Open-mindedness and pseudoscientific beliefs

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Lord Palmerston
Open-mindedness and pseudoscientific beliefs

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Lord Palmerston

[url=http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=T69TOuqaqXI]A look at some of the flawed thinking that prompts people who believe in certain non-scientific concepts to advise others who don't to be more open-minded.[/url]

6079_Smith_W

I saw this video some time ago.

While I really like the way it lays out the rational arguments, it has definite flaws.

Unfortunatley it does not just stick to irrational beliefs, but gets pretty quickly into the area of tolerance of others' beliefs, which is a completely different matter.

Ascribing all the rudeness, intolerance and irrational thinking to the straw person who coincidentally hold certain beliefs muddies the issue, because really it is about ways of thinking and relating to others, not whether these beliefs have any foundation or not.

To portray the non-scientific believers as rude and intolerant strawfigures who are defeated by a rational, benign protagonist was clearly necessary for the exercise, but it is hardly a perfect reflection of reality.

That is why it gets confusing to bring in actual beliefs and social issues without a bit of context. I can see the point in making some references, but to do so was risky at best. I think the piece took no steps to temper the association between these beliefs and rude and stupid behaviour, and even with threats to our health and finances.

Intolerance, smugness and closed-mindedness do not have a direct correlation with any world view, and we all behave in ways which are much more nuanced and paradoxical than the models presented.

To imply that whole groups of people think in a certain way (which the piece certainly did) is both irrational and unfair. And it does a disservice to what is otherwise a good argument.

Plus, there are a couple of things in there that make no sense themselves. There is no such thing as a purely rational person, nor a completely irrational one. And that "evidence filter" is great, and as a model I get it, but no one's mind actually works like that.

In fact I like most of the video as a theoretical exercise. It's the possibility that some might think it is a direct reflection of reality that concerns me.

Fidel

I think he's describing a lot of people who want to believe in the 9/11 fairy tale without much empirical or legal evidence produced for them by the US military inquisition. They just know that 9/11 was a diabolical plot and carried out entirely by brown people against innocent Americans and Canadians, and there's no convincing them that they should demand proof of very much of anything after the world wide hysterics of 9/11. They believe. Their faith in crazy george II and his criminal regime is unwavering.

He's describing UFO debunkery and atheists and very many who who basically sound like Pat Robertson or the former Jerry Falwell when they insist that we are the crowning glory of evolution in all of the universe. Not only are we encouraged to demand extraordinary proof of the reality of UFO siting around the world, we are encouraged to ignore all of the extensive physical evidence and countless eye witness testimonies. What we have today with UFO debunkery is tantamount to a modern day inquisition. By refusing to even look through Galileo's telescope, the Church was able to buy themselves an additional three centuries' worth of quality denialism.

6079_Smith_W wrote:
To portray the non-scientific believers as rude and intolerant strawfigures who are defeated by a rational, benign protagonist was clearly necessary for the exercise, but it is hardly a perfect reflection of reality.

Bill Nye "the science guy." His job isn't to investigate UFOs scientifically. His job is to deny everything in one long run-on sentence on CNN and Larry King Live. He's the Ann Coulter of conservative talk show UFO debunkery. He did an excellent job of debunking 9/11 though when he simply said, "energy" caused the trade towers to collapse.

[url=http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=YsI1fmOsbt0&NR=1]Bill Nye the denial guy on Larry King Live[/url] YouTube

Watch the video, and read the hysterical comments regarding Bob Jacobs afterward.

Lord Palmerston

Right...so we're just supposed to just accept that 9/11 was an inside job.

jrootham

Not only was it an inside job, but that it was done in a hyperconvoluted (but undetectable) way.  With a large scale irrelevant fakery going on at the same time.

 

milo204

"i can't explain something therefore i can explain it"  that is the crucial one for me here.  So many people jump to conclusions about this kind of stuff, and this contradiction is a great example of the odd logic employed by people with spiritual beliefs.  

 

i also agree with the part about how a statement of non belief is not an assertion that something can't be true.  This is like the 9/11 thing, or existence of gods.  people often assume because you aren't buying it that you must mean it "can't" be true, when really all you're saying is "you haven't convinced me, yet"

I also think a lot of people on babble should take something from this in regards to how to have a sane debate.  So many times when someone disagrees here, people start jumping to all kinds of conclusions about them and start freaking out, without actually presenting facts or a decent counterpoint to influence them.

 

Fidel

Lord Palmerston wrote:

Right...so we're just supposed to just accept that 9/11 was an inside job.

 You're jumping to conclusions obviously. No that's not what more than 1350 architects and engineers for 9/11 truth are saying. What they are saying is that crucial evidence has been ignored, and that the law is on their side with respect to federal building safety act violations. I think the pro American inquisitors side firstly have to understand what it is that truthers are saying before armchair opinionators run off half cocked and referring to an independent group of professionals as heretics the way they have done. Not all truthers necessarily want to put the right's  precious war criminals in jail for having perpetrated an inside job gladio style. They just want facts on the matter.

For example,  9/11 Truthers simply want half as much money and effort allocated to investigating 9/11 as were spent on the Lockerbie bombing investigatiop and criminal trial. In fact, any 9/11 criminal trial at all would be something more than nothing.

Think of glasnost in the former USSR. It's something like that. Is it possible? Sure it is. And key to all of this are scientific principles, like objectivity, empiricism, and a willingness to discover truth.

 

milo204 wrote:
This is like the 9/11 thing, or existence of gods. people often assume because you aren't buying it that you must mean it "can't" be true, when really all you're saying is "you haven't convinced me, yet"

What if we lived in a world where innocence is presumed before a legitimate investigation and criminal trial take place and especially before the country in question bombs and invades two other countries and threatens several more in an hysterical post-9/11 world? Wouldn't it be a noble thing to strive for?

milo204

that would be great, but that would mean people would have to think rationally which doesn't happen much, especially when you're talking about people in a position of power.

But the invasion of iraq/afghanistan/pakistan/yemen etc. has less to do with an actual belief that they were involved and more to do with using 9/11 as a pretext to invade because they wanted to for other reasons.  Truthers and god believers are actually convinced for real that they know the truth and have the facts on their side.  sure, it's a possibility, but it's far from a sure thing. 

Fidel

No. I think the opposite is true though, that non-truthers tend to parrot whatever it is that the US Goverment has said about 9/11 since. Non-truthers are actually the ones suggesting that they know the truth about 9/11 beyond a doubt.

But the real truth movement is saying that there has been a concerted government cover-up of the facts and nothing more. Nothing about who is responsible for 9/11. The truth movement is smeared often for being a lynch mob and for being guilty of scientific heresy etc ad nauseum. In fact, some of the US Government's own Congress people and even hand-picked 9/11 Commissioners have said there is an ongoing cover-up of the facts and for whatever reason. As I was saying about the Church refusing to look through Galileo's telescope and the inquisition.

And before the George Dubya faith group side of things repeats it again, no, it is not up to truthers to discover by themselves what really caused WTC-7 to collapse, or to find out exactly who did hijack the planes on 9/11, or to find out who exactly the Islamic gladios were working for on 9/11 if "al-Qaeda" does exist. It would be very difficult for non-truthers to distinguish between alleged al-Qaeda terrorists and regular terrorists trained in terrorism on US and European soil since the 1980s as part of the CIA and US Military's regular anticommunist jihad squad. Non-truthers in general tend to be uninterested in discussing the recent history of the last 30 years surrounding these CIA and British and Saudi funded terrorist groups in general. It is possible to reveal truth about 9/11 by way of forensic aka doing scientific and historical backgrounding of the events surroundng 9/11. But that tends to ruffle feathers among non-truthers who probably drew their own conclusions in the hysterical post-9/11 period. IOWs, they are of the same lynch mob mentality as the Bush era war criminals who bombed first and asked questions never. And they are too easily lead.

6079_Smith_W

Sorry.... I didn't realize I had stumbled into a tributary of The Great 9-11 Debate.

jrootham

Everything is a tributary of The Great 9-11 Debate.

 

M. Spector M. Spector's picture

Fidel wrote:

But the real truth movement is saying that there has been a concerted government cover-up of the facts and nothing more. Nothing about who is responsible for 9/11.

If this were true there would be very little opposition to the "real truth movement".

If this were true there wouldn't be millions of people who confidently proclaim that 9/11 was an inside job.

If this were true there wouldn't be billions of words written, setting out in detail all the supposed facts that the government is concertedly trying to cover up (evidently without success, according to the truthers, who see all, know all; the U.S. government is apparently incredibly efficient at carrying out bizarre, detailed scenarios that would make a hack Hollywood writer blush, but utterly incompetent at covering them up, even though not one single person among the tens of thousands who were in on the supposed charade has actually come forward.)

So pardon me if I call bullshit on your statement.

Brian White

I don't care who shot Kennedy. And I don't care if 9 11 was an inside job or not.  Very few people give a shit really.  Lots of awful things happen in other countries too on a daily basis. 

The world stood still for a few days following 911 but then we just got on with our lives.  But for some people, the world is still stopped.  Thats a pity.

It is a greater pity that 911 truthers are allowed to constantly derail threads.  I bet babble is losing members over it.

If babble is incapable of shaking off the 911 flu bug, it may die. 

I think an anti 911 vaccine needs to be applied in moderation or liberally.

jas

Brian White wrote:

The world stood still for a few days following 911 but then we just got on with our lives.

Yes, because to do otherwise, as we heard repeatedly at the time, would be to let the terrorists "win." Much better than pause and reflection. Plus it would have fucked up the daily flow of capitalist consumerism. Smile

Fidel

milo204 wrote:
i.e. the groups that are now fighting the US were in part assembled, armed and trained by them so in a way yeah, they did cause it, but i don't think it was planned as such.

Well thank you for conceding as much about your opinion of 9/11, Milo. If only the non-truther side would be as candid. It's a start I suppose. But they could claim human error for only so long before it began to appear deliberate. And the right has made very many mistakes with  end results accruing in their favour. At some point, as Canada's Naomi Klein wrote, it's time to consider that the mistakes are not really mistakes at all.

Fidel

M. Spector wrote:

If this were true there wouldn't be billions of words written, setting out in detail all the supposed facts that the government is concertedly trying to cover up (evidently without success, according to the truthers, who see all, know all; the U.S. government is apparently incredibly efficient at carrying out bizarre, detailed scenarios that would make a hack Hollywood writer blush, but utterly incompetent at covering them up, even though not one single person among the tens of thousands who were in on the supposed charade has actually come forward.)

So pardon me if I call bullshit on your statement.

And the truth is that they have not succeeded in covering up 9/11 in order to fool everyone. Not all of us believe the in crazy George II version of 9/11 events. And I think it's a good thing.

 

milo204

i think it fits with the topic of openmindedness and pseudoscientific beliefs....

I think from what i've seen the truther folks sort of fit that description.  Many refuse to consider that their evidence is not entirely convincing.  There was a great segment on democracy now where some people from popular science debate the guy who did loose change, and he was adamant that his research was scientifically valid, but it was more like how cellphone companies say there's no evidence of brain tumors, or research by pharmaceutical companies: They ask questions that are valid, but then draw conclusions based on the unknown and make the "what if?" sound like facts.

I mean i do think it would be good to know if 9-11 was done at the behest of someone in government, but i think the connection is less direct.  i.e.  the groups that are now fighting the US were in part assembled, armed and trained by them so in a way yeah, they did cause it, but i don't think it was planned as such.

autoworker autoworker's picture

As for protracted, rambling, open-ended 9-11 speculations (not unlike the widespread suspension of disbelief vis-a-vis the Warren Commissions's report and summary of the Kennedy assassination); perhaps this thread's title should read:  "Hard-headedness and prototypical reactions". 

To conclude that an insider conspiracy, with its requisite, investigative follow-up, exists because the officially assembled (dissembled for some) scientific evidence is itself questionable, inconclusive, and most likely contrived, is, for me, akin to the ongoing belief of creationists, despite the weight of evolutionary theory.

It's also not unlike some of the dissonance surrounding the climate change debate, as "Mama Grizzly" and her deniers' implore: "Drill baby, drill!", belief, in this instance, clings to an obdurate faith in what deniers refuse to acknowledge, despite the melting glaciers of evidence.

The reason for such fric and frac (from what I've read somewhere), is that all executive decisions are  basically emotional, by the nature of brain functioning.  If that's true, wouldn't an abiding faith in reason necessitate an emotional appeal to those analytical processes that McLullan cautioned were the basis for communicating (dissembling) propaganda (hence, the inherent vulnerability of the literate mind to the emotional persuasion of rhetoric)?  Seduce me, passionately, with your argument!

For me, I suppose it comes down to either what my brain wants to believe, or disabuse itself of (depending on what's whispered in my ear).  No doubt, others have more reasonable and scientific thoughts on the subject.

My point, I think, is: how does the brain choose to believe whatever reinforces certain paradigms that it has decided are ratioinal, yet are basically emotional?  Can reason really subdue passion without first seducing emotion? If not, how might one's brain expect another's to break faith with a belief system, that it believes is threatening or repugnant, by appealing solely to reason?

So, evolutionary theorists, are we hard-wired to survive as individuals, or as a species?  How does altruism and self-sacrifice square itself when confronted with hard-boiled objectivism?  If we believe that everything contains within itself the seed of its own opposite (the negation of the negation, or yin and yang, if one prefers), then cognitive opposition is diametrical only in its obversity.  Can this be explained genetically? Is the DNA of Tea Partiers different fom that of Dippers? Who's more passionate?

 

 

siamdave

Lord Palmerston wrote:

Right...so we're just supposed to just accept that 9/11 was an inside job.

- it works the other way. You are asking me to believe the US gov story, as you apparently do, that a gang of religious nuts in Afghanistan managed to convince the entire US defence apparatus to stand down for several hours one day, as they commandeered aircraft and flew them into various targets, including the pentagon. I wouldn't even buy the comic book - I like at least *some* aspect of believability in my sci-fi-fantasy, and that doesn't even get off the ground. Esp when the following story does not try to explain how they managed to outwit the US Defence industry - the excuse was basicaly that shit happens - heck, we've been spending hundreds of billions of dollars a year perfecting our defence system since about 1950 - and look at that! When we actually got attacked, everybody just screwed up and they got right into Washington! Gosh darn!! Are you laughing yet? I am, verily as I type. The sad part is - the people who planned this were obviously planning on an extremely gullible US population buying this fantasy - and they were right. That's not funny at all, it's pretty scary.

siamdave

autoworker wrote:

As for protracted, rambling, open-ended 9-11 speculations (not unlike the widespread suspension of disbelief vis-a-vis the Warren Commissions's report and summary of the Kennedy assassination); perhaps this thread's title should read:  "Hard-headedness and prototypical reactions". 

- you wanna explain to me how buying a ludicrous conspiracy theory that is full of obvious nonsense and lies is 'hard-headed'? (oh wait, I just got it - rocks for brains - sorry - )

autoworker autoworker's picture

siamdave wrote:

autoworker wrote:

As for protracted, rambling, open-ended 9-11 speculations (not unlike the widespread suspension of disbelief vis-a-vis the Warren Commissions's report and summary of the Kennedy assassination); perhaps this thread's title should read:  "Hard-headedness and prototypical reactions". 

- you wanna explain to me how buying a ludicrous conspiracy theory that is full of obvious nonsense and lies is 'hard-headed'? (oh wait, I just got it - rocks for brains - sorry - )

Indeed, I was thinking of something obtuse...like a bowling ball, that reason cannot penetrate.  BTW, I'm glad that you "got it" ...eventually.  Apology accepted.

jas

I think a lot of these comments actually are a testament to the power of pseudo-science to sway public beliefs, when people can make such pronouncements having done no study of their own and basing their arguments entirely on personal incredulity. Isn't this exactly what the video attempts to counter? "I don't believe it" = "It's not true".

Brian White

autoworker wrote:

 

So, evolutionary theorists, are we hard-wired to survive as individuals, or as a species?  How does altruism and self-sacrifice square itself when confronted with hard-boiled objectivism?  If we believe that everything contains within itself the seed of its own opposite (the negation of the negation, or yin and yang, if one prefers), then cognitive opposition is diametrical only in its obversity.  Can this be explained genetically? Is the DNA of Tea Partiers different fom that of Dippers? Who's more passionate?

   They are currently studying the dna of tparty people.  So far results show that it is surprisingly similar to that of 911 con theorists.

There is a block to acceptance of the scientific method in particular and evidence in general in both sets of dna.

About being hard wired to survive. It is a bit of both.  When the antilopes prance in front of lions, the sickly antilope with a fever, could just think "fuck it"  and not prance at all.

But he or she prances for the species. The lions take he or she out of the gene pool, and the herd does not come down with flu next day and all get eaten.  His or her relatives who could have been more succeptable to that variant of flu are now protected because the lions have taken that flu variant out of the gene pool too.

  And a guy antilope  that is really good at prancing also gets lucky lots.  (In humans, prancing is done by professional sportsmen and movie stars nowadays).  So for the good of the species, females chose their mate in lots of species.  And in lots of species, males who are not so good at prancing let their super prancing competitor have first go. (for the good of the species or the tribe)

I think in social animals it is definitely a bit of both.  The brain has developed (evolved) its subroutines to make pretty fine judgements. Because the creatures with super selfish subroutines get eaten and those who are totally unselfish get eaten too. (without passing on their genetic material).

In humans it is a little bit screwed up because our brains are only hardwired in certain instances.  And also in humans, the learning period, before much is hardwired, can be subject to religous or economic theory brainwashing.

Tparty people are ultimately a selfish white tribe and the lower down members of that white tribe show lots of evidence of being brainwashed.

Who, in their right mind on $30 000 a year and taxed through the ass and about to lose their home  would like to give millionaires a free ride with regard to taxation?  But these people have been brainwashed.  The trickle down theory is really a polite way of saying " look up buddy, I'm pissing on you, you stupid moron."  But they cannot SAY that because some of the stupid morons would GET it.

So even with stewart and others saying it every day they do not get it.  (Stewart is not in their tribe so they cannot hear him)

A rising tide is no good if you do not have a boat. 

Anyway, I guess evolutionary theory applied to that white tribe?  Whatever way you look at it, it has a bad ending for the hard wired stupids.

Maybe a lot of the lower down tpartiers are hardwired to be followers too?

 

 

 

 

 

siamdave

autoworker wrote:

siamdave wrote:

autoworker wrote:

As for protracted, rambling, open-ended 9-11 speculations (not unlike the widespread suspension of disbelief vis-a-vis the Warren Commissions's report and summary of the Kennedy assassination); perhaps this thread's title should read:  "Hard-headedness and prototypical reactions". 

- you wanna explain to me how buying a ludicrous conspiracy theory that is full of obvious nonsense and lies is 'hard-headed'? (oh wait, I just got it - rocks for brains - sorry - )

Indeed, I was thinking of something obtuse...like a bowling ball, that reason cannot penetrate.  BTW, I'm glad that you "got it" ...eventually.  Apology accepted.

- I've been getting a lot of stuff for quite a long time, general patterns are pretty clear here outside the box - not sure about the rest of you chaps - remember, now, it's *you* with the pretty tinhatty conspiracy theory about religious nuts in a cave shutting down the entire US Air Defence Network for a couple of hours, and little fires causing the collapse of highrise buildings EXACTLY like controlled demolition but OH NO NOT CONTROLLED [email protected]!!! and etc - me, I just think that kind of thinking shows a seriously limited ability to question things that quite obviously need to be questioned ... sort of a 'hardheaded' resistance to considering things other than what you're told to consider by whoever you hold in positions of authority etc ....

6079_Smith_W

Well aside from the fact that "little fires" made made my eyebrows go up (how much high-octane fuel is in a fully-tanked plane?).....

 

To take this back to the video, and matters of belief and tolerance, it seems to me that everyone on both sides who continues to beat this dead horse is missing a pretty clear fact - that with all the evidence you have right now you are at an impasse. Nobody is likely to change anyone's mind on this unless something new comes to the table.

I hold some fairly strong opinions myself, but even I recognize the point at which further discussion is pointless.

That is, unless the sparring match is itself the whole point. If that is the case, carry on.

 

siamdave

6079_Smith_W wrote:

Well aside from the fact that "little fires" made made my eyebrows go up (how much high-octane fuel is in a fully-tanked plane?).....

.....

- most of that fuel went up in the fireball. The buildings were constructed of steel and cement, which does not burn too well. Office furniture does not normally make for big fires. Do you want to get on the list of people who call these fires

 

something besides little?

 

- from the other side -

 

- now don't be shy - tell me out loud you find it perfectly reasonable that those fires ('massive'??) are very plasuibly the cause of this -

- within the next few minutes.

Seriously?

Plane crash? Well, since the thread started with 'science', here's a fact for you - the planes that crashed into the WTCs weighed in at about 100 tons. The WTC buildings weighed in at about 500,000 tons - just be sure you understand this, a one hundred ton plane flying into a five hundred thousand ton building. A building that was built to withstand gale force winds along the whole area of any side for hours at a time, and did so with no problems for 30 years. A building that was actually designed with the understanding that a remote possibility was an aircraft impact.

There is just no place for you official conspiracy theory supporters to hide anymore - those buidlings did NOT fall because of that relatively small aircraft impact and those relatively small fires. Everything you believe is a lie. And we have been turning into a fascist society for the last ten years based on this lie.

But you apparently find comfort in conspiracy theories about religious nuts in caves and buildings falling that defy all the laws of common sense and science.

Your grandchildren are going to have questions.

Me, I'm just completely disgusted and appalled at the gullibility of so many of my fellow citizens, and your complete refusal to challenge the blatant lies of the people who are stealing our entire society from us.

6079_Smith_W

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=-W43OWu6LIg

 

Sorry for the poor quality. I think the message is clear enough.

siamdave

autoworker wrote:

To conclude that an insider conspiracy, with its requisite, investigative follow-up, exists because the officially assembled (dissembled for some) scientific evidence is itself questionable, inconclusive, and most likely contrived, is, for me, akin to the ongoing belief of creationists, despite the weight of evolutionary theory.

It's also not unlike some of the dissonance surrounding the climate change debate, as "Mama Grizzly" and her deniers' implore: "Drill baby, drill!", belief, in this instance, clings to an obdurate faith in what deniers refuse to acknowledge, despite the melting glaciers of evidence.

- this is very definitely mixing apples and oranges. The evidence for evolution is strong, the evidence for human-induced climate change is strong - but the 'evidence' for the Official Conspiracy Theory is so weak as to be laughable - the OCT is comparable to creationism or the climate-change deniers, in their exaggeration, their ignoring of devastatingly "inconvenient" facts, etc. You simply cannot read the work of someone like David Griffin and then the Popular Mechanics defence of the OCT and come to any other conclusion other than the whole OCT is a great lie.

I suspect, however, that very, very few OCT supporters have any idea of the great mass of evidence out there pointing out the flaws and inconsistencies (to be polite) in the OCT - and then they have the gall to start threads like this, accusing those of us who are very familiar with not only your OTC, but how very flawed it is, of 'pseudoscience' - when the reverse is the actual case.

C'mon now - have you ever read any of the Griffin essays?

siamdave

6079_Smith_W wrote:

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=-W43OWu6LIg

 

Sorry for the poor quality. I think the message is clear enough.

That is distressingly clear. Your masters, of course, are pleased.

How high sir? yes sir.

6079_Smith_W

siamdave wrote:

6079_Smith_W wrote:

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=-W43OWu6LIg

 

Sorry for the poor quality. I think the message is clear enough.

That is distressingly clear. Your masters, of course, are pleased.

How high sir? yes sir.

Look. I think those wars were a shitty idea, so whether you are right or wrong is actually irrelevant to the final outcome. So you can keep your assumptions about my loyalties to yourself.

And secondly, It's not my place to tell you what to post, but if you're going to hijack one that started on another topic I reserve the right to call you on it, especially since it is a subject that has been beaten to death.

And on that note, it is going to be enough of a chore having to clear my inbox of what is now a pointless thread. The less effort I have to expend on it the better.

Catchfire Catchfire's picture

This is not a 9/11 thread. Please stop the drift and return to the topic of the OP.

Fidel

[url=http://www.tcm.phy.cam.ac.uk/~bdj10/scepticism/drasin.html]Zen . . . And the Art of Debunkery[/url]

Quote:
We'll See...

There is a Taoist story of an old farmer who had worked his crops for many years. One day his horse ran away. Upon hearing the news, his neighbors came to visit.

"Such bad luck," they said sympathetically.

"We'll see," the farmer replied.

The next morning the horse returned, bringing with it three other wild horses.

"How wonderful," the neighbors exclaimed.

"We'll see," replied the old man.

The following day, his son tried to ride one of the untamed horses, was thrown, and broke his leg. The neighbors again came to offer their sympathy on his misfortune.

"We'll see," answered the farmer.

The day after, military officials came to the village to draft young men into the army. Seeing that the son's leg was broken, they passed him by. The neighbors congratulated the farmer on how well things had turned out.

"We'll see" said the farmer.

6079_Smith_W

As I said, if the makers had stuck to one thing it would have been a great video (and it is in any case a good and interesting one).

It's easy to read between the lines and see that they are primarily talking about the campaign against having homeopathy covered by National Health in Britain. If they had just stuck to the rational argument (or made another video that got into the issues) they would have had a pretty strong case, but digressing into character assassination really just does nothing but make them look bad, and show their own misconceptions and irrational thinking.

The flaw is even more glaring because it is part of an argument that us supposed to be about rational thought.

 

Lord Palmerston

I didn't really pick up on it being specifically targeted towards the NHS/homeopathy issue.  It's a generalization, true, but I've often found skepticism is viewed as "closed-mindedness" by New Agers - i.e. "how can you reject the spiritual dimension just because mechanistic science hasn't detected it?; "science is about wonder and curiosity", etc.

 

 

6079_Smith_W

@ Fidel

Your link is broken.

@ Lord Palmerston

True. I'm not saying that there aren't people who have irrational beliefs and get in your face (and I'm not trying to defend any specific beliefs here either). But there are plenty who couldn't care less if someone else believes it or not, and as for the ever-benign rational protagonist, I give you Christopher Hitchens.

It's like the false assumption that the Tea Partiers are all boneheaded zombies (a reference I have made enough times myself).

And it did cover (and ridicule) other beliefs, but the timing of it, and the specific mention of health and finances was a giveaway.

Again, I'm not meaning to dump all over it the video, which I like (including the homage to Jack Kirby graphics). I just think it could have been BETTER if it had stuck to the logic.

 

6079_Smith_W

I also think any look at beliefs needs to include a look at how much of out thinking is irrational. There have been several books published recently, including Stephen Pinker's "How The Mind Works" which claim that many of our decisions, values and beliefs have no basis in evidence whatsoever, and that we not be able to function and make decisions were it not for our irrational side.

Not that I think irrational thought should go unchallanged, of course. But it is often not a black and white situation on either side.

 

Sineed

As a skeptic, I find that often when people say in the middle of an argument how I need to acknowledge that irrationality is a part of the human condition, it's a diversion.  That when they start going on about, oh you science people, you need to recognize the lambent ethereal beauty and the mystery of it all; human beings are more than just their rational minds, you know.  And I'm like, um, yes; so............what does that have to do with why I think people should vaccinate their children?

Basically, when folks can't win an argument with rational logic, they use claims of, "Well you know we're all inherently irrational anyway."  It's more polite than an ad hominem attack, I suppose.

Fidel

[url=http://www.i-sis.org.uk/isisnews/i-sisnews11-14.php]Corporate Science[/url] Is it still science?

Fidel

And then in a few hundred years or so, they will look back on this period of medicine as having been the dark ages fraught with quackery and blood letting and high mortality rates due to preventable diseases, like dying from cancer and premature death by the age of 90.

6079_Smith_W

@ Sineed

In the first place, I didn't bring up the point in the middle of an argument over the truth of something, but rather as a way of recognizing that our minds don't work in a strictly rational way.

And I take that notion a bit more seriously when it comes from a psychologist who bases his opinion on the scientific method we rationalists all respect so much.

And really, it makes a bit more sense than a theoretical world which is divided into those with "belief in pseudo-scientific ideas" and those with "no belief in pseudoscientific ideas".

But you should note in my last paragraph that I don't think ideas should go untested. The only difference is I think there are ideas which we all hold that don't have a rational foundation regardless of that fact.

Lord Palmerston

Deepak Chopra certainly likes to try and turn the table:

Quote:

I've debated skeptics, including Richard Dawkins (I spoke with Dawkins for over 90 minutes on camera in Oxford. He extracted 30 seconds from the dialogue and dubbed me the enemy of science.) and I am amazed that they mistake self-righteousness for happiness. A sort of bitter satisfaction is what they reap. No skeptic, to my knowledge, ever made a major scientific discovery or advanced the welfare of others. Typically they sit by the side of the road with a sign that reads "You're Wrong" so that every passerby, whether an Einstein, Gandhi, Newton, or Darwin, can gain the benefit of their illuminated skepticism. For make no mistake, the skeptics of the past were as eager to shoot down new theories as they are to worship the old ones once science has validated them.

It never occurs to skeptics that a sense of wonder is paramount, even for scientists. Especially for scientists. Einstein insisted, in fact, that no great discovery can be made without a sense of awe before the mysteries of the universe. Skeptics know in advance -- or think they know -- what right thought is. Right thought is materialistic, statistical, data-driven, and always, always, conformist. Wrong thought is imaginative, provisional, often fantastic, and no respecter of fixed beliefs.

So whenever I find myself labeled the emperor of woo-woo, I pull out the poison dart and offer thanks that wrong thinking has gotten us so far. Thirty years ago no right-thinking physician accepted the mind-body connection as a valid, powerful mode of treatment. Today, no right-thinking physician (or very few) would trace physical illness to sickness of the soul, or accept that the body is a creation of consciousness, or tell a patient to change the expression of his genes. But soon these forms of wrong thinking will lose their stigma, despite the best efforts of those professional stigmatizers, the skeptics.

http://www.huffingtonpost.com/deepak-chopra/the-perils-of-skepticism_b_3...

milo204

it's too bad people seem to be so black and white on this issue, since you can be both someone who uses rational observation in their decision making without losing the feeling of awe at the world kind of thinking people like chopra seem to like so much.

the problem is when to use each way of looking at things in a "rational" way.  so if i'm trying to figure out if i need to pray several times a day and worship some all knowing being, i can use rational evidence based thinking to figure out that that's a bad idea based on flawed thinking and a lack of rational evidence based thought.

however i can still hang out with my friends and hypothesize that the human species is like a virus that has infested planet earth, cause if you look at how human cities look from  space it looks like a cancer on the planet or something.  That doesn't mean i'm going to proclaim i know it to be true and claim to "believe" it, because my rational side says it's a total guess...

i don't think it's an either/or type of thing.  humans seem quite capable of doing both simultaneously.  Just that some seem to do it in the wrong circumstances.

milo204

wow.  looks like you've thought about this more than i have...

Fidel

Yes, human beings are a virus on the earth. I think agent Smith from the Matrix and Phil Windsor are the same person, or something.

We have to cull the herd if we want to continue plundering the world's resources and polluting hell out of it.

It's either that or swear off capitalism for a few centuries and pursue something sustainable in the mean time. It's all about choices really.

Fidel

I just thought the resemblance between [url=http://www.wallpaperdojo.com/images/people/Agent_Smith_The_Matrix_Wallpa... guy[/url] and [url=http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Prince_Philip,_Duke_of_Edinburgh]Phil[/url] is uncanny. Or something.

Agent Smith wrote:
The only way for you to survive is to spread to another area. There is another organism on this planet that follows the same pattern... a virus. Human beings are a disease, a cancer on this planet, you are a plague, and we... are the cure.

Phil Saxe-Coburg-Gotha-Windsor wrote:
"The object of the WWF is to 'conserve' the system as a whole; not to prevent the killing of individual animals. Those who are concerned about the conservation of nature accept... that most species produce a surplus that is capable of being culled without in any way threatening the survival of the species as a whole."

We're all so much surplus virus that needs culling in order to preserve their privilege and private property rights.

Pope Teddywang Pope Teddywang's picture

Aw c'mon, get back to talking about 9-11 again.

Belief in the OCT/pancake theory is a psuedo-scientific belief, no fair calling out of bounds.

Did you know a 757 holds about as much fuel as would fit in an average-sized above-ground swimming pool ?

500 thousand tons of steel and concrete.

Nothing supernatural about it.

 

Snert Snert's picture

Quote:

Basically, when folks can't win an argument with rational logic, they use claims of, "Well you know we're all inherently irrational anyway."  It's more polite than an ad hominem attack, I suppose.

 

No kidding. It's right up there with "I am large; I contain multitudes" (read: "I want to be inconsistent and I don't want you giving me stick about it")

 

I'd love it, though, if the same people were as cheerfully amenable to be answered with that kind of nonsense as they are to answer with it.

 

"We need to give massive tax breaks to the rich if we ever want to cure poverty"

 

"WHAT??? That doesn't make sense"

 

"We're all inherently irrational -- why are you being such a hidebound control freak there, Mr. Spock?"

6079_Smith_W

There are two separate things here which should not be confused.

Ideas can be tested and taken apart to see if they are true, false, or if they cannot be proven.

People, on the other hand, are in part rational, and in part not rational, and are going to hold some irrational beliefs no matter how much of a foundation they have. Some irrational beliefs are as benign as "your favourite colour" or as malignant as racism. But there is a wealth of evidence and scientific opinion that it is hard-wired into us.

The reason why I mentioned it was not to say that we can't prove anything because we are all irrational - again, ideas are just ideas and are not tied to people's irrational thinking. Some can be proven and some not.

I am saying that people, in opposing ideas they see as irrational, sometimes display some fairly irrational thinking themselves:

The notion that you can stop someone from being irrational simply by demonstrating the truth or falsehood of something.

The reduction of whole belief systems to one single theory - creationism, for example - and refusal to look at how those systems work  and the reasons why people actually believe in them. Another example is the concept of "memes" which is an interesting model and convenient shorthand, but it is a simple model for one small part of a very complex thing. Memes are not real things at all.

The notion that all belief is just different foms of the same thing - that reform religion is to fundamentalism as marijuana is to heroin (to make a comparison to another false comparison).

The false belief held by some people (which is included in this video) that some people are rational and other people are not is itself an irrational idea, one which probably prevents some of us from looking at our own ways of thinking.

 

6079_Smith_W

Contrary to the notion that ideas and scientific theories are always black and white, here is an interesting wiki site on natural remedies (with a suitably derogatory title):

http://www.informationisbeautiful.net/play/snake-oil-supplements/

Fidel

What if the USA's FPTP phony majority machine was broken for some reason in 2000, and Ralph Nader and the Green Party were elected by mistake instead of either wing of the Wall Street war party before 9/11 happened? Would more people be saying things like, Well lookit here eh, there are 9/11 Commishs and Congress people themselves saying there is a cover-up of the facts?  

Somehow I think there would be as long as their favourite war party in Warshington was clear out of harm's way and in no possible way culpable of covering up an inside job perp'd by the shadow gov. I think that in this impossible scenario where the usual cosmetic government choices for war party numero uno or dos somehow screwed up and whose election was not pre-paid prior to 9/11 occurring, Ralph Nader and his Green congress people would have a lot of explainin' to do to mobs wanting to impeach/lynch the US  government. Sorry, Ralph, but you wouldn't have stood a chance.

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