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Reasoning your way out of moral panic

  1. Feb 16, 2009 #1

    lisab

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    Reasoning your way out of "moral panic"

    A while back, Ivan Seeking https://www.physicsforums.com/showthread.php?t=255234"on how we’ve changed since 9-11. Got me thinking about how the collective American soul seemed to change overnight, and what might have been behind it.

    For example, remember the ramp-up to the Iraq war? Reaction to any sort of opposition was fierce and highly emotional. It wasn’t uncommon to hear people attacked as being unpatriotic, either implied or explicit, until any opposition became completely muted. The closest term I can find for this phenomenon is “http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Moral_panic" [Broken]”.

    Shouldn’t scientists be more aware than lay people at recognizing when we’re experiencing a moral panic? Does being trained as a scientist make you more capable of thinking your way out of a moral panic, despite the strong emotional response that accompanies it?
     
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  3. Feb 16, 2009 #2

    turbo

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    Re: Reasoning your way out of "moral panic"

    Opposition was shouted down. McCarthyism is alive and well in the US and we are just a heartbeat away from fascism. I'm sorry to have to say that but the right-wing of our society including radio-ranters are promoting hate.
     
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  4. Feb 16, 2009 #3

    CRGreathouse

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    Re: Reasoning your way out of "moral panic"

    "A heartbeat away from fascism"?

    Methinks you're being overly dramatic.
     
  5. Feb 16, 2009 #4

    Ivan Seeking

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    Re: Reasoning your way out of "moral panic"

    I think scientists would tend to be more likely to recognize irrational behavior more quickly than the average Plumber, but I think this would be true for anyone with an above average education and/or intellect. However, it depends on the circumstances. Consider the current economic crisis. I can imagine that some big-league economists [many have a background in physics or mathematics] can become attached to a particular gloom-and-doom model. Hopefully one example of this is that of the Economist, Nicholas Taleb, who works with the mathematician, Benoît Mandelbrot. In his own words, Taleb lies awake at night worrying that we are entering a period of unprecedented global financial crisis. Has he just gotten too close to chalkboard - he can only see the world through the lens of his theoretical model - or does he just know more than the rest of us?

    PBS Newshour interview

    The point being that he might be inclined to follow what others would view as an irrational course of action, say if he were advising the President.

    But then this also distinguishes between a scientific or mathematical based paranoia, and a fear based in propaganda, as with the lead-up to the war. It is the difference between a logical concern, and a false choice. Bush gave us a false choice- you are with us, or you are against us.
     
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  6. Feb 16, 2009 #5

    LowlyPion

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    Re: Reasoning your way out of "moral panic"

    At least there has been no moral panic in the AGW discussion.
     
  7. Feb 16, 2009 #6
    Re: Reasoning your way out of "moral panic"

    Fortunately during the invasion of Iraq I had access to foreign newscasts. They presented both the US side of the invasion along with the Iraqi side by interviewing civilians who had been injured or who had lost family members. The contrast to US newscasts was remarkable.

    Before then I never thought I would see the American press allow themselves to be controlled by the government as to content. I also couldn't believe the prohibition on photographing soldiers' caskets was never challenged on 1st Amendment, freedom of the press grounds.

    Overly dramatic? I don't think so. What comes after government control of the press - unauthorized wiretaps, spying on peace organizations, surreptitious searching of people's homes, library and bank records?
     
  8. Feb 16, 2009 #7

    Evo

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    Re: Reasoning your way out of "moral panic"

    Oh, no, none at all. Discussions on AGW are the most sensible and level headed of all scientific discussions. No emotions involved at all. :tongue2:
     
  9. Feb 16, 2009 #8
    Re: Reasoning your way out of "moral panic"

    Looks more like psychological behavior. Anyone working in science related professions think more objectively than other people and thus expected to not get caught in the moral panic.

    If someone thinks irrational or emotional it would be just because they aren't exposed to objective thinking so can't blame those people.

    But, on the other hand I think there is a limit to how rational/objective you can be regardless of who you are.

    So, I would say all that was expected/normal behavior.
     
  10. Feb 16, 2009 #9

    Ivan Seeking

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    Re: Reasoning your way out of "moral panic"

    AGW would be another example of a logical concern. There can be no absolute certainty in the weather models, so it becomes questions of probability and risk assessment.

    What I find most interesting about AGW are the number of people with little to no formal training in weather modeling and climate forecasting, but who have strong opinions about the "correct answer" nonetheless. This to me is a good example of an uninformed reaction that can cause hysteria.
     
  11. Feb 16, 2009 #10
    Re: Reasoning your way out of "moral panic"

    A scientist would be more likely to take a close look at the facts presented, but if the facts are based on lies we end up with the same conclusion.

    Most local papers online have a place to post comments on articles. I am seeing some very radical hate driven comments. Admittedly most of these people appear to be brain washed morons.

    Hate radio and a dumbed down populace do go well together.

    Here are some comments from my local paper in regards to the stimulus bill.

    http://regulus2.azstarnet.com/comments/index.php?id=280386

    Rush Limbaugh does somehow manage to influence the thinking of some of my educated relatives. My Brother-in-law with a masters in history is the worst.

    Here is an example from a few weeks ago of what he gets from Rush: During the Carter administration the unemployment rate was 7.6 %, that is higher than our current 7.3%

    I went on line and came back with: True, but Rush didn't mention that Carter inherited an 8% unemployment rate form Ford. He rapidly changed the subject.

    It isn't just hate radio spreading lies and half truths. There are millions of e-mails flying around on both sides but I have yet to see a conservative one that was the truth and the whole truth.

    If directed at a particular person factcheck.org has even started calling the e-mails slime or sliming.

    We have some major moral panic going on.
     
    Last edited by a moderator: Apr 24, 2017
  12. Feb 16, 2009 #11

    Evo

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    Re: Reasoning your way out of "moral panic"

    So which statement would you agree with?

    1)The majority of the world's population has no formal training in weather modeling and climate forecasting, but believe in global warming without understanding anything about it.

    2)The majority of the world's population has no formal training in weather modeling and climate forecasting, but disbelieve in global warming without understanding anything about it.

    Which would fall into the category of "moral panic" as seen in the popular media?
     
  13. Feb 16, 2009 #12

    lisab

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    Re: Reasoning your way out of "moral panic"

    Emotion still makes its way into scientific discussions. I see it all the time, at my work. Really good, highly trained scientists fall in love with their ideas all the time...for me, that was probably the most surprising thing about becoming a working scientist.

    When I hear a lot of emotion in a scientific discussion, I become highly skeptical of the motives of the speaker.
     
  14. Feb 16, 2009 #13

    LowlyPion

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    Re: Reasoning your way out of "moral panic"

    Which side of the media?

    The Fox side?

    Or the other side.

    I don't know much about AGW, but I know it when I see it.
     
  15. Feb 16, 2009 #14

    Evo

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    Re: Reasoning your way out of "moral panic"

    I don't listen to Fox, so I guess the rest of the media.

    :rofl: I'm middle of the fence and I admit that I do get turned off by extreme reactions. If you're right, you shouldn't go crazy when someone challenges your belief. Both sides are guilty. You'd think that you were attacking someone's religion instead of looking at data. People that are highly intelligent and that I respect get so crazy about this subject that I just can't comprehend what gets into them.
     
  16. Feb 16, 2009 #15
    Re: Reasoning your way out of "moral panic"

    A Presidential "Task Force" to fix the Big 3 and White House supervision of the Census?
     
  17. Feb 16, 2009 #16
    Re: Reasoning your way out of "moral panic"

    Part of the problem is that everyone can see changes...more rain in the winter (except this year), hurricanes, lot's of things in Gore's movie...and let's not forget smog...nobody wants pollution.

    Then, we've all been told to do our part, whatever we can...my family has been recycling and caring for a section of highway for a few years now...we have fuel efficient cars and drive under the spped limit as a rule. But let's face it...that's not enough.

    The reality is this..nothing significant will happen until someone(s) makes a lot of money.

    Nobody can argue that solar and wind don't make sense...nuclear, natual gas and clean coal are a more difficult sale. I want a clean electric car...but not if electric costs the same as gas...I want to do the right thing AND save money...win -win.

    Somehow I don't think t will work that way though.
     
  18. Feb 16, 2009 #17
    Re: Reasoning your way out of "moral panic"

    i love you
     
  19. Feb 17, 2009 #18
    Re: Reasoning your way out of "moral panic"

    So would you think that scientists recognise moral panic here?

    but the history is just repeating:

    wcAy4sOcS5M[/youtube] Dr. Baliunas on Weather Cooking
     
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  20. Feb 17, 2009 #19
    Re: Reasoning your way out of "moral panic"

    Heh, that scientist surely didn't.
     
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  21. Feb 18, 2009 #20

    lisab

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    Re: Reasoning your way out of "moral panic"

    So does anyone have any suggestions for dealing with someone who is emotionally attached to their point of view?
     
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