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Fake Photos Alter Real Memories

  1. Nov 26, 2007 #1

    Evo

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    It's been done already, it makes you wonder how widespread it is. Just posting a photo out of context can completely change the reality of a situation, it doesn't even need to be "doctored".

    http://news.yahoo.com/s/livescience/20071126/sc_livescience/fakephotosalterrealmemories
     
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  3. Nov 26, 2007 #2

    ZapperZ

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    It is also a further evidence on why anecdotal evidence is different than scientific evidence. We know our minds can play tricks on us. That is why science has a methodology to make it produce a more rigorous evidence than simply someone claiming to observe something.

    The exact reference to this work is:

    Dario L. M. Sacchi et al., Applied Cognitive Psychology v.21, p.1005 (2007).

    This also isn't unusual. Many other studies have done the same thing, with the same effect.

    Zz.
     
    Last edited: Nov 26, 2007
  4. Nov 26, 2007 #3

    Evo

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    That's cute about Bugs Bunny.
     
  5. Nov 26, 2007 #4

    russ_watters

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    The same problem applies in prosecuting criminals and the police (and lawyers) are keenly aware of it.
     
  6. Nov 26, 2007 #5

    Evo

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    It's why hoaxes and internet conspiracy theories flourish on the internet.
     
  7. Nov 27, 2007 #6
    Makes you wonder how accurately you remember your own history and experiences.
     
  8. Nov 27, 2007 #7

    Ivan Seeking

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    I don't think that anyone doubts that. However, this does not suggest that all anecdotal evidence is unreliable. It means that it must be treated differently than scientific evidence. And even science does not depend on one piece of evidence to justify conclusions. The requirement for repeatability shows that scientific evidence can be in error as well.

    The fact that memories of events can vary so greatly suggests that when we find good agreement about the facts among many witnesses to an event or events, the agreed upon information is likely reliable. Of course it is also important to separate the perception of the facts, from the facts. Perhaps a well designed questionnaire may have yielded different results in the studies above.
     
    Last edited: Nov 27, 2007
  9. Nov 27, 2007 #8

    ZapperZ

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    Er.. no. Initial results and yet-unverified results are not considered as "scientific evidence". Scientific evidence is considered as that AFTER the rigorous testing and scrutiny.

    Anecdotal evidence CAN become scientific evidence. That isn't the argument here. The argument here is the issue of RELYING solely on anecdotal evidence as the primary source. That is what has been done for pseudosciences. And when something is stuck at first base for so many years relying only on anecdotal evidence, then all the warning bells should be ringing very loudly.

    The point here is that memory CAN be faulty, not that memory IS faulty.

    Zz.
     
    Last edited: Nov 27, 2007
  10. Nov 28, 2007 #9

    Ivan Seeking

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    Interesting. So then what do we call it before review? Either way, scientific evidence can be and often is refuted later.

    The real goal of any respectable scientist is to obtain scientific evidence for a phenomenon. The problem is that not all phenomena lend themselves easily to providing the kind of evidence that science requires. For example, consider ghost claims. What would you like; Casper in a bottle? People get videos and audio recording and temperature readings and EM field disturbances and pictures etc etc etc. The problem is that without Casper in a bottle, its difficult to study specific events or claims. This sends up no warning flags at all for me because this is a common problem with known phenomena as well. Most any phenomenon that is transient and seemingly random, is difficult to study. And then there are other problems with providing the evidence required.

    I remember one case where a team from UCLA studied an allegedly haunted house [whatever that means]. When they produced what they claimed to be legitimate film footage taken under controlled conditions that showed a toy car moving around an empty room by itself, they were accused of fraud by some, and by most it was assumed that someone had rigged the experiment. However, AFAIK, no one else attempted to study the house.

    Consider also the case of UFOs and what Sturrock has to say about it.


    At the same time, it seems that it only took one series of photographs to usher in the age of earthquake lights.

    Was this scientific evidence because it was published? How many photos of UFOs [flying saucers] would you like to see?

    Anyway, there is nothing pseudoscientific about collecting anecdotal evidence as a pointer for future study. I think where people get into trouble is when they try to use that evidence to arrive at specific conclusions. However, by considering anecdotal evidence, exotic claims can often be dismissed even if we take the claim completely at face value.

    If ten people that you know to be respectable tell you that someone stole your car, you would surely check your parking space. Unfortunately, not all claims are so easy to verify or dismiss.
     
    Last edited: Nov 28, 2007
  11. Nov 28, 2007 #10

    ZapperZ

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    I don't treat all anecdotal claims the same way. And again, the point here isn't the dismissal of anecdotal evidence. The point here is that people often CONFUSE anecdotal evidence as being on the same footing as scientific evidence, or any other valid evidence. I've lost count on how many times, whenever I point to how insufficiently-verified a phenomenon is, that I've been given an anecdotal evidence as "proof", as IF that's enough! Do I pay attention to anecdotal evidence? Nope. But then again, I also don't pay attention to crackpot theories or ideas that never make it into any peer-reviewed journals. I have enough more well-verified evidence and papers to read that I don't have the time nor the patience to give my undivided attention to something that can't be shown to have the potential to be valid.

    This is what I've been trying to get across. One can take such anecdotal evidence and tries to get stronger evidence to make it more convincing, but one should not fool oneself into thinking that one has SUFFICIENT evidence to be convincing.

    If ghosts are difficult to capture and study, so be it. Maybe it is going to forever be that way. But until it CAN be verified to the same degree of certainty as scientific evidence, then one should accepts the fact that it isn't going to be accepted to be valid, the same way one has accepted that it is only going to forever be a transient phenomenon. However, if that's the case, then I'd better not see anyone claiming to be able to use ghosts and other contacts with the dead, because such ability clearly contradicts the claim that these are transients and can't be captured in a bottle. You can't have both and get away with it.

    Zz.
     
    Last edited: Nov 28, 2007
  12. Nov 28, 2007 #11

    J77

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    Reminds me of when they made the actual photo of pulling down Saddam's statue; ie. it looked like a mass crowd but the camera was focused on apparently rehearsed action.
    I guess the lesson is to take everything on the internet with a grain of salt.
     
  13. Dec 2, 2007 #12

    Ivan Seeking

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    We agree completely. As for mediums, yes, their claims can be tested. One caveat is that perhaps there are legitimate "hauntings" [whatever that means] that have nothing to do with ghosts. People [esp believers] do tend to use names like "ghosts" to describe what may be many different [alleged] phenomena. So it may not always be fair to link claims that appear to be closely related.

    But again, I agree. Many people just don't understand that anecdotal evidence can never be used for science. This is a common mistake. Ironically, some or many of these same people also seem to assume that science is far less reliable than in fact because they don't understand the rigor of the scientific method. I am often amazed at the objections made in regards to scientific theories by people who have little to no exposure to science. They may not know it, but because of their lack of understanding of how science works, many people perceive that scientists are effectively philosophers. They really don't know the difference.
     
    Last edited: Dec 2, 2007
  14. Dec 31, 2007 #13
    I remember several years ago CNN ran stories about SARS. Toronto had an outbreak at that time. The story was about Toronto but the video was shot in china showing thousands of people in masks. It was done in such a way as to portray the shots as Toronto when in fact they were not. It was just implied. The Toronto tourist industry took years to recover from this misleading video.
     
  15. Aug 23, 2009 #14
    What is that methodology? Because any type of data collection entails an observer, and any type of data to be collected requires someone to make a decision of what to collect and what not to collect. And you mean to say in that whole process our minds can't play tricks on us?
     
  16. Aug 23, 2009 #15
    According to psychology studies, you forget 50% of the events and details of events that transpired in a given day when you go to sleep, and the number grows exponentially larger each day. So how do we remember? Our minds fill the gaps with other concepts floating in our brains.
     
  17. Aug 23, 2009 #16
    Agreed.

    In the Federalist Papers, Madison may have called this argument, tyranny of the majority.

    Who decides that a questionnaire is well designed? Who collects the data? How many errors are made in entering the data? Is the data ever fudged? etc.
     
  18. Aug 23, 2009 #17
    And what are these supposed pseudo-sciences? If you are referring to something like anthropology, which uses participant-observation to gather empirical data, it is more accurate at description and elucidating mechanisms and producing testable hypotheses than experiments or regressions, which only test relationships and have no conception of the mechanisms behind the relationships.
     
  19. Aug 23, 2009 #18
    Hmm... But arm chair theorizing is OK? All the mathematical models we come up with that have no evidence? Do you spend any time on those?

    Don't forget the crime many empiricists commit and never attest to: fitting their data into theories so they can publish. As Einstein said: "If the facts don't fit the theory, change the facts."

    I like layman's theories when they are testable. And if they have evidence, the stronger their theory is. The burden is on you to disconfirm their theories. If you can't do it, then maybe you don't have strong enough scientific facts to do so?

    Just because a layman does not have a PhD does not give you an excuse to treat them as irrelevant. A PhD is part of a community of scientists only because there are a set of human rites of passage and institutional rules that give that PhD the authority to speak with greater status than the layman. But that does not invalidate the layman's theory. It only makes the scientist's theory better because it has been deemed acceptable by a community of peers. This is how the mob justifies murders too, by the way. Every community has specialized knowledge about their trade but that does not make it better or worse than another person's knowledge.
     
  20. Aug 23, 2009 #19
    But how can any scientists see the forest and the trees at the same time? And what forest do we look at? And which trees? Who makes these decisions?
     
  21. Aug 23, 2009 #20
    I agree completely. But how can we ever be sure we know the truth and have revealed through the scientific method? Our knowledge is only as good as our instruments. There was a time when people were thought to be crazy for proposing the Earth went around the Sun, or that there were invisible creatures called microbes responsible for disease.
     
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