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Memories of the 28th Century

Fun Uses for False Premises

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I started writing about false premises as a logical fallacy, when I realized that false premises have frequently been used as the basis for an ideology. By selecting a suitable premise one can "prove" pretty much anything. Founders of political, religious, and social movements have usually used false premises as the bases for their movements. The premises are often stated outright as the principles of the organization, but they are sometimes unstated or misstated.

False premise in religion
For example, one of the bases of Judaism is that El Shaddai (the God of Abraham) was working exclusively for the descendants of Abraham, as long as they followed her and obeyed the commandments. One of the bases of Christianity is that that God will help, or save, people who believe in Jesus, follow the commandments, etc. Adding later extensions makes things even cloudier. Mohammed had his revelations six hundred and some odd years years after Jesus. Then Joseph Smith, Jr., a convicted con artist, had his revelations about twelve hundred years later. Both claimed to be following the God of Abraham. Mohammed may have been an Ishmaelite, but Jo Smith wasnít descended from Abraham, so El might have paid attention to Mohammed, but she probably never even noticed Smith.

For political philosophy
"Marx believed that a truly utopian society must be classless and stateless. In order to liberate the lower class, Marx believed that the government would have to control all means of production so that no one could outdo anyone else by making more money." (http://people.howstuffworks.com/communism1.htm) The false premise is that this society is desirable and that humans do not seek self-aggrandizement. Humans are competitive by nature, and evolution has taught us that acquiring as much as possible usually is desirable.

False premise in medical care
Then there is the idea that medical care for everyone and everything is good, and that it is desirable for everyone to live as long as possible. Anyone who has even looked at evolution knows that this is false. Keeping people alive by artificial means degrades the gene pool and ensures that future generations will be less healthy. But that premise has led to universal medical insurance in many countries, including the U.S.A. In addition to early intervention to keep alive infants who a hundred years ago would have died within a few weeks, older people are kept alive, sometimes for years while in many cases they are in no condition to do anything and simply lie where they are put.

Fake science
Then there is the matter of Anthropogenic Climate Change which has as a premise that human activity has resulted in change in the Earth's climate. One of the principal assumptions for this conclusion is that carbon dioxide is a powerful greenhouse gas, when in fact carbon dioxide is barely a greenhouse gas at all, and it only absorbs in a very small part of the infrared spectrum. The Earth is still recovering from the Little Ice Age and headed into a period like the Medieval Warm Period, when temperatures were somewhat higher than at present.

One of the reasons why I started on this post was that someone claimed that the present hurricane season was caused by humans. That ignores the act that extreme hurricanes have happened in the past, even back during the Little Ice Age. In 1900 there was an especially notable hurricane that affected the Gulf, the Midwest, and parts East of there. (https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/1900_Galveston_hurricane)

Another false premise in political philosophy
I mentioned the premises of communism, but Democracy has a more clearly false premise; to wit, that the mass of a nation will choose the best laws and rulers. Everyone can think of powerful counter examples. Similarly, republics where representatives are chosen by majority vote to rule are equally subject to the delusions of the general public. The majority is usually wrong, so the representatives would not be the best available.

The false premise behind racism
Racism has multiple false premises. The basic premise is that there is more than one race of humans; biology disagrees with that. And there is the premise that some race is superior to the other races, but since there are nor other races this is false, and while there is variation among humans the regional averages are quite close to other regions.

False premise of pseudo-racism
While thinking about the matter of race, I recalled that Nazi's based their racial ideas on dreams. There is no "Aryan Race". The Aryans are a linguistic group, a part of the Indo-Aryan branch of the Indo-European language family. It is the eastern branch and those languages are also called the 'satem' branch of IE in contrast with the 'centum' languages, so called for the word for hundred. The Aryan languages include Persian, Kurdish, Pashtun, and rather oddly German is also an Aryan language, but that is a strange story that has never been fully told.

False premises in religion
I originally had a few more paragraphs about the false premises behind organized religions, but thatís so easy that it felt like cheating. On the other hand, the ease with which false premises have been accepted as truth in religion is another thing that suggests that I should open the House of the Eldest Gods. Even though it is not based on false premises, most people will think that it was.

Updated 09-20-2017 at 05:29 PM by PeterL

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Comments

  1. kiz_paws's Avatar
    I liked what you had to say about medical care. As well, the racism point regarding biology disagreeing with 'there is more than one race of humans" -- I found this interesting indeed.
  2. PeterL's Avatar
    Quote Originally Posted by kiz_paws
    I liked what you had to say about medical care. As well, the racism point regarding biology disagreeing with 'there is more than one race of humans" -- I found this interesting indeed.
    I also found that item surprising, when I first learned it, but it is a matter of the definition of race*, and that is backed up by the genetics. There is more genetic distance within the traditional skin color groups than there is between one and another.

    *"The biological definition of race is a geographically isolated breeding population that shares certain characteristics in higher frequencies than other populations of that species, but has not become reproductively isolated from other populations of the same species.
    http://www.biologyreference.com/Ar-B...y-of-Race.html
    Updated 09-21-2017 at 01:29 PM by PeterL
  3. kiz_paws's Avatar
    Great link, Peter.
    I like how you back up your facts with information -- it adds to the flavor, if you will, of your blog entries.
  4. PeterL's Avatar
    Quote Originally Posted by kiz_paws
    Great link, Peter.
    I like how you back up your facts with information -- it adds to the flavor, if you will, of your blog entries.
    Great! I find it annoying when people shoot from the hip and are wrong, especially when they claim to be scientists or other experts, and I like to differentiate myself from those that I do not like. I have done several posts on pseudo-science and fake facts; there is plenty of material for bother, and the Economist regularly runs articles decrying scientists who fake their data.