Sunday, February 19, 2006

Logical Proof as to Why Richard Cohen Can't Write

Washington Post bloviator-in-chief Richard Cohen has at last revealed the missing piece of his autobiography that explains why his columns consistently eschew even the remotest trace of logic.

Cohen barely passed algebra in high school.

Writing about the utter uselessness of algebra in protest of a story chronicling a young woman's failure to graduate from high school in Los Angeles because she could not meet a new algebra requirement, Cohen intones that algebra is useless and offers himself as exhibit A.

Of course, Mr. Cohen, the object of much SWNIDish ridicule for his mangling of facts and logic, simply doesn't know what he's missing. Blind to the logic of equations representing variables with letters, he is likewise blind to other logical expressions. So he fails to see the value of algebra, the logic of which he fails to understand, the value of the Iraq War, the logic of which he fails to understand, the conservative worldview, the logic of which he fails to understand, et cetera.

Hence, he sets forth that writing, not algebra, is the great teacher of logic, offering his success as a writer as irrefutable proof. Too bad that his writing generally fails to demonstrate logic. He's proved the opposite of his thesis, but he's the last person to know.

We recall about two years ago listening to a story on the reactionary NPR network that noted extensive research demonstrating that success in algebra is the best indicator of success in college and covering the extensive effort in primary and secondary education to ensure success in algebra among the widest possible range of students. Such efforts are documented in the LA Times story on which Cohen opined, which also documents the district's inadequate staffing to meet its own requirement. It also notes the confident opinions of students who, like Cohen, are failing algebra, that they'll never need the stuff.

Certainly we should expect people who don't understand something to be in the best position to determine its value. We leave it to gentle readers to note and comment on other examples of this remarkable phenomenon of human judgment.


Calus The Great said...

I'm not sure if being good at math enables one to use logic in writing. See my upcoming post on Bertrand Russell's incredibly weak speech, "Why I Am Not A Christian."

Anonymous said...

Let me see: Isn't it true that the principles of logic apply regardless of the field? In other words Lm=Lw (Logic in math = Logic in writing).


Anonymous said...

Or maybe:
M+L=Correct answer
W+L=Correct answer


Rustypants said...

would it be safe to say that you are the bloviator-in-chief of CCU?