Tuesday, April 25, 2006

It’s the logical thing to do... and ain’t that the truth.

The thing about science-fiction fanatics (which somehow has a different meaning than the shorter “sci-fi fan”) is that you can have a totally intellectual conversation that ends up in the land of the surreal.

“So, essentially my point is that the metaphysics of religion may indeed be based in the perspective of the anthropological rather than that of the mystic.”
“I know what you mean, but Spock would force a mind meld on you and then knock you out with a Vulcan nerve-pinch.”
“Yeah, I know.”

My friends and I had one of these kinds of conversations the other night over the ever popular late-night Air Itam duck rice. It revolved around whether society could survive on pure logic, and it ended up connecting the issues of abortion, euthanasia, the Borg and whether anyone would want to buy food from me. Somehow my perspective can actually be simplified to the following example.

Premise V: A hot frying pan can cook organic matter.
Premise W: My foot is fairly organic.
What, therefore, a logical Conclusion X:?

If you said, “Don’t put your foot on the frying pan, you idiot” you would be wrong (or at least, partially so, heh heh). The only logical conclusion is my foot would be cooked if I placed it on the frying pan (or fairly cooked anyhow). The actual decision of whether or not I still placed my foot on the frying pan is a different matter – what if I were masochistic, or if someone said that they’d pay me a billion dollars to do it? In the latter case, yes, I would be an idiot to believe it, but I would still be gullible and logical idiot.

Essentially that’s why communism failed – it was logical from the perspective of the state to have everyone get what they need, from whatever each person is able to contribute. But it was also logical for a doctor to drive a taxi if he got the same paycheck at the end of the day.

In the end, logic becomes a branch of science. And as Indiana Jones would say, science searches for fact, whilst psychology looks for truth. “And X, never ever marks the spot.”

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