Tuesday, September 30, 2014

542: Some thoughts about Logic and Science...

Last weekend there was an interview in my newspaper with Johan van Benthem. The reason was he had become 65, just like I just did and retired. He is from 1949 too.

He was a Professor of logic at the University of Amsterdam at the Institute for Logic, Language and Computation and professor of philosophy at Stanford University (at CSLI).

I could have run into him, because he was in Groningen at the university in 1977, the year I graduated, but I guess he mainly was in the mathematics department.

What struck me in the interview was his views on logic, science and man. He says the same things I say, or I say the same things he says, let’s not fight about that.

People are inclined to associate logic with cold rationality, excessive  precision, as seen in Mr. Spock from Star Trek who frowns and says: highly illogical.

JvB: Yes, indeed. And often they say, eventually 
 in human interaction or politics it is all  about  emotion anyway. 

Arguments we consider later,  to pretend there is a rational  basis for our emotions. I do not believe so, however. It is more complicated:  intelligent behavior is a  mixture of emotion and reason. -end quote-

Question: The immune system of human thought, you call logic in your farewell speech. What is logic anyway?

J”vB: The classic definition is: Logic is the science of valid reasoning.About 2500 years ago around the world people began to think about thinking.

We know in the West, especially the Greeks, "all men are mortal, Socrates is a man, therefore Socrates is mortal." 

But at the same time they wrote in China also texts showing that they already thought about what is and is not valid. 

"If there's a lot of robbers, then here are a lot of people. But if there are few robbers, then it does not follow that there are few people here. " -end quote-

Psychologist do lot of experiments, in which they show that decisions are primarily based on emotion and less on rational reasoning.

But if you explain the test person who made the wrong decision, because he primarily responded emotionally in stead of using logical reasoning,

99% chance this test person won’t repeat his error. But the psychologists have decided that the first response is relevant and the second (educated) one is not for their scientific conclusions about man.

JvB: Often scientists present their knowledge as something fixed, something consensual. Like, we have together with a number of very smart people thought about all the pros and cons, 
and now there is a consensus, with which you can slam the door shut for other opinions. 

I personally have a different idea about science. I think science is a form of organized discussion, and the power of science lies in the quality of the discussion. 

The fact that we continue to make disagreements negotiable, that is where we get the progress from. -end quote-

Question: What is actually the basic usefulness of logic? 

JvB: I would say it's an investment in the quality of thinking, the quality of argumentation, also in the public debate. 

Although that seems less practical than investing in medical research or something, it seems to me just as concrete and useful. Perhaps education is even the most important means of production there is. "  -end quote-

In the sort term people may respond emotionally, but in the long run and it may take a lot of education, logic and reason will prevail, I believe.

This is what history teaches us and therefor I still believe that science is right.

Thank you… ^_^

The Discussion
[13:16] herman Bergson: Should I wake you all up again? :-))
[13:17] argus Portal: hehe
[13:17] Bejiita Imako: BANG BANG BANG!
[13:17] Dawn Rhiannyr: still thinks :)
[13:17] Bejiita Imako: WAAKE UUP!
[13:17] Bejiita Imako: loool
[13:17] herman Bergson: Thank you Bejiita :-)
[13:17] argus Portal: Thank you, was in interesting interview
[13:17] Ciska Riverstone: thanx herman
[13:17] Bejiita Imako:
[13:17] Bejiita Imako: hmm logic is an interesting subject for sure
[13:18] herman Bergson: Without logic no mathematics or science
[13:18] argus Portal: For me " the basic usefulness of logic" is, not to invent the wheel again.
[13:18] herman Bergson: Which wheel do you mean Argus?
[13:18] Rajamapuradjoloun Shichiroji: I think that the "basic usefulness of logic" is to slowly change the human mind and therefore to evolve.
[13:18] argus Portal: I try it with my bad english.. please give me a moment
[13:19] herman Bergson: Yes Rajam...I agree
[13:19] Ciska Riverstone: mh- but did logic change since socrates?
[13:19] Bejiita Imako: i know what logic is but describing it is tricky
[13:19] herman Bergson: As he said....the progress is in the quality of the argumentation
[13:20] Rajamapuradjoloun Shichiroji: I let argus finish talk, before I end my point of view...
[13:20] herman Bergson: It is like mathematics Bejiita....
[13:20] Bejiita Imako: yes
[13:20] Bejiita Imako: a good way is to think of boolean logic that computers use
[13:20] herman Bergson: a + b = c is not about specific values but about the form of the calculation
[13:20] herman Bergson: this is a valid form....
[13:20] Bejiita Imako: based on different inputs you get true or false based on different connections
[13:21] herman Bergson: Whatever you substitute the variables for it will be correct
[13:21] Ciska Riverstone: that'S the point ;) - you get true or false - not right or wrong ;)
[13:21] herman Bergson: Like the boolean in a programming language
[13:21] Bejiita Imako: computers are in fact not math machines but logic machines and logic is in math so thats why it works
[13:21] Bejiita Imako: its a red thread sort of
[13:22] Bejiita Imako: that a system follows to get to a goal
[13:22] argus Portal: If something becomes common, it shouldn't be proofed again and again without an obvious reason.
The question here is: What is "obvious". But the fact, that one can add a number to a prev. number leads to the idea, that numbers are infinite.
[13:22] herman Bergson: No Ciska you don’t get true or false , you get valid or not valid in an argumentation....
[13:22] argus Portal: Thats the "wheel" i mentioned
[13:22] Bejiita Imako: still mean same, valid = true not valid = false
[13:23] herman Bergson: No Bejiita.....
[13:23] Bejiita Imako: hmm
[13:23] herman Bergson: Yes in a computer language they use these words but thet is scientifically incorrect...
[13:23] herman Bergson: truth and falsity are empirical concepts
[13:24] herman Bergson: a statement is true by empirical coroberation....
[13:24] herman Bergson: for instance...
[13:24] herman Bergson: All Martians are green
[13:24] herman Bergson: Bejiita is a Martian
[13:24] herman Bergson: So ..Bejiita is green
[13:24] argus Portal: Computers are a good example. All results depending from the whole structue. Is tehre an bug in the compiler, the program will not work as expected.
[13:25] argus Portal: Sorry for typos
[13:25] Bejiita Imako: ah
[13:25] Bejiita Imako: true
[13:25] herman Bergson: This is a valid reasoning, but the premisses are false on empirical grounds....
[13:25] herman Bergson: Yet the conclusion WOULD be true necessarily if the premises were true
[13:25] Bejiita Imako: i guess i think too digital, in the analog concept i guess its more floating
[13:26] Dawn Rhiannyr: I have a general problem with the word logic because it is not always about true and false - it is in many cases also about a point of view ...
[13:26] herman Bergson: With computers you have the same problem Argus....
[13:26] herman Bergson: You input data and the program processes them....
[13:26] herman Bergson: There is an output....
[13:27] herman Bergson: But that output only gets meaning by our interpretation of the results
[13:27] Bejiita Imako: ah
[13:27] Dawn Rhiannyr: yes agree to that
[13:27] herman Bergson: Logic is ONLY about the validity of a reasoning...
[13:27] Rajamapuradjoloun Shichiroji: May I say few words? :-)
[13:27] herman Bergson: it has nothing to do with truth or falsity.....
[13:28] argus Portal: For me the computer-example has to to with different "worlds": At the one side the machine, and at the other side the human-side (source-code). The compiler transfers the humans idea to the total logic system iof the machine. And if there is a problem by the "translation" all goes wrong
[13:28] herman Bergson: Go ahead Rajam
[13:28] Rajamapuradjoloun Shichiroji: I think that logic is the key that will lead us humanty to a necessary evolution. Technology has made huge steps ahead and my sensation is that we have somewhat left behind. We have the "hardware" and the "software" to state what is right or wrong but quite often not what is true or false: that is the precise duty of a computer. Now, with the introduction of a proper teaching of logic and the use of the powerful technology we have and we will have, we could literally evolve into something truly exceptional. That's what someone called "The Singularity" but I don't want to step into a field that do not belong to this context. I hope I made myself clear enough...
[13:28] argus Portal: It has directly to do with the small mind, we have
[13:28] herman Bergson: No Rajam this way of talking is agains the rules of the class...see behind me on the wal :-)
[13:28] herman Bergson: But you are excused...
[13:29] Rajamapuradjoloun Shichiroji: Ops... my apologies...
[13:29] herman Bergson: Most important is that you make a huge difference between valid reasoning and truth/Falsity
[13:30] herman Bergson: Truth is a philosophical, empirical concept....
[13:30] herman Bergson: the only relation between logic and truth is this....
[13:31] herman Bergson: IF the reasoning is VALID and the premises are true, THEN is the conclusion necessarily true
[13:31] argus Portal: What is "valid" ?
[13:31] argus Portal: Who defines that ?
[13:31] Rajamapuradjoloun Shichiroji: Indeed...
[13:31] Bejiita Imako: hmm
[13:31] Bejiita Imako: tricky
[13:31] Dawn Rhiannyr: nods
[13:32] herman Bergson: valid means that it is not possible that A and not-A are true at the same moment....
[13:32] Bejiita Imako: logic seems simple when u first think of it but it is really not
[13:32] argus Portal: see quantum physics ;-)
[13:32] argus Portal: They are in doubt of this
[13:32] Dawn Rhiannyr: yes Argus
[13:32] herman Bergson: In logic it is something like -(A & -A)
[13:32] Rajamapuradjoloun Shichiroji: quantum physics apply only to microcosm, tho. not to our scale universe...
[13:33] argus Portal: the microcosm affect us !
[13:33] argus Portal: We dont know all facts
[13:33] herman Bergson: I know a lot of people come up with quantum physics to point at anomalies....
[13:33] Rajamapuradjoloun Shichiroji: Yes, but you agree that the indetermination principle do not apply to our scale, right?
[13:34] argus Portal: What we call "random" can easily causes by the microcosmos
[13:34] herman Bergson: But we have so little knowledge about QPh......
[13:34] argus Portal: *caused
[13:34] Bejiita Imako: indeed, not even the guys at CERN and NASA know much about it
[13:34] Bejiita Imako: only that it is there in some way
[13:35] herman Bergson: it is as simple as the fact that we just HAVE TO accept that it can not rain and at the same monent rain at the very same spot
[13:35] Bejiita Imako: a strange phenomenon where things are at all places simultaneously with both + and - at same time sore of
[13:35] Bejiita Imako: sort
[13:35] argus Portal: I have no clue about quantum physics: But when I take that topic, then only to avoid, that the "door of open questions is closed" and we stuck with common sense
[13:35] Rajamapuradjoloun Shichiroji: ok herman, so a valid reasoning is a mutual exclusion: did I get it right?
[13:36] herman Bergson: And yet those scientist too use logic to reason thiings out
[13:36] herman Bergson: yes in a way....
[13:36] Bejiita Imako: yes
[13:36] Bejiita Imako: cause when its logical it makes sense
[13:36] herman Bergson: it is impossible to get to a false conclusion when you use a valid reasoning and true premises...
[13:36] Bejiita Imako: a red thread
[13:37] herman Bergson: That is how we formulate hypotheses
[13:37] Bejiita Imako: ah
[13:37] herman Bergson: We assume that some empirical phenomena are correctly observed....
[13:38] herman Bergson: from there we conclude....then should this or that be the case to...
[13:38] herman Bergson: we set up an experiment....
[13:38] herman Bergson: The experiment shows that the expected result does NOT occur....
[13:39] herman Bergson: then is is impossible that the premisses that lead to the hypothesis were true...
[13:39] herman Bergson: we made a mistake
[13:39] herman Bergson: So we have to check our premises....
[13:39] herman Bergson: come up with a new hypothesis
[13:39] herman Bergson: and so on :-)
[13:39] herman Bergson: Still with me?  ^_^
[13:40] Bejiita Imako: and have to reformulate the hypothesis in some way and test again
[13:40] Rajamapuradjoloun Shichiroji: YES! :-)
[13:40] argus Portal: or we missed a parameter. And this is the reason why the experiment doesnt behave like expercted
[13:40] herman Bergson: Indeed Bejiita
[13:40] herman Bergson: Could be the case too Argus....
[13:40] argus Portal: I think at the experiment by Michelson and Morley
[13:41] herman Bergson: But our reasoning for  the hypothesis was valid.....so there is not the error
[13:41] Rajamapuradjoloun Shichiroji: that is, argus?
[13:41] herman Bergson: The authority experiment?
[13:41] argus Portal: They tried to show the existing of "ether wind"
[13:41] herman Bergson: Ahhh...
[13:41] Bejiita Imako: ok
[13:41] argus Portal: They failed, because they didn’t know, what Einstein found
[13:42] Rajamapuradjoloun Shichiroji: I am going to check it online... ;-)
[13:42] herman Bergson: Which means that they might have reasoned in a valid way, but there were gapes in their premises
[13:42] herman Bergson: one at least was not true
[13:42] argus Portal: In german its called "√Ątherwind"
[13:43] Bejiita Imako: ah yes
[13:44] herman Bergson: Well..this was maybe an example of hardcore philosophy of science....
[13:44] Bejiita Imako: that there is some matter lime substance that carry light and similar, like waves on a sea
[13:44] Bejiita Imako: like
[13:44] argus Portal: yes
[13:45] Bejiita Imako: but there is no sch thing, its all radiation and it transmit without any matter interaction
[13:45] Bejiita Imako: however the term is still used in radio
[13:45] herman Bergson: We'll get to talk about these issues some more...so don’t worry....
[13:45] herman Bergson grins
[13:45] herman Bergson: or maybe it makes you worry :-))
[13:45] argus Portal: :-)
[13:45] Bejiita Imako:
[13:45] Dawn Rhiannyr: could be ;)
[13:45] Rajamapuradjoloun Shichiroji: hehehe.... Not at all, as far as I am concerned!
[13:46] Bejiita Imako:
[13:46] herman Bergson: No…you are already hightech Rajam :-)
[13:46] herman Bergson: Not all our brains are yet ^_^
[13:46] herman Bergson: But yet....all this is the product of the human brain
[13:47] Nymf Hathaway: Mine are... fogged right now :(
[13:47] Rajamapuradjoloun Shichiroji: right!
[13:47] Bejiita Imako:
[13:47] herman Bergson: We'll discuss issues like this more in the near future......
[13:47] herman Bergson: so plenty of rehearsals :-)
[13:48] Nymf Hathaway: Thank you Herman
[13:48] Bejiita Imako:
[13:48] Rajamapuradjoloun Shichiroji: Really! Great lecture and great discussion! I've learned so much!
[13:48] Bejiita Imako: well have good time now out there in the ether all of u!
[13:48] Bejiita Imako:
[13:48] herman Bergson: I still have to defend my thesis that science is right :-)
[13:49] Nymf Hathaway: You too Bejiita
[13:49] herman Bergson: Opposition is already growing :-)
[13:49] Bejiita Imako:
[13:49] Bejiita Imako: hehe
[13:49] Roger Amdahl: thanks Herman
[13:49] Bejiita Imako: this was some new stuff for sure
[13:49] herman Bergson: Ok..let me spare your brains and dismiss class
[13:49] Bejiita Imako: hehe
[13:49] Bejiita Imako: before they explode
[13:49] herman Bergson: Thank you all for participation and endurance :-)
[13:49] argus Portal: Thank you, Herman. Always a lot to think after that meeting
[13:49] argus Portal: *Always
[13:49] Bejiita Imako: with a LOGIC ERROR message
[13:50] Bejiita Imako: lol
[13:50] Bejiita Imako: now ill go back to programming my game a while before i go to sleep
[13:50] herman Bergson: Well Bejiita
[13:50] Bejiita Imako: cu soon all
[13:50] Nymf Hathaway: oooh nice
[13:50] Bejiita Imako:
[13:50] Nymf Hathaway: bye bye
[13:50] Dawn Rhiannyr: thank you Herman :) yes a lot to think about now :)
[13:50] argus Portal: Bye bejiita
[13:50] herman Bergson: You always find the syntax error
[13:50] Ciska Riverstone: thank you herman
[13:50] Rajamapuradjoloun Shichiroji: Bye Bejiita and thanks!
[13:50] herman Bergson: but not always the logic error in oyur programming
[13:50] Bejiita Imako: hhee i better do because its soooo easy to create bugs
[13:51] argus Portal: Goodnight all
[13:51] Bejiita Imako: cu
[13:51] Bejiita Imako: hugs
[13:51] Nymf Hathaway: Good night everyone
[13:51] herman Bergson: Good luck Bejiita :-)
[13:51] Bejiita Imako: tnx
[13:51] Bejiita Imako:
[13:51] Dawn Rhiannyr: bye everyone, have a nice day / night
[13:51] herman Bergson: Bye Dawn :-)
[13:52] Rajamapuradjoloun Shichiroji: I think I will go to sleep too and I guess I won't be the only one...
[13:52] Ciska Riverstone: bye folks
[13:52] Dawn Rhiannyr: Ciska I am sorryI didn't make it on monday - too early for my working hours
[13:52] herman Bergson: Half the wprld will do that Rajam :-)
[13:52] Rajamapuradjoloun Shichiroji: Bye Ciska !
[13:52] Rajamapuradjoloun Shichiroji: Herman, this was a really great evening!
[13:53] Dawn Rhiannyr: see you soon Herman ... was nice you joined Raja!
[13:53] herman Bergson: Thank you Rajam
[13:54] Rajamapuradjoloun Shichiroji: see you next time herman ! And sorry for the text flood... I didn't really read the rules...
[13:54] herman Bergson: I know...no problem....
[13:54] herman Bergson: It is actually the only pragmatic rule here
[13:55] Rajamapuradjoloun Shichiroji: I can understand. :-) Bye!

[13:55] herman Bergson: be well ^_^

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