Happy Birthday to Me

Jealous of Mick LaSalle

If I learned nothing else in debate, I learned it was a cheap shot to start with a definition, so here is the definition of inductive reasoning:

“Inductive reasoning aims at developing a theory while deductive reasoning aims at testing an existing theory.” Seems simple, right? Inductive reasoning allows you to induce the existence of forest when you see hundreds of trees. I can look at a thousand trees and never induce the existence of a forest.

Curse you inductive reasoning my old nemesis. I have never been successful at inducing. It’s been a weakness since college. It was particularly difficult during my years as a technology journalist. You were supposed to attend a trade show with hundreds of booths, then write a story about the trend that tied them together. I was worse at this than my colleagues and competitors. So I sniffed around the consultants and trade show staff until someone offered me a plausible theory to which the facts could be twisted. 

I thought of this as I read a column by Mick La Salle of the San Francisco Chronicle. He and I both have the same information available; the number of women starring in Hollywood movies. Of course, he had precise numbers, since that is an obsession of his, whereas I had only an impression, but he was able to find an overall theory about the increasing number of starring roles for women, through the process of inductive reasoning, where all I saw was a more women in films.

That I know of, there is no training course or seminar to improve your inductive reasoning,  and, at 70, I don’t expect much call for it. Still… I don’t have a lot of writing weaknesses, so this one irks me. No writers’ block, ever. As many words as you want. I write better than anyone who writes faster and faster than anyone who writes better. My grammar is excellent thanks to my English teacher mother. My spelling is . adequate; my typing speed is good enough (for a guy who hunts and pecks. Real typists weep when they watch me type). I write good newspaper-style stories and acceptable magazine-style stories.


Verify your Comment

Previewing your Comment

This is only a preview. Your comment has not yet been posted.

Your comment could not be posted. Error type:
Your comment has been saved. Comments are moderated and will not appear until approved by the author. Post another comment

The letters and numbers you entered did not match the image. Please try again.

As a final step before posting your comment, enter the letters and numbers you see in the image below. This prevents automated programs from posting comments.

Having trouble reading this image? View an alternate.


Post a comment

Comments are moderated, and will not appear until the author has approved them.

Your Information

(Name and email address are required. Email address will not be displayed with the comment.)