[ExI] Take Off List (Re: Fascist America, in 10 Easy Steps)

hkhenson hkhenson at rogers.com
Mon Oct 8 15:38:01 UTC 2007

At 12:27 AM 10/8/2007, BillK wrote:


>Ref: Michael Shermer book
>'Why People Believe Weird Things :
>Pseudoscience, Superstition & Other Confusions of Our Time'.
>Shermer's conclusion is very simple. People believe weird things
>because of wishful thinking and continue to believe in those things
>despite contrary evidence because they are unwilling to alter
>preconceived notions.

I know Shermer slightly.  I should bug him because when "Why people . 
. . " is written down, any explanation should go back to the EEA if 
you want to put a scientific, that is EP level, understanding on it.

>The reasons for the unwillingness to shift
>paradigms are many. People don't want to admit they are wrong.

Why?  We understand status in social primates.  Is admitting being 
wrong worse for your social status?

>sometimes want something comfortable rather than something true (even
>if they play a game of pretend by calling their fantasies and wishes

At least one kind of irrational behavior comes from the interests of 
a person and their genes diverging.  Is this a feature of these 
mental mechanisms being partly activated?  (Like there is a partial 
activation of the capture-bonding mechanisms in BDSM.)

>Racism and group think also play major roles. These weird
>theories are propagated through 'feedback loops' which Shermer
>explains by using the witch hunts as an example. Numerous other
>feedback loops have been created recently. The media (especially now
>with information being so easily exchanged on a national and global
>basis) has been a major player in starting and defusing these loops.
>Note: The latest edition includes a new chapter on why *smart* people
>believe weird things.

Being smart doesn't protect you from being a drug addict either.

Keith Henson

>Video talk here, if you can't get the book

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