So I’ve tried enough, read enough and seen enough proposals that while I don’t know everything there is to know about Kryptos and the efforts surrounding it, I can describe some of the reasons we are failing.  How’s that possible!?!  Well, besides specific methods, there are aspects of logical arguments, the scientific method, common sense and problem solving that can become a weakness in any given proposal.  The number of times I’ve failed to solve Kryptos, the number of times I used an informal logical fallacy in a critique, and my own general ignorance are the spur to hone my efforts and yours.

I’m proud to present a new series on Kryptos for your reading enjoyment:

How to fail at Kryptos

I even kick things off with:

Part 1: Logical Fallacies

Now the thing to keep in mind with formal and informal logical fallacies is that they are easy to make.  I bet if you read even the small scattering of pages I’ve written, you’d find a good example of quite a few.  What I’m suggesting is not that we’re all idiots who need a formal education in logic.  Instead what I’m suggesting is that when you’re forming a proposal, consider if you’ve made any of these errors.  If you’re considering someone else’s proposal, consider if they’ve made any of these errors.  When responding in the form of a critique or even swear-word infested rant, consider checking to make sure you haven’t made a blunder in your logic.

They’re easy to do but not always easy to classify.  Sometimes with the consequent advantages of an orderly categorization comes the inability to classify something that is not a “perfect fit”.  You may find a partial use of a fallacy, a combination of several or even just experience difficulty knowing the types well enough to pick.  Sometimes we are just absolutely convinced that they’re wrong but you just can’t find the words.  It’s important to be just as logical in assessing any given method as you are in developing one.  Unfortunately things like, “I feel” or “I think” or “it should”, “it could”, “it would” do not have a place in a well thought out and well defended proposal.  Independent of the type of deciphering strategy, the logic must be sound to have any confidence in the validity of a statement.  Otherwise it’s just another he-said-she-said argument that is impossible to prove right or wrong and just bogs the whole process down.

This is only one aspect of logic and only one means of failure but the better quality of an effort we can produce, the more confident we can be that it is approaching the truth.