Ever hear someone argue a point that was effective, even though it didn’t quite ring true? Chances are they used a logical fallacy.
Each video is only about 3 minutes long. Enjoy
Three great websites run by Brian Dunning (in the videos above) that all skeptical thinkers ought to have bookmarked:
Mason I. Bilderberg (MIB)
by Steven Novella via NeuroLogica Blog
We all do it. In fact, we are generally very good at it. Smart and educated people are better at it.
Rationalizing is a daily practice, part of the “default mode” of human thinking. We make up reasons to justify believing what we want to believe. Often we are only dimly aware of why we want to believe something, the calculus largely occurring in the subconscious depths of our brains.
We defend beliefs because they are pleasing to our egos, because they minimize cognitive dissonance, and just because they are our beliefs. They resonate with our world-view, our internal model of reality.
We have at our disposal a long list of logical fallacies that we can marshal to the defense of our beliefs. Notions that are based on solid evidence and logic do not require such vigorous defense. Those beliefs that cannot be defended by logic and evidence require that bad logic and bad data be invoked to defend them. Luckily we have no problem distorting and cherry picking facts and twisting logic into pretzels.
One very common bit of bad logic is called special pleading. I think it is common because it is so insidious – it creeps up on us unaware. Special pleading is the process of inventing a special reason to explain away inconvenient evidence or the lack of predicted evidence.
Take, for example, ESP research.
Keep reading: NeuroLogica Blog » ESP Special Pleading.
- Anomaly Hunting (illuminutti.com)
- Mood Photography (illuminutti.com)
This is the next installment in series of articles being written by a fellow blogger. His name is Muertos and he’s one of the best thinkers in the blogging world.
Mason I. Bilderberg
This is the second installment in a series of articles entitled “Confessions of a Disinformation Agent.” For the introduction and Chapter I, go here.
On the morning of September 11, 2001, I got up very early, five o’clock. I was working on a novel, and, as I was usually too tired to write when I got home, I started doing it in the early mornings before going to work. At this time I lived alone in apartment in the central city. I got up, showered, and spent about a half hour writing. At 6:45 AM—Pacific time—as I was making breakfast my phone rang. Instantly I knew it was bad news. No one ever calls at 6:45 AM with good news. I picked up. It was a friend of mine. (Not the same one who almost caught TWA 800). “Have you seen the news?” he said. I said no. He replied, “Someone tried to kill the President!” That was how it was reported to me. Oh, and there was the small detail of the World Trade Centers on fire after planes having been crashed into them.
I switched on the TV. This was about 9:45 AM, after both towers had been struck, but just before the first of them collapsed. Like almost everyone else in America, I watched in rapt horror. I’ll never forget seeing the first of the towers collapse into a cloud of dust. I also remember seeing the little black specks of people jumping from the towers before they fell. That’s one of the most horrifying sights I’ve ever seen—even on TV—and one that will stick with me forever. Mind you, I watched the 1986 Challenger explosion live, and I also witnessed the infamous Bud Dwyer suicide as it happened. Neither of those horrible events could touch September 11.
Continue Reading: Confessions of a Disinformation Agent, Chapter II: From 9/11 to MySpace. | Muertos’s Blog.
“Communion” at 25: Whitley Strieber’s Alien Claims Re-examined
The following three part series is courtesy of Muertos, owner and operator of Thrive Debunked – a blog dedicated to fact checking errors and false statements contained in the conspiracy theory documentary “Thrive“.
||Today, the concept of “alien abduction” is now a cultural meme. Virtually everyone in the Western world, and probably a good chunk of the non-Western world, is familiar with the paradigm: the belief that extraterrestrials visit the Earth, occasionally kidnap unsuspecting persons, subject them to weird experiments (usually involving an anal probe or some other humiliating procedure) and set them loose again. Alien abduction is now mainstream enough to be mentioned on comedy shows like South Park and Mad TV and gag lines in blockbuster movies like Independence Day. It’s one of those fringe topics that arouses intense, but usually temporary, curiosity.
||Continue Reading Part 1
||In part 1 (above), I wrote about the book Communion by Whitley Strieber, which so far as I know remains to date the best-selling book ever written on UFOs or related subjects. Strieber’s central claim was that he was abducted and sexually assaulted by nonhuman beings, which he calls “visitors,” on December 26, 1985 (a quarter century ago this week) and that after this experience he realized he’d been interacting with the “visitors” for most of his life. In this blog I continue the discussion of Strieber and his claims, focusing on his sequels, Transformation (1988) and Breakthrough (1995), as well as the film of Communion made in 1989.
||Continue Reading Part 2
||In the two previous blogs in this series (Part I (above), Part II (above)) I examined Communion and Transformation, the books written by horror author Whitley Strieber in which he claimed that he has been abducted by aliens repeatedly for most of his life. Communion came out in 1987 and began with the claim that Strieber was abducted from his New York cabin on December 26, 1985, which was 25 years ago this week. From there his claims evolved to include the following: (i) the beings that abducted him, which he initially declined to state were objectively real, actually are physical reality; (ii) that these “visitors” are conducting a large-scale program of “contact” with the human race; (iii) that the point of this “contact” is to transform human consciousness and get us to pay attention to spiritual matters; and (iv) that there are a number of weird side effects of “contact,” such as the ability to have out of body experiences (OBEs).
||Continue Reading Part 3