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Does coding improve one's formal logic?


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Benny-D
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Thanks for such a profound answer, however I would disagree with two points here:

 

 

Benny-D you should read about http://en.wikipedia....and_mathematics 
which probably enlightens you about logic and music 
 

- All those laws are more for those who study harmony in music schools. However,

there are  lot of composers out there - especially modern ones - who create music

- and quite successfully - and no nothing about those laws and relationships between

music and math. The outright example would be jazz  Avant-garde musicians. Their

music may contain some common patterns, however, the creators of that music are

far cry from thinking about them or even being aware of their existence.

 

 

A gifted person, doesnt need to learn this particular topics, but does
this entire process more intuitive - which is a genetical matter, but
the results are the same
 

- Exactly, you said that, "intuitive". Intuition is by definition something that is not according

to the logic. In fact, it is something illogical.

 

You said "but the results are the same", however, logic, as far as I understand, by definition

considers not only the results, but also the ways of getting to those results. That's why in logic,

say in syllogisms, besides propositions (conclusions) we also have minor and major premises

and the correct ways of inferring those propositions. Intuition,however, just presents a proposition

(premonition) without any logical explanation of how it was arrived at. Therefore, I think, such

examples as musicians or gifted people in general engaged in any creative activity would be

irrelevant examples here.



guest3456
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Thanks for such a profound answer, however I would disagree with two points here:

Benny-D you should read about http://en.wikipedia....and_mathematics 
which probably enlightens you about logic and music 
 
- All those laws are more for those who study harmony in music schools. However,
there are  lot of composers out there - especially modern ones - who create music
- and quite successfully - and no nothing about those laws and relationships between
music and math. The outright example would be jazz  Avant-garde musicians. Their
music may contain some common patterns, however, the creators of that music are
far cry from thinking about them or even being aware of their existence.


what is there to disagree with ?

whether or not the composers are aware of the underlying mathematics behind the music is irrelevant. the composer's "intuition" and "artistry" is simply an experienced based understanding of the underlying math. composers are putting different chords together that sound good, whether they have learned the Circle of Fifths or not. but you can bet that they intuitively 'know' the circle of fifths

if i spend time cutting pizzas into 8 slices, i am going to have an "intuitive feel" of division and fractions, whether or not i fully understand the math behind it.

similarly, an olympic athlete doesn't need to know anything about the physics of why he can run/jump/swim as good as he can, he just feels it. he might not be formally trained in the physics of gravity and drag and friction, but he "intuitively" understands these concepts based on his experience

however, none of those examples matter at all. the point is that there is an underlying structure that is going on, whether you want to/choose to acknowledge it or not

derRaphael
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Good point, but being intuitive doesnt neccessary mean that its illogical at the same time. Intuitive means only that the result is obtained from in-brain-processes, of which not all are in conscious thinking (Fun fact: we just call it conscious thinking, currently as for intelligence we are not really sure, what that actually is - http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Qualia). It doesnt say anything about these processes being logical or not.

 

If you take some approach like the correct driver's side in modern countries. Compare the US, who drive at the right side of the street to the British who drive on the left side. If you grew up in one of these countries and visit one, where the driving side is opposed to what your used to, you'll start feeling, that the new situation is somewhat "wrong" while being at home it's "right". You may say that this feeling results from your intuition. But it's just a logical conslusion, as your habits cannot be applied.

Gifted entities have the same "feelings" for their work, however they're just applying their "hidden" knowledge, which is represented by emotions, which are a combinition from personal habits, their expirienced parenting, social interactions and in parts their genetic code. After all there IS a logic behind it.

 

This applies for musicians aswell as for other performing artists. 

 

Logic itself has a wide array of specialized types and definitions. In most cases (except some philosophical issues), logic relies on a set of definitions which has been put in relationships to each other. Within these definitions one can find logical connections. But without definitions and relationships, the logic is either wrong or useless.

 

Take maths (once again) - i once learned that every science which lives from definitions is not a natural science, but a philosophy. As a conclusion, maths is a philosophy, since even in the very basic concepts, it defines states and put these into relationships. eg 100⁰ = 1 or more general x⁰ is always 1, this is not a logical conclusion, but a definition on which the rest relies on - it could have been aswell zero, undefined, or whatever, but we've chose it equals one as a definition - for no reason.

 

Take the savant syndrome (http://en.wikipedia....Savant_syndrome): some entities affected by this classification may calculate enormous numbers in fractions of a second without a calculator - they do this by intuition, yet their result are logical to the principles of math.

 

The ENS (http://en.wikipedia...._nervous_system), for example is capable of making decisions, which affect your conscious behaviour. It's the "feeling in the tummy". Still it is just a trained neuronal system working to the same principles as your brain does. 

 

BTW, there are some quite interesting studies about music: Prenatal expirience of harmonics affects how this foetus grows up and what talents it develops. I am pointing this out, because these studies may show that musicians have been trained on music as an unborn, and thus incorporated their earliest possible expiriences into latter performances and their understanding of music.

 

Currently modern neuro science has not a real clue on how the brain works or why seomthing is like it is - all they have are some vague theories about it. Even with state of the art methods like fMRT which "allows to live view brain interactions" it's like observing planets in a stellar systems bazillions of kilometres away and make assuptions what kind of TV Show the entities on this planet are currently watching.

 

But back to the topic: logic represents unmarked correct relations in a set of definitions, whereas intuition just represents results whithout a clear trace of how it was achieved. so far so good. This doesnt automatically mean that intuitive results are illogical in themselves.

 

From: http://www.merriam-w...onary/intuition

 

the power or faculty of attaining to direct knowledge or cognition without evident rational thought and inference

 

From: http://www.merriam-w...ictionary/logic

 

interrelation or sequence of facts or events when seen as inevitable or predictable

 

- and -

 

a particular mode of reasoning viewed as valid or faulty

 

By using these definitions, one might reason, that logic is also based on intuition grin.png

 

The brain is a selforganizing system, so that frequently used paths become stronger and less used paths become weaker (but dont vanish). By training this neural network, stuff becomes more common untill in has a highly automated grade. The neural pathways from gifted people differ to the paths from trained ones, as gifted people usually miss connections which trained people have, but pathways result in same consequences. However gifted people may undergo the same education as non-talented, and hence deduce their intuitive decision on "logical" thinking. 

 

Logic is not a construct of what we believe to be inevitable. My point is, that logic is only a relationsystem based on prior knowledge of a set of definitions/standards. It doesnt say how the definitions/standards are obtained, and this makes intuitive decisions or creative works also a matter of logic as they are based on the same principles as logic deduced from learned definitions.

 

 

 

 

 



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sinkfaze
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So, to sum up what you just said, would I be safe to say that it's impossible to be logical in a certain field unless you have experience in that filed?

 
It's not impossible, but it is very difficult because, unlike their field of expertise, they may not necessarily understand all of the factors involved.
 

I am a bit puzzled by your example of musicians. I mean, programmers definitely need to be logical in writing a code, otherwise the code will not work, but musicians writing music, i.e. composers, aren't they more like artists painting pictures? I mean they create pieces of art that can be highly illogical, however, the art is not the matter of logic, but the matter of taste - some like it, some don't.

 
You're actually giving a prime example of the kind of thing I mean as above. Writing and performing music has its own rules. If songs have bad form, if melodies don't evoke a response, if harmonies have improper voicings, if instruments and orchestration don't act in certain roles, the song doesn't work. Just because you wrote a song doesn't mean it's objectively good and any criticism of it is just a matter of taste. There is a great degree of logic, structure and method in even the most seemingly illogical music; the difference is that typically it's only other musicians who know what to listen for.



jaco0646
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Basically, the more you exorcise your mind the better it will work. This has been proven in multiple studies.

 

I love the typo. "Basically, the more you expel demons from your mind the better it will work. This has been proven in multiple movies." :)



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demons-be-gone.jpg



dmg
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Umm... I meant to do that? shy.png


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Benny-D
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Coders/programmers, in my experience for example, appreciate the
subtlety and complexity of the process of writing and executing code.
Musicians, similarly, appreciate the subtlety and complexity of the
process of writing and playing music


 

whether or not the composers are aware of the underlying mathematics
behind the music is irrelevant. the composer's "intuition" and
"artistry" is simply an experienced based understanding of the
underlying math. composers are putting different chords together that
sound good, whether they have learned the Circle of Fifths or not. but

you can bet that they intuitively 'know' the circle of fifths


 

Gifted entities have the same "feelings" for their work, however they're just
applying their "hidden" knowledge, which is represented by emotions,
which are a combination from personal habits, their experienced
parenting, social interactions and in parts their genetic code. After
all there IS a logic behind it.This applies for musicians as well as for other

performing artists.

 

- I am sorry, colleagues, but I just don't get it! Perhaps, my definition of logic is

very specific, and yours is very broad. To me, logical thinking by definition

implies an act of a continuous thinking, not a subconscious or intuitive one.

 

You all, while being skillful programmers, and, as I assume, people more related

to the realm of logic and math, rather than the realm of arts, are naturally thinking

that your realm encompasses the realm of arts. It is just like those from the realm

of arts would naturally think that logical thinking is nothing else, but arts.

 

While, of course, I can't question your expertise in programming, let alone competing

with that, I can still somewhat challenge your expertise in the realm of arts as I spent

the most of my life exactly in that realm, particularly composing music. I am sorry,

but I just can peacefully acknowledge that the process of composing music is akin to

the process of logical thinking.

 

Perhaps, you know that the tune for "Satisfaction" by "Rolling Stones" was in fact

written by Jagger while he was asleep. You may also know the the tune for

"Strawberry Fields Forever" by "Beatles" was written by means of cutting a few

cassette tapes into pieces, mixing them all up, gluing  them together, and playing

that all back as one tape on the cassette player. The "Because" theme by

the same "Beatles" was written by playing back the "Moonlight Sonata" by Beethoven

in the reversed way. You would still call all of that the process of logical thinking?!!!!

What about those painters who literally smear canvases with paints in random order

with their eyes closed and later trying to sell them as valuable pieces of art? You

would still call it logical thinking?!!!!

 

If yes, than I just don't understand what the difference is between logical thinking and

arts. Why on earth then we have a separate word "arts"?!

 

Also, what about the arts being still the matter of taste? Would you also call logical

reasoning the matter of taste?! You know, if I sell my audio record, I know for sure that

there will be some people who will like it, as well as those who will not like it. So, all the

buyers know that, while buying my records, they are taking some risk. However, I don't

think they can sue me for the fact that my records were not to their liking.

 

However, if you write a piece of software that you claim can perform,say, some math

operation, say, addition, and I buy it from you, bring it home and then discover that

when I pass "2" and"3" to it it returns "4" instead of "5", I think I'll be quite successful

in the court in getting my money back from you, and you will probably have a hard

time proving to me and to the judge that I just "didn't like your logic" and that you "in

fact didn't do anything wrong".



sinkfaze
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Just to clarify Benny, long ago in a land far, far away I was a musician.  The majority of my college years were spent in pursuit of a music theory/jazz studies double-major, I played with various types of bands on nights and weekends and occassionally toured locally during the summers through high school and college.  I'm not BS-ing you when I tell you that musicians employ rigorous logic and method to their creation process, but again (as I pointed out previously), it's a process that you, and indeed many people, are not familiar with.


The story about Jagger actually makes my point more than it makes yours.  Ask yourself: Why do songs "just come" to people like Jagger or Lennon and not just everybody?  Is it really just some God-like dumb luck floating around in the sky?  Hardly.  Songs "just come" to people like Jagger or Lennon because they had a rigorous amount of immersion in the logic and method of songs and songwriting.  Note that I'm not necessarily talking about formal training in musical theory or technique, there have been many musicians throughout history who were self-taught and couldn't read a note of music.  But they listened to a lot of music, they heard a logic and structure to it (even if they couldn't put it into words), they understood its language. 


Songs "just come" to those types of people because their minds are sufficiently prepared for them to come, just like the answers to coding problems "just come" to the best forum members here.



strobo
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eg 100⁰ = 1 or more general x⁰ is always 1, this is not a logical conclusion, but a definition on which the rest relies on - it could have been aswell zero, undefined, or whatever, but we've chose it equals one as a definition - for no reason.


Of course, it is a definition, but there are reasons for. E.g. if one wants the formula x^m x^n=x^(m+n) to hold also for negative, say, n whenever x!=0 (with eg. x^(-1)=1/x). Then, it is necessary: 1=x^1 x^(-1)=x^(1-1)=x^0. (There are also reasons for 0^0=1.)

OnTopic:
Imho, Benny-D's logic is (to some extend) formal logic (not A or B and C). In contrast to some other logics in this topic defined as "something is good in logics in its field if it is succesfull there."
A falling (rolling;) stone does not integrate its equation of motion, it falls (rocks).
When you are good at painting it would not be easy to transform other problems such that you can solve it with your painting skills. If you are good at formal logic you can search for a simple (formal) model to solve a problem.
Imho, coding can train you in abstraction, modelling and organizing ... maybe also formal logic, but this depends clearly on the code (e.g. coding a theorem prover on some domain) as it was pointed out earlier.
Regards,
Babba

derRaphael
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Of course, it is a definition, but there are reasons for. E.g. if one wants the formula x^m x^n=x^(m+n) to hold also for negative, say, n whenever x!=0 (with eg. x^(-1)=1/x). Then, it is necessary: 1=x^1 x^(-1)=x^(1-1)=x^0. (There are also reasons for 0^0=1.)

 

Babba, of course you are right. You have to excuse my - sometimes at last - polemic way of illustrating my point. the 0^0 problem states - what i believe you meant - that 0^0 equals 1 and 0^0 equals undefined depending on where its used.

 

The simple explanation of that goes like this:

a³ = 1 * a * a * a
a² = 1 * a * a
a¹ = 1 * a
a⁰ = 1 

 

or more general 

a^n = 1 ( times n times a muliplying with itself ) 

 

Which is not a mere prove, but a definition.

 

However, apart from the fact that other neccessities simply wont work out if it were otherwise.

 

a⁰ = 1, while a != 0 remains a definition

 

 I am sorry, colleagues, but I just don't get it! Perhaps, my definition of logic is

very specific, and yours is very broad. To me, logical thinking by definition

implies an act of a continuous thinking, not a subconscious or intuitive one.

 

Benny-D, can you please elaborate on that issue. E.g. make an example of what exactly you understand under "an act of a continuous thinking". Because from what i learned about thinking processes, there is no such thing as continuous thinking, but a rather enduring "subconscious" process, which handles all issues we have, and, after it made decisions, passes it's decision to our "conscious" thinking. Our brain - or subconscioussness - sorts out all facts, according to our knowledge and it's "wiring" and informs afterwards the conscious self about its conclusions. Eg. the brain activates all neccessary parts in order to lift an arm, and after that has taken place, the conscious self is aware of the wish to move an arm. In that order. From current fMRT studies, this affects everything which takes place in our head. More general, first the wiring takes over and afterwards we are aware of what we want. In other words, we only have the illusion of a free will, in fact everything we do and "think" is predetermined by our brainware.

 

If yes, than I just don't understand what the difference is between logical thinking and

arts. Why on earth then we have a separate word "arts"?!

 

Now that is a simple one. As mentioned before, for arts there is also no valid definition, but rather a bunch of attempts.

 

"Arts copy Life - while life copy Arts" is what comes closest to a definition. Sample: The movie "Terminator II" is a fictious work but still placed in an environment, we - as observer - may accept. So the movie tries to create the illusion of "normal" scenarious, which happen to take place in a world we're used to. This includes what i meant with "Copy Life". However there is this famous saying of the Terminator: "Hasta la vista, Baby!", which was/is used by many people who use this term in situations in their normal life- this is the "Life copy Arts"-part. 

 

In my understanding, Arts simply refers to a category of works, which implies that the work is outstanding compared to standard attempts by "normalos" to achieve the same.

 

As you asked about the matter of taste. The personal taste is just a subjective judgement of whatever, depending on the bunch of expiriences we call our life. This is actually that simple, you just have to keep in mind, that the "bunch of expiriences" covers our entire life, the molecular order of our receptor cells and the prenatal "expiriences" we made, when we we weren't even capable of thinking at all, simply because the cells, we're made of, simply didn't reach the level of complexity to create a feeling for one's own body - it covers just everything. As a conclusion, taste depends very strongly on we expirienced.

BTW, this way of argumenting, regarding the Qualia-Problem, has been classified by a philosophic guy name David Chalmers as Type-A materialism, while some other philosophic guy named Daniel Dennett supports this thesis of the so called materialism (Dispute and thesis videos).

 

 



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guest3456
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While, of course, I can't question your expertise in programming, let alone competing
with that, I can still somewhat challenge your expertise in the realm of arts as I spent
the most of my life exactly in that realm, particularly composing music. I am sorry,
but I just can peacefully acknowledge that the process of composing music is akin to
the process of logical thinking.

whether you peacefully acknowledge it or not does not matter to the underlying facts.

your music example is probably the worst you could choose to support your position, since music is so structured.

if you are a composer then certainly you understand that a major scale is composed of notes with intervals between each note of the pattern: whole step, whole step, half step, whole step, whole step, whole step, half step. if you deviate from these intervals, the resulting note sounds "off" or "wrong". the music will not sound good.

 

Perhaps, you know that the tune for "Satisfaction" by "Rolling Stones" was in fact
written by Jagger while he was asleep. You may also know the the tune for
"Strawberry Fields Forever" by "Beatles" was written by means of cutting a few
cassette tapes into pieces, mixing them all up, gluing  them together, and playing
that all back as one tape on the cassette player. The "Because" theme by
the same "Beatles" was written by playing back the "Moonlight Sonata" by Beethoven
in the reversed way. You would still call all of that the process of logical thinking?!!!!
What about those painters who literally smear canvases with paints in random order
with their eyes closed and later trying to sell them as valuable pieces of art? You
would still call it logical thinking?!!!!

certainly you're confused.

no one is claiming that logical thinking has produced the results in those examples above.

what we are saying is that, there is a logic that underlies many things whether you want to overlook that logic or not.
 

Also, what about the arts being still the matter of taste?

whether "Moonlight" gives you a dark and melancholy feeling or the 2nd movement of "Pathetique" gives you a peaceful happy feeling is all based on the interpretation of the music by both the performer and the listener.

that comes to personal interpretation obviously and has nothing to do with the discussion.
 

The story about Jagger actually makes my point more than it makes yours.  Ask yourself: Why do songs "just come" to people like Jagger or Lennon and not just everybody?  Is it really just some God-like dumb luck floating around in the sky?  Hardly.  Songs "just come" to people like Jagger or Lennon because they had a rigorous amount of immersion in the logic and method of songs and songwriting.  Note that I'm not necessarily talking about formal training in musical theory or technique, there have been many musicians throughout history who were self-taught and couldn't read a note of music.  But they listened to a lot of music, they heard a logic and structure to it (even if they couldn't put it into words), they understood its language. 

Songs "just come" to those types of people because their minds are sufficiently prepared for them to come, just like the answers to coding problems "just come" to the best forum members here.

bingo. this is exactly what i meant in my previous post

you could certainly claim that there is an "artistry" to coding as well. sometimes i am awed by a solution that i see, when i see a piece of code that is very elegant and clean and a way of solving the problem that i never thought of. it opens my eyes to possibilities and it is a experience of personal growth. you could claim that this experience is the same as someone hearing a piece of music that touches them or looking at a piece of artwork that they resonate with.

Benny-D
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Benny-D, can you please elaborate on that issue. E.g. make an example of what exactly you understand under "an act of a continuous thinking". Because from what i learned about thinking processes, there is no such thing as continuous thinking, but a rather enduring "subconscious" process, which handles all issues we have, and, after it made decisions, passes it's decision to our "conscious" thinking.

 

- I am sorry, that was a typo. Instead of "continuous thinking" it should be "conscious thinking".

My stupid word editor must've corrected my spelling mistake by substituting a completely

different word.

 

So let me repeat myself here again with the right words:


"To me, logical thinking by definition implies an act of a conscious thinking,

not a subconscious or intuitive one"

 

Of course, given what you said, I mean the fact that there is a subconscious process that

forgoes and underlies the conscious thinking - this fact I, of course, don't deny - I, perhaps,

should modify my words a bit:

 


"To me, logical thinking by definition implies the presence of conscious thinking,

not a subconscious or intuitive one"

 

I mean, if a person is thinking in his mind something like "Since all cats are mammals, and all

mammals feed their babies with milk, I think cats are also mammals", regardless of

the fact that there is a subconscious process underlying this individual's logical reasoning,

the process of conscious thinking is also present here. This is quite different from the process

of making noise while snoring (see my example of how Mick Jagger came up with a tune for

his "Satisfaction") or randomly smearing a canvas with paints of different colors.

 

Sure, you could claim that there still are some logical patterns underlying Mick Jagger's snoring

and some artist's random hurls of paint at the canvas, well, perhaps, there are such ones - I

don't argue against that - however, in these two cases neither the one who snores nor the one who

throws paint at the canvas is even aware of them, has ever tried to study them, or even

bothered to do that.

 

 

 

 



Benny-D
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wyour music example is probably the worst you could choose to support

your position, since music is so structured.

if you are a composer then certainly you understand that a major scale is

composed of notes with intervals between each note of the pattern: whole

step, whole step, half step, whole step, whole step, whole step, half step.

if you deviate from these intervals, the resulting note sounds "off" or "wrong".

the music will not sound good

 

- I wonder if you have ever listened to "Revolution # 9" from Beatles's

White Album. Or such tracks as "Baby's Heartbeat" and "Two Minutes

Silence" from Lennon and Ono's "Unfinished Music No.2: Life with the

Lions", the first track featuring the abnormal heartbeat of their unborn

baby (sadly, later miscarried) and the second one presenting to the

listeners nothing else, but just complete silence. I wonder how many of

those major scale notes and intervals you would be able to detect there.

However, Lennon and Ono still considered those tracks their music, as well

as their art. And there were some (quite a few, actually) who liked and

appreciated those two pieces recorded by Lennon and Yoko.

 

However, whether you finally succeed in discovering those intervals there or not,

the authors were not really aware of those patterns and didn't really care about

knowing them - all of those patters, if there were some at all, remained in their

subconscious. That is what I find as a striking difference from the process of logical

thinking that I am talking about here - that kind of thinking, when the thinker is

aware of patters of logic and is consciously trying to construct his thoughts

according to them.



Benny-D
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Certainly you're confused. no one is claiming that logical thinking has produced

the results in those examples above. What we are saying is that, there is a logic

that underlies many things whether you want to overlook that logic or not.

 

- But my original question here was not about the existence of logic that

"underlies many things". Please read the title of this thread again:

 

"Does writing more code make a person better at logical thinking?"

 

If in my question I had been asking merely about that logic that underlies any

one's thinking, then my whole question would have been quite nonsensical

as the logic that you are talking about always underlies people's thinking and

it can't do it better or worse, it simply does it.