Gaps in Logic
An LDS reader comments: JJ wrote that “perfect logic will never lead to a wrong conclusion”
so is this correct:
Joseph Smith taught that all little children who die before the age of accountability will be saved in the celestial kingdom of heaven.
So if I truly love my children, it is logical that i will kill them before they reach that age. this is the true ultimate sacrifice, for I guarantee their salvation but it cost me eternity in hell.
JJ: You are giving a concrete challenge. This is what I am looking for to illustrate my point.
Unfortunately, many people in the past in and out of the LDS church, have actually used such flawed logic and killed their children and loved ones. Their warped reasoning has led them to kill children to either ensure their salvation or to save them from a spouse or poor circumstances in this life.
Everyone with an ounce of soul contact knows this is wrong and a greater than Joseph Smith said:
“And whoso shall receive one such little child in my name receiveth me. Matt 18:6 But whoso shall offend one of these little ones which believe in me, it were better for him that a millstone were hanged about his neck, and that he were drowned in the depth of the sea.” Matt 18:5
It is certainly an offense to a child to kill him.
That said, let us examine your statement and see if perfect (or even reasonable) logic was used.
“Joseph Smith taught that all little children who die before the age of accountability will be saved in the celestial kingdom of heaven.”
The first step in logic (as I see it) is to examine the premise, for Joseph Smith also said that if we start wrong, we will end wrong.
It appears that you are just assuming this is a true statement. Why? And if children are saved in the Celestial kingdom, then how long will this salvation last? Will it just last until a time comes to reincarnate again on the earth?
We all realize that mortal experience is extremely valuable. Most likely, the loss of this experience is a greater detriment to the child than the benefit of an unknown period in the celestial kingdom or some type of paradise.
Perhaps Joseph was just completely wrong or there was a great gap in presenting the complete picture.
What does logic tell us about the statement?
It is this: That it would be wrong to condemn a child to hell when he didn’t even realize he did anything wrong; therefore it seems just that the child would end up in a heavenly location after death.
BUT, this is not enough to conclude you are doing a child a favor by denying him the joys of life and sending him to the other worlds in his innocence.
Your conclusion from the iffy premise says: “So if I truly love my children, it is logical that I will kill them before they reach that age. This is the true ultimate sacrifice, for I guarantee their salvation but it cost me eternity in hell.”
Logic tells us that you do not know you are doing them more good than harm. What are the drawbacks of a forced derailment of the path of the soul? Mormonism doesn’t address this and with this gap in knowledge it would be illogical to take the life of a child.
What do we know for sure about the importance of a child’s life?
We know this, that God placed in adults, especially parents, a natural instinct to protect children and preserve their lives.
In addition, God has placed in each of us a natural instinct to preserve our own lives.
Obviously, this instinct is in place because nature dictates that it is better to live to the natural end of our lives than to artificially end them.
Conclusion: Based on what is most probably correct your statement is far from perfect reason or use of logic for the premise presents an incomplete picture..
Our previous reader continues: “The science of correct or reliable reasoning…”
This is correct if one actually knows the details. This science is primarily concerned with the form of correct arguments. It is concerned with what makes “reliable reasoning” given a set of premises. The study of logic itself though is not about the validity of the premises themselves (there are other areas in philosophy that are concerned with that).
JJ The various dictionaries I checked gave several definitions of the word logic. Many give four or five. Their method is to list as number one the most popular use and application of the word. Then number two is the second most common etc.
The definitions I gave yesterday from the various dictionaries were all from the number one definition. On the other hand, it appears that your use of the word as “a formal and structured system of reasoning or argument” applies to a lesser used definition, usually in second, third or even fourth place, but never first.
The problem I see with our communication is that I am using the word in its most popular and accepted usage and you are using it as it pertains to a school of thought taught in specific logic courses in college.
If we continue to do this both of us will be beating our heads against the wall in frustration.
We need to both use the same definition if we are to get anywhere.
As I said I agree with the prime definition from my Random House Dictionary which reads:
“The science of correct or reliable reasoning…”
Now formal logic as taught in college will stress the “correct” part and ignore the “reliable.” I stress the “reliable” part for if logic is reliable (that is it leads to correct conclusions) then it is automatically indicative that the logic was “correct.”
In a college course what is and is not correct is always stressed for this makes it easier to give a grade. You can be as reliable as God and not be correct in the professor’s eyes and receive a failing grade.
The logic I deal with in my teachings have one criteria for the test of its validity. Do the results end in a conclusion that appeals to the highest of mind, soul and spirit as being true?
One must also keep in mind that my logic has wide appeal to students because many times I use it to bring down to earth that which I have received intuitively through The Oneness Principle. Since higher principles are always logical this means that I can always defend them with logic and reasoning.
Reader: However, I do predict that when/if your teachings gain wider acceptance that you will be roundly ridiculed and lampooned for what you have said on this subject. I say that as a friend. I have done my best to try to warn you.
JJ: Jesus, Buddha, Confucius, Lincoln, Jefferson were all great exponents of my brand of logic and any lampooning of them usually makes the lampooner look ridiculous. I expect this to also be the case as far as my teachings go.
The difference here and with other groups is if I were to say something that doesn’t register with the highest my supporters know they will generally challenge me and demand both a logical and spiritual explanation.
Of course, the second key of judgement must always be considered. It is best to have one’s attention on seeing truth rather than seeing error. If one’s attention is on seeing error then much truth will be missed and eventually only error will be seen.
If one concentrates on seeing truth with the attitude that error is possible then the truth will be seen and only essential error will come to light.
Why do I use the phrase “essential error?” Because there are many things of little or no significance that can be pointed out or argued as error that will not lead to further light, but just be a distraction. The student should therefore concentrate on essential error, of which the correction will lead to further light and truth. Non-essential error (which may not even be error) can lead to a battle of egos to win an argument and usually ends with no further light gained. Sometimes in the process new teachings will surface often not related to the starting point and this can be a benefit.
That said, let us move forward.
The Reader quotes my challenge. “The truth is always logical. Any false conclusion always involves flawed logic. Perfect logic will never lead to a wrong conclusion.”
First let me say that we cannot fault the reader (or anyone else) for accepting my challenge for I did give it out.
And don’t worry about anyone leading me into a trap. If someone can do that to me, I deserve to be embarrassed.
The Reader continues: This just occurred to me. Can you explain this?
About the only place that I have found anything that appears to approach the standard of “perfect logic” is in the field of mathematics. It is pretty hard to refute “2+2=4” and other apparently self-evident truths of mathematics.
I presume you know what this number is?
It is the so-called irrational number PI to the first eight places.
Now mathematicians have used very powerful computers to find the value of PI out to over a million places and reportedly have found no repetition or end in sight. It would seem that PI goes on forever – to infinity.
So if a thing has a beginning, then it must have an end. Only if a thing has no beginning can it have no end.
PI has a beginning. But apparently it has no end.
What is wrong with this “perfect logic”?
JJ: Before we continue let me comment on my use of the word “perfect” here for it seems to have become a stumbling block and a diversion all on its own.
Here is basically the meaning I intended to covey with the word “perfect.”: “The highest possible logic, containing no ascertainable flaw in reasoning.
Concerning your statement the logic is not quite perfect, or beyond the ascertaining of a flaw. The word “apparently” is close but not the most accurate to use.
Let us make a comparable statement and examine it.
“I shot an arrow into the air. Apparently, it went on forever.”
OR “I shined a light into space. Apparently, it is going on forever.”
In looking at these two examples the question that must be asked is “apparent to what?”
In the first case it was apparent to the eyes. You watched the arrow and couldn’t see it land. It appeared to continue forever.
BUT if we bring in other factors then such a thing is not apparent. Newton’s laws of gravity alone tell us that apparent is the wrong word here. When we consider all the facts it is not “apparent” that the arrow will continue forever but will be brought down to earth by gravity and friction.
Now let us take the second example:
I shined a light into space. Apparently, it is going on forever.
To the casual observer it may seem really apparent that a light will continue forever for neither gravity nor friction prevent it from going on forever. In fact, we have seen light that is over 13 billion years old. This means that these photons moved through space for 13 billion years before they reached an end. During all this time it seemed they would go on forever, but they did not. When they finally landed upon condensed matter they reached an end.
If we therefore take the laws of probability into account it becomes apparent that all light will eventually collide with matter somewhere in the universe and reach an end. In many cases it will take longer than 13 billion years, but the time will come even if it has to wait until the end of the universe when all collapses into a giant black hole.
When we take everything into consideration, we can more accurately reword the above two statements:
Instead of: I shot an arrow into the air. Apparently, it went on forever.
It should read: I shot an arrow into the air and it continued in flight beyond my ability to track it with my vision.
Instead of: I shined a light into space. Apparently, it is going on forever.
It should read: I shined a light into space and have no way of calculating when it shall reach an end.
Now let us take your statement: Instead of:
PI has a beginning. But apparently it has no end.
It should read: The attempt of the human race to calculate PI had a beginning and the attempt will have an end just as the human race will eventually have an end. It is unknown whether or not the final attempt will discover the exact number representing the perfect circle. This does not mean the exact number does not exist. There are no means available to prove that the exact number for PI does or does not exist.
In the world of mathematical concepts, the perfect circle does exist, has always existed and will always exist. Therefore, PI is also eternal as a principle.
I am absolutely convinced that the North Koreans are absolutely sincere. There’s really no reason for them to cheat [on nukes]….I looked them right in the eyes. And they looked like they meant the truth. You know, just because somebody’s done something wrong in the past doesn’t mean they can’t do right in the future or the present. That happens all the time. Ted Turner (example of terrible logic)
Dec 26, 2005
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