Tag Archives: Truth

Influence: The Psychology of Persuasion

Sometimes I’m tempted to upgrade to YouTube Red so I don’t have to watch all the ads, but then an ad comes along that changes my life. Well, almost.

Yesterday, a video that I can’t even remember was preceded by an ad I’ll never forget. Maybe you’ve seen it, too. It opened with a scruffy-looking man in his back yard saying, “Yeah, so this is my back yard…” except this wasn’t just any back yard. It was mostly a gigantic swimming pool, sited behind a luxurious home in Beverly Hills. The next five and a half minutes consisted of the scruffy man, Tai Lopez, nonchalantly taking me on a tour of his uber-house while promising to reveal the Three Secrets of Success.

He was disarmingly casual, not even sure how many bedrooms the house had (18, or was that the number of bathrooms?), nor which of his many cars were in this particular property’s garage at the moment (they turned out to be the Ferrari and the “Lambo”).

I admit that I watched the whole thing. Even after all these years of knowing that wealth can’t buy happiness, I still wish I were rich. Call me irrational.

Continue reading

More from Frankfurt’s “On Bullshit”

Here’s more from Harry Frankfurt’s essay, On Bullshit.

The contemporary proliferation of bullshit also has deeper sources, in various forms of skepticism which deny that we can have any reliable access to an objective reality and which therefore reject the possibility of knowing how things truly are. These “anti-realist” doctrines undermine confidence in the value of disinterested efforts to determine what is true and what is false, and even in the intelligibility of the notion of objective inquiry.

The young-Earth creationist does believe in objective reality. In that sense, he is not an “anti-realist.” However, he most certainly does not support “disinterested efforts to determine what is true and false.”

Continue reading

“On Bullshit” and Creationism

This is a post I did not want to write. First of all, it requires me to speculate on what’s in other people’s heads, which I don’t like to do. Second, it requires me to use a mild cuss word, which makes me uncomfortable even in print. I’m posting anyway because on the first count there comes a time where you just have to say that a waddling, quacking, duck-like animal is, in fact, a duck; and on the second count the word “bullshit” happens to have no adequate synonym.

What is bullshit, and how does it differ from an ordinary lie? Princeton philosopher Harry Frankfurt gave a good answer in his famous essay, On Bullshit.

The bullshitter may not deceive us, or even intend to do so, either about the facts or about what he takes the facts to be. What he does necessarily attempt to deceive us about is his enterprise. His only indispensably distinctive characteristic is that in a certain way he misrepresents what he is up to.

Continue reading

The Christian Echo Chamber

In the last post, I accused creationists of being “dishonest” in the way they handle scientific evidence. That’s a serious charge, but “dishonest” is actually a fairly tame word considering the hellishness of the theology that, as they emphasize, has strict creationism at its foundation.

Yet at the everyday level, the creationists I have known are decent people. In fact, they think it’s important to proclaim truth regardless of the ridicule they may suffer in response. What could be more noble than that?

What accounts for the discrepancy between their wish to pursue truth and the epic fail of the outcome?

Continue reading

A Truth-Loving Test for Amateur Scientists

Last time, we saw how we can miss the truth when we think we know what’s in other people’s heads — when we play Amateur Psychologist. Not to pick on David Sereda, but in the same video he also serves as a foil for this post’s Truth-Loving Test for Amateur Scientists:

A truth-loving amateur scientist has a keen nose for baloney from other amateur scientists.

If you’re just joining the discussion, it’s about the video below that “proves” UFOs were out in space with the shuttle Columbia.

Continue reading

A Truth-Loving Test for Amateur Psychologists

In the last post, we saw a tape from NASA that proved UFOs were out in space along with the space shuttle Columbia. Proved, that is, until that interpretation of the tape was easily debunked.

Sue Houston left a comment on that post that is a perfect segue to what I wanted to share today:

…clearly the space guys [from NASA] are not excited by these objects. They know what they are, as they are familiar with the optics of the situation. That should have been reason enough for “true believers” to take pause.

As we will see, one person’s lack of excitement is another person’s stunned silence.

Continue reading

A UFO Nut’s Truth-Loving Tests

We UFO nuts are always looking for evidence that will finally convince everyone that we are being visited by extraterrestrials. (It seems thousands of eyewitness accounts are not enough. Sheesh!)

Well, how about a movie from NASA that clearly shows a swarm of UFOs clustering around something we put in space? And how about if some of those UFOs could be proven to be at least a mile wide? That ought to do it!

So imagine how intrigued I was when I saw the video below.

Continue reading