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A New Approach to Skepticism or How the Conspiracy of Aggressive Debunkers Destroys Legitimate Progr

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posted on Jul, 5 2009 @ 10:21 PM
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This is going to take some focus on your part, but please keep up and I will try to keep my ideas as understandable as possible.

Genuine skeptics NEED to change their approach, for everyone's benefit.

Let me explain...

It is proven that people are hard wired to agree with their side in politics, more so in fact when their side is under attack.


The investigators used functional neuroimaging (fMRI) to study a sample of committed Democrats and Republicans during the three months prior to the U.S. Presidential election of 2004. The Democrats and Republicans were given a reasoning task in which they had to evaluate threatening information about their own candidate. During the task, the subjects underwent fMRI to see what parts of their brain were active. What the researchers found was striking.

"We did not see any increased activation of the parts of the brain normally engaged during reasoning," says Drew Westen, director of clinical psychology at Emory who led the study...


Once partisans had come to completely biased conclusions -- essentially finding ways to ignore information that could not be rationally discounted -- not only did circuits that mediate negative emotions like sadness and disgust turn off, but subjects got a blast of activation in circuits involved in reward -- similar to what addicts receive when they get their fix, Westen explains.

"None of the circuits involved in conscious reasoning were particularly engaged," says Westen. "Essentially, it appears as if partisans twirl the cognitive kaleidoscope until they get the conclusions they want, and then they get massively reinforced for it, with the elimination of negative emotional states and activation of positive ones..."

Addicts of partisanship need treatments that will prevent them from getting high from defending their tribes...

Political parties harness neural wiring that was probably selected for to encourage tribal solidarity and mutual defense of the tribe. Today it motivates people to defend positions and actions taken by the leaders of their political faction. The human mind was not selected for by evolution to be a perfect reasoning machine.

I feel sorry for the partisans. They are basically drug addicts. But I have greater sympathy for the rest of us who suffer from their actions just as we suffer from the actions of drug addicts.


www.futurepundit.com...

www.eurekalert.org...

This article applies to politics, but I would argue that it could be applied to anything in which the subject "identifies" with a group: sports teams, religion (or lack of), ufos, conspiracies, Sony Playstation, Microsoft XBOX, Apple Mac, Microsoft Windows, Opie and Anthony, Howard Stern, Movies, etc.

In essence, if someone attacks your "tribe", you get an emotional reward by reasoning(perhaps irrationally so) your way out of agreeing with the attack.

So, we have scientific phenomenon that occurs in humans, documented and confirmed at the Emory Department of Psychiatry and Behavioral Sciences at Emory University, and there could be countless other classified studies that have been conducted on the subject.

So why wouldn't this be exploited by those who would wish us to remain ignorant of what could be very important subjects? Aggressively debunking theories which are incorrect would cause those that want to believe to believe even more so, despite evidence presented. This would also create the perception of these people being "lunies" and therefore keep other people away from any alternative theories.

So I'm going to ask the skeptics to alter their approach.

Here's an example of a good skeptic. Necati provides evidence in the form of video analysis and shows how the materials could be duplicated with computer effects.
www.abovetopsecret.com...

Here's an example of both types of skeptics within the same short thread. It's easy to pick out the difference.
www.abovetopsecret.com...

The bottom line is that if a skeptic's true goal is to achieve an understanding of what they believe is the truth, then it must be done with a fair degree of politeness and evidence. In this way in entices the believer to be on "the good guys" team. An attack of the beliefs(no matter how inane) of someone can only serve to strengthen their adherence to said beliefs.

If a skeptic is being a labeled debunker than he/she isn't doing the job correctly. For example, Byrd does not debunk, Byrd informs.




posted on Jul, 5 2009 @ 10:36 PM
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"In essence, if someone attacks your "tribe", you get an emotional reward by reasoning(perhaps irrationally so) your way out of agreeing with the attack.
The bottom line is that if a skeptic's true goal is to achieve an understanding of what they believe is the truth, then it must be done with a fair degree of politeness and evidence. In this way in entices the believer to be on "the good guys" team. An attack of the beliefs(no matter how inane) of someone can only serve to strengthen their adherence to said beliefs."

isnt telling skeptics they need to change an attack on their tribe, and wouldnt that make them adhere to their beliefs more?

i amlost get the sense that skeptics have threatened your tribe and this is your way reasoning out of agreeing with them.



[edit on 5-7-2009 by ELECTRICkoolaidZOMBIEtest]



posted on Jul, 5 2009 @ 10:53 PM
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Originally posted by Sunsetspawn
"Essentially, it appears as if partisans twirl the cognitive kaleidoscope until they get the conclusions they want, and then they get massively reinforced for it, with the elimination of negative emotional states and activation of positive ones..."

......

This article applies to politics, but I would argue that it could be applied to anything in which the subject "identifies" with a group
In essence, if someone attacks your "tribe", you get an emotional reward by reasoning(perhaps irrationally so) your way out of agreeing with the attack.


Wow, I almost totally agree with you and the statements... I'd just like to see more study to back it up, it's easy to "prove" something with one, two or three studies etc, but I want to see some hard "proof" and study of this. Did I mention I totally agree with this?

Makes total sense to me, certainly from an evolutionary point of view, how we try to assert the "corectness" of our surroundings (mental, physical etc), from whatever partisan viewpoint we come from.

Shucks, are we a little closer to understanding our "humanity"???

S+F (X2 if I could).



posted on Jul, 5 2009 @ 11:48 PM
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This is a great topic - excellent thoughts to bring to ATS. Well done OP - S&F


It doesn't matter which side of an issue people are on - the common denominator in this type of reinforcement - is belief.

Without belief - there is nothing to reinforce - if one simply holds that nothing is true, and forms no beliefs, then their mind is truly open to all information and this kind of biased response doesn't happen.

I have posted many times regarding the destructive nature of belief - I hope at some stage people can appreciate the reasons why I consider it so important to throw away the entire mental process of truth and belief.

I think a far better way is to approach all things from a position of complete doubt - even the most 'obvious' things, and especially those things we have great personal experience with.

In that way we do not make the common mistakes of discarding data by calling it false, or alter the data through bias to make it fit our models.

Less belief on all sides please - more accepting of all evidence as knowledge from which we can derive understanding - no evidence should be considered either true or false.

The meanings we derive from the knowledge should always be open for debate.



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