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Conspiracy Theories, Writing and Logic 103

Conspiracy Theories, Writing and Logic 103

In editing a piece of promotional work for someone one morning, I was reminded again of the many similarities between writers, who tell fantastic stories for a living and have no intention that they be taken as fact, and conspiracy theorists, who tell fantastic stories for a variety of reasons with every intention that they be taken as fact. In Truther circles, as in plotting a story, the narratives often become increasingly elaborate as they expand. Take Jade Helm, for…

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Conspiracy Theories, Writing & Logic 102

Conspiracy Theories, Writing & Logic 102

I commented in an earlier post that I have observed similar thought patterns and behaviors in some inexperienced writers and conspiracy theorists (or truthers, as they are often called). In my first article on the subject, I explored some of the common elements in the narratives spun by truthers—specifically Sandy Hook truthers—and inexperienced writers I’ve worked with over the years in different contexts. Some of those elements include: The importance of time. For example, that video cannot be taken of…

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Conspiracy Theories, Writing & Logic 101

Conspiracy Theories, Writing & Logic 101

I have recently participated in ongoing conversations online with Sandy Hook truthers. After listening to the litany of “reasons” that they have for suspecting a hoax or conspiracy of some sort (what sort varies), and hearing their questions, and reading some of their source material, a pattern began to emerge. They seemed to have little awareness of a number of things that, as a writer, I must take into account in every story I write and every plot I conceive….

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My Friend Mycroft, Part One: Spiritual Exploration

My Friend Mycroft, Part One: Spiritual Exploration

Once upon a time, I had a forum friend who called himself Mycroft (a reference to Sherlock’s allegedly smarter older brother). He was an atheist (still is as far as I know) and we spent pleasurable hours discussing belief, certitude, faith, reason and other subjects of interest to both of us. Well, at least I found the discourse pleasurable. I’m pretty sure Mycroft found it frustrating at times because I refused to “color inside the lines” of religion that he…

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Part 1 of Religion — The Most Harmful Agency on the Planet?

Part 1 of Religion — The Most Harmful Agency on the Planet?

Editorial note: We’d like to welcome guest blogger David Langness and his nine part series that takes a look as religion’s rap as the most harmful agency on the planet. David is the host of Bahaiteachings.org and is a member of the Bahá’í community in my old stomping ground up in Nevada County, California. So, without further ado … take it, David! oOo My friend the historian and I had a long discussion about religion the other day.  When he…

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Making Reality Behave, #2: Useful Fictions and the Scientific Method

Making Reality Behave, #2: Useful Fictions and the Scientific Method

“Scientific knowledge is the highest attainment upon the human plane, for science is the discoverer of realities. It is of two kinds: material and spiritual. Material science is the investigation of natural phenomena; divine science is the discovery and realization of spiritual verities. The world of humanity must acquire both. A bird has two wings; it cannot fly with one. Material and spiritual science are the two wings of human uplift and attainment. Both are necessary…” — Abdu’l-Bahá, Promulgation of…

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Science Wins! (Rerun!)

Science Wins! (Rerun!)

My apologies for posting a rerun. I hope to have new blogs soon. I’m about a month out from knee surgery and the time I’m not spending doing physical therapy, icing down my leg and taking care of family necessities, I must write and edit to make a living. A thousand pardons, and I will try to answer any comments … eventually. 🙂 “Science Wins!” This was the headline on a another blog site I frequent. It was in reference…

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How We Know Stuff: Faith, Reason and Relative Pitch

How We Know Stuff: Faith, Reason and Relative Pitch

It occurred to me as I was writing a piece on what it means to say “I know” something that I will never be able to grasp, on my own, certain scientific or mathematical concepts. Black holes, dark matter, imaginary numbers and mathematical proofs are doors closed in my face. There are other things I can grasp and can articulate, and some I grasp but cannot articulate. When it comes to the things I cannot grasp, I must accept the…

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If It’s Not One Thing, It’s Another

If It’s Not One Thing, It’s Another

Human beings seem to like to think in binary. “If not A, then B.” “If it’s not one thing, it’s another.” (A statement that, ironically, has multiple meanings.) “It’s an either/or situation.” We answer “yes/no” questions. We decide if we want this or that. We think in ones and zeroes—literally, if we program computers down to the machine language level. Yet, in the squishy world of reality, binary thinking is one of the most significant obstacles that we place in…

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The Scientific Spirit #3: Russell on Unity and Plurality

The Scientific Spirit #3: Russell on Unity and Plurality

One of the most convincing aspects of the mystic illumination is the apparent revelation of the oneness of all things, giving rise to pantheism in religion and to monism in philosophy. — Bertrand Russell, Mysticism and Logic and Other Essays, “Unity and Plurality” Thus Bertrand Russell begins a chapter on Unity and Plurality in which he explores the metaphysical or mystical concept of “oneness”. The words “unity” and “oneness” are much-used in both religion (or mysticism) and philosophy, but are also prominent…

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