Thursday, January 29, 2015

The Value Of Rational Argumentation



Song:  Someone Saved My Life Tonight

Artist:  Elton John





Argumentation does not necessarily mean with emotional content.

To have...
a valid premise...
the presented supporting evidence in a logical format...
 the conclusion directly derived from that logic...
 is to put forth a rational argument.

It is objective
(it is not a matter of opinion...of which is merely an unsupported posit)

It has nothing to do with motives.

It is to establish a framework upon which truth may be found.

With truth...
problems may be identified and rectified...
and true progress may then be made.

Some say that life is not fair.

Through rational argumentation...
true fairness may be effected in an unfair world.


No one can rightly argue against
the proper identification and prioritization of problems
so they may then be solved in an effective and efficient manner
through objective reasoning.

Some may try to say that feelings matter.

Yes...
but that is not the issue.

Feelings are merely one of the variables to consider and prioritize in a rational manner
so the underlying problems may be corrected...
while maximizing the positive effect on emotions...
or by limiting the negative impact on the emotions...
however, the priority must be the correction of the problem.

It is not an excuse to not correct the problems at all because of the emotional impact.

To not correct problems which would perpetuate 
and become exacerbated without correction because feelings take priority...
is simply not rational because as the problem grows...
so does the eventual negative emotional impact.


Humans are very malleable and adaptable.

Truth in the discovery of the paths to take...
and the necessary corrective actions which then must be followed...
must not be...
if problems are to be solved
(although in its application...they may be...
so long as the same result is effected).


Being logical in problem solving does not mean being devoid of emotion.

It means to take all of the necessary variables
and to consider them in their correct order of priority...
including the impact on emotions...
and to render the most plausible path toward the rectification of a problem.


How is one to decide which solution is best
 without first having a frame of reference?


Ah...
with but two very simple guiding principles:



1)   Prioritization of the progress of the whole for the long term
while having the least negative impact on each individual's freedom.

Just think of individuals being at the center of ever expanding concentric rings...
each of which contain ever larger groups of consideration...
with the largest rings having the highest priority of consideration
(from individuals to all of human kind).



The group...
or as depicted, the ring to stop at...
is decided by the expected area of effect
of the policy upon them.

Each ring (group) can then be considered a living entity...
and so...
assuming the needs and desires of an individual...
as depicted below in the pyramid...
and as prioritized from the bottom up.


A depiction of Maslow's Hierarchy Of Needs



2)   The individual's rights for the lowest two levels of the pyramid are absolute
(All else is earned).

Principle one does not override principle two.

The individual's right for survival is the same as the group's.

This is why it is of the highest honor for individual sacrifice for the group...
and not an expectation...with which, there would be no honor possible.

I simply cannot explain the need for rational argumentation in any simpler terms.



Rational argumentation is the science of problem identification and rectification.

It is the most efficient and effective means of problem solving
when considering human nature as a variable.

It applies to the individual as well as to groups.



Okay...
easily said...
now on to an example of application.


I will take a classic example of a group vs individual rights conundrum:


LIFEBOAT



Situation:  


10 people in a lifeboat on the high seas.

No food...very little water...
no immediate hope for rescue or for obtaining more food.



Majority consensus: 

 All will die unless individuals are sacrificed
for sustenance for the group as needed.


Method:

Lottery system



What to do?


First of all...
this situation has come about on numerous occasions throughout history.

International rules of the high seas allow for such forced sacrifices to take place...
so long as a fair lotto system is used.


However...
is it actually the correct path?


NO


My reasoning:

First of all...
the rights to survival of the group do not overshadow those of the individual's.

Each individual in a group has the same rights to survive as does the group
(second principle).


Am I saying that all should die then?


NO


First of all...
such an argument put forth by the lifeboat group is a false dilemma.


We each have differing rates of metabolism...
and differing stores of energy reserves.


So...
it actually is not a question of everyone dying at once
unless individuals are sacrificed to spare all...
is it?


The cannibalization of the ones who naturally pass away first would 
accomplish the same result without the need of forced sacrifice.


So...
in reality...
is this what I think would take place in a real situation?


NO


The need for survival breaks down civility.

Most morals break down when people are threatened.


Okay...
what is it that I think would happen...
and what is it that I would do?



I think that precisely what has happened in the past would still happen.

A lotto system


What is it I would do differently...
especially with the knowledge that any who 
fail to participate in the lotto system is the first
one to be picked by the others for their next feast?


I would kill the loudest instigator for the establishment of a lotto system...
and then simply look at the group and quietly say...
bon appetit!  

(as the group had made it clear that I would be killed...
killing in defense of the self is justified)

I would then reiterate how we should only partake of those 
who pass naturally from that point forward.

(I of course, would then have to also partake...
for should I then not...they would become strong...
and I would then be next on the menu).


Not only would this satisfy the immediate wants of the group...
it would prevent them from trying the lotto again in the future...
as they would then have to suffer personal responsibility for their decisions.


Of course...
you must be thinking...
 my plan only works if I could, in fact, win in combat.

Part of the Darwinian equation is not only physical...
it is intellectual.

Securing the means for self defense is natural to some...but not to all.

With forethought comes a greatly increased chance of survival.


------------


This brings up a side thought as applied to families.

As a Father...
one of our basic responsibilities is that of the safety and security of the family unit.

We must always be monitoring our surroundings.

Anytime we are in public...
especially when in a group of unknown people in a structure...
we must know the escape points and routes...
we must constantly scan our surroundings for interruptions in patterns of people
which would indicate possible aggression or instability...
and we must always be aware of possible objects in the vicinity for use as a weapon...
in case of need to protect the family.

The father's duty is to confront possible danger...
if not to defeat it...then to lead it away from the family so they may escape.

Should the father be forced to engage...
should he not be able to defeat the danger...
he must at least delay them long enough so the family may escape.


The mother's duty is to lead the children to safety.

Her job is to not delay her flight with her children
through a challenging set of inquires of the father's actions...
and especially to not exacerbate the situation through provocatory statements.


-----------


Sorry for the break in thought...
I thought it necessary.

-----------


Now...
I will take a classic example of an individual vs a group conundrum.


This situation I will illustrate with a commonly used tactic
by communities against the individual property owner 
using the lawful use of Eminent Domain.

Now I highlighted the term 'lawful use'
only because of the frequency of governmental abuse of Eminent Domain.

Through Eminent Domain...
communities may force a private landowner to sell his property to the community
if the community may show a dire need for the property...
for the good of the community in a public works project...
and for a fair market price.


This follows the first principle in that the group has the higher priority of need...
and does not violate the second principle as it does not threaten the 
safety or security of the individual.


Eminent Domain is necessary because of unforeseen needs
for public works projects, which without, would allow
an individual to make the group suffer in the area of safety or security...
or to stall the great progress of the group
(a governmental project designed for public use...
thereby providing necessary services for all in the group...
such as in a water treatment plant...
or for a necessary highway...etc).


So, I agree with the notion of Eminent Domain?


Yes...
but only as narrowly applied in the above definition...
and I think the community should have to pay twice the market price
(good end result taking into account human emotions...
while at the same time forcing communities to only attempt
using Eminent Domain in cases of dire need).


Where it becomes wrong is when the proposed project is not a public works project...
and when it doesn't provide for the safety and security of the public...
or a project which would lead to great progress for the group.


Many years ago...
I was actually a juror in a civil case involving Eminent Domain.

However...
in this case, it was the abuse of Eminent Domain...
and the plaintiff was a private property owner.

The case never got to trial...
only because the judge had allowed the jurors
to be polled by the defense (county attorneys).

We had not only demonstrated our understanding of Eminent Domain...
but our understanding of its illegal attempted usage by the county.

After seeing the results...
the county had settled the suit out of court with the plaintiff
(not only could the county not apply Eminent Domain...
and therefore force the property owner to sell...
they had to pay the owner for illegally trying).

The main problem was that the county had tried to seize the property
for the use of a private company so they could then have more tax revenue.

They had violated the law...
as this was not a public works project...
thereby serving the group's needs.



------------

So...
what is the ultimate value of rational argumentation?

Its value lies in the result of serving the individual as well as the group...
as applied using the two stated simple principles.

Through the adherence of the two principles...
the greatest progress of humans may be achieved...
precisely because it is in alignment with human nature.

Through its use...
the hearts and minds of all people will be united...
as they may then trust in the group...and so...
become a willing participant as a team member with the knowledge
that their shared resources would be pooled and utilized efficiently and effectively...
while their individual rights to their safety and security would not be breached.

This allows for the free investment of individual resources toward
higher objectives as achieved as a group...
much higher than can be accomplished by any one individual.


How is it then that people do not always consider these principles
when attempting to establish rules for groups...or even free nations?


For whatever reason...
many do not prioritize critical thinking
(as applied to the voting populace...
many politicians know exactly what they are doing...
and use nefarious means to secure power for their group or themselves).

While many understand, and can follow a basic line of logical thinking...
they do not understand the structure of rational argumentation.


There are but three basic components of a rational argument:


The premise

The logical body with the supporting evidence for the premise

The conclusion which is directly derived from the said logical argument



If any one of the three are incorrect...
supposing that the others are correct...
the result must be incorrect.

As most follow a basic logical thought process...
the most often used method of deceit
is the slipping in of a false premise.

Once that false premise is accepted...
a person may logically argue their point successfully...
and reach a logical conclusion...
and still be wrong
(and so the difference between a valid argument...
and that of a sound argument).

This is most often illustrated in the classic example of an argument
being valid (in structure and application were the premise correct)...
but unsound (in fact because of the false premise)
through the introduction of a false premise:

All trees are green
 (false premise)

That is a tree 
(logical argument as can be supported logically and empirically)

Therefore...that tree must be green
(erroneous conclusion based on a false premise)



The second most used tactic is through the usage 
of one or more of a variety of fallacies of logic
to imply an incorrect premise as being correct.


Just a few of the many variants used
with this tactic as applied to the above argument:


1)  We have the world renowned expert on trees saying that in fact...
all trees are green
(Fallacy of an Appeal to Authority)


2)  We took a poll of a cross section of all of America...
and the people have spoken...
all trees are green
(Fallacy of an Appeal to the Masses)


3)  You just don't want to admit that all trees are green
because a woman was the discoverer of this truth
(Fallacy of a Personal Attack)


An especially insidious use of a fallacy is through the incorrect usage of science
and then attempting to establish that as science had deemed it so...
it must be so.

Many do not understand how if the safeguards of the scientific method are not applied...
how easily at which erroneous conclusions may be arrived.

This method is very often used...
especially where statistical analysis is concerned.

Whether it be by the corrupt analyst through the cherry picking of his data

(using only the stats which support his hypothesis
 while disregarding evidence which refute his hypothesis...
just one of many which a corrupt researcher may use)...

or by that of a politician who purposely misapplies scientific research
which is designed to determine probabilities of an unknown being likely...
and not necessarily to determine scientific truth...
and so to take it out of context...
especially when it comes to the extrapolation of a known...
and to then apply it to the whole of an unknown...
especially without the statistical safeguards in effect
which would prohibit such usage in that context...
and then claiming the research as being valid 
as it is to be considered under the authority of science...
and how it is therefore, inviolate...

the establishment of a false premise is the key to a false argument.


As a result of the depth of the smoke and mirrors commonly used
in support of a false argument...
many are easily led astray.


How can a person learn to structure his thoughts 
so they may apply logic to a rational argument...
and thereby are able to solve the correct problems
in their correct order of priority...
as well as to prevent others from presenting false arguments?


Just as everything in life should be observed in its simplest form...
think of a rational argument as a three pillared structure.

If any one of the three pillars aren't solid...
the whole structure collapses.


How may one achieve this solid structure...
and how may one bring down the house of cards
that are false arguments?

Just by knowing the structure of a rational argument...
one may build one.

By knowing the various fallacies of logic...
 combined with the basic knowledge of the scientific method...
and that of Statistics...
one may disarticulate false arguments
because you may see through the smoke screen and break the mirrors
that those with an agenda, other than that of truth and progress...
so often tries to lay in order to manipulate others for their own personal gain.



One extremely important point...
the whole idea is to achieve that which is correct...
so that of truth and progress is the result...
not for the aggrandizement of the self.


To achieve this result...
simply think of a rational argument as a fencing match.

Just as a rational argument should be...
the objective in a fencing match is to determine the rightful winner...
by merit.


Just as a fencer must acknowledge a true mortal strike
(Olympic fencing is guided by electronic strike detectors)...
so must an honorable practitioner of rational argumentation
acknowledge when his argument had been struck a mortal blow.


Emotions do not matter.
Merely wanting to win is the wrong attitude.

It is the establishment of a correct route of progression through truth...
for the betterment of the group or the individual...
that matters.

By acknowledging your faulty reasoning...
you are acknowledging the validity of the process
of a rational argument.

By acknowledging and identifying where you had gone astray...
you will still have garnered the trust of others...
as they will have seen that, although you had made an error in judgement
(of which we are all subject to)...
your intent was the pursuit of truth and justice...
and for the noble cause of the betterment of all.

By first thinking things through in a rational manner...
by considering all of the necessary variables
which will then point to a rational premise...
and by then coming to a rational conclusion as supported through
well thought out evidence and as presented in a logical fashion...
you will have gained foreknowledge of a truth.

With the foreknowledge of being correct...
of being on the side of truth...
you will be more easily able to parry false premises...
and should then be able to strike a mortal blow upon your opponent.

Winning a rational argument by arguing from the side of truth...
is far easier than is trying to argue from the side of deceit.

So...
it is through the siding of truth that is not only the honorable way to argue...
a way which points toward justice and progress for the group and the individual...
it is the most efficient and effective way.












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