Logical Fallacy

Donald Trump tweeted “People say my wall idea is crazy. China built a wall, and guess how many Mexicans they have.”.

Here, Trump is using a false analogy.

The reason many Mexicans are entering the USA is that the two countries share a border. China is nowhere near Mexico, so it is unlikely that they would have that many legal or illegal Mexican immigrants. Furthermore, Mexicans are trying to enter the US mainly because they are poor and want a better life for themselves/ their families; therefore it would not make sense for them to spend the money travelling all the way to China.

Had Trump said, China built a wall and guess how many Mongolians are living there, that would have been slightly more valid, but not completely, as the reason for the wall being built was not to prevent immigration, it was as a line of defense against the Mongol Empire in the 1200s. Also, after the wall was built, they still allowed many people through, namely traders, and they even encouraged the absorption of other tribes into the Chinese Empire. Therefore, using the Great Wall of China as an example of how building a physical barrier between two places prevents immigration is not a valid analogy.

Which pill would I choose: red or blue?

I would choose the red pill.

The blue pill appeals to some people because they think their lives are good now, so why would they want to change things. Whilst I agree with this argument to an extent, I also think that if I was living in the Matrix I wouldn’t want to continue living a lie. Although I wouldn’t remember the fact that my life was fake, I don’t believe I would be able to strip myself of knowledge entirely. My grandfather said that “knowledge is easily carried”. I realize that some knowledge can be a burden, but I wholeheartedly agree with the sentiment that all knowledge has value. So, my first reason for taking the red pill as opposed to the blue is that in taking the blue pill, I would be disregarding my own belief of knowledge having value.

Secondly, who we are depends on what we have learned and experienced. By erasing some of my knowledge I would fundamentally change who I was, which is more frightening to me than the idea of knowing a terrible truth. Furthermore, due to my curiosity and stubbornness, whatever lead to my discovery of the fake reality would probably reoccur, even if events changed. A way of explaining this is using dementia. People with dementia frequently repeat the same questions, such as ‘what is that person’s name’. I imagine that after taking the blue pill, I would ask much the same questions that contributed to me finding the Matrix, rendering the blue pill pointless.

Furthermore, humans have two conflicting personality traits. We possess limitless curiosity, which leads us to great discoveries, but we also fear the unknown. Instinct-wise, this is useful. It prevents us from eating poisonous berries or getting too close to the edge of cliffs to look over the edge. However, it also holds back progress. If we are constantly reluctant to adapt, not only will our lives be more difficult long-term, we will not be fulfilling our inbuilt need to learn. Unlike some, I am not willing to make reckless decisions that endanger countless lives just to create the possibility of discovering something new and exciting, but I still believe that everyone must take a leap of faith every once in a while. No one can afford to hold themselves or others back due to fear, because whilst that may help in terms of survival, it isn’t how we can thrive. In order to ensure we take the correct actions, we must ensure we rely upon both our curiosity and our common sense. Choosing when to take that leap of faith is where wisdom comes in. Wisdom is not necessarily possessing the knowledge but instead having the ability to use it in a beneficial way.

This choice is also present in real life. Literal Christians believe that the world was made in seven days, as it is written in the Bible. They choose to ignore the empirical, scientific evidence that tells us planet Earth is billions of years old (which is the equivalent of taking the blue pill). In America, it is quite common for biology and physics school teachers in primarily literal Christian communities to ignore all research about the Big Bang and evolution.

Unfortunately, their decision impacts the rest of the world. For example, they do not believe the research on the rising temperature of the earth (otherwise known as global warming), because there are results on the graphs from long before the supposed creation of the universe. This leads to people, such as President Trump, taking advantage of their beliefs and using them as an argument to keep the oil industry expanding. For people on small islands in warm oceans, this is particularly dangerous and upsetting. Some of the islands of Kiribati are only two meters above sea level, and the entire population will lose their homes if the temperature rises 2°C. In addition, global warming is a factor contributing to more intense weather events (hurricanes, floods, droughts, etc.), all of which affect people’s lives across the globe, leading to death, poverty and disease.

Therefore, one of the main reasons I would be compelled to take the red pill is that I wouldn’t want my ignorance of reality to be the cause of others’ suffering.

TOK Song

I chose the song ‘I walk the line’ by Johnny Cash.

The main connection to TOK is the idea of the value that different types of knowledge have to a person. In this, the significant repeated ‘I walk the line’, which is also the name of the song, is Cash is saying that he has a precarious balance of instinctual, emotional knowledge and intellectual knowledge. I think this topic is definitely an important one in TOK because we have to balance morality and intelligence when making decisions. Also, in life, we will always be prioritising, and whether we prioritise relationships,  which we know by feeling emotion, or have a more pragmatic lifestyle, will greatly change what we achieve and what we learn about the world.

Cash feels that “the happiness [he’s] known proves that [he is] right”, therefore he has decided both areas of knowledge have value and he can trust his knowledge obtained by either, but I think TOK is probably about that struggle he went through in making that decision.

First impressions

The first couple of lessons were an efficient introduction into a subject that I don’t believe I will fully understand until halfway through the course. Although the headings for our topics seem relatively straightforward, that is probably quite deceptive and this subject will probably involve a great deal of thought.

Furthermore, I think doing more word puzzles would help greatly since over-analysing word choice appears to be important.