An attack on logic, but in the name of logic

    which happened on facebook here:

    (and, in case that post gets removed, here is the address of the group for anyone interested):

    Note that some of SM’s comments are rather unrelated to my article. Nevertheless, I leave them in full as a study in the different patterns of communication displayed in the dialogue. Also, note that SM is the moderator of this group (current membership: 5,195).

    SM: There is a misunderstanding of the rigors of logic here.
    Sambhav Desai Hmmm sounds logical.
    3 hrs · Like
  • SM: Not really. Logic exists devoid of content. It is explained erroneously here.
    3 hrs · Like
    J R Fibonacci Hunn Sandra, you made a few assertions above with no explanation of your standards etc. You present what I infer to be an interest in the subject of logic. What is the nature of your interest? Also, what clarification or correction, brief or long, are you willing to offer for public review and critique?

    3 hrs · Edited · Like

    SM: J R Fibonacci, I am a cognitive neuroscientist. I have helped teach reasoning and logic at Brown University as elements in upper-level cognitive science courses on ‘thinking.’ The forms of logic are divorced from content: e.g., If ‘A’, then ‘B.’ ‘B’, therefore ‘A’. True or false. (Oversimplified example.)

  • What we know is that people have difficulty with logical reasoning when outside knowledge of the world intrudes. In terms of pure logic, something can be ‘true’ without being ‘true’ in our experience.

    The examples in this article are dealing with things besides pure logic.

    3 hrs · Like
    SM: This article would more accurately fall under a failure to consider background rates when calculating probabilities. In other words, Bayes Theorem, not logic, per se:
  • “In probability theory and statistics, Bayes’ theorem (alternatively Bayes’ law or Bayes’ rule) relates current to prior belief. It also relates current to prior evidence. It is important in the mathematical manipulation of conditional probabilities.[1] Bayes’s rule can be derived from more basic axioms of probability, specifically conditional probability.

    When applied, the probabilities involved in Bayes’s theorem may have any of a number of probability interpretations. In one of these interpretations, the theorem is used directly as part of a particular approach to statistical inference. ln particular, with the Bayesian interpretation of probability, the theorem expresses how a subjective degree of belief should rationally change to account for evidence: this is Bayesian inference, which is fundamental to Bayesian statistics. However, Bayes’s theorem has applications in a wide range of calculations involving probabilities, not just in Bayesian inference.”

    3 hrs · Like

     SM: We also teach about this in classes on thinking and reasoning. But, in a strict sense, this is reasoning about probabilities, not logic.

  • 2 hrs · Like

    J R Fibonacci Hunn I am still not clear on your interest. Also, I do not see any specific connection between the interests that I raised and what you referenced.

    I made extensive reference to everyday human experience including common sources of inefficiency in communication (potentially leading to panics of antagonistic arguing and animosity). I also made reference to applications such as investing (which certainly we could connect to the estimating of probabilities) as well as health.


    J R Fibonacci Hunn As concrete examples, I forecast the spiking of global fuel prices which I asserted (in 2004) would eventually cause (especially in developed nations including the US) a collapse of credit markets, real estate prices, and financial stocks. Most investors did not notice what I noticed and still may express confusion about what I consider very simple issues.

    Further, many people who I told about these issues going back to early 2003 were notably unreceptive. I noticed that many people had a tendency to defend their current investments as if they were afraid of the shame of admitting that their current presumtions might be imprecise- even extremely erroneous. The cost to them in some cases was enormous (such as a loss of $400,000 of standing equity in a home, leading them to foreclosure and chapter 13 bankruptcy).


    J R Fibonacci Hunn At the same time, enormous profits were made by those who were operating in accord… with reality. As an example, today I purchased $60 worth of something that I sold for $120 perhaps an hour later. My total risk was about $63.60.

    Those positions certainly could have lost value. But I seek out low-risk positions with very high potential gains. In fact, I had watched my positions drop from $150 to $120 and that is when I chose to “take my profit before it dwindled further” and re-allocate. They might reach $250 today, but I chose to exit at a modest profit ($60 in an hour is not bad, plus I was doing other things for the vast majority of the hour- like I ran two short errands during that time).

    This methodology is in stark contrast with people who borrow immense amounts of money to invest in high-risk markets with decreasing opportunity (like US real estate). Most people do not know how to estimate risk and future returns, so they simply project past performance which is why they so often eventually go bankrupt.

    Why did AIG and Countrywide and GM and Washington Mutual go bankrupt or nearly so? Perhaps because their forecasts were not really competent forecasts but mostly just projections of the recent past. That is pretty negligent if you ask me (not that you did).

    Of course, one party’s negligence is another party’s opportunity.

    25 mins · Edited · Like

    SM: The point is that you are promoting your own personal interests and agenda. You are labeling it “logic.” It has nothing to do with “logic” as anyone with even a smattering of experience in the rigors of logic could tell you. In fact, I would say that you are promoting your own political positions with regards to a number of issues. We do not allow political posts on this page. This page is dedicated to transformation, not economics or politics. Whether or not “AIG…go bankrupt” is not consistent with the stated purpose of this page.


    J R Fibonacci Hunn In another case, I lost the ability to walk in 2007. I consulted a variety of specialists who claimed no particular competence in comprehending the physiology of what happened to me, nor any confidence in their ability to produce a recovery. Rather than adopt the cynicism of certain practitioners in regard to my prognosis (as in “incurable”), I was extremely motivated to find competent guidance.

    One of my clients asked me how I was doing lately and I told her honestly (she had not talked to me since when I had lost the ability to talk). She said that my case sounded familiar to her and she explained the physiology as she understood it and then recommended a nutritional intervention that cost me $5. I recovered the ability to walk literally overnight.


    J R Fibonacci Hunn Later, I learned that an MD who also suffered from similar medical issues as mine had done some clinical research on severe cases of Multiple Sclerosis. Because she was already an MD before being crippled “with” MS, she received tremendous support from her contacts including the editors of a mainstream medical journal. So, after she recovered and funded her own clinical trials to repeat her results with others, she got her research published.

    However, that was years ago and the field of medicine can be rather slow to integrate new methods, especially when the profitability of those treatment methods is neglible. MDs need to profit to stay in business, so the natural tendency in the actual practice of medicine is to favor highly profitable methods over highly effective methods. Due to massive funding from special interests, lobbyists may even go out of their way to attack perceived threats to the profits of their corporate sponsors.

    I completely understand all of that. I think the MD in question was very shocked by some of the antagonistic responses that she got to her research.

    However, there is a logic to certain anti-science, pro-profit trends. I presume that she is clear by now that though some of the attacks were personal in their content, the issue was never personal, but always just business (which can be vicious).

    12 mins · Edited · Like

    J R Fibonacci Hunn That is a fascinating response, Sandra. What suggested political reform did you associate with my content? It seems to me like you are attacking a “straw man.”

    In my own experience in the legal profession, it is also notable when a criticism is made not in the original “complaint,” but only later. It can appears to others that the antagonist is scrambling to defend an unexamined position out of fear and panic.

    Of course, it is also notable when instead of requesting clarification or asking a question, someone makes an accusation. That can be rather repulsive in personal interactions.

    J R Fibonacci Hunn Also, feel free to clarify what you mean by “dedicated to transformation.” I presumed that you meant alternative ways of organizing perception that can lead to radical improvements in performance. If not, I request that you clarify (at least to me) what you do mean by that word so that I can assess whether there is a match or not.


  • SM: I assure you, JR, that I have no sense of “fear or panic” when talking to you. I find your argument to lack rigor. I have nothing to defend as I am not making any arguments and my only agenda is to promote the objections of this page. Please read the pinned post at the top of the page if you need clarification.

  • As a group, the admins have made it a practice to remove posts that are political or divisive; posts that promote specific political or economic ideologies. This often includes posts that are only concerned with conditions or issues in the US as this is an international group, not an American one.
    1 hr · Like
    SM: I might ask what the purpose of your long oratory is? Are you just looking for a soapbox to stand on? Were you hoping for engagement? If so, why are you objecting to my responses? No one else cared to engage.
    1 hr · Like
    SM: Oh, and you might consider actually “studying logic.” It is fascinating and misstated in your article.
  • 1 hr · Like
    J R Fibonacci Hunn Sandra, your responses do not “ask for value” from me. I do not have the sense that you are interested at all in my responses except to defend your own prior statements. If that is imprecise, so be it.

    Regarding a sense of “fear or panic,” I could restate it this way: were you responding to a perceived threat? In other words, were you operating in a “fight or flight” mode- even if only in a relatively moderate way? (Obviously, you were not fleeing, but weren’t you attacking or condemning a perceived threat/offense)?

    I am not saying that you should have been or should not have been. I am just inviting you to introspect as to your own patterns of experience and of communication. Feel free to decline.


    Yes, you might have asked what the purpose of my oratory was. However, you did not begin with that, did you? You began in a manner that I consider not only disrespectful, but extremely imprecise. 

    If someone else asks a question, I might take the time to respond (privately or otherwise). I am concerned about the context that you have set up though, SM. Thank you for clarifying  your agenda and your personal interests in the matter and how they have been organizing your communications.

    • SM: JR, this conversation has become boring. As an academic, I found your inaccurate assertions about ‘logic’ annoying. No fight or flight response. No elevated cortisol. I just prefer to see obviously bright individuals apply rigor to their arguments. You declined. I am disinterested. Enjoy your soapbox. Maybe you will attract another audience member. I have given you enough of my attention.
      J R Fibonacci Hunn Isn’t annoyance an evidence of interest? You state a preference just above, which is not confrontational or demeaning. So, you have a preference which was related to the experience of annoyance, right?
      J R Fibonacci Hunn FYI, I did not specifically decline to increase rigor. If you meant to request it, then any request of yours was not clear to me. Of course, I might decline or counter-offer any request- or, and here is where I think the big issue is for you, I might accept.
      J R Fibonacci Hunn Also, “I am withdrawing and turning off notifications” is an entirely sufficient response. Instead, SM, you said more than that.

      From my perspective, you gave me nothing of particular value or interest to me. Your coments were off-topic relative to my post.

      What you did is that you gave time and attention to every keystroke that you made, just as I am doing and just as millions of facebook users are doing. If you currently wish to withdraw, that is perfectly valid. There is no expectation from me of a further reply from you.


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