True + False = False

Re: Truth
@ K. 2008 06 10

When True + False = False

The magician’s patter may consist of 100% true statements. Still, what he’s performing is an illusion: that is, a “falsehood.”

To employ the language of my theory of Macroinformation, the data is true but the information is false.

If the magician’s show is advertised as a “magic” “show,” if the magician is well-understood to be an illusionist, no harm is done: or little harm, and perhaps some good: getting tricked can give us possible exercise in not getting tricked so easily next time. But if the magician is not a stage illusionist but rather your doctor, your cancer researcher, your weather forecaster, your president, your lawyer, your teacher … that’s different. In that case 100% truths can add up to pure falsehood.

Say the stage magician says, “I have here a deck of ordinary playing cards.” Perhaps the magician holds up an unopened package of playing cards. Perhaps the magician breaks the cellophane and unwraps the cards as he speaks. The cards, at that point in his patter, may actually be new but otherwise ordinary playing cards. The magician may go on to joke about gas prices, how the war is going. The magician may insult politicians, may refer to his beautiful assistant as “beautiful” … The magician may even address a member of the audience, get their name right, and say some true thing about their spouse’s gall bladder. Still, what the magician is setting up is a trick.

Real magic, were there any such thing, would require no patter: no talk, no “show.”

It’s possible to do stage “tricks” with ordinary playing cards. Some card tricks are managed by slight of hand. The “trick” is in human perception and in motor skills, not in a stage property: like marked cards, shaved cards … or cards which are all the queen of hearts. Similarly there are some “magic” “tricks” where there is no magic and no trick: the magician knows to depend on ignorance in the audience. The magicians’ repertoire is packed with examples of things which people in general can be relied on to not know, to by wrong about: things having to do with probability … oddities of chemistry.

True, true. Still. A large part of what the magician does is a trick. As the magicians shuffles the ordinary cards, he switches in a deck which is marked, shaved, or all queens.

Further more, the magician’s assistant may know and understand and be part of the trick; or the magician’s assistant may not know or understand or be any part of the trick. Volunteers from the audience may in fact be assistants planted by the magician without whom the trick could not work; or they may be just what they are represented as: volunteers from the audience.

Notice: for the trick to work, which is which must be controlled by the magician. I’m not done with this part, but that’s enough for a first draft.


Different Mixes, Different Results

If there’s an error in your theorem, then your proof is false. It doesn’t matter whether your error was inadvertent, intentional, or unconscious. It doesn’t matter whether you were feeling well, or were tempted by the devil, it doesn’t matter what you meant to do: by rules common in mathematics, your proof is false.

But: if an actor is giving a stellar performance of Hamlet, and mispronounces a word, the audience may not notice, the audience may not care; or, the audience could go suddenly cold. If I’m giving a speech about global warming and I say “million” where everyone knows I mean “billion,” my speech may still be received as valid, truthful: even “completely truthful.”

But if I’m the pitchman, selling you a worthless product, my pitch is a lie no matter how many factual statements I make in the pitch.


Regular visitors to Knatz.com know what pk is getting at. pk is saying that no matter how many facts are contained in the pitches of churches, of schools, of governments, of hawkers of secular or sacred salvation, watch out: they’re pitchmen. Magicians. Magicians’ assistants.

And for the most part, they’re either too stupid (or worse) too dishonest, to know it!

Truth Menu

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About pk

Seems to me that some modicum of honesty is requisite to intelligence. If we look in the mirror and see not kleptocrats but Christians, we’re still in the same old trouble.
This entry was posted in pk Teaching, thinking tools, truth. Bookmark the permalink.

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