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“It’s the End of the World…”
Posted: 19 December 2012 11:19 AM   [ Ignore ]
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I just got the Jan/Feb issue of Skeptical Inquirer.  The cover article was “It’s the End of the World, And They Don’t Feel Fine”, by Matthew J. Sharps, Schuyler W. Liao, and Megan R. Herrera.  Now I’m going to go out on a limb here and say that apart from the introductory section (where I thought they unfairly dissed the Oracle at Delphi by the way), this article went right over my head!  The authors use a lot of jargon…  “dissociative tendencies”, “feature-intensive processing”, “gestalt Processing”, “cognitive incoherence”... without really explaining what these things mean.

I gather that this is the basic point:  “In this study, we have seen that dissociative tendencies at a subclinial level and in the general population incline people to cognitive incoherency; the dissociated believe in prophecies of the apocalypse even when they do not believe in the apocalypse itself.”  But I couldn’t explain to you how they arrived at this conclusion, or even what it means!  And this is not the first time I’ve read an article like this in SI.  You guys are going to HAVE to stop writing articles as if you expect everybody to have a doctorate in psychology!

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Posted: 19 December 2012 12:04 PM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 1 ]
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I like that “cognitive incoherence”

Is it possible to be incoherently cognitive?  Sounds like an oxymoron.

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Posted: 19 December 2012 01:40 PM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 2 ]
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Ok, who’s going to be the first among us to post that the World didn’t end on Friday? BTW, does anyone know the exact time when we bend over and kiss our asses goodbye? Is it 12:00PM or 12:00AM? Wasn’t there a discussion about this in another post? Did the Mayans actually know the exact minute that the clock would reset in sidereal time? Will we all be destroyed via GMT or where the calendar was first recorded? Will Australia be the last to go? Boy, this end of the World stuff is confusing.

 

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Posted: 19 December 2012 03:44 PM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 3 ]
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Thevillageatheist - 19 December 2012 01:40 PM

Is it 12:00PM or 12:00AM?

It can’t be Post or Ante Meridian when you are on the meridian.

Maybe only people with Mayan ancestry will die off.

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Posted: 19 December 2012 05:49 PM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 4 ]
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Advocatus, you have an excellent point.  You should send a letter to the editor listing those terms and requesting that they add a box to such articles defining all of these techno-babble terms for those of us who are not specialists in that particular field.

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Posted: 19 December 2012 07:38 PM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 5 ]
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It can’t be Post or Ante Meridian when you are on the meridian.

Maybe only people with Mayan ancestry will die off.


Yeah, but what if you straddle it? And you can BTW; there’s a brass line indicating the prime meridian so you can actually be ante and post at the same time.


http://www.rmg.co.uk/visit/scenic-attractions/meridian-line/


I know the Mayans are super pissed at the media attention paid to their sacred calendar and they know full well that it just resets itself for a new cycle. Now what to do with that pesky rogue planet speeding it’s way to collide with us, or was it a binary star that appears every 25 million years? Anyway you spin it, we’re screwed Friday at some time Am or PM or sometime in the near future when the ice giants bring about the Gotterdomerung or jebus finally shows up with his angel buddies and throws all us nonbelievers in a hole with his arch enemy Beelzebub.

 

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Posted: 20 December 2012 02:05 AM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 6 ]
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Face it everyone, the World will end tommorrow! But tommorrow, the definition of “tommorrow” will be confirmed as to be defined as a day lasting to many, many indeterminate hours for which the many Earth days will pass.

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Posted: 20 December 2012 11:10 AM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 7 ]
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Actually in parts of the world, like Sydney AUS it’s already tomorrow. But we’re still here? Did the mayans predict a “rolling” end of the world?

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Posted: 20 December 2012 11:17 AM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 8 ]
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advocatus - 19 December 2012 11:19 AM

I just got the Jan/Feb issue of Skeptical Inquirer.  The cover article was “It’s the End of the World, And They Don’t Feel Fine”, by Matthew J. Sharps, Schuyler W. Liao, and Megan R. Herrera.  Now I’m going to go out on a limb here and say that apart from the introductory section (where I thought they unfairly dissed the Oracle at Delphi by the way), this article went right over my head!  The authors use a lot of jargon…  “dissociative tendencies”, “feature-intensive processing”, “gestalt Processing”, “cognitive incoherence”... without really explaining what these things mean.

I gather that this is the basic point:  “In this study, we have seen that dissociative tendencies at a subclinial level and in the general population incline people to cognitive incoherency; the dissociated believe in prophecies of the apocalypse even when they do not believe in the apocalypse itself.”  But I couldn’t explain to you how they arrived at this conclusion, or even what it means!  And this is not the first time I’ve read an article like this in SI.  You guys are going to HAVE to stop writing articles as if you expect everybody to have a doctorate in psychology!

That’s a very good point.  I sometimes think these groups are so smart and yet so stupid.  If they’re mission is to convert or at least give people guidance as to another way to look at the world, they fail miserably.  Conservative groups on the other hand are brilliant. THey know their target audience and play to them perfectly.

I remember a few years ago the American Humanist Assoc. came out with an updated statement of their beliefs.  They named it just like the previous ones: Humanist Manifesto 3.  Oh come on, what’s the first thing that brings to mind? The Communist Manifesto.  What nitwits.

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Posted: 20 December 2012 11:28 AM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 9 ]
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CuthbertJ - 20 December 2012 11:10 AM

Actually in parts of the world, like Sydney AUS it’s already tomorrow. But we’re still here? Did the mayans predict a “rolling” end of the world?

Maybe it is based on Yucatan Time.

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Posted: 20 December 2012 01:17 PM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 10 ]
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23984404.jpg

[ Edited: 20 December 2012 11:37 PM by VIDEODROME ]
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Posted: 21 December 2012 08:27 AM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 11 ]
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The Mayas were right. It’s getting dark outside where I live. Right this very minute. And I heard on the news that Moscow is already totally engulfed in darkness. God help us all!

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Posted: 21 December 2012 09:33 AM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 12 ]
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Reading the article over a few times, I gather the gist of it is that, even if we don’t believe a specific prophecy (about Nibiru doing a big slam dunk through our solar system, for example), we are pre-disposed to believe in prophecy in general.  Well duh!  You don’t need a PhD to figure that out!  Prophecies of one kind or another are standard plot device in all our fiction!  It makes a better story!  Macbeth can only be defeated when Birnam Wood comes to Dunstinane!  Moreover no man of woman born can do the trick!  Gosh!  How boring would it be if some footsoldier quietly slips a dagger in his back in Act III?

The problem isn’t “cognitive incoherence”, it’s the simple fact that in general we have a hard time separating fiction from reality.  Ben Radford will tell you even “documentary” producers have trouble with that.  http://www.centerforinquiry.net/blogs/entry/a_skeptics_brief_conversation_with_a_tv_producer/#When:16:47Z
And in this day and age, with 5000 satellite channels competing for viewers, the problem is only going to get worse, because people would much rather see a comforting fiction than reality.  :(

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Posted: 22 December 2012 08:37 AM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 13 ]
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According to the article I mentioned, only about 9% of the college students they polled really believed something was going to happen on Dec. 21st.  I have to admit I was relieved to hear about all the “end of the world” parties people were throwing last night.  Even the Mike Harvey radio program I was listening to got in on the act.  They were playing disaster records all evening, ranging from Zager and Evans’ “In the Year 2525” to Jimmy Buffett’s “Volcano”!

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Posted: 23 December 2012 11:05 AM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 14 ]
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If one is on the equator, how does the water go down? 

I was so excited about my kids flying to Tahiti that I missed the end of the world.  I have not had an email that they arrived.  Everyone in the family is on that trip.  I was in the middle of planning a trip of my own and never gave the Mayan end of times a thought.  My kids travel too often for a simple trip to Tahiti to mean much.  I chose not to go as that group who has my genes do not enjoy the quiet and peace found on any island in any ocean. 

I’m the emergency phone if anyone needs help and the animals that belong to this group are under good care with me having the emergency information.  It is normally my heading to a trip with my daughter in charge of my critters.  There is an advantage to age. 

I have a conference coming up and will diet enough so that I can fit into a lovely and expensive lilac silk suit.  I wore it once and then had another hip replacement which leaves swelling in the area of the surgery.  I will take notes and review the speakers who are scheduled.  I asked Doug if I should hand out anything from CFI.  Apparently there no plan to do this.

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Posted: 23 December 2012 07:45 PM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 15 ]
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If you notice how water drains, although it often forms a whirlpool, it also often just goes down without swirling.  I’m fairly certain that’s what would happen at the equator.  However, if you start it swirling in either direction it’ll continue going that way, in spite of being in the “wrong” hemisphere.  smile

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