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Gullibility - Belief In The Supernatural


Wertbag
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I've always believed that a logic class should be taught as complusory in schools. People believe all sorts of unproven things (healing crystals, ghosts, ufos, loch ness monster, magnetic bracelets, and every nutcase cult on the planet), and people are willing to pour their money and waste their lives aiming for the impossible.

Why is it that a bizarre set of beliefs like scientology can gain hundreds of thousands of members? Why do people believe the book of mormon was really given to Jo by an Angel without proof? Why is the magnetic underlay industry now worth over a billion dollars?

A logical thinking class would even help people avoid scams like the Nigerian email scams and could help save people from their own stupidity.

Some interesting figures:

- 51% of the public, 65% of those aged 25 to 29 but only 27% of those aged 65 and over believe in ghosts.

- 31% of the public believes in astrology including 36% of women, 25% of men and 43% of those aged 25 to 29 but only 17% of people aged 65 and over.

- There is a definate link between the amount of education and the amount of supernatural belief:

Ghosts - Uneducated 56%, high school 53%, college 43%, post grad 36%

Miracles - Uned 89%, HS 84%, Clg 77%, PG 72%

Astrology - Uned 37%, HS 33%, Clg 20%, PG 16%

It shows women and the poorly educated are more likely to believe in the supernatural, while senior citizens are the least likely group to believe in anything. Is anyone able to explain the higher female levels of belief in the supernatural? Are women generally more emotionally based or more accepting than males?

(Data from: Harris Poll 2003)

 

The bizarre things that people will spend their money on defies belief:

Egyptian Healing Rods

Energy Crystals

Magnetic Healing

Ear Candles

 

It is sad that these people will make money of this garbage, that people will believe them, and that people may fail to get proper medicial treatment due to belief in these alternatives. Why are humans so gullible that they'll accept peoples claims without that little voice of doubt creeping in?

I was talking to one healing crystal importer who openly said he didn't believe in the stuff, but he couldn't bring it in fast enough. He was bringing in multiple barrel loads of crystals and selling out as soon as it hit the shelf. As the saying goes theres a sucker born every minute and enough to last a life time.

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How odd that more people believe in the Christian god than do believe in ghosts. Ghosts are much more plausible.

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True, at least there are videos, photos, recordings and eye witnesses who claim to have seen ghosts... while the evidence is debatable, at least there is evidence!

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Hey...ear candles work! Wait...let me read the link...

 

Okay, they get WAX out of your ears so you can HEAR better. Dunno about any spiritual effects.

 

:scratch:

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Hell, magic is more plausible than Xianity.

 

Think of it; if magic is basically the concentration and projection of the human will, how many religions can offer testimony to their form of magic "working"? I'm sure there are tons of bogus and mistaken claims, but I highly doubt they are all false. Every Pagan, neo-Pagan, New Age, and Abrahamic tradition out there have what seems to be hundreds of people all claiming that their spells or prayers bring results.

 

Well, if the reason for that is because all these people are really doing is concentrating and projecting their will (within the context of ritual) to urge this or that to happen in their favor, then magic (to me) seems far more plausible than Xianity. More ethically agreeable, too - trying to make things work on my own is much more palatable than thinking I have to beg Jebus to hear me out.

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It shows women and the poorly educated are more likely to believe in the supernatural

 

Didn't Celsus tell us this 1800 years ago?

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Let's not be dumping everything on the fringe into one big pile. An idea isn't false just because it doesn't conform to the common sense explanation of reality.

 

That's just basic reasoning.

 

Logic, by the by, has nothing to do with those. Logic is a very specific branch of reasoning. It says nothing about raw facts of the world. It only tells us what we can deduce from any given facts. Moreover, it can be formalized and reduced to operations similar to those in mathematics.

 

It's inductive reasoning that you want taught, Wertbag, not logic.

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Let's not be dumping everything on the fringe into one big pile. An idea isn't false just because it doesn't conform to the common sense explanation of reality.

It may not be automatically false but we should generally be starting with a sceptical outlook on the weird and wonderful and demand proof of their claims. More often than not its garbage, often sold solely for the cash, and often barring placebo effect having no benefit for the consumer/sucker involved.

 

It's inductive reasoning that you want taught, Wertbag, not logic.

Having read the definition of Logic from wiki it certainly does seem to be exactly what I would like to see taught:

"Logic is the study of criteria for the evaluation of arguments, although the exact definition of logic is a matter of controversy among philosophers. However the subject is grounded, the task of the logician is to advance an account of valid and fallacious inference, to allow one to distinguish logical from flawed arguments.

 

As a formal science, logic investigates and classifies the structure of statements and arguments, both through the study of formal systems of inference and through the study of arguments in natural language. The scope of logic can therefore be very large, ranging from core topics such as the study of fallacies and paradoxes, to specialized analyses of reasoning such as probability, correct reasoning, and arguments involving causality."

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I think the biggest problem with crystals, magnets and stuff is people don't realise it's not that, that is doing it. I believe in going to the doctor, but I also believe meditation and concentration can aid healing. But when people do that with crystals, and start healing they think it's the crystal.

As to ghosts and stuff like that I don't know maybe, or maybe not. But meditation works without crystals, rituals, invoking spirits and all that stuff, problem is alot of people don't know it.

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It shows women and the poorly educated are more likely to believe in the supernatural, while senior citizens are the least likely group to believe in anything. Is anyone able to explain the higher female levels of belief in the supernatural? Are women generally more emotionally based or more accepting than males?

 

No. Women are just more perceptive and more likely to pay attention to sensory signals and instinct because they are lower on the "food chain" in our society. Things that may seem incredible...even to the woman experiencing something that seems like a "premonition"....in truth, part of her subconscious is picking up minute signals and details...like pieces of a puzzle....that are enough to send a completed "picture" to the conscious mind, despite only having a few pieces of the picture to go on.

 

Aaaand here are my references:

 

The Gift of Fear - Gavin DeBecker (jeez I reference this book a lot.....maybe it should be in my sig line?)

http://www.amazon.com/Gift-Fear-Gavin-Beck...TF8&s=books

 

The Sense of Being Stared At - Rupert Sheldrake

http://www.amazon.com/Sense-Being-Stared-A...TF8&s=books

 

(geets a little hokey here and there....just sift out the goofy bits....the science of awareness parts actually make sense)

 

And The Anatomy of Motive - John Douglas (Woohoo!)

 

http://www.amazon.com/Anatomy-Motive-Legen...3286340-7851047

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I think it has to do with the fact that women in Western society are expected to be more attuned to emotions than men, and are encouraged to think emotionally rather than logically.

 

I am a woman. I have a tendency to think logically, yet I remember from an early age being discouraged to do so. I think it has to do with the perception also that women are supposed to be more extroverted, or at least more attuned to humans then machines. That's why we have more female caregivers as a society.

 

I also think the reason that people buy into a lot of these things (religion, magic, etc.) is that they want them to be true. I know I used to want heaven to be true. I used to want there to be something supernatural or magical out there. But you know, just because you want something to be true doesn't necessarily make it true. We can want things like fairies and angels and unicorns and prayers and magic spells to exist, but that doesn't mean they're going to be true. The general public, however, hasn't quite figured that out yet.

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I tend to see it this way.

Innocent till proven guilty, Bollocks till proven true.

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The supernatural does not exist. That's just how things are.

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The supernatural does not exist. That's just how things are.

 

The supernatural does exist........................in the minds of the religious.

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