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Samara
2005-Nov-14, 04:35 AM
I'm sure this topic must come up at least once a month, so you can ban it, delete it, whatever if you feel it necessary.

The title pretty much says my question. I'm working on a paoer for english on why people believe weird things (and the danger of believing) , and your input would really help!

So far, my list is:

-Don't know any better
-Makes them feel they have special "knowledge"
-Truly believe it's "working"
-Gives them comfort

TheBlackCat
2005-Nov-14, 04:39 AM
Some people just feel better about the world thinking there is magic present.

Samara
2005-Nov-14, 04:41 AM
*random note: Holy cow, we responded at the same time to each others threads...*

I can understand that. But do they believe it because they feel it gives the idea that they have control over their lives, or just because it makes them feel powerful?

Superluminal
2005-Nov-14, 05:17 AM
Also, a mistrust of authority, (TPTB).

For example: NASA says, "Look at this, a hill on Mars that just happens to look like a face."

Then some Woo woo says NASA lied, its artificial.

TheBlackCat
2005-Nov-14, 05:19 AM
I can understand that. But do they believe it because they feel it gives the idea that they have control over their lives, or just because it makes them feel powerful?
I think it depends on the person. Some probably fall inton one category, others in the other. Yet others simply think the world would be boring without magic in it, and thus choose to believe in magical things even when they are shown to not be true. A very dangerous approach to life, but people still do it.

The Mangler
2005-Nov-14, 05:20 AM
Fear of change?

montebianco
2005-Nov-14, 05:21 AM
I think ego plays a large role in many cases. But sometimes, weird things are true :)

beskeptical
2005-Nov-14, 06:10 AM
Look at the brain function of finding patterns. Humans naturally look for patterns. For those with advanced science learning, we've come to look for patterns that have evidence, logic, true cause and effect verification by ruling out other variables and so on. Humans came to those conclusions but for those that haven't gotten that far in their intellectual development, one comes to erroneous conclusions when patterns are noticed. Understanding when patterns are relevant and when they are not eludes the person.

One gets a flu shot and becomes ill. No thought is given to the chance such an event was a coincidence. The individual concludes the two events are related by cause and effect. A false assumption.

Another area we fail in is attributing value to particular sources of information. Personal experience has way too much value. Trusted sources like peers frequently provide erroneous information but the receiving individual incorporates the information as reliable fact.

Ever notice how frequently people relate incredible stories adding that they know it is true because it happened to someone they personally know? People also have a desire to be believed even when relating a story they merely heard from someone else. In order to not have one's credibility questioned, because repeating a false story means you were stupid enough to believe it, the person telling the story often embellishes it with some fake personal knowledge as to why they know it is a fact. "It happened to my cousin" is one of my favorite jokes. When I hear that I am immediately suspicious of the story. But for many, the story is accepted without question, and when repeated the personal knowledge gets renewed. Now it happened to their cousin rather than to the first person's cousin. Funny how many people have first hand knowledge of weird events.

After defending the information, one is likely to incorporate it into one's knowledge base as a fact. Which brings me to add the false memory syndrome as a basis of false beliefs as well. One either confuses several events or transposes some error into the memory which then becomes an irrefutable fact to the person. I know to not rely on my memory of events. If there is any doubt, there is always the possibility my memory is incorrect, no matter how vivid it may be.

Jens
2005-Nov-14, 06:25 AM
The title pretty much says my question.

What exactly do you have in mind when you say "weird things"? There are two things that come up that might present difficulties for your project. One is that most of us who have even a rudimentary knowledge of physics believe in the counterintuitive idea that you can't measure the velocity of an electron and its position at the same time, for example, and that the mass of an object increases as it accelerates toward the speed of light. But of course, all experimental evidence seems to show that these wierd things are actually true.

And then secondly, there are many many people around the world who believe that the world was created in six days or other similar stories, which to somebody unfamiliar with those cultures, might seem weird.

And then there are all these little things with superstitions. I think that most people don't really believe them, but we still tend to avoid walking under ladders, for example.

So that's why I'm wondering exactly what "weirdness" means.

TheBlackCat
2005-Nov-14, 07:13 AM
It is a reference to Why People Believe Wierd Things by Michael Shermer. Since the book is about pseudscience and superstition, it is safe to assume this topic is as well.

Matthew
2005-Nov-14, 09:13 AM
There's also the things that are so uncommon seem to appear so often. People don't notice the "common" things but will notice the uncommon things.

Most won't "notice" that the sun rose that day, but will notice an unusual cloud formation. This noticing of the unusual can lead to the belief in, as you put it, "wierd things".

beskeptical
2005-Nov-14, 09:16 AM
It is a reference to Why People Believe Wierd Things by Michael Shermer. Since the book is about pseudscience and superstition, it is safe to assume this topic is as well.But I do like the weird physics point made by JENS. That was a good point.

The young Earth and similar stuff goes with Shermer's idea of weird things. It doesn't matter whether the number of people believing it is large or small, nor whether their motives are religious or superstitious. But we should add indoctrination and religious motives for reasons people believe weird things. Keep in mind while I myself would put supernatural beings in the category of weird beliefs, many religious people do have very scientific groundings for their non-religious beliefs. In other words being religious doesn't by everyone's definition mean one believes weird things. For the sake of not treading into forbidden topics I will concede that point. But things like the Earth being 6,000 years old definitely crosses the line into irrational beliefs.

agingjb
2005-Nov-14, 09:21 AM
In some cases I have the unworthy suspicion that people assert their belief in something weird insincerely; "he only does it to annoy because he knows it teases". In other cases: "Ignorance, Madam, pure ignorance."

Is there a third case?

Sticks
2005-Nov-14, 12:00 PM
How about peer pressure?

This is what we see when amongst HBs they use the "I bet you believe in fairies at the bottom of the garden, how can you be so naive"

Sometime the weird things can somehow make it into "orthodoxy" so everyone has to subscribe or else they are ignored, like the belief that that which is non living gives rise to that which is living.

TheBlackCat
2005-Nov-14, 05:46 PM
Sometime the weird things can somehow make it into "orthodoxy" so everyone has to subscribe or else they are ignored, like the belief that that which is non living gives rise to that which is living.
Or quantum mechanics, or relativity, or the heliocentric model of the solar system, or the germ theory of disease, or the atomic theory of matter, or the electical theory of lightning. That is just one of many other examples of "wierd" ideas that turned out to be true.

Actually, I guess it isn't that wierd. People have believed that nonliving matter turned into living matter for most of history. Many religions have creation myths involving non-living matte turning into living matter. And biblical literalists think non-living matter turned into living matter (dust into man). The mechanism is different, but it is still abiogenesis. So there are 2 wierd things about this idea, neither of which is that non-living matter could turn into living matter. One is that it happened through natural processes, the other is that it happened only in early Earth and is no longer happening today.

LurchGS
2005-Nov-14, 05:59 PM
I think BeSkeptical is close...

I think it's directly related to understanding. Science tells us thus and so happens, and this is why your television works. But how many people really understand it? It's effectively 'magic' to the average joe. It's just that the scientist has replaced the shaman.

It's no jump at all to go from TV to Ghost/ESP/Supergravitational Nose Picking.

--------------

Remember Clarke's Law

TheBlackCat
2005-Nov-14, 07:23 PM
That may be true for some people, but others either understand the science and refuse to accept it or go out of their way to avoid learning the science so they won't have their beliefs challenged. I think all the reasons people listed are valid ones for certain people. I do not think there is one reason that all people believe such things, it varies from person to person. Likewise, there is no one reason people do science, the motivation is different for different people.

LurchGS
2005-Nov-14, 09:32 PM
TBC -
ah, but I think we're on slightly different topics... I think I was looking at the "what", while your comment addresses the "why", and I would agree with that - the motivation is going to be different from person to person.

Myself, if I can't repeat it (ok, maybe I need a lot of school first), it's bogus.

----

As far as I am aware, there's only one thing I can't do if I set my mind to it.

Gillianren
2005-Nov-14, 10:49 PM
I know people who believe weird things. (Actually, I kind of count in that category, but we'll pass on that for now.) My daughter's father, last I knew, actually passionately believed that the Illuminati controlled everything. Why? Well, I never did work that out. I think it fell into the "inside information" category.

But I also think a lot of these things are trying to find a reason for seemingly irrational events. Things just happen, and there's no real reason for a lot of it, but a lot of people can't accept that belief. Or they don't want to take responsibility for whatever actions of theirs may have caused certain things to happen. If they can find someone to blame (TPTB), they have a reason, and it isn't their own fault.

LurchGS
2005-Nov-14, 10:54 PM
But I also think a lot of these things are trying to find a reason for seemingly irrational events. Things just happen, and there's no real reason for a lot of it, but a lot of people can't accept that belief. Or they don't want to take responsibility for whatever actions of theirs may have caused certain things to happen. If they can find someone to blame (TPTB), they have a reason, and it isn't their own fault.


I imagine that's a large part of it.. It's God's fault! he LET IT HAPPEN!

(zounds, this is odd! it's raining, and at the same time, there are leaves falling from the sky!

Doesnt' sound odd, until you realize that I'm on the 12th floor, and I can look up and see them falling against even the taller buildings.)

genebujold
2005-Nov-15, 12:18 AM
Smart people will fill in the gaps of their knowledge. If the truth is present, great! If not, they'll resort to all sorts of things.

jojo180
2005-Nov-15, 12:54 AM
I believe it’s a form of escape a way of releasing frustration ,tension ect, look at the films that make a lot of money such as Star wars Alien lord of the rings Harry potter ect all fantasy fiction that even scientists go to see and for that ninety minutes or so you believe the weird happenings until you return to the real world of stress and confusion but there are people who are susceptible or influenced easily or just plain scared to face the real world and adopt this weird reality they need this permanent escape so they believe until it becomes faith

Hugh Jass
2005-Nov-15, 02:25 AM
Because, for many people science is hard to understand.

"There is so much scientific untruth in it, it’s scary. Be careful, because others know how to manipulate you by this. Just because something is beyond your comprehension doesn’t mean it is scientific." -Dr. Dean Edell

Dragon Star
2005-Nov-15, 02:34 AM
I would need to point out that you are giving no credit to the fact that it is different in other peoples shoes. They may be looking at you and saying the same thing, so what right do you have to judge?

(I am not ranting, just giving my views)

EDIT: This is not intended for everyone, just some of you who choose not to look at it this way.

montebianco
2005-Nov-15, 05:13 AM
I would need to point out that you are giving no credit to the fact that it is different in other peoples shoes. They may be looking at you and saying the same thing, so what right do you have to judge?

(I am not ranting, just giving my views)

EDIT: This is not intended for everyone, just some of you who choose not to look at it this way.

I think this is very largely true. Everyone is ignorant about something; there is nothing shameful about that. But what does one do when confronted with superior knowledge? It can be accepted uncritically, evaluated critically, or rejected uncritically. I think many people, who pride themselves on being critical, rational people within their areas of expertise, fall into the third option without even realizing that they are doing it, when outside their areas of expertise...

LurchGS
2005-Nov-15, 06:00 AM
I think this is very largely true. Everyone is ignorant about something; there is nothing shameful about that. But what does one do when confronted with superior knowledge? It can be accepted uncritically, evaluated critically, or rejected uncritically. I think many people, who pride themselves on being critical, rational people within their areas of expertise, fall into the third option without even realizing that they are doing it, when outside their areas of expertise...

Good point..My wife is a very good paramedic (all her co-horts say so, so I'm not just spouting out my sleeve). As a paramedic, you have to think not only quickly, but very critically.

I don't fault her for her belief in God (she's been a believer all her life), but belief in ghosts... well, it's a stretch for me. There are other things as well - we have learned to stay away from some topics. Friends and I call this 'compartmentalism'. I should have realised that's what is likely to be happening in a fair portion of the population.

--------------------------

Facts are absolute

beskeptical
2005-Nov-15, 08:50 AM
Smart people will fill in the gaps of their knowledge. If the truth is present, great! If not, they'll resort to all sorts of things."Smart people"? But your point is a good one. We can add filling in the gaps to why people believe weird things.

But as to the topic getting fuzzy, I meant the belief in quantum physics was weird, but I didn't mean it was what I thought the topic was about. Instead of 'weird' perhaps a more descriptive term would be weird things with no evidence or actual evidence against. After all, the principles of quantum mechanics are at least evidence based.

beskeptical
2005-Nov-15, 08:53 AM
Good point..My wife is a very good paramedic (all her co-horts say so, so I'm not just spouting out my sleeve). As a paramedic, you have to think not only quickly, but very critically.

I don't fault her for her belief in God (she's been a believer all her life), but belief in ghosts... well, it's a stretch for me. There are other things as well - we have learned to stay away from some topics. Friends and I call this 'compartmentalism'. I should have realised that's what is likely to be happening in a fair portion of the population.

--------------------------

Facts are absoluteCompartmentalism and another term, cognitive dissonance. Humans have a mechanism for suppressing the contradictions in their beliefs. Sometimes it is denial and other times compartmentalism.

Taks
2005-Nov-15, 09:00 AM
part of the problem, i think, isn't so much a lack of knowlege, but a lack of training in how to use that knowledge. science can easily be misapplied if you don't understand the underlying methodologies. it's one thing to understand the things you can find on the web, or have seen a discover channel show about, but it's entirely different when untrained hoi palloi attempt to apply that knowledge.

it doesn't take much for a pseudo-scientist to put forth something that seems plausible on the surface. "yeah, i saw that on tv the other day, it makes sense" and then it's off to the races.

taks

Wolverine
2005-Nov-18, 08:04 PM
Samara, sorry I didn't see this thread sooner -- you may find this (http://www.csicop.org/si/9505/belief.html) interesting. I think it's an excellent essay.

farmerjumperdon
2005-Nov-18, 08:42 PM
For me anyway, Shermer's book is the best material on the topic.

Samara
2005-Nov-21, 01:51 AM
Samara, sorry I didn't see this thread sooner -- you may find this (http://www.csicop.org/si/9505/belief.html) interesting. I think it's an excellent essay.


Merci Wolverine! It looks like it will be a great help on my paper.

Wolverine
2005-Nov-21, 02:42 AM
De rien.

wayneee
2005-Nov-21, 03:19 AM
One mans wierd is another mans normal. Wierd thing I believe in(I actualy recognize as wierd)
I believe if I sense a period of De-ja-Vue, that somehow I have reached some convergence of a some pararell universe or something like that. I must break this connection with doing something unpredictable, like twitch or mutter something nonsensical.

I believe if I see any change on the ground I can only pick up coin that is heads up.

I believe I need to close my eyes when killing specimens. I still feel guilty, from Skunk to Anthropod. Not guilt equated to previous religous beliefs, or even Ecological concerns. I have some strange abohorance to death , not good for Taxonomy.

I believe when Im looking for a specimen, that it knows Im looking for it, and I will find it when I think like the specimen tring to avoid me.

And I used to believe Apollo might have been Hoaxed yet thanks to the good folks here on Plaits message board I have confronted my ignorance in Astrophysics. Although admmittedly my ignorance still abounds, I do try to learn.

There is that wierd enough for you?

genebujold
2005-Nov-21, 03:24 AM
One mans wierd is another mans normal. Wierd thing I believe in(I actualy recognize as wierd)
I believe if I sense a period of De-ja-Vue, that somehow I have reached some convergence of a some pararell universe or something like that. I must break this connection with doing something unpredictable, like twitch or mutter something nonsensical.

I believe if I see any change on the ground I can only pick up coin that is heads up.

I believe I need to close my eyes when killing specimens. I still feel guilty, from Skunk to Anthropod. Not guilt equated to previous religous beliefs, or even Ecological concerns. I have some strange abohorance to death , not good for Taxonomy.

I believe when Im looking for a specimen, that it knows Im looking for it, and I will find it when I think like the specimen tring to avoid me.

And I used to believe Apollo might have been Hoaxed yet thanks to the good folks here on Plaits message board I have confronted my ignorance in Astrophysics. Although admmittedly my ignorance still abounds, I do try to learn.

There is that wierd enough for you?

Waynee, you're no weirder on this board as I am, and certainly as welcome.

Good luck on both of our continued quest for enlightenment and knowledge!

LurchGS
2005-Nov-21, 03:49 AM
Waynee, you're no weirder on this board as I am, and certainly as welcome.

Good luck on both of our continued quest for enlightenment and knowledge!

I agree... you are no weirder than I am - after all, I still believe my wife actually loves me.

I'm also odd (at least in most modern groups) in that I don't think a dolphin is any smarter than a cat or dog. Certainly not conversation material.

I don't believe we've been visited by BEMs (or any other non-terrestrial critter), no matter what I *wish*. (this is a change from when I was younger and stupider)

I believe anybody who lives on the gulf coast is an utter fool (but I respect their right to be such). I haven't replaced a single shingle on my house in the 5 years I've lived here.

beskeptical
2005-Nov-21, 09:26 AM
Do you guys distinguish between actual belief and mere compulsive behavior? What do you believe would happen if you picked up a coin that was tails up? And do you really believe it or just find yourself unable to stop thinking something would happen? I think there is a subtle difference here.

Kesh
2005-Nov-21, 07:36 PM
I've found two reasons why people believe 'weird' things. The first is typically associated with "woo-woo" methodology, while the second is more common "unexplainable" beliefs.

1) A deep-seated need to have some form of order in their life. Whether it's a god, aliens, government conspiracies, or the Illuminati, it helps some people to believe that someone is in control of the world. The idea that we exist at the whim of impartial physical laws is far more frightening than the idea that the United Nations is run by reptiloid invaders from inside the hollow Earth.

As a correlated point, it also gives them the satisfaction of "knowing the Truth" about the world. They have a secret (which makes them better than the other "sheep") or they seek to make others aware of their Truth (which makes them better for trying to enlighten the "sheep"). Meeting with others who share those beliefs reinforces their beliefs and also offers a sense of self-confidence.

2) Past experiences that they simply cannot explain (to their satisfaction) through science. In some cases, it's simply that they don't understand the science involved (evolution, geology, psychology). In others, its that there is no scientific explanation available outside of "coincidence" (hauntings, spiritual experiences, alien visitation).

Though I consider myself better versed in science than the average American, I've still had some life experiences that place me into the #2 camp. I recognize that most likely they are a product of my mind filling in the gaps... but that does nothing to satisfy the emotional portion of the experiences. In such cases, science leaves me unfulfilled, and I find I have to rely more on my emotional and spiritual beliefs to find satisfaction and closure.

Dark Jaguar
2005-Nov-21, 08:01 PM
A note that hasn't been brought up, regarding hearing odd tales from people. I think part of the reason silly stories get passed on from person to person without critical thought may just be politeness. I have noticed that it is somehow condidered rude to critically analyze what someone is telling you. I've questioned a number of people trying to tell me things, and no matter how politely I go about it, not just they, but those around me (even those who later admit they too thought the story was silly) make it clear verbally or otherwise that what I'm doing is rude. This occurs all too often actually.

It extends beyond that though. I do often times decide I don't want a fight and simply listen to someone. However, in a few occasions they seem upset when I simply say "I'll have to look into that on my own later, but it's something to think about." (the last comment is aimed at them actually). They actually seem hurt I didn't take it at face value.

That I think is a major factor in these things, both in the spread of sillies and the view of skeptical sorts. There is an underlying social rule that says that we have to accept ANYTHING someone says as valid. I do believe that the concept of ideological evolution is defeated when we have this kind of "politeness". If all ideas are valid, how do the false notions ever get weeded out? But, that's more for the philosophers...

Anyway, I think that expected social behavior may play a major part in this. No one wants to be rude, and so acceptance of strange ideas could be considered a compulsory politeness.

Ilya
2005-Nov-21, 08:42 PM
I think it depends on the person. Some probably fall inton one category, others in the other. Yet others simply think the world would be boring without magic in it, and thus choose to believe in magical things even when they are shown to not be true. A very dangerous approach to life, but people still do it.
I would not call this approach to life "very dangerous". Very very few woowoos end up dead as a result of their beliefs. (What was that suicide cult which decided to hitch a ride on comet Hale-Bopp?)

LurchGS
2005-Nov-21, 09:30 PM
1) A deep-seated need to have some form of order in their life. Whether it's a god, aliens, government conspiracies, or the Illuminati, it helps some people to believe that someone is in control of the world. The idea that we exist at the whim of impartial physical laws is far more frightening than the idea that the United Nations is run by reptiloid invaders from inside the hollow Earth..


We told you to keep that a sssssecret! Now our sssssoldiers mussssst sssssseeek you out and sssssssever your exssssssstremitiessssss.

Dark Jaguar... I think you are close to a point there. I'm not at all convinced that western social graces require that we *accept* any given story as fact, but there does certainly seem to be an unwritten rule that says we at least have to *appear* to accept the story.

Of course, I think some of this depends on the purpose behind the telling of the story. If it's for simple anecdotal yahooism (no definition, just a fun word), you can put your own face on it.
If the individual telling the story is trying to convince you of somethinig, or change your mind about something, then you are certainly entitled to poke as many holes in it as possible. If the peanut gallery takes offense, tough noogies. They need to learn to think.

If you are more interested in being polite or simply surviving (say, your monther in law is trying to convince you that she's not really Satan's sister), I'd just nod, smile, agree - and go home and examine the evidence in safety,

-----

As it happens, my mother in law is a very nice lady.

genebujold
2005-Nov-22, 01:14 AM
It's because our brains developed amazing feats at pattern recognition, which served us very well in the wild, but don't serve us very well in modern civiliation. As a result, we see patterns everywhere. We think "three" constitutes a trend without having any understanding of the underlying nature of the data.

About 40% have learned to distrust their brain's inbred capability to see patterns where there are none. But most haven't.

Hence the success of Vegas, where every other player continually calculates his luck, the liklihood of winning next, from the incredibly small sample he's obtained of the incredibly huge number of plays that make up the population.

It's why the house always wins. The house bets the odds (statistics), instead of our mismatched innate pattern-recognition ability that evolved for a different time and place.

That's also why people believe in anything, including UFOs, government conspiracies - you name it. They see a pattern where there is none.

Given a sufficient number of tosses of a penny, you'd wind up with sixteen heads in a row. But it'd take more than 65,000 throws to achieve it.

I pity the poor sucker who happens along, counting 12 consecutive throws before it lands tails, and concludes, "pennies consecutively land 12 times on heads before they land tails."

It's an extreme example, and assumes no prior knowledge of penny throws.

But consider the fact that most people who attend Vegas, or see UFOs, similarly have little to no prior knowledge of how things really work?

TheBlackCat
2005-Nov-22, 02:08 AM
I would not call this approach to life "very dangerous". Very very few woowoos end up dead as a result of their beliefs. (What was that suicide cult which decided to hitch a ride on comet Hale-Bopp?)
There are plenty of people who forgo effective medical treatment on easily curable medical conditions in favor of quack medicine that doesn't do anything, or forgo treatment entirely because they believed some ultimately incorrect hype about it being dangerous or because medicine goes against their religious beliefs. There are plenty of people who are swindled out of a great deal of money by charlatans trying to sell them or give them stock in some perpetual motion machine or other ineffective device, or to someone who claims they can put the person in touch with dead loved ones, or to some cult leader that requires the person to give him or her lots of money or buy tons of his or her overpriced products and/or services, or make any number of bogus claims. Countless taxpayer dollars are spent researching technologies and medical treatments that can never work. And then of course there are, as you mentioned, cults every so often that kill themselves or, worse yet, kill a great many others because they believed someone's lies or insane ramblings. The "Heaven's Gate" cult is but one example. The attacks on the Tokyo subway system were another example, as was that group that poisoned themselves with cyanide. This is not some harmless diversion, really people lose their life savings, real people get hurt, real people die. Huge amounts of money that could be used for useful purposes and do a great amount of good for the world is wasted.

wayneee
2005-Nov-22, 02:38 AM
It's because our brains developed amazing feats at pattern recognition, which served us very well in the wild, but don't serve us very well in modern civiliation. As a result, we see patterns everywhere. We think "three" constitutes a trend without having any understanding of the underlying nature of the data.

ya know what i do ? We have this Marble like wall paper in the bathroom. I am constantly making forms and semblences appear in the swirling marble design as I Sit there and ponder.

TheBlackCat
2005-Nov-22, 03:04 AM
Yeah, I did that with the spackling on the sealing in my dorm for the last two years. Since I was in a loft, the ceiling was about 2.5 feet from my face when I was up there.

SolusLupus
2005-Nov-22, 03:10 AM
Don't forget half the stuff that occured because of Greenpeace propaganda, including but not limited to railing against Gengineered foods. Also, woo-woo beliefs are threatening because they're a symptom of a lack of critical thinking. Lack of critical thinking is killing this nation.

IsaacKuo
2005-Nov-22, 05:02 AM
Lack of critical thinking is a reality everywhere. The basic problem is that the highest abstraction level of logical argument most people comprehend is argument from authority.

A child first believes what he sees himself. Then, he learns that his eyes can deceive him, so he believes what he hears from others. Then, he learns that not everyone agrees, so he learns that some authorities are more authoritative than others.

And that's as far as most people get. The ONLY way for them to tell truth from fiction is by going on who is the most authoritative authority.

Given that level of knowledge model, the average Joe has no particular reason to trust rigorous science more than pseudo-scientific mumbo-jumbo. He simply doesn't have any mental tools to distinguish between them.

LurchGS
2005-Nov-22, 05:12 AM
and herein lies my personal problem with most schools in the US (I can't speak to those elsewhere). From day one, kids are taught by rote: this is the way things are, memorise it. Don't worry about why - it's enough for now that you know that this is the way it is.

And it continues all the way into college.

( don't claim that EVERY class/school is like this - but it is, by golly, the predominant philosophy).

Most parents hate the question "why?" from their kids. I love it - cuz then I can work with them to find out (I usually don't know, myself - inquisitive little buggers)

farmerjumperdon
2005-Nov-22, 02:51 PM
I have noticed that it is somehow condidered rude to critically analyze what someone is telling you. I've questioned a number of people trying to tell me things, and no matter how politely I go about it, not just they, but those around me (even those who later admit they too thought the story was silly) make it clear verbally or otherwise that what I'm doing is rude. This occurs all too often actually.

It extends beyond that though. I do often times decide I don't want a fight and simply listen to someone. However, in a few occasions they seem upset when I simply say "I'll have to look into that on my own later, but it's something to think about." (the last comment is aimed at them actually). They actually seem hurt I didn't take it at face value.

Anyway, I think that expected social behavior may play a major part in this. No one wants to be rude, and so acceptance of strange ideas could be considered a compulsory politeness.

Yes, I've experienced this many times also. You get to the point of just keeping quiet around certain types, or just avoiding them. I informally give people a ** factor - the likelihood that they will just talk off the top of their head about things they know little or nothing about, and just expect people to go along out of social courtesy. I suppose bystanders could get a SWW (sociable woo-woo) rating based on their likelihood of going along versus interjecting with questions and analysis.

As a skydiver I often get told stories about people surviving a total malfunction (landing without any kind of open parachute). I used to always interject, now I usually just walk away. One lady even went into great detail about how the person tucked-and rolled just the right way, blah, blah, blah. I told her that the person's position on impact would only effect how high they bounced and in what position the body would be found. I could tell immediately that even though most knew the person was full of it, I was the bad guy for calling her on the tall tale.

SolusLupus
2005-Nov-22, 03:12 PM
You guys are saying exactly what I've noticed and have been thinking about for so long. *Sniff* I love you all. Seriously. Gimme a hug...

Seriously, though. "I told you so" is THE MOST ANNOYING line I have ever heard, and contributes just as often to lack of critical thinking.

CHIRON
2005-Nov-22, 06:52 PM
Weird according to my dictionary means, unnatural, supernatural, uncanny, incomprehensible, fate, destiny, etc, etc.
So ok it means lots of things to different people, depending on their belief systems, if 150 years ago you believed that your house would have wires fixed into your house coming from outside, and that when you connect a box to them, pictures and sound would be produced. Lots of your peers would have seen you as a candidate for the funny farm. How many people today would you think you weird for believing you have a TV set.
My point is Weird is simply the unknown, at some point in time we will understand the uncanny, unnatural, and supernatural things which frighten or excite us.
I have been involved in ’paranormal’ investigations for some years, so yes I believe I’ve seen a ghost, as a spiritual medium/psychic, (not a very good one), I can and do communicate with ‘dead people‘.
I have also been seriously worried by seeing lots of ‘green lights’ coming toward me out of the darkness, when I found the ‘green lights’ were actually the reflection of moonlight in eyes of a flock of sheep in the field I was in, my fear changed to relief.
Am I Weird, not by my thinking, but I know in today’s society I’m thought of as a fruitcake and worse by many. But without the fruitcakes in science, modern life would be very different.
If people face their fears, and realise that they just have to accept some things happen that they can’t explain, the denigration of Weird would lessen. It’s like those who believe that god created the world, I respect their belief, but I ask who created god’s god?
There is no understandable answer, but without some kind of creator, how can we exist?
To deny Weird is to stagnate and live in fear, you might not like what you find when looking at Weird things, but not everything is bad, or evil, it depends on your own perspective.
I can get off the soap box now.

The only thing that can't change, is change it's self.

SolusLupus
2005-Nov-22, 06:54 PM
I'm skeptical of the existance of ghosts until I see one myself. Outside of that dream I had... dang she was freaky.

LurchGS
2005-Nov-22, 07:15 PM
I'm skeptical of the existance of ghosts until I see one myself. Outside of that dream I had... dang she was freaky.

that'st no way to talk about your mother! Apologise this instant! http://www.bautforum.com/images/icons/icon7.gif

Actually, I agree with you. It's not science if it can't be replicated on demand. If a medium can talk with my paternal grandfather, and prove it, I'll start to be impressed. If I see something that can be proven to be a ghost, well, ok, I'll accept their existance.

As for Lonewulf's dream... that's what he gets for sending me bad thoughts.

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Dreams altered while you wait. Visions sent to those you decree. $25/dream

SolusLupus
2005-Nov-23, 12:06 AM
Dude, don't turn my dreams into something Oedipal. The chick in my dream was hot. Very hot. Only problem was, she killed everything in it that mattered with her very presence. ALl life, including the wolf pack in my dream, just died as soon as she stepped near them.

LurchGS
2005-Nov-23, 12:50 AM
Dude, don't turn my dreams into something Oedipal. The chick in my dream was hot. Very hot. Only problem was, she killed everything in it that mattered with her very presence. ALl life, including the wolf pack in my dream, just died as soon as she stepped near them.


ah - not your mother then - mine (except for the 'hot' bit - unless you count 70 years old as 'hot')

SolusLupus
2005-Nov-23, 03:55 AM
ugh. For the love of (insert deity here), Lurch, please don't do that. I hate you. >.<

LurchGS
2005-Nov-23, 11:04 PM
ah, but your day is that much more interesing, isn't it?

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For the record, my parents are incredibly nice people, and gifted as well. Not sure what happened to me, though.

SolusLupus
2005-Nov-24, 02:01 AM
Not in a good way.

LurchGS
2005-Nov-24, 03:53 AM
much better than caffeine or some illicit chemical composition