I wish I knew who to attribute the above quote to.
Pure reason gets us nowhere without input to process, and input without processing is useless, a “blooming, buzzing confusion,” that requires we make sense of it to do anything with it.
We must depend for most of our learning on input of some sort, and a means of processing that input reliably and effectively. Reason, thinking our way from premises to conclusion, must work together with sense data, both firsthand and secondhand to do it’s work.
Over at Left Hemispheres, Steve wrote a good piece on religious logic, how it can be and often is internally consistent, but how it’s the premises, not the logic which are often at fault.
The problem for much of the reasoning I encounter is that the premises used in arguments often presume facts simply not in evidence, so no matter how valid the logic, the argument doesn’t even get onto the proverbial airfield, much less actually fly.
I notice this a lot in pseudo-scientific arguments, or religious apologetics, on those occasions when the speaker is actually minding the quality of his reasoning, only to use as premises assumptions and factoids that are just not the case or even if true, don’t support his or her position.
…After all, arguing from false premises even when sincere is still deceptive when simple ignorance is not at play, as the deception is carried out on both oneself and others, and using falsehoods on purpose is willfully dishonest and deserves to be called out.
Actually, all should be called out, error and willful or pious fraud.
When sound argument, not just valid argument is the goal, facts matter…
…and they’d better be demonstrable, too.