You probably think that this article is going to teach you how to be more logical and reasonable. It is not that easy. In fact there are many reasons why being logical and reasonable is not the normal state of the human mind and its thinking process.
So I will begin by showing you why the vast majority are not logical thinkers since it takes years of discipline, experiences, and useful information to become more logical and want to pursue the truth which is the foundation of logical thinking.
The most important thing with logical thinking is that if you start out with untruths, false information, or lies then you can be the most logical with this information and still come up with irrelevant, untrue, or false results. There is a lot of truth to the statement “garbage in and garbage out” which also applies to computer algorithms.
If you input shitty false information into your brain or a computer program then you will usually get shitty false information back.
Where does this untrue or false information come from? In subjective fields of interest the false information comes from incompetent and sometimes competent authority figures who make occasional mistakes in gathering and disseminating information, especially if it is an opinion based on faulty information or facts. Just because someone has a doctorate or is your favorite celebrity does not guarantee that everything they say is the truth that you can bet your life on.
With authority figures it all comes down to a question of trust. It is not whom do you trust 100% of the time to give you factual information and valued opinions but whom can you trust about 80 to 90% of the time since no human is perfect all the time.
Of course the best approach is to fact check everything yourself but that is just not realistic in the world that we live in where time is such a precious commodity which shouldn’t be wasted. You always should be asking yourself whether the information that you are getting is going to affect your life in important ways. If the answer is that it won’t affect your life much or not at all then fact checking is really a waste of time.
Presently the field where logic doesn’t play much of a role is in politics and journalistic reporting. Very few, except for the wealthy, really feel or trust that the government and establishment media is helping them to lead more secure and prosperous lives. Journalistic excellence has given way to a tabloid press sensationalizing events with sound bites devoid of important information.
Political discourse is no longer civil and reserved but peppered with insults, name calling, put downs, ridicule, and humiliation which is designed to try and destroy the reputation of humans who dare to oppose politically correct viewpoints. If you want to be logical about politics then you are being delusional and almost no one will take you seriously. The truth does not reign supreme in politics but propaganda reigns supreme on both sides of the political spectrum.
After all this one can seriously ask what can you be logical about? Yes, the bastion of logical thinking is science where you analyze and then synthesize factual information and validate the results with experiments that give the same results over and over again. Most of us in the real world use the fruits of science or technology but we don’t use much logic in other fields of interest which are very subjective by nature and usually have very biased authority figures.
True logic demands structured valid thinking, research, and more thinking to get reasonable results. By nature most humans are impulsive and make split second judgments about most things based on prior life experiences, especially prior information gathering without thinking that much.
Becoming logical is not an overnight phenomenon but takes years of gathering useful information and experiences and training in math, especially Venn diagrams, sets, subsets, statistics, probability and frequency to be able to analyze and then synthesize information. Without the above understanding your excursion into logical thinking will always fall short of the ideal.
What follows are some of the major reasons why humans are just too impulsive, subjective or biased and can’t think very logically about many things:
Confirmation bias is the tendency for humans to gravitate towards beliefs, opinions, experiences, and authority figures which they personally possess already and tend to look unfavorably on other viewpoints, especially if they challenge or contradict those personal biases. Humans have a tendency to want to impose their existent biased views on the world of new information as much as possible. They tend to be close minded towards outside views when they process new information or viewpoints. Not only do most want to survive physically but most also want their beliefs, opinions, experiences, and authority figures to survive intact and love to defend them when challenged by new or contrary viewpoints, events, and facts.
Pack or group bias also exists where humans prefer to spread and participate in group norms which they feel to be a part of their existence or proximate human behavior. Wanting to be with the personal in crowd is a strong attraction. In a broader sense most prefer their own culture to a foreign one.
Language is partially to blame for this need to have a group identity since it classifies humans based on their group identity such as Muslim, Christian, Jew, atheist, Republican, Democrat, white, black, Hispanic, Native Indian, etc. Humans love their own group and are often suspicious, fearful, and even disdainful of outside groups.
Gambler’s predispositions are another form of erring biases. If you are flipping a coin with heads or tails and you hit 4 heads in a row then you will have a tendency to believe that the next throw will also be heads even though the odds are still 50/50. What this suggests that if some event happens frequently historically there is a bias towards predicting that the same event will happen again just as frequently in the future. So our predictions about the future are heavily biased based on the frequency of past events.
Security or status quo bias. We tend to prefer old habits to new ones and old ways of thinking about things rather than new ones. We often say that we want change but the fact is that our predisposition is towards the security of existing ideas and behaviors and not a change in those ideas or behaviors.
So thinking logically is unfortunately reserved for the elite few and most of us have to live in the real world with personal beliefs, opinions, behaviors, and habits which automatically bias the way that we react in the world around us both consciously and subconsciously. Most of us conform to our culture and group affiliation because we fundamentally want to feel secure and approved of by others. Yes, there are the risk takers and non conformists but the vast majority are just common human beings with basic and what some feel are mundane needs and desires.
We all have different lifestyles and to the extent that we daily live within the confines of those lifestyles they seem logical or acceptable or predictable to us. That predictable existence is really the best that we can hope for, especially if you are relatively security conscious and don’t want others to rock your world or disturb it in any significant way.
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