Why People Believe Weird Things

Discussion in 'Sci Reviews' started by BenTheMan, Jun 4, 2007.

  1. BenTheMan Dr. of Physics, Prof. of Love Valued Senior Member

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    By David Shermer.

    Has anyone else read this book?

    Shermer is the editor of Skeptic magazine, and has spent a lot of time investigating fantastic and fringe claims. He really understands what science IS, and understands how to apply it to things like intelligent design and psychic claims.

    The book is largely divided into five parts---the middle three parts are dedicated to witch hunts, creationism, and Holocause denial, respectively. He doesn't seem to come up with any new conclusions (I haven't read the last part, where all of the conclusions would presumably be made explicit), but it is an interesting read nonetheless. For example, one chapter gives 25 arguments agains Creationist claims. There are no real arguments here that an intelligent person couldn't construct for themselves, but there is lots of references that will lead you to a deeper understanding of WHY things like Intelligent Design aren't science.

    Shermer's main point is that people who believe weird things aren't any less intelligent than anyone else, they have just convinced themselves that they aren't wrong through faulty logic.

    This is a great book to read if you've ever wrangled with anyone here on SciForums, like Farsight or IceAgeCivilizations.
     
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  3. fishtail Registered Senior Member

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    That is one end of the spectrum, i am sure science provokes crackpottery
    by substituting words like illogical with words like non intuitive.
     
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  5. Oli Heute der Enteteich... Registered Senior Member

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    But non-intuitive does not necessarily mean illogical.
     
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  7. Read-Only Valued Senior Member

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    It certainly doesn't.

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    And here's one small but very common example. Let's say you're sick and the doc prescribes some medication for you and it comes in capsule form.

    Whe you take it with a glass of water, it's intuitive to tilt your head slightly upward to assist in swallowing it. But that wrong - because a capsule floats.

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    The proper way to make it easier is counter-intutive - tilt your head slightly downward.
     
  8. fishtail Registered Senior Member

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    True, but in many papers one is lead to believe the word illogical is implied,
    but non intuitive is substituted, it is hair splitting in word usage, but
    in a scientific paper the word illogical stands out a mile.
     
  9. BenTheMan Dr. of Physics, Prof. of Love Valued Senior Member

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    I don't really know what you're trying to accomplish here. Besides being grossly wrong about the way that science is done, you don't even seem to understand what science actually IS. The word `illogical' is NEVER implied, logic is objective, and non-intuitive is a subjective statement. You seem to imply that science is a subjective thing, and this is absolutely ridiculous.
     
  10. 2inquisitive The Devil is in the details Registered Senior Member

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    Actually, I tilt my head back slightly to assist in getting the water out of the glass and into my mouth. After that, I cannot see where it makes any difference which way my head is tilted. I swallow the water plus capsule all together in one gulp. Do you mean other people do it differently?

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  11. lucifers angel same shit, differant day!! Registered Senior Member

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    people want to belive because thats how we are, we want to proof before we dont believe anymore
     
  12. S.A.M. uniquely dreadful Valued Senior Member

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    imagination precedes enquiry
     
  13. Read-Only Valued Senior Member

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    Yes, they do. You may not be aware of it but there's a large number of people that have difficulty swallowing pills. And even though it's primarily psycological, they need all the help they can get. If they tilt their heads backwards, they cannot get a capsule to go down.
     
  14. James R Just this guy, you know? Staff Member

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    BenTheMan:

    Minor correction: it's Michael Shermer, not David.
     
  15. BenTheMan Dr. of Physics, Prof. of Love Valued Senior Member

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    I think this is the problem. This, and a willingness to submit to authoritarianism.

    Thanks.
     
  16. peta9 Registered Senior Member

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    Well, if it wasn't for star trek we wouldn't have flip cellphones or transporter now would we?

    Well, the transporter will soon be coming to a store near you.
     
  17. Xevious Truth Beyond Logic Registered Senior Member

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    I've never seen anyone ever win the debate between pure imagination and pure objectivism. Both of them when left to themselves amount to nothing. It is the application of both which leads to great discoveries.
     

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