In Stanley Kubrick’s 2001: A Space Odyssey, the ship’s HAL 9000 computer goes insane and murders the crew of the Discovery because it was programmed to hold two incompatible truths as equally true.
Aside from actual neurological disorders that express themselves as deficits of neurochemistry or trauma, extreme psychological and emotional distress can arise in people who hold incompatible beliefs.
Properly structured reasoning never conflicts with itself. Accepting the Law of Non-Contradiction and Continuity of Proofs, properly framed logical premises never grind against themselves.
However, I have met thousands of people—strangers, friends, social media contacts, family members, associates, their parents and children—who are angry to the point of violence. They clumsily justify their wrath as some imagined species of righteousness, but the truth is, they are angry that their world view does not hold up to scrutiny.
Even some of my friends have slid into hysteria and rage during late-night conversations because they find themselves trapped by their own terms and propositions.
You see, even they sense the hypocrisy of their positions but they have no way out because their opinions are not based on truth or even facts, but hype and emotions.
If you obey the Law of Non-Contradiction and the Continuity of Proofs, you can win virtually every argument you enter.
Many of my friends have made statements which I challenge. I begin by having them meticulously define the terms and conditions of their premise then proceed systematically to deconstruct their positions—just like chess.
Do they ever say “Hey, thanks! I never realized how fallacious my point was?”
Oh, no. They do what all feelers do — they change the topic.
I call it “darting for the corners” or “running to the inscrutable”.
They will flee a perfectly enumerated line of reasoning for something esoteric, something beyond the purview of the debate… or any debate for that matter. Why? Because they are losing. While slowly whittling away on argument A, they realize they are about to he lynched with their words, they immediately disengage and start ranting somewhere down the line on argument M.
This happens all the time!
It is present in our government, film, corporate America, relationships, science, scripture—everywhere.
It is wildly frustrating to an intelligent person because you care about the intellectual integrity of these people, but their fear of judgment forbids their obedience to logical conclusions.
Now, even in our sciences, we are having to deal with a cult of evaders, men and women who refuse to define terms.
Why do they refuse to define terms?
Because they already know they don’t have a legitimate philosophy, only feelings. They also know if they can prevent the establishment of terms, they can never be defeated by them. Many even question the need for falsifiability! Why? Because many of their false premises lose their allure when shaved with the razors of real logic.
This is cowardice, pure and simple.
Logics always points one way.