Monday, October 23, 2006

Inverse Logic

It is surprising how easily people who are supposed to be good with such things (for example IIT students) fall for common logical fallacies. For example, one of friends argued thus a few days ago: war is natural. This is so because there are processes that keep the population of a species in check under natural conditions. Examples of such processes are predators, disease, scarcity of resources and (surprise!) war in the case of humans. Now, since humans have eliminated (to a large extent) all other processes of keeping a population in check, it is only natural that it is war that will keep the numbers of human species under control.

It took me some time to get over my stupor generated by the blasphemous nature of this argument. There are couple of logical fallacies involved here.

  1. The assumption that war is just like any other natural process.
  2. The assumption that (rise in species population) (is the cause of) (evolution of natural processes to keep the population in check). In fact it is the other way round. (Natural processes that keep population in control) (are responsible for) (keeping species population in check)
Here I try to keep my IITian arrogance aside :) (cf. the first comment on this post)

When IITians, the students who are supposed to be the top problem solvers of this country can fall for such obvious logical fallacies, what hope do I keep for this country?

3 comments:

  1. Why don't you try to look at things keeping your IITian arrogance aside?

    They are not the only problem solvers of the country. Even the best problem solvers title is very questionable.

    Have you seen the factories that churn out people qualifying the IIT-JEE?

    Even if they are good at it, are they give a damn about solving the problems of the country?

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  2. Ah! This is rather arrogant. You make untrue assumptions about IITians are are then surprised/disappointed by them (the IITians, I mean).

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  3. is it the logical fallacy in the argument or the tendency of some of the IITians falling in it are we talking about?

    Is it necessary that all people of a particular institution be branded with a particular quality? Moreover the JEE does not check intellignece, nor, to some extent, problem solving abilities.

    I'd say war is natural, but not at all for any reasons stated.

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