“Statistics this, Statistics that, Therefore Sexism…”

There are many groups that are very bothersome in this world, religious fanatics, dishonest politicians and intellectual impostures (read the latter as relativists) to name a few. These people do harm, whether it be by means of terrorism, or outright dishonesty, intellectual or otherwise. But there is one group that cannot be seen very easily, and yet exists and persists in its harmful endeavour. But which group is this? Well, not a specific one. And sadly this is the whole issue. This is a group of torturers, not that of living beings, but numbers.

Logically speaking, we must be very careful when we derive conclusions from our premises. Especially, we must care to see if the conclusion of the argument follows the premises. Most of the time it is not very difficult to see bad arguments that do not follow the rule, but when it comes to numbers, the issue becomes much harder to detect.

The following video can demonstrate how facts could be abused, and how one can potentially tackle the issue:

And if you think that this has changed from some decades ago… Well, not so much:

Bad arguments are bad, coming from left or right makes no difference. The right statistics must be used to demonstrate the relevant conclusions. And even before that, the correct method must be chosen to conduct the best argument.

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Note: I did not present the post to bash Feminism, but to point out something that many are guilty of. However, I have observed that many who call themselves Feminist fall into this category of irrelevant fact propagation. 

 

How to Defend Relativism… NOT!

It started by one of my housemates (actually a usual suspect, the subject of this post) making a claim like “French people are lazy”. Of course not exactly this, but very similar. Now, I do not usually argue with him anymore, since his positions are completely absurd (such as this), but when he started talking about who we should let in the house based on this notion, I could not contain myself.

Now, this housemate (Let’s call him A) has a PhD in Anthropology, but could not be more illogical. Sadly of course even in academia one may find such absurdities go a long way. In any case, I immediately challenged him. “How do you know this is true?”, to which he responded “Because in this very house I have lived with five French people that were very lazy.”

Well, since I like statistics, and I like logic as well as fairness, I told him “This is discrimination, because you make your judgement based upon very small amount of data. Maybe not all French people are lazy”. In response, instead of responding to my point, he simply said the same thing again, and again, in different ways. To which I simply pointed out he is repeating himself. Then he said his usual nonsense “Everyone has his own logic”, to which I replied “This is absolute nonsense”.

This is when the second housemate (A girl, call her T) came in. Now, personality wise she is a very nice girl, in this case, she gave a frightening image of what may intellectually arise from unsound logical arguments. She said “Of course everybody has her own logic,” and seeing that I was going to respond she added “and I am not going to argue that with you because we obviously have no common ground”.

Ironically she is right, and her defence is in fact logically valid (she does not accept logic as the basis for arguments after all). However, immediately this will cause tremendous problems for her. She has studied Sociology (why am I not surprised?), and currently is writing an assignment paper. Consider this question “Does this assignment have anything to do with reality of the world (facts, history, science, population demographics, etc.)?”, if yes, and if this paper has anything to add to any factual matters in the world, then there “must” be a ground for it. If tomorrow she present any argument about any factual matter, there must be a ground so that reality of that claim is represented and understood by conscious intelligent beings.

This ground, this foundation, is logic. And by default cannot be dependant subjectively on individuals. If such was the case, she would not have been able to utter a word to anyone about any matter concerning reality. But what do you know, she does. And well, I cannot say that I will care to argue about any matter with her any more. Sadly, she does not listen, and though I may care about her lack of knowledge, I am not responsible for her refusal to listen.

I do not know which is worse, religious zealots or relativists. Fundamentalists may be damaging, but at least their damage is obvious. Relativists pretend to search for truth where there is none, and ignore reality. A defeated, but yet treacherous and damaging intellectual position that can only help nonsense, bigotry and stupidity to thrive.

I Like the French!

This is not your usual post in this blog, but what the hell, I can’t stop listening to these songs!

First is Alizée, who men use to throw themselves at her when she was still 16. I wonder why?!
(I may be gay, but no one said I can’t ask rhetorical questions about sexy girls! :D)

Secondly is a tribute to Ella Fitzgerald. Perhaps one of the best.

And finally, one of the most famous oldies of all times. Too bad Joe Dassin died young.

Democratic Dictatorship: The Curious Case of the Town of Earthbridge

This is the newest essay on the final version of my recent book “In Pursuit of What is Right: The Progress of Moral Thinking (An Introduction)“. The book is available on Amazon.com, and hopefully is a help for students in college or high school who wish to know more about moral philosophy.

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The small town of Earthbridge was by no means a good place for living. It was a remote town, between the deserts of Sahra and the mountains of Kalimanjoor. The closest town to Earthbridge was at least seven days of hard riding through the desert, and people had to work hard for their livelihood. Even then most people had to live day by day with a small ration, through the hard years of labour.

Then one day, at the beginning of the harvest season, a man who called himself “The Wizard” came to town. He appeared suddenly from the desert, riding an old but still intact horse wagon. He set up shop on the main square, and claimed to have a solution for every problem that the good people of Earthbridge may have.

Curiosity made people gather around him, and each started shouting their desires and pains to the man. The Wizard raised his hands, and with the silence that followed he spoke: “Good people of Earthbridge! I can see now that you have many problems, and although I can make each go away, this may take a long time. Time which I do not have.” He paused and looked at the people around him, “Instead, I can make all your problems vanish with one sweeping motion of my wand. And in fact, not only that, but also I can make each of you much happier than you already are. I can make your crops grow each year without effort, and put you and your town on the path of becoming richer and richer every year.”

A smart man from the crowd shouted “But surely you will not do this for free! And you can see that we do not have much to give.”

 “Yes, I can see that” said the Wizard “But my price is not as high as you may think. I simply require a small sacrifice”. The crowd was suddenly silent. “A sacrifice from one of your own, one of your children”, continued the Wizard, “one child, no older than five years of age, must be put in the deepest well in town, and I will seal it with my magic. The child will not die, but he or she will suffer for each of the days she spends in that darkness. The magic will preserve her life, and as long as she suffers, you shall prosper.”

“Remember that in return for such a sacrifice, you will be rewarded with happiness and prosperity for yourselves and your town. You will be rich, healthy and happy.”

 Silence followed. Many people had no doubt that this stranger was the devil himself, disguised as a man of magic. Others who were more affected by the hardship of living in such state believed otherwise, and thought of the man as a saviour. After all, this sacrifice was only a small price to pay for a greater good and happiness for all.

Suddenly, everyone started talking at the same time. Heated arguments followed, and the crowd became an unrecognizable mass of people who moved and argued.

The man raised his hands one more time, and silence followed again. “My good people”, he said, “this will get us nowhere. The time that you may wish to spend arguing with each other is more than one lifetime.”

“But why not like any other civilized society put this motion to vote? You can easily decide what you can do this way, in a much shorter time. And before voting you may wish to have as much arguing as you wish.”

People of Earthbridge looked at each other. Surely, this was a wise suggestion, was it not?

The Value of Democracy: The conflict seems to be clearly between Utilitarianism (in particular act Utilitarianism) and rights based ethics. Many of the decisions we make in politics and policy making are not one-sidedly good for everyone, or make all people happy equally. Sometimes our decisions produce the overall best possible scenario, making “most” people happy, despite hurting or putting pressure on a minority.

Choosing what the majority wants seems to be a great way of finding out solutions to our problems. However, this immediately begs the question: “Can we decide for everything in the society by means of democracy?”

In the above example, most of us may think that torturing a child in such a way is unjustified, exactly because she has every right to not be tortured. Also, following the same rights based ethics type of reasoning, a voting on such a matter is simply irrelevant. Even if all people in Earthbridge agree that the child has to be sacrificed and tortured in such a way, still this would not make the action right, nor would it justify it in any way.

But on the other hand, we need to remind ourselves that people of Earthbridge are indeed under extreme pressure. What if the decision was about a special ration, or a new method of harvest, which despite making some people uncomfortable, would improve the town’s quality of life without taking someone else’s life?

Democracy is a good way of understanding what makes most of us happy. But it is not always in the right direction. We must tread very carefully when we argue a democratic voting justifies a specific notion. Sometimes the worst ideas have been chosen by people who did not realize the full force of their choices. For example the Russian revolution which ended in decades of suffering and loss of essential rights in the Soviet Union.

This is why the ability to make a distinction between our essential rights and “the good of all” becomes essential. We need to remember that we may not be able to make an absolute rule of this distinction, but knowing it, knowing the conflict between what we have as a “right” and what could be good for most of us while in expense of some others, can enable us understand the debates around political issues far better.

Being a Gay Muslim: Operation Extreme Hypocrisy

I witnessed a very funny (and quite pathetic) scene some days ago from a “gay Muslim”. I have had some arguments with him before, and frankly have no respect for his intellectual capabilities. Consider the following conversation between our gay Muslim (GM) and Mr. O:

GM: I like to train as a cook, but I want to go this special school, since it is the only one that does not use pork.
Mr. O: Why don’t you want to use pork?
GM: Because I’m a Muslim.

No sir, you’re a hypocrite and a moron. What religious people seem not to notice is that their double standard can give birth to the most comical stupidity: “I’m a Muslim and that’s why I don’t eat pork. Oh, but my hobbies are going to gay clubs in the nights and fucking other men in the ass.”

How pitiful.

Humor, the Greatest Enemy of Fundamentalism (2): Voltaire

Candide having a curiosity to see the priests asked where they were. The good old man smiled.

“My friend,” said he, “we are all priests. The King and all the heads of families sing solemn canticles of thanksgiving every morning, accompanied by five or six thousand musicians.”

“What! have you no monks who teach, who dispute, who govern, who cabal, and who burn people that are not of their opinion?”

“We must be mad, indeed, if that were the case,” said the old man; “here we are all of one opinion, and we know not what you mean by monks.”

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Source:

Voltaire (2011-03-30). Candide (p. 67). . Kindle Edition.

Relativist: A Pseudo Intellectual with the Tendency to Produce Horsecrap

Note: I am writing this post since after a long time I had an argument with a housemate of mine. He is a PhD student in sociology, and a relativist. The reason I am writing this is that I am hoping he reads this, since he has closed the means of conversation on the subject. In the spirit of being “the truthful heretic”, this post as always has a sting to it and I shall not hold back in attacking what I think is wrong and extremely damaging to human understanding and the quality of life.

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If I am asked who I dislike the most in the intellectual realm, surprisingly the first in my list will not be an apologist for a religion, but in fact a relativist. Pseudo intellectuals who can only add to the force of ignorance and stupidity in the world by sugar coated nonsense and not giving a damn to what is true, or other people’s pain and suffering.

I argued extensively in an essay in my new book on the subject of ethics, but in here I wish to talk about some of the usual claims that may be given as a defence. Let’s see:

“We construct our own truths, and this makes truth a subjective matter.” Really? Is this statement true or not? If it is as such that one constructs truth in one’s own mind, then the truth value of the claim “We construct our own truths” is also subjective. Therefore when I say “We do NOT construct our own truths”, I am as correct as the one that said above statement. Surely one may not take positions that refute themselves this pathetically. The only acceptable case here is the things that ONLY happen in one’s mind.

Besides, why relativists don’t construct anything that they wish in their heads? Relativist homework: Construct a pink elephant in your fridge. You should be able to do it only by thinking about it.

Of course, logically this does not make any sense. But the good relativist will immediately question logic: “Logic is also culturally relative! It is political, because it was used by the white westerns countries to colonize others!”.

Utter load of horsecrap. Logic is the foundation of our understanding, our science, our progress towards any relevant evaluation of the truth value of different claims. If racists in Nazi Germany did horrible experiments on other people, would that make science any less true? I beg to differ. Only a mind divorced of reality can make such a claim. The truth value of ethical issues here is irrelevant to the truth value of logical or scientific claim. We may condemn colonizers as much as we condemn the so called burning of witches that to this day happens in Africa, also true about AIDS denialism, genital mutilation of girls, murder of gay men and women etc. 

In fact, I shall now turn the tables on the relativists: Do they at all care about the murder of innocents? Pain and suffering caused by superstition and stupidity? 

The true meaning of delusional hypocrite happens in relativist’s, after all, is it not so that they construct their own truth in their heads?