Pick Wayne's Brain

February 8, 2014

Why Republican Religiosity is Wrong

According to my dictionary, the definition of “fact” is

n. 1. the quality of existing or of being real; actuality; truth.
2. something known to exist or have happened.
3. a truth known by actual experience or observation.

Facts are important. When Reality offers a challenge, you must deal with facts if you’re going to solve the problem. You can’t solve a real problem if you ignore the facts, or worse, try to act as if the opposite were true. Now look at the definition of “belief”:

n. 1. something believed; an opinion or conviction.
2. confidence in the truth or existence of something not immediately susceptible to vigorous proof.
3. confidence, faith, or trust.
4. a religious tenet or tenets

Notice the difference between these two words. Facts have the quality of (more…)

April 25, 2008

The Police Should Not Use Deadly Force For Imaginary Reasons

Filed under: Commentary — Tags: , , , , , , , , , — Wayne A. Schneider @ 11:06 PM

The acquittal of three New York City police officers in the execution of Sean Bell (he was shot fifty times, with one officer firing thirty-one times) raises some very serious questions for me. In this case, as in many similar previous cases (around the country, not just in New York City), the justification allowed by the police rests entirely on what they imagined was happening, not what actually was happening. Though the details of this case don’t matter, it turns out that the police had reason to believe that someone at the party had a gun. Does that justify mortally firing at someone, repeatedly, even though they did not see any gun? The problem rests on equating two different kinds of beliefs: those you arrive at through deductive reasoning, and those you arrive at through inductive reasoning. One is usually based on actual facts, the other is usually based on one’s imagination. (See explanation here.)

Deductive reasoning starts with the more general and works toward the more specific to reach a conclusion. Inductive reasoning works the other way around. (more…)

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