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Ch. 1: The Case for Good Thinking ("Good Thinking" - by Guy P. Harrison) 
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Post Re: Ch. 1: The Case for Good Thinking ("Good Thinking" - by Guy P. Harrison)
Interbane wrote:
Examples of motivated thinking pervade science, where findings and conclusions are twisted because something was believed before the data came in. Even with all the controls in place to mitigate this, it's still widespread.

No problem, I understood this. Besides the infamous case of cold fusion, there are too many to count in psychology and a fair number in my field of economics.

The result is not replicable because the searcher really wanted it to be true and went through some process which in retrospect was deceptive but was only meant to get a better look.



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Fri Nov 20, 2015 6:11 am
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Post Re: Ch. 1: The Case for Good Thinking ("Good Thinking" - by Guy P. Harrison)
DWill wrote:
I'm thinking about the peer review that would help determine the validity of Ostop's study. A good idea, for sure, but how will it happen unless she submits it to some journal that does peer review? And if her study passes muster, it then would be published and part of the world could further consider it and argue over it, as should be the case always. If, though, she tries to have it peer-reviewed, but it's not accepted even for that, would we ever know about it? As the study stands, it's merely of interest, but you can't say of significance without being vetted really at all.

Just anticipating, Robert, forgive me if this sounds like prejudging, but I can hear you saying that bigotry of the sciences would be to blame if she can't get a scientific journal to take a look at her work.

Thanks DWill. I have been chatting with Renay on Facebook about the peer review challenge. I do not at all think that the problem is scientific bigotry. That is just a cop out. She had an earlier paper which could only get published at a fringe journal. I skimmed this paper, and could see why it would not pass academic muster, essentially because she had been unable to collaborate with academic experts who could ensure the structure and content of the article were up to standard for publication. Extraordinary claims require very clear presentation.

There is an almost unconscious tendency for people who hold new or unconventional beliefs to give away their hand too easily by promoting their unfalsifiable beliefs without providing a clearly structured and compelling logical argument for them. This means that scientific journals do not regard them as credible.

If Oshop is able to craft an argument that is of interest to a general audience, completely eliminating promotional and motivated reasoning, and solely sticking to clear strong evidence of statistical anomaly, then publication should be possible.


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Post Re: Ch. 1: The Case for Good Thinking ("Good Thinking" - by Guy P. Harrison)
Robert wrote:
Placebo is not likely. The idea that millions of people would be more likely to make spelling mistakes because they knew Mercury was in front of the sun is absurd.


It's not absurd at all. As long as people believe something is true, it affects their behavior. Look at highways in America on Sunday morning. Or the sales of homeopathic medicine. We already have examples where this sort of effect is at play, which makes it far more likely than any other explanation. What is the statistical significance of Oshop's findings, 2%? And how many people believe astrology has a real effect, 30-40%? Such a massive chunk of the population who truly believes their communications will be effected by the motion of Mercury. You can't tell me that wouldn't have an impact on findings. That people wouldn't let their beliefs carry over into their actions in small everyday ways, even unconsciously. The effect is real, and it is significant, and it is by far the likeliest explanation here. The more I look at the numbers, the more I realize it would surprising if there weren't a correlation.

How much more complex is it to create and perform a crucial experiment to eliminate a placebo effect as the mechanism? Then to corroborate the experiments, again and again? And how many other astrological claims would be studied as a result of Oshop's findings? This is a monumental waste of time. I'm sorry Robert. I understand this is just my opinion, but I agree with Harrison.

Robert wrote:
No, it is completely different. The idea that Mercury passing in front of the sun somehow interferes with human consciousness is vastly more possible than the idea that a supernatural God is designing life.


The structure of motivation is the same between the two. I didn't say the beliefs themselves were the same.


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Fri Nov 20, 2015 10:28 am
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Post Re: Ch. 1: The Case for Good Thinking ("Good Thinking" - by Guy P. Harrison)
Interbane wrote:
What is the statistical significance of Oshop's findings, 2%? And how many people believe astrology has a real effect, 30-40%? Such a massive chunk of the population who truly believes their communications will be effected by the motion of Mercury. You can't tell me that wouldn't have an impact on findings. That people wouldn't let their beliefs carry over into their actions in small everyday ways, even unconsciously. The effect is real, and it is significant, and it is by far the likeliest explanation here. The more I look at the numbers, the more I realize it would surprising if there weren't a correlation.
Honestly Interbane, your comment here reminds me of Maxwell Smart’s famous justification to the Chief for the use of the cone of silence instead of writing down his request for a loan and burning the paper, that ‘ashes can be reassembled.’ Ashes generally cannot be reassembled, and nor does people’s knowledge that Mercury is retrograde generally affect their spelling in Amazon and Reddit entries. And if it did, to humour your hypothesis, then surely Oshop’s work would be met with interest instead of stony silence? If this great 40% (like the creationist figure) were even aware of when Mercury is in front of the sun (they are not – try more like 0.04%) then like YEC/ID there would be a ready market for this sort of rationalisation of their belief. There would be academic interest in cooperating with Oshop to improve and share and test her presentation, instead of a naked fear that expression of the slightest interest in such rubbish means career death.

But I think your point about exclusion of placebo is a really good one, and illustrates that this sort of finding would need wide replication before anyone should care about it. Then it would lead to a whole field of cosmic epidemiology. I think that Harrison expresses the warning bells very clearly regarding the legitimacy and methods of such research, especially in his visceral hostility towards all alternative medicine as fraud.
Interbane wrote:
How much more complex is it to create and perform a crucial experiment to eliminate a placebo effect as the mechanism? Then to corroborate the experiments, again and again? And how many other astrological claims would be studied as a result of Oshop's findings? This is a monumental waste of time. I'm sorry Robert. I understand this is just my opinion, but I agree with Harrison.
Luckily it is not complex or expensive at all given the capacity of modern software and ICT platforms to mine data quickly and cheaply on vast scale. Oshop has hit on an excellent method using Mathematica. She just needs to hone in on the simple findings that should be of interest to a broad audience, exclude any red flags such as mention of astrology or mythology, and present it as a genuine statistical problem worthy of explanation.


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Fri Nov 20, 2015 4:17 pm
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Post Re: Ch. 1: The Case for Good Thinking ("Good Thinking" - by Guy P. Harrison)
Harry Marks wrote:
Interbane wrote:
Examples of motivated thinking pervade science, where findings and conclusions are twisted because something was believed before the data came in. Even with all the controls in place to mitigate this, it's still widespread.

No problem, I understood this. Besides the infamous case of cold fusion, there are too many to count in psychology and a fair number in my field of economics.

The result is not replicable because the searcher really wanted it to be true and went through some process which in retrospect was deceptive but was only meant to get a better look.


An excellent example of this problem of unreplicable findings is the statistical research into planetary effects on career success by Michel Gauquelin. His critics claim the Mars and Saturn effects (prominence in charts of elite athletes and scientists) were due to Gauquelin sifting the data using motivated reasoning. But others say the critics themselves are just motivated by hostility.


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Post Re: Ch. 1: The Case for Good Thinking ("Good Thinking" - by Guy P. Harrison)
Robert wrote:
Honestly Interbane, your comment here reminds me of Maxwell Smart’s famous justification to the Chief for the use of the cone of silence instead of writing down his request for a loan and burning the paper, that ‘ashes can be reassembled.’ Ashes generally cannot be reassembled, and nor does people’s knowledge that Mercury is retrograde generally affect their spelling in Amazon and Reddit entries.


Sure, I was overblowing it. But words we don't find in the dictionary are used all the time, intentionally. Perhaps not you or I, we're always prim and proper. But others who glance at the morning horoscope and talk in internet eubonics might step it up a notch without realizing it. I suspect the truth is somewhere between what we both initially suggested.


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Sat Nov 21, 2015 10:09 am
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Post Re: Ch. 1: The Case for Good Thinking ("Good Thinking" - by Guy P. Harrison)
Robert Tulip wrote:
Extraordinary claims require very clear presentation.
There is an almost unconscious tendency for people who hold new or unconventional beliefs to give away their hand too easily by promoting their unfalsifiable beliefs without providing a clearly structured and compelling logical argument for them. This means that scientific journals do not regard them as credible.

I suspect that is the typical case, Robert, but I do keep in mind that some of the real revolutions, whether continental drift or jumping genes, came despite rejection that was based on prejudice, not on objective reading of evidence. I think we have to take one case at a time, and sometimes the proponent of outlandish mechanisms is the one in the best position to judge whether it is worth looking into more carefully. That is one reason for granting tenure!



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Post Re: Ch. 1: The Case for Good Thinking ("Good Thinking" - by Guy P. Harrison)
Interbane -
I couldn't bring myself to hit the Thank Post button, but "internet eubonics" is worth a "thank you" anyway. Is that a term, or did you just invent it?



Sat Nov 21, 2015 11:44 am
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Post Re: Ch. 1: The Case for Good Thinking ("Good Thinking" - by Guy P. Harrison)
I might have seen it before, I don't know. It's fitting.


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 Re: Ch. 1: The Case for Good Thinking ("Good Thinking" - by Guy P. Harrison)
I don't recall if Harrison mentions this skillful species, but I couldn't resist...

Image



Wed Nov 25, 2015 7:29 pm
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