Logic is the Beginning of Wisdom, Not the End

20 Apr

Now I’d never dream of calling myself the queen of logicians (see Wilson Monday’s article, “Miss Agatha Whitt-Wellington: The Queen of Logicians”), but I am a pretty reasonable person. I am able to complete a soduku or two and I can follow any instructions Mr Ikea throws my way (though generally I let Christopher complete the manual labour—he’s ever so good with his hands). However, it doesn’t take a genius to understand that there are some things that just make sense.  Mistreating the environment has a negative impact. A compassionate nation cares about its citizens’ health. Just because you can do something doesn’t mean you should.

These are truths that quite frankly seem self-evident. But I worry that critical reasoning is falling by the wayside these days. Schools really need to step up to the plate. What must teachers be teaching if kids aren’t learning how to think properly? Why, when I was in high school, logic tests were required before graduation. We were each placed in locked trunks and given sets of instructions for our release, each step of which could only be completed after solving a brainteaser. We were not given our diplomas (nor food and water) before putting on our thinking caps and getting ourselves out.  (Before you begin thinking that my teachers were particularly cruel, remember that they contributed to making me the talented person I am today and know also that those who didn’t make it had their names engraved on lovely plaques that decorate the school’s custodial offices.)

Unfortunately, mis-logic seems to be the order of the day. Not long ago Pat Robertson claimed that the earthquake in Haiti was caused by the Haitians’ “pact to the Devil.” Now, really. As someone who has dabbled in voodoo at various times in her life (remember Sonny Bono? He was one of mine), I can testify that at no time was I required to swear allegiance to Lucifer. Despite the fact that Pat Robertson, as a televangelist, does have a direct line to God (I believe it’s a premium rate number), I’m afraid I just can’t believe that the Almighty works in this way. The argument is based on faulty reasoning. After all it implies that the only way the French would surrender is if the Devil himself got involved, and that certainly doesn’t ring true with the rest of their history.

Possibly the world’s most dangerous fuckwit in the logic department these days is one Mr Rush Limbaugh. Some of his gems include the promise to move to a country with universal health care if the US tries to offer universal health care; his claim that a white man withdrew from an election because he was a black man; and his blaming marital infidelity on Obama. So you see what we’re dealing with here. However, his most recent words of wisdom have literally knocked me out of my boots. Limbaugh believes that the volcano eruption in Iceland is God’s way of showing his disapproval of the US Health Care Bill.

Stop and think for just a moment. Given the fact that Limbaugh is still walking around breathing, we must believe that God is merciful, so it seems unlikely that he would cause suffering to so many people, just because one country’s government passed a bill he wasn’t keen on. After all, when he was cross with Sodom and Gomorrah, he threw his wrath right down on them, not some British tourists trying to get home from Portugal.

Additionally, from what I remember of his son, God doesn’t strike me as an insurance company fan. When Jesus healed the sick, did he require forms and pre-approval? Did he deny those with pre-existing conditions?

Rush Limbaugh spews bad logic like Eyjafjallajokull spews ash. Both get into our atmosphere, make people feel poorly, cause significant disruptions to air travel (well, you know what I mean) and must be contained.  When faced with a crisis, whether it involves being locked in a wooden trunk or a controversial federal bill, critical reasoning must prevail. Plate tectonics caused the Icelandic volcano to erupt, plain and simple. Besides, at this point, God’s too busy to be worrying about US politics. Most of his time is bound to be tied up voting to get Kate Gosselin off Dancing with the Stars. Duh.

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