People choose emotions over reason, no one is surprised

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People choose emotions over reason, no one is surprised

Postby Thesh » Sun Mar 04, 2012 3:11 am UTC

http://www.latimes.com/news/nationworld ... 9155.story

Apparently, trying to provide evidence that gay marriage isn't harmful doesn't work, but a handful of emotional stories can change everything.
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Re: People choose emotions over reason, no one is surprised

Postby sourmìlk » Sun Mar 04, 2012 3:20 am UTC

I think the title is too vague. That said, this article depressed me. I can make emotional appeals for almost any point of view, but I can only logically defend correct ones.
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Re: People choose emotions over reason, no one is surprised

Postby Thesh » Sun Mar 04, 2012 3:50 am UTC

sourmìlk wrote:I can make emotional appeals for almost any point of view, but I can only logically defend correct ones.


:?
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Re: People choose emotions over reason, no one is surprised

Postby sourmìlk » Sun Mar 04, 2012 3:51 am UTC

I'm not sure what you mean by :?
Terry Pratchett wrote:The trouble with having an open mind, of course, is that people will insist on coming along and trying to put things in it.

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Re: People choose emotions over reason, no one is surprised

Postby poxic » Sun Mar 04, 2012 4:11 am UTC

Many people who oppose to same-sex marriage do so because of negative emotions around the issue -- fear, hatred, or disgust (an emotion that can be socially constructed, like shame).

The best reasoning in the world does not dislodge a negative emotion that did not arise from reasoning in the first place. That negative emotion needs to be soothed with positive emotion. Apples to apples.
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Re: People choose emotions over reason, no one is surprised

Postby sourmìlk » Sun Mar 04, 2012 4:13 am UTC

poxic wrote:The best reasoning in the world does not dislodge a negative emotion that did not arise from reasoning in the first place.
Do you see why this bothers me?
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Re: People choose emotions over reason, no one is surprised

Postby Hawknc » Sun Mar 04, 2012 4:35 am UTC

I think the entirety of N&A knows that it bothers you. It's how people are, though (for a very general value of "people"), and not particularly easy to change.

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Re: People choose emotions over reason, no one is surprised

Postby Meteoric » Sun Mar 04, 2012 4:46 am UTC

Both sides of this debate have some logic to support their position (and think the other side's reasoning is faulty, or that it ignores the really important issues). Someone who's not sure which reasoning is better, but has an emotional aversion to one of the choices, will tend to prefer the other choice. This isn't about abandoning the logical approach, it's adding an emotional approach, to overcome emotional objections, at which point they are more open to reasoning.
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Re: People choose emotions over reason, no one is surprised

Postby Zcorp » Sun Mar 04, 2012 4:59 am UTC

Your title is wrong. It should read, "people to stupid to understand what is meant by civil rights but when it is broken down to more concrete elements people are more likely to see value in them."

There is no difference in the logic behind the argument, just a change in rhetoric to be less abstract. When we talk about giving equal rights to people we all of the emotional things in this article and more. It is rational to understand that human well-being is influenced by emotion and that included in civil rights is the opportunity to be treated in a equal way which has a direct impact on emotions.

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Re: People choose emotions over reason, no one is surprised

Postby Shivahn » Sun Mar 04, 2012 5:09 am UTC

Meteoric wrote:Both sides of this debate have some logic to support their position (and think the other side's reasoning is faulty, or that it ignores the really important issues). Someone who's not sure which reasoning is better, but has an emotional aversion to one of the choices, will tend to prefer the other choice. This isn't about abandoning the logical approach, it's adding an emotional approach, to overcome emotional objections, at which point they are more open to reasoning.

I don't think that's quite what happens. I think it's more:

Gut feelings->oh, hey, these vague things support my gut feelings->let's take them as premises->Hey, there is logic behind my gut feelings!

There is usually a lot of faulty logic, but that isn't strictly necessary. The important thing to note is that for a lot of people, the gut feelings seem to cause a latching on to values, which are then used to support the gut feelings, often in one step.

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Re: People choose emotions over reason, no one is surprised

Postby poxic » Sun Mar 04, 2012 5:31 am UTC

What Shivahn said. Most people have not been taught how to examine the deep reasons behind the way they feel about various things. Even if they do know the deep reasons, and decide those reasons are wrong, it still takes a lot of conscientious work to overcome those "gut feelings" in everyday situations. And that requires motivation. There are a lot of people who don't feel motivated to take on that work, or even begin the investigation. :|
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Re: People choose emotions over reason, no one is surprised

Postby Shivahn » Sun Mar 04, 2012 5:33 am UTC

There's also the fact that people don't know how, and communities are less than accepting of questioning the super deeply held beliefs. People and situations are complicated.

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Re: People choose emotions over reason, no one is surprised

Postby Jplus » Sun Mar 04, 2012 10:33 am UTC

I think Zcorp hit the nail.

@sourmìlk: this may come as a shock to you, but most humans can't do logic properly. They are, however, generally very good at having feelings. I think it will be best for your health if you come to terms with these facts as soon as you can.
As an aside, I find the idea that you could logically defend "correct" viewpoints utterly naieve. Any process of logical inference has to start with a set of premises which have to be assumed. If you assume that there is a largest integral number, I can prove to you that it is 1.
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Re: People choose emotions over reason, no one is surprised

Postby yurell » Sun Mar 04, 2012 11:13 am UTC

The idea that one can only use logic to defend correct conclusions is one that will lead one to never concede a point, since the point mustn't be wrong if it's being defended logically. It leads to nice, pretty circles.
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Re: People choose emotions over reason, no one is surprised

Postby Ghostbear » Sun Mar 04, 2012 11:42 am UTC

Yeah, such thinking really just leads to you being more likely to stick with your emotional reaction, because you will have convinced yourself that you're being logical. People are terrible at that kind of self-assessment, and the more you convince yourself that you don't, can't, or won't suffer from it, the more vulnerable you are to doing so.

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Re: People choose emotions over reason, no one is surprised

Postby Zcorp » Sun Mar 04, 2012 7:46 pm UTC

Ghostbear wrote:Yeah, such thinking really just leads to you being more likely to stick with your emotional reaction, because you will have convinced yourself that you're being logical. People are terrible at that kind of self-assessment, and the more you convince yourself that you don't, can't, or won't suffer from it, the more vulnerable you are to doing so.



Jplus wrote:@sourmìlk: this may come as a shock to you, but most humans can't do logic properly. They are, however, generally very good at having feelings. I think it will be best for your health if you come to terms with these facts as soon as you can.
As an aside, I find the idea that you could logically defend "correct" viewpoints utterly naieve. Any process of logical inference has to start with a set of premises which have to be assumed. If you assume that there is a largest integral number, I can prove to you that it is 1.



lets be clear that we don't teach logic. We don't teach reason. When we don't teach people how to think well and most humans don't have the opportunity to focus on philosophy nor are innately imbued with amazing thinking skills we can't expect them to apply them. However, that does not mean large groups of humans are incapable of behaving in this way. No culture has ever tried to teach logic and reason in mass.

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Re: People choose emotions over reason, no one is surprised

Postby Jplus » Sun Mar 04, 2012 10:19 pm UTC

Actually we do teach (logical) reasoning en masse, at least in the richer parts of the world. From primary school onwards, we challenge and instruct our children to use reasoning to solve all kinds of tasks. Children (and people in general) differ in their abilities to perform such reasoning tasks, and from middle school onwards we tend to sort children by such capabilities (although socio-economical factors play a role as well, of course). Only a small fraction (about 10% or less) makes it into university. Note that the test subjects of the paper I linked to were graduate students; so even at university level, most people can't do proper syllogisms even while they were trained to reason for at least 12 years.

I understand why you don't like to put it that way: we have a social taboo on anything that may suggest that some people are significantly more intelligent than others. Unfortunately the taboo drives us away from reality. It causes us to expect normal people to behave as if they can apply highly sophisticated reasoning schemes such as logic. That's just as unfair as expecting every normal person to be able to write a good essay or to be able to lift a 200 kg barbell. We really have to come to terms with the fact that systematic reasoning is not a normal skill, because as long as we don't we will be putting unreasonable expectations on normal people as well trivializing the abilities of those who can actually do it.

If you can apply logic properly, then the fairest thing you can do is to acknowledge that you have a special ability and not to expect that other people can do the same. It is the most earnest way to respect your fellow humans; we all come with limitations.
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Re: People choose emotions over reason, no one is surprised

Postby Greyarcher » Sun Mar 04, 2012 10:23 pm UTC

Zcorp wrote:lets be clear that we don't teach logic. We don't teach reason. When we don't teach people how to think well and most humans don't have the opportunity to focus on philosophy nor are innately imbued with amazing thinking skills we can't expect them to apply them. However, that does not mean large groups of humans are incapable of behaving in this way. No culture has ever tried to teach logic and reason in mass.
Never thought of it like that. Probably because I always took reasoning skills for granted. Even though I should know better than to assume that everyone is equally capable in...almost anything.

...it's rather disturbing when I think about it like that. "We don't teach logic or reason", eh? I admit, I can't really recall any of my early classes actually dedicated to practicing reasoning skills. Math, music, gym, english, french, art, history, sure. Reasoning and logic practice? Even simple stuff? If it was present, it was only because it was part and parcel of some other activity.

'Course, my memory of primary school days isn't that great anymore, and reasoning practice may have had a subtle and pervasive presence. But still...it feels a bit odd.

Dang. I'd swear we had eight periods of classes in a day, and now it bugs me that I can't recall which time periods were dedicated to what. Accursed human brain. Google, don't fail me now!
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Re: People choose emotions over reason, no one is surprised

Postby jakovasaur » Sun Mar 04, 2012 11:57 pm UTC

This thread is too funny. "If only everyone were as reasonable as I, the world would be a better place."

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Re: People choose emotions over reason, no one is surprised

Postby Zcorp » Mon Mar 05, 2012 12:31 am UTC

Jplus wrote:Actually we do teach (logical) reasoning en masse, at least in the richer parts of the world. From primary school onwards, we challenge and instruct our children to use reasoning to solve all kinds of tasks.
No, in general we (the american educational establishment) train students to solve specific problems. No non-post secondary public system requires nor even really advocates taking a class in reasoning, we have all but thrown out classical trivium in favor of training components of an economy. We request that students solve problems, pull important pieces of text, understand content within text (something you just demonstrated a failure in doing), do algebra and learn of the knowledge previous generations have discovered. But those have very few similarities with formal study in reason.

I understand why you don't like to put it that way: we have a social taboo on anything that may suggest that some people are significantly more intelligent than others. Unfortunately the taboo drives us away from reality. It causes us to expect normal people to behave as if they can apply highly sophisticated reasoning schemes such as logic. That's just as unfair as expecting every normal person to be able to write a good essay or to be able to lift a 200 kg barbell. We really have to come to terms with the fact that systematic reasoning is not a normal skill, because as long as we don't we will be putting unreasonable expectations on normal people as well trivializing the abilities of those who can actually do it.
You are equating intelligence to logic syllogisms. Which shows no understanding of what is technically meant by intelligence. I've not once stated that there is not variance within in intelligence, so you certainly do not understand why I don't like it stated that way. Maybe you yourself should look up something that is more basic than syllogisms. Try Red Herrings.

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Re: People choose emotions over reason, no one is surprised

Postby sourmìlk » Mon Mar 05, 2012 12:33 am UTC

To be clear, are people disagreeing with the idea that only correct ideas can be properly logically defended? That is to say, that a proper application of logic can lead to incorrect conclusions?
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Re: People choose emotions over reason, no one is surprised

Postby yurell » Mon Mar 05, 2012 12:34 am UTC

I think a class in formal logic in schools would help, rather than leaving it implicit in English & maths without ever going into the logical processes expected.
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Re: People choose emotions over reason, no one is surprised

Postby sourmìlk » Mon Mar 05, 2012 12:36 am UTC

yurell wrote:I think a class in formal logic in schools would help, rather than leaving it implicit in English & maths without ever going into the logical processes expected.

I agree, this would be nice. It's amazing how many logical fallacies people take for granted as acceptable in every day conversation.

jakovasaur wrote:This thread is too funny. "If only everyone were as reasonable as I, the world would be a better place."

This crowd is self-selected and it shows: everybody here is substantially more intelligent and better at logic than what I'm familiar with the average being. And admittedly that's anecdotal, but I really wouldn't be surprised if it helped up to empirical tests.
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Re: People choose emotions over reason, no one is surprised

Postby elasto » Mon Mar 05, 2012 1:37 am UTC

sourmìlk wrote:To be clear, are people disagreeing with the idea that only correct ideas can be properly logically defended? That is to say, that a proper application of logic can lead to incorrect conclusions?

I think that people are saying that an idea and its polar opposite can both be properly logically defended. This will be because there will be different, usually unacknowledged assumptions at play - assumptions which are typically value judgements and unprovable.

People are additionally saying that it's dangerous to presume that your argument is correct simply because it's being properly logically defended. Your opponent may be being no less rational and reasonable - just working from different assumptions to you - assumptions that neither of you might be aware of or able to articulate properly.

Logic is only the half of it in other words - and you'll not be being sufficiently open-minded to an opponent's position if you think otherwise.

Everyone thinks their own assumptions / value judgements are correct - that's why they have them. Being open minded is about being aware that some or perhaps even most of your assumptions are likely wrong.

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Re: People choose emotions over reason, no one is surprised

Postby Shivahn » Mon Mar 05, 2012 2:41 am UTC

sourmìlk wrote:To be clear, are people disagreeing with the idea that only correct ideas can be properly logically defended? That is to say, that a proper application of logic can lead to incorrect conclusions?

As elasto says, yes, people disagree with that. To put it in the terms of a logic class, a logical argument can be entirely valid without being entirely sound.

And you can never be entirely sure your argument is sound - at the very least, the spectre of skepticism and the problem of induction destroy certainty, for even the most basic arguments.

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Re: People choose emotions over reason, no one is surprised

Postby Zcorp » Mon Mar 05, 2012 2:41 am UTC

elasto wrote:I think that people are saying that an idea and its polar opposite can both be properly logically defended. This will be because there will be different, usually unacknowledged assumptions at play - assumptions which are typically value judgements and unprovable.

People are additionally saying that it's dangerous to presume that your argument is correct simply because it's being properly logically defended. Your opponent may be being no less rational and reasonable - just working from different assumptions to you - assumptions that neither of you might be aware of or able to articulate properly.

Logic is only the half of it in other words - and you'll not be being sufficiently open-minded to an opponent's position if you think otherwise.

Everyone thinks their own assumptions / value judgements are correct - that's why they have them. Being open minded is about being aware that some or perhaps even most of your assumptions are likely wrong.

Additionally knowledge is a huge factor. You can only reason based on what you know and the likeliness of things you believe to be true. Often those beliefs are wrong because you are working with insufficient information or guesses you have based on evidence are actually incorrect.

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Re: People choose emotions over reason, no one is surprised

Postby . . » Mon Mar 05, 2012 3:30 am UTC

Good for advocates of gay marriage for finding a new strategy that apparently works to advance this important cause. =)

I invite those of us who may be upset of the "assault on logic" this change in tack seems to represent to consider science fiction writer Larry Niven's "only universal message of science fiction":There exist minds that think as well as you do, but differently.

Those of us that continue to oppose gay marriage, I invite you to consider Niven's corollary to the universal message: "The gene-tampered turkey you're talking to isn't necessarily one of them." (I'm only kidding of course although I do hope through respectful dialogue we can change your point of view.)

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Re: People choose emotions over reason, no one is surprised

Postby sourmìlk » Mon Mar 05, 2012 5:26 am UTC

The faulty assumptions people can hold can also be challenged logically. Can I at least be provided with an example in which a proper application of logic leads to an incorrect conclusion? Logic and true premises necessarily lead to a correct conclusion. The truth of premises can be determined via observation and logic. So I guess you can add "observation" to the list of things necessary to reach a correct conclusion, but my point stands: that proper logic and observation will necessarily lead to correct conclusions while emotional appeals will not.
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Re: People choose emotions over reason, no one is surprised

Postby Zcorp » Mon Mar 05, 2012 5:43 am UTC

sourmìlk wrote:The faulty assumptions people can hold can also be challenged logically. Can I at least be provided with an example in which a proper application of logic leads to an incorrect conclusion? Logic and true premises necessarily lead to a correct conclusion. The truth of premises can be determined via observation and logic. So I guess you can add "observation" to the list of things necessary to reach a correct conclusion, but my point stands: that proper logic and observation will necessarily lead to correct conclusions while emotional appeals will not.

Values are entirely arbitrary. There is no logical conclusion to be reached.

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Re: People choose emotions over reason, no one is surprised

Postby sourmìlk » Mon Mar 05, 2012 5:48 am UTC

Some values are arbitrary to a given degree, sure, but I don't think it's fair to say that all values are entirely arbitrary. The "murder is bad" value, which as far as I know is shared in every culture to at least some degree, has clear utility, for example.
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Re: People choose emotions over reason, no one is surprised

Postby Shivahn » Mon Mar 05, 2012 5:55 am UTC

The truth of the premises of an argument can't possibly be determined by logic in a non-circular manner. If they're proved by something else, in a non-circular manner, then they're no longer premises, they're predicates formed by deduction from other premises. There is really only one way to challenge faulty assumptions: by showing a logical contradiction derivable from them. A premise, an actual real premise in the logical sense, can't be challenged by anything else, because as an axiom within a logical system, it's tautological (in a non super-pedantic sense of the term). It's provable by restatement: If P, then P.

And people are free to choose premises however they want. I've observed, personally, that observation tends to be a good way to get some of these. But there's no real independent basis for this to be true. So, there is that.

Also, probably more relevantly because few people abstain from using observations as premises, our observations differ. We don't share observations, and all of our observations are filtered through years of social conditioning and the weird wiring patterns that we both share and hold uniquely.

Given that, why should we expect our premises to be the same? And if they aren't how are we to logically argue against another's premises? The premises within an argument might as well be axioms: and good luck using logic to disprove an axiom. That kind of thing tends to break the system.

Spoiler:
I'm going to note here that most arguments between logically trained people tends to hinge entirely upon their premises not being premises. Consider any ethical debate: most of the arguments aren't about logical contradictions, but "The thing that you are supporting is wrong, because it implies this other thing that you obviously don't support". This could be construed as attacking premises logically, to be sure, but I'm not sure if it's what you meant. And if it is, then note that these arguments are explicitly done within the framework of the person making the argument: whatever observations you've made are irrelevant. A well programmed logic bot could pretty easily ferret these inconsistencies out without another viewpoint.


In summary, all non-tautological deductions necessarily involve premises, premises are indistinguishable from axioms within a non-contradictory argument, and consequently all non-tautological deductions with non-contradictory premises are, ironically, only actually assailable on non-logical grounds.

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Re: People choose emotions over reason, no one is surprised

Postby elasto » Mon Mar 05, 2012 5:57 am UTC

sourmìlk wrote:The faulty assumptions people can hold can also be challenged logically. Can I at least be provided with an example in which a proper application of logic leads to an incorrect conclusion? Logic and true premises necessarily lead to a correct conclusion. The truth of premises can be determined via observation and logic.
Any premise that could be determined by logic wouldn't be a premise - it would be a deduction. Drill far enough back and you always reach unprovable assumptions. This is what makes your mindset so dangerous and potentially closed-minded.

As a trivial example, anything ethical (ie X is moral, Y is immoral) is impossible to prove via logic. I mean, turn it around: if you could come up with an ethical system you could prove to be true in a rigorous mathematical sense the world would love to hear about it. It could solve a lot of problems.

(Shivahn beat me to the punch and said it much better than I did. Ah well!)

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Re: People choose emotions over reason, no one is surprised

Postby elasto » Mon Mar 05, 2012 6:02 am UTC

sourmìlk wrote:Some values are arbitrary to a given degree, sure, but I don't think it's fair to say that all values are entirely arbitrary. The "murder is bad" value, which as far as I know is shared in every culture to at least some degree, has clear utility, for example.

Yes, but 'murder is bad' is a tautology. What is murder but immoral killing? And of course immoral killing is bad.

People don't say 'killing is (always) bad' - because there's lots of situations where it's not. They can only state the tautology 'murder is bad'.

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Re: People choose emotions over reason, no one is surprised

Postby Shivahn » Mon Mar 05, 2012 6:15 am UTC

sourmìlk wrote:Some values are arbitrary to a given degree, sure, but I don't think it's fair to say that all values are entirely arbitrary. The "murder is bad" value, which as far as I know is shared in every culture to at least some degree, has clear utility, for example.


elasto wrote:Drill far enough back and you always reach unprovable assumptions. This is what makes your mindset so dangerous and potentially closed-minded.
...
(Shivahn beat me to the punch and said it much better than I did. Ah well!)


Well, I did minor in philosophy, and take as many logic classes as I could to fulfill the requirements!

For a concrete example on the drilling back thing within this context, ask yourself why it's necessarily true that we should care what a thing's utility is. Then when you have an answer, probably something along the lines of either "well, utility is good because it's good by definition" or "things that have utility are good by virtue of being useful," ask why that is. In the latter's case, you might chase it around using several words with similar meanings, like "things that are useful are good because they can be used to improve conditions" or something. Eventually you're going to do one of three things: You're going to be asking yourself an infinite chain (or, more likely, dying of something), you're going to hit a reason you've used before (now your argument is circular!" or you're going to say "fuck it, this is just true." Saying something is good by definition or something else is either an infinite loop or a premise: you could probably distill it to "good things are good" at which point you have to ask why things that are good should be done, and you'll respond either "because good things are good" or, if you're smart, "Well, assuming good things should be done..."

Of course good things are things that should be done. You (usually, probably) think so. I (usually, probably) think so. We all usually, probably, think so. There are two problems now: For one, we could all accept that but quibble about what makes a thing good (this happens often, and what it is in essence is us having different premises but instead of stating them explicitly we state them by proxy. This makes it seem like we're agreeing when what's actually happening is we're both accepting some symbol as a proxy for our premises and pretending we share premises.) More importantly, however, now we're stuck: When someone comes along and says we shouldn't bother to do good things, we don't have any way to support our argument. It's as arbitrary as any other.

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Re: People choose emotions over reason, no one is surprised

Postby Lucrece » Mon Mar 05, 2012 6:32 am UTC

I think people are also missing that heterosexism is part of a community identity. To carry a perception outside the norm renders you an outcast, and most people will go as far as possible into rationalizing bad communal beliefs for the sake of remaining part of said community.

It's dangerous to treat heterosexist people as "stupid". They're not all stupid, and they're only particularly ignorant on the topic of homosexuality. I've met doctors and professors who are homophobic. When I had a psychology class back in my high school years, someone had discussed rumors of hitler liking children, and a student called Hitler a "homosexual" without the teacher bothering to correct the student in the difference between homosexuality and pedophilia.

There's the fear of taint by association. If you defend gay people, then you're suspected of being gay -- and since you're gay, your arguments are suspect because you're pulling for your "perverted" interests instead of working impartially (i.e. from the default heterosexual viewpoint).

As far as teaching people logic, we had epistemology classes that covered logic and rhetoric back at our high school. Problem was, it only applied to International Baccalaureate (think AP program, but international/European import to the U.S. and more stringent/regimented) program students that at best made up 10% of the school population.

For the most part, it's "Pass FCAT, graduate, do whatever you need to do to keep your GPA high even if it means taking easier classes in college/technical school to maintain scholarships to pay for school and get into colleges -- a "C" in AP calculus is worse than an "A" in Honors Statistics to a college application review board". Most importantly, the majority of people don't go to college for enrichment or intellectual development; they do so for money. Part of finishing that costly degree is picking classes that give you a GPA to stay in good academic standing and eligible for scholarships, so people will find systems that challenge them intellectually the least and thus are not risky financially and professionally to them.
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Re: People choose emotions over reason, no one is surprised

Postby nitePhyyre » Mon Mar 05, 2012 7:43 am UTC

jakovasaur wrote:This thread is too funny. "If only everyone were as reasonable as I, the world would be a better place."
When you say "let's be reasonable" there is a large multitude of people who will respond with "Reasonable? That's stupid. I'm going with my gut!"

So, even if the least reasonable person in the thread thinks, at least, that reason is a good idea, we're all right.
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Re: People choose emotions over reason, no one is surprised

Postby sourmìlk » Mon Mar 05, 2012 7:49 am UTC

What? Premises aren't necessarily axiomatic, they're usually supported by data. For example, I cannot base an argument that Israel is acting appropriately with respect to its occupation of the West Bank based on the premise that the Geneva convention permits all actions in occupied territory, because it doesn't, and that's provable by examination of the evidence. I suppose eventually everything leads to the premise that logic works, which is circular, but also necessary for discussion. I don't understand, if logic doesn't necessarily lead to correct conclusions, why do we ever discuss anything? If we can never determine truth via logic, why bother with it? Every single logical discussion is based on the premise that logical discussion works, and it rather surprises me that you're all taking a totally nihilistic stance.

If logic does not necessarily lead to true conclusions, then how can we reach true conclusions?

Anyways, an argument of ethics is either a) based on premises that ethics is or should be useful or b) neither correct nor incorrect, and thus inapplicable to this discussion. What is an example of an objectively wrong conclusion that can be reached via proper application of logic?
Terry Pratchett wrote:The trouble with having an open mind, of course, is that people will insist on coming along and trying to put things in it.

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Re: People choose emotions over reason, no one is surprised

Postby yurell » Mon Mar 05, 2012 8:05 am UTC

All elephants are pink. <- Bad premise
Nelly is an elephant. <- Observation
Therefore, Nelly is pink. <- Proper application of logic
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Re: People choose emotions over reason, no one is surprised

Postby Meteoric » Mon Mar 05, 2012 8:13 am UTC

Moreover though, the problem in this case (and many others) isn't objectively wrong conclusions. "Marriage should not extend to homosexual couples" is a subjectively wrong conclusion.
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Re: People choose emotions over reason, no one is surprised

Postby Lucrece » Mon Mar 05, 2012 8:20 am UTC

I think he's also underestimating the use of logic as a form of standardized dialogue akin to universal units of measurement. Even if it doesn't lend itself as an effective vehicle for reaching truth or helping others to do so, it still has the potential to make communication easier.

There is point to logic beyond reaching "truth", and there's more to communicating with people than presenting truth to them. It's more important that they TRUST you to be giving truth.

Consider white supremacists. Despite ample evidence against most of the standard white supremacy claims, they dismiss the evidence as biased. That is, they do not trust the provider, because he's outside the group.

When the AIDS epidemic broke, at first it was called a "gay cancer" even though a Danish female doctor had died of AIDS she had seemingly contracted in the Congo (syndrome still unknown at that time) prior. People didn't give a shit about the legion of gay men dying until finally a straight face was put on the illness, and Ryan White Care Act passed.
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