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 Mister Logic
Joined: 3/5/2009
Msg: 19
Fuzzy LogicPage 3 of 3    (1, 2, 3)

A computer can only handle binary.

Yeah, that's what I just said.'s called machine code, ASCII characters have to be compiled into machine code for the computer to understand them.

Actually, it's just called plain old "binary". The term "machine code" (or more properly, "machine language") is used to indicate the actual computer instructions rather than the data that those instructions are manipulating. (If you're still having trouble understanding, read my book: "AppleVisions: A Unique Introduction to Assembly Language Programming", published by Addison-Wesley)

This is where you do not understand fuzzy logic ...

Joined: 7/8/2004
Msg: 20
Fuzzy Logic
Posted: 7/14/2009 7:35:05 AM

If you are not even interested enough to vote, why should you get any gov't benefits?

You shouldn't, but neither should you have any obligation to the government to pay taxes or live by their rules. In point of fact, you don't. Withdrawing the consent to be governed involves an "ethical divorce" from government, whereby you have no obligation to them and no right to expect "benefits" either. When one compares the government's mismanagement of our money and the return in "benefits" one can clearly see how ripped off the citizens are. So why not get a "divorce", quit voting altogether and resign as a government employee?

(I felt this needed to be said because too many people think they have to vote and don't see not voting as a legitimate activity, or form of protest against government's mismanagement of government. They think that not voting is a matter of apathy, when in fact it can be (and often is) a very strong political statement arising from strong ethical & political considerations. It is, IMHO, an option more people should take more often and should not be frowned upon, or assumed to be apathy. Think of not voting as a vote of non-confidence in the system itself.)
 Mister Logic
Joined: 3/5/2009
Msg: 21
Fuzzy Logic
Posted: 7/14/2009 10:51:10 AM

you suggest that a computer can handle other data such as ASCII

If it couldn't, then you wouldn't be reading these words right now.

(I don't know why we are even engaging in this silly discussion about computers and data representations. It has essentially no bearing on the ongoing discussion about how we need to start incorporating the ideas of Fuzzy Logic into how we allow ourselves to think.)

I just read your book on shades of reality.

Good! I hope it finally taught you what Fuzzy Logic is all about! If not, then you'd better go back and read all of it again... and again... until you do know.

(And be sure that you pay extra special attention to the section titled "W a r n i n g !"
Otherwise, you will still be as much in the dark as you currently are.)
Joined: 7/8/2004
Msg: 22
Fuzzy Logic
Posted: 7/14/2009 3:36:51 PM
We have to be a bit careful where we apply fuzzy logic and not think it can necessarily apply to anything. It may be fine for the daytime/nighttime example (though I note it's not in general parlance to say for instance "it's about 78% daytime right now.") and it's downright wonderful for TTL camera metering & autofocus algorithms, but we can run into problems whene we apply it to things like abortion: Is it right or wrong? Well we have a lot of polar opposite views at about the 50% mark, so since say 48% think its wrong enough to kill people over (we won't go into the wrongness of murder) and 48% think its so right that they'd like to use it as a substitute for birth control, with 4% "on the fence", we might conclude that abortion is both 50% right and 50% wrong, which would imply that most of society is pretty neutral about it, when only 4% of the population actually feels that way.
We should never use fuzzy logic for things like slippery slope arguments like WHEN is an abortion killing a being. Only some (like catholics) would posit anytime as killing a being. Lawyers would argue that it doesn't become a lawful being until born and therefore abortion right up to delivery time is not killing a being. Most people would posit some arbitrary time in the slippery slope of gestation. At that point, fuzzy logic might apply based on people's opinions, but does it really tell us anything except an average of people's beliefs? Does it make the slope less slippery? No.
Fuzzy logic is a wonderful thing when & where it properly applies, but in the day to day business of life and making "hard" decisions, I suspect that discrete logic will more often than not, prove to be the superior choice.
 Mister Logic
Joined: 3/5/2009
Msg: 23
Fuzzy Logic
Posted: 7/14/2009 10:05:05 PM

We should never use fuzzy logic for things like slippery slope arguments like WHEN is an abortion killing a being.

Fuzzy Logic can be successfully applied to resolving the abortion issue in much the same manner that it can be used to successfully resolve the question of who should be allowed to vote. But because the abortion issue is a much more emotionally charged topic than voting, let me warn you ahead of time: It's going to be extremely difficult for most of you to accept the necessary conclusions that result from the analysis (especially if you didn't even understand the application of Fuzzy Logic to the much simpler matter of voting). I know this all too well from my past experiences, especially when trying to discuss the subject of abortion with someone who understands little or nothing about Fuzzy Logic. But since the subject has now raised its ugly head, I will once again throw myself to the wolves and discuss the abortion issue. Here goes:

First of all, what exctly is a "Human Being"?

The term, "human being" is very much like "brightness." Both represent unbounded concepts whose levels of existence can only be specified in terms of degrees. You cannot point to any living entity on this planet and say, "That is a 100 percent human being," any more than you can point to a light that is 100 percent bright. There is always room for "improvement" in both cases. And if mankind should continue to exist and develop for another million years, will it become more than human? Or might it turn out in retrospect that we, of today, will have been merely less than human?

One of the problems with trying to perceive "human-ness" in terms of shades of gray stems from our religious upbringings. Most religions are inherently Aristotelian in their dogmas. (God must have not known about fuzzy logic back then! ) Consequently, we are led to believe that whenever you do something, either you have committed a sin or else you haven't sinned at all. Either you'll go to heaven when you die, or else you'll go to hell. And if you're a human being, then you are created in God's image all-or-nothing.

But if something is only almost a human being, then in whose image is it created? Religion can't answer these kinds of questions about degrees of human-ness because religion never thought about them. To the bivalent religious mind, every person is simply a "human being," and everything else is not. Period. Case closed. (And mind closed, as well!)

The anti-abortionists are of the frame of mind that a human being comes into existence at the "moment of conception." The reason for this belief stems from a sorites-type of argument. They reason: if a baby is a human being when it is born, then it must have also been a human being one minute before it was born, and then one minute before that, etc. Continuing this reasoning process backwards in time to the "point of conception," they can find no magical point in time at which anything of significance occurs to mark the start of being human. Since conception itself appears to be the only clear-cut "discontinuity" that they can identify, it must be (in the anti-abortionist opinion) at that time that the transition from non-human being to 100 percent human being is made.

The pro-abortionists are of the frame of mind that a fetus doesn't become a human being until some future time (usually measured in terms of something called "trimesters"). At that point in time, some supposedly invisible and magical process instantly turns the fetus into a 100 percent human being. After that magical instant, it is no longer OK to have an abortion performed. The trouble is, none of the pro-abortionists can seem to agree on just what or when this magical event is. So they all just make up their own rules depending on what turns out to be convenient for themselves.

The Fuzzy Logic view on abortion bases its analysis on the reality that an embryo gradually makes the transition from non-human to more nearly human over an extended period of time (much like a tadpole gradually becomes a frog). Therefore at any point in time, an embryo can be regarded as being both a human being (to some degree) and not a human being (to some degree).

So the first thing we need to do is agree upon some kind of "degree of human being" curve (much like was necessaary in defining "degree of maturity" curve when discussing the issue about voting rights). Then, using this "degree of human being" curve, we could answer the question, "to what degree does an abortion constitute killing a human being?" The exact, answer of course, would depend on how long after conception the abortion is performed. The later the abortion, the greater the degree of guilt of killing a human being.

It is important to remember that such a curve would not define any kind of "boundary line" between what should be considered "murder" and what shouldn't. And so a person involved in an abortion would not be simply either "guilty" or "not guilty" of murder, but a mixture of both.

(I warned you... you weren't going to like the conclusions. But then I didn't create reality. I'm simply reporting it.)
 Mister Logic
Joined: 3/5/2009
Msg: 24
Fuzzy Logic
Posted: 7/15/2009 12:33:55 AM

I am 100% human being...just as is everybody else I've ever met.

I strongly suspect that you aren't the only person in this forum who is having trouble understanding the concept of "degree of being a human." They (and you) still think that something either is a human, or else it isn't. And even if it's only the slightest bit human, then it must be 100 percent human.

One of the problems with trying to perceive "human-ness" in terms of shades of gray is that, apart from relatively rare exceptions, most of us are fairly "normal," and therefore we have a kind of sameness to us. Except for petty individual differences, we all pretty much look and act and think like every other member of our species. We all have hopes, fears, joys, and sorrows. We all experience these kinds of emotions, which we feel make us "human." And so most of us probably cluster around a "human-ness level" near the 100 percent mark. (At least it would appear that way to us, not currently having any higher life forms to compare ourselves to.) And so there is the Aristotelian inclination to "round off" everybody and pretend that the slight differences in levels of "human-ness" from one person to another simply don't exist.

Unless you are a creationist, you probably accept the concept that all animals (including Man) are biologically related, and that all present-day animals evolved from older and more primative forms of life. And even if the particular species homo sapiens didn't evolve, there is still evidence that pre-historic humanoid creatures (such as Homo Erectus, Neanderthal, etc.) did once live on earth, regardless of how they got here.

In any event I would like to pose some questions: If these creatures were still alive today, would they be considered to be "human beings," or would they just be another name on the endangered species list? Would killing one of them be considered "murder," or would it be considered as being nothing more than illegal "hunting"? Would they be granted equality with the rest of mankind? Would we regard them as being our peers, or our pets?

Of course such creatures don't exist today, and so we can pragmatically avoid having to answer these questions. But consider the possibilities offered by genetic engineering. By slightly altering the structure of DNA it is possible, even today, to change the genetic characteristics of plants and animals. Someday it might even be possible to start with a monkey, and end up with a modern-day person, by genetically creating the entire continuum of "missing links"! If this were ever accomplished, which of these new "species" would be human and which ones wouldn't? (An anti-abortionist, with his sorites-type of reasoning, would have to conclude that they would all be human... including the monkey! )

We don't need to wait for the prospects of genetic engineering to come to fruition before we can start thinking about these kinds of questions. Even today we can ask: Is every person on earth totally "human"? How about a cold-blooded murderer, or a molester of children who feels no remorse for his actions? Are they to be regarded as being 100 percent human and given all the "Rights of Life, Liberty and the pursuit of Happiness," just because their bodies have an anatomical structure that we associate with the term "human being?" Or is there something more to being a human being than merely having a prescribed set of body parts?

On the other side of the coin, consider an anencephalic "person," one who is born without a complete brain and who therefore achieves little or no degree of consciousness. They too look human, at least on the outside. But then so does a Barbie doll. Can a living entity be considered to be human if it doesn't even have a human brain?

And what about a human egg that goes unfertilized and was thereby deprived of the "Right" to develop into a complete human being? Should we consider as being "human" only those living entities that were lucky enough to become completely conceived?

Just a few thoughts to ponder...

(But let's not get too sidetracked arguing about "human-ness". We need to get back to focusing on the bigger issue... that of "Abortion".)
Joined: 7/8/2004
Msg: 25
Fuzzy Logic...Is sick
Posted: 7/15/2009 4:37:50 AM
@ Mister Logic

Now we can see the "flaw" of fuzzy logic. It is not merely a philosophical tool for dealing with the "gray shades", it's use in general would require a fundamental change in philosophy.

Discrete logic arose to better differentiate between things in the binary sense. Something exists or it doesn't, 0 or 1, true or false, black or white. It has been with us for thousands of years (or maybe millions if we are genetically hard-wired to usse it) and is by now essentially a part of the human psyche in the sense that brains seem to reason with it instinctively.

Of course we have always had (and will always have) problems most suited to fuzzy logic, maybe they can even all be put on those terms, but the psychological resistence is going to be phenomenal. You will never convince people that (for instance) they don't simply pop into existence from non-existence, even if that's really how it happens.

It is best to stay with problems like light gray paint being paint with 70% whiteness and not delve into problems like "Joe is 40% alive and 60% dead" whether the statements are (some percentage) true or (100% minus that percentage) not.

I feel compelled to say at this point that I think you (and fuzzy logic itself) are getting kind of a bum rap here. I long ago abandoned the idea of discrete existence in favour of a fuzzy logic model in which it may really be true that something can have only a fraction of "true" existence. The model seems more compatible with by perception of quantum phenomena like the double slit experiment and the "location" of particles themselves, though I note that discrete logic often applies as well (spin states are discrete, for example and whole virtual particles seem to "appear", not a percentage of one).

So as liberating as a "fuzzy" perspective can be, it can't always be substututed for discrete logic owing to the way the mind works and our very foundations of perception. That's a psychological barrier it's true, but as 100% real as any (70% or more) physical one. Fuzzy logic may even be formalized as a generalization, or extension of discrete logic, but that still isn't going to change the perception of the man in the street. If I were you, I'd quit the experiments before the villagers form a lynch mob & storm the castle.
 Mister Logic
Joined: 3/5/2009
Msg: 26
Fuzzy Logic
Posted: 7/15/2009 12:08:32 PM

There are so many flaws with YOUR theories I almost have to applaud you on your incompetence.'re just wrong, get over it.

conception is an instantaneous moment in time...

There are no degrees to being're either a human or you're not.

I think you should try to understand your subjects a lot better before you start preaching.

(I can now understand the frustration and derision that Galileo had to endure when he presented his revolutionary and "crackpot" ideas to a close minded world that wouldn't listen to anything that didn't conform to the concepts that everybody "knew" to be "true". But in spite of all their ridicule, everyone eventually had to accept the real truth... even if they didn't like it.)
 Mister Logic
Joined: 3/5/2009
Msg: 27
Fuzzy Logic
Posted: 7/15/2009 4:53:42 PM

You know what's mind boggling to me? How intellectual pompous asses with superiority complexes come up with silly ideas and then blab on and on trying to justify them...

Also, how they love to demean and belittle anyone who disagrees with their silly notions.

Umm... do I detect a note of "pot-calling-kettle-black" going on here?

As I look through this thread, I can't find even one of my posts in which I "demeaned and belittled" you for disagreeing with my "silly notions". (In fact, I actually used to think that you were kind of a cool guy... up until now, that is). Because now, you seem to feel that it's ok for you to become the "intellectual pompous ass with a superiority complex" toward me... just because I don't agree with you!

I think that you need to calm down just a little and get back to focusing on the ideas that are being discussed... and not on your perceptions of the person presenting those ideas. (Calling your opponent names is not going to win an argument for you.)

In closing, I noticed from your profile that one of your favorite quotes was made by Carl Sagan:

"For me, it is far better to grasp the Universe as it really is than to persist in delusion, however satisfying and reassuring."

Maybe you should really listen to what he said.
 Mister Logic
Joined: 3/5/2009
Msg: 28
Fuzzy Logic
Posted: 7/15/2009 5:28:48 PM

I just think that some things are black or white

You're absolutely right. No argument there.

Yes, Fuzzy logic doesn't exclude black and white... it merely adds more shades of gray so that you aren't stuck with only black and white to choose from.
 Mister Logic
Joined: 3/5/2009
Msg: 29
Fuzzy Logic
Posted: 7/15/2009 6:49:50 PM

I apologize for my zealousness in my response and any offense you took from said.

Quite alright... no offense taken. (In fact, I even indicated in post #43 that I fully anticipated a lot of disagreement with the analysis and its conclusions. )

Nobody's perfect...I'm only 90% perfect.

You're a better man than I am.
Joined: 7/8/2004
Msg: 30
Fuzzy Logic
Posted: 7/15/2009 9:12:07 PM
It occurs to me that it may be worthwhile to mention where fuzzy logic comes from. It wasn't some new religion or philosophy made up by mister logic; it IS a valid logical construct, justified by a thing called fuzzy set theory, which is much like the regular set theory, but with the "modification" that membership in a set needn't be complete, but can be in a sense an "honorary" membership wherein full membership is not necessary for inclusion into the set. In other words, members can have any degree of membership greater than zero and up to 100%. (This is better than the Masons, as I understand their membership only has thirty-three degrees)

I hope this clears up any misapprehensions that some people may have had, that fuzzy logic isn't really logic, or that it doesn't have a sound mathematical foundation. It should be noted however, that my post is only 90% true; sets don't have honorary members.
 Mister Logic
Joined: 3/5/2009
Msg: 31
Fuzzy Logic
Posted: 7/16/2009 1:55:50 AM
exogenist said:
ha ha ha!!! -.- No I'm not Mr. Logic. Very far from it.

Aww... too bad you had to go and tell him that. I was hoping that we could have some fun teasing that pompous jerk.
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