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  • THE PROS AND CONS OF DEDUCTIVE REASONING

    deductive reasoning

    A colleague and I were talking recently about the penchant for some fast food chains, from Dunkin’ Donuts to In-n-Out in California to fail at the deductive reasoning test. Typically, chains will have their order takers chronicle the order on their iPads, and that employee will repeat the order as they stand beside your vehicle. Once the customer arrives at the pay window, the cashier will also repeat the order before taking the payment.

    Clearly, the class on “reliability of electronic ordering” was missed by the corporate leaders who set these standards – as they haven’t yet learned that orders that are entered electronically consistently and reliably arrive in just the way that they are sent – there are no gremlins in the iPads that scramble the orders just for the fun of it. Thus, deductive reasoning would have helped them out in this circumstance: “what is sent will be received.” Plus it would have assisted in limiting the line-ups going through their so-called drive-throughs. Now, let’s take the case of Steve Forbes, editor of Forbes Magazine, with whom I generally agree. Steve has a pitch in the latest Forbes, initiated by a history lesson, in which he describes the Germans’ determining that the early British combat tanks were immaterial and useless – seen to be too cumbersome and ineffective – resulting in a German high-command decision to not invest in manufacturing their own fleet. The result of that decision contributed to the country’s ultimate downfall in the Great War – we can recall the history of Patton’s high expertise in using these devices of battle. Steve Forbes, however, has made a leap of logic from that instance, which is certainly interesting, to the current situation with Bitcoin. In research circles, we call that using “an ‘n’ of one” – that is, only having one example available. Bitcoiin has recently been greatly devalued and Forbes is predicting a massive shake-out with lots of scandals following shortly. However, the leap of logic, supposedly employing deductive reasoning, and extracting from the German example by layering onto the Bitcoin one, is that people will be fooled, again, and that there will ultimately be: “advances . . . made in creating easy-to-use cryptocurrencies that will be genuine – and better – alternatives to the government fiat currencies we have today.” Both of these situations – the German one and the Bitcoin one – are stand-alone circumstances. Overlooking possibilities for tanks in combat certainly proved a downfall for the German Reich; however, there’s nothing to actually suggest that that will turn out to be the same situation for Bitcoin/alternative currencies. It may, or it may not. It could just be that this is one of those hare-brained ideas that needs to go down the drain. This is an instance where deductive reasoning has been used to disadvantage. Just because an entity is going to fail (in this instance, Bitcoin) does not necessarily mean that the same idea, only better, will ultimately prevail. There are times when that will happen; but the world is full of examples where ideas have simply failed and disappeared, not resurfaced in a better form. Sometimes things turn around; other times they do not. Presuming based on an isolated and unrelated example is, at best, a stretch. We’ll certainly initiate a “cryptocurrency” watch!
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