How very smart people can believe very weird things.

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ravingdave
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How very smart people can believe very weird things.

Post by ravingdave »

An issue which has been puzzling me for a very long time. It seems universal. I know many smart people who are perfectly reasonable until you find the one (or more) subjects that turn them into crazy people. At this point, their ability to reason simply disappears. What's even stranger, is they don't notice that they've entered the "Twilight Zone."


In any case, an article concerning the phenomenon written by a Psychologist.

http://www.psychologytoday.com/blog/sca ... iss-my-apa



David

jmc
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Post by jmc »

Take a look in the mirror "Raving Dave"! AHA! HA! HA! HA! HA!

ravingdave
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Post by ravingdave »

jmc wrote:Take a look in the mirror "Raving Dave"! AHA! HA! HA! HA! HA!
I do. Constantly. That's the difference. People need to look at their ideas with a critical eye, and re-evaluate them.


I am persuadable. I change my opinion when evidence convinces me that i've made a mistake in reasoning, or I didn't have all the facts.


I know very few people who are willing to entertain the idea that they might be mistaken about something, or even who are willing to listen to the evidence that they are.

David

jmc
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Post by jmc »

Okay fair enough.

I read the article. I'm not sure to what extent I believe the authors argument that the intellectual elite are more out of touch or less responsive to criticism than others. In my view people who aren't particularly well-educated are just as liable to form strong irrational opinions.

I think the truth is that everyone is capable of having dogmatic irrational views be they intellectual or non-intellectual.

Its just we expect more from those we regard as intelligent and inevitably become dissappointed when we find that their human just like everyone else.

Those who look to others for leadership get especially dissappointed "What there's no perfect person whose opinions I can adopt and follow blindly? Darn! Now I have to think for myself!"

joedead
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Post by joedead »

Interesting article, thanks Dave.

MSimon
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Post by MSimon »

ravingdave wrote:
jmc wrote:Take a look in the mirror "Raving Dave"! AHA! HA! HA! HA! HA!
I do. Constantly. That's the difference. People need to look at their ideas with a critical eye, and re-evaluate them.

I am persuadable. I change my opinion when evidence convinces me that i've made a mistake in reasoning, or I didn't have all the facts.

I know very few people who are willing to entertain the idea that they might be mistaken about something, or even who are willing to listen to the evidence that they are.

David
Once upon a time I was a Communist (well more of a supporter) and then I wised up.
Engineering is the art of making what you want from what you can get at a profit.

MSimon
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Post by MSimon »

*


George Orwell "Some things are so stupid, only an intellectual could believe them"



*
Engineering is the art of making what you want from what you can get at a profit.

ravingdave
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Post by ravingdave »

jmc wrote:Okay fair enough.

I read the article. I'm not sure to what extent I believe the authors argument that the intellectual elite are more out of touch or less responsive to criticism than others. In my view people who aren't particularly well-educated are just as liable to form strong irrational opinions.

I think the truth is that everyone is capable of having dogmatic irrational views be they intellectual or non-intellectual.

Its just we expect more from those we regard as intelligent and inevitably become dissappointed when we find that their human just like everyone else.

Those who look to others for leadership get especially dissappointed "What there's no perfect person whose opinions I can adopt and follow blindly? Darn! Now I have to think for myself!"

I've gotten to the point where I question everything. I fondly remember the time when I used to take things for granted. I find I am still learning new things from time to time.


David

ravingdave
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Post by ravingdave »

MSimon wrote:
ravingdave wrote:
jmc wrote:Take a look in the mirror "Raving Dave"! AHA! HA! HA! HA! HA!
I do. Constantly. That's the difference. People need to look at their ideas with a critical eye, and re-evaluate them.

I am persuadable. I change my opinion when evidence convinces me that i've made a mistake in reasoning, or I didn't have all the facts.

I know very few people who are willing to entertain the idea that they might be mistaken about something, or even who are willing to listen to the evidence that they are.

David
Once upon a time I was a Communist (well more of a supporter) and then I wised up.


Here comes some heresy. (at least from my side of the political spectrum.)

I have figured out (years ago.) that communism *IS* a natural form of government, and is right and proper in it's place, and that place is the FAMILY.
The Family should work together for the common interest, and defend each of it's members without regard to cost. (from each according to their ability, to each according to their needs.)

The Communism of the family is one of it's strengths, but it only works because the individual members of the "commune" have a blood and love relationship between them, and therefore they are often willing to sacrifice their own personal preferences or best interests for the good of their loved ones.

It breaks down when applied to larger groups that do not share the same genes, and who are in fact strangers about which the people who do not know them care little if at all.

That is the fallacy of communism, though the concept seems attractive to people because they instinctively relate it to the idea of a large family.
Unfortunately, they simply don't understand there is no great compelling love between people and strangers.

Communism on a large scale is simply a failure to understand human nature.

David

ravingdave
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Post by ravingdave »

joedead wrote:Interesting article, thanks Dave.

Anytime ! Besides, everything I post is interesting ! :)



I've read of a phenomenon called "Intellectual phase lock" which sometimes afflicts scientists. It is the belief that because the majority believe something to be a certain way, this must be accurate and therefore there is no need to look for anything else.

I don't know if it's still a big problem nowadays, (unless ITER is an example of it.) but it was a problem in centuries past.

I think my point here is that even extremely smart, analytical people who demand absolute proof of something, are sometimes willing to believe things just because others believe them. (the ether theory?)


David

MSimon
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Post by MSimon »

ravingdave wrote:
MSimon wrote:
ravingdave wrote: I do. Constantly. That's the difference. People need to look at their ideas with a critical eye, and re-evaluate them.

I am persuadable. I change my opinion when evidence convinces me that i've made a mistake in reasoning, or I didn't have all the facts.

I know very few people who are willing to entertain the idea that they might be mistaken about something, or even who are willing to listen to the evidence that they are.

David
Once upon a time I was a Communist (well more of a supporter) and then I wised up.


Here comes some heresy. (at least from my side of the political spectrum.)

I have figured out (years ago.) that communism *IS* a natural form of government, and is right and proper in it's place, and that place is the FAMILY.
The Family should work together for the common interest, and defend each of it's members without regard to cost. (from each according to their ability, to each according to their needs.)

The Communism of the family is one of it's strengths, but it only works because the individual members of the "commune" have a blood and love relationship between them, and therefore they are often willing to sacrifice their own personal preferences or best interests for the good of their loved ones.

It breaks down when applied to larger groups that do not share the same genes, and who are in fact strangers about which the people who do not know them care little if at all.

That is the fallacy of communism, though the concept seems attractive to people because they instinctively relate it to the idea of a large family.
Unfortunately, they simply don't understand there is no great compelling love between people and strangers.

Communism on a large scale is simply a failure to understand human nature.

David
Of course. It has to do with relationships. The closer a person is to you genetically the more it is worth to be altruistic. There is even a mathematical formula for it.

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Kin_selection
Engineering is the art of making what you want from what you can get at a profit.

ravingdave
Posts: 650
Joined: Wed Jun 27, 2007 2:41 am

Post by ravingdave »

MSimon wrote:
ravingdave wrote:


Here comes some heresy. (at least from my side of the political spectrum.)

I have figured out (years ago.) that communism *IS* a natural form of government, and is right and proper in it's place, and that place is the FAMILY.

Communism on a large scale is simply a failure to understand human nature.

David
Of course. It has to do with relationships. The closer a person is to you genetically the more it is worth to be altruistic. There is even a mathematical formula for it.

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Kin_selection

Great minds think alike ! :)


David

jmc
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Post by jmc »

ravingdave wrote:
I've read of a phenomenon called "Intellectual phase lock" which sometimes afflicts scientists. It is the belief that because the majority believe something to be a certain way, this must be accurate and therefore there is no need to look for anything else.

I don't know if it's still a big problem nowadays, (unless ITER is an example of it.) but it was a problem in centuries past.

I think my point here is that even extremely smart, analytical people who demand absolute proof of something, are sometimes willing to believe things just because others believe them. (the ether theory?)


David
Don't dis the ether theory, back in those days they thought waves needed a medium to travel in. Besides the idea that light travels the same speed in all frames of reference is prepostorous to common sense. In the absence of hard and fast evidence to the contrary which theory would make more sense to you? Ether or time dilation??

Ofcourse time dilation won out because experimental evidence did verify it. But its easy to mock prefectly reasonable theories that happened to be wrong with the benefit of hindsight.

Most of modern physics would be ridiculous if there didn't happen to be incontrovertable experimental evidence to back it up.



Intellectual phase lock is as old as time itself and will never be eliminated. Its simply the result of not being bothered to plow through reams and reams of arguments and counter arguments and data galore. Spending huge ammounts of time doing this when you could be playing frisby or watching a film instead. Call it intellectual laziness but its human nature.


I suppose the cure is a willingness to listen to the views of others a willingness of those running the system to test theories they disagrees with (i.e. the head of a research centre saying "I doubt its going to work but if you if you only need this much money to test it we'll give it a shot") and have a system that empowers people to act autonomously of each other (starting a new business, charity organuisation, political party ,religious cult )

alexjrgreen
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Post by alexjrgreen »

ravingdave wrote:The Family should work together for the common interest, and defend each of it's members without regard to cost. (from each according to their ability, to each according to their needs.)

...

It breaks down when applied to larger groups that do not share the same genes, and who are in fact strangers about which the people who do not know them care little if at all.

That is the fallacy of communism, though the concept seems attractive to people because they instinctively relate it to the idea of a large family.
Unfortunately, they simply don't understand there is no great compelling love between people and strangers.

Communism on a large scale is simply a failure to understand human nature.

David
Many measurements of human beings produce a bell curve.

http://www.concernedjournalists.org/standard-deviation

Politically, the roughly two thirds of people who fall in the middle of the bell curve insist on being treated as if they were equal. They don't mind being in competing teams, but don't try to treat them as different in any other way. They don't want any favours and they want to have the opportunity to rise or fall by their own efforts.

The people at the top and bottom of the bell curve know they're not equal. Depending on your politics you can either ignore this or try to engage with it. The most able can easily make themselves a huge amount of money. The least able can just as easily starve. If your politics or your morals find this unacceptable then you need find a way to balance the two.

Many people would say that the most able have a duty to contribute to society and that the least able should at least have their needs met.
Ars artis est celare artem.

Torulf2
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Post by Torulf2 »

Most people avoid thinking on weird things. The method for this is conformism, thinking like people do most. Some people think outside the box and this is weird. But sometimes the weird things are right.

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