Myths, gullibility and our future
Posted: 13 July 2012 04:12 PM   [ Ignore ]
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Today on my Facebook page appeared a silly, big-lettered admonition to the effect that “this year July has 5 Fridays, 5 Saturdays and 5 Sundays . . .” Never mind that it doesn’t. It goes on to say that this happens only once in 823 years, and if you pass on the message you will be rewarded but if you do not, you will suffer. Never mind the silly non-sequitur.

We only have fourteen calendars. January 1 falls on one of the seven days of the week (Sun - Sat) and either it’s leap year or it isn’t. Nothing on the calendar happens once in 823 years. All anyone has to do to know that is to check a perpetual calendar, easily found online by anyone who can post on Facebook.

What irks me most about this is the person’s gullibility, and more than that perhaps, knowing that most people would say this is no big deal. Here is why it is a very big deal.

Democracy relies on an informed citizenry that can tell the difference between fact and fiction, a citizenry willing to think critically and question everything. When people willingly accept things at face value, without questioning them or even being willing to have them questioned (she sent through the same thing a year ago), they can be easily manipulated. Charlatans can rule because they have no qualms about manipulating gullible people to achieve their ends; honest leaders have little chance when this absence-of-ethic prevails. Hitler understood this eighty years ago, and Fox and the right wing in the USA understand it today.

This sort of thing is why the right wing gets away with saying that both sides are equally dishonest, and why global warming and evolution are considered controversial, and why the people willingly - eagerly! - accept political rule that systematically redistributes wealth to a few on top, who aren’t even creating wealth or innovating anything except new manipulations of the capitalist system.

When I point this out, most people look at me as though I have two heads. They seem to think I must be a crank. Meanwhile, I’m watching my country and the world moving steadily and unmistakably not toward one cliff but toward several.

How many think I’ve accurately expressed what CFI is about politically? How many are willing to tell their friends when they’re making this mistake?

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Posted: 13 July 2012 05:29 PM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 1 ]
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Yes, PC, they’re ubiquitous.  Rather than trying to argue them out of their beliefs using logic, I have more fun acting confused.  For example, using the date thing you started with:  “Really, that’s interesting.  I wonder if those days have any special properties.  Let’s see.  Could you help me out and tell me the day of the month for each of those five Fridays, Saturdays, and Sundays?”  Then I just look innocent while they try to come up with the fifth Friday and Saturday. 

Rather than arguing with them, it’s more enjoyable to ask them to give the logical conclusions of their statements and watch them fumble around.  smile

Occam

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Posted: 13 July 2012 06:04 PM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 2 ]
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Occam. - 13 July 2012 05:29 PM

Yes, PC, they’re ubiquitous.  Rather than trying to argue them out of their beliefs using logic, I have more fun acting confused.  For example, using the date thing you started with:  “Really, that’s interesting.  I wonder if those days have any special properties.  Let’s see.  Could you help me out and tell me the day of the month for each of those five Fridays, Saturdays, and Sundays?”  Then I just look innocent while they try to come up with the fifth Friday and Saturday. 

Rather than arguing with them, it’s more enjoyable to ask them to give the logical conclusions of their statements and watch them fumble around.  smile

Occam

Deviously clever….. cheese

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Posted: 13 July 2012 06:56 PM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 3 ]
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At the risk of losing some friends, I have started calling them out when they express obvious nonsense; especially the “it doesn’t matter how you vote” crap. It does matter. Ask any minority or anyone without health insurance. My in-laws keep railing against Obamacare, and I keep reminding them their grandson would not have health insurance without Obamacare. They then start talking about how Obama has raised their taxes. When I ask how much, they turn silent.

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Posted: 13 July 2012 07:12 PM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 4 ]
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Democracy relies on an informed citizenry that can tell the difference between fact and fiction, a citizenry willing to think critically and question everything. When people willingly accept things at face value, without questioning them or even being willing to have them questioned (she sent through the same thing a year ago), they can be easily manipulated. Charlatans can rule because they have no qualms about manipulating gullible people to achieve their ends; honest leaders have little chance when this absence-of-ethic prevails. Hitler understood this eighty years ago, and Fox and the right wing in the USA understand it today.

One of the major problems in America is the mélange of choices we have for info. Most cable companies have on the average 130 channels and most of these include programs meant to be merely entertaining and not truly informative. In short they put the brain to sleep on pseudo history (Hitler’s aliens), cryptozoology, one sided talk shows from both sides of the political spectrum, and lying political figures ready at a moment’s notice to pander for your votes in the next election. Wading through this crap is mind blowing so most people who are inundated by junk info are ready to believe that the World will end on Dec 21st ( another spooky urban legend cobbled together by pseudo science and inaccurate historical data). People at gullible either because they are uninformed and haven’t been taught to think critically, or skeptically which is even harder when you’ve been taught to trust authority figures from year one. Which leads one to consider, whom do you trust? That takes doing homework and researching the supposed source from childhood to old age. Charlatans rule because people Don’t think critically and rely on faith alone. Hmmm, wonder where that came from? BTW, same thing goes for urban legend emails. Factcheck calls them 99% Phoney.

 

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Posted: 13 July 2012 10:56 PM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 5 ]
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Yes, it’s bad.

It will only change when we’re all dead.

There will never,ever be a citizenry of hundreds of millions of people who are informed about much of anything; a small group of people maybe, but that’s not democracy.
It’s one of the many reasons why democracy is trashed IMO.

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Posted: 14 July 2012 06:32 AM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 6 ]
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There will never,ever be a citizenry of hundreds of millions of people who are informed about much of anything; a small group of people maybe, but that’s not democracy.
It’s one of the many reasons why democracy is trashed IMO.

Depends on what They are informed about say for instance politics which equates with power. People in general don’t really give a rat’s ass about it until the general election or some local position that benefits them. People just want to live out their lives without too much hassle and thinking about politics raises their blood pressure. As long as the stores are open and I have a job, will that’s pretty much it for life. The small group will have the power and the money and keep the stores open. Or so John Q continually thinks. Until the next general election that is. Idiocracy will be our fate if we don’t break the cycle and teach John to think critically or to put it another way, education is the key; teach people to be skeptics and empower them to make informed decisions. Then they’ll realize that they can use that power constructively for themselves and their neighbors. I’m still an optimist at my age!


Cap’t Jack

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One good schoolmaster is of more use than a hundred priests.

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Posted: 14 July 2012 06:49 AM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 7 ]
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This is a cut-and-paste from the 2012 Texas Republican Party platform.

Knowledge-Based Education – We oppose the teaching of Higher Order Thinking Skills (HOTS) (values clarification), critical thinking skills and similar programs that are simply a relabeling of Outcome-Based Education (OBE) (mastery learning) which focus on behavior modification and have the purpose of challenging the student’s fixed beliefs and undermining parental authority.

When I posted this on FaceBook some of my friends called it liberal propaganda.

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Posted: 14 July 2012 02:38 PM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 8 ]
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Fascinating.  Apparently, they didn’t even read it for meaning which is obviously a strongly conservative position.  Rather, they just saw words like “critical thinking skills”, “education”, “challenging fixed beliefs”, and “undermining parental authority”, and immediately jumped to the conclusion of “liberal propaganda.”

So it follows that logical arguments are useless against their ideas.  All we have to do is come up with pretty words that they like, then they’ll buy anything. LOL

Occam

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Posted: 14 July 2012 04:00 PM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 9 ]
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This link may be of interest.
http://www.nairaland.com/121066/predominantly-atheist-countries-lowest-crime

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Posted: 15 July 2012 03:47 PM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 10 ]
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Just bookmarked it for future reference. Theists need to see it although they’ll not “believe"it. Like the cliche “the family that prays together stays together”. I pointed out that there are more divorced xtians than atheists per capita.

Capt.Jack

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One good schoolmaster is of more use than a hundred priests.

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Posted: 15 July 2012 03:51 PM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 11 ]
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I like how the commenters explain it away, most of them using the No True Scotsman fallacy.

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