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Ch. 8: The Enemy Within ("Good Thinking" - by Guy P. Harrison) 
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 Ch. 8: The Enemy Within ("Good Thinking" - by Guy P. Harrison)
Ch. 8: The Enemy Within ("Good Thinking" - by Guy P. Harrison)

lease use this thread to discuss the above chapter.



Mon Sep 21, 2015 11:27 pm
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Post Re: Ch. 8: The Enemy Within ("Good Thinking" - by Guy P. Harrison)
In this chapter, Harrison talks about the three most prevalent forms of bias. Confirmation bias, motivated reasoning and something called anchor bias, which I'd never heard of. Basically humans tend to rely a lot on the first piece of information available when first forming opinions or making judgments. It doesn't matter if better information comes along later. We're sort of anchored to that first bit.

I was reading Steven Novella's article recently about a new study that shows that some people are better at bullshit detecting than others. The article is definitely worth a read, but the main reason for bringing it up has to do with something Novella says when he first heard about the study.

"I try to be especially careful when a study seems to support what I already believe . . ."

This cracked me up because only a skeptic would think like this. Novella here is intuitively guarding against confirmation bias. I love it.

http://theness.com/neurologicablog/inde ... ecting-bs/


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Post Re: Ch. 8: The Enemy Within ("Good Thinking" - by Guy P. Harrison)
unhand me spirit of jazz, i have a book to read and discuss!! :-D



Mon Dec 07, 2015 9:40 pm
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Post Re: Ch. 8: The Enemy Within ("Good Thinking" - by Guy P. Harrison)
Jazz, you say? What are you listening to?


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Mon Dec 07, 2015 9:55 pm
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Post Re: Ch. 8: The Enemy Within ("Good Thinking" - by Guy P. Harrison)
oh ATM it's all rhodes

Chick Corea, Herbie Hancock, Bill Evans and (no rhodes) Art Tatum also some Bird and also a lot of guys no one has heard of that nevertheless are great great players.

i've been trying to learn the keyboard, after a lifetime of playing guitar, it's wonderful to be on an instrument where i have so little familiarity so i cant fall back on existing knowledge so much, have to hear the harmony and reach for it, and it is there.

Michael Hedges would compose his pieces in a different tuning each time to accomplish the same break from pre learnt patterns, a tricky way to force yourself to listen and reach.

Hedges is pure inspiration, a force of nature. have you heard this ?

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=r4AysS-WN0A

straight out of the holy of holies :-D

He talks about the tuning thing here and it's wonderful

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ETmeXyaZLYQ



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Tue Dec 08, 2015 8:43 pm
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Post Re: Ch. 8: The Enemy Within ("Good Thinking" - by Guy P. Harrison)
geo wrote:
Confirmation bias, motivated reasoning and anchor bias

We have a fine petri dish of these fallacies cultivating right now in the thread on Gretta Vosper - Atheist Christian.

In this thread, those who assume Jesus Christ was an historical individual systematically confirm their anchored motivated fallacy, by ignoring the abundant evidence that refutes their view and misreading the shreds that support them.

Flann accuses me of fallacious methods for arguing that Jesus is a myth. My assumptions that are at work in this debate are that modern science has an accurate method to understand reality, and that claims which contradict scientific knowledge are false. I am very happy to admit I am consciously and deliberately motivated by effort to confirm these anchoring principles.

By contrast, the anchor that is pulling the true believers to the bottom is that somehow the traditional magical supernatural interventionist God is real.


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Post Re: Ch. 8: The Enemy Within ("Good Thinking" - by Guy P. Harrison)
Praise the Lord :-D He made Confirmation bias, motivated reasoning and anchor bias just so people could more easily continue to believe in His precious Son, one of the many dying/rising god-men of antiquity.

:thanks2:



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Post Re: Ch. 8: The Enemy Within ("Good Thinking" - by Guy P. Harrison)
youkrst wrote:
oh ATM it's all rhodes

Chick Corea, Herbie Hancock, Bill Evans and (no rhodes) Art Tatum also some Bird and also a lot of guys no one has heard of that nevertheless are great great players.

i've been trying to learn the keyboard, after a lifetime of playing guitar, it's wonderful to be on an instrument where i have so little familiarity so i cant fall back on existing knowledge so much, have to hear the harmony and reach for it, and it is there.

Michael Hedges would compose his pieces in a different tuning each time to accomplish the same break from pre learnt patterns, a tricky way to force yourself to listen and reach.

Hedges is pure inspiration, a force of nature. have you heard this ?

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=r4AysS-WN0A

straight out of the holy of holies :-D

He talks about the tuning thing here and it's wonderful

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ETmeXyaZLYQ


Wow it's good to hear from someone who's heard of Michael Hedges. I'm spinning his album, Aerial Boundaries right now in honor of you bringing him up. Thanks for that!

I didn't know all that about his different tunings. My wife and I saw him in Ashland, Ore. about six months or a year before his death. That song, Aerial Boundaries is the one that pops into my head on a fairly regular basis.

But my, that man could play the guitar.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=YaIN13aDbCc

Other than that, I have quite a few jazz albums in my collection. Lately I'm trying to play the drum part of Time Out by Dave Brubeck. It's in 5/4 time signature, which kind of messes with my brain. We should start a jazz thread.


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Post Re: Ch. 8: The Enemy Within ("Good Thinking" - by Guy P. Harrison)
Robert Tulip wrote:
geo wrote:
Confirmation bias, motivated reasoning and anchor bias

We have a fine petri dish of these fallacies cultivating right now in the thread on Gretta Vosper - Atheist Christian.

In this thread, those who assume Jesus Christ was an historical individual systematically confirm their anchored motivated fallacy, by ignoring the abundant evidence that refutes their view and misreading the shreds that support them.

Flann accuses me of fallacious methods for arguing that Jesus is a myth. My assumptions that are at work in this debate are that modern science has an accurate method to understand reality, and that claims which contradict scientific knowledge are false. I am very happy to admit I am consciously and deliberately motivated by effort to confirm these anchoring principles.

By contrast, the anchor that is pulling the true believers to the bottom is that somehow the traditional magical supernatural interventionist God is real.


I never thought about it, but most of us grew up with the assumption that Jesus was a real person and even if we've deconstructed all of the mythical stuff—the son of God, miracle maker, etc.—I am still inclined to believe that Jesus was a real person and that all the myths were subsequently grafted on to him. This could be the anchor bias at work, I don't know. I suspect that we just don't have enough data to make a strong argument either way. All the mythical motifs seem obvious, but as to Jesus being a living breathing person, there's not much to go on. I simply don't care enough about the issue to get too riled up about it.


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Post Re: Ch. 8: The Enemy Within ("Good Thinking" - by Guy P. Harrison)
What instrument does Michael Hedges play? The sounds he generates cannot be from a guitar! :adore:



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Post Re: Ch. 8: The Enemy Within ("Good Thinking" - by Guy P. Harrison)
LanDroid wrote:
What instrument does Michael Hedges play? The sounds he generates cannot be from a guitar! :adore:


Yes, he was amazing!


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Post Re: Ch. 8: The Enemy Within ("Good Thinking" - by Guy P. Harrison)
Robert Tulip wrote:
We have a fine petri dish of these fallacies cultivating right now in the thread on Gretta Vosper - Atheist Christian.


In this thread, those who assume Jesus Christ was an historical individual systematically confirm their anchored motivated fallacy, by ignoring the abundant evidence that refutes their view and misreading the shreds that support them.

Flann accuses me of fallacious methods for arguing that Jesus is a myth. My assumptions that are at work in this debate are that modern science has an accurate method to understand reality, and that claims which contradict scientific knowledge are false. I am very happy to admit I am consciously and deliberately motivated by effort to confirm these anchoring principles.

By contrast, the anchor that is pulling the true believers to the bottom is that somehow the traditional magical supernatural interventionist God is real.

You seem to be saying here, Robert, that others' anchoring assumptions lead them to fallacies, while yours are proof against the same. I'm very skeptical that it can work this way for any of us, unless I'm misinterpreting you.



Last edited by DWill on Thu Dec 10, 2015 9:57 am, edited 1 time in total.



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Post Re: Ch. 8: The Enemy Within ("Good Thinking" - by Guy P. Harrison)
DWill wrote:
You seem to be saying here, Robert, that others' anchoring assumptions lead them to fallacies, while yours are proof against the same. I'm very skeptical that it can work this way for any of us, unless I'm misinterpreting you.

Harrison explains clearly how anchoring bias operates, for example when an idea is deliberately planted in our heads by an advertiser, without us really noticing, and our subsequent opinions and behaviour appear to be influenced by this subconscious factor.

As Geo pointed out, the assumption that Jesus was a real man is pervasive, and does tend to anchor most people's approach to related topics. It was certainly a shock to me when I first encountered analysis that questioned this belief. I now take the view that recognising that Jesus is a myth is the third big revolution in the Christian paradigm, following those of Copernicus and Darwin.

Obviously nobody is immune from subconscious drives and fallacious assumptions. However, the point of Harrison's book is that we can cultivate critical thinking skills of reliance on evidence and logic as our primary values. That has long been my ambition. I see this critical philosophical method as not just about scientific thinking regarding facts but more broadly about moral thinking, about making principles explicit and coherent, including in analysis of history.

So when I say that my opinion is that astronomy is at the foundation of theology, I am trying to anchor my thinking in objective understanding of the physical universe, and of how the ancients probably thought about reality, in a falsifiable way. Scientific method is the great bulwark against motivated reasoning. If Harrison or I or you or anyone fails to apply scientific method then the conclusions reached will not be rigorous.


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Post Re: Ch. 8: The Enemy Within ("Good Thinking" - by Guy P. Harrison)
Robert Tulip wrote:
Harrison explains clearly how anchoring bias operates, for example when an idea is deliberately planted in our heads by an advertiser, without us really noticing, and our subsequent opinions and behaviour appear to be influenced by this subconscious factor.

I don't think Harrison does a very good job on anchoring. Daniel Kahneman, in "Thinking: Fast and Slow" does much better, maybe because Kahneman's influence in the field of economics, and thus his Nobel Prize, is built on his discovery (along with others, apparently, including his lifelong co-researcher Amos Tversky) and exploration of anchoring.

Kahneman puts it in the more general category of priming, in which the subconscious mind is influenced to be more likely to "see" things a certain way just because related neurons have been active.

The term "anchoring" is generally applied to situations in which a number or location is involved, and if we are asked to guess about the quantity in question (e.g. how many geese are usually in a flock? or how much does a two-year-old luxury hybrid SUV sell for?) we are much more likely to formulate our guess from a starting point which has been planted (e.g. someone has mentioned 20 of something, or 4 of something, or, worse, we have heard someone else's guess).

Kahneman points out that, if there is little actual knowledge to work from (e.g. have we seen flocks of geese?) then our guess-forming process can be easily influenced by even just hearing a number.

Wikipedia defines anchoring as a human tendency to rely too heavily on the first piece of information offered. We adjust from that point as further information arrives. This is well expressed as a way of capturing the nature of the phenomenon.

Robert's interpretation is correct but not precise. That may be okay, since the applications of such a general phenomenon may be more important than the particular ways that psychologists tend to structure it, but I thought it worthwhile to deepen Harrison's necessarily shallow presentation.



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Post Re: Ch. 8: The Enemy Within ("Good Thinking" - by Guy P. Harrison)
Robert Tulip wrote:
So when I say that my opinion is that astronomy is at the foundation of theology, I am trying to anchor my thinking in objective understanding of the physical universe, and of how the ancients probably thought about reality, in a falsifiable way. Scientific method is the great bulwark against motivated reasoning. If Harrison or I or you or anyone fails to apply scientific method then the conclusions reached will not be rigorous.

There's another fallacy we can talk about. I don't know its name, but it occurs whenever someone says about another's position, "Oh, I used to think that way, too, but now..." The implied message is that the eyes have been opened, where formerly they were closed to reality. The direction taken has to be from benightedness to enlightenment, obviously, in the mind of this someone. There is, however, no justification in that belief of arrived-at correctness. Many other reasons can account for a change of position besides the epiphany that we might want to think happened to us. We commonly hear about born-agains who used to be atheists, and the reverse. The direction of their conversions has nothing to do with the truth of their claims. The fact that you used to accept Jesus as a human being, and now you don't, doesn't mean you're more likely to be right now.

And if you're saying that your "opinion is that astronomy is at the base of theology," but that's okay because you're using science to investigate it, you've hardly shut the door against motivated reasoning. How do you know that it isn't your belief, which has all the appearance of being cherished, that is running the show?



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