Credulity and skepticism

Discussion in 'Science and Technology' started by Kandahar, Dec 31, 2004.

  1. Kandahar

    Kandahar Banned

    I chose the science/technology forum because this seems like the most logical place to vent, but I don't know if I'll get any more of a positive response here than on any of the other message boards of this forum...

    Why do so many people, even intelligent people, not understand the idea of skepticism? Why do so few bother to even look for evidence before they choose to believe something? Why is the scientific method - probably the greatest intangible invention in the history of mankind - so unpopular with people today?

    Why does credulity make slaves of so many people? What follows is a cross-section of threads I've seen on this forum over the past month. They were not posted as joke threads:

    1. A thread accusing the United States of somehow "causing" the Asian earthquake and tsunamis (or at least having advanced knowledge of it)

    2. A thread entitled "Astrology: Fact or Fiction"

    3. A thread accusing John Kerry of deliberately throwing the presidential election to allow his Skull & Bones brother four more years.

    4. A thread accusing the freemasons of associating with a 2,000-year-old human being and a race of reptilian men.

    5. A thread predicting a nuclear disaster (or some form of terrorism) on December 27...with people defending the threadstarter's position both before and after December 27 came and went without incident.

    6. A thread originally about the legitimate questions regarding the plausibility of extraterrestrial intelligence...hijacked by UFOlogists and conspiracy theorists.

    Can someone please explain this mindset to me? It just boggles my mind how people can try to defend these kinds of positions without the slightest bit of evidence. Any of the above positions can be found in any tabloid in the country, but no serious media source...

    *gah* I'm frustrated.
  2. nimh

    nimh ~foodie~

    kandahar, you are the box. If you think that the "serious media" tells the truth you are seriously in denial.

    ps, happy new years!
  3. shaggie

    shaggie Senior Member

  4. shaggie

    shaggie Senior Member

  5. Kandahar

    Kandahar Banned

    There's a difference between having a slight bias and actively lying. Do CNN, MSNBC, FOX, Al-Jazeera, the BBC, and all other news media have various biases? Of course, and I would encourage people to get their news from as many sources as possible to hear different perspectives. But all of those news media report basically the same events. You don't hear CNN reporting that John Kerry was declared the winner of the election, and you don't hear FOX News denying that there have been American casualties in Iraq. They might have different opinions on the news, but they're both "telling the truth" when it comes to the story itself.

    Generally speaking, yes, I think the "serious media" does a pretty good job of telling the truth. Not a perfect job, but a pretty good job.

    EDIT: Anyway, we can discuss this more on another thread if you'd like. I want to keep this one focused on credulity/skepticism as much as possible.
  6. fat_tony

    fat_tony Member

    People have the freedom to believe what they want, I have a friend, a chemist, who always reads their horoscope and believes it implicitly to be true. I guess thats their choice however much I disagree, but I guess I'm in the box. I'd rather understand the box than spend my entire life flapping around in some meaningless space trying to get a grip on a greater existance I can't possibly hope to understand (assuming there is one and I suspect that tarot cards have nothing to do with it anyway).
    I don't thinkthe mass media do a bad job, you have to read between the lines a lot, but I agree that they don't outright lie. At least not the respectable papers, although it'd be nieve not to suspect some collusion big big corporations and governments.
    As for UFO's I heard a little conspiracy theory of my own the other day to do with anti-gravity reasearch in the US. I came across a rather 'misty' tale of an experiment carried out by a Russian called Podkletnov, whilst revising for an exam. I ended up reading a book called The Hunt for Zero Point, and as conspiracy theories go I found it quite hard to pick holes. I know its a completely unrelated to the thread but does anyone know anything else about this?
  7. shaggie

    shaggie Senior Member

  8. shaggie

    shaggie Senior Member

    I should add the point that some stories really are true, even though they seem incredible. If someone told the story of the 9/11 terror attack to people 2000 years from now with no documentation to back it up, many people wouldn't believe it It would seem unbelievable to many that a handful of people could level two quarter-mile high skyscrapers and five surrounding buildings. It's like the story of David and Goliath.
  9. Zanman

    Zanman Member

    Doubtless there are many crazy people who believe in astrology. This does not mean astrology is crazy.

    The same goes for Tarot, I Ching and Kabala.

    If you have NOT studied these subjects it is the height of arrogance to disparage them based upon conclusions already drawn from your own prejudice.

    It is as silly as saying. "I have not been to China, and have no evidence that China exists, therefore China does not exist."
  10. Zanman

    Zanman Member

    I have read many of your posts, with pleasure I might add, and I find it surprising that you are reluctant to accept a larger existence.

    Inductive/deductive reasoning is only one way to the truth.

    Please do not take this the wrong way, I do not mean to attack you personally and respect your intelligence and your knowledge, but I find this a strange post from someone obviously adept.
  11. mariecstasy

    mariecstasy Enchanted

    people definatly have the right to believe what they believe, its good to have so much diversity of thought and conspiracies and idiots too..
  12. ~Sam~

    ~Sam~ Cosmic Traveler

    An individual's mind/brain is a wonderous part of the human organism. Belief systems are an integral part of the "mind/brain set" of that individual.

    The best thing about the scientific process, imo, is the frequency with which existing theories are proven incorrect and new, more plausible theories are arrived at.

    But I ramble.

    I have noticed in my time here on the forums... and in the outside world also, that most folks have a tendancy to grab on to a catch phrase.

    Now, catch phrases are OK as far as the information understood about the subject takes them... which isn't very far. Catch phrases are like "the hook" in a song. Pretty soon everyone you know is singing it. Whether they understand the meaning or the reasons behind the "hook" is another matter. And who can say what any individual truly understands inside their own head?

    Catch phrases are easy. You don't have to do any serious investigation about underlying meanings. You only have to repeat the phrase enough times to think that you really understand its meaning.

    Believing in something, anything, intensely... causes disturbances in the action potential of neurotransmitter release and reuptake. Neurotransmitters are capable of making an individual feel bad, Ok or ecstatic. The levels of neurotransmitters in the brain are of equal importance, and during an especially "enlightening" experience their levels are increased or decreased depending on the experience.

    These "enlightening" experiences might be termed; love, hate, finding god, or getting high on being one with the universe. Religious experience or being high? Same thing in my book. I feel that these experiences are also "catchy". Or act like a "contact high", in which all the chickens who've been witness to Chicken Little's epiphany, go running off madly... yelling; "The sky is falling, the sky is falling."

    We live in a world that is populated by individuals. Each individual has his own belief system in place. As long as it stays in place and doesn't come after me to "join together with the band", they are welcomed to believe in whatever they want to believe in.

    But, proselytism is a no-no in my book. I'll leave well enough alone as long as it stays there. But if offered help that I never asked for, or when I'm told that I'm being prayed for... well that's when the shit hits the fan... so to speak.
  13. MeAgain

    MeAgain Dazed and Confused Staff Member Super Moderator

    Robert M. Pirsig

    Russell Baker

    So....whatever, someone's gotta push the edge.
  14. Pressed_Rat

    Pressed_Rat Do you even lift, bruh?

    The funny thing is, I doubt people like Kandahar have even researched any of the topics that they insult people for discussing. If it doesn't fit their conditioned reality, then it "can't be true." This mentality holds true for many people, unfortunately. This is why the world is the way it is. Many people prefer illusion over reality, when it just so happens that reality is often a lot harder to believe and accept, and often a lot more strange than illusion.

    Most people do not understand is that reality is only what they've been taught is reality. If it falls outside of their fragile belief system, or poses a threat to their belief system, they respond by insulting others for not thinking "logically" like them.

    Kandahar, you are a very inside-the-box thinker, and I am not saying that because you disagree with what I sometimes say, but rather because of the way you react to people who see things differently than you.

    Try opening your mind a bit.
  15. Pressed_Rat

    Pressed_Rat Do you even lift, bruh?

    It's not about biases. The bias of the news networks is essentially created to suit the two-party paradigm within this country. Like I have said before, not everything is either black or white, unlike you are conditioned to believe it is.

    I do not buy into the left/right, Democrat/Republican mindset that most people blindly buy into without second thought. I only go by what is right and wrong. I know what is right and wrong because I have done enough research on the things I discuss to know. I know that the media and the government thrive on lying to the public. Most intelligent, reasonably cynical people feel the same way, even though many people fail to fully acknowledge this.

    People like you are completely unaware of who even owns the major news networks you place so much trust in. What you don't know is that the corporate media is owned by the military-industrial complex. Many of the same people who profit off of the war in Iraq are the same people who profit off of misleading the public through what they call "news." You have no idea of how government and big-business are intertwined. YOU are uninformed.

    What do you mean the “serious media”? How do you know that half of what your are presented is the truth? How gullible is that?

    Some things are a given. For instance, you might hear in the news that gas has risen to $50 a barrel. Well, obviously that would most likely be true because it can be confirmed every time you go to fill your tank up at the gas pump.

    But take 9/11 for instance. What we were told by the media came directly from an "official source," that "official source" being the US government -- the Pentagon. When you look at how much the US government stands to gain from such an attack, by giving them the phony excuse to begin launching multiple, imperial wars, how can you really believe what you are told, without question, especially when upon simple research it can be easily determined that what we were told simply does not add up.

    You really have a lot of waking up to do before you go criticizing people for something you obviously know absolutely nothing about.
  16. Pressed_Rat

    Pressed_Rat Do you even lift, bruh?

    There is no documentation to back up the "official" story of what happened on 9/11 now.
  17. green_thumb

    green_thumb kill your T.V.

    Can you please explain your mindset? It seems to me you tirelessly fight anyone who doesn't spew mainstream "knowledge". If it sounds strange to you (apparently much does), you refuse to even consider it. You spend most of your time here trying (and failing) to dispel all possibilities other than what you've committed your mind to believing. Why is that? What is your motive? I find it somewhat bizarre.
  18. fat_tony

    fat_tony Member

    Ah isnt this fun, lets throw completely unverifyable rubbish around at each other and hope we get somewhere. Does it make you feel better? Because it drives me absolutely mad. I believe that there is far more known about certain areas of physics, I think of low termperature physics in particular, but is being hidden. These continual conspiracy theories about area 51 and secret US science make it impossible for serious scientists to bring into the mainstream and try and make inroads into these covert areas of research. Maybe CNN, Fox, MSNBC, BBC, US oil Industry and the Republicans are synonyms for each, certainly there maybe more interaction than is healthy. But an accusation has to verifyable. As im sure ull be the first to tell me I know little about such matters. But I do know that conspiracy theorists have pretty much destroyed any attempts by the physics community to find out about 'secret science'.

    I agree with Zanman, I did make a sweeping statement about thinking in the box that was poorly thought out. However I do believe that a verifyable thought in the box is infinately more valuable than wild speculation out of it. That was the point I was trying to make. Whether it be the 'box' as in the way of thinking or a more scientific assertion about the universe.
  19. shaggie

    shaggie Senior Member

  20. Spinor

    Spinor Member

    There exists a reference frame whereby even the most outlandish conspiracy theories are absolutely true. Locating this frame is diffcult, but more importantly, probably not useful.

    There also exists a frame whereby I could swallow an unbrella and then open it, but again, it is unlikely I could locate this frame.

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