Intellectual blackholes, battling nonsense

  • Thread starter Evo
  • Start date
  • #1
Evo
Mentor
23,156
2,815
Again, there is a bad word, ignore it. Yes, he appears not to know about the affect of different altitudes/pressures on the boiling point of water, but he's a philosopher, not a scientist. He still makes good points.

How do people defend their beliefs in bizarre conspiracy theories or the power of crystals? Philosopher Stephen Law has tips for spotting their strategies.

Intellectual black holes are belief systems that draw people in and hold them captive so they become willing slaves of claptrap. Belief in homeopathy, psychic powers, alien abductions - these are examples of intellectual black holes. As you approach them, you need to be on your guard because if you get sucked in, it can be extremely difficult to think your way clear again.
http://www.newscientist.com/article/mg21028160.200-a-field-guide-to-********.html
 

Answers and Replies

  • #2
Pengwuino
Gold Member
4,989
16
.... OMG ITS CURSE WORDS!

Come on Evo, most of us are mature here.
 
  • #3
Evo
Mentor
23,156
2,815
.... OMG ITS CURSE WORDS!

Come on Evo, most of us are mature here.
You would not believe the complaints we get, you really would not believe.

And we actually have rules against posting links with obscene language, I don't consider this obscene, but some would, so be warned!!

Anyway, stop complaining and read the article. :biggrin:
 
  • #4
Pengwuino
Gold Member
4,989
16
This article is ********.

Naa, good article, certain people should have it stapled to their head.
 
  • #5
100
1
the bad word is at the beginning of the URL :tongue2:
 
  • #6
184
1
Ohh, you should then read On Bulls**t by Harry Frankfurt. Nowadays it's everywhere. Especially on youtube.

Both lies and Bulls**t can either be true or false but bullgarbageters aim primarily to impress and persuade their audiences, and in general are unconcerned with the truth or falsehood of their statements. While liars need to know the truth to better conceal it, bullgarbageters, interested solely in advancing their own agendas, have no use for the truth. Thus, Frankfurt claims, "...Bulls**t is a greater enemy of the truth than lies are"
 
  • #7
3,077
4
I believe that, if one were to take a poll for the most popular swear word among scientists, the winner would be "bull5hit."
 
  • #8
MATLABdude
Science Advisor
1,655
4
Somewhat tangential, but...

I heard a bit of an interview of David Aaronovitch, author of Voodoo Histories subtitled "the role of the conspiracy theory in shaping the modern world" (no, I'm not affiliated with the author or his book).

Why do otherwise intelligent (sometimes) people want to make up some "better and more complete--satisfying--narrative than reality"? Probably because they believe in other conspiracy theories, according to the author (as well as using confirmation bias in 'evidence' sorting). So in a similar fashion, people that believe in one sort of quackery / claptrap will believe other sorts of quackery and claptrap.

Haven't read the book (it's on my reading list), but I found the podcast:
http://www.qr77.com/Blogs/RobBreakenridge/BlogEntry.aspx?BlogEntryID=10033404

Perhaps by way of juxtaposition, Coast-to-Coast airs on the same stations a few hours afterwards...
 
  • #9
I like Serena
Homework Helper
6,577
176
Every now and then I see a thread here on PF where 2 (or more) people keep repeating the same point, without ever conceding a point to the other person.
When it derails into insults, the end is nowhere near.
And it seems to me that usually the point being made isn't all that important if you sit back and put things into perspective.
But they effectively lock themselves in a combat that only ends when someone else (usually a mentor) intercedes.

Would that qualify as an intellectual black hole?
 
  • #10
22,089
3,286
I think everybody should be aware of intellectual blackholes, even well-respected scientists. I've seen some professors of mine hold on to statements which are untrue. And the only reason that they wouldn't give up their position is because they were taught this before. I actually had to construct several counterexamples before they would even start listening...

It's not a shame to have an intellectual blackhole, everybody had one of them at times, but you should always keep an open mind and approach things scientifically.
 
  • #11
100
0
That was a good read, thanks for posting the link Evo!
 
  • #12
4,465
72
yes indeed, great article Evo, definitely not to be associated with bovine excrements.
 
  • #13
18
1
I might get that book. Nice find, Evo.
 

Related Threads on Intellectual blackholes, battling nonsense

  • Last Post
Replies
2
Views
2K
  • Last Post
Replies
14
Views
3K
  • Last Post
3
Replies
66
Views
7K
  • Last Post
Replies
6
Views
2K
  • Last Post
Replies
6
Views
1K
  • Last Post
2
Replies
32
Views
7K
  • Last Post
2
Replies
31
Views
4K
  • Last Post
Replies
1
Views
6K
  • Last Post
3
Replies
58
Views
8K
  • Last Post
2
Replies
32
Views
5K
Top