A college dropout – me? The National Merit Scholar, with a family history of college graduates, back as far as a number of great-aunts who graduated at a time when higher education was the exception for women?
That didn’t make any sense.
Yet the first go-around, that’s what happened. I took on too much and burned out. Few close to me disputed the wisdom of my choice, but all agreed I should try again when I was ready.
It took three years to be ready, but when I was, I was. The second time, at a different university, was the charm, and when it comes to charm, no one had more than my ultra-geeky Logic professor.
Many of my fellow students foolishly and vocally didn’t see the need for Logic 101.
Actually, he wasn’t even a professor at the time; it was his first teaching experience after graduating with a doctorate in Philosophy.
He faced formidable odds. This was before the plethora of news programs with self-proclaimed experts whose statements deserved challenge at every turn. Many, if not most, of my fellow students foolishly and vocally didn’t see the need for Logic 101.
For me, initially it was a requirement to plough through, something I didn’t expect would be challenging. Instead, it was the most challenging and rewarding course I took. I consciously apply what I learned on a regular basis.
You’d be surprised when you listen how many “experts” seem to forget, or perhaps ignore, logic.
For those unclear about what you learn in a logic course, it starts with this: “All cats are animals, but not all animals are cats”. You’d be surprised when you listen how many of the aforementioned “experts” seem to forget, or perhaps deliberately ignore, that logic.
To take the cats-animals-cats thinking a bit further, something like “Most (specific political party devotees) believe this…but not everyone who believes that is a (specific political party supporter)” escapes them.
Or, for sports fans, “if we’d scored that touchdown in the second quarter, we would have won.” Nuh-uh. Any real fan of football knows each play builds on the previous one, and scoring that touchdown would have created a different game. (Scoring a field goal without penalty in the last second, I’ll give you that one, even though technically the logic wouldn’t).
So when you hear the pundits say, “my candidate in the last election never would have created the mess we’re in,” that simply is poor logic. You don’t know what your candidate might have done. But all sides smugly say it, or something similar, all the time.
That’s the simple logic that’s violated on a regular basis. Other practical elements are equally good to know.
Okay, I can’t necessarily apply anything I learned in that course to the logic of my decision to drop out the first time. Yet it clearly was the right choice. Or was it? I’ll never know, logically speaking, because I’ll never know what would have happened if I stuck with it.
image credit: © tiero – Dollar Photo Club