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Bad Thinkers Why do some people believe conspiracy theories?

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  • #16
    Originally posted by The Barbarian View Post
    We just don't know all the details.
    That doesn't stop you making things up.
    Where is the evidence for a global flood?
    E≈mc2
    "the best maths don't need no stinkin' numbers"

    "The waters under the 'expanse' were under the crust."
    -Bob B.

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    • #17
      Because Epstein didn't kill himself.
      Trump would have lots of reasons why he wouldn't want Epstein to be talking about their adventures together.

      Trump called Epstein a ‘terrific guy’ who enjoyed ‘younger’ women before denying relationship with him
      https://www.washingtonpost.com/polit...01d_story.html
      This message is hidden because ...

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      • #18
        Originally posted by The Barbarian View Post
        Bad Thinkers
        Why do some people believe conspiracy theories? It’s not just who or what they know. It’s a matter of intellectual character.


        Meet Oliver. Like many of his friends, Oliver thinks he is an expert on 9/11. He spends much of his spare time looking at conspiracist websites and his research has convinced him that the terrorist attacks on New York and Washington, DC, of 11 September 2001 were an inside job. The aircraft impacts and resulting fires couldn’t have caused the Twin Towers of the World Trade Center to collapse. The only viable explanation, he maintains, is that government agents planted explosives in advance. He realises, of course, that the government blames Al-Qaeda for 9/11 but his predictable response is pure Mandy Rice-Davies: they would say that, wouldn’t they?
        ...
        I want to argue for something which is controversial, although I believe that it is also intuitive and commonsensical. My claim is this: Oliver believes what he does because that is the kind of thinker he is or, to put it more bluntly, because there is something wrong with how he thinks. The problem with conspiracy theorists is not, as the US legal scholar Cass Sunstein argues, that they have little relevant information. The key to what they end up believing is how they interpret and respond to the vast quantities of relevant information at their disposal. I want to suggest that this is fundamentally a question of the way they are. Oliver isn’t mad (or at least, he needn’t be). Nevertheless, his beliefs about 9/11 are the result of the peculiarities of his intellectual constitution – in a word, of his intellectual character.

        https://getpocket.com/explore/item/b...=pocket-newtab
        Saying that conspiracy theorists don't think clearly is sort of like saying that a black pot isn't white. But it isn't necessarily because of a character flaw, although it doubtlessly is in many, if not most, cases.

        They make logical errors like presuming that something that cannot be falsified is thereby proven. They also conflate correlation with causation, thinking that because two things often happen together that therefore one is the cause of the other. But it isn't congenital in the sense that they cannot think clearly because, if it were, then the moment someone pointed out that all people who eat carrots die, they'd set off on a crusade to ban carrots, which they do not do.

        Psychologically, the desire to be in an exclusive group, a group in procession of the real truth that normal people don't have, the need to be separate and above the normal, to be special is typically the underlying motivation/reward these conspiracy theorists seek.

        Clete
        sigpic
        "The [open view] is an attempt to provide a more Biblically faithful, rationally coherent, and practically satisfying account of God and the divine-human relationship..." - Dr. John Sanders

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        • #19
          Originally posted by The Barbarian View Post
          Conservatism and liberalism are strongly linked to details of neuranatomy, so much so that the differences are a better predictor of one's political attitude than is one's family environment.

          Politically conservative views correlated with larger amygdala, smaller anterior cingulate cortex

          While understanding brain structure could be helpful when engaging in any bipartisan negotiation that reaches across the aisle, of course, as Saltz explains, "it's not black-and-white" for every individual. But it does give a pretty good guess at which kind of appeal could resonate more successfully with the political other, depending on how they respond to fear-based decision-making and how open they are to new information.

          "Basically the study showed that if you just based it on brain structural size difference, you could predict who would be a conservative and who would be a liberal with a frequency of 71.6 percent; 71.6 percent is a pretty high ability to predict who is a conservative and who is a liberal just from brain structure," Saltz said.
          00:00/00:00

          "When you look at what your parents were in terms of predicting what you might be in terms of conservative versus liberal, that enabled you to predict in studies at a rate of 69.5 percent. So very close. Not quite as good. And why is that interesting? It’s because the brain is plastic," Saltz continued.

          https://www.salon.com/2016/06/06/stu...tures_partner/

          It should be noted that hostility and caution are as useful in survival as openness and curiosity. It's just that liberals and conservatives have more of one than the other.

          Your question about conspiracy buffs:


          Might have something to do with this, albeit indirectly. Is there a "MAGA-gene" that causes some kind of pattern-recognition overdrive leading one to be particularly subject to weird conspiracy theories? Hard to say, but there are important pattern-recognition structures in the brain, and while being good at inferring things from limited stimuli is a very good survival function, if it's carried to far, you end up with "the FBI and the CIA are our enemies!" or "everyone who died, was killed by Hillary Clinton!"

          We just don't know all the details. My guess is that a lot of it is intellectual laziness, but probably some specific structures in the brain do have a significant role.
          Correlation does not imply causation. The brain structures could be caused by the thinking, rather than the thinking caused by the structures (Exercised muscles grow larger and stronger. ), or both could be caused by an unknown third factor or it really could be just a coincidence. You'd have to do real science to figure out which is the truth.

          Clete
          sigpic
          "The [open view] is an attempt to provide a more Biblically faithful, rationally coherent, and practically satisfying account of God and the divine-human relationship..." - Dr. John Sanders

          Comment


          • #20
            Originally posted by Clete View Post
            Correlation does not imply causation.
            Quite possible, but the fact that these details of neuroanatomy are better predictors of political outlook than even family background (which is a very good predictor) remains. Very likely, there are genes that mediate the development of this.

            On the other hand, brains are very plastic, and one can remodel them by experience; intelligence, for example, is mostly a matter of environment. So experience might indeed enlarge an amygdala if one grows up in an insecure and seemingly dangerous environment, or enlarge the ACG if one grows up in a seemingly secure and safe place with lots of interesting things to investigate.

            Or it could be luck, or maternal hormones near birth, or any of many other things. But the validity of these as predictors remains.

            The brain structures could be caused by the thinking, rather than the thinking caused by the structures (Exercised muscles grow larger and stronger. ), or both could be caused by an unknown third factor
            Of course.

            or it really could be just a coincidence.
            In the studies I've seen, the null hypothesis is less than 0.05. So very unlikely. There's a very good correlation, over 0.7.

            You'd have to do real science to figure out which is the truth.
            It's been done and repeated. As you suggest, it could be some other factor that affects both neuroanatomy and political orientation, but that doesn't affect the predictability.
            This message is hidden because ...

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            • #21
              Originally posted by The Barbarian View Post
              Trump.
              You hate him.
              We know.
              Where is the evidence for a global flood?
              E≈mc2
              "the best maths don't need no stinkin' numbers"

              "The waters under the 'expanse' were under the crust."
              -Bob B.

              Comment


              • #22
                And my entourage checks in...
                This message is hidden because ...

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                • #23
                  Barbarian thinks people fawn over him.
                  Where is the evidence for a global flood?
                  E≈mc2
                  "the best maths don't need no stinkin' numbers"

                  "The waters under the 'expanse' were under the crust."
                  -Bob B.

                  Comment


                  • #24
                    Originally posted by The Barbarian View Post
                    And my entourage checks in...
                    They're here to bump your threads.

                    Tried and waited then got tired, that's about it

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                    • #25
                      Originally posted by annabenedetti View Post
                      They're here to bump your threads.
                      They're bumptious, that's for sure.

                      (Troll runs for a dictionary)
                      This message is hidden because ...

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                      • #26
                        If they're interested...

                        https://www.thoughtco.com/how-to-cal...icient-3126228
                        This message is hidden because ...

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                        • #27
                          Originally posted by The Barbarian View Post
                          Quite possible, but the fact that these details of neuroanatomy are better predictors of political outlook than even family background (which is a very good predictor) remains. Very likely, there are genes that mediate the development of this.
                          Nope!

                          That's just not what it means! Sorry but it just isn't what it means.

                          It is sufficient to cause one to ask whether there are genes that mediate the development of it but, by itself, it isn't even evidence that genes have anything to do with it. It could just as easily be that thinking in a certain way causes certain parts of your brain to grow more (or less) than they would otherwise. And, as I said before, it could absolutely be simply a coincidence much like the very high correlation between those who clip their finger nails and those have caught a cold. Virtually everyone who has done the latter has also done the former. One might even say, by your logic, that one is a predictor of the other.

                          On the other hand, brains are very plastic, and one can remodel them by experience; intelligence, for example, is mostly a matter of environment. So experience might indeed enlarge an amygdala if one grows up in an insecure and seemingly dangerous environment, or enlarge the ACG if one grows up in a seemingly secure and safe place with lots of interesting things to investigate.

                          Or it could be luck, or maternal hormones near birth, or any of many other things. But the validity of these as predictors remains.
                          No, it just doesn't!
                          Do you clip your finger nails?

                          Yes!

                          Well, you'll probably catch a cold at some point.

                          See how it doesn't work?

                          This same exact error of logic is why coffee (or chocolate or coconut oil or whatever) is bad for you one day and the next day it's good for you and then next week it'll give you cancer and the week after that it fights cancer.

                          In the studies I've seen, the null hypothesis is less than 0.05. So very unlikely. There's a very good correlation, over 0.7.
                          Correlation flat out does not imply causation - period.

                          There is a perfect one to one correlation between drinking water and death. Everything that drinks water dies - everything.

                          All such studies are junk science when applied in this manner.

                          The data isn't meaningless but it just doesn't mean what most people take it to mean. What it means is that there is reason to investigate further in a particular direction. But until you know WHY they are correlated, the fact that the correlation exists is not very useful except perhaps in very general terms.

                          It's been done and repeated. As you suggest, it could be some other factor that affects both neuroanatomy and political orientation, but that doesn't affect the predictability.
                          No, the predictability is just another way of pointing out the correlation.

                          The problem is that you are using the predictability (i.e. the correlation) to imply a causal of effect from one to the other and that is simply a fallacious way of thinking.

                          It is, however, precisely the way that conspiracy theorists think! Any correlation, no matter how slight, is taken as strong evidence for whatever it is they need it to be evidence for and no matter how many times you tell them that correlation doesn't imply causation, they steadfastly refuse to drop it as an argument in favor of their favorite theory, doctrine, conspiracy or whatever.

                          Clete
                          sigpic
                          "The [open view] is an attempt to provide a more Biblically faithful, rationally coherent, and practically satisfying account of God and the divine-human relationship..." - Dr. John Sanders

                          Comment


                          • #28
                            Originally posted by annabenedetti View Post
                            They're here to bump your threads.
                            squeaky used to play the same game you're playing here

                            Comment


                            • #29
                              Originally posted by Clete View Post
                              Nope!

                              That's just not what it means! Sorry but it just isn't what it means.

                              It is sufficient to cause one to ask whether there are genes that mediate the development of it but, by itself, it isn't even evidence that genes have anything to do with it. It could just as easily be that thinking in a certain way causes certain parts of your brain to grow more (or less) than they would otherwise. And, as I said before, it could absolutely be simply a coincidence much like the very high correlation between those who clip their finger nails and those have caught a cold. Virtually everyone who has done the latter has also done the former. One might even say, by your logic, that one is a predictor of the other.



                              No, it just doesn't!
                              Do you clip your finger nails?

                              Yes!

                              Well, you'll probably catch a cold at some point.

                              See how it doesn't work?

                              This same exact error of logic is why coffee (or chocolate or coconut oil or whatever) is bad for you one day and the next day it's good for you and then next week it'll give you cancer and the week after that it fights cancer.


                              Correlation flat out does not imply causation - period.

                              There is a perfect one to one correlation between drinking water and death. Everything that drinks water dies - everything.

                              All such studies are junk science when applied in this manner.

                              The data isn't meaningless but it just doesn't mean what most people take it to mean. What it means is that there is reason to investigate further in a particular direction. But until you know WHY they are correlated, the fact that the correlation exists is not very useful except perhaps in very general terms.


                              No, the predictability is just another way of pointing out the correlation.

                              The problem is that you are using the predictability (i.e. the correlation) to imply a causal of effect from one to the other and that is simply a fallacious way of thinking.

                              It is, however, precisely the way that conspiracy theorists think! Any correlation, no matter how slight, is taken as strong evidence for whatever it is they need it to be evidence for and no matter how many times you tell them that correlation doesn't imply causation, they steadfastly refuse to drop it as an argument in favor of their favorite theory, doctrine, conspiracy or whatever.

                              Clete
                              Correlation equals causation is the Darwinists' only play.
                              Where is the evidence for a global flood?
                              E≈mc2
                              "the best maths don't need no stinkin' numbers"

                              "The waters under the 'expanse' were under the crust."
                              -Bob B.

                              Comment


                              • #30
                                Originally posted by Clete View Post
                                Nope!

                                That's just not what it means! Sorry but it just isn't what it means.
                                That's what a correlation is. Predictability, one with the other. Causation isn't an issue WRT correlation as a predictor.

                                For example, the frequency of pneumonia in Argentina is positively correlated with the consumption of iced tea in New York. Causation isn't the issue; it's winter in Argentina when it's summer in New York, and more pneumonia in winter,and more iced tea consumed in the summer.

                                But if we know during a particular time, that pneumonia is up in Argentina, we will be very confident that at the same time, more iced tea will be consumed in New York. Even if one does not cause the other.

                                It's a good predictor. Just as these details of neuroanatomy are good predictors for political outlook, even if one does not cause the other. And if one does, it doesn't matter whether thinking liberal thoughts makes you ACG more robust or if a more robust ACG makes you think liberal thoughts. It's still a good predictor.

                                It is sufficient to cause one to ask whether there are genes that mediate the development of it but, by itself, it isn't even evidence that genes have anything to do with it. It could just as easily be that thinking in a certain way causes certain parts of your brain to grow more (or less) than they would otherwise.
                                You're right. But whatever it is, it's still a good predictor.

                                And, as I said before, it could absolutely be simply a coincidence much like the very high correlation between those who clip their finger nails and those have caught a cold.
                                No. And you've told us why:

                                Virtually everyone who has done the latter has also done the former. One might even say, by your logic, that one is a predictor of the other.
                                No,that would be like saying "if you have an ACG,you're a liberal and if you have an amygdala, you're a conservative." Everyone SFAIK has one of each, just as everyone trims his fingernails and has had a cold. But if there's a strong correlation between how often you trim your nails and how often you get colds, then we have a predictor.

                                Do you clip your finger nails?
                                Do you have an anterior cingulate gyrus?

                                Yes!

                                Well, you'll probably catch a cold at some point.
                                You almost certainly have an amygdala.

                                So, by your reasoning, you're a conservative and a liberal.

                                See how it doesn't work?

                                This same exact error of logic is why people think that correlation can't tell you anything, unless you can establish causation.

                                In fact, as you see, a strong correlation is a good predictor, even if you can't say that one factor causes the other. They can be both due to a third fact.

                                But one is still a good predictor of the other. That's what correlation is.

                                If a correlation is a strong one, predictive power can be great. Consider this figure, from data produced by a 1992 study at the University of Illinois. Researchers asked 56,000 students about their drinking habits and grades, to see how drinking might correlate with performance in school.



                                Any type of correlation can be used to make a prediction. However, a correlation does not tell us about the underlying cause of a relationship.

                                All we know from the Illinois data is that drinking was negatively correlated with grade-point average. The possible explanations are many.

                                Perhaps (1) alcohol makes people stupid, or (2) higher-achieving students are more likely to lie and say they do not drink even if they do, or (3) the students who tend to drink tend to be poorer students to begin with, or (4) people who are hung-over from a drinking binge tend to skip class, or (5) students in academic trouble drink in order to drown their sorrows after receiving bad grades.

                                There could be dozens of possible explanations for the correlation. The number of possible cause-effect explanations for any correlation is limited only by your imagination and ingenuity in thinking up possible explanations for an observed relationship.

                                For purposes of making a prediction, the underlying reason for a correlation does not matter. As long as the correlation is stable–lasting into the future–one can use it to make predictions. What a correlation does not tell you is why two things tend to go together.

                                https://www.psywww.com/intropsych/ch...rediction.html

                                Correlation flat out does not imply causation - period.
                                You're very correct on that. But you don't need causation for a strong correlation to be a good predictor.
                                This message is hidden because ...

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