John Edwards: An overall positive or negative?

  • #26
Ivan Seeking
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In this light, could science be driving people to Prozac?
Perhaps we just can't handle the truth?
 
  • #27
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Originally posted by Ivan Seeking
In this light, could science be driving people to Prozac?
Perhaps we just can't handle the truth?

Hm, interesting question.

What exactly do you mean by "science". As in, science is uncovering much that people can't handle, so they try and deal with it with prozac. Or do you mean that science has invented such "wonder drugs" as prozac that people seem them as an end-all cure-all?

My opinion is that almost everyone can handle the truth. The problem arises when the truth conflicts something they already believe to be true. That's when they get undecisive.

From a mental health standpoint, this arises an interesting question. John Edwards and others like him may add to mental stability by telling people what they want to hear, but in the long run, are they better? Is living in a false sense of security better for the mind? Especially when that sense of security could be disturbed at any possible time.

Let's think of an analogy for this...Ok, let's say that someday a fleet of alien ships appear out of hyperspace and land in wrigley field. Now this sudden change of belief for everyone on earth (or, nearly everyone) that we're not alone, and indeed, not even the best thing in the universe. What would that suddenly do to our psyche?

This is just like what would happen with John Edwards. Say a person believes in Edwards, and continues to belief in his "abilities", until one day when John (or someone) comes out with the fact that he's a complete fraud. What would it do to this person's entire perception of reality?

Now, expand that to a society, and there is a potential negative effect of Edwards.

But there's no denying that most of the human race cannot live without some sense of afterlife. It's a very sad thing, but completely true. It is nearly an impossible thing to deny that an afterlife exists, and firm believers will probably always be around. Does this impede their social progress? Does the belief in an afterlife and other psuedoscience/paranormal impede a society?
 
  • #28
russ_watters
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Originally posted by Ivan Seeking
But this is an pbjection based on biblical interpretations of morality. I would like to keep religion out of this.
Huh? What does religion have to do with lying being wrong? Lying (in general) is wrong under any legitimate moral standard.
 
  • #29
Ivan Seeking
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Originally posted by russ_watters
Huh? What does religion have to do with lying being wrong? Lying (in general) is wrong under any legitimate moral standard.

I wondered where you've been.

What other motivation makes us choose to believe that lying is wrong? What is meant by wrong? Any logical definition requires cicular reasoning in this context. If I can argue that Edwards is doing good - offers solace to the grieving - then the immorality of lying is not so clear.

Was it OK for Bush to lie about New York in order to preserve national security? Lying is always wrong?

Lying is always wrong: Sounds religious to me.
 
  • #30
Ivan Seeking
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Originally posted by Beren
Hm, interesting question.

What exactly do you mean by "science". As in, science is uncovering much that people can't handle, so they try and deal with it with prozac.

In this context. As an example, an old aquaintence of mine was electronics tech who loved science. One day he explained to hiw wife what causes rainbows. She had never realized how this happens - and don't get me started on our system of lower education. When he explain to her how the different frequencies of light are separated, she said he had forever ruined rainbows for her. She was sad and felt a sense of loss. By no measure did she feel that this had improved her quality of life. She felt that something had been taken away. Perhaps many if not most people are "wired" this way. I know that what really turns me on in physics is upsetting to people who have little or no exposure.

From a mental health standpoint, this arises an interesting question. John Edwards and others like him may add to mental stability by telling people what they want to hear, but in the long run, are they better? Is living in a false sense of security better for the mind? Especially when that sense of security could be disturbed at any possible time.

Let's think of an analogy for this...Ok, let's say that someday a fleet of alien ships appear out of hyperspace and land in wrigley field. Now this sudden change of belief for everyone on earth (or, nearly everyone) that we're not alone, and indeed, not even the best thing in the universe. What would that suddenly do to our psyche?

This is just like what would happen with John Edwards. Say a person believes in Edwards, and continues to belief in his "abilities", until one day when John (or someone) comes out with the fact that he's a complete fraud. What would it do to this person's entire perception of reality?

Now, expand that to a society, and there is a potential negative effect of Edwards.

But there's no denying that most of the human race cannot live without some sense of afterlife. It's a very sad thing, but completely true. It is nearly an impossible thing to deny that an afterlife exists, and firm believers will probably always be around. Does this impede their social progress? Does the belief in an afterlife and other psuedoscience/paranormal impede a society?

I think the negative impact of lies like this is overestimated. Personally, I want to know the truth; but I don't think this applies to everyone. Obviously we all have problems when we cross fantasy with politics - as if they could be separated- or other subjects of importance. But the major effects of people like Edwards to me are mostly elusive at best. Were Edwards to be exposed, the true believers would tend to ingore the evidence anyway.

Honestly, I often wonder who really does more harm: Edwards or Randi? Randi destroys rainbows. For many people I suspect that no good ever comes of this.

This is why so many people flock to extreme beliefs like moths to a bright light. They need it. It's instictive.

Us science types are somewhat unique you know. Anyone disagree? We are more interested fundamental truth and facts than most. As for typical folks [not meaning to overgeneralize], like the song says, most guys just "pray the dog poop's hard".
 
  • #31
Ivan Seeking
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On a related note:

http://www.mysonpeter.com/ [Broken]

Isn't this a heartbreaker? Man, I wanted to cry when I read this web site. I think this guy believes what he says.
 
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  • #32
hypnagogue
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Originally posted by Beren
The question is still whether or not truth is more important than happiness. Isn't living simply the search for truth? Religion is a search for truth, athiesm is that same search, just as philosophy. The search for truth (along for survival) is the single most important purpose of man.

In a human psychological context, truth is importany only insofar as it brings happiness. From a practical standpoint, scientific truth brings us advanced technologies which improve quality of life-- more happiness for everyone in the long run. From a psychological standpoint, feeling that one possesses some measure of truth can be mentally and emotionally satisfying-- again, it brings a sort of abstract happiness. I believe that you (as well as I, and probably everyone else on this forum) indeed get this happiness, this psychological satisfaction/elation, from progressive acquisition of 'truth.' However, I think you are confusing the value of this truth-fed happiness with the value of truth itself.

Let me ask an admittedly extreme question to shed some light on the 'bottom line' value of happiness vs. truth. Suppose you are standing before a door that conceals the Ultimate Truth, whatever that might be. You are presented with the choice to either open it and unveil this Truth or to leave it concealed. If you do not open the door, humanity will lose all of its advanced (scientific, mathematical, philosophical etc) knowledge but will become a Utopia where everyone leads an ineffibly loving, blissful and peaceful life free of any sort of hate, pain or conflict. If you open the door, humanity will collectively be granted Ultimate Truth, but will also be cursed to collectively lead the most miserable psychological existence imaginable, with great suffering and devoid of any semblence of happiness. Do you open the door or leave it closed?
 
  • #33
Zero
Originally posted by Ivan Seeking
On a related note:

http://www.mysonpeter.com/ [Broken]

Isn't this a heartbreaker? Man, I wanted to cry when I read this web site. I think this guy believes what he says.
This is the sort of psychosis that people like John Edward promote...how can you heal in a healthy way with liars and con artists standing in the way?
 
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  • #34
Ivan Seeking
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Originally posted by Zero
This is the sort of psychosis that people like John Edward promote...how can you heal in a healthy way with liars and con artists standing in the way?

Yes this is one reason that I posted this. It does tend to undermine my argument a bit. I guess I tend to separate genuine psychosis from typical grieving in this regard. I tend to think that his hallucinations are going to stop or continue independent of Edward's influence. I don't know if Edwards can really do more harm in situations like this or not.

by hypnagogue
If you open the door, humanity will collectively be granted Ultimate Truth, but will also be cursed to collectively lead the most miserable psychological existence imaginable, with great suffering and devoid of any semblence of happiness. Do you open the door or leave it closed?

Well, in that context I can only impart to you the same widsom that has worked it way through the generations before me, and that finally came to my father from his father, and then to me through my father: Keep the d*mned door closed!

Although I am a lover of knowledge, it seems at times that human needs and human curiosity may be in conflict.
 
  • #35
Ivan Seeking
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Originally posted by Ivan Seeking
Yes this is one reason that I posted this. It does tend to undermine my argument a bit. I guess I tend to separate genuine psychosis from typical grieving in this regard. I tend to think that his hallucinations are going to stop or continue independent of Edward's influence. I don't know if Edwards can really do more harm in situations like this or not.



Well, in that context I can only impart to you the same widsom that has worked it way through the generations before me, and that finally came to my father from his father, and then to me through my father: Keep the d*mned door closed!

Although I am a lover of knowledge, it seems at times that human needs and human curiosity may be in conflict.

I wanted to add a modifier to my statements: I feel that eventually the truth must come out. The questions for me are when, how quickly should this happen, and by what means? Should we allow the truth of something to spread at a natural rate, one death at a time, like in physics, or should we force this truth down the throats of the true believers using attack dogs like James Randi? [who can often be and should be debunked himself].

The debunking of belief systems is a risky business. One might create an anti-science backlash that results in the exact opposite to that desired.

I think this has already happened.
 
  • #36
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James Randi? [who can often be and should be debunked himself].

What on earth is wrong with James Randi?! He's one of the activists for reason!
 
  • #37
Ivan Seeking
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Originally posted by Beren
What on earth is wrong with James Randi?! He's one of the activists for reason!

I have corresponded with Mr Randi on a number of occasions - regularly for a short time - and I have watched him in action for many hours. I think Randi gets most of it right. However, I have also seen him blow off any significant result much like Edwards claims successes - only in his own mind. If you question Mr Randi with such pentrating questions as "who judges the evidence", you may get a page of near raving as a response like I did. It took me three emails to convince him that I was only asking questions. He has exactly the same disposition as any other true believer; when it comes to his own cause. For this reason I find him lacking credibility. IMO, his judgement can't be trusted.

Note that I started out by saying that I think he gets most things right.
 
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  • #38
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Ah, yes, very well put. I see your point now. I agree wholeheartedily. Mr.Randi is excellent on most occasions but a slight bit too...headstrong on others.
 
  • #39
Ivan Seeking
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Originally posted by Beren
Ah, yes, very well put. I see your point now. I agree wholeheartedily. Mr.Randi is excellent on most occasions but a slight bit too...headstrong on others.

WOW! I don't know if anyone has ever agreed with me on this point. You are now in my will.

I leave you my Ouija board.
 
  • #40
russ_watters
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Originally posted by Zero
This is the sort of psychosis that people like John Edward promote...how can you heal in a healthy way with liars and con artists standing in the way?
This kind of thing makes me mad beyond rational thought - and I'm a pretty level-headed guy. All I can say is I agree with Zero.
 
  • #41
Ivan Seeking
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Originally posted by russ_watters
This kind of thing makes me mad beyond rational thought - and I'm a pretty level-headed guy. All I can say is I agree with Zero.

I assume that you mean the link? I see no reason to assume that someone like Edwards has any influence here. Edwards exists only because of what people believe in the first place. I think the problem with this guy is that his wife and son died.

Like I said though, I found this site very upsetting.

Also, if there are any giant holes in my argument, I grant you, this is likely one of them.
 
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  • #42
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Edwards exists only because of what people believe in the first place.

Is the problem the liars who seduce people into their false image, or is it the people who willingly go?
 
  • #43
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I am listening to this idiotic conversation. John Edwards is he real. Don't know. The after life is, is he don't know. Is he playing the guitar to peoples emotions don't know. I do recall the movie "network". The illogic of this converstion is based on the fact the an atheist belives that there is no after life but does presently belive he is alive and that he is conccious and that is something special. You are intelligent engough to understand and yet you do not. Threw you the ball and it was dropped again. Go figure.
 
  • #44
Ivan Seeking
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Originally posted by TENYEARS
The illogic of this converstion

Could you explain what you mean. Your post is very difficult to read.
 
  • #45
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Ivan, I like your posts and it was not towards you but the bandwagon. It is so plain that if it was any closer it would be them.
 
  • #46
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Again, what?
 
  • #47
russ_watters
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Originally posted by Ivan Seeking
I assume that you mean the link? I see no reason to assume that someone like Edwards has any influence here. Edwards exists only because of what people believe in the first place. I think the problem with this guy is that his wife and son died.

Like I said though, I found this site very upsetting.

Also, if there are any giant holes in my argument, I grant you, this is likely one of them.
No, I'm sure Edwards had no influence on that particular site. But did you read some of the posts on the little bulletin board? These are the very people who are the target of Edwards' fraud. I'm sad for those people, and mad as hell at Edwards. He must realize the power he has over these people - more than just their money. He can destroy people's lives. It sickens me.
 
  • #48
hypnagogue
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Originally posted by russ_watters
No, I'm sure Edwards had no influence on that particular site. But did you read some of the posts on the little bulletin board? These are the very people who are the target of Edwards' fraud. I'm sad for those people, and mad as hell at Edwards. He must realize the power he has over these people - more than just their money. He can destroy people's lives. It sickens me.

OR... as has been the point of this thread... he can help people come to terms with their lives. Just because his 'treatment' would never work for you, or even outrages you so, does not mean that other people can't get some peace of mind from him. Plus, if he himself believes he has these abilities, then I doubt he really 'realizes' all this massive harm he is certainly doing. I think you're projecting your attitude on the matter a tad too much, without considering the attitudes of the people involved. If it works for them, frankly, does it matter what you think?
 
  • #49
russ_watters
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Originally posted by hypnagogue
OR... as has been the point of this thread... he can help people come to terms with their lives. Just because his 'treatment' would never work for you, or even outrages you so, does not mean that other people can't get some peace of mind from him. Plus, if he himself believes he has these abilities, then I doubt he really 'realizes' all this massive harm he is certainly doing. I think you're projecting your attitude on the matter a tad too much, without considering the attitudes of the people involved. If it works for them, frankly, does it matter what you think?
I think all of this has been covered before by myself and others, but I'll reiterate:

1. He cannot help people, period. He may think he can (doubt it) and they may think he can (certainly) but he provides them with FANTASIES at a time when they need to be dealing with REALITY. That is the precise opposite of what a psychologist does. "Peace of mind" through self-delusion is unhealthy. Heck, you even used the words: "come to terms with their lives." How exactly can you come to terms with your life by buying into fairy tales? That's self-contradictory.

2. He does not believe he has these abilities. No, I can't prove that, but I consider myeslf pretty good at detecting lies. And I have read some reports that he bugs the waiting rooms to make the fishing a little easier when he gets into the show. He's a fraud and should be in jail. In any case, it doesn't much matter if he is a fraud or not, it doesn't change he is doing, just WHY. There are some "psychics" who believe they are psychic and they should get in line to see the psychologist after the people they think they are helping. Psychics are either frauds exploiting impressionable (delusional) people or delusional people sharing their delusions with other delusional people. Don't kid yourself though - he's doing this for one reason: MONEY. Thats the easiest way to detect a fraud.

3. No, it doesn't matter what I think. I wish we had the opinion of a real psychologist and a lawyer here to say the same things I just said. As I pointed out before though - Ms. Cleo has been shut down for fraud. It isn't uncommon among "psychics".

4. The "attitudes of the people involved" are for the most part not relevant. Its not unlike people addicted to drugs. They need to learn how their attitudes are harming them. THEN they will start to get better. You are suggesting that since drugs make them feel good they should just take more drugs.
 
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  • #50
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If it works for them, frankly, does it matter what you think?

Now think about that logically for a second. Suicide works for quite a lot of people, so we should let just let them do what they want? Just because something is the easiest way out, doesn't mean it's the best.
 

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