I wish that a course in symbolic logic was a prerequisite for every university degree. I took Philosophy 120 in my first year returning to school after an extended absence from academic life. It was the only college-level course — other than the pass-fail system of post-graduate studies — in which I received a perfect grade. I’m not bragging or anything — ok, I am bragging. But I was pleased that I’d discovered something I was good at.
Honestly, when I signed up for Phil 120, I thought we’d be reading philosophy. Instead, the subject matter ended up being more like word-math: it’s about true and false statements, about constructing arguments, about following logical thought processes. I had never been good at math with numbers. But I’d never needed to study for anything language-related. Here was the perfect marriage. With symbolic logic, you can quickly build sound arguments, and just as quickly pick apart others’ flawed word equations. With symbolic logic, it’s either right or it’s not.
Symbolic logic is first and foremost an invaluable tool to have when trying to understand modern, complex doublespeak, legalese, and jargon — for example, it’s useful when trying to understand what politicians are saying. Precisely, it’s useful in understanding that, most of the time, politicians aren’t following any form of logic whatsoever — symbolic or otherwise.
Let’s look at an example. Symbolic logic covers what we call if/then propositions: if this, then that: if I drop a glass on the concrete floor, it will smash. We understand the components of this statement. We know what a glass is, we know the law of gravity and what gravity does, and we have a reasonable idea of what will happen when glass encounters concrete at speed. We can reasonably assume, then, that this if/then statement has a strong possibility of being true. There is not much room for debate.
Recently, I heard a politician making another kind of if/then argument that would hold up less well under the scrutiny of symbolic logic. The statement went like this: ‘Yes, I know that many “fully vaccinated” people are still testing positive for covid, but if we didn’t have X% of the population fully vaccinated, our positivity, hospitalization, and death rates would be much higher.’
Now, this seems like a much more complicated sentence on the surface than the previous example about the smashing glass, but upon closer inspection, it’s almost exactly the same. And with just a little analysis, we will immediately see the logic begin to break down.
Just as we know reasonably what a glass is, we also know that fully vaccinated people are now testing positive for covid: before Christmas, the number was reaching the 50% mark of all positive cases. This is clear. But the certainty of the rest of the argument rests upon conjecture that is far less certain. Unlike gravity, which we stand on every day, we do not know with any certainty the efficacy of vaccines. Furthermore and thus, we cannot possibly know how vaccines might have mitigated any potentially worse problem. Unlike a glass smashing upon contact with concrete, which is nearly universally certain to happen, we know less about what vaccines do long term than what covid does. Let’s follow the logic.
If Covid-19 was a brand new virus that was discovered in December, 2019, and scientists began studying immediately its effects, then there is a body of data on the effects of Covid-19 leading back to December, 2019. If a brand new vaccine was invented in December, 2020, to combat covid, and scientists immediately began studying its effects, then there is a body of data on the effects of the Covid vaccine leading back to December, 2020. You will notice a temporal discrepancy here: one year’s worth of data. We have one year more data on the effects of Covid than on the effects of a vaccine.
This not only nullifies the faulty if/then logic around whether or not the covid situation would be worse without any vaccines, it nullifies the entire argument around getting a vaccine in the first place. Here’s why.
If we have one year more data on the effects of covid, and ultimately the effects aren’t as terrible as we had thought, then it is probable that the vaccine presents a worse option, long term. In the early days of covid, just as we are now hearing with the omicron variant, we are being told that the reported positivity rates are probably 10x lower than the real number of covid cases. In other words, there are likely 10x more people with covid than reported. But we also know with a very high degree of certainty that there are very, very few deaths worldwide going unnoticed. Nobody is dying alone of covid somewhere in the wilderness — that’s not how this virus transmits — and there is no doubt that governments and media are counting and reporting every single covid death they can. So, if these things are true, we have to conclude that covid all along has been about 10x less dangerous, and at least 10x less deadly, than we’ve been led to believe.
On the other hand, we do have reliable numbers emerging already on vaccine-related injuries. Even with one year’s less data, real dangers are apparent with the effects of vaccines. So far, there have been 30,900 adverse events reported to the Canadian government, after only 12 months. After nearly 22 months, there have been 30,399 covid-attributed deaths in Canada. Given that we can expect the number of adverse reactions to stay constant again next year, and the number of covid deaths to decrease significantly, we must conclude logically that there are more vaccine injuries than covid deaths. The gamble, then, seems to be: die of covid, or live out the rest of your life probably adversely affected by vaccines.
If you don’t think that vaccines could be dangerous, or that there is no way that, at this of all times in human history, pharma companies would deceive us, then read on and follow the logic.
Here’s what we know about viruses. As with the Spanish Flu, there is a big burst of illness, and then the virus becomes endemic. We have never gotten rid of the flu, as we know with certainty, because there is nobody reading this who has never had the flu. Therefore, viruses become less harmful over time, as our bodies naturally become accustomed and thus immune to them.
On the other hand, the pharmaceutical industry has a long history of continuing to be harmful over time. Bayer’s Cutter Laboratories knowingly continued to sell HIV-contaminated products to hemophiliac patients in Asia and Latin America. This egregious case is just one entry on a lengthy list of instances in which companies that are supposed to produce life-saving products instead put profits before people. Just as we can predict with almost 100% certainty that a glass will smash on concrete — because we’ve seen it hundreds and hundreds of times — we can conclude that pharmaceutical companies, which are supposed to have our best interests at heart, more often than not don’t. Thus, there is a better chance that getting ill and recovering from covid will be less injurious than taking a vaccine. That’s not just good science, it’s sound logic.
But let’s not stop there. In the wake of covid, many people make arguments which might otherwise sound logical, but aren’t. And they are key to perpetuating this illogical cycle of misinformation. It happens in the media, too; but it’s most powerful in everyday conversation. Thus, you might hear something like, ‘you need a license to drive, so there’s no reason you shouldn’t need a vaccine passport.’ Or, ‘you have to wear a seat belt, so there’s no reason you shouldn’t have to wear a mask in public.’ These arguments are false equivalencies. They may sound vaguely like they’re rooted somewhere in logic, but they are ultimately not true statements and we can prove it. Let’s investigate.
With logic, we can often use a series of if/then propositions to deduce some form of true conclusion. For instance, we can say, if all glasses are breakable, and gravity is a constant force, then all glasses will break when they hit concrete. This we know to be true because of experience. However, we can also make a logical argument that is obviously false. For instance, all cats are green, and I have a cat, therefore my cat is green. We know from experience (other than poor punks’ cats) that no cats are green. So, even though this argument follows a familiar logic, it has to be discarded as false through comparison to lived experience.
If we wear seatbelts and suffer a car collision, we have experience that the seatbelt is effective. We have less data on the effectiveness of masks, and more data, in fact, that points to their ineffectiveness. If what we are told is true and the covid virus can transmit through the air on aerosol particles less than one micron in diameter, and there are no masks that prevent particles less than one micron in diameter from permeating their barrier, then there is no such thing as a covid-proof mask. And vaccine passports, we all know, do not entail a skill, like driving, and thus do not qualify or credentialize anyone of anything.
If we look back to a few logical arguments ago, we will also recall that, of the people currently testing positive for covid, around 50% are fully vaccinated. So, having the vaccine, and thus a passport, doesn’t diminish the virus’s spread or ensure any measure of public safety. We know this after only one year of experience. And yet we know after hundreds and hundreds of years of dealing with viruses that they become less and less severe over time. If we put all this together, we can logically conclude that we know far more about the success of the body to deal with this and other viruses than we do about any of the Covid vaccines.
We can now make a logical leap and postulate that maybe the pharmaceutical companies are a little bit to blame for the covid crisis. When police detectives investigate a crime, they always look first to see who benefits most. Through experience, this usually leads them to the culprit. And herein lies the lede: we cannot logically be anti-capitalist and pro-vaccine at once. If all the pharmaceutical companies of the world had united together to produce an effective vaccine at low or no cost to the entire world, then it might be easier to argue that the pharmaceutical industry puts lives before profits. But that didn’t happen. Instead, what did happen is that the CEO of Pfizer made a quick $5.6 million on the day their vaccine was announced, and was recently quoted predicting yearly boosters.
Let me ask a rhetorical question here: if the CEO of any other company told any classic leftist type that they needed to buy their product every year, would the leftist believe them? If Elon Musk, say, or Tim Cook, told you that you had to buy a new Tesla or a new iPhone every year, would you follow their advice? The answer, deduced through ample life experience is, of course not.
Surely, one of the most devious things about this pandemic is that it has encouraged debate in absence of logic. This is why I wish symbolic logic was a universal requirement — so that otherwise intelligent and well-meaning people might see the error of their thinking in advance, and not be misled by obviously incorrect lines of argument. Do not engage these people. Simply direct them to their nearest university and suggest that they enroll post haste in intro to Philosophy 120.