Modern belief in nonsense?

Discussion in 'Science & Society' started by Dinosaur, Oct 5, 2016.

  1. Dinosaur Rational Skeptic Valued Senior Member

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    It amazes me that there seems to be significant numbers of people who believe in astrology, fortune tellers, seances, channeling, & other supernatural nonsense. Practitioners of such nonsense make a living off of the gullible.

    This is not the medieval era. It is not even the era from 1600 to the mid-1800's & there are none left alive from those eras. It is a technological era with airplanes, computers, et cetera.

    What drives belief in such nonsense?

    I suppose that Asimov was correct when he said (half in jest)
     
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  3. billvon Valued Senior Member

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    Keep in mind that a lot of people live in ignorance. To such people, UFO's, ghosts and astrology provide easy to understand (and exciting) explanations for things that have more mundane scientific explanations.
     
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  5. paddoboy Valued Senior Member

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    Ignorance? Gullibility? just the need for sensationalism and notoriety?
     
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  7. wegs Matter & Pixie Dust Valued Senior Member

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    The fear of the unknown is usually a driving factor that motivates why people seek out fortune tellers, psychics, etc. Fear can make people do crazy things.
     
  8. DaveC426913 Valued Senior Member

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    I feel the opposite to wegs.
    What drives it is complacency.

    In a modern western world, where we are (relatively) free from starvation and disease, there's no real downside to believing in whatever you want.

    The content of TV shows tracks the pulse of the people. When they are feeling content, shows get edgy and dark; when they are feeling nervous, shows retreat to feel-good shows.

    I'll never forget the chapter in Fahrenheit 451 when Guy Montag, who was undergoing a crisis, saw his wife watching her "Stories" on the 3D TV. She cried and wailed at the plights of the characters, and it disgusted Guy.

    The reason she was so into the shows was because she could be. She was content with her life.
     
  9. kx000 Valued Senior Member

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    Belief creates theories. It may be un-knowing but you might believe in destiny. Belief is hedonistic reason for life.
     
    Last edited: Oct 6, 2016
  10. Russ_Watters Not a Trump supporter... Valued Senior Member

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    If he said that, he's wrong. Belief in nonsense decreases over time, as science fills in the voids previously filled with that nonsense (mysticism/superstition). A good book read is "The Demon Haunted World", by Sagan. That's the thesis of the book.
     
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  11. Jeeves Valued Senior Member

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    Mass entertainment. And religion. An invincible team.
    Once it's established that intelligent, serious, responsible men pray regularly to an invisible entity most famous for snuffing his kid to ransom a bunch of savages from himself, after he himself had condemned them for being what he created them to be.... Compared to such serious men making laws, having the power of life and death, running whole countries... Touched by and Angel is benign. And if that's okay, so is The Ghost Whisperer. And if you're okay with that, "reality" shows about poltergeists or alien abductions are a natural. I mean, the basis of organized religion is so ridiculous, and the power of organized of religion is so widespread, how can any superstition surprise you?

    If we wanted to delve more deeply into modern superstition, we might find that the optimistic expectations of science, in the early 20th century, have let the majority of people down. They didn't get the benefits. Sure, there are more gadgets, but the gadgets are expensive and money keeps getting harder to come by, not easier. Sure, there are breakthroughs in health, but not everyone benefits from that, either. Life didn't get cleaner, safer and more equitable. The lower classes still have to struggle. So they look for magical escapes: prayer, the stars and the lottery.
     
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  12. sweetpea Registered Senior Member

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    Some goods points in above posts. Another reason, sorry if anyone has implied this already...
    It' may be because it's easy to become an 'expert' in those sort of things. And that 'expert' gets attention.
     
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  13. Magical Realist Valued Senior Member

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    Why do people believe in science? Because it gives them a sense of security---that everything is well understood and orderly and predictable. But life is far from predictable. It's full of mystery and surprises and transcendental anomalies. Believing in science grants us the illusion that the unknown and unknowable no longer exist. It's a crutch for the weak minded in an uncertain world. It's the faith that if everything were known about any event or phenomenon it would always make perfect sense. That it would all line up against the template of our human-centered reasoning. That is as unlikely as an ant understanding the jungle it finds itself surrounded by.
     
    Last edited: Oct 6, 2016
  14. spidergoat Trump rejects intelligence Valued Senior Member

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    You don't even know what science is. People believe in it's methods because they work. It often reveals new dangers and mysteries.
     
  15. Magical Realist Valued Senior Member

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    I myself believe in science, but it only explains so much of reality. I also believe in history, literature, art, culture, mathematics and philosophy. I just don't elevate science to some ultimate epistemological method or revelation. It's a tool for formulating a specific level of description. A narrative that gives our lives meaning. Alongside of many other narratives..
     
    Last edited: Oct 6, 2016
  16. spidergoat Trump rejects intelligence Valued Senior Member

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    What other philosophical endeavor has provided a greater understanding of the world?
     
  17. paddoboy Valued Senior Member

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    Nonsense: Science is simply a general orginized body of knowledge and a process based on common sense: Science in general and the gathering of knowledge, helps us develop new technologies in a vast array of fields.
    In essence, science is simply the categorization of common sense and knowledge, and the discarding of mythical beliefs and customs, which in itself maybe what certain people are afraid of.
    Science is a discipline in continued progress and most certainly has not reached the summit of all knowledge. What it is doing, to the annoyance and angst of some, is as I suggested above: Debunking, and invalidating mythical, paranormal and supernatural beliefs, and instead opening up the door and shining a light on more reasonable and logical outcomes, based on evidence of experimentation and observation.
    That is simply more unmitigated nonsense, probably driven by the facts I have listed above. Science opens up the door to what is unknown, and through logic and the scientific method, makes what is unknown, knowable.
    Again, science has never professed to knowing it all: That is just a fairy tale fabricated by the adherents of the mythical beliefs I spoke of, and that science has assigned to the garbage bin.
    In saying that the Universe is a weird and wonderful place, science has continually revealed our place in it, and at the same time revealed even more unknown quantity to be researched and in time conquered.

    Without science and the application of the scientific method, we would still be swinging in the trees, on a flat Earth centered Universe, paying homage and adoration to all manner of unknown objects.
     
  18. Magical Realist Valued Senior Member

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    Philosophy itself provides greater understanding of the world. The use of logic and generalization and theorizing, which science coopted from it and uses to it's own benefit. The study of ethics and values, deepening man's self-worth and spiritual fulfillment. Philosophy is the application of reason to human experience in all it's variations and manifestations.
     
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  19. paddoboy Valued Senior Member

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    Without science and the application of the scientific method, we would still be swinging in the trees, on a flat Earth centered Universe, paying homage and adoration to all manner of unknown objects.
     
  20. Magical Realist Valued Senior Member

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    "The discovery that the Earth is round is most commonly ascribed to the ancient Greek philosopher Pythagoras, while the credit for proving it is usually given to Aristotle. It appears that most ancient Greek philosophers that followed him believed in a round Earth."---https://www.reference.com/science/discovered-earth-round-f017886abcb31897
     
  21. paddoboy Valued Senior Member

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    Bingo! And they used the scientific method to reach that conclusion.
    The same way other greats in the following years showed we did not live in a geocentric system, that the Sun was simply another star, and that other stars were simply Sun like: To contemplate a world where science and the scientific method did not exist, would be to contemplate a world, living as other lower class animals live in.
    But as I suggested, the greatest advances in early science, was to banish the need for mythical, supernatural nonsense to the garbage bin.
     
  22. Magical Realist Valued Senior Member

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    "Muslim scholars, between the 10th and 14th centuries, were the prime movers behind the development of the scientific method.

    They were the first to use experiment and observation as the basis of science, and many historians regard science as starting during this period.

    Amongst the array of great scholars, al-Haytham is regarded as the architect of the scientific method."----https://explorable.com/who-invented-the-scientific-method
     
  23. paddoboy Valued Senior Member

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    "Intelligent" humans used the basic scientific method before they even new about science and what the scientific method was.
    Science is both a body of knowledge gained through observation and experiment, and the most beneficial processes as evidenced.
     

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