Tagged With logic

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Grammar prescriptivists -- who believe rules should be followed; "descriptivists" believe correct grammar is whatever works -- love to appeal to logic. If "he could care less," then he could care less -- you have to say "he couldn't"! It's the rock we cling to against the rising tide of literally-means-figuratively-now. Well, it may be time to loosen that grip, because the evolutionary forces of language extremely do not care.

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Over the last couple of years there have been some significant public debates where the results have defied belief - at least, the beliefs of some people. We've had the Brexit vote, the election of Donald Trump to the US presidency and we are facing a similar debate in Australia over the same-sex marriage vote.

On both sides of all these, and numerous other debates, are two broad schools of argument. And when that happens, there's little chance of a coherent debate.

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Why is it that we often ignore hard data and go with our gut when making a decision? It's especially true when it comes to estimating the probability of something. Are our brains just really mediocre when it comes to numbers or is there a reason for our misguided instincts?

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It's a stereotype, but many of us have made the assumption that scientists are a bit rigid and less artistic than others. Artists, on the other hand, are often seen as being less rational than the rest of us. Sometimes described as the left side of the brain versus the right side -- or simply logical thinking versus artistic creativity -- the two are often seen as polar opposites.

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If you were on Facebook today, there's a pretty good chance you came across this fruit-based brain teaser. The internet is going crazy for it. What seems like a simple maths equation is actually a bit more complex than it first appears. Can you solve it?

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School quizzes occasionally contain a puzzle so fiendish that it even stumps intelligent adults. (Teachers have to get their kicks somehow, y'know.) The above brain-teaser recently appeared on an elementary school entrance exam in Hong Kong and quickly went viral. How long will it take you to solve it?

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It is an unfortunate paradox: if you're bad at something, you probably also lack the skills to assess your own performance. And if you don't know much about a topic, you're unlikely to be aware of the scope of your own ignorance.