Friday, September 11, 2009

Woo Enthymemes #5: "My Experience is Reliable"

Welcome to another edition of Woo Enthymemes.

This entry is often at the core of just about any anti-science viewpoint. It's true that our perception of the universe is based on experience, whether it was personal or by someone else who documented it. One big thing that separates a skeptic from a woo is that the skeptic knows his senses and memory are not all that reliable. Skeptics know that we're subject to confirmation bias, selection effects, apophenia, and so forth. We are mere mortals.

Some woos might have an awareness of their flawed nature, but they seldom put serious effort or thought into counteracting those flaws. Skeptics, on the other hand, practice the scientific method: Control for alternate explanations. Record both successes and failures. Look for others who have or will replicate the event or experiment. Double check everything. It's still not perfect, but with all these sorts of checks working together, the odds of being wrong diminish.

The closest I can recall woos ever coming to this is the appeal to popularity, which is only the countermeasure of multiple people doing the same thing. Those others, however, seldom do anything to rule out alternative causes for the results or check against all our various cognitive biases. In short, without going through all the hoops of the scientific method, you're being sloppy and opening yourself up to simply confirm your biases.

That's why I want to hear about experimental protocols and statistical analysis of the results instead of just another ghost anecdote.

42 comments:

Jason said...

Since I ‘became a skeptic’ I’ve noticed that taking a scientific approach presents some short-term setbacks in some pursuits. Someone once said, “With knowledge comes doubt,” (or something similar) and whilst I see this as a good thing for the scientific method and a great thing when applied to religion, it has seriously hurt my pool game.

I play 8-ball pool which has a huge mental component, especially at the higher levels of competition. Since I’ve embraced science and scepticism, I’m no longer able to reach into my bag of superstitions (like wearing my lucky pool shirt) and pull out the artificial confidence I used to enjoy. Not that I was a big rabbit’s foot owner or anything, but it was nice to ‘believe’ in the outcome of the games before they were played.

Similarly, because I’ve taken an interest in the league statistics, I am well aware of the capabilities of my individual opponents and the likely outcome of my performance over time. I’m playing in our league’s top division for the first time this season and whilst I’m doing OK, I’m often outclassed and I feel like I could use the confidence boost that I used to get from believing in the fallibility of everyone but myself.

Skepticism has even had an effect down to my level of understanding the game being played out on the table. I’ve been playing long enough now that I know when my opponent has left me in a tight spot, or when I have a low-percentage potting opportunity. I used to wear my ignorance of the position on the table and my misplaced self confidence as a protection against the doubt that would only serve to lessen an already slim chance of a win. Now I am fully aware when I’m in a poor position and also aware of how unlikely a comeback is at that point. The reverse DK effect? “Competent and aware of my own limitations,” perhaps not such a good thing in an intense competitive environment.

Now, I’m not about to abandon logic and science in favour of a slide back into superstition and ignorance, and I’m sure I’ll nut it all out somehow using logic and patience, but I am wondering if anyone else has noticed undesired effects from their skepticism.

Dark Jaguar said...

Mostly social.

However when it comes to competitive games, my mindset is pretty simple: even in the worst possible situation where I know pretty reasonably that I am likely to lose, and expect as much, I take joy in playing a game of simply narrowing the odds as much as I can and accepting whatever happens. Playing a losing game can be fun too, if your goal is to just make it as hard for them as possible. NEVER GIVE UP! NOT EVER!

Mind you I don't get into Smash Bros. tournaments so I can't quite relate to that. I just try to have fun and do my best even past the point where I figure I'm going to lose.

Jacqueline said...

"Now, I’m not about to abandon logic and science in favour of a slide back into superstition and ignorance, and I’m sure I’ll nut it all out somehow using logic and patience, but I am wondering if anyone else has noticed undesired effects from their skepticism."

Yes. I regularly wet my pants laughing at creationists and woo merchants.


JS;)

Ian Pulsford said...

One undesirable side-effect I've suffered is a large amount of lost time mocking and arguing with David Icke wackos and creationists on Youtube.

Valhar2000 said...

I'm afraid I'll sprain an eye one of these days from rolling them so much.

Seriously, though, sometimes it seems to me that I could make friends more easily if I accepted some forms of woo, rather than recoiling in horror from people who could buy such bullshit.

Then again, I can't actually choose my beliefs*, so the point is moot, and reality is much more interesting.

* I always wonder how the hell that works; choosing your beliefs?

Anonymous said...

One way to question your 'senses' and experiences is to go out there, in the 'real world' and, erh, experience it.

Then you can speak to others in that world to confirm your experiences and chek of what was delusions and dreams. For example, if you visit Paris and want to confirm that the Eiffel Tower (designed by r Gustave Eiffel) really exist, you can go to it, look at it, see it, 'smell it' and join others and have an exchange with them to see what differs in your experiences. And then walk away with a real experience of it.

Others, such as people here it seems, have never been to Paris, never seen the Eiffel Tower and the only knowlegle about it they have is hearsay and Wikipedia, that is 'real' for them.

That is not the real world, that is a fictional world that needs confirmation if you truly want to conform to reality and science. Like me, I want confrimation of my beliefs, so I go and see it, experience it and Confirm my Reality. The people here, such as Bronze Dog, do not want to do that, he wants to live in his 'man cave' "experienceing" the world through his computer, rather sad really. Then he becomes defensive when an outsider of his blog realm points out that the real world is slightly different.

Of course, you can get a correct definition of the world, such as the Eiffel Tower, by using Wikipedia (you guys 'truth'), you get a good view of how it looks and where it is, and you can confirm by peoples confirmation of it, that is truly exist, but before you been there, you can not get the feeling of it, you can not stand there and understand what the 'truth' of the Eiffel Tower is, saddly enough. This does not remove the reality of it of course, But it would make you more inclined to Understanding the World.

Something you are against .Bronze himself have numerous times referred that Reality is not valid 'out here', but I nternet is the real world, Internet is the Eiffel Tower, and if it says its in London, it is, for Bronze, even if Gabe is Standing in Paris infront of it, thats the sad truth of it, You need to modify your indoctrinations, you need to Question what you been said, You need to Accept Truth.

The REAL world, here, outside, go out, stop playing WoW or Diablo, met people, TRAVEL and SEE the REAL WORLD, abd maybe you learn something.



*Interesting note is that two of the most popular tourist attractions in the world are French, The Eiffel Tower (which is number one it seems) and The Statue of Liberty, given to us by the French as a symbol of unity between our nations. Interesting thing that, Story and Reality, I know I know, reality isn't true, Wikipedia is. Sorry.

Gabe

Jacqueline said...

"The REAL world, here, outside, go out, stop playing WoW or Diablo, met people, TRAVEL and SEE the REAL WORLD, abd maybe you learn something."


Gabe, You've learnt nothing, if we are to believe that you've travelled the world. Bronze Dog wipes the floor with you when it comes to knowledge of science and many other subjects. Contrast that with your semi literate racist rantings.
You are a fucking loony Gabe, that thinks that there is a conspiracy by president Obama to give all of us "superior" white folks AIDS.
You need to get out into the REAL WORLD Gabe, because you're in a Nazi wankfest fantasy world at the moment.
Take some advice you mentally retarded buffoon and get some psychiatric help.


JS:)

djfav said...

Gabe, you are in desperate need of a better epistemology. If you don't know what that word means, I suggest you look it up. Perhaps on Wikipedia.

Bronze Dog said...

Did you even read the post, Gabe?

A mobile ivory tower is still an ivory tower. The central problem isn't quantity or variety of experience, it's QUALITY. By assuming your own objectivity (thus presuming you're above us mere mortals and the scientists we trust) and only looking to confirm your prejudices, you're lowering the quality of your experiences to those of a typical homeopath.

You should look at those Qualia Soup links I sent you in the other thread. You're the guy who jumps to the conclusion it's a ghost while we're using common sense to list other possible causes.

So, Gabe, why should we lower our standards to accept your conclusion?

If we do lower our standards, we'll have to lower them across the board and accept homeopathy, acupuncture, chiropractic, psychics, alien sightings, Bigfoot, yadda, yadda, yadda. Or do you expect us to practice a double standard for your sake?

Jason said...

"The REAL world, here, outside, go out, stop playing WoW or Diablo, met people, TRAVEL and SEE the REAL WORLD, abd maybe you learn something."

“Jesus, these kind of people don’t so much debate as heap their baggage on the table and gesture at it wildly” – (I forget who said this)

Who are you even talking to Gabe? How can you know how well travelled BD and his commenters are? Have you seen evidence of their lack of travels through firsthand experience, which you suddenly (and mistakenly) seem to believe is the only reliable source of knowledge?

For someone who is lecturing us on the importance of verifying the ‘truth’ of our experiences, you sure are making a lot of assumptions about these good people and their lifestyle choices. Do you even care that you are telling yourself a fictional story about the travel habits of others to make yourself feel superior, or do you only apply your (subjective) benchmark of truth and knowledge to others?

Personally I think you are just keen to move the goalposts of the argument that you have clearly lost on other threads and claim some small superiority over others by virtue of your supposed travels and superior ‘worldliness’. Guess what? It doesn’t make you appear as windswept and exotic as you might imagine. It makes you appear evasive and juvenile to be slinging around irrelevant and snide comments instead of engaging people honestly and directly *on the topic of the conversation.*

Now, if you’ll excuse me I’m going to either;

a) Go back to playing computer games, (or)
b) Go to the pub with some friends from work

I’ll leave it up to you to believe whichever one makes you feel better about yourself.

djfav said...

Oh, Gabe, I forgot to mention that I don't play WoW. Lately I've been playing the new Wolfenstein because I enjoy the simulated killing of fucking Nazi scum such as yourself.

Bronze Dog said...

A point made earlier that Gabe wussed away from: This isn't about your personal experience against ours.

This is about the reported, controlled, and repeated experiments of scientists (many of them "white") versus some cookie-cutter crank who claims some trait that makes his anecdotes immune to the cognitive biases all people have.

Science is about counteracting those. Your method seems to be denying their existence and hoping that we'll make a special exception just for you.

We don't need to travel to dismiss your anecdote anymore than we need to try homeopathic remedies to dismiss the anecdotes of someone who claims to see success healing power of diluted water.

Anonymous said...

To Start with, the troll continuing to insult me do not even know his basic history, The "Nazis" did not lose because of US, but because they attacked Russia.

America had very little to do with the Second War War in Europe, this is basic education, of course, you could have gone to public school I guess, 80% of the German "Nazi Army" (as you call them) fought Russia on the Eastern front, the last 20$ fought Britain, French Resistance, U.S and various other armies. WE did very little to win that War, not to mention that the German Army was the most advanced on the planet.

But if you want US to feel better about ourself for killing "them" go ahead, lie to yourself.

The V2 program was conducted and mainly run by GERMAN scientist, you know, Space? Yeah thats it, White Germans.. Gosh, Evil guys one second, good guys other, weird.


You should get some basic education, myself am sitting in the outskirts of the Amazone Rainforest, thats a big forest for you, in a ANOTHER country, yeah little boy, scary eh?

MWchase said...

... I'm going to try to be nice.

That was a wonderfully crafted non sequitur, Gabe, really beautiful. I love how that little mini-rant had nothing to do with what he said.

I also love how Germany formed years after the Industrial Revolution, adopted already-invented technology, and set about refining it.

New question: explain how Germany did not 'steal' technology from 'other whites' when it industrialized.

Jacqueline said...

"To Start with, the troll continuing to insult me do not even know his basic history, The "Nazis" did not lose because of US, but because they attacked Russia."



I never said that the Nazis lost due to any specific country. They lost due to their arrogant stupidity. They weren't "superior" at all, it was just the fantsy of some sad white men that had gotten their arses handed to them during the first world war.
You are sadder than they were if you identify with them.
By the way Gabe, I'm female.


"You should get some basic education, myself am sitting in the outskirts of the Amazone Rainforest, thats a big forest for you, in a ANOTHER country, yeah little boy, scary eh?"


Gabe you should learn to read and understand peoples' posts before you fire off your kneejerk rants.
I'm glad to see that you can at least google historical subjects. There is hope for you yet, if you start taking your meds that is!
Just to repeat this Gabe; I'm female okay. I know that you probably haven't had all that much interaction with any women, apart from your mom but do try to get your facts straight.
By the way gabe did I tell you that I'm on a boat doing the backwater run in Kerala, southern India. I'll be going back to my abode in Cheruthuthi later. If you want to pop over so that I can use you as target practice for my elephant gun please call me.
Love and kisses Jacqueline XXX

JS;)

Jacqueline said...

"That Is Reality, Dog. Welcome to it."
Now thats ironic.
The fact that you ascribe a huge boatload of complex events into a stupidly simplistic "white superiority" fantasy shows how little you know about reality.
The fact that you use the term "heil" shows that you think yourself a Nazi. And those Nazis were the biggest losers in history (not that you'd know any history you ignoramus). They got their asses handed to'em on a plate,and then some. Anyone who thinks they were ubermenschen is as sad and a bigger loser than they were. Gabe you wouldn't know what reality was if it rogered you with a baseball bat.
JS;)

9/16/2009 2:56 AM

You see Gabe. No mention of which forces defeated those sadly deluded white supremacist fascist Nazis.
I do believe you've created a straw man post in your imagination to criticise.
Maybe it was your "illness"?


JS;)
By the way Gabe I'm still female.

MWchase said...

I thought he was referring to djfav.

So, either he was calling someone named "Jacqueline" a boy, or his response to djfav was a non sequitur.

But, to reiterate my point, because I really want to see it addressed: Germany industrialized late, and adopted technology developed in other European countries. Explain why that is not, in your words, 'stealing'.

Jacqueline said...

what might please Gabe is that when it came to woo the Nazis were original. Hans horbiger and his kooky World Ice Theory was complete Aryan bullshit. So those dumb as bricks nazis accepted it in opposition to Einstein's "Jewish science". The Nazis rise saw a lot of scientific brains leaving Germany.

" The V2 program was conducted and mainly run by GERMAN scientist, you know, Space? Yeah thats it, White Germans.. Gosh, Evil guys one second, good guys other, weird."
No Gabe, Von Braun was probably shitting himself and had to go along with the Nazis or get shot.
Even if the sad Nazis hadn't been derailed by their fuckwit leader's decision to attack Russia they'd have succumbed utterly to the "Jewish science" of uncle Albert's e = mc squared. So much for Aryan "superior" science. I like the fact that the oh so "superior" leader, Adolf Hitler cowarded out and shot himself. What a wuss. But at least he clearly relised how inferior he was and did us all the favour of killing himself. And idiot white supremacists still revere the loser. What does that make them then eh?

JS;)

By the way Gabe I'm still waiting for you to visit my place. My elephant gun is loaded and I'm tired of shooting snakes with it.

Lifewish said...

Jason: regards the "reverse DK effect", I know exactly what you mean. I've been a skeptic as far back as I can remember, and I am convinced that it has royally screwed up my poker game.

One thing that I find helps is reading up on evolutionary game theory*. It doesn't directly improve my strategy, but it reminds me that things which are rational to believe aren't necessarily rational to say. The great strength and weakness of skeptics is that they tend to equate the two.

I would guess that the same principle applies when the "conversation" is with yourself. It's OK to lie to yourself as long as you know that's what you're doing. For example I often set my watch ten minutes fast so I'm less likely to be late.

How to lie to yourself effectively is tricky. There's actually a good bit on this in LaVey's "Satanic Bible" where he basically admits that he's making it all up on the spot. He uses the analogy to being cursed by a witch-doctor. A "rational" person would try to ignore the curse, fail dismally, and get depressed; a sensible person would find another witch-doctor to remove the curse, to counter the inevitable psychological effects.

On a related note, I find that the classic Wiccan "imagine a sphere of light" bumpf can be very useful:

1) when I've watched a scary film and it's freaking me out. If the monsters are imaginary then it does no harm for my defence to also be imaginary.

2) when I'm walking down a busy street. If I expect other people to be magically shoved out of my way, I tend to walk more confidently. People subconsciously notice this and do actually get out of my way.

This sort of thing is an interesting field of study - I'd like to see more stuff written about it.

* Ref. anything by Matt Ridley, particularly "The Origins of Virtue". There's also a chunk on this in Dawkins' "Selfish Gene".

Bronze Dog said...

Heh, that's a bit funny, Lifewish. Reminds me of one thing I did as a little kid at Disney World's Haunted Mansion: I "fought" the animatronic horrors popping up by wielding a glow stick like a sword and making the "sword beam" sound effect in my head from Legend of Zelda. Fighting the fictional horrors with a fictional defense.

---

Anyway, back on topic, I notice Gabe avoided answering whether he wants us to accept anecdotes as evidence for homeopathy and all that other crazy stuff or make a special exception just for his crazy "race" hypothesis.

Bronze Dog said...

You know, I'm finding it funny that Gabe thinks we learned everything from Wikipedia because we once or twice linked to some pages from it.

Gabe, you do realize that a well-written Wikipedia article cites the sources it's based on, right?

Of course, that doesn't matter to Gabe, anyway, since he's too busy attacking straw men to realize that we're not even pursuing the lines of investigation he thinks we are.

Spoon feeding this to you, Gabe: We don't accept your conclusions about "race" because you engage in a multitude of logical fallacies. When we pointed that out, you've only been able to respond by ridiculing the scientific method and logic itself.

Bronze Dog said...

More spoon-feeding:

Let's say I go to a poor African or South American nation. I see a bunch of people laying around in the middle of the day. The possible explanations:

A) They're taking a midday nap in the shade to prevent sunstroke. They'll be back to work when it cools off.
B) They're unemployed because there aren't any jobs for them, either from bad economic climate, or their inability to find and attend a good school to qualify. Without jobs to hunt for, it makes sense to conserve energy until there is news about new job openings.
C) They're malnourished, and sleeping to conserve precious chemical energy.
D) They have a different work schedule: They might work only during dawn and dusk, and sleep here during the day.
E) They're sick and for some reason or another, (such as overcrowded/expensive hospitals) they have to remain there.
F) They work in the local factory, which has shut down for the day after a key piece of equipment broke down, and do not have easy access to replacements.
G) They have the day off or a holiday I am unaware of.
H) Their culture has developed a tradition of napping after lunch, possibly as a result one of the above reasons, such as the siesta in Hypothesis A, that might no longer apply in current circumstances.
I) They have seasonal jobs, and it's off-season.
.
.
.
Z) They're genetically predisposed to laziness.

That's the problem with personal experiences and establishing causation. I cannot accept Hypothesis Z as a conclusion like you apparently have, because you haven't given me any reason to dismiss all those other possibilities: You haven't controlled for alternative explanations.

Let's compare with another woo:

An alleged psychic says something accurate about a dead loved one:

A) The illusion of accuracy comes from cold reading.
B) Before the show, the psychic read all the recent obituaries in the local newspaper.
C) He made a lucky guess.
D) He knew the person himself.
E) He had plants in the pre-show meeting to milk information from the audience.
.
.
.
Z) He has magical powers that let him talk with dead people.

Without controls and other important aspects of the scientific method, you can't make conclusions about causation. We can, however, use Occam's razor to shave off new entities, and your hypothesis involves making a new entity: A genetic tendency of a population that has no data to support it.

Put simply, once you understand why I dismiss claims of psychic powers, quacks, religion, and aliens, you'll understand why I dismiss your conclusions.

Anonymous said...

They lost due to their arrogant stupidity. They weren't "superior" at all, it was just the fantsy of some sad white men that had gotten their arses handed to them during the first world war.

Wow, wow wow....

I hope, Please, Anyone ELSE, could they eplain to this gentleman some History?

Eplain the FIRST WORLD WAR and Germanies relation to it, and then how the SECOND WORLD WAR came about RELATED to the FIRST WORLD WAR.

I mean, seriously, This is Creationist-style thinking, Are you that daft? If you read some none-biased history, you would get some respect for the history, especially related to Germany, wow I say, this is insulting.

Maybe I can hope Bronze Dog could correct you and show how ignorant your statement is, and insulting towards Germany at the minimum.

Anonymous said...

Let's say I go to a poor African or South American nation. I see a bunch of people laying around in the middle of the day. The possible explanations:

I LIVED in these societies Bronze, your 'seeing them laying around' is irrelevant, I LIVED with them, I KNOW what they do.

And they are lazy. End of story, very simple, Do you want me to explain in detail? I could if you would care to listen? Educated spics admit this as well, very simple.

Bronze Dog said...

Sorry. History's not that big of a specialty of mine. Though I imagine we could ask Orac some stuff, since he's a big history buff for WWII. (As a result, he's a real go-to guy for Holocaust Denial.)

Bronze Dog said...

Okay, looks like your more direct response came through while I was typing.

And you've just explained one of the other problems with anecdotal experience: Communicating it. I can't know what parts you paid close attention to or left out. Combine that with how biases affect perception and memory, and you've got a recipe for false causal conclusions.

I bring up the issue all the time with anti-vaxxers who claim vaccines alchemically cause autism, but they don't listen.

Additionally, this isn't a Sherlock Holmes novel: "Once you have eliminated the impossible, whatever remains, however improbable must be the truth" isn't terribly useful: Even if you could convince me all of my explanations are false, you've still got no genetic data to support your conclusion.

That's the problem I have to communicate to a lot of Creationists: Even if they eliminate evolution as an explanation, it doesn't support their position that a random nothing storm stirred up a lot of nothing and just happened to assemble a god with the desire and ability to create this particular universe.

Bronze Dog said...

Elaboration on the vaccine-autism comparison: A lot of parents claim their child regressed right after vaccine treatment. Vaccination age for MMR is typically close to the time when the most obvious symptoms show up. Additionally, many don't listen when autism experts point out autism symptoms when they appear in videos taken before the vaccine. The parents didn't notice because they weren't looking for those things.

Hence, that's a problem with anecdotes: The observer's biases can easily color their ability to spot causation.

I generally trust doctors, know how vaccination works, and believe autism is at least partially genetic. Exposed to identical stimuli, I likely wouldn't reach the same conclusion, or even consider the vaccine as a cause.

Anecdotes aren't completely worthless: They're a starting point for an investigation, but they are certainly not something to use in forming a conclusion.

MWchase said...

(A bunch of comments came down while I was typing/verifying this.)

Maybe I can hope Bronze Dog could correct you

no u

Also, Hitler on intellectuals: "Unfortunately one needs them. Otherwise, one might—I don't know—wipe them out or something. But unfortunately one needs them"

Germany, 1866-1945 [electronic resource] / by Gordon A. Craig.
Oxford : Clarendon Press ; New York : Oxford University Press, 1999.

So, why is someone supporting the ultra-intelligent master race (who 'stole' the fruits of the industrial revolution after they were united), protecting them from the Jews and faggots and all... Why is that man speaking out against intellectuals?

(Spoiler: as a politician, he could tell that intellectuals could sway the populace, possibly giving some Superior Viking Blood-ed people the idea that maybe it wouldn't be a good idea to kill most of the people that didn't look like them, and use the rest as slave labor.)

MWchase said...

Actually, here's what I remember about the causes of World War II... After the Great War, Germany was chosen as a scape-goat for everything (even though they had nothing to do with the War starting). The reparations and concessions that Germany had to agree to fueled intense resentment in the population of Germany. The government had next to no popular support, so lots of people were enthusiastic about Hitler's promises of a Third Reich.

Nazism was founded on Mein Kampf, in which Hitler, among many other things, denied evolution in an analogy comparing different races to different animals. ("Denied" might be too strong a word. Point is, his analogy showed that he didn't believe it. Plus, the whole idea of eugenics is, as others have said, antithetical to the genetic diversity that makes a population resilient to change.)

djfav said...

I thought Gabe was going to write up a proper response. Instead we get more assertions and a racial slur. Promises, promises...

So Gabe, which is it, end of story or are you going to explain yourself more fully?

Many questions remain unanswered.

Dweller in Darkness said...

Gabe, you've elided past this three times now, by my count, but I've lived in South America for about two months total, for a month at a stretch once. We lived with and worked with the locals on a daily basis on a large-scale construction project.

I will agree that their work ethic is different. They are definitely more prone to conserving energy than an American might be, and I can surely see how that could be interpreted as "they're lazy."

On the other hand, I saw how they ate versus how we, the foreigners, ate, and I think if I had as little food, and as little protein, as they, I might be just as lazy.

So, what validates your observations as being better, more important or more "right" than mine?

Incidentally, at this I was seventeen, a Christian creationist fundamentalist and, as the residents of Avenue Q would say, "a little bit racist." I would say I was predisposed to make race-based judgements and instead I came away with a greater understanding of humanity as all being together on this little blue marble and differentiated from one another only a tiny bit.

Bronze Dog said...

And there goes an example of the another problem with personal experiences I briefly mentioned: Different people, seeing similar phenomena can come to different causal conclusions based on their biases and where they focus their attention.

That's why I don't consider anecdotes useful for anything other than a starting point for research.

I have yet to hear any objective evidence for claiming "race" causes difference in intellectual performance. With a nigh-infinite number of possible causes we don't think about, that's why I, like other scientifically-minded people, demand high standards for objective evidence.

When you understand why I and other skeptics reject "psychic powers" as a cause for various phenomena, you'll understand why I reject your conclusions. Hint: It's not because of arbitrary labels like "supernatural".

Dweller in Darkness said...

I hope you started out that post directing your comments at me but switched back to Gabe - personal observations and anecdotes are handy, but they're really just a starting point.

At this point we don't even have a baseline reading for "lazy."

Bronze Dog said...

Just to clarify, Dweller, you were an example of someone else, with some different biases and background who saw a different causal relationship than Gabriel:

You paid attention to the lower food supply individuals had and hypothesized that they were sensibly conserving energy, rather than being simply lazy.

Hence, I'm trying to emphasize that so that Gabriel tries to understand the skeptical attitude towards anecdotes in general. And you're quite right: They can be a useful lead to investigate, but they should never be used for a conclusion, especially one as far reaching as Gabriel's.

Hence, I reiterate the request for genetic data on his part.

Rick said...

After the Great War, Germany was chosen as a scape-goat for everything (even though they had nothing to do with the War starting).

Given that Germany had been looking for an excuse to go to war with France and Russia for over a decade, and engaged in diplomacy aimed at continuing the chain reaction started with the assassination[1]....

Germany had quite a bit to do with WWI happening.


[1] Without German backing, the Austrian demands given to Serbia would have likely been nowhere near as extreme, nor would the Serbian refusal to do things that they couldn't do been likely to have been considered a complete refusal and pretext to war.

MWchase said...

Oh well. It's been a few years. I'll go over that book I cited some more before I try saying anything else on that particular topic, which isn't my strong suit.

Jacqueline said...

"ow, ow ow....

I hope, Please, Anyone ELSE, could they eplain to this gentleman some History?2




Gaybe, I'm a woman. I know that you getting such abuse from a female insults your ubermensch status but you're really a racist untermensch.

"Eplain the FIRST WORLD WAR and Germanies relation to it, and then how the SECOND WORLD WAR came about RELATED to the FIRST WORLD WAR."


I thought you were the one with ALL the answers, Herr Schiessekopf!

"I mean, seriously, This is Creationist-style thinking, Are you that daft? If you read some none-biased history, you would get some respect for the history, especially related to Germany, wow I say, this is insulting.
"

How insulting? About as insulting as calling a black man an ape and saying that he is going to give you AIDS if you're white?

"Maybe I can hope Bronze Dog could correct you and show how ignorant your statement is, and insulting towards Germany at the minimum."

Maybe you should just stop trying to escape showing how "superior" you are by prevaricating.
Come on then Gaybe show us some of that much vaunted white racist superiority. or are you like the inbred hicks that like to claim they're superior due to their innate inferiority complexes?

JS;)

MWchase said...

To summarize: Gabe, it is not everybody else's job to make or understand your case. It is your job to convince us, the skeptics, that 'race' has some effect on a person's morality/work ethic/whatever. First, however, it is your job to define 'race'. It is also your job to prove that 'dilution' of ancestry is possible, even though the units of heredity are distinct; they do not carry each other along. It is your job to explain the philosophy of science and the history of invention in a way that paints Germany, a late-comer to the field of industrial machinery, in a positive light, while painting latecomers to the field of electronics in a negative light. It is your job to disentangle 'race' from every non-'race' factor in determining why someone of a given 'race' acts the way they do. I only point this out because you don't seem to realize that you have set these tasks for yourself, by making your claims. If you do not wish to perform a particular task, then you should retract the associated claim.

Now, someone that he actually pays attention to, copypasta that, please. (And feel free to add on anything that I forgot.)

(A random thought that came up: left-handed people were at a genetic disadvantage during the industrial revolution, but now we're fine. Interesting that, in the end, technology developed to accommodate us, rather than simply wiping us out. I mean, you'd think, if everything was determined, that the higher death rate of people like me from factory accidents would indicate an inherent genetic inferiority, but apparently we're just a demographic that went untapped for a bit.)

Bronze Dog said...

Well said, MW. I'll go right ahead and copy-paste it, even though I doubt Gabe has been paying attention to me:

To summarize: Gabe, it is not everybody else's job to make or understand your case. It is your job to convince us, the skeptics, that 'race' has some effect on a person's morality/work ethic/whatever. First, however, it is your job to define 'race'. It is also your job to prove that 'dilution' of ancestry is possible, even though the units of heredity are distinct; they do not carry each other along. It is your job to explain the philosophy of science and the history of invention in a way that paints Germany, a late-comer to the field of industrial machinery, in a positive light, while painting latecomers to the field of electronics in a negative light. It is your job to disentangle 'race' from every non-'race' factor in determining why someone of a given 'race' acts the way they do. I only point this out because you don't seem to realize that you have set these tasks for yourself, by making your claims. If you do not wish to perform a particular task, then you should retract the associated claim.

Now, someone that he actually pays attention to, copypasta that, please. (And feel free to add on anything that I forgot.)

(A random thought that came up: left-handed people were at a genetic disadvantage during the industrial revolution, but now we're fine. Interesting that, in the end, technology developed to accommodate us, rather than simply wiping us out. I mean, you'd think, if everything was determined, that the higher death rate of people like me from factory accidents would indicate an inherent genetic inferiority, but apparently we're just a demographic that went untapped for a bit.)

Jacqueline said...

let me make a prediction here.
Gaybe will evade answering any questions put to him in earlier posts, and prevaricate with unrelated waffling/confused muttering/attacks against imagined straw men, in the hope that he doesn't have to prove his inbred hick inferiority. At least any more than he has done whenever he posts his poor excuses for an argument.
Gaybe you're a joke. I've seen creationists with more cohones than you and more ability to reason.
Face it Gaybe, you're just a crappy human being like the rest of us. You clearly are no super man. You have no argument except for "all black folks are lazy and are trying to give me AIDS". You're lazy when it comes to showing us any scientific basis why you think that you are superior to anyone. Plus you think that the loser Nazis and their even bigger loser Adolf "The Dork" Hitler were somehow superior to anyone with more melanin in their skin.
But the cruel facts are that your beloved ubermenschen got their asses handed to them on a plate. Your beloved dork leader killed himself in a show of how pathetic racist losers really are.
And you hate the current president of the USA because you think that his health reforms will give you AIDS.
So Gaybe, tell me...how is that not the deluded view of someone pathetically out of touch with reality?
JS;)

MWchase said...

Thank you much. Now that I've got that off my chest, I think I'll do something that doesn't feel like yelling at a brick wall.

(Totally OT: would concepts that aren't a full game still go in Game Seeds, or in General Gaming instead, where I've put one already? If I've got it wrong, I'm pretty sure I can fix it, but I'd like to know so I can start another thread for a different project, in the right place.)

Bronze Dog said...

(Since tech trees are a concept in a lot of games, I'd say it's discussion of a game mechanic.)