Why the Columbine massacre was necessary

September 5, 2017 § 130 Comments

Someone inclined to take the position seriously would likely frame it as Harris and Klebold “having no choice”.

This was the only option available to them, as just two powerless high school kids against the implacable foe of constant institutionally tolerated bullying.  This was the only way to decisively accomplish their good intention of getting people to take bullying seriously. There had been lots of anti-bullying awareness-raising to no effect. There are many suicides because of bullying, so in the long run their actions saved more lives than were lost.

They didn’t intend the “deaths” of innocents and other bad “effects” — understood as premoral or merely physical occurrences in the manner JPII describes in Veritatis Splendour (his seminal condemnation of this pattern of thought)[1]. There was no other way for them to achieve the good they hoped to accomplish. They did not want anyone innocent to die as something for its own sake.  Their anti-bullying message could have gotten through even if, by a miracle, everyone had survived. And who is really “innocent,” anyway?

This is where proportionalist moral theology leads.  Proportionalism can be understood as applying the principle of double effect[2] while ignoring the fact that certain objective behaviors are always intrinsically immoral to choose apart from the intention for which the choice is made.


[1] “There thus appears to be established within human acting a clear disjunction between two levels of morality: on the one hand the order of good and evil, which is dependent on the will, and on the other hand specific kinds of behaviour, which are judged to be morally right or wrong only on the basis of a technical calculation of the proportion between the “premoral” or “physical” goods and evils which actually result from the action. This is pushed to the point where a concrete kind of behaviour, even one freely chosen, comes to be considered as a merely physical process, and not according to the criteria proper to a human act. The conclusion to which this eventually leads is that the properly moral assessment of the person is reserved to his fundamental option, prescinding in whole or in part from his choice of particular actions, of concrete kinds of behaviour.” — Veritatis Splendour

[2] At least as it is popularly understood.

§ 130 Responses to Why the Columbine massacre was necessary

  • John says:

    You forgot to add a parallel to the atomic bombings being ”necessary” because millions of soldiers would have been killed in any physical full-scale invasion of Japan.

  • John says:

    I think it would go something like this:

    ”And those poor young men would have had to put up with their ineffective teachers and helpless parents and would have endured even more bullying before being transfered to another school and leaving behind their friends as well!”

  • Zippy says:

    John:

    You forgot to add a parallel to the atomic bombings being ”necessary” because millions of soldiers would have been killed in any physical full-scale invasion of Japan.

    I thought of that as encompassed in the contention that thousands of suicides by bullied kids were prevented.

  • “This was the only option available to them, as just two powerless high school kids against the implacable foe of constant institutionally tolerated bullying”

    Well said. That’s a real thing in the world,that actually was the narrative presented in some quarters. People are not powerless, people make choices. Even the victim of institutionally tolerated bullying is responsible for their choices, has their own sin issues to deal with. Being a victim of something does not put you in a state of grace,which is the message the modern world has been trying to sell.

  • Zippy says:

    On second thought though, corresponding a land invasion to day-to-day fisticuffs between bullies and bullied kids, and the suicides not prevented in that scenario, is an apt contrast to atomic bombing / Columbine massacre in each respective scenario.

    [Comment updated to be intelligible. – Z]

  • You’ve done a good job of demonstrating some of the moral hazards of halfway pacifism, Zippy. Just confront and punch a bully in the nose would have been the more moral choice in Columbine. Our anti-violence,anti-bullying attitudes helped to produce the overkill.

    In the bombing too, we see this same issue, America kind of reluctant to go to war,waffling around,and so when Pearl Harbor was bombed, we just went into overkill mode, indiscriminately annihilating innocents. Perhaps in part as a reaction to our own non interventionalism, our own failure to confront the problem early and to just punch a bully properly.

    Those are not excuses or justification in either case, but they do demonstrate how avoidance, alleged neutrality, and failure to confront the problem early, can be sinful things that will pave the path to bigger sinful things.

  • Zippy says:

    insanitybytes22:

    Cowardice is a vice.

  • dirkdiggler says:

    Zippy, have some skin in the game. Have a well tempered child and send him to a public school. If he is stabbed with a knife by a prehominid, and he complains, he will be sent to community service and put on mind altering drugs. The prehominid will not, I assure you.

    This demonstrates why paint by the numbers moral systems do not scale. You are attempting to bureaucratize morality and create a system of bylaws that accounts for moral action withouy accounting for moral hazard.

    I do not know the circumstances of the two individuals. But the school system as a whole is designed to subject Christians to violence and punish them in direct proportion to their grace and humility.

    You may consign your own children to death, but do not consign all christians to the fate you choose. Christians keep bashing their head against this wall and I would plead you not to do so as well.

    The decision to kill is not universally wrong.

  • dirkdiggler says:

    Think of Rotheram. At some point these evils accumulate to such an extent that the deaths of all parties involved is the only sane option. There is nothing moral about allowing cops to arrest the parents of rape victims, and them sparing mercy on the cops.

  • Whenever you think Zippy is just exaggerating…

  • Zippy says:

    dirkdiggler:

    The decision to kill is not universally wrong.

    Correct. The decision to kill the innocent is universally wrong; where “the innocent” is shorthand for human beings who have not chosen and are not choosing proximate attacking behaviors against which lethal force is a proportionate defense and/or a just punishment inflicted by competent authority.

    As for the public school system, it is off-topic. But I’d summarize my views as follows: the institution should be permanently ended, its buildings and facilities reduced to rubble, the ground underneath salted with nuclear waste to make it unusable for a thousand years, surrounded by high walls with prominant signage to protect the unwary and as a warning to stay clear of even considering the production of such an abomination in the future.

    But that’s just me.

  • TomD says:

    As usually, Zippy lets them get off easy.

  • Rhetocrates says:

    No kidding. He forgot “We should start a whole new folklore around evil men who abduct and brainwash children” as a memetic defense against anyone attempting to start public schooling again in the future, as well as, “draw and quarter, exile, or permanently shame (depending on station) anyone previously involved on the supply side of the institution.”

  • dirk diggler says:

    zippy, I think it is a large leap to call high school kids innocent. they are footsoldiers in the soviet army and will stomp your head into the ground when commanded. you are too soft. For all of human history people their age killed and raped. In modern times even when bound by straight jackets they will try to kill you via laws or emotional manipulation.

    God graced us with the faculty (some of us) with the capacity to realize that aggressors and evil should be punished, not victims. A high schooler that cannot figure this out and react to it with utter disgust either lacks faculties or was born evil.

    Does thay mean they deserve to die? Maybe not. But innocence? Let’s be real.

  • Zippy says:

    There is good reason for why I have a reputation for being such a warm hearted fuzzy sentimentalist.

  • “Have a well tempered child and send him to a public school.”

    As a mom of four I can tell you the very act of sending a well tempered child to public school is child abuse,sin. We did it ourselves, so I get it, but we also pulled them out and home schooled. As the saying goes, “send your kid to the Romans to be educated,don’t be surprised when they send you back a Roman.”

    “God graced us with the faculty (some of us) with the capacity to realize that aggressors and evil should be punished, not victims.”

    Grace is actually surrendering your right to punish every single evil doer. We are so pampered in the modern world that we believe us and our kids should never suffer any inconvenience or discomfort for our beliefs. Worse, we think victims should never be punished. The problem being, we are all victims now.

    The relevance to what Zippy is saying, that victim mentality, that, “having no choice” is an illusion,a delusion,a deception. It’s a get out of jail free card when it comes to morality,but it is false.

  • Dismal Farmer says:

    Just FYI not with this post in specific but you have convinced me with this line of argument.

  • NoTrueCatholic says:

    That remind me of unabomber, quoted from his manifesto (point 96 http://cyber.eserver.org/unabom.txt ) : “In order to get our message before the public with some chance of making a lasting impression, we’ve had to kill people.”

    “Free” speech is the right to kill people so you can be heard. Restricted speech is the sovereign putting to death such murderers.

  • Mike T says:

    Think of Rotheram. At some point these evils accumulate to such an extent that the deaths of all parties involved is the only sane option. There is nothing moral about allowing cops to arrest the parents of rape victims, and them sparing mercy on the cops.

    When a few older right-liberals I know joked about a civil war in the US and taking back the country, I asked them if they knew anything about the French Revolution. They didn’t. I told them they might want to read up on that, not our revolution because that is precisely the sort of revolution that will fan out across the US and Europe when the people have had enough of schoolmarmish scolds who behave like this. My advice to them? Use the 2nd amendment to buy yourself an AR15 and a few thousand rounds of 5.56 and **hunker down**.

  • Zippy says:

    There is no sense whatever in “hunkering down”. That cache of AR-15’s, suppressors, and subsonic ammunition may be the very thing that attracts the covetous and gets you killed. And you can’t eat it. Most likely you will die in a world that looks very much like the one you occupy now, fantasies of apocalypse notwithstanding. That first stop sign you encounter on your way to work will still be there when you are gone.

    Providence is our strength, ultimately our only strength. Never lose sight of this. The Good Lord shall use us in whatever manner He sees fit, to face bravely whatever enemy He allows before us and to show kindness to whatever hidden angels ask for our aid. St. Michael shall pave our way with a sword mightier than split atoms and exploding supernovas; and when we are personally crushed in defeat, we die with honor as loyal servants of our King.

  • Mike T says:

    Zippy,

    I don’t disagree with most of what you said. The main point about the guns I made was that if they are smart, rather than running out on the street they’ll hunker down and hide as much as possible from the mayhem. As it is written, “the wise man sees the trouble that is to come and flees from it.”

  • dirk diggler says:

    Mike, I am not sure our situation resembles the french revolution. The french revolution was a deeply atheistic and avaricious movement. People slaughtered nuns and threw their bodies in the water. They killed noble infants for the crime of being noble. By most analyses it was a communist sort of movement.

    4 of their top ten complaints were taxes. not a single complaint mentions danger to their lives, threat of bodily harm, uncontrolled street crime, etc.

  • Mike T says:

    4 of their top ten complaints were taxes. not a single complaint mentions danger to their lives, threat of bodily harm, uncontrolled street crime, etc.

    That was then. Today, a truly corrupt ruling class would be at the top of the list for both the left and the right. Then you could add in taxes, street crime and other issues. That is why I think the fever dreams would turn into a night terror. Once the people get going, we’re going to run out of street lamps for our aristocrats, to say nothing of the street fighting that will explode (we already see some warning signs).

  • Brien says:

    Zippy said,

    “Providence is our strength, ultimately our only strength. Never lose sight of this. The Good Lord shall use us in whatever manner He sees fit, to face bravely whatever enemy He allows before us and to show kindness to whatever hidden angels ask for our aid. St. Michael shall pave our way with a sword mightier than split atoms and exploding supernovas; and when we are personally crushed in defeat, we die with honor as loyal servants of our King.”

    Thank you, Zippy. I truly needed to be reminded of that.

  • Aristokles Contra Mundum says:

    Interestingly, Cullen’s book on Columbine makes the case that Harris and Klebold weren’t actually bullied, which adds an interesting dynamic to the scenario above.

  • Mike T says:

    Yes, there is apparently quite a bit of evidence that they were just two sociopaths who latched onto the narrative about bullying. In fact, they apparently weren’t even part of the “trench coat mafia” at Columbine.

    So it is sort of fitting as a comparison to the nuclear bombing because in both cases once you lay out the facts, the support for the logic behind the mass violence falls apart.

  • dirkdiggler says:

    By the accounts they were both heavily harassed. The larger of the two began intimidating people, and people began to leave him alone, but not his smaller friend.

    The achools reported extreme compliance from the both of them (what other choice is there unless you have 90 iq points) and they had been punished in some one sided incidents, as other names are not recorded, and given court order antidepressants. The whole thing is suspicious.

    Intimidation works. If we had let them hammer the issue out themselves the retaliation would have matched the scale of provocation and the retaliation would have met the proper targets.

    Instead, the harassers are let off the hook, the victims put on mind altering drugs that are as likely to escalate depression and violence as they are to decrease them. Now, on paper, there is no aggressor and no victim, and definitely no teachers or educators to blame, just a sad kid.

    Seen this too many times in my line of work.

    We will never know the individual circumstances, but schools are industrial age machines to turn fragile boys into psychopaths.

  • dirkdiggler says:

    We cannot insist that all boys be robust either. Fragile kids arent just canaries in coal mines, they are fragile precisely because they are dynamic and more responsive to their environment.

    To me, this seems a necessary quality for sentience. Someone who can smile in the face of abject evil is an unconfortable combination of idiot and emotionless. If the deep state wanted to breed genetic slaves this is what their psychological profile would look like.

  • Wait, are we seriously arguing whether or not two guys shooting up a school of unarmed people attempting to flee, many of whom had nothing to do with them anyway, was a moral and correct decision…to prevent potential future bullying?

    Has anyone ever been to a high school?

    Man, whenever you think a comparison is just too ridiculous…

  • T. Morris says:

    malcolmthecynic:

    …many of whom had nothing to do with them anyway

    Rejection of a couple of weirdos is considered in modern parlance to be a (passive/non-aggressive) form of bullying.

    The purpose of the analogy as I take it is to show that both explanations/defenses/justifications emanate from the same mindset.

  • The analogy is fine. The discussion, however…

  • Zippy says:

    It is always hard to tell if a commenter like dirk diggler is serious, trolling, or shitposting I guess.

  • TomD says:

    Modernism is proving that there’s no reductio ad absurdum too absurd to be held by someone, somewhere.

    This is also why the “assume consequentialism, your conclusion (nuke the Japs) is still wrong” arguments are so dangerous, in my opinion. Just like the “assume freedom of X” ones. Don’t assume evil!

  • Mike T says:

    My observation, as someone who had a decent amount of overlap in interests and friendships with various bullied groups (geeks, goths and such) in K12 in the 90s is that the culture we shared ended up metastasizing into much of the modern SJW culture. There’s a high correlation between the groups that were bullied then and the shock troops of the left today. In hindsight I have wondered if society wasn’t sensing in a “kids and animals are always the first to know” sort way what was coming from these subcultures.

    The geeks often didn’t deserve the bullying because they/we weren’t really openly flying a freak flag, but other groups like punks, emo kids, goths, etc. could never understand the rabid irrationality of going out of your way to out-group yourself and then wonder why you’re rejected.

  • This is also why the “assume consequentialism, your conclusion (nuke the Japs) is still wrong” arguments are so dangerous

    Zippy has pointed out before that “assume some false thing to be true” can lead to any conclusion. In mathematics, if the hypothesis is false then the implication is still true because the implication is not contradicted. So if P is “consequentialism is false” and Q is “nuking the japs is wrong” then if we assume P to be false, Q can either be true or false, and the implication still holds.

  • Mike T says:

    In fact, the one trait these folks often share is an incredible lack of understanding of human nature when it comes to group behaviors. They may sorta “get it” on some level, but their whole belief system and nature militates against any acceptance of how social organization tends to occur in the real world with real people. It’s why they can feel rational while calling a conservative a bigot for pointing out that there is no way a gay community and a conservative Muslim community can peacefully coexist in the long run.

  • “In fact, the one trait these folks often share is an incredible lack of understanding of human nature when it comes to group behaviors.”

    There is something to be said for the lure and seduction of in-group preferences and the power that can have over outliers and rejects. CS Lewis wrote his essay about the Inner Ring that touches on this danger. A lot of SJW, Antifa, and far right larp-ers too, demonstrate that hunger for belonging and tribalism. When the dominant tribe rejects you, you go out and smash their stuff or punch innocents.

  • Bullying in scholl is absolutely a real problem. Myself and my friends were bullied, and we didn’t deserve it by any means.

    Shooting up the school would probably have been an overreaction as a response.

  • dirk diggler says:

    I never said the shooting was justified. I said that we are talking about a soft form of anarcho tyrrany. By preventing soft retaliation, e.g. fights, and punishing the victim, the school is allowed to avoid official reports of conflict on its checksheets for funding and promotions. the victims who are naturally more compliant will continue to suffer attacks, and suffer from state mandated mental medication, nonstop scorn from teachers, etc with no means of retaliation or even complying in a way that reduces the attacks they will experience. Their only option is to suffer through it and smile.

    I am not saying the shooting is justified. But what do you expect in this situation?

    If you want to breed a genetic slave race out of whites who can suffer suicide bombings, gang rapes, and the like, and smile, with no retaliation and no mental snapping of any sort… i think you are making a huge mistake. be careful what you wish for.

    There is no sentience or morality if all options present in your mind preclude retaliation. There is nothing moral about letting your kids get raped like in rotheram. White societies, as opposed tk asian ones, are heavily saturated with people willing to kill in self defense. If you want a society where no one is allowed to defend themselves move to north korea, please.

    Self defense is something that must be widely circulated and allowed to be exercised on the basis of individual judgement. otherwise a despot decides whether your life is worth defending.

    These things will happen. Moreso if you try and prevent it. Unless you have a slave race.

  • Zippy says:

    dirk diggler:

    I’m pretty sure that nobody in this thread is defending the public school / universal-prison-for-children status quo. (I thought that was clear in my own response to your first comment, and the follow on comments of others). Nor is anyone arguing against self defense: I am certainly not against punching back, myself, nor in favor of punishing people who are just defending themselves with proportionate forcefulness.

    I realize that using Columbine as an example inevitably will be seen as an invitation to discuss the particulars of Columbine, just as discussion of the atomic and incendiary bombings of WWII is always seen as invitation to discuss the consequential particulars.

    But really the central point of the OP is that none of that can excuse a choice to kill innocent people: that nothing about the particulars or consequences can morally justify such behavior, in either case.

  • dirk,

    I have no idea what your post has to do with the topic then.

  • As to what I expect in this situation, a solid 99% or so of schools *don’t* get shot up by maniacs, whatever the media will have you believe.

  • dirk diggler says:

    I understand, zippy

    Perhaps I am not making the most effective case.

    This anti killing attitude is turning white christians into a race of slaves. In rotheram there were police and social workers who defended child gang rapists. are those individuals innocent, in your schema? in my schema those police should be killed, and anyone upset about the police dying should be killed, for supporting the supporters of chikd rape. first and second order defection.

    I know plenty of people who would kill these accessories to crime. how many people would die to defend these scumbags? Not many, i wager. But using the force of an anonymous force of law, debrided of moral hazard, many will virtue signal.

    And thats how child rapists got away with it in rotheram.

    It seems to me that any scenario where the cops or rapists in rotheram being killed is incompatible with a scenario where columbine doesnt happen. Half of the mental calculation to carry out justice is the innate capacity for violence. When we see something like columbine happening, we shouldnt aim to condemn or stamp out violence. we should be trying to make sure the violence finds proper aim on appropriate targets

    There are lots of kids who would never harm a fly. their actions are no more moral than those of a violent psyopath. they will watch people get beheaded by muslims. no thanks.

    I will take a few mishaps over the systematic enslavement of my people

  • Zippy says:

    dirk diggler:

    This anti killing attitude is turning white christians into a race of slaves.

    What “anti-killing attitude” is that? Political modernity has mass murdered orders of magnitude more innocent human beings than all other kinds of regimes throughout all of history combined. And that is just where its crimes start.

  • dirk diggler says:

    Anti violence permeates the dialogue of the right. You could conceptualize it as cucking. The higher moral agent at most points in time is less willing to use force, which means that higher moral agents will at most junctures of conflict cede power, ground, historical and legal precedent, and influence to less moral agents. on many scales, indvidual, national, etc, in the absence of strong schelling points and/or imbalances of power.

    Hence cucking, for lack of a more elegant term.

    I dont think this part needs to be expounded much. The right shrieks at the sight of blood.

  • Zippy says:

    Nietzschean modernism is dead. Long live Nietzschean modernism.

  • TomD says:

    I saw a good question to pose to people such as utilitarians/consequentialists:

    “Say you have a magic box with a button on it. You are allowed to define whatever utility function you want: minimizing murders, maximizing average happiness, maximizing the number of people who consider themselves to have had fulfilling lives, etc. Once you have defined the function, at whatever level of complexity you like, you have the option of pressing the button. If pressed, the box will use its infinite computing power to look into the future and, for every ethnic group and for every religious denomination, determine whether that group will have a net benefit to humanity for the rest of time according to your function. If it won’t, it instantly ends each of their lives without any suffering. So maybe the box won’t kill anyone, if every religion and ethnicity is made up of fundamentally decent people. Maybe the box will only kill fervent members of ISIS. Maybe it will kill almost everyone, letting only some white Mormons living in Ukraine survive. But you have the assurance that the world will be unchanged or strictly better by your values as a result. Do you press the button?”

  • dirk diggler says:

    Tom, the utility function you just described used to be carried out by a combination of cold winters, state executions of criminals, and lower survival chances for overly violent individuals, but also lower survival chances for idiots who could not be riled to anger under sufficient circumstance.

    You want to wipe your hands of such a utility function. well, be careful what you wish for. you have it. Billions of surviving africans who are raping and killing people, and now you get to wipe your hands clean of the consequences of not enforcing the utility function.

    Do you feel smug and moral?

    Even if you believe in virtue ethics, or various christian ethics, or what have you, god’s will muat be carried out mechanistically in the material universe. God kills lots of people via utility functions.

  • Zippy says:

    dirk diggler:

    Do you feel smug and moral?

    The pagan gods are always offering power in exchange for murder. After a few short decades you’ll go into the ground and be eaten by worms like everyone else though; and what will your utilitarianism have gotten you?

  • dirk diggler says:

    God demands mercy for the kind in the form of the deaths of criminals. The providence we experience is not solely (utilitarianism) resultant from that, but is in large part. God himself punishes, God himself enforces death, himself created the utilitarian conditions by which our providence could occur.

    Utilitarianism is godly insofar as it enforces a godly telos.

    Most utilitarians define utility as pleasure. of course this is folly. Increasingly complex neurology allows us to expand the scope of moral actions. Increasing scope of.moral action necessitates fragility of said structure, which necessitates increasingly harsh punishments for violations which used to be forgivable.

    If you wish to disavow godly telos, please, I invite you to press a button that reverts all humanity to a prehominid structure that derives outstanding reproductive benefit from suppression of iq, rape and cannibalism. You can pretend there, in that world, that utility doesn’t exist, and that thinking nice thoughta alone will create a good society, as humanity is caught in an evolutionary trap.

  • I am just barely grokking – I think – what dirk is saying but it appears he is in favor of killing anybody who doesn’t contribute to his conception of “good”.

    His long obfuscations hiding this attitude don’t change the fact that it is vile and repulsively evil.

    If he isn’t saying that I have no idea what the hell he’s saying.

  • Step2 says:

    I regret that I googled the name Dirk Diggler. Although his remark about “outstanding reproductive benefit.” makes a bit more sense in that semi-fictional reality.

  • Zippy says:

    Step2:

    I am ashamed to say that I immediately recognized the allusion.

  • Rocío Matamoros says:

    TimFinnegan said (13:58, 7ix): Zippy has pointed out before that “assume some false thing to be true” can lead to any conclusion. [etc.]

    Perhaps I’ve misunderstood you, but I think what you meant to refer to was Zippy’s frequent statement that from a contradictory premiss (or set of premisses) anything follows. Here’s how it works:

    1. p & not-p

    2. p

    3. p or q

    4. not-p

    5. q

    2 is derived from 1 by conjunction suppression: if two propositions are true, then any one of them must be true.
    3 follows from 2 by disjunction introduction: if a proposition p is true, then it is also true that “p or some other proposition q” is the case (the choice of the proposition q is free, however absurd it may be, since the truth of p guarantees the truth of the compound proposition 3).
    4 follows from 1 by conjunction suppression again.
    5 follows from 3 and 4 in combination: since by 4, p is not true, then in 3, the other part of the disjunction must be true.

    Hence, for example, Zippy’s general case that since liberalism is self-contradictory, it can generate any absurdity. Left liberals will promote the absurdity, while right liberals will decry it (by unprincipled exception). But at the same time, the right liberals will try to argue that the absurdity can only be regarded as an external Marxist/SJW imposition on the noble structure of classical liberalism/the American Way.

  • Rocío Matamoros says:

    TimFinnegan said (13:58, 7ix): Zippy has pointed out before that “assume some false thing to be true” can lead to any conclusion. [etc.]

    Perhaps I’ve misunderstood you, but I think what you meant to refer to was Zippy’s frequent statement that from a contradictory premiss (or set of premisses) anything follows. Here’s how it works:

    1. p & not-p

    2. p

    3. p or q

    4. not-p

    5. q

    2 is derived from 1 by conjunction suppression: if two propositions are true, then any one of them must be true.
    3 follows from 2 by disjunction introduction: if a proposition p is true, then it is also true that “p or some other proposition q” is the case (the choice of the proposition q is free, however absurd it may be, since the truth of p alone guarantees the truth of 3).
    4 follows from 1 by conjunction suppression again.
    5 follows from 3 and 4 in combination: by 4, p is not true, so in 3, the other part of the disjunction must be true.

    (This would have to be tidied up a little for presentation in a logic class, but I’ve tried to go for comprehensibility rather than purity.)

    Hence, for example, Zippy’s general case that since liberalism is self-contradictory, it can generate any absurdity. Left liberals will promote the absurdity, while right liberals will decry it (by unprincipled exception). But at the same time, the right liberals will try to argue that the absurdity can only be regarded as an external Marxist/SJW imposition on the noble structure of classical liberalism/the American Way.

  • Rocio:

    For an implication (p implies q, or, if p then q), it is only considered false if the hypothesis (p) is true and the consequence (q) is false. If the hypothesis is false then the implication is said to be true whether the consequence is true or false. So if you let p be “consequentialism is true,” and q be “nuking the japs was justified”, then if we assume that p is true, we can prove the implication by proving q to be simultaneously true. However if we say that p is false, the implication holds for both q and not q; so a false premise implies anything and its opposite all at once. Because it is demonstrable that consequentialism is false (and therefore p is false), assuming it implies both that the nuking was justified and that it was not justified at the same time.

    But I think we are in agreement anyways: assuming a false premise is an obvious contradiction: it amounts to “assume this false thing to be true.”

  • Rocío Matamoros says:

    Hello Tim,

    I don’t doubt we’re in agreement on matters of substance.

    But I’d still have to differ on the point of logic. Here’s the truth table for “p implies q”:

    p -> q (that’s supposed to be an arrow)
    T T T
    T F F
    F T T
    F T F

    So if p is false, then the proposition “p -> q” is true whether or not q is true (simply by definition of “->”, which, as you know, doesn’t necessarily capture “if … then” constructions in ordinary language).

    But (pace yourself) it does not then follow that:

    ((p -> q) & not-p) -> q and not-q

    but merely that:

    ((p -> q) & not-p) -> q or not-q

    So, to take your example, if we establish that consequentialism is untenable, the question of whether it was right to drop the atomic bombs on Japan is merely left open (at the very least, you’d need propositional calculus with deontic operators to state this formally, but I think the point is already clear enough). The untenability of consequentialism doesn’t lead to a contradiction.

    Given the truth of natural-law ethics, of course, the dropping of the bombs was wrong, of course – we’re in agreement there.

  • In mathematics, the convention for the truth table of an implication is

    P Q P=>Q
    T T T
    T F F
    F T T
    F F T

    so then the truth values for P=>(not Q) is:

    F
    T
    T
    T

    So if P is false, then both the implications P=>Q and P=>(not Q) are considered to be true, regardless of the truth value for Q. So if, for instance, “consequentialism is true” was false, then both the implication “if consequentialism is true then it is ok to nuke Nagasaki” and the implication “if consequentialism is true then it is not ok to nuke Nagasaki” are considered to be true, thus the contradiction.

  • dirkdiggler says:

    malcolm,
    I am not in favor of killing people that do not contribute to my conception of good.

    What I have outlined is a simple formula.
    Let us assume that hbd is true, and the genetic mechanics of which are what god uses to create intelligent and merciful humans.

    If stupid and evil people leave more offspring behind over time, humanity will over time become more stupid and more evil in direct proportion.

    God’s morality is a system that in part makes sure this doesn’t happen. The very idea of justice is that a murderer not be allowed to profit and be fruitful at the expense of his victims. A moral system that encourages and helps murderers become fruitful is an immoral system. This applies at many scales, and applies to different degrees of sin.

    The fact that you guys are suggesting otherwise is deeply disturbing to me. It strikes me as very deeply SJW.

  • William Luse says:

    Let us assume that hbd is true

    Let’s not.

  • Aethelfrith says:

    dirkdiggler’s mental contortions justifying obvious evil reminds me of thordaddyy from Orthosphere. In which case the proper response is not well reasoned argument, but to point and laugh as he continues to talk himself into circles.

  • dirk diggler says:

    No support for hbd in this corner of nrx?

    Look I am christian but denying evolution is pure idiocy.

    God didnt create humans from pure thought waves.

    If you deny hbd I’ll leave you guys alone, but I am quite astounded.

  • Zippy says:

    Also relevant, for that matter:

    https://zippycatholic.wordpress.com/2016/08/25/metaevolution-or-the-evolution-of-evolution/

    Most of what passes for “evolution” is a fairy tale told to children to get them to believe in the official state religion, scientism.

  • dirk,

    That you think we’re suggesting anything of the sort is preposterous and insane, and I have no idea what your word vomit is supposed to mean

  • dirk diggler says:

    The terminal conclusion of any parsimonious examination of genetics is that hbd is real. The nazis also operated on the basic assumptions of arithmetic. Shall we demonize that next?

    Systems must result in net utility gain or they collapse. Maintaining net utility gain is not the same as pushing a utility function to its extreme. You should be smart enough to make this basic distinction.

    If you have no interest in discussing the inheritance of neurological traits via genetic mechanisms I will leave you to your devices.

  • Zippy says:

    dirk diggler:

    I’ve taken some graduate classes in genetics and bioinformatics, so obviously I have some interest in and knowledge of the subject. Your posts though read rather like a religious zealot laying down dogmas as he passes out pamphlets.

  • Wood says:

    Dirk diggler,

    Every time I think I have something to contribute to your comments I find that Zippy has already responded hundreds of times in his other posts. Another apropos comment of his you’ll find if you search “HBD”:

    We can already use the term ‘racial differences’ to talk about racial differences. The reason folks prefer ‘human biodiversity’ is not because it is easier to type or makes for a shorter acronym. The reason folks prefer it is precisely because of its metaphysical baggage.

  • dirk,

    Why thw hell do you think this is relevant to the conversation? What do you even think we’re saying?

  • IQ is genetic, so we should let races with lower average IQs die out, and kill off if necessary. You know, for the future protection of white people.

    Vomiy as many words as you want. That is evil, full stop.

  • Of course I believe in differences in races on average, in intelligence and otherwise.

    Unlike you, I am not a consequentialist, which closes off a great deal of options you seem to think exist.

  • dirk diggler says:

    Zippy,
    Sorry, but you haven’t made that abundantly clear to me via the selective critiques of evolution you have made. I know we are both trying our best at brevity, because of the nature of comment sections.

    Your terminal value seems to be that eugenics is evil.

    I don’t think a serious argument can be made that our society can exist without eugenic forces. If you have remaining interest, please feel free to try and make a case. Demonstrate how you might improve Brazil.

    My viewpoint is that without eugenic forces acting as a selective force, you have precipitous iq and moral decline because of the very nature of genetics. Genetics is a first order effect, religion and faith is second order. If you can demonstrate how faith precedes and alters genetics, I am all ears.

    As a tautology, kindness is not going to stop prehominids from murdering and raping your family. Neither will the grace you experienced save such a scenario from utter ruin.

    This necessitates (very cautiously applied with a keen eye on risk aversion) eugenics.

  • Zippy says:

    dirk diggler:

    Any paraphrase I attempt of your views is fraught, given the rambling angry incoherence of your prose. But my best guess as to your central message is as follows:

    Genetics is destiny, and there isn’t anything anyone can do about it. So we should do something about it. Like kill darkies.

    Is that an accurate summary?

  • dirk diggler says:

    I don’t really think you are treating me graciously by this characterization.

    Genetics is not destiny, but it is the scaffolding which makes second order effects possible. Neither intelligence, nor faith, nor nonviolent behavior are thinky-thoughts that come into existence because your magic willed them from the aether, and neither will anything from the aether improve individuals or society along these attributes. If you want to refute something, I suppose I would like you to address this.

    Conversely, might I summarize you ungraciously? “I am afraid of doing a bad thing. So even as my head is being sawed off by muslims under legal order of the u.s. constitution, I must remember never to harm another person. Faith will make sure that when the descendants of kind people have all been killed off due to systematic cowardice, the descendants of the people that murdered them will be totally nice. Also, genetics and proteins and neuroreceptors are all lies.”

  • Zippy says:

    dirk diggler:

    Conversely, might I summarize you ungraciously?

    Only if you want to make yourself look ignorant.

  • dirk diggler says:

    I’m sorry we couldn’t talk about this more civilly.

    A murderer in a straight jacket does not magically become a kind man just because he is temprarily restrained from killing you. Neither does a continent full of them. Why you want to give them a third, fourth and fifth chance to kill more people is beyond me. I chalk it up to the likelihood you have no skin in the game, and suffer few ill effects if this continues and gets more peple killed.

    Our civilization is under assault because the people attacking us cannot help but be evil. Why you are interested in defending them is beyond me.

    Many of us are determined to fight. Call me more evil than those who made this conflict inevitable, if you like. I hope your kindness doesnt get you or anyone dependent on you for protection killed.

  • Zippy says:

    dirk diggler:

    I’m sorry we couldn’t talk about this more civilly.

    There are two potential avenues of discussion.

    Your religious commitment to scientism isn’t going to cut any ice here. I’ve seen no evidence that you know anything about molecular biology, genetics, and evolution beyond what you might get from reading HBD blogs and other religious tracts. (You might find this old post interesting. Maybe this one too).

    The other possible avenue of discussion — which would actually relate to the OP — is the question of precisely what actions you are concretely proposing. If it is “restrict immigration” or the like, or “raze the public school system,” or “put people who give psychotropics to children in jail”, you are bound to find widespread support around here.

    But you shouldn’t expect me to be impressed by your religious commitment to scientism and other obvious errors of modernity. In that you are just another anti-realist modern like almost everyone else.

  • dirk diggler says:

    Nazis were evil, therefore theories on evolution and inheritance are evil? come on, man.

    I can build a society for you, right now, using theories of inheritance, where very few people are murderous cannibals. Perfect? no. but we have the murderous cannibal problem solved.

    You cannot do this with your theories of grace and mercy, grace and mercy, of course, being material conditions and environments which you will provide to them. For being anti-modernist you are curiously obsessed with the idea that you can provide material conditions to NAMs such that they will stop trying to murder us. Keyword here being material conditions.

    I dont feel the need to write a blog post in your comment section about neurology or proteins to prove how absurd this is.

  • Zippy says:

    dirk diggler:

    Nazis were evil, therefore theories on evolution and inheritance are evil? come on, man.

    Why do you bother commenting on things that you don’t read?

    I can build a society for you, right now, using theories of inheritance, where very few people are murderous cannibals.

    I know, it runs great on Sim City 2017.

  • dirk diggler says:

    You seem intensely committed to.opposing any actionable policies which will immediately prevent our race from being genocided. You categorize that as evil, more evil than the genocide of our own, relatively non cannibalistic people.

    Again, you are intensely modern. You assign a higher utility and moral score to the people attacking us.

  • Mike T says:

    Dirk Diggler is probably like a lot of people interested in HBD in that it’s filled with uncomfortable hatefacts that explain a lot of things that are going wrong, but hasn’t realized that HBD cannot inform us what specific courses of action we take. It is, after all, like all other scientific issues in that respect.

    Yes, there are some stark policy issues that arise from acknowledging group differences on average IQ, testosterone levels, etc. However, our responses are still constrained by the moral law. Even our interpretation of average group differences that imply material superiority and inferiority cannot be viewed in isolation of greater metaphysical truths.

    And on that happy note, I leave y’all with a Happy Friday meme that succinctly describes most anti-racists. (NSFW, but safe everywhere else including most conservative churches)

  • Zippy says:

    dirk diggler:

    You seem intensely committed to.opposing any actionable policies which will immediately prevent our race from being genocided.

    What actionable policies were those? Precisely where did I oppose them? Precisely how do you propose to make them become the actual policy of our actual polities? And how precisely do you plan to have them implemented once they are policy?

  • dirk diggler says:

    Sim city? You are being immature.

    Dead murders cannot leave around murderous offspring. This is explicit policy in many pleasant countries. That it working better than your environmentalist conception, which has in fact now destroyed three continents.

    Good luck trying to tame africans. Thousands of people before you have tried and failed.

  • dirk diggler says:

    Zippy, you never said eugenics was unpracticable or unimplementable.

    You said it was outright evil.

  • Zippy says:

    dirk diggler:

    Sim city? You are being immature.

    You claimed that you could build me a society. If I made the mistake of taking you seriously that’s my bad.

  • Zippy says:

    dirk diggler:

    Since you seem to have a very hard time expressing yourself coherently, and an even harder time actually attempting to grasp what others have said, you need to stop tossing around paraphrases. No more attribution without actually quoting or linking to the person whose views you are putatively citing.

    Also, you still haven’t actually stated what actual concrete policy/policies you are advocating. Is there some reason you are avoiding just putting it into words?

  • dirk diggler says:

    You are continually ignoring the point. If you cannot use your morals to tame an african, your words carry no weight. Eugenics can in fact accomplish this.

    This is where the genocide complaint comes in. Assuming adequate policing, there is an active genocide against people with both of the traits a. cannibal b. violently resisting arrest.

    It is not immediately clear to me that this genocide is wholly inappropriate. You can add trait c. african, to this list without really changing anything about it. People infected by leftism like you, however, are apt to complain because you assign higher moral utility ti africans. This is backwards, zippy.

  • JustSomeGuy says:

    Genetics is a first order effect, religion and faith is second order. If you can demonstrate how faith precedes and alters genetics, I am all ears.

    lol.

  • Eugenics is vile and repulsive, evil to the core.

    The modernist here is you. When do you think eugenics first became a popular idea?

    What types of people support it?

  • Zippy says:

    dirk diggler:

    Assuming adequate policing, there is an active genocide against people with both of the traits a. cannibal b. violently resisting arrest.

    Um, no. Cannibalism and violently resisting arrest are behaviors chosen by individuals, not genetic traits of races.

  • People infected by leftism like [zippy]

    Lol

  • When did anybody advocate some bizarre nonsense like “providing a higher moral utility to Africans”?

  • JustSomeGuy says:

    People infected by leftism like you, however, are apt to complain because you assign higher moral utility ti africans.

    Zippy is clearly a raving leftist.

  • Zippy says:

    I see two plausible interpretations.

    Perhaps dirk diggler means by his statement that cannibals and those who violently resist arrest should be prosecuted (he seems to assume that they aren’t now), and that this will have a disparate impact on the reproductive results of blacks qua race. Even stipulating the possibility of some disparate impact though it seems rather precious to think that this plays a significant role in the relative reproductive replacement rates of blacks versus whites.

    Or perhaps he means that all blacks should be treated presumptively like cannibals and violent arrest-resistors. In this case he needs to spend some time in the stocks being pelted with rotten vegetables. I suppose one might propose that something should be done to keep people with that mindset from breeding, but it seems likely enough that it is a self-punishing crime in that respect.

    dirk diggler:

    I am curious how many white babies you have produced, supported, and raised to be civilized?

  • Funny thing about making a hard right turn. You turn hard enough, you’ll suddenly find the overcorrection has you going left.

    It’s called the law of just doing doughnuts in the parking lot and pretending you’re really going somewhere.

  • dirk diggler says:

    Advancing levels of morality and civilization are manifest as continual downward mobility for those whi cannot adapt. Defacto, this is eugenics. You believe eugenics are evil. Is civilization evil?

    Modern policing would be positively genocidal against homo erectus. They would resist and cause problems. This is genetics, not choice.

    By a matter of degrees, any given level of policing is a proportional level of eugenic vs. blacks.

    Do you have a problem with this? It is eugenics.

    You are making claims you cannot support. You yourself are not christ. Your mercy cannot save blacks, so stop pretending. you continually ignore this. The arrogance here is astounding.

  • Zippy says:

    dirk diggler:

    You are making claims you cannot support.

    Quote the claims to which you refer.

  • Got it. Make up a new Humpty Dumpty definition of eugenics interpreted in a really unclear and bizarre way, eugenics isn’t evil. That clears it up.

  • dirk diggler says:

    [Assertions that I claimed various things, without any actual quote of or link to the putative claim, redacted. — Z]

  • Who in hell is talking about “saving blacks”, as a separate thing than “Bring all men to Christ”?

    Unless you mean that blacks can’t come to Christ?

    In which case get behind me, Satan.

  • TomD says:

    There is a group of far-right-liberals who have decided that the evil low man who is ruining liberalism and is therefore subhuman, is the blacks. And they believe they have “science” to prove it, because humanity is defined by IQ charts.

  • Silly Interloper says:

    Hey, dirk.

    You argumentation hasn’t chubbawubbed the ding-dong, and when you said the flagilicious Eugene-maker hit the wubble, you are clearly denying the obvious ruppit of hbd. You show a deep arrogance and glack-a-back for having said so, and you are uncharitably ignorant.

    (Hint: My words above are at least as clear, rigorous, complete, charitable, and coherent as yours have been. I applaud Zippy’s patience.)

  • dirk diggler says:

    I give up. If you believe you can divorce yourself from the consequences of allowing animals to run around free, be my guest. I would suggest you put your money and safety where your mouth is and move to Detroit, but I know you won’t.

    Thanks for pushing the consequences of dealing with feral animals onto people more vulnerable than yourself, then calling them racist for it.

    I leave you to it.

  • Silly Interloper says:

    By the way, “uncharitably ignorant” isn’t intended to actually insult you–it doesn’t even make sense. It intends to mimic the bizarre spurts of disdain for your interlocutors that is interspersed among your babble.

    Besides the interpretation/attribution issue Zippy is disciplining you with, I think one of your biggest problems, dirk, is that you spout out vague ideas and assume everyone else understands detailed aspects about what you mean without you having spelled them out. Then you act like everyone else is an idiot for not having read your mind.

    If you want to be understood, let alone argue a point, you should attend to those things.

  • Silly Interloper says:

    Good luck doping the chubbawub, pal.

  • Wood says:

    dirk diggler,

    I give up.

    I’m not sure you ever started.

    If you believe you can divorce yourself from the consequences of allowing animals to run around free, be my guest. I would suggest you put your money and safety where your mouth is and move to Detroit, but I know you won’t.

    I lived in an arguably worse place for nearly a decade. Knew two people who were murdered in their own homes. Horrible situation all around. One thing I learned is that people who want to divorce themselves from the consequences of thinking of people with souls and eternal destinies as “feral animals” are the last people who should be lecturing on how to construct societies.

  • dirk,

    What on God’s green earth are you even responding to? Who even came remotely close to doing anything you’re suggesting?

  • Wood says:

    Malcolm,

    I wonder if dirk is someone who was “red pilled” regarding this issue of racial differences, but now is trapped into thinking that everything EVERYTHING must be viewed through that prism. So much so that a post about consequentialism cannot be discussed without its becoming a referendum on eugenics or whatever.

  • JustSomeGuy says:

    I wonder if dirk is someone who was “red pilled” regarding this issue of racial differences, but now is trapped into thinking that everything EVERYTHING must be viewed through that prism.

    Posting a link to this post just in case our friend decides it’s worth his time.

  • Rocío Matamoros says:

    In the hope that the Dirk Diggler Show has finally ground to a halt (I stopped following after I googled the name), here’s a reply to Tim Finnegan (his post labelled 10:47pm, 7 September):

    First, Tim, your truth table for “p -> q” is the same as mine; only the layout is different, with your third column being the same as my middle column (my values for the whole sentence are placed under the connective, which is a standard layout). So let’s set that aside as a triviality.

    Tim said: So if P is false, then both the implications P=>Q and P=>(not Q) are considered to be true, regardless of the truth value for Q. So if, for instance, “consequentialism is true” was false, then both the implication “if consequentialism is true then it is ok to nuke Nagasaki” and the implication “if consequentialism is true then it is not ok to nuke Nagasaki” are considered to be true, thus the contradiction.

    Tim, you’ll have to set your argument out formally, with a rule covering each step, just as I did earlier to show how a contradiction can generate any proposition (which is what Zippy frequently refers to). I think you’ll then see that your argument doesn’t carry through – if it did, then any merely contingent falsehood would be able to generate any proposition.

    Tedious – perhaps; but more wholesome than Mr Diggler and his antics.

  • First, Tim, your truth table for “p -> q” is the same as mine; only the layout is different, with your third column being the same as my middle column (my values for the whole sentence are placed under the connective, which is a standard layout)

    I see that now; my apologies.

    then any merely contingent falsehood would be able to generate any proposition.

    This is the case; from a false premise, anything can be deduced. This follows logically from saying that an implication is true if the premise is false.

    If (not P) is true, then P=>Q is true. But P=>R is also true. And P=>S. And P=>(not Q). And P=>(not R). And P=>(not S). If the premise is false, then anything or it’s opposite can be implied from that premise. In steps:

    1. not P
    2. P=>Q
    3. P=>not Q
    4. If not P, then P=>Q and P=>(not Q)

    2 and 3 follow from the fact that if P is false, then the implication is said to be true. Therefore if the premise is false, it can imply anything.

  • If not P is true, then both P=>Q is true and P=>(not Q) is true. This is logically the same as saying [(P and Q) or (not P)] and [(P and not Q) or (not P)]. This conjunction holds if (not P) is in fact true. So if one assumes that P is true, when it is in fact the case that that conjunction holds, then in order for the conjunction to be true while P is true, both Q and not Q must be true.

  • Tangentially related to the dirk diggler antics is Jim Kalbs latest article on White Nationalism

    http://www.crisismagazine.com/2017/notes-white-nationalism

  • Rocío Matamoros says:

    Tim, I have a somewhat clearer picture (especially from your 10:08pm comment) of what you’re trying to argue, and I can say now that I think you’re undermining yourself by mixing different logical levels. For example, you say in prose (at 9:50pm) “if the premise is false”, but your actual premise is not-p (your Line 1). Trying to make sense of the whole comment, it looks as if by premise here you mean simply “p”, and then “the premise is false” you take to be the same as the proposition “not-p”. But “not-p” is a mere proposition, and the assignation of truth values takes place at a higher level, or to put it another way, saying “not-p” is not the same (in respects that are relevant here) as saying “‘p’ is false”. Similarly, your Line 4 seems to mix higher-level inferences with propositional-calculus connectives: you write out “if … then”, but also use “=>” in the same line. In that case, Line 4 should be expanded into several lines of argument.

    So that you can easily refer back to comments by time (assuming you want to pursue this further), I’ll restrict myself to one point per comment.

  • Rocío Matamoros says:

    Tim, returning to your comment timestamped 1.33pm on 7ix, you had characterised your opening premise as “assume some false thing to be true”. But this implies that you are entertaining a contradiction (for the sake of argument, of course). This is typically done at the start of a reductio proof. Hippasus, for example, already knew that sqrt2 was an irrational number, but offered his fellow Pythagoreans (so the story goes) the premise “sqrt2 is rational” and then demonstrated that a contradiction followed, leading to his drowning. Hippasus’s premise, then, already contained a contradiction, since Hippasus already knew sqrt2 to irrational, but this contradiction was not at all obvious to his listeners, who had a major stake in assuming that all numbers were rational.

    Now, in your comment of 9:50pm (8ix) you quote me as saying that if your argument worked, “then any merely contingent falsehood would be able to generate any proposition”, to which you answer “This is the case”. But if you, in the manner of a reductio, choose to “assume some false thing to be true”, then you are surely beginning with a contradiction, even if that is suppressed for the sake of laying out the argument from which a contradiction will then flow: “both q and not q must be true”, as you said (at 10:08pm, 8ix).

    So what you are trying to do is, in fact, to demonstrate from a necessary falsehood (here, a contradiction), other contradictions will flow. But you won’t derive a contradiction from a contingent falsehood.

  • Rocío Matamoros says:

    Tim, my last two messages have not yet addressed two other relevant issues:

    1. If consequentialism were shown self-contradictory, though, I’d grant that it is necessarily false. But it seems to me that we would have to stop short of this. Consequentialism, without the expedient of unprincipled exceptions, leads to judgements that are repugnant to the moral intuitions of most people (although those moral intuitions are gradually being debased, the longer consequentialist thinking is pushed by those who have social prestige). Consequentialism is also untenable, in principle, for Catholics, since it conflicts fundamentally with natural-law ethics (although the commenters and two of the writers at Crisis Magazine seemed unable to unwilling to see this). But I can’t see that any of this would make consequentialism false by (logical) necessity.

    In that case, consequentialism’s contingent falsehood (at best) will not provide the basis for the contradiction that you want to derive.

    2. Even aside from this, I don’t think you actually prove that a contradiction follows, and I’ll address this in the next comment.

  • Rocío Matamoros says:

    Tim, I’ll now try to show that your argument doesn’t actually lead to a contradiction according to the terms of your 10:08pm comment (8ix), which contained the following proposition (slightly re-notated by me for clarity in a way that doesn’t affect the sense):

    [ (p & q) V (not-p) ] & [ (p & not-q) V (not-p) ]

    (That’s the best I can do without risky unicode symbols that might not show up properly in a comments box.)

    Now, alas, I don’t dare to write out the complete truth table for this proposition, since it will almost certainly become garbled because of the lack of proportional fonts, and because of likely line breaks, depending on screen size or font size (for anyone still reading).

    But if you construct the truth table (as I’ve done, of course), I think you’ll find that the complete proposition is true in either of two situations: where “q” is true, and where “q” is false.

    But these are two independent situations, so we are not logically constrained to say that, “q” is both true and false, nor can we infer the proposition “q & not-q”.

    So no contradiction follows.

    Going back to the start of this discussion (just the Tim-Rocío exchange, not the whole sequence of comments), I would recommend the argument I provided (8:52pm 7ix), which I believe is by far the most commonly given for the principle of explosion. That says, in summary, that from a contradiction, any proposition follows. Surely that serves better than: from a supressed contradiction presented as a mere falsehood, another contradiction supposedly follows (but doesn’t really). Wouldn’t you agree?

  • Wouldn’t you agree?

    Yes, I see where I went wrong now. Anything follows from holding a false premise because holding a false premise is itself a contradiction, so I was working myself in circles.

  • Zippy says:

    The logic thing is a bit subtle. Let me try to express the point in more casual but hopefully a bit more accessible language, in case anyone else is interested.

    Denying the truth of A isn’t enough in itself to trigger the principle of explosion, even if A is true. To trigger the POE you have to simultaneously assert both A and not-A.

    Now if A is true and you assert not-A, then you are wrong. But you aren’t asserting A and not-A at the same time just because you are wrong about A.

    Asserting a false premise does mean that you can and most likely will arrive at (some) false conclusions — and some true ones. The ‘space’ defined by the things you can otherwise validly conclude will in most cases contain some false conclusions, as deduced from your false premise.

    But that doesn’t mean that you can arrive at any and every conclusion whatsoever and its opposite through valid logic: that is, starting from a false premise doesn’t make your logic itself explode.

    Maybe that will be helpful to someone, assuming I even have it right myself.

  • Zippy says:

    I left a comment on Jim Kalb’s Crisis article.

  • On the logic: a contradiction is logically defined as any statement who’s truth value is always false. A falsehood, by definition, cannot be true and thus a falsehood is always a contradiction. Unless a false premise can sometimes be true, it is the same as a contradiction and thus should trigger the principle of explosion. However much I may have confused people above with my circular ramblings I hope that clears things up.

  • Asserting the falsity of statement A isn’t the same as A being a falsehood, which is probably where I got tripped up. If A is true though (that is it’s truth value is always true) then asserting not A is the same as asserting both A and not A (since A is always true).

  • Zippy says:

    TimFinnegan:

    … a contradiction is logically defined as any statement who’s truth value is always false …

    As Rocío Matamoros suggested above, I think you are confusing logic and metalogic. So I’ll try again, but I really think this is ranging well off topic.

    A binary logic produces two results. Call them 0 and 1 so that you don’t confuse them with true and false.

    A contradiction attempts to simultaneously assert both 1 and 0 at the same logic node (input/output). A contradiction is a feature of logic.

    A falsehood, by contrast, asserts a 0 at a node where a 1 ought to be asserted if the logical structure were to correctly correspond to the reality which it is intended to represent. A falsehood is a feature of metalogic.

    These are not the same thing, and only the former makes the logic itself explode.

    If this were not the case then things like proving A true by assuming it is false and reaching a conclusion you know to be false, would not work. Assuming that A is false would make the logic explode, so proof by contradiction (among many other techniques) would be meaningless.

  • Thanks, that helps. I’ll try to get my head around it without continuing this way off topic discussion.

  • John says:

    @Zippy,

    A binary logic produces two results. Call them 0 and 1 so that you don’t confuse them with true and false.

    A contradiction attempts to simultaneously assert both 1 and 0 at the same logic node (input/output). A contradiction is a feature of logic.

    A falsehood, by contrast, asserts a 0 at a node where a 1 ought to be asserted if the logical structure were to correctly correspond to the reality which it is intended to represent. A falsehood is a feature of metalogic.

    What are your thoughts on alternative logical systems? For example, dialetheism is a system of logic where contradictions are accepred and the law of excluded middle is not accepted.

    There have also been criticisms of the law of excluded middle my mathematicians such as L. E. J. Brouwer and Arend Heyting, who contest the usefulness of the principle in mathematics. And considering you yourself seem to have quite a bit of knowledge on math, it seems appropriate for you to comment.

    These are not the same thing, and only the former makes the logic itself explode.

    If this were not the case then things like proving A true by assuming it is false and reaching a conclusion you know to be false, would not work. Assuming that A is false would make the logic explode, so proof by contradiction (among many other techniques) would be meaningless.

    What about paraconsistent forms of logic (not the dialetheistic ones) where the principle of explosion due to contradiction is avoided and only occurs in some specific cases?

  • Zippy says:

    John:

    Non-exploding logics of various kinds are interesting and sometimes useful mathematical structures. But in my view it is a mistake, metaphysically (or metalogically), to take their state values as meaning true or not true (false). Truth versus untruth is ultimately a categorical distinction. (I made a similar point about reality and fiction in this post).

  • Mike T says:

    According to social media, another person investigating the Clintons has been found dead in his apartment. If this trend continues, the Catholic Church might have to acknowledge the existence of a method of morally licit assisted suicide.

  • TomD says:

    Some forms of martyrdom steer eerily close to “suicide by heretic” but intentions are important there; death cannot be sought but can be accepted.

  • Mike T says:

    If you seek the truth but end up giving yourself a double tap with a handgun in an impressive display of undead acrobatics, is that a mortal sin or just too impressive to count?

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s

What’s this?

You are currently reading Why the Columbine massacre was necessary at Zippy Catholic.

meta

%d bloggers like this: