Living in denial: Why sensible people reject the truth

60 posts / 0 new

People who buy into one denialism may support others for this reason. Dan Kahan at Yale Law School has found that people's views on social issues such as abortion and same-sex marriage predict their position on climate science too. This, he argues, is because social conservatives tend to be pro-business and resist the idea that it is damaging the planet (Nature, vol 436, p 296).

But other denialisms suggest psychology, not just ideology, is crucial. There is no obvious connection between conservatism and vaccine or AIDS denial, and flu denial was promulgated by a left-leaning group suspicious of the vaccine industry.

. . .

George Lakoff, a cognitive psychologist at the University of California, Berkeley, argues that conservatives have been better than progressives at exploiting anecdote and emotion to win arguments. Progressives tend to think that giving people the facts and figures will inevitably lead them to the right conclusions. They see anecdotes as inadmissible evidence, and appeals to emotion as wrong.

The same is true of scientists. But against emotion and anecdote, dry statements of evidence have little power. To make matters worse, scientists usually react to denial with anger and disdain, which makes them seem even more arrogant.

Full article:

http://www.newscientist.com/article/mg20627606.100-living-in-denial-why-...

Common_Man_Jason's picture
Common_Man_Jason
Joined:
Jul. 31, 2007 4:01 pm

Comments

Well that second portion certainly describes me to a T. Interesting article.

reed9's picture
reed9
Joined:
Apr. 8, 2010 11:26 am

Interesting article, Jason. I was drawn by the term: denialism. I think these are subsets of a larger pandemic of denial.

Sacred Demise: Walking the Spiritual Path of Industrial Civilization's Collapse

Sacred Demise draws on the wisdom of deep thinkers from various traditions; Carl Jung's insights inform much of her discussion, as do the indigenous African teachings of Malidoma Somé, the research of Jared Diamond and the spirituality of Thomas Moore and Eckhart Tolle, among others. Baker brings in many relevant and moving poems, and suggests a series of exercises for self-reflection. Weaving these elements with her own insights, Baker has given us a beautiful vision of humanity reconnecting with our ancient roots and with the Earth, finding spiritual resources to endure the coming apocalypse. For Baker, collapse opens possibilities for transformation.

Carolyn uses the rite of passage identified as the Kubler-Ross five stages of grief to inform her discussion, which begins with denial:

  • Denial (this isn't happening to me!)
  • Anger (why is this happening to me?)
  • Bargaining (I promise I'll be a better person if...)
  • Depression (I don't care anymore)
  • Acceptance (I'm ready for whatever comes)
The book's greatest use will be in guiding and comforting those of us who are "hospice" workers for industrial civilization. Having written on the subject of collapse for almost a decade I have longed for something that would comfort me and the great many who have labored to awaken mass consciousness to the gravity of the current crisis. As on a battlefield one inevitably asks, who or what will care for the caregivers? This is that book.

Michael C. Ruppert

.ren's picture
.ren
Joined:
Apr. 1, 2010 7:50 am

On the eve of the conquest of Jerusalem by the Assyrians, Jeremiah buys a plot of land as witness to a post-exilic future.

The "remnant" remembers beyond generational experience and returns to reconnect and restore the true story. At leas this is how the Bible account goes. But the point is that this is all about surviving the apocalypse and finding new life after exile.

In American experience of Great Awakenings, letting go of the old and embracing the new was the point of the transformational spiritual events. If we look to psychology and sociology instead of manipulating the deity with crowd control subtlety, we can see some of what it takes to get us metaphorically out of Egypt and ready to go into the wilderness.

What we think is real matters. As we see Wall St. as the Casino and the Dow as a measure of gambling activity, our eyes can begin to see a real economy instead of what Cramer has been selling in the Corporate Media. As the empire hits reality and gushers money into Afghanistan, we lose the fantasy of America as World Cop and the Good Violence. Our eyes can begin to see another way to security than imperial conquest and the maintenance of "fueling stations" and "control of the seas."

We cannot afford these fantasies.

The issue is that the Bad Santa folks want us to avoid spending to fix the roof or care for our illnesses. They don't want us to talk about the waste, just the cost. All spending increases the debt, but not all debt is waste or money lost. Then we run into the money around the BP criminal disaster and see numbers that make our political numbers puny. It does not add up.

The facts and figures are not persuasive to anyone deep in a narrative. They can make the narrative accountable to reality, and if there is an escape route or alternative that makes sense and has possibility, letting go of what is not working is much easier.

Our hope is not in the Constitution. It is certainly not in the integrity of our political system or national conduct. It is not about our economic system, obviously, nor is it about our wonderful democratic prototype. It is about us and the validity of self-government as well as the dignity of the individual. Unless freedom and dignity do not matter, the China model is the way of the world. I think they will find that human rights and civil rights are not granted by governments but recognized by them instead. They are too real to deny or suppress.

DRC's picture
DRC
Joined:
Jul. 31, 2007 4:01 pm

Because many people have the mindset, 'Can't do nothing about it, so why bother.'

To which I respond with this Mousetrap Parable.

Next time someone goes into denial about anything important e-mail or print out a copy of this.

Mousetrap Parable !!!!

A mouse looked through the crack in the wall
to see the farmer and his wife open a package.
"What food might this contain?" The mouse wondered.
He was devastated to discover it was a mousetrap.

Retreating to the farmyard,
the mouse proclaimed this warning :
"There is a mousetrap in the house!
There is a mousetrap in the house!"

The chicken clucked and scratched,
raised her head and said, "Mr. Mouse,
I can tell this is a grave concern to you,
but it is of no consequence to me.
I cannot be bothered by it."
The mouse turned to the pig and told him,
"There is a mousetrap in the house!
There is a mousetrap in the house!"

The pig sympathized, but said,
"I am so very sorry, Mr. Mouse,
but there is nothing I can do about it
but pray.
Be assured you are in my prayers."

The mouse turned to the cow and said,
"There is a mousetrap in the house!
There is a mousetrap in the house!"

The cow said, "Wow, Mr. Mouse. I'm sorry for you,
but it's no skin off my nose."

So, the mouse returned to the house,
head down and dejected,
to face the farmer's mousetrap
. . . Alone. . ..

That very night
a sound was heard throughout the house
-- the sound Of a mousetrap catching its prey.

The farmer's wife rushed to see what was caught.
In the darkness, she did not see it.
It was a venomous snake
whose tail was caught in the trap.

The snake bit the farmer's wife.

The farmer rushed her to the hospital.

When she returned home she still had a fever.
Everyone knows you treat a fever
with fresh chicken soup.
So the farmer took his hatchet to the farmyard
for the soup's main ingredient:

But his wife's sickness continued.
Friends and neighbors
came to sit with her
around the clock.
To feed them, the farmer butchered the pig.

But, alas, the farmer's wife did not get well...
She died.

So many people came for her funeral
that the farmer had the cow slaughtered
to provide enough meat for all of them
for the funeral luncheon.

And the mouse looked upon it all
from his crack in the wall
with great sadness.

So, the next time you hear
someone is facing a problem
and you think it doesn't concern you,
remember ---

When one of us is threatened, we are all at risk.
We are all involved in this journey called life.
We must keep an eye out for one another
and make an extra effort
to encourage one another.

Volitzer's picture
Volitzer
Joined:
Jul. 31, 2007 4:01 pm

There is a difference between a denier and a sceptic. Living in denial is usually lauded in business. Hans Christian Anderson comes to mind, too.

YOU can't beat doubt as a corporate strategy - especially if your product is life-threatening when used as directed. These days we don't have to speculate as to whether industries have manufactured doubt. They have admitted it too many times.

In 1972, Tobacco Institute vice-president Fred Panzer outlined his industry's "brilliantly executed" defence strategy. A key tactic was "creating doubt about the health charge without actually denying it" while "encouraging objective scientific research."

"Objective scientific research": those words would almost make you believe that Panzer was talking about objective science. But when doubt is your goal, the misuse of language is just another way to confuse the public.

Where tobacco led the way, coal and chemicals followed. And, of course, the fossil fuel industry has been working overtime - and with shocking success - creating doubt about climate change.

Techniques appear to be limited only by the imagination and integrity of the campaigners - which is to say, there don't appear to be any limits. One of the best is to just flat-out lie.

A coalition of US coal and electricity companies set the tone in the 1990s with the creation of the Information Council on the Environment (ICE). It's purpose: to "reposition climate change as a theory not a fact".

ICE hired a PR firm to create advertising messages. These ranged from the ridiculous - "Who told you the Earth was getting warmer... Chicken Little?" - to the blatantly false - "If the Earth is getting warmer, why is Minneapolis getting colder?" But the focus groups found them effective, and that is all that mattered.

ICE also hired scientists to sign querulous opinion-page articles and PR agencies to harass journalists. Today, journalists - embattled, overwhelmed and committed to "balance", no matter how spurious - are useful conduits for spreading doubt.

Other corporate tactics include the creation of phoney grass-roots organisations. The pioneer was The Advancement of Sound Science Coalition (TASSC), set up in 1993 by a group of tobacco, nuclear energy, agribusiness, chemicals and oil companies. TASSC's stated goal was to "encourage the public to question - from the grass roots up - the validity of scientific studies."

ICE and TASSC are no more, but their tactics live on. The doubt industry has ballooned in the past two decades. There are now scores of think tanks pushing dubious and confusing policy positions, and dozens of phoney grass-roots organisations created to make those positions appear to have legitimate following.

It's a hardball world. Never doubt it.

Read more: Special report: Living in denial

douglaslee's picture
douglaslee
Joined:
Jul. 31, 2007 4:01 pm
Quote douglaslee:

There is a difference between a denier and a sceptic. Living in denial is usually lauded in business. Hans Christian Anderson comes to mind, too.

Why are you making this point, doug?

.ren's picture
.ren
Joined:
Apr. 1, 2010 7:50 am

WHAT is the difference between a sceptic and a denier? When I call myself a sceptic, I mean that I take a scientific approach to the evaluation of claims. A climate sceptic, for example, examines specific claims one by one, carefully considers the evidence for each, and is willing to follow the facts wherever they lead.

A climate denier has a position staked out in advance, and sorts through the data employing "confirmation bias" - the tendency to look for and find confirmatory evidence for pre-existing beliefs and ignore or dismiss the rest.

Scepticism is integral to the scientific process, because most claims turn out to be false. Weeding out the few kernels of wheat from the large pile of chaff requires extensive observation, careful experimentation and cautious inference. Science is scepticism and good scientists are sceptical.

Denial is different. It is the automatic gainsaying of a claim regardless of the evidence for it - sometimes even in the teeth of evidence. Denialism is typically driven by ideology or religious belief, where the commitment to the belief takes precedence over the evidence. Belief comes first, reasons for belief follow, and those reasons are winnowed to ensure that the belief survives intact.

douglaslee's picture
douglaslee
Joined:
Jul. 31, 2007 4:01 pm

ren: There were a lot of examples of deniers and liars on the New Scientist site. The sceptic as scientist is the part I was refering to and Shermer's article of making sure to tell the difference. I like Shermer, he is usually rational in his arguments, even if I don't always agree with him.

Thus, one practical way to distinguish between a sceptic and a denier is the extent to which they are willing to update their positions in response to new information. Sceptics change their minds. Deniers just keep on denying.

douglaslee's picture
douglaslee
Joined:
Jul. 31, 2007 4:01 pm
Quote douglaslee:

ren: There were a lot of examples of deniers and liars on the New Scientist site. The sceptic as scientist is the part I was refering to and Shermer's article of making sure to tell the difference. I like Shermer, he is usually rational in his arguments, even if I don't always agree with him.

Thus, one practical way to distinguish between a sceptic and a denier is the extent to which they are willing to update their positions in response to new information. Sceptics change their minds. Deniers just keep on denying.

I still don't understand why you are making the point, doug. Are you disagreeing with anything specifically said about denial on this thread? Are you seeing something as doubt or skepticism, not denial? I can quote you chapter and verse about the importance of skepticism and doubt in science, and why science has distinguished "theory vs. hypothesis vs. law." I have often exposed the underlying uncertainty covered by the arrogant certainty of dogmatists who make sacred cows of their pet hypothesis, in their favorite disciplines, some of which may even serve as theory, but none of which ever rise past the skepticism that would make them laws of certainty even though they spout them in declarative sentences as if they were. I assume others can do that, so I don't spout "chapter and verse" unless there's a reason.

So I'm simply asking, is there a reason why you want to call this difference to attention on this thread? In other words, do you want to apply it to anything above your post?

.ren's picture
.ren
Joined:
Apr. 1, 2010 7:50 am

Truly rational, skeptical, inquiry is a knife-edge that few are able to navigate consistently. The mirror image of denialism is the "debunker" attitude where any claim other than the conventional, official, story is automatically dismissed. Statistically, the debunker is likely correct more often than the denialist but they both are going about it wrong.

BadLiberal's picture
BadLiberal
Joined:
Jul. 31, 2007 4:01 pm

One other point I was thinking of with business and 'Emperor has no Clothes' parable is sycophants are paid to lie, and rewarded for it. Chainsaw Al Dunlop didn't want to hear truth, and those that were truthful were fired.

Denial could also be cognitive dissonance.

douglaslee's picture
douglaslee
Joined:
Jul. 31, 2007 4:01 pm

Here's an interesting article that links a "New Scientist" article to a "scientific explanation" for deniers, doug. I found it this morning from my email headlines I get daily from the Financial Times:

Why Global Warming 'Skeptics' Refuse to Believe Scientists

May 20, 2010 at 1:52PM by John H. Richardson

Today, news broke that the National Academy of Sciences is releasing the results of the national study of global warming that was ordered by Congress in 2008. The Academy concludes that the overwhelming majority of the world's scientists are right: the world is warming, that man is responsible for it, and the only currently feasible solution is to tax carbon.

So why do people who call themselves conservatives choose to disbelieve the overwhelming majority of the world's scientists and rely, instead, on the half-assed, un-researched, poorly substantiated opinions of the handful of cranks and retired meteorologists who call themselves "skeptics?"

I hate to assume the worst about people's motives, so I don't want to blame it on partisan politics, corrupt cheerleading for big oil corporations, and the Republican "war on science." So I was cheered to find this brilliant (scientific) explanation, which hints at a path to a solution:

The first thing to note is that denial finds its most fertile ground in areas where the science must be taken on trust. There is no denial of antibiotics, which visibly work. But there is denial of vaccines, which we are merely told will prevent diseases — diseases, moreover, which most of us have never seen, ironically because the vaccines work.

Similarly, global warming, evolution and the link between tobacco and cancer must be taken on trust, usually on the word of scientists, doctors and other technical experts who many non-scientists see as arrogant and alien.

Many people see this as a threat to important aspects of their lives. In Texas last year, a member of a state committee who was trying to get creationism added to school science standards almost said as much when he proclaimed "somebody's got to stand up to experts."

It is this sense of loss of control that really matters. In such situations, many people prefer to reject expert evidence in favor of alternative explanations that promise to hand control back to them, even if those explanations are not supported by evidence.

All denialisms appear to be attempts like this to regain a sense of agency over uncaring nature: blaming autism on vaccines rather than an unknown natural cause, insisting that humans were made by divine plan, rejecting the idea that actions we thought were okay, such as smoking and burning coal, have turned out to be dangerous.

This is not necessarily malicious, or even explicitly anti-science. Indeed, the alternative explanations are usually portrayed as scientific. Nor is it willfully dishonest. It only requires people to think the way most people do: in terms of anecdote, emotion and cognitive short cuts. Denialist explanations may be couched in sciency language, but they rest on anecdotal evidence and the emotional appeal of regaining control.

EARLIER: What NASA Knows and What the Skeptics Think

the "brilliant scientific explanation" referenced above is to the following article which I was amused to discover upon following my links from my morning email from FT lead me back to Jason's first post on this thread, the old "it's a small world" effect:

Living in denial: why sensible people reject the truth

.ren's picture
.ren
Joined:
Apr. 1, 2010 7:50 am
But other denialisms suggest psychology, not just ideology, is crucial.

Here's the chicken and egg thing. I think to a degree that psychology predetermines accepted ideology. Our genes create a social animal with a certain predisposition that is then affected by the culture in which the person lives. Ideologies are the result of the interplay of world views and reality, and generally seem to indicate what the adherents see as how things should be, what keeps the world from operating properly, and what needs to be done to remove the obstacles to proper operation. Therefore, the denial shown by both right and left in post one share the fact that both reject rational argument and scientific evidence; The lefties who see Big Pharma as a threat in their refusal to use vaccines are conceptually no different than righties who see Big Government as a threat in their refusal to restrict greenhouse gas emissions.

I think that sensible people reject truth because that truth may conflict with their innate personality-derived world view that is substantiated in their accepted ideology.

jeffbiss's picture
jeffbiss
Joined:
Jul. 31, 2007 4:01 pm
Quote BadLiberal:

Truly rational, skeptical, inquiry is a knife-edge that few are able to navigate consistently. The mirror image of denialism is the "debunker" attitude where any claim other than the conventional, official, story is automatically dismissed. Statistically, the debunker is likely correct more often than the denialist but they both are going about it wrong.

Good points. And I wonder what you mean when you are saying they are going about it wrong? What would the "right" way be? And would that in any way help to clarify the difference between the necessary skepticism that underlies good science and denialism?

I thought douglaslee raised a good point. But I wanted to hear if he had any further questions.

One question that his point raised is one I've pursued for a long time. How do we tell the difference between good and necessary skepticism and head in the sand denial? Is there a way that can somehow get us past the incessant deniers who will do everything they can to impede something new that must be taken into careful consideration? Like perhaps imminent collapse of the ecologically destructive global economy based on fossil fuels? Which happens to be a conclusion I've come to, but one that is certainly and reasonably open to skepticism and doubt. Gobal warming is just one aspect of that potential for collapse, I should add.

Jason's article purports to provide a "scientific" method for telling the difference, and even identifying a denier rational skeptic. Is what it suggests a good, potentially even reliable method? I was wondering if douglaslee was raising that question. I think not. I think he's just following the lead of looking at the phenomenon. I think to be serious about understanding the article it must also be questioned. Questioning has many implications worthy of thought, even to the extent of how we live our lives in a bed of hypothesis and theories, without any solid sense of certainty to support such concepts as "truth."

.ren's picture
.ren
Joined:
Apr. 1, 2010 7:50 am
Quote jeffbiss:
But other denialisms suggest psychology, not just ideology, is crucial.

Here's the chicken and egg thing. I think to a degree that psychology predetermines accepted ideology. Our genes create a social animal with a certain predisposition that is then affected by the culture in which the person lives. Ideologies are the result of the interplay of world views and reality, and generally seem to indicate what the adherents see as how things should be, what keeps the world from operating properly, and what needs to be done to remove the obstacles to proper operation. Therefore, the denial shown by both right and left in post one share the fact that both reject rational argument and scientific evidence; The lefties who see Big Pharma as a threat in their refusal to use vaccines are conceptually no different than righties who see Big Government as a threat in their refusal to restrict greenhouse gas emissions.

I think that sensible people reject truth because that truth may conflict with their innate personality-derived world view that is substantiated in their accepted ideology.

I agree, I think denial is related to a kind of desire to protect something, and in this case you've presented, it's the creation of an abstraction of the world that the individual uses to convince oneself is the real world and one that needs to be as it is conceived.

I guess that would mean that denial would be a protection response. Could skepticism and questioning also be a protection response of some kind? Here's a funny kind of tail chaising question, why do we question? Can we answer that without creating a tautology?

Generally speaking, I often notice that my questions put others on the defensive. And sometimes that will cause problems for me to deal with. A kind of denial might be a response to a question I've asked, and then sometimes the response beyond that will tend towards outright implications or even acts of violence.

.ren's picture
.ren
Joined:
Apr. 1, 2010 7:50 am
Quote .ren:

I agree, I think denial is related to a kind of desire to protect something, and in this case you've presented, it's the creation of an abstraction of the world that the individual uses to convince oneself is the real world and one that needs to be as it is conceived.

I guess that would mean that denial would be a protection response. Could skepticism and questioning also be a protection response of some kind? Here's a funny kind of tail chaising question, why do we question? Can we answer that without creating a tautology?

Generally speaking, I often notice that my questions put others on the defensive. And sometimes that will cause problems for me to deal with. A kind of denial might be a response to a question I've asked, and then sometimes the response beyond that will tend towards outright implications or even acts of violence.

And this brings us full circle to a conversation we all had years ago regarding "the map is not the territory." That is, we have a world view which often is mostly created in our minds and the more committed we become to it, the less we let outside stimuli influence it.

To make matters worse, the problem we often face here on this board is when two (or more) world views (i.e. maps) have little to no cross over, communication becomes near impossible. That's usually when the insults start flying

Common_Man_Jason's picture
Common_Man_Jason
Joined:
Jul. 31, 2007 4:01 pm
I guess that would mean that denial would be a protection response. Could skepticism and questioning also be a protection response of some kind? Here's a funny kind of tail chaising question, why do we question? Can we answer that without creating a tautology?

I think that the fundamental difference between denial and skeptism is in the objectivity of the person. Therefore, skeptism is not denial because the intention of the skeptic is to ultimately find the truth whereas the denier's intent is to simply support unquestioningly their belief system.

jeffbiss's picture
jeffbiss
Joined:
Jul. 31, 2007 4:01 pm

Ren, I was following the opening post, and had read the one I posted from the same source. I thought the supplement I posted supported and expanded the position of Jason's first post.

I am more sceptical now than any time in my life and encourage that questioning in my kids. [some surprise questions force me to justify or qualify some accepted wisdom, and sometimes have to say 'I don't know']

from your link:

Denialist explanations may be couched in sciency language, but they rest on anecdotal evidence and the emotional appeal of regaining control.

Semantics helps the liars, like the intelligent design label, or healthy skies initiative.

Part of my own separation of fact from fiction is to identify the source, and what else comes from the same place. Though even national enquirer was right once.

douglaslee's picture
douglaslee
Joined:
Jul. 31, 2007 4:01 pm

True disbelievers

Climate denial

  • In a nutshell: Global warming either (1) isn't real (2) isn't caused by humans or (3) doesn't matter
  • Origin: Corporate astroturfing in the early 1990s
  • Call themselves: Climate sceptics
  • Influence: *****

Evolution denial

  • In a nutshell: The theory of evolution is an atheist conspiracy to undermine religion
  • Origins: 19th century, though continually renewed
  • Call themselves: Creationists or intelligent design advocates
  • Influence: ****

Holocaust denial

  • In a nutshell: The systematic mass killing of European Jews by Nazi Germany is a fabrication, or at least a wild exaggeration
  • Origins: Late 1940s
  • Call themselves: Holocaust revisionists
  • Influence: *

AIDS denial

  • In a nutshell: HIV either (1) does not exist or (2) does not cause AIDS
  • Origins: 1987, when molecular biologist Peter Duesberg of the University of California questioned the link between HIV and AIDS in an academic paper
  • Call themselves: AIDS truthers
  • Influence: **

9/11 denial

  • In a nutshell: The US government either orchestrated or was complicit in the 9/11 attacks
  • Origins: Doubts about the official version of events were circulating within days of the attacks
  • Call themselves: 9/11 truth movement
  • Influence: *

Vaccine denial

  • In a nutshell: Umbrella term for a disparate movement claiming that certain vaccines either (1) do not work or (2) are harmful
  • Origins: Has been around for as long as vaccines
  • Influence: ***

Tobacco denial

  • In a nutshell: There is considerable uncertainty about the science linking tobacco smoke to lung cancer
  • Origin: 1970s, tobacco industry
  • Influence: *
There are others,- Christian Science belief that medicine is not needed because the body is perfect, heals itself.
douglaslee's picture
douglaslee
Joined:
Jul. 31, 2007 4:01 pm
Quote jeffbiss:
I guess that would mean that denial would be a protection response. Could skepticism and questioning also be a protection response of some kind? Here's a funny kind of tail chaising question, why do we question? Can we answer that without creating a tautology?

I think that the fundamental difference between denial and skeptism is in the objectivity of the person. Therefore, skeptism is not denial because the intention of the skeptic is to ultimately find the truth whereas the denier's intent is to simply support unquestioningly their belief system.

And that brings us back to the question I raised about Jason's article which:

Quote ren:purports to provide a "scientific" method for telling the difference, and even identifying a denier rational skeptic. Is what it suggests a good, potentially even reliable method? I was wondering if douglaslee was raising that question. I think not. I think he's just following the lead of looking at the phenomenon. I think to be serious about understanding the article it must also be questioned. Questioning has many implications worthy of thought, even to the extent of how we live our lives in a bed of hypothesis and theories, without any solid sense of certainty to support such concepts as "truth."

The "intentionality" of the skeptic is somewhere in that murky place that Jason recalled from some of our past discussions

we all had years ago regarding "the map is not the territory."

I think the problem becomes how to deal with our reasonable and even necessary skepticism in the world that's supposed to be based on the movement of thought with culture from the Age of Reason Enlightenment "modernist" era that was supposed to "liberate" us with the "truth" that would set us free. And nobody likes the post modernists and their nasty little deconstructions, do they? (lol). We can question to a point of everyone throwing up their hands and giving up trying to find a way that works, and that's yet another danger with the process. The process is, after all, just a thought tool. Reason is a tool.

But now, going past the positivism of the very hopeful early versions of science that dominated the 19th and early 20th Centuries, we know that skepticism offers some very powerful open endedness to what science hoped to bring to us as knowledge and truth. Science, by being as objective and honest as it can be in the pursuit of truth, has found that we are very limited in achieving an objective factual presentation of said idea of truth. So we have a conundrum. How do we act in the face of knowing we can know with certainty only so very little about anything to be beyond doubt or question? We find in the end this problem of perception. And physics has brought in questions of the possibility that perception plays a role in determining the thing we think is so objectively what we think and perceive it to be outside ourselves.

It's kind of like looking at a charging rhinoceros, you take your best guess that the thing's out to harm you and deal with that. The consequences of guessing it's not might be your last guess on this planet. It's of course a little more complicated making guesses about something abstract that you've labeled "fossil fuel based industrial civilization." A concept which you might logically try to connect to a hole punched in the floor of the ocean out of which is spewing enough oil to destroy the Gulf's eco systems, and potentially more as it flows now out into the Atlantic ocean -- or not, depending on your view of the science that presents the best evidence it can about such things.

.ren's picture
.ren
Joined:
Apr. 1, 2010 7:50 am

Really good stuff ren, and all. I have called this skepticism/denial distinction philosophy/ideology and the point is always the interest in having reality change our operating narrative rather than just confirm it. Sure, we like the confirmation, but we learn not to trust it apart from doubting what we believe.

My work in developmental theory makes the stage beyond the belief/doubt interaction "imagination." It is where we make values choices without proof or "objective" authority. We have to decide who we are and what we are about. It is, by nature, not about what one has been told by others or what abstract thinking or radical questioning leaves as "absolute" or "clear."

Having to make up our mind and affirm our own conscience rather than be derivative is where any existential experience of a "leap of faith" might make sense. We grew up learning that market capitalism was natural and right, then we asked a lot of questions based on evidence that it was neither. At some point we have to have our own idea of what economics ought to be. Sure, we have learned from others, but coming to our own mind is more than having a narrative to follow with our own curiosity.

The developmental experience of identity affirmation and vocational specificity requires the belief and doubt that leads to it; and it also is connected to the pluralism in which individuality makes sense as more than existential isolation. At some point as we struggle to sort out our own issues of identity, and that often means judging what is "right" and "wrong," it dawns that our individuality is predicated on the right of others to be different and to make different choices and affirmations.

Learning the value of pluralism in the sharing of gifts required to get things done is part of the learning to welcome the other and the new and different with confidence. Narrative changes and paradigm shifts are emotional powderkegs. It is no mystery to me why people persist in the old stories and find the new one either too good to be true or heretical to all that is "holy." To enjoy being alive in a world where almost everything we know is wrong requires more than a scientific mind. It requires a heart and mind bound in confidence that reality will be better than anything we fantasize because fear and alienation from life is toxic.

It is the nature of our epistemology to create meaning and coherence based on past experience. To grasp the serendipity of opportunity in the future as it breaks in upon us as the present requires the imagination to see our narratives in new light. Religious language about the Holy Spirit is often a way to reinforce the ability to embrace the "new thing" in the belief that it is of God. Scientific enthusiasm about "breakthrough" discoveries also tell us that going beyond our narrative expectations is a groove.

I would add the arts where learning to have eyes to see and ears to hear is encouraged. Music product on narcissistic menus does not create creativity. Live music and dance does. Ren, I would like to add the value of fun to the process. Movements and parades work better when there is celebration than when it is a desperate retreat from disaster.

DRC's picture
DRC
Joined:
Jul. 31, 2007 4:01 pm

Has anyone questioned the North Korea sunk South Korea evidence, that coincides with Okinawa wanting US base closed. Clinton was to visit Okinawa, and the sinking proves the world is dangerous and Okinawa is necessary. Probably a coincidence, evidence is never fabricated when security is involved.

douglaslee's picture
douglaslee
Joined:
Jul. 31, 2007 4:01 pm

Just to note, there is a skeptical movement in the world, of which Michael Shermer is generally considered to be a part of. I consider myself to be a part of it as well. We (skeptics) have meetings. The word "skepticism" has come to have a pretty specific meaning.

The New England Skeptical Society defines skepticism as so

A skeptic is one who prefers beliefs and conclusions that are reliable and valid to ones that are comforting or convenient, and therefore rigorously and openly applies the methods of science and reason to all empirical claims, especially their own. A skeptic provisionally proportions acceptance of any claim to valid logic and a fair and thorough assessment of available evidence, and studies the pitfalls of human reason and the mechanisms of deception so as to avoid being deceived by others or themselves. Skepticism values method over any particular conclusion.

The primary methods of skepticism are summed up in Carl Sagan's "Baloney Detection Kit", as he articulated it in his book, "The Demon Haunted World: Science as a Candle in the Dark"

The Global Warming "Skeptics" are certainly not skeptical in the sense used by the skeptical movement.

Here are some resources.

The Skeptical Society

Skepchick.com

Skepchick is a group of women (and one deserving guy) who write about science, skepticism, and pseudoscience. With intelligence, curiosity, and occasional snark, the group tackles diverse topics from astronomy to astrology, psychics to psychology.

Committee for Skeptical Inquiry

reed9's picture
reed9
Joined:
Apr. 8, 2010 11:26 am

http://www.skepdic.com/ is also a great resource. www.skeptic.com is Shermer's and both are on my toolbar with quick click icons. It is one label I am comfortable with.

Critical Thinking Mini-Lessons

Has some exercises to keep in shape.

Critical Thinking Mini-Lessons

Induction and Deduction

The Concept of Validity

The Wason Card Problem

The Wason Card Problem, Part II

Fallacies

Replication of Studies

Fallacy of Suppressed Evidence

Replication Revisited

The Straw Man Fallacy

Control Group Study

False Dichotomy

False Implication

Perception deception

Hindrances to Critical Thinking: Ignorance

Opinions

further reading

Skeptimedia

http://www.skepdic.com/news/ is a newsletter if anyone wants to subscribe [it's free]

douglaslee's picture
douglaslee
Joined:
Jul. 31, 2007 4:01 pm
Quote douglaslee:

http://www.skepdic.com/ is also a great resource. www.skeptic.com is Shermer's and both are on my toolbar with quick click icons. It is one label I am comfortable with.

Critical Thinking Mini-Lessons

Has some exercises to keep in shape.

Critical Thinking Mini-Lessons

Induction and Deduction

The Concept of Validity

The Wason Card Problem

The Wason Card Problem, Part II

Fallacies

Replication of Studies

Fallacy of Suppressed Evidence

Replication Revisited

The Straw Man Fallacy

Control Group Study

False Dichotomy

False Implication

Perception deception

Hindrances to Critical Thinking: Ignorance

Opinions

further reading

Skeptimedia

http://www.skepdic.com/news/ is a newsletter if anyone wants to subscribe [it's free]

One of the reasons I keep returning to Thom's is to "keep in shape," doug. Most of our old friends from three or four years back have gone, a few, like Jason, return from time to time to "keep in shape.". I suspect Jason's kept in shape after going off to walk his path in the forward looking land of Vermont (it is Vermont, isn't it, Jason?), to explore the reality of democratically participating in his economic/social life. Nice to see him when he comes by like this.

One of the more common and important excercises in your list is the The Straw Man Fallacy. I've dealt with it in my threads over and over. The masters of the fallacy have been banned over and over, and their absence is now becoming somewhat noticable as the discussions are once again beginning to have a thread of thoughts connecting rather than a shred of thoughts disconnecting. Maybe one day we'll see something like those mythical days of yore with Chris, Usha, Andger, Tricia, Lawrence, Howard... so many I've forgotten them all.

It's an important fallacy in terms of the topic of this thread, because it can be employed with both conscious intentionality and as a subconscious form of avoidance distraction -- in other words, as a kind of denialist tactic. Here's the beginning of the lesson that provides a description I find easily comprehendable from the link (the rest of the lesson is worthy reading, even for experts who've struggled consciously to deal with the straw man fallacy):

straw man fallacy

One of the characteristics of a cogent refutation of an argument is that the argument one is refuting be represented fairly and accurately. To distort or misrepresent an argument one is trying to refute is called the straw man fallacy. It doesn't matter whether the misrepresentation or distortion is accidental and due to misunderstanding the argument or is intentional and aimed at making it easier to refute. Either way, one commits the straw man fallacy.

In other words, the attacker of a straw man argument is refuting a position of his own creation, not the position of someone else. The refutation may appear to be a good one to someone unfamiliar with the original argument.

Dealing with a straw man can be a very frustrating exercise. I often find what appears to be someone who is suddenly simply uncomprehending of simple and clear logic, and all that I say with great and exacting care is being retranslated through their screen of thoughts, which, if I'm encountering such persons for the first time, could set the tone for what I expect from them in any future discussion -- essentially, very little.

With others, who I know from experience not to be of obvious sub par intelligence, I've characterized their behavior with this strategy as "studied stupidity." The latter characterization is one of the ways I use to gauge if a person might be a troll, intent on derailing discussions. This is a pattern recognition kind of thing for me. Pattern recognition is a somewhat different way of working with the world than dealing with objective, so-called "facts."

I use pattern recognition as part of a hypothesis making process, which I try to use in coming up with theories about things. Figuring out who is going to derail my discussions is worth my effort because I want to maximize the number of people with good ideas involved, but I also want to minimize the intentional distractions from those who really don't care to explore ideas. I've learned to keep my process to myself, and I simply now try to avoid the emotional messiness of dealing with those who aren't interested. I do that by simply trying to be clear and revelatory with my explanations. I admit it doesn't always work. That's why we need good moderators. Many of those I've figured to be trolls with that gauge have in fact been banned from Thom's. Some numerous times, under numerous sock puppet names.

All of this seems like good existential exercise to keep thinking processes in shape.

.ren's picture
.ren
Joined:
Apr. 1, 2010 7:50 am
Quote .ren:

One of the reasons I keep returning to Thom's is to "keep in shape," doug. Most of our old friends from three or four years back have gone, a few, like Jason, return from time to time to "keep in shape.". I suspect Jason's kept in shape after going off to walk his path in the forward looking land of Vermont (it is Vermont, isn't it, Jason?), to explore the reality of democratically participating in his economic/social life. Nice to see him when he comes by like this

Yes, Vermont. What an awesome place it is.

Common_Man_Jason's picture
Common_Man_Jason
Joined:
Jul. 31, 2007 4:01 pm

Vermont_Republic has a remarkable early history.

There have been some discussions re: Democracy vs Republic, and Vermont's constitution adopted the first Democracy through:

The Vermont constitution was modeled after the radically democratic constitution of Pennsylvania on the suggestion of Dr. Young, who worked with Thomas Paine and others on that 1776 document in Philadelphia. It was also the first constitution in the New World to outlaw slavery and allow all adult males to vote, regardless of property ownership.

That last line, 'regardless of property ownership'!! very democratic.

.

douglaslee's picture
douglaslee
Joined:
Jul. 31, 2007 4:01 pm
Quote douglaslee:

Vermont_Republic has a remarkable early history.

There have been some discussions re: Democracy vs Republic, and Vermont's constitution adopted the first Democracy through:

The Vermont constitution was modeled after the radically democratic constitution of Pennsylvania on the suggestion of Dr. Young, who worked with Thomas Paine and others on that 1776 document in Philadelphia. It was also the first constitution in the New World to outlaw slavery and allow all adult males to vote, regardless of property ownership.

That last line, 'regardless of property ownership'!! very democratic.

Another interesting thing in Vermont is that property taxes are progressive. That is, based on your income rather than the value of the property.

Common_Man_Jason's picture
Common_Man_Jason
Joined:
Jul. 31, 2007 4:01 pm
Quote .ren:All of this seems like good existential exercise to keep thinking processes in shape.

Exactly. Mental health is a condition. Mental hygiene is any form of exercise or practice aimed at improving that condition. Participating in forums like this can promote good mental health but only if best practices are followed. Poor posting habits only reinforce cognitive biases and bad mental health.

It is interesting to try to gauge the mental health level of posters by the way they write as well as by the substance of their remarks.

I am often tempted to post insulting replies to bad posts and it is always a good mental "stretch" for me to resist that temptation and look for a positive and generous way to respond. I don't always succeed.

This thread about common logical fallacies, cognitive biases, implicit associations, etc. is very helpful guidance for anyone who wants to be a conscientious and self-aware poster. It might be nice if someone were able to summarize the subject and add it to the forum guidelines.

Poor Richard

Poor Richard's picture
Poor Richard
Joined:
Jul. 31, 2007 4:01 pm
Quote Common_Man_Jason:

Another interesting thing in Vermont is that property taxes are progressive. That is, based on your income rather than the value of the property.

I've often thought that a better way to structure the income tax was to base the rate on the value of the taxpayer's accumulated property. Basically just the reverse of what you describe.

BadLiberal's picture
BadLiberal
Joined:
Jul. 31, 2007 4:01 pm
Quote BadLiberal:
Quote Common_Man_Jason:

Another interesting thing in Vermont is that property taxes are progressive. That is, based on your income rather than the value of the property.

I've often thought that a better way to structure the income tax was to base the rate on the value of the taxpayer's accumulated property. Basically just the reverse of what you describe.

That seems reasonable for actively working people, but how would it work for retired or disabled people with more property than income? Would selling off assets to pay taxes be a reasonable outcome?

Poor Richard's picture
Poor Richard
Joined:
Jul. 31, 2007 4:01 pm

If Philosophers did Infomercials

douglaslee's picture
douglaslee
Joined:
Jul. 31, 2007 4:01 pm

This is better continued here...

Quote mattnapa:

C'mon now you know social science better than that. You have to factor in other reasons for Denmarks happiness quotient. A more accurate reading would be to compare the happiness of Denmarks religous versus the non- religous.Sin is irrelevant as far as I can see.

Yes, all it shows is a correlation between the two. Causation for something as nebulous as happiness would be impossible to determine. However, I would be suprised if religious attitutes had nothing to do with it. Whether it the lack of a policitally powerful religious right passing insanse laws or due to individual lack of belief or a combination of both.

Quote mattnapa: Reed9 said-

It doesn't help anyone or ourselves to leap to conclusions based on an absence of evidence, nor to adhere to poor evidence in support an ideological position while ignoring the vast majority of data that is out there.

But there is a point at looking at "why" questions remain unanswered

What in the world do you mean by that? Are you implying conspiracy? Things remain unanswered because we haven't found an answer. Whether because of the complexity of the question, lack of a the necessary underpinnings of previous knowledge, or maybe no one has thought to ask the right question yet. It's not a mystery.

Quote mattnapa:reed9 said- I am of course in good company lumping AIDS deniers and 9/11 truthers with other conspiracy theorists and obscurantists. As we have seen in other threads, you'd be hard pressed to find any real science publication that did not draw the same comparison. The vast majority of scientifically minded people agree with me.

This is of course both an appeal to poularity and beging the question. How you guys get the title of skeptic when you are simply parrots for mainstream deception is beyond me. If you do not like deception I will grant you a mindset of doctrinal assertion with no spirit of debate to back up such assertions. Wholly un-scientific. Or should it be the Robin version of "Holy Un-scientific Batman!'

No, it is a statement of scientific consensus. It's no more an appeal to popularity than it is to say that the majority of scientists agree global warming is real.

Quote mattnapa:Apparently your response to Kerry's call to explain how and why certain sources of information are regarded as true without the claim being made by the source being put to the test of scientific rigor and discussion, is an appeal to populism and a claim of an insiders club for truth.

The key point is "without the claim...being put to the test of scientific rigor...". IT HAS! All of the various denialist claims have been put to the test of science, else they wouldn't be denialism. Part of the definition is, "the rejection of the scientific consensus, often in favor of a radical and controversial point of view."

You, Kerry, and other denialists engage in a number of rhetorical tricks, whether wittingly or not, in your effort to de-legitimize the science or manufacture controversy in defense of your position. The rhetoric is the same whether you talking AIDS denialism like Kerry, global warming denialism, anti-vaxxers and on and on.

reed9's picture
reed9
Joined:
Apr. 8, 2010 11:26 am
Quote Poor Richard:
Quote BadLiberal:
Quote Common_Man_Jason:

Another interesting thing in Vermont is that property taxes are progressive. That is, based on your income rather than the value of the property.

I've often thought that a better way to structure the income tax was to base the rate on the value of the taxpayer's accumulated property. Basically just the reverse of what you describe.

That seems reasonable for actively working people, but how would it work for retired or disabled people with more property than income? Would selling off assets to pay taxes be a reasonable outcome?

The back story to Vermont's property tax policy is that a good number a wealthy people buy second/vacation homes in Vermont (i.e. Vermont is not their primary residence). Because they were people with extra cash, they were driving up the cost of property and making it un-affordable to locals. To equalize this, Vermont raised its taxes on property (to slow the export of ownership to "foreigners"), but made the tax progressive so the locals could once again afford to buy property in their own state.

Common_Man_Jason's picture
Common_Man_Jason
Joined:
Jul. 31, 2007 4:01 pm

"Always trust the man searching for truth. Never trust the man who claims to have found it."

Roboute's picture
Roboute
Joined:
May. 7, 2010 4:23 pm
Quote Roboute:"Always trust the man searching for truth. Never trust the man who claims to have found it."

Are you claiming this to be a truth you found?

Common_Man_Jason's picture
Common_Man_Jason
Joined:
Jul. 31, 2007 4:01 pm
Quote Common_Man_Jason:

Are you claiming this to be a truth you found?


I have never found truth. It is as elusive as an endangered species. I have tidbits of facts that may be truth, But these tidbits a distilled, filtered, perceived, contorted and a long way off from pure as it is with everyone. Hence the qoute.

Roboute's picture
Roboute
Joined:
May. 7, 2010 4:23 pm
Quote Roboute:
Quote Common_Man_Jason:

Are you claiming this to be a truth you found?

I have never found truth. It is as elusive as an endangered species. I have tidbits of facts that may be truth, But these tidbits a distilled, filtered, perceived, contorted and a long way off from pure as it is with everyone. Hence the qoute.

Hence not the quote. It can't be true if I follow your logic. But since it's not true, it must be.

Hope you get my point. You've expressed a bit of a paradox. You've attempted to push a truth upon people, except that in doing so you're telling people not to trust those who claim truths, and therefore we should not trust you since that's what you did.

It's like the statement, "All absolute statements are false." Think about it for a moment.

My point is that life is not so simple as to be explained in clever one-liners. And that, is a truth I know for sure.

Common_Man_Jason's picture
Common_Man_Jason
Joined:
Jul. 31, 2007 4:01 pm
Hope you get my point. You've expressed a bit of a paradox. You've attempted to push a truth upon people, except that in doing so you're telling people not to trust those who claim truths, and therefore we should not trust you since that's what you did.

It seems you understand my point very well.

Are you proclaiming to be provider of truth?
Do you have all the answers. If I disagree because your truth contradict my truth, Am I the denialist or are you? or are we both? Can truth have more then 1 answer.

Your title is Intriguing "Living in denial: Why sensible people reject the truth"

Who is living in Denial? Prehaps a long look in the mirror is the best place to start for everyone.

Roboute's picture
Roboute
Joined:
May. 7, 2010 4:23 pm
Quote Roboute:
Hope you get my point. You've expressed a bit of a paradox. You've attempted to push a truth upon people, except that in doing so you're telling people not to trust those who claim truths, and therefore we should not trust you since that's what you did.
It seems you understand my point very well. Are you proclaiming to be provider of truth? Do you have all the answers. If I disagree because your truth contradict my truth, Am I the denialist or are you? or are we both? Can truth have more then 1 answer. Your title is Intriguing "Living in denial: Why sensible people reject the truth" Who is living in Denial? Prehaps a long look in the mirror is the best place to start for everyone.

It's not my title, it's the title of the article to which I linked. The answers to most of your questions are in the article.

A truth can not be logically disputed. Therefore, if there is disagreement, it's either not a truth or one party of the dispute is in denial.

I don't provide truth, I merely accept it and tell others of it as best I can. But doing so doesn't mean I don't ask questions or seek more anwers, nor does it mean I know all truths. Nor does it mean I don't ever deny a truth.

Common_Man_Jason's picture
Common_Man_Jason
Joined:
Jul. 31, 2007 4:01 pm
Quote Common_Man_Jason:

It's not my title, it's the title of the article to which I linked. The answers to most of your questions are in the article


It is yours in that you were the one that enlightened us with it.

The title was interesting, the article was Crap.

A truth can not be logically disputed. Therefore, if there is disagreement, it's either not a truth or one party of the dispute is in denial.

Interesting. I would love to see this in a practical application.

Roboute's picture
Roboute
Joined:
May. 7, 2010 4:23 pm

Cognitive bias of the day:

Confirmation bias — the tendency to search for or interpret information in a way that confirms one’s preconceptions independently of whether they are true.

Closely related to confirmation bias, denialism is a psycho-social syndrome often combining a number of other cognitive biases (such as selective attention/inattention, appeal to false experts, conspiracy seeking, etc.) common in individual psychology but also including social aspects such as in/out group bias. Examples are holocaust denial, AIDS denial, and the wildly popular climate change denial.

Several motivations for denial have been proposed, including religious beliefs and self-interest, or simply as a psychological defense mechanism against disturbing ideas.

Denial is perhaps most typically found as a defense against cognitive dissonance, an uncomfortable feeling caused by holding two contradictory ideas simultaneously.

The amateur anthropologist, philosopher of self-development, and social gadfly G.I. Gurdjieff (died 1949) used the intuitively satisfying term “buffers” (as in “buffer zone”) as a catch-all concept for any automatic (unconscious) psychological defense mechanism for reducing cognitive dissonance and other kinds of mental trauma or stress.

***

An alternative (though not mutually exclusive) hypothesis for denialism is that public deniers are psycho-sexually immature narcissists trying to attract undeserved adult attention.

***

I found the following material about anti-science bias at scienceblogs.com. It has a lot of relevance to the increasing phenomena of “greenwashing” (green whitewashing) and “astroturfing” (fake grassroots organizing), which are fast-growing corporatist public relations practices.

Poor Richard

***

Reposted from a comment by John Mashey on scienceblogs.com:

REASONS FOR ANTI-SCIENCE

Economics, ideology, politics, psychology

ECON -1, -2, -3 (professional) -4 (public)

IDEOL -1 (professional), -2 (public)

POL -1 (professional), -2 (public)

PSYCH -1 (professional), -2 (public), -3 & -4 (either), -5 (professional)

ECON-1 long-term major direct economic interest

Some fossil fuel [FF] companies and some family foundations whose wealth was derived from them.

Do not usually write/speak directly, but through ECON-2 and ECON-3. FF companies have mostly stopped direct public claims against [Anthropogenic Global Warming] AGW. FF companies vary widely, and should not all be tarred with the same brush.

This is a special case of companies that want to “privatize the benefits, socialize the costs”, starting with asbestos, cigarettes, some chemical companies, sometimes extractive industries (especially coal).

ECON-2 long-term, less direct economic interest, but get some funding from the some of the previous.

Thinktanks & front organizations.

Funding may be used to start an organization, or an existing organization may seek these funding sources. Some of these clearly compete for funding.

ECON-3 personal, direct economic interest

Consulting, writing, speaking, lobbying.

This is for someone who has some relevant experience; money from ECON-1 or ECON-2.

ECON-4 fear (reasoned or unreasoned) of personal economic impacts from CO2 regulation

Many people in the public.

(Full article and new blog at Poor Richard's Almanack 2010)

Poor Richard's picture
Poor Richard
Joined:
Jul. 31, 2007 4:01 pm
Quote Roboute:
Quote Common_Man_Jason:A truth can not be logically disputed. Therefore, if there is disagreement, it's either not a truth or one party of the dispute is in denial.
Interesting. I would love to see this in a practical application.

Um, then open your eyes and witness life.

Common_Man_Jason's picture
Common_Man_Jason
Joined:
Jul. 31, 2007 4:01 pm
Quote Common_Man_Jason:Um, then open your eyes and witness life.


You must be under the assumption that I don't have my eyes open and haven't witnessed life.

You be sure to point out Truth's on this board if you see them.

Roboute's picture
Roboute
Joined:
May. 7, 2010 4:23 pm
Quote Roboute:
Quote Common_Man_Jason:Um, then open your eyes and witness life.

You must be under the assumption that I don't have my eyes open and haven't witnessed life. You be sure to point out Truth's on this board if you see them.

I'm not claiming to be the arbiter of truth. Truth is its own arbiter.

I do find it interesting that your own denial is not of any particular truth, but of truth itself. Perhaps you've fallen into the trap that many propagandist echo chambers propagate, that everything is opinion. Unfortunately, once you can be convinced of that, you can be convinced of anything that appeals to you. And I certainly can not be the one to help you with that.

Common_Man_Jason's picture
Common_Man_Jason
Joined:
Jul. 31, 2007 4:01 pm

[

Quote Common_Man_Jason:

I'm not claiming to be the arbiter of truth. Truth is its own arbiter.

I do find it interesting that your own denial is not of any particular truth, but of truth itself. Perhaps you've fallen into the trap that many propagandist echo chambers propagate, that everything is opinion. Unfortunately, once you can be convinced of that, you can be convinced of anything that appeals to you. And I certainly cannot be the one to help you with that.


That didn't take long... Labeling, accusations, Marginalizing. Defensive behavior. What truth have you found or more importantly what truth have you convinced yourself on?

"Everything we hear is an opinion, not a fact. Everything we see is a perspective, not the truth."
Marcus Aurelius

"A truth that's told with bad intent beats all the lies you can invent."
William Blake

As I said, interesting title.
Seems to be the favored weapon of Liberals, Just another way for people to project their own denialism upon others. Did you even read the last line of that article? " then denial movements threaten us all." Nothing like a little fear to quill the "Logical Debate". They’ll just brand you Denialist, which in itself is an ad hominem and seeks to stifle logical debate. I find, not as a truth, but a hypothesis that liberal spend far more time working on ways to intellectual stifle a discussion then actually engaging in one. Lackoff comments are a case in point.

Roboute's picture
Roboute
Joined:
May. 7, 2010 4:23 pm
Quote Roboute:[
Quote Common_Man_Jason:

I'm not claiming to be the arbiter of truth. Truth is its own arbiter.

I do find it interesting that your own denial is not of any particular truth, but of truth itself. Perhaps you've fallen into the trap that many propagandist echo chambers propagate, that everything is opinion. Unfortunately, once you can be convinced of that, you can be convinced of anything that appeals to you. And I certainly cannot be the one to help you with that.

That didn't take long... Labeling, accusations, Marginalizing. Defensive behavior. What truth have you found or more importantly what truth have you convinced yourself on? "Everything we hear is an opinion, not a fact. Everything we see is a perspective, not the truth." Marcus Aurelius "A truth that's told with bad intent beats all the lies you can invent." William Blake As I said, interesting title. Seems to be the favored weapon of Liberals, Just another way for people to project their own denialism upon others. Did you even read the last line of that article? " then denial movements threaten us all." Nothing like a little fear to quill the "Logical Debate". They’ll just brand you Denialist, which in itself is an ad hominem and seeks to stifle logical debate. I find, not as a truth, but a hypothesis that liberal spend far more time working on ways to intellectual stifle a discussion then actually engaging in one. Lackoff comments are a case in point.

Interesting that you keep making this about me, or about a particular ideology, or maybe even some other truth you think I'm trying to express. It is not about any of these things. Nor am I attacking you, and I apologize if that's how you experience it.

I'm making an observation that you have a belief which isn't a truth, but ironically you're expressing it as one -- the idea that everything is opinion -- while at the same time saying that truths don't exist. And even worse, you're using clever one-liners (anecdotes) from others to prove it rather than observable and measurable evidence. In other words, you seem to be implying that because someone of some importance once said something that sounds logical, it must be true. It seems quite silly to me to accept something because Marcus Aurelius said it, but not accept something because it can be observed and measured (and thus predicted).

The only way we can ever have an actual conversation about this though, is for you to learn the difference between an actual truth and an opinion. It also requires the ability to tell when there is an opinion presented as a truth (which is all too common among humans), and when there is a truth presented as an opinion (less common, but still happens). Truths are observable and measurable, have no idealogical leanings, and no grander meaning about them. They just are. The meaning we place on them, is a matter of personal opinion and derived from a world view which is created internally.

Common_Man_Jason's picture
Common_Man_Jason
Joined:
Jul. 31, 2007 4:01 pm
Quote Common_Man_Jason:

Interesting that you keep making this about me, or about a particular ideology, or maybe even some other truth you think I'm trying to express.


Not that interesting.
If you haven't guess it yet, Truth is subjective and rarely pure.

My interest is not in truth itself because it is subjective, it's in those that who find new and creative ways to quell the search for truth because they believe they have acquired the truth.

It seems quite silly to me to accept something because Marcus Aurelius said it, but not accept something because it can be observed and measured (and thus predicted).

If this the practical application of logical dispute I've asked about. What is not being accepted because it can be observed and measured? Is this a reference to the Global Warming focus of the article?

The only way we can ever have an actual conversation about this though, is for you to learn the difference between an actual truth and an opinion.

A herculean task to say the least. For all truth is interrupted by humans. Science itself is a skeptical Endeavour in which no truth is ever accepted. What did your article you posted have opinion or truth? Didn’t seem to be a lot of truth in that article, just opinion, fear and marginalizing the logical discussion. While you seem interested in the Truth of things, your article you posted does not.

Interesting, but I suppose not that interesting

Roboute's picture
Roboute
Joined:
May. 7, 2010 4:23 pm
Quote Roboute:As I said, interesting title.
Seems to be the favored weapon of Liberals, Just another way for people to project their own denialism upon others. Did you even read the last line of that article? " then denial movements threaten us all." Nothing like a little fear to quill the "Logical Debate". They’ll just brand you Denialist, which in itself is an ad hominem and seeks to stifle logical debate. I find, not as a truth, but a hypothesis that liberal spend far more time working on ways to intellectual stifle a discussion then actually engaging in one. Lackoff comments are a case in point.

Denialism is not a partisan issue, and it does threaten us all regardless of our ideological position. Denial that HIV causes AIDS killed 300,000+ people in Africa and greatly worsened the epidemic. Denial that vaccines are safe and effective kills or harms who knows how many children. Denial that climate change is happening might take us all out.

If you think the original article is somehow too "liberal", however the hell you came to that conclusion, read the Shermer article douglasee posted in #7. Michael Shermer is a die hard libertarian.

reed9's picture
reed9
Joined:
Apr. 8, 2010 11:26 am
Quote Roboute: Not that interesting. If you haven't guess it yet, Truth is subjective and rarely pure.

This is an example of expressing an opinion but attempting to declare it a truth (again, ironically, because according to you, truth is not absolute even though you express an idea as if it were an absolute truth). Truth is objective. That's what it means. As long as you're cought in the trap of not accepting that, you'll never be able to accept reality.

If this the practical application of logical dispute I've asked about. What is not being accepted because it can be observed and measured? Is this a reference to the Global Warming focus of the article?

Perhaps the article offended you on this one issue, but it certainly is in no way the focus of the article, nor is the right wing ideology the only target of the article. Take the blinders off. For example, I for one don't believe the official story of 911, and thus the article would assume I'm a denier.

The only thing I'm saying you're not accepting, is that there is truth out there. I'm not arguing any idealogical point or any particular truth other than that. But that's the tape you want to run (seeing me arguing some other point, like Global Warming), so that's all you see from me.

Science itself is a skeptical Endeavour in which no truth is ever accepted.

That's just wrong and a miss-interpretation of science. Plenty of truths are accepted in science. However, science does it right in that it's very reserved declaring a truth. It must be observed, measurable, and predictable to be true. For example, it is true that oxygen is an element, it is true the hydrogen is an element, and it is true that when 2 hydrogen atoms combine with one oxygen atom, water results. It's an accepted truth, can be measured, observed, and predicted.

Common_Man_Jason's picture
Common_Man_Jason
Joined:
Jul. 31, 2007 4:01 pm

Currently Chatting

Green World Rising

In two previous videos narrated by Leonard DiCaprio and available over at GreenWorldRising.org, we’ve seen the dangers that global warming and climate change present for our planet and the human race.

Powered by Pressflow, an open source content management system