Friday, September 26, 2014

Beyond Logic Lies... NOTHING

I briefly mentioned in my diatribe on astrology that I could dedicate an entire blog post to one particular argument.  Specifically, the argument that certain delusional beliefs are "beyond logic."  While it came up in the context of astrology and tarot card readings, I'm pretty sure we've all heard this dodge with respect to things like "spirit science" and most certainly theistic belief.  It's a convenient little cop-out for people who feel that the burden of proof is a yoke too heavy to wear.  Rather than actually try to back up their beliefs or pretend there is any substance to them, it is easier to proclaim by fiat that the rules of rational discourse don't apply to them.  It's also particularly amusing that they don't just say that logic and reason aren't applicable, but that they're "beyond" logic...  as if to imply that being reasonable and applying some measure of sensibility is beneath one who believes in bullshit.  While the example that I'm referencing was brought up in regards to astrology, it's just as common in nearly every nonsensical belief.  New age, "spirit science", religion, alt-med woo-woo, and anything that carries the hallmark of Deepak Chopra.

You've probably heard it in several extraordinarily patronizing forms.  "You can't begin to understand XXXXX with logic."  "YYYY is above the limits of mere human reasoning."  "There's more to life than evidence and logic and all that."  "You're too dependent on your science and facts."  "There are things about the universe we cannot begin to understand with our limited reasoning."  And so on and on...  and on...  and on.  You might even occasionally see the roundabout form of "for those who believe, all things are possible" -- which is essentially saying that whatever they're selling works beautifully so long as you're gullible.  It's especially funny to see how they try to make it sound as if it's the rational thinker who has the problem, and not them.  Is there really such a thing as "beyond" logic?  Well, perhaps... if you want to spit on the very idea of true and false.