Two lawyers sit down at a table in a diner, and start to eat sandwhiches which they have brought with them. The owner comes over and says: "Hey, you can't eat your own sandwhiches here!"
So the lawyers exchange sandwhiches, and eat each other's sandwhich.
A story was posted on another site (which I participate in under the user name "SK-B") which purported to illustrate an example of fallacious, circular reasoning. However, in reading the story, it seems to me that the logic did yield a sound and correct results, even though I can see why it is being called faulty logic.
Could faulty in this example lead to a sound conclusion? When you read it, I am sure that you will agree that the conclusion is correct even though it was derived through circular reasoning. I wonder if anyone has any insights about this?
Here is a link to the story:
http://www.ibrattleboro.com/article.php … 9#comments produces http://www.ibrattleboro.com/article.php/20070204042418539#comments
One effect of spam is to create a defensive reaction against legitimate communication.
As a Realtor, I can set up automatic email notification for new listings. Sometimes a person who has requested this service does not receive it because their email program or their internet service provider has automatic filtering which recognizes an automatically-generated message and blocks it as spam.
One time I received a very cold "take me off your list" message, which made me feel bad because it was someone who had initiated the contact with me, and had requested automatic notification. He was no longer interested in real estate in Vermont, which was fine, but I did not want to be treated like some annoying scum who was bothering him. I wrote to him, reminded him that I had gone to some personal effort at his request, and said that, while I am happy to comply with his request to terminate the service, I still wanted to be treated with human kindness.
He send back a very nice reply, saying that the internet can make people forget that there is a human being on the other end. He acknowledged that I had treated him well, that I did not deserve to get slammed, and he apologized.
In my business I have to be very careful to document the way I handle contacts, otherwise I can be penalized severely under the do-not-call, do not fax laws. Funny thing is: the real spammers seem to have no trouble getting away with it.
I love the punchline...it describes my cardiologist so well! He is really good at prescribing the exactly correct dosage of medications, and that is great when you actually need the medications. But he also make some ridiculous recommendations because he does not know how to think (well, he does if you really push him, but it never seems to be his initial approach).
I have found that many MDs do things by rote, and it is difficult to discuss medical matters with them, because they blindly follow "Aristotle" and if you question anything from a factually-based, analytical viewpoint, they tell you that it is fine if you want to believe in superstition, "But I go by sciece." Their idea of "science" is whatever the current, conventional formulation that they have memorized happens to be. Jokes (and cartoons) can be really great for exposing nonesense!
I have been reading the comments, interested to see what people would say. But now I think it is time to give some appreciation and support to Dross, who has been contributing clear, analytical, and correct comments.
On this math site, I would have expected precision about how terms are used, and I have actually been quite surprised at the amount of fuzzy "Well, in my opinion..." sort of comments. In a discussion about basic philosophy of science issues, such as causality, all opinions are not equal. An opinion worthy of discussion should be grounded in facts and logic: Not simply, "I feel that..."
Dross has given clear explanations, soundly based on an understanding of the logic structure of science.
The issue that I was raising is not science vs. relition: It is about the place of the concept of causality in our scheme of things.
George Y is completely correct that causality is something we assume. That makes it fundamentally different from an ordinary statement about the world for one very simple reason: As an assumption, in principle there is no evidence which could come along which would falsify the idea of causality. Every scientific hypothesis or theory is subject to being tested. Even a very well confirmed theory, such as Newton's Theory of Gravity, had to give way to another theory -- Relativity -- when the measuring sensitive enough to discern subtle differences in measurement showed that, when put to the test, Newtonian physics did not correctly predict events in the world.
Newtonian physics seems to be in complete harmony with intuitive, common sense, and yet there was a way to put it to the test. But the concept of causality can never be put to the test because no matter what happens, we would always be able to salvage our concept of causality by saying: "Well, we just do not yet know the cause of this particular phenomenon."
And yet, we cannot discount the idea of causality, because it is an underlying foundation of science, which has shown itself to be very powerful and useful.
"Causality," because it cannot be tested, is clearly not a hypothesis or a theory, and yet it is a concept which we rely on. That is why it is consider to be a "leading principle" of scientce. "Leading principle," is just a fancy way of saying that it is something we assume.
Responding to luca-deltodesco:
First I want to make it clear that I am not arguing against causality. What I am pointing out is that causality is different from a scientific hypothesis, because with a hypothesis you can state a test which, in principle, could falsify the hypothesis. With causality, you cannot do that because if you find an event for which you cannot identify a cause, you would simply say that we have not yet discovered the cause for that particular event but it does not falsify the notion of causality. Therefore causality is not a testable hypothesis, but rather it is a "leading principle," which makes it very much akin to faith.
How is causality akin to faith? If a person of faith finds an event which seems to be contrary to God's will, s/he does not have to conclude that therefore God is no longer on the Throne: The person of faith would just say that we do not understand God's Will sufficiently to understand His Holy Plan.
I hope that explains what I was trying to say. Now, I wonder if luca-deltodesco can explain something which I did not understand. Why is it "illogical to think that things can 'just happen' without anything causing it to happen?" I do not understand what logic has to do with it. Logic tells us what follows from what. Logic starts with particular premises and tells us what follows from those premises. So if you say that you find something "illogical," shouldn't you spell out what the premises are that you are starting with to derive your conclusions?
I have the feeling that luca-deltodesco meant that the idea that something can happen without a cause seems to him or her not to be in accord with common sense, and maybe the word "illogical" was just used to express that thought, rather than in the precisely correct meaning of "logic?"
What would be a valid test for the idea that every event has a cause? I other words: What test could you set up, the results of which would either confirm the idea of causality, or would falsify causality?
If you accept causality as an article of faith, then any time you are faced with a phonomenum for which you have been unable to discover a cause; then you can always say, "There must be a cause because nothing happens without a cause: We just have not found it yet." In that case, the notion of causality can never be put to the test, it is just something that you have to believe in.
It made me cry, thinking about the poor little baby worm who will now never experience life, and the baby worm's mom, who must have had a horrible moment of terror, knowing that she would not be able to raise her child or see her baby grow up.
People can do such horrible things and laugh about them!
Carrots are a great challenge because they almost seem to be a form of wood pulp, but they are very healthy, not only because of vitamin A, but also because they have a lot of pectin and fiber, which moderates cholesterol. A young person might scoff on cholesterol, pectin, and fiber. I used to make fun of older people concerned with eating prunes and all that stuff. But now I am 61 years old, I have almost died from a heart attack, and suddenly I realize how incredibly cool all those square things are!
I have no trouble with carrots if I grate them. You don't need a maching, I have a simple, hand-held grater, which is just a flat metal sheet with sharp grating holes, and a handle. Once grated, I add something, like a sauce, to make it appetizing. I improvise all kinds of sauces, for example putting raisins, vinegar (I like rice vinegar) garlic, tamari sauce, and nutritional yeast (not bewers yeast, which does not taste good) and maybe just enough water to give it the right consistency, into a blender of food processor, and letting it get whipped up for a minute. I mix the sauce (or salad dressing) in with the grated carrots, and if I really want have a wild party, I add in some chopped up walnuts. I do not use oil when making a salad dressing because the body produces cholesterol from oil, and as a card-carrying square, I am concerned about cholesterol.
Some infinities are larger than other infinities.
If you have an infinite number of hands, then the number of fingers on those hands is also infinite, but the finger infinity is five times as great as the hand infinity.
When I was a kid I thought about infinity and other stuff, like does the Universe come to an end, and if there is a wall at the end of the Universe, how thick is the wall and what is on the other side. I Thought of infinity as an endless trains. You are standing at a train crossing, and there is one care after another going by and they just keep going on forever. You never get to see the caboose.
Then I thought that this train had a beginning, but no end. Suppose, instead, the train never began, and never ended? It had just been going by forever, and will continue to go on forever. That made me think that there are two types of infinity, which I called "one-tail infinity," and "two-tail infinity."
I wonder, though, if there actually exists any type of population with an infinite number of members? If there is nothing in existence which is actually infinite, then perhaps there really is no such thing as infinity, other than as a concept which we have created with our minds, which would explain how come there can be such paradoxes as infinities which are greater than other infinities.
I thought it was a good joke, even though I didn't understand it fully. like the part about it not even being certain that there is a solution.
Here is a Vermont joke, which involves hammers. (There is even a bit of very, very simple math, so I guess it kinda, sorta qualifies for this site.)
This farmer walks into a hardware store, and buys a hammer for $10. Twenty minutes later, he is back, and he buys another hammer. All day, the farmer keeps coming back to buy hammers. Finally the hardware store owner asks him what he is doing with all the hammer.
"Selling them," replies the farmer.
"Yes, I buy the hammer for $10, and then I go out on the street and sell it for $5."
"But you are losing money each time," says the store owner, puzzled.
"Yeah, I know," replies the farmer, "but it sure beats the hell out of farming!"
This Jewish man goes to his rabbi with a problem.
"Rabbi," he says, "I am very upset, and I don't know what to do. My son has become a Christian."
The rabbi says: "I don't know what to to tell you. My son has also become a Christian."
"Really? Well, what did you do, rabbi?"
"I prayed to God."
"You did? And did He answer?"
"Yes, He answered."
"Well, what did He say?"
"He said he didn't know what to do either: His son also became a Christian!"
Ok, this rope walks into a bar and orders a drink.
The bartender says: "Get out, we don't serve ropes."
The rope feels insulted, and is very upset, so the next day he goes into the same bar, hoping that he will be served this time. But the same thing happens.
The rope is so distraught, that he goes home and starts to bash himself into the metal bedpost, until his end is totally frayed. When he realizes what he has done, he twists himself and ties the frayed end into a knot.
He then goes back to the bar and orders a drink.
The bartender looks at him and says: "Hey, aren't you a rope?"
He answers: "I'm a frayed knot."
Wow! That is a good one.
I used to work hard and make little money ("Mucho trabajo, poco dinero!"). Now I work much less and make a decent living. I think I must have figured out the theorem by intuition.
Not only that: I used to make intelligent and thoughtful comments and suggestion, which would generally either be ignored, or treated with derision. Now I am on a couple of board, where half the time I don't know what is going on. The other day, a former president of one of those board told me that he always appreciated me being on the board because I always had a unique perspective on matters which came before us, and he learned a lot from me. And I have heard other comments like that. I can only say that it is a tribute to how much appreciation a person can get for being comatose.
In my business it has often happened that a client asked me a question, and while I was stuporously pondering what to say, the client came up with an answer, and then told me what a incredibly clear-minded broker I am. I guess that is a tribute to the power of keeping your mouth shut.
I wonder if there are any theorems for the power of being comatose and keeping your mouth shut?
I like that, it's a good one.
It illustrates a basic principle of niche marketing. If you are the "little guy," you will always lose in a head-to-head battle with your big competor, because you cannot overcome the inequality of resources.
The solution is to completely dominate in one, limited area. It is akin to a dozen Athenians (or was it Spartans?) holding off the entire, Persian army because they controlled a narrow, strategic pass.
This joke is actually even better. Because if the little restaurant has the best coffee on the block, and the big restaurant has the best coffee in the world, then the little restaurant's coffee must be even better than the best in the world!
In the old country, it was a Jewish custom that if a traveler was in your town on the Sabbath (and therefore could not continue the journal until after the Sabbath) it was an honor to invite the traveler to say in your home as your Sabbath Guest.
One day a stranger, Mr. Horowitz, who was on a business trip, stopped at a local synagogue for the Friday evening worship services. After the services Mr. Glick, a resident of the village, greeted Mr. Horowitz and asked him to be his Sabbath guest.
"I will be delighted," said Horowitz, and they walked back to Mr. Glick's home, where Mrs. Glick served a delightful dinner.
The Glicks, and Mr. Horowitz talked for an hour or two, and then Mr. Glick showed Horowitz to his room. As an honored guest, he was given a soft, feather pillow, and a feather quilt. In the morning, they had a wonderful breakfast, and went off to the synagogue for Saturday worship. Afterwards, the returned to Mr. Horowitz's home for lunch. It was a beautiful afternoon, and they went out to walk alongside the river, where they talked about life, family, philosophy, and religion. Since the Sabbath ends at Sundown -- not a good time to travel -- Glick invited Horowitz to have dinner, and to say another night.
In the morning, after a hearty breakfast, with tears in his eyes, Mr. Horowitz turned to Mr. Glick and said:
"I can't tell you how grateful I am to you and Mrs. Glick. You treated me with such kindness. I will never forget your hospitality."
Glick looked at Horowitz, pulled out a paper from his pocket and handed it to him saying: "And this is your bill."
Horowitz was...well, horrified!
"Bill? My bill? You are giving me a bill for being your Sabbath Guest?
"Yes," replied Glick. It is itemized, and I am sure you fill find it is correct.
"Well, I don't mind paying my way, but this is a matter of principle. It is not permitted to charge someone for being your Sabbeth guest."
They disputed the matter for awhile, and finally agreed to present the disagreement to the rabbi, and they agreed that, whatever ruling the rabbi made, they would accept it.
First Glick told his story. Then, turning to Horowitz, the rabbi said: "Is everything he said true?"
"Yes," said Mr. Horowitz."
"Then you do not dispute that you were Glick's Sabbath Guest?"
"No," replied Horowitz.
"And you were given a chicken dinner on Friday night, and another dinner on Saturday?"
And a feather quilt and pillow?"
"And do you not agree that 5 ruples is reasonable for a dinner?"
"Five ruples is what a dinner like that would cost if one were to pay for it."
"And ten kopecks for breakfast?"
"In a commercial transaction, yes, ten kopecks"
"And is the addition correct?"
"The issue is not about mathematics."
"Then, based on what you have both told me, there is no dispute about the facts of this matter. You have enjoyed the services itemized on your bill, the total is correct. Mr. Horowitz, my ruling is that you are to pay Mr. Glick the full amount on the bill."
Horowitz was stunned. He could not believe what he heard. The blood rushed from his head and, as they left the rabbi's house he felt dizzy.
He pulled his wallet out from his pocket, and started to count out the money.
"What are you doing?!!" exclaimed Glick.
"I am getting out my money to pay you for having me as your Sabbath guest."
Glicked looked at him like his was crazy. "Mr. Horowitz, you must not pay me. It was a delight to have you as my Sabbath guest. Who ever heard of a Sabbath guest paying?"
"But, Mr. Horowitz, you presented me with a bill!"
"Sure I presented you witha bill. But that was not because I expected you to pay."
"What! Then why did you do it?"
"Mr. Horowitz, I just wanted you to see what a dope we have for a rabbi!"