Wednesday, October 5, 2011

Logical Fallacy: Part 3,452

I kinda lost count on the number of times I have written on logical fallacies. For the uninitiated, let me first talk a little bit about how we think. Our little brain works with models and frameworks. In short, we take what we observe and then we generalize or simplify it into a model or framework to allow us to predict what will happen if something similar occurs again.

Take for example, we observe that every time someone pushes a door, it opens. This happens often enough that we generalize that every time a door is pushed, it will open. So we don't even think about it anymore. Can you imagine that one day, if you pushed the door and your hand goes right through it? That would be totally bizarre and even if you told someone else about it, no one would believe you. This is because we have internalized the concept that if a door is pushed, it will open. Past experience tells us so, therefore it must be so. Our minds have simplified it to that model.

Now, let us consider a certain madman who believes that Jimmy was leading the attack on some tournament that I don't even remember. One of the main reasons for this is because he sees all this "attack" going on in the chatbox in Jimmy's site. Therefore, the madman can only conclude that Jimmy must be behind these attacks. He cannot think of any other reason, therefore it must be the only reason. His brain has simplified the problem into his model and no matter what else happens, he can't accept it. Madman pushes the door, door must open. If the door does not open, he will never be able to explain or understand it because in his brain, there is only one dimension.

It is "easier" to believe that Jimmy is leading an attack and therefore it is easier to attack Jimmy. It is always harder to take a look at oneself and ask, "Am I the problem?".

Let me throw in some alternatives. What if, the madman is the one that is wrong? The main reason "everyone" is gathering at Jimmy's chatbox is that it is "the most convenient" place to express their dissatisfaction towards the resident loony. I urge all of you to consider what will happen if Jimmy closes his chatbox. I believe that all the chatboxers will move on to the next most convenient location and continue their discussion. If this is the case, would Jimmy then be "leading the attack"?

What will the madman then conclude? Perhaps he will think that Jimmy has put the wheel in motion, and now it can't be stopped? I think any person with half a brain would know that if Jimmy was that influential, he could takeover the country and become President for life. All Hail, Jimmy.

For someone who prides himself in being the master of the mind, his inability to process alternative explanations would just be too bizarre. It is just easier to believe that he is right. His brain is just unable to process any other evidence because he has already internalized his model. Even if Copernicus himself were to come along and present evidence that the Earth revolves around the Sun, he can't accept that he is not the center of the universe. Even if Ferdinand Megallen, who has sailed around the Earth were to tell him the Earth is round and not flat, he would still insist that we would fall off the edge of the earth if we sailed to the horizon.

Of course, our observations have created new models to help us process our experiences, but some madmen simply cannot process models that are beyond their own capabilities. Quite simply, he is just behind his time. He is still living in a world that is flat.


  1. Ninja, that hit the nail squarely on the head.

    Putting aside mad men for the moment, I am intrigued by your explanation. You are describing what I call the "personal world view" (not sure if there is such a term already). Something that I have at the back of my mind since I first read Asimov's short story "Nightfall" (which btw would make a great movie).

    Our mind observes external stimulit/events and form a hypothesis (your example of pushing on a door). Over many occurences the mind stores this as a "rule".

    How would men react when the "rules" are broken? I believe one of the following

    a) they refuse to believe that it happened - in spite of all evidence including their own senses telling them so.
    b) they attribute it to God/Satan/ghosts/poltergeist and whatever. Its a one off and cannot possibly happen again. Back to their personal world view.
    c) when both (a) and (b) do not work, finally the mind will snap and they go mad (this is what happened in "Nightfall").

    Sorry if I am rambling in your blog :)

  2. I think he probably knows he is wrong and is jz trying to save face. Who in their right mind could Possibly come up with an explanation that someone was attacked and forced to do sth. It's totally bizarre and really incredible the lengths Ppl go jz to protect their image. I think he jz wants to defend his image as being right n great which has taken a hell of a beatIng. I mean would someone want to admit that he cheated/bullied a kid?? Or that someone wanted to 'leave' his centre? His image would be in tatters. Rather than accept that, he makes up all sorts of stories. Even the story abt wen yang is half twisted. I know coz I was the translator and the guy asking ques coz they dont speak mandarin but all that is for another day. Sry to post such a long Post.

  3. Today he moved the goal posts again. He never actually said I was the one. I wonder if he spent the whole of yesterday going through every post and editing it to look that way. Trying to defend the indefensible. LOL.