The Logical Commandments

October 27, 2006

In the vein of the Hebrew God of the Old Testament, I offer the following Logical Commandments. Handed to me personally and written on ether, of course.

1. You shall have no other Logic.
2. Your statements shall either be True or False.
3. Know Modus ponens, and keep it holy.
4. Know Modus tollens, and keep it holy.
5. You shall not commit a Contradiction.
6. You shall not commit a Fallacy.
7. You shall group your statements into Sets.
8. You shall test your Sets for Validity.
9. False statements shall be removed from Sets and stoned to Death.
10. You shall not covet your neighbor’s Logic.

No doubt a peace loving logical reformer will, in time, revise the ninth commandment.

Caring for the Noosphere

October 26, 2006

The noosphere is yet young and fragile. And it requires our constant care, for in caring for the noosphere, we care for ourselves.

In the family of species, Homo sapiens has long tried to claim some exclusive privilege or character; as if the eternal cosmic cycle was merely a tedious prelude to our boisterous introduction.

But consider: Maybe our species is but the first species—in this corner of the cosmos anyway—to be able to express the noosphere. That our sole privilege as a species is that we were the first to understand how and why we came into being. And what we were but a small part of. And what we were capable of creating.

We are creating the noosphere: our thoughts and our dreams give it life. And it needs our care, as if it were our child. And our planet needs our care, as if it were our mother.

Life cares for itself; and all life cares for its children.

The Sphere of Ideas

October 21, 2006

When it comes to ideas, I like to familiarize myself with all of them. Even dead ones.

And even though some ideas are dead—like the Ptolemaic Geocentric model of the Universe—they still deserve attention and time. Because we must remember that some ideas and theories are accepted even when they are false. (Kinda like the idea of religion.)

As our knowledge increases and as our experimental methods become more refined, we must allow new knowledge to supplement—or, when necessary, supplant—the old. This is a natural process, kinda like the sloughing off of old skin.

For instance: the heliocentric theory supplanted the geocentric theory. And the heliocentric theory is not likely to be supplanted.

For instance: Einstein’s theory of gravitation supplemented Newton’s theory. But the two models can coexist side by side.

Here are three of my favorite ideas: the evolutionary theory of biology, the big bang theory of the expanding universe, and the cognitive realist approach to philosophical inquiry.

Even though some people think that the “jury is still out” on these ideas, I think the jury will, over time, find them to be true. True ideas will out.

Perhaps that is a principle of the noosphere.

Basic Symbolic Logic

October 20, 2006

I’ve been reviewing symbolic logic (a.k.a. the sentential calculus), which was developed by Gottlob Frege. Because we live in tyranny, I think it might be helpful if people became familiar with basic logical reasoning. For some foolish reason, I think that clear and simple thought might be the best medicine for an ailing system.

Symbolic logic is very simple. All you need to do is assign each individual statement in a series of statements a symbolic name. Usually, the symbolic name is merely a letter: p, q, r, or s. After you assign the statements names, all you need to do is think about them.

For instance, the following set of statements is inconsistent:

p = War causes innocent death.
q = A Christian would not cause innocent death.
r = The President is a Christian.
s = The President wages war.

By inconsistent I mean that there is no universe where statements p, q, r, and s are all true.

Yet our tyrant, perhaps because he thinks that the people who voted for him are all stupid, repeatedly claims r.

But our tyrant is a liar. And it’s a wonder that so many Christians voted for him.

I guess Christians don’t understand symbolic logic. But that should hardly be surprising: religious people usually fail to think. That’s probably one reason why they love to kill each other.