Oil

Leprechaun Sex

There are plenty of ways to take advantage of gullible people. Unfortunately, it appears that our society doesn't do much to give people the tools they need to filter information appropriately. If the information is worded poorly, it's tough to evaluate. For example, consider the bit of tripe about walking on water from the awful movie/documentary "What the Bleep Do We Know".

In one section, the speaker claims that any of us can walk on water. It's merely our doubt which makes us fail. Well, that's a pretty useless statement. If someone fails to walk on water, it's because they doubted. If they don't doubt and still fail to walk on water, we can still argue that they have hidden doubts. There is no way to disprove this claim because the person making the claim can smugly cross his arms and say "sorry, little Jimmy doubted. That's why he drowned."

If we accept this line of argument, I can now go on to say "anyone can make monkeys fly out of their ass if they simply don't doubt their ability to do so." I won't bother to elaborate. The logic is the same. You can follow it.

Another way to make people fall for something stupid is to appeal to their vanity, but give them any means of accepting it as the truth. For example, there was an interesting study published in the Journal of Clinical Psychology in 1977, entitled "Acceptance of general personality interpretations prior to and after receiving diagnostic feedback supposedly based on psychological, graphological, and astrological assessment procedures." (That's only a link to the citation. I can't find the paper on line.)

Whew! That's a long title and it's certainly not something I would have chosen. On the other hand, a catchier title such as "Getting people to swallow bullshit by covering it with astrology" would probably not have been accepted.

In this study, psychologists created a bogus psychological profile of traits that most people believe they possessed. People were asked to rate how accurate it was for themselves on a scale of 1 to 5 (with five being most accurate.) The first group of people were told it was a universal psychological profile. The average score was 3.2 -- definitely suggesting that people tended to agree with the traits. The second group of people were asked for their birthday and then told the the profile was based upon their sun sign. They were a bit more receptive and their average score was 3.76.

The last group of people was told that the profile was their personal horoscope. They scored the profile 4.38.

There was nothing different about the profiles and if people were using objective criteria then we should not have seen these results (to be fair, I confess to not knowing how the people were chosen, groups assigned, etc., since I have only read a summary.)

Where are people's filters? Why can't they seem to properly evaluate things? I hear homeopathists talk about "water memory", even though such a thing has never been demonstrated. I hear astrology buffs talk about gravitational influences, but the gravitation pull of the chair you're sitting on has a much greater affect on you then the gravitational pull of the moon (the math is pretty simple if you want to work it out.) This, unfortunately, reduces down to what I call the "leprechaun sex" problem. I don't want to hear your theories about how leprechauns fuck until you can prove to me that leprechauns exist.
  • Current Mood: thoughtful thoughtful
What a great post!

Plus the comment: Getting people to swallow bullshit by covering it with astrology" totally made me spit out my iced coffee.
People will jump to believe what they need to believe
Presentation, content, and delivery may have a minor impact, but in the end, it's all dependent on need. People will believe anything that supports their current world view and will question or flat our deny things that do not.

"Truth" is entirely subjective. The fact that people can walk across hot embers and not burn their feet is tangible proof of this. So is the fact that placebo medications, vodoo and other forms of prayers and meditation have cured people of 'incurable' illnesses and hypnotherapy has helped people to eradicate cancer from their bodies.

I think in these instances, where said gullibility can be a lifesaving trait, who are we to say those folks are in any way inferior to the ones that absolutely *know* their diseases are incurable, and therefore die slow painful deaths from them?

I personally choose to believe in anything that gives me health, peace, and happiness, just as there are some who choose to live in a world where everybody else is dishonest, greedy and has a nefarious agenda. (although I have to believe that this kind of world view is programmed, as I can't imagine anybody deliberately choosing this world) I believe in all kinds of superstitious "good Luck" and wish-making situations and no bad luckor omens, and other negative portents. I do this with the full knowledge that we all create our own reality. I have created the reality I want to live in for my personal realm of existence.

This world of ours is infinite in possibilities and anything that is sought can be found. There is living proof of anything and everything that one can possibly want to believe in. *Every* perceptional model can be proven, or debunked. That gives us the ultimate freedom to tune our perceptions towards any reality we desire.

The pessimists are right, the world is a cruel and unrelenting model of suffering. The optimists are right that there are miracles and benevolent forces around every corner. It just depends on what you choose to allow into or filter out of your awareness and thought processes.

The sad part is how few people understand this and are confined to the world view that they were programmed with by their churches, dysfunctional parents, or restrictive societies.

Some recommended reading for you: The Crack in the Cosmic Egg

Thanks for letting me rant. :)
Re: People will jump to believe what they need to believe
kittekaat, you know I think you're awesome so I hope you don't take any of this personally :)

Firewalking is a fascinating topic that has long stumped the scientific community. One thing which is curious is that different firewalkers often proscribe different courses of preparatory action prior to the actual firewalk. Different forms of meditation, prayer, fasting, and even periodic celibacy are suggestions to properly prepare the firewalker for the coals.

The coals themselves can get quite hot. They routinely measure over 1,000 degrees Fahrenheit, but people still walk on these and survive relatively unscathed. This has had such a tremendous impact on people that many have proclaimed it as powerful evidence of verifiable paranormal activity which modern science cannot explain.

One curious feature about science is that it does not claim that unexplainable things do not exist. It claims that unexplainable things are currently unexplainable. Firewalking has long been one of those things. It's not that scientists denied that firewalking occurred (empirical, verifiable evidence is hard to deny, though some probably tried), it's that they were stumped by what was going on. Routinely people would come up with theories about how firewalking worked and, one by one, these theories fell by the wayside. That's how science works. Observe something and try to explain it with a testable hypothesis. If the tests succeed, we might have new knowledge (or bad tests). If the tests fail, we try to come up with a new explanation. It's a continuously creative process that pays homage to the fascinating universe around us.

If firewalking was able to develop a brand new branch of science, then it would be rightly heralded as revolutionary. Instead, for the longest time, people studied it without understanding it. Unfortunately, it turns out that the answer to firewalking is something rather simple.

There's a difference between temperature and heat. For example, if I'm baking a pot roast at 350 degrees fahrenheit, both the metal pan the pot roast is in and the air surrounding it are 350 degrees. However, the air does not burn us very quickly but the pan does. Why is that? Because while they share the same temperature, their heat energy (or thermal conductivity) is not the same. The air in the oven contains much less heat energy than the metal in the pan. As a result, when we stick our hands in the oven air, the air gives up what little heat energy it has and cools quickly relative to the temperature increase in our hands. The metal pan, on the other hand (ha!) contains a great deal of heat energy. If you touch it, it can diffuse quite a bit more of that energy into your hand, leading to an annoying burn that makes you feel silly.

What does this have to do with firewalking? Some firewalking is done with volcanic rocks such as pumice which have relatively poor heat conductivity. Some is done with long-burning wood where the resulting embers are fluffy compounds that also have poor heat conductivity. When you watch people walk on those coals, you'll see, after they pick up their feet, that those coals are often a darker (and thus cooler) color, but quickly heat up again. They've given up what little heat they have. (I recommend that people not try this at home. I suspect you'd have to do quite a bit of experimentation with firewalking to figure out the type of wood you need, how to prepare the firepit, how long to burn the coals, how to spread them, etc.)

Some people continue to get burned in firewalking because they stumble, they don't walk fast enough, they coals haven't burned long enough to reach the low-energy point, etc. However, rather than having some mystical "mind over matter" experience, we have basic physics. That's something Tony Robbins doesn't announce in his firewalking seminars because it would kind of ruin the mystery for most people, despite the fact that the main secret behind firewalking has been known for over 20 years.

This is not to say that thermal conductivity is the only reason why people can firewalk successfully, but turning a fascinating exercise in physics into a shabby bit of pseudo-scientific snake oil merely cheapens the wonder of nature.
Re: People will jump to believe what they need to believe
What's really funny is that you totally reinforced my original precept "This world of ours is infinite in possibilities and anything that is sought can be found. There is living proof of anything and everything that one can possibly want to believe in. *Every* perceptional model can be proven, or debunked. That gives us the ultimate freedom to tune our perceptions towards any reality we desire."

PS, no offense taken sweetheart. I lurve you as well! Plus, I know that my world view is kooky and a bit woo-woo for a lot of people. That's why I insist that there is no "one truth" for all people. My one truth is the truth that works for me. Your one truth is the truth that works for you. Far be it from me to try and force my strange ideas down anybody's throat. Most people choke and gag just hearing me speak it, let alone try to believe like I do. ;)

My real mission is to try and open people's eyes to the possibilities outside what they are conditioned to accept wihtout question, not force them to believe what I do. I do not to tell anybody what choices to make, just to realize there are choices, if they want them. And to repect that others should be permitted to construct the reality that best serves them. (With the "harm none" caveat, of course!)
Re: People will jump to believe what they need to believe
This is fascinating. I never knew this... is this widely known and I have been under a rock?
Re: People will jump to believe what they need to believe
This is widely known ... amongst those who have studied the phenomenon. Why it's not widely reported by those who teach firewalking is left open to your interpretation.
Re: People will jump to believe what they need to believe
I should make it clear that I wasn't intending to ignore the rest of what you've said. LJ comments are only allowed to be 4,300 characters long and there's only so much I could write about, so I took one topic you listed and ran with it :)
I'M SORRY! I'LL GIVE YOU YOUR 3 FUCKING BUCKS BACK!

hehhehehe

how are the new digs? when's the housewarming? Where's my pony, you bitch?

Oh yeah, and spot on with everything you said. That was perfunctory, but true. Sigh. I have nothing.
We ate your pony at the housewarming. It was tasty.

Seriously, I'll have a housewarming at some point. Life's been too hectic right now for me to even think about one.
There are plenty of ways to take advantage of gullible people. Unfortunately, it appears that our society doesn't do much to give people the tools they need to filter information appropriately.

To have those filters would be good. I have found myself hurt so many times because of an inability to filter the bs from the truth, the bad guys from the good guys, et cetera.

It would be great to be able to "read" someone's intentions so that we didn't get f'ked over, f'ked up, et cetera, by the 'bad guys.'

It's getting harder and harder to trust anyone at all without the filters or the 'reading' ability.

(BTW: I added ya - am soon ending this LJ, but darkboy23 said you were one of the 'good guys' and to talk to you)
I just read some of your LJ and I must say that some of it's rather odd. While I don't know you, I hope you're OK.

darkboy23 is a great guy and yeah, some people think they can talk to me. I'm pretty non-judgmental.
Thanks for the clarification. I tend to be direct and ask many questions so as to fully understand and avoid presumptions. :P