If they actually were logical, it would be easy to crush them

You know that familiar Star Trekkie trope where a human makes a computer explode by leading it into a logical contradiction? It doesn’t work. It never works. Otherwise the final panel of this comic would be the freezepeacher alien melting down into a puddle of goo.

Any sentient brain will be at least subconsciously aware that it can’t encompass the entire universe of phenomena and so will be accustomed to shunting contradictions to the side. If it doesn’t fit the model of the world in their head, it’s ignored (or, in unfortunately rare cases, is used to modify the model).

That’s not the point of this comic, I know, but it just made me pine for a universe where the people who claim to be masters of objective truth actually would explode or disintegrate or whatever it is beings of pure logic do when logic fails.


  1. says

    I also remember a scene in a humorous 1960s comic by Wallace Wood where a little man with a briefcase stops a marauding robot from clonking him on the head by asking it the square root of seven. Whenever we see the robot after that, it’s still reciting digits. Good thing it wasn’t a multi-tasker.

  2. Akira MacKenzie says

    “So you think the people who own the platforms should be able to pick and choose what people can say?”

    Well, the alt.right/libertarian side of the political spectrum are supposedly big fans of “freedome of choice” and the ability of private entities to do with the property what they please… until they do something that affects the shitlords.

  3. pipefighter says

    I like the argument that the social media giants should be regulated as public utilities. Then first amendment rules apply and anytime someone is taken down it’s only done after an open and transparent process instead of silicon Valley oligarchs and their investors doing it with zero accountability. That said, I know civil libertarians that would make the argument that in principle the private entities (like say football teams whose players choose to kneel) who restrict the speech of their employees or customers (youtube content creators) are anti free speech. It’s not contradictory to say it’s wrong but also shouldn’t be regulated by the state.

  4. microraptor says

    The funniest example of logic-bombing a robot with a paradox comes from the anime Ghost in the Shell: Stand Alone Complex, when a couple of Tachikomas (who are themselves AIs) use the Liar’s Paradox on a simpler AI, causing her to lock up trying to resolve it.

    Tachikoma: Folks that can’t handle a self-reference paradox are real suckers.

  5. microraptor says

    But of course, the freeze peachers don’t actually want free speech. They just want the right to drown out ever contradictory argument and deny all opposing points of view any chance to speak.

  6. says

    And there’s the XKCD take, that invoking one’s right free speech is not appealing to some vaunted and cherished ideal that some would like to believe but the ultimate concession that it’s technically not illegal to say what you said. Such noble. Wow.

    When I was a kid and being instructed in the gentle art of the slagging match and someone called you, for example a poopyhead, the worst thing you could do was to begin your comeback with, “at least”, as in, “yeah? Well, at least I’m not a…!” Because that implied you accepted your opponent’s opinion of you. You were a poopyhead. You had already conceded that. You were, to use a meme of latter days, already dead. Invoking free speech like these guys do is the ultimate “at least”.

  7. notruescott says

    Funny how Google and Facebook and Twitter “should” be considered public utilities, but the internet (with net neutrality) absolutely should not?

  8. pipefighter says

    I said regulate them as public utilities. Isn’t the whole point of net neutrality to regulate the Internet as a public utility?