The Dream Café

Steven Brust: “A masterful storyteller of contagious glee and self-deprecating badassery” —Skyler White

Some Samples of Internet Logic

| 15 Comments

Here are a few things I’ve come across over the last few years.  I have not made any of these up.  Their profundity speaks for itself.

 

Scientists are sure they’re right, and religious people are sure they’re right. Therefore, science is a religion.

Leftists have splintered into many factions, and Christians have splintered into many factions. Therefore, Leftists are the same as Christians.

Different historians studying the same event will come to different conclusions. Therefore, there is no such thing as historical truth.

Individuals on both sides of [internet kerfuffle] have behaved badly. Therefore, both sides are wrong.

I do not have a name for my philosophical method. Therefore, I have no philosophical method and I just see things as they are.

Reactionaries oppose political organizing based on personal identity, and revolutionaries oppose political organizing based on personal identity. Therefore revolutionaries are the same as reactionaries.

There has not been mass working class action in my lifetime. Therefore, there will never be mass working class action.

I can’t think of any reason for atheism except faith. Therefore, neither can you.

I do not understand how society works.  Therefore, neither do you.

 

skzb

Author: skzb

I play the drum.

15 Comments

  1. I can find the ambulance-driver humour in all of those, except the third one. After spending time around academics I just can’t laugh at that one any more.

  2. skzb

    I can respect that.

  3. These are paraphrases, not exact quotations, right?

    In the spirit of the fifth one, here’s an exact or almost exact quotation from real life: We [in the speaker’s church] don’t interpret the Bible. We just follow what it says.

  4. skzb

    Correct; none of them are quotes, but I believe all of them are accurate. And, yeah, exactly.

  5. Exercise: What’s the minimum you have to change each of these to make it true or at least reasonable?

    Reactionaries oppose political organizing based on personal identity, and [some] revolutionaries oppose political organizing based on personal identity. Therefore people who favor POBOPI will come into conflict with both reactionaries and revolutionaries.

  6. skzb

    It’s all about context, right? They are “the same” *for what purpose*? And that is never expressed. In the example you give, for purposes of, let us say, talking about the problems of racism in America, the effect it has on human lives, the supporters of identity politics and revolutionaries are on the same side–the reactionaries deny the problem exists. For purposes of actually combating racism, supporters of identity politics and reactionaries are on the same side–they are working to preserve the capitalist property relations that lie at the heart of racism. These alliances can take place without any of those involved being consciously aware of it. The challenge, in each case, is to actually understand the social forces at work.

  7. “It’s all about context, right? They are “the same” *for what purpose*?”

    Beautifully said! Thank you.

    Human beings often use similar strategies. They may use them in the same contexts or in different contexts. OK, they do that. It doesn’t make them the same. They’re just people who often use similar strategies.

    Some of your examples say something different.

    “I do not have a name for my philosophical method. Therefore, I have no philosophical method and I just see things as they are.”

    He’s just privileging his own point of view. “I don’t have a point of view, I just see reality.” “I don’t interpret the Bible, I just read what it says.” Etc.

    Others are the same thing inverted.

    “I can’t think of any reason for atheism except faith. Therefore, neither can you.”

    His point of view says there’s no way to know, therefore there’s no way to know. This one comes up a lot about religion.

    “I don’t need to prove God exists because God exists.”
    “There is no possible way you can prove God exists, therefore God does not exist.”

    Alternate ways to privilege their own points of view.

    “There has not been mass working class action in my lifetime. Therefore, there will never be mass working class action.”

    This one is more reasonable. He’s just using inductive logic. Other things equal, the less often something has happened before, the less likely it will happen again soon. People use this sort of reasoning *all the time* and they tend to get pretty good results with it.

    Of course, in reality other things are not equal. When geological conditions are building up toward an earthquake, the longer they go without an earthquake the bigger it’s likely to be when it comes. So it tends to work, but it’s unreliable. You want to try not to have too much riding on it the rare times it fails, or you’ll suffer. Like poker.

  8. Hmm. I believe I became an Atheist more because I lost faith in religion. I don’t defend my atheism to the point of religious fervor, and I respect other religions. It’s just that I haven’t seen the point of faith unrewarded. Of course, I was raised Southern Baptist, and if that won’t kill any belief in a true higher power, I don’t know what will.

  9. There’s also of course the special form of Internet logic that only appears in newspaper comment sections.

    Headline 1: Government A does something bad.
    Headline 2: Corporation B does something even worse.
    Headline 3: Sports Team C wins some game or other.

    The same comments appear for all three articles, namely:

    But what about Country X’s misdeeds?
    Political Party Y: laughably stupid or is that a cover for their perverted malice?
    Wake up sheeple! Ethnicity Z is taking our jobs!

  10. Politics online have essentially been rendered into clickbait. Well, so has everything, really.

  11. skzb

    Dacia: But there are things you can do about it! Follow THIS link to learn how you can defeat clickbait!

    (Okay, now tell me you didn’t hover your mouse over “THIS” just to see.)

  12. Everything needs a creator, therefore there was a being who didn’t need a creator who make the universe – and not just any Creator, the creator that the religion that my parents believe in, obviously not the Creators that, say Hindus believe in.

  13. skzb: I can honestly say that if I had read that at a time other than 3 am, I probably would have. I can thank my slow reaction time over my sense of reason. The story of my life.

  14. You left one off the list:

    “You’ve disagreed with me several times, therefore your(sic) a NAZI!”

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