Posts Tagged ‘Facts’

Emotional Thinking Is Superior Thinking

March 11, 2015

By claiming that emotional thinking is superior, I do not mean that “logical” thinking ought to be rejected, and replaced by passions running wild. I am just saying what I am saying, and no more. Not, just the opposite, “logical” thinking ought to be embraced. However, there are many “logical” types of thought in existence (as Pascal already pointed out). Including the emotional type. They are entangled.

Emotional and logical thinking can be physiologically distinguished in the brain (the latter is mostly about axons; the former about the rest).

Any “logical” thinking is literally, a chain made of points. (And there are no points in nature, said a Quantum Angel who passed by; let’s ignore her, for now!)

Elliptic Geometry In Action: Greeks, 240 BCE, Understood The Difference Between Latitude & Geodesic (Great Circle)

Elliptic Geometry In Action: Greeks, 240 BCE, Understood The Difference Between Latitude & Geodesic (Great Circle). (Traditionally, one quotes Eratosthenes. However, it’s Pytheas of Marseilles who first did this elliptic geometry computation… A century earlier. Pytheas also discovered the Polar Circle, sea ice, and maybe Iceland, among other things boreal…) Whether to develop, or not, this sort of mathematics and physics was, fundamentally, an emotional decision. Involving in particular the emotional worth of the axioms involved.

Some say that hard logic, and mathematics is how to implement “correct thinking”. Those who say this, do not know modern logic, as practiced in logic departments of the most prestigious universities.

In truth, overall, logicians spent their careers proposing putative, potential foundations for logic. Ergo, there is no overall agreement, from the specialists of the field themselves, about what constitute acceptable foundations for “logic”.

It is the same situation in mathematics.

Actually dozens of prestigious mathematicians (mostly French) launched themselves, in the 1950s into a project to make mathematics rigorous. They called their effort “Bourbaki”.

Meanwhile some even more prestigious mathematicians, or at least the best of them all, Grothendieck, splendidly ignored their efforts, and, instead, founded mathematics on Category Theory.

Many mathematicians were aghast, because they had no idea whatsoever what Category Theory could be about. They derided it as “Abstract Nonsense”.

Instead it was rather “Abstract Sense”.

But let’s take a better known example: Euclid.

There are two types of fallacies in Euclid.

The simplest one is the logical fallacy of deducing, from emotion, what the axioms did not imply. Euclid felt that two circles which looked like they should intersect, did intersect. Emotionally seductive, but not a consequence of his axioms.

Euclid’s worst fallacy was to exclude most of geometry, namely what’s not in a plane. It’s all the more striking as “Non-Euclidean” geometry had been considered just prior. So Euclid closed minds, and that’s as incorrect as incorrect can be.

To come back to logic as studied by logicians: the logicS considered therein, are much general than those used in mathematics. Yet, as no conclusion was reached, this implies that mathematics itself is illogical. That, of course, is a conclusion mathematicians detest. And the proof of their pudding is found in physics, computer science, engineering.

So what to do, to determine correct arguments? Well, direct towards any argument an abrasive, offensive malevolence, trying to poke holes, just as a mountain lion canines try to pass between vertebras to dislocate a spine.

That’s one approach. The other, more constructive, but less safe, is to hope for the best, and launched logical chains in the multiverses of unchained axiomatics.

Given the proper axioms, (most of) an argument can generally be saved. The best arguments often deserve better axiomatics (so it was with Leibnitz’s infinitesimals).

So, de facto, people have longed been using not just “inverse probability”, but “inverse logic”. In “inverse logic”, axioms are derived from what one FEELS ought to be a correct argument.

Emotions driving axiomatics is more metalogical, than axiomatics driving emotions.


To the preceding philosophy professor Massimo Pigliucci replied (in part) that:


“…Hence, to think critically, one needs enough facts. Namely all relevant facts.”

Enough facts is not the same as all the relevant facts, as incorrectly implied by the use of “namely.” 

“It is arrogant to think that other people are prone to “logical fallacies”.”

It is an observation, and facts are not arrogant. 

“A Quantum Wave evaluates the entirety of possible outcomes, then computes how probable they are.”

Are you presenting quantum waves as agents? They don’t evaluate and compute, they just behave according to the laws of physics.

“just as with the Quantum, this means to think teleologically, no holds barred”

The quantum doesn’t think, as far as I know. 

“Emotional Thinking Is Superior Thinking” 

I have no idea what you mean by that. Superior in what sense? And where’s the bright line between reason and emotion?

“Any “logical” thinking is literally, a chain made of points”

No, definitely not “literally.” 

It may not follow from the axioms, but I am having a hard time being emotionally seductive by intersecting circles. 

“Euclid’s worst fallacy was to exclude most of geometry, namely what’s not in a plane.”

That’s an historically bizarre claim to make. Like saying that Newton’s worst fallacy was to exclude considerations of general relativity. C’mon. 

“as no conclusion was reached, this implies that mathematics itself is illogical” 

Uhm, no. 

“to hope for the best, and launch logical chains in the multiverses of unchained axiomatics” 

Very poetic, I have no idea what that means, though.”


Massimo Pigliucci is professor of philosophy at CUNY in New York, and has doctorates both in biology and philosophy. However, truth does not care about having one, or two thousands doctorates. It would take too long to address all of Massimo’s errors (basically all of his retorts above). Let me just consider two points where he clings to Common Wisdom like a barnacle to a rock. The question of Non-Euclidean geometry, and of the Quantum. He published most of the answer below on his site:

Dear Massimo:

Impertinence and amusement help thought. Thank you for providing both. Unmotivated thought is not worth having.

The Greeks discovered Non-Euclidean geometry. It’s hidden in plain sight. It is a wonder that, to this day, so many intellectuals repeat Gauss’ self-serving absurdities on the subject (Gauss disingenuously claimed that he had discovered it all before Janos Bolyai, but did not publish it because he feared the “cries of the Beotians”… aka the peasants; Gauss does not tell you that a professor of jurisprudence had sketched to him how Non-Euclidean geometry worked… in 1818! We have the correspondence.).

The truth is simpler: Gauss did not think of the possibility of Non-Euclidean geometry (although he strongly suspected Euclidean geometry was not logical). Such a fame greedster could not apparently resist the allure of claiming the greatest prize…

It is pretty abysmal that most mathematicians are not thinking enough, and honest enough, to be publicly aware of Gauss’ shenanigans (Gauss is one of the few Muhammads of mathematics). But that fits the fact that they want mathematics to be an ethereal church, the immense priests of which they are. To admit Gauss got some of his ideas from a vulgar lawyers, is, assuredly, too painful.

That would be too admit the “Prince of Mathematics” was corrupt, thus, all mathematicians too (and, indeed, most of them are! Always that power thing; to recognize ideas have come out of the hierarchy in mathematics is injurious to the hierarchy… And by extension to Massimo.)

So why do I claim the Greeks invented Non-Euclidean geometry? Because they did; it’s a fact. It is like having the tallest mountain in the world in one’s garden, and not having noticed it: priests, and princes, are good at this, thus, most mathematicians.

The Greek astronomer Ptolemy wrote in his Geography (circa 150 CE):

“It has been demonstrated by mathematics that the surface of the land and water is in its entirety a sphere…and that any plane which passes through the centre makes at its surface, that is, at the surface of the Earth and of the sky, great circles.”

Not just this, but, nearly 400 years earlier, Eratosthenes had determined the size of Earth (missing by just 15%).

How? The Greeks used spherical geometry.

Great circles are the “straight lines” of spherical geometry. This is a consequence of the properties of a sphere, in which the shortest distances on the surface are great circle routes. Such curves are said to be “intrinsically” straight.

Better: Eusebius of Caesarea proposed 149 million kilometers for the distance of the Sun! (Exactly the modern value.)

Gauss, should he be around, would whine that the Greeks did not know what they were doing. But the Greeks were no fools. They knew what they were doing.

Socrates killed enemies in battle. Contemporary mathematicians were not afraid of the Beotians, contrarily to Gauss.

Aristotle (384-322 BC) was keen to demonstrate that logic could be many things. Aristotle was concerned upon the dependency of logic on the axioms one used. Thus Aristotle’s Non-Euclidean work is contained in his works on Ethics.

A thoroughly modern approach.

The philosopher Imre Toth observed the blatant presence of Non-Euclidean geometry in the “Corpus Aristotelicum” in 1967.

Aristotle exposed the existence of geometries different from plane geometry. The approach is found in no less than SIX different parts of Aristotle’s works. Aristotle outright says that, in a general geometry, the sum of the angles of a triangle can be equal to, or more than, or less than, two right angles.

One cannot be any clearer about the existence on Non-Euclidean geometry.

Actually Aristotle introduced an axiom, Aristotle’s Axiom, a theorem in Euclidean and Hyperbolic geometry (it is false in Elliptic geometry, thus false on a sphere).

Related to Aristotle’s Axiom is Archimedes’ Axiom (which belongs to modern Model Theory).

One actually finds non trivial, beautiful NON-Euclidean theorems in Aristotle (one of my preferred frienemies).

Non-Euclidean geometry was most natural: look at a sphere, look at a saddle, look at a pillow. In Ethika ad Eudemum, Aristotle rolls out the spectacular example of a quadrangle with the maximum eight right angles sum for its interior angles.

Do Quantum Wave think? Good question, I have been asking it to myself for all too many decades.

Agent: from Latin “agentem”, what sets in motion. Quantum waves are the laws of physics: given a space, they evaluate, compute. This is the whole idea of the Quantum Computer. So far, they have been uncooperative. Insulting them, won’t help.

Patrice Ayme’

Elites’ Bad Faith

July 7, 2014

Bad faith was central to Sartre’s philosophy. He should have known, being a magnificent example of it. Bad Faith is vicious. It has to be dealt adequately, that is it has to be outmaneuvered.

An example: the Nazis contacted the greatest photographer in Berlin. He was asked to present his ten best pictures of Aryan babies. The lame Goebbels (a PhD and information minister) selected the best. The picture was published all over the Reich, as the definition of the magnificent human being that the somewhat degenerate Himmler, Hitler and Goebbels were not. Unbeknownst to those idiots, the famous photographer had selected the picture of a Jewish baby, here on the cover of “Sun In The House”, a Nazi magazine.

Aryan Ideal: Jewish Baby Became Chemistry Professor

Aryan Ideal: Jewish Baby Became Chemistry Professor

“I wanted to make the Nazis ridiculous,” the photographer revealed to the amazed parents (who then had to hide their baby, lest she be recognized, and fled to France).

However, Nazism was not about smarts. It was about grabbing riches and power. For that, smarts were the enemy. Similarly, nowadays, “conservatives” are not about smarts, or being, actually, conservative. They are all about grabbing power and riches, thus smarts are something that’s in the way. So they target smarts for destruction, and this is exactly what refined studies reveal.

A New York Times’ article reveals that divisions about facts, such as whether the biosphere is warming or evolution happened, commonly attributed to ignorance, is nothing of the sort. The divide “is wider among people who otherwise show familiarity with math and science, which suggests that the problem isn’t a lack of information…

[We] found that factual and scientific evidence is often ineffective at reducing misperceptions and can even backfire on issues like weapons of mass destruction, health care reform and vaccines. With science as with politics, identity often trumps the facts… Unfortunately, knowing what scientists think is ultimately no substitute for actually believing it.

… we also need to reduce the incentives for elites to spread misinformation to their followers in the first place. Once people’s cultural and political views get tied up in their factual beliefs, it’s very difficult to undo regardless of the messaging that is used.”

This is why I suggest that deliberate lying on facts, in a mass media setting, is a crime, and ought to be pursued with as much ardor as some forms of, say, pedophilia. A new branch of government ought to be created: TRUTH (independent of Justice, Executive and Legislative).

Paul Krugman chimes in Beliefs, Facts and Money Conservative Delusions About Inflation with: “The problem, in other words, isn’t ignorance; it’s wishful thinking.”

Wishful thinking? Wait a minute, Paul. It’s, conveniently, the thinking which plutocrats wish for Americans to have. It’s more vicious thinking than wishful thinking. The researchers mention euphemistically “elites”, because they want to keep receiving money. Elites with money, that’s plutocrats. Pluto, Satan, all that: it’s no good. “Elite” is a good word, though. A fresh coat of paint on Satan, should make Satan happy.

Krugman believes that knowing more about the issues widens the divide, because the well informed have a clearer view of what they need to reject, so as to sustain their belief system. Except, of course, and that’s not a small detail, that the “elites” don’t really “believe” in their rejection, as the researchers found. Instead they believe they have to exhibit belief to sustain systems of thought that are convenient for their way of life. In other words, they are lying.

I notice this all the time. I talk to the “elites”, and I notice they use “anti-ideas” namely slogans, while their body language and conversation strategies tell me they absolutely do not believe in the garbage they affect to consider self-obvious (“the climate changed before”) .

In any case, Krugman wrote the article linked above, inspired by the Bad Faith of the elite. He speaks of “Great Recession”, “Disdain for Government”, “Fiat Money”, but he does not go far enough. Either his semantics, or the concepts attached to it, do not go far enough.

So let’s correct Krugman gently:

Great Recession? Great Recession of democracy. How does one make democracy recede? By making the People really stupid.

Much of the pseudo-progress under Obama falls into that category: Obamacare is a pseudo-reform, giant wasteful programs such as the F35 have been left intact, environmentalism has been turned into a Macbeth like contemplation about a particular, irrelevant pipeline, banks have not been reformed back to the much more advanced system president Roosevelt had created in 1933, and plutocrats have been turned into the hidden government, somewhat officially.

Disdain for government” in a democracy, means disdain for the People: in a democracy, the People is supposed to rule.

“Printing money”? Enough money has to be printed to support enough exchanges to support the employment that the potential economy, and the real society, calls for.

But that’s true only in a democracy. If one is attempting to change a democracy into a plutocracy, mass employment, aside from slavery, is counterproductive, as it empowers the People.

In the end all these economic theories that are obviously incorrect in democracy, are profoundly conducive to plutocracy. That’s no accident.

Krugman calls for “Fiat Money”… Through the Central Bank. However, the Fed creates the economy through private banks. That’s still plutocratic.

The really democratic solution is to create money through the Treasury as needed for mass employment projects projecting progress (in efficiency, ecology, hedonism, etc.). Let the government create huge spending programs, and run a so called “deficit”. Sell bonds, whatever. As in Japan. At worst, if there was a default the bonds would turn into a tax (of those rich enough to buy said bonds).

Those who want to reduce the money below what society demands, want mass unemployment, and thus the reign of those who have massive private capital, the plutocrats.

None of those crazily erroneous ideas of the far right and its attached financial and CEO class are thus crazy, when looked at as a system of mood and thoughts that drives towards plutocracy. Then they are entirely logical.

Bad Faith is a mood that produces solid logic. One needs greater emotions to break it, rather than meek reason.

Patrice Ayme