Refraction (Bent Thinking) #1

  1. Too Many Answers Error:   When someone claims that because there are so many different answers or claims on a subject, therefore there is no right answer. (e.g. “There are so many different religions with different ideas, therefore none of them is correct.”)  This error is very common. It is very acceptable among non-careful thinkers. It is also very easily refuted. Refutation: The existence of a number of different answers does not prove that none of them are right. It only shows that there is a lot of ignorance out there. Example: I give an exam. I grade the exam. All thirty students answer a short essay on the difference between Eastern and Western Gods. All the answers are incorrect.  Does it follow that there is not a right answer?  Of course not, silly person. It just means all thirty students didn’t study well (or that I didn’t cover that in class!) Either way, there is a right answer. The problem isn’t that there are no right answer, per se. The problem is if there is a right answer, how do we find it?
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7 Responses to Refraction (Bent Thinking) #1

  1. Leland Johns says:

    Hhmmm, I am thinking that even though there could be multiple answers that differ , they could also be right, to a degree.

    • jshaul says:

      As long as they are not contradictory, yes, indeed; and as long as they answer a question which permits variations in the answers.

    • jshaul says:

      Indeed Leland, some questions allow for multiple correct answers. Some professors ask them. Most ask questions that probe into whether or not the students have mastered the material, and asking questions that have a definitive correct answer helps determine that. Can you imagine a scenario where a man is asked if he slept with a woman and he answered “no” because he only had sex with her standing up in an office? The question was not asked correctly, and the answer was obfuscating (= tending to confuse or make unclear) and the fuzzy question opened the door for it. If he had been asked did any part of your body or anything held by you ever contact her sexual parts, there would have not been much room to wiggle.

  2. Sharon Oban says:

    So as far as an answer to the difference between the eastern and western gods, if one were to answer that there isn’t a difference as far as they are considered a deity that people worshipped, followed and believed in …but the difference lies within the ritual of worship….would that have been a wrong answer?

    • jshaul says:

      As asked, yes. If I had asked for three differences in religious practices, then you would have gotten some credit;but in this case, if that is all your answer consisted of, I could have given no points for the answer. There is a need for people to ask the right question. And if you want your question answered, there is a critical need for the question to be clear and precise.

  3. Joe Drumheller says:

    The existence of a number of different answers to a question is also not evidence that any of them are correct. Also, the mere fact that a question can be formulated does not necessarily mean that there is a correct or true answer.

    • jshaul says:

      That is so true. It all depends on the nature of the question. If I asked what are your preferences for going out to dinner, you could list three or 4 and all would fulfill the question’s requirement. If, on the other hand, you responded by listing 3 movies, I would not accept your answer. If you wanted to eat Thai and asked me if I was allergic to peanuts, there would be a correct answer. If I answered no, even if there was a very slight allergy, because I really like Thai food, the answer could cause problems. Asking the exact question nips in the bud a lot of communication problems.

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