Tuesday, September 21, 2010

Deductive Reasoning...a dying art

Maybe it is just me, but I am having a huge disconnect with a lot of core logic in today's world. Its seems that with "new math" and modern education coming into vogue, somehow common sense and deductive reasoning has flown out the window.

Granted, deductive reasoning is not fool proof or always arriving at truth. If your premises are bad, many times your conclusion will be also. Being a proponent of "cause and effect", I think most of the world's problems can be traced back to poor premises...and primarily a lack of historical understanding or perspective.

Disconnects in our deductive reasoning is the primary cause in my opinion of the new subjectivity for words and labels. For example, what does it mean when someone says "they are Christian" or "they are Muslims"? What does it mean when someone is labeled a "Republican" or a "Democrat"? Unfortunately you have a LOT of people tossing around these labels either in self description or in defining others...yet I tend to often have big disconnects between the labels and what/who that person is or says. So what is changing...the premise or the conclusion?

I still believe in logic and "deductive reasoning". I still believe 2+2=4 and that love begets love and hate begets hate. While I don't think we can totally predict the future, I think we can have a pretty good idea on some of our deductions...

The chasm between fundamentalists versus secularists will continue to widen as more of the world becomes aware of the premises of the other through shrinking geographic access and technology/communication connections.

The poor and uneducated will be THE battleground for dominance in both democratic and dictatorial government systems. It will always be the rich/educated "few" against the "masses".

Future wars will be fought via technology and ideology rather than guns and bombs.

"Capitalism" and "Communism" will become insignificant words as both systems continue competing for economic world dominance and defining economic models. I predict Asia/China will continue to dominate in this arena while current first world powers continue to decline.

"Singularity"...where human intelligence and computer intelligence unite...will transform the world in the next 40-50 years.

This aspect of "singularity" is probably the greatest factor in determining the future of mankind. While I continue to value the "heart and soul" of man...it alarms me how far away our emotions have taken us from solid, deductive reasoning. If and when we arrive to the point where computer intelligence and human intelligence intertwine, it is my hope that it will restore congruity and reasoning as applied to the world's problems.

My fantasy is to have a big deductive "computer" listening in on discussions/speeches at the "United Nations" and US Congress sessions...tied into big flashing neon signs flashing immediate responses to illogical arguments and proposals. I would love to see computers expressing immediate responses of "Illogical", "Unreasonable" or "untenable" to the vacuous rantings of people like Chavez, Ahmadinejad and other crazed lunatics leading various nation/states in our world. We also could use instant computer gratification when it comes to economic and tax systems. We need to somehow restore deductive reasoning to our greater human logic.

I am reminded of one of my childhood TV shows from the 60s, "Lost in Space", where the Robinson family were constantly dependent on the computerized wisdom of "The Robot". When the whimsical machinations of "Dr. Smith" got too far out of hand or the "kids" would wander off into danger...it was always "Mr Robot" who came to their rescue with solid information or practical solutions to the situation at hand...or even many times sacrificing his own welfare to protect the "weaker" human being. Is computerized intelligence capable of emotion as well? Only time will tell.

I for one am rooting for the day when our human race is more controlled by computerized "deductive reasoning" than the fanatical, ideological and emotional rationalizations that are currently destroying our natural order.

PS. For extra credit, I highly recommend reading and following one of the world's most brilliant minds on the subject of "Singularity". I have played Ray Kurzweil's keyboards over the years...but his greatest contributions are still ahead of him. Here are a few links of interest:

Ray Kurzweil: How technology's accelerating power will transform us

Ray Kurzweil - Futurist

1 comment:

Jordan Accardo said...

I completely understand what you are saying, the frustration of looking around, and making conjectures and coming upon logical conclusions based on those conjectures. it is astounding to me how easily people forget the past, how quick people are to abandon history; and even though they are focused on the future more than the past, they are focused on their future, failing to see the direction the future of the world is headed. However I do not believe that logic should be the one thing dictating our actions, if that were true humanity would still go into decline, but rather a different decline, a moral decline. Logic is wonderful, and should be a major part in our foundation, but say for instance, a man holds a gun to your mother's chest, and the only way to stop him in time is to jump in front of your mother and take the bullet yourself, that would be highly illogical, perhaps you could logically asses the situation and disarm the man without anyone getting hurt, but in this scenario there isn't enough time. The logical thing to do would be to let your mother die, but you know that the right thing to do is to take the bullet to save your mother, and what is right and what is wrong is debatable. Even now anyone who reads this will probably label me, as you said they do, however the misconception that you have to abandon logic to accept morality, and relinquish your rights as a free thinker to have faith, this idea is ludicrous! Logic and morality can coexist and in fact they balance each other out just as an old american symbol recognized only by a few, a three headed bald eagle, the heads represent the three branches, on talon holds arrows representing war and the other an olive branch, representing peace, one wing represents anarchy, and the other tyranny, and the theory is that if both extremes flap in unison working together a perfect balance is achieved, thus the same idea can be applied to logic and morality, logic dictating the reasonable thing to do and morality the compassionate kind thing to do, thus humanity falls into neither stupidity, or suffering. I want you to know that I thoroughly respect you and your writing, and that i totally agree with you, but I believe that all should be open minded