Logic… Wishful Thinking
Logic, n. The art of thinking and reasoning in strict accordance with the limitations and incapacities of the human misunderstanding. -The Devil’s Dictionary
If A then B. A, so B. Not B, so not A. That’s logic right there. As I study truth tables for my Logic exam tomorrow, I notice that every statement can be broken down into a code of letters and symbols, written onto a chart, and solved. Is my argument good? All I have to do is make a truth table to figure it out.
Great! Now I can use my knowledge of logic to prove to everyone that I’m right about everything in the universe. Ummm…. or not.
Coincidentally, I was walking out of logic class last week when I saw a massive mob in the university quad. A man calling himself “Brother Matt” held up a sign in the quad which read, “God abhors homosexuality. Repent or perish Sodomites.” A camouflage hat on his head and a Bible in hand, he yelled verses loudly enough to echo across the entire campus.
None of his arguments made any sense. For each verse he spouted, I could think of five to dispute it. I was completely livid, but I wasn’t alone in that sentiment. Less than an hour after Brother Matt arrived, the Queer Student Union set up a booth across the quad and blared music promoting peace. A rainbow colored sign that said “Hate Free Zone” covered Brother Matt’s face. People argued and attempted to rationalize with him, but their pleas fell on deaf ears.
They were simply using logic. Protesters came up with beautifully crafted arguments, only to be called “witches who have been using too much meth.” How’s that for ad hominem? I could draw out Brother Matt’s arguments and prove their invalidity, but it would be a waste of time. As the day went on, protesters got more sick of the hate speech and name-calling. They abandoned their own logic, insulting him back. I watched from afar and took notes for a newspaper article on the event.
As I scribbled quotes from Brother Matt next to my truth table notes, I quickly realized how unimportant logic is to today’s society. The chaos of the crowd did much more to deter him than sound arguments. No one really cares that if there’s A, then there’s B. They do care if someone tells them that they’ll burn in hell.
I could tell my logic professor that I didn’t study for the exam because I don’t think logic has any merit in the real world… but that would be begging the question AND appeal to pity (two classic fallacies). I also probably wouldn’t pass the class. Study it is.