Adventures in irritation

Get something off your chest.
AND GET OFF MY LAWN!
User avatar
dukkha
Epic
Posts: 1477
Joined: 17 Mar 2007, 03:07

Adventures in irritation

Post by dukkha » 29 Oct 2008, 13:16

So I'm curious... has anyone out there read Gödel, Escher, Bach: an Eternal Golden Braid? I'm trying to make my way through it at the moment (after being handed it by a friend who gave up, claiming his understanding of formal logic wasn't good enough to keep up) and am finding myself yelling at the book every ten pages or so and was wondering if any of the other language/maths/philosophy geeks here had a similar experience, or if I'm just hyper-critical after years of mediocre text books.

Examples of things that make me yell...
The claim that someone could (reasonably) agree with the statements A-C
A) i = j
B) j = k
C) If A is true and B is true, then Z is true
Z) i = k
and yet disagree with Z, such that you'd need an infinite number of intermediate steps eg:
D) If A is true and B is true and C is true, then Z is true
and so on. When to even agree with statement C, you have to acknowledge the accuracy of Z and therefore can't agree with C, without agreeing with Z.

Using examples of obfuscated equations/sets that don't fit within the rules laid out for something to be a legal part of the set.
Example: A set has three elements: p,q and -.
A valid set is of the form xp-qx- where x is any number of hyphens. (and really it should be xpyqxy where x and y contain any number of hyphens.
Those paying attention probably noticed that this is just a way of writing a + b = c. The author even acknowledges this a page later. But his example
of a set, so you can see what it looks like is -p---q--. Which isn't a valid member of the set (something he never acknowledges).

User avatar
Cartollomew
I has a monocle (Site Admin)
Posts: 8804
Joined: 22 Aug 2006, 12:11
Location: Perth

Post by Cartollomew » 29 Oct 2008, 13:27

No.

Also: I didn't know you were a masochist.

At any rate, my experience with formal logic was brief and messy, and apparently I'm not allowed to discuss the details.

The worst I've had that is comparible to what you're describing there is in reading the work of Edsger Dijkstra - the man was a genius to be sure, but his turn of phrase was punishing.

At one point he lays out an impossible to grasp example (one intended to illustrate a more difficult point) and follows it up with this comment:

"The clumsiness of that last example infuriates even me"

*shakes fist*
Last edited by Cartollomew on 29 Oct 2008, 14:06, edited 1 time in total.
Who do you think you are? If you'd stopped winning, you could have been the Biggest Loser, if you gave up, you could have been a Survivor, if you'd stopped reading Orwell, you could have been on Big Brother!

User avatar
dukkha
Epic
Posts: 1477
Joined: 17 Mar 2007, 03:07

Post by dukkha » 29 Oct 2008, 13:37

*chuckle* I have faint memories of reading something along those lines during uni. Wonder if it was the same book (gods knows we studied enough Dijkstra that it could have been).

And I'm only a masochist when I feel obliged to be, like to prove that I can get through and understand a complex book even if I disagree with half of what is being presented (see also my occasional tendency to read primary source philosophy books (fuck I hate Plato)).

User avatar
Dropdeadqt
Legendary
Posts: 4895
Joined: 05 Nov 2007, 01:27
Location: Brisbane

Post by Dropdeadqt » 29 Oct 2008, 14:11

Predicate logic was the only subject I paid attention to in high school...

It was about the only subject that was any fun and did at one point give me nightmares where everything in the world had four legs...

Also, B is false, thus Z is false =P
Image

User avatar
dukkha
Epic
Posts: 1477
Joined: 17 Mar 2007, 03:07

Post by dukkha » 29 Oct 2008, 15:06

Yeah, I've always enjoyed predicate logic, if only to see the wonderful ways in which it can be distorted and still appear almost reasonable.

Well, clearly you can disagree with a or b and disagree with z. You could even (if you were being an arse) agree with a and b and disagree with z, but agreeing with c and disagreeing with z should get you punched by the person you're arguing with... ;)

User avatar
Dropdeadqt
Legendary
Posts: 4895
Joined: 05 Nov 2007, 01:27
Location: Brisbane

Post by Dropdeadqt » 29 Oct 2008, 15:16

but C doesn't imply that A and B are true. Simply that in the event that they are true, Z must be true as well.

It's a pointless rule that is only created or used in the scenario that A and B are true.

If C is found to be true then you have no recourse but to see that A and B are true and thus you can only surmise that Z is true. Anyone who says otherwise has been hitting the soju hard and figures that in actual fact, 1 is not the same as 1.
Image

Karjalan
Legendary
Posts: 4622
Joined: 24 May 2007, 17:01
Location: New Fucking Zealand

Post by Karjalan » 29 Oct 2008, 15:23

Examples of things that make me yell...
The claim that someone could (reasonably) agree with the statements A-C
A) i = j
B) j = k
C) If A is true and B is true, then Z is true
Z) i = k
and yet disagree with Z, such that you'd need an infinite number of intermediate steps eg:
D) If A is true and B is true and C is true, then Z is true
and so on. When to even agree with statement C, you have to acknowledge the accuracy of Z and therefore can't agree with C, without agreeing with Z.


I hate the old "because X is equal or is related to Y then X must cause Y"... the sort of reasoning that gets out of hand a lot of the time with issues in America... Like people blaming Marilyn Manson for the Columbine shootings because one of the kids had one of his albums...

It's all about correlations... correlations show relationships between two things (pretty much anything) and rate basically from zero to one how similar they are, in reality other than mathsy stuff you will more or less never get 1.
It's like you get a scatter plot with say Alcohol on the X axis and Violent Crime on the Y axis, then you plot people from your sample as to the amount of alochol consumed vs how many crimes they commit and draw a line through the middle...
The problem is that it doesn't really prove anything, yeah they are related, that's great. you can't therefore say that Alcohol causes Violent Crime.

Classic Example

X axis = Ice cream Sales
Y axis = Murders

Ice Cream sales has a significant positive correlation with Murders...

"Therefore" we should stop the sale of ice creams to reduce the number of murders....
In fact it's more a case of "Ice cream sales increase during the summer time, there are more people in crowded situations in the summer time. People are also on holiday, hot and more easily bothered, so it is more natural that people will be murdered during the summer time."
But you get dimwits taking the "correlation" and going to goverment's/congressmen and saying "ROMG X CAUSES Y, CHANGE THA LAW..L"

Easiest examples are shown in most news papers with ludicrous titles "omg farting cures cancer".... "omg masturbating into Styrofoam cups then melting them down, lacing it with crack and injecting it directly into your brain causes global warming" because some study showed a correlation....

Anyway that's my rant.
"2+2 is 4"
Barney, the Dinosaur

User avatar
Cartollomew
I has a monocle (Site Admin)
Posts: 8804
Joined: 22 Aug 2006, 12:11
Location: Perth

Post by Cartollomew » 29 Oct 2008, 15:45

Alleycat wrote:It's a pointless rule that is only created or used in the scenario that A and B are true.


Pointless?

POINTLESS?

I am in software development, and you, sir, have insulted my honour!

Good day sir.
Who do you think you are? If you'd stopped winning, you could have been the Biggest Loser, if you gave up, you could have been a Survivor, if you'd stopped reading Orwell, you could have been on Big Brother!

User avatar
dukkha
Epic
Posts: 1477
Joined: 17 Mar 2007, 03:07

Post by dukkha » 29 Oct 2008, 16:00

Aye, this is very true. C is, for all intents and purposes, completely pointless (sorry Cart :p). The point of the example in the book is in trying to convince someone who is being purposefully argumentative that Z is true, if they accept A and B, hence C being really just a statement of the logic behind i=j=k. But in the book, it suggests that someone can agree with A-C and still disagree with Z, hence the need for D to whatever. which is absolute bollocks.

Oh and Karj, that shows the difference between predicate logic applied correctly and predicate logic in the hands of absolute morons (also known as the American news media). Fortunately, when in the realm of pure math its a lot harder to distort predicate logic.

Alleycat wrote:but C doesn't imply that A and B are true. Simply that in the event that they are true, Z must be true as well.

It's a pointless rule that is only created or used in the scenario that A and B are true.

If C is found to be true then you have no recourse but to see that A and B are true and thus you can only surmise that Z is true. Anyone who says otherwise has been hitting the soju hard and figures that in actual fact, 1 is not the same as 1.

User avatar
Cartollomew
I has a monocle (Site Admin)
Posts: 8804
Joined: 22 Aug 2006, 12:11
Location: Perth

Post by Cartollomew » 29 Oct 2008, 16:13

dukkha wrote:Aye, this is very true. C is, for all intents and purposes, completely pointless (sorry Cart :p).


I said, "Good Day!"
Who do you think you are? If you'd stopped winning, you could have been the Biggest Loser, if you gave up, you could have been a Survivor, if you'd stopped reading Orwell, you could have been on Big Brother!

User avatar
Dropdeadqt
Legendary
Posts: 4895
Joined: 05 Nov 2007, 01:27
Location: Brisbane

Post by Dropdeadqt » 29 Oct 2008, 16:19

Cartollomew wrote:
dukkha wrote:Aye, this is very true. C is, for all intents and purposes, completely pointless (sorry Cart :p).


I said, "Good Day!"
Wow... that is deep.

Cart you got owned on so many levels with that statement. It was like a combo of A thru Z including the pointless C.
Image

Mitra
Legendary
Posts: 2002
Joined: 22 Aug 2006, 14:11
Location: Perth W.A.

Post by Mitra » 29 Oct 2008, 16:29

if you are looking for a good read on corrolative factors.

"freakonomics" is a good read.

Economics is not widely considered to be one of the sexier sciences. The annual Nobel Prize winner in that field never receives as much publicity as his or her compatriots in peace, literature, or physics. But if such slights are based on the notion that economics is dull, or that economists are concerned only with finance itself, Steven D. Levitt will change some minds. In Freakonomics (written with Stephen J. Dubner), Levitt argues that many apparent mysteries of everyday life don't need to be so mysterious: they could be illuminated and made even more fascinating by asking the right questions and drawing connections. For example, Levitt traces the drop in violent crime rates to a drop in violent criminals and, digging further, to the Roe v. Wade decision that preempted the existence of some people who would be born to poverty and hardship. Elsewhere, by analyzing data gathered from inner-city Chicago drug-dealing gangs, Levitt outlines a corporate structure much like McDonald's, where the top bosses make great money while scores of underlings make something below minimum wage. And in a section that may alarm or relieve worried parents, Levitt argues that parenting methods don't really matter much and that a backyard swimming pool is much more dangerous than a gun. These enlightening chapters are separated by effusive passages from Dubner's 2003 profile of Levitt in The New York Times Magazine, which led to the book being written. In a book filled with bold logic, such back-patting veers Freakonomics, however briefly, away from what Levitt actually has to say. Although maybe there's a good economic reason for that too, and we're just not getting it yet. --John Moe --This text refers to the Hardcover edition.

User avatar
Cartollomew
I has a monocle (Site Admin)
Posts: 8804
Joined: 22 Aug 2006, 12:11
Location: Perth

Post by Cartollomew » 29 Oct 2008, 16:29

Pft, next you'll be telling me that FileNotFound isn't a valid boolean value.
Who do you think you are? If you'd stopped winning, you could have been the Biggest Loser, if you gave up, you could have been a Survivor, if you'd stopped reading Orwell, you could have been on Big Brother!

Runetender
Legendary
Posts: 1660
Joined: 22 Oct 2006, 22:58
Location: Perth, Western Australia

Post by Runetender » 30 Oct 2008, 14:50

oo GEB was a classical read Dukkha. One of my fav.
See http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Incompleteness_theorem

User avatar
Dropdeadqt
Legendary
Posts: 4895
Joined: 05 Nov 2007, 01:27
Location: Brisbane

Post by Dropdeadqt » 30 Oct 2008, 15:23

Runetender wrote:oo GEB was a classical read Dukkha. One of my fav.
See http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Incompleteness_theorem
OR

for those less inclined to slit their wrists after attempting to make sense of it all.

See http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Real_life_(reality)

P.S. [URL] codes are broke... not my fault.
Image

Post Reply