ignore that fact.)

What would happen if policies were based more firmly on logical thinking about what to do in order to achieve a given objective? Wouldn’t our social programs, policies, and legislation be better if their logic was rigorously audited by someone? One can hope that shame would force politicians to try harder. One would hope our newfound desire for logical rigor would open a door for logical, humanist legislators, activists, and (maybe?) high-level civil servants.

Maybe, if things worked out that way people wouldn’t be able to "sell" the rest of us on policies, programs, and legislation that fail multiple tests of logic. Society would be spared the massive waste of time and money that illogical social polcies, programs, and legislation lead to. And consider the other things that we could be doing instead of fighting gay marriage (which God opposes, of course) or other feel-good things that have little or no social value.¬†

Consider some of the ways we as a society can be led astray:

1. By appeals to emotion – The terrorists are coming to kill our women and children.

2. Appeals to authority – God hates the idea of gay marriage.

3. Cause-Effect (Errors in Identifying) – As skirts get shorter, sex crimes increase so short skirts must make men go crazy!

4. Ad hominem attacks – Rush Limbaugh is a fat windbag.

Yep, we fall prey to these sorts of errors and others, both as society and as individuals making decisions about our own lives. No, I don’t agree with the second or third idea!

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~ by chetdavis on July 6, 2006.

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