Mr. Spock (Star Trek), Logic and the Why Question

The rain continues to fall. I love it. This is one of my favorite days, so long as they do not come day after day.

And, these days make me think, or at least my version of thinking, at the age old 61 mark.

For instance, today has made me think of logic/logical analysis and the Why question.

For my generation, the word Logic was uttered most famously by a pointy-eared character actor, the recently deceased Leonard Nimoy, in the guise of the Vulcan, Mr. Spock, on the short-lived but apparently long lasting Star Trek franchise. Mr. Spock would look over an occurrence and say, “That is not logical.”

And, he was usually not right, or, at least, his arguments and conclusions, being inconsistent and unsupported, but quite possibly true, were logically invalid. He more accurately have said, “This is irrational.” He was inaccurate in his portrayal of a logical thinker.

Some of the most lunatic thoughts or conclusions humans can propose are logically valid because they have consistent premises or arguments resulting in a consistent, or valid, conclusion. You still would not want to ask one in your house or your heart, but irrational, lunatic or not, we can arrive at a logically valid conclusion.

Logical analysis of an argument, which itself consists of premises/statements and conclusion(s), concerns itself with the consistency/validity of a conclusion and the validity of the evidence/premises/arguments given to arrive at the conclusion (or not). Logic, and logical analysis, have to do with the consistency of arguments and the conclusions to which they lead.

An unsupported conclusion has no evidence to support it. At least, no evidence, in the form of argument or premise, may be given to support it. The unsupported conclusion may be quite true, but it hangs out in space without a premise or argument to support, or even lead to the conclusion. The truth of the conclusion has nothing to do with its logical validity. The conclusion may be true or false, but cannot be said to be logically valid if it is not supported by consistent premises (arguments) which may be true or false themselves.

And, along the way, this leads us to the ‘Why” question. Why do we believe there is God, or disbelieve in the existence of a God, or The God, or the personal expression of God, for instance. Why does one prefer his race or religion or reference point to another race, religion or reference point? Why questions are actually usually answered inductively rather than deductively. An inductive conclusion, unencumbered by supportive arguments (premises) is often the natural expression of emotions, or generally accepted view points. An inductive argument becomes a deductive argument when someone adds evidence/arguments to support it, which generally happens when someone asks, “Why?”

“Because I said so,” is a premise, but offers evidence not supported by acceptable authority.

“Everybody knows this is true,” drowns in an ocean of voices.

“I choose to believe,” is a true statement/argument, but may not lead to a valid argument or true conclusion.

What are your conclusions, the mission/vision statements, which direct your steps, determine your values and the like? And how do they stand up to the Why Question?

For instance, in answer to the Why Questions about our Moral Degradation Question, I wonder how logically my arguments stand up to logical analysis and how completely they just miss the point.

American Moral Degradation is how I explain the statement in answer to the question, “What is wrong with this nation today?’ I see us as being mired in a progressive moral degradation that seems certain to make an end to us as a global force, to the peril of the entire planet.

As a premise, I offer the argument these arguments:

We do not believe the same things together as a nation now.

We cannot pass on a common ethic to our posterity.

Therefore, we continue together as a national body.

 

I suppose I should add a few hundred bits of data to support the arguments I offer to support this conclusion, but I have put enough down on this page. I assume you quit reading some time ago. In some rational form, I do hope to say, to arrest our continued moral degradation as a national body, I think we have to arrive at some commonality of thought to pass on to our posterity.

 

 

One Response to Mr. Spock (Star Trek), Logic and the Why Question

  1. Jerry Shehane says:

    Rick,
    reminds me of the proposition:
    If I believe in God,and Jesus Christ as my personal Saviour, and that is false, I have lost nothing.
    If I do NOT believe in God, and Jesus Christ as my personal Saviour, and that is true, I have lost everything.

    Am I even close?

Leave a reply

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.