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Chapter 12: The fine art of baloney detection 
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Post Re: Chapter 12: The fine art of baloney detection
OK, I've finished this chapter and I did find it much more absorbing than earlier chapters.....no little green men.

I liked his list of bullshit detectors - although I'm not sure how they can all be applied in everyday life. As he points out towards the end of the list, scientific data can be faked - as in the cigarette industry instance. I also read a scathing report about how the company who developed the sweetener 'Aspartame' faked data, bribed people and etc., to get it passed as safe. I know it isn't safe, not through any scientific research, but because it makes me feel ill. Sometimes I might buy a product (fruit juice in particular) which says sugar free. I might choose it because I am diabetic, and then realise that it must contain aspartame when I begin to go into a decline, like a Victorian heroine. :o

I haven't smoked for six years now, but when I did, I knew it was stupid.......anyone who doesn't realise that inhaling smoke into the lungs is not good for the general health.....must be stupid or kidding themselves. I smoked anyway.....and I stopped because it was such a wicked waste of money.....not really because of my health.


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ant, Interbane
Thu Feb 05, 2015 11:06 am
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Post Re: Chapter 12: The fine art of baloney detection
Quote:
liked his list of bullshit detectors - although I'm not sure how they can all be applied in everyday life. As he points out towards the end of the list, scientific data can be faked - as in the cigarette industry instance. I also read a scathing report about how the company who developed the sweetener 'Aspartame' faked data, bribed people and etc., to get it passed as safe. I know it isn't safe, not through any scientific research, but because it makes me feel ill. Sometimes I might buy a product (fruit juice in particular) which says sugar free. I might choose it because I am diabetic, and then realise that it must contain aspartame when I begin to go into a decline, like a Victorian heroine



Michael Shermer's Skeptic Society has a "Baloney Detection Kit" they sell (along with other skeptical literature) at all their speaking engagements. It's roughly what's covered in this chapter.

The Tobacco Company has scientist employed as hired guns to defend their interests.
Those interests are profits of course.

Perfect example of science playing the handmaiden role.



Thu Feb 05, 2015 11:53 am
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Post Re: Chapter 12: The fine art of baloney detection
ant wrote:
Perfect example of science playing the handmaiden role.


I don't think it's wise to anthropomorphize science. It leads to silly conclusions. It's like anthropomorphizing Scrabble. Sure, people are needed to play the game, but the two aren't equivalent.


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Thu Feb 05, 2015 2:42 pm
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Post Re: Chapter 12: The fine art of baloney detection
Right.

The only problem is that people anthropomorphize everything, at some point.
I'd gable and say even you.

Sagan and celebrity scientists like him talk little about science not guaranteeing those who practice it as being rational caring human beings.


I am glad you are the de facto moral consciousness for those of us that have not evolved to a point where we can explain everything and wave it off as delusional like you do.

Remember you once made the bold claim that homo sapiens have evolved enough to understand reality?
And now intelligent alien civilizations exist because WE are evidence that they do.



Last edited by ant on Thu Feb 05, 2015 3:03 pm, edited 1 time in total.



Thu Feb 05, 2015 3:03 pm
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Post Re: Chapter 12: The fine art of baloney detection
ant wrote:
Remember you once made the bold claim that homo sapiens have evolved enough to understand reality?


So it’s changed to something about understanding reality?

You brought this up once before, and I don’t think you understood my point then either. We’ve evolved to the point where our phenotype no longer needs to change. We have an infinitely pliable extended phenotype by virtue of our ability to manipulate our environment and create tools. An extended phenotype is like a beaver dam, something not directly manifest from genes as part of the organism, but rather as an influence upon the environment indirectly from the genes. What this leads to is our ability to go deep under oceans, into space, to the moon, etc. We don’t need to evolve the phenotypic requirements for space, because we create them as part of our extended phenotype.

If we’re talking about understanding reality, we could definitely use a bit more processing power.


ant wrote:
The only problem is that people anthropomorphize everything, at some point.
I'd gable and say even you.


I'm sure I do, but that doesn't excuse either of us

Quote:
Sagan and celebrity scientists like him talk little about science not guaranteeing those who practice it as being rational caring human beings.


Why would that need to be mentioned? Science is a tool. Evil men can use it just as readily as good men. The hope is that the corrective mechanisms of science will work over the long run. The variable is how long the "run" is.


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Thu Feb 05, 2015 4:52 pm
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Post Re: Chapter 12: The fine art of baloney detection
Quote:
Interbane:

I don't think it's wise to anthropomorphize science. It leads to silly conclusions. It's like anthropomorphizing Scrabble. Sure, people are needed to play the game, but the two aren't equivalent.



ant perceives science as being at the bidding of Industrial Tycoons, but one could just as easily come from a different perspective and see science as freeing us from our religious prejudices and allowing us to explore medical breakthrough like stem-cell culture etc....

It depends on whether you think we are fit to be free. Are we morally worthy? I mean, the science itself tells the truth and it is impartial and quite rational, but we as human beings often need to be quite irrational in our decisions, because we must be kind if we are to evolve in the right direction. We must be kind to old and infirm people not dispose of them to make the race stronger. I mean how far do we combat natural selection by keeping alive and caring for the weak among us?

Because in a matter of morals and ethics, we are balancing moral judgement with stark rational judgement.

I think I have annoyed Chris O'Connor in the past by posting things like this, as he thinks I am judging you as hard hearted scientists and I know that you are not so. However, in your crusade against superstition and false belief, necessary though it is, I just point out that knowledge is a fine thing, but wisdom is better. Justice is a fine thing, but not blind justice, grace is better.

On my page 229 - of this chapter - a very telling paragraph - begins - 'Most of these figures are only after your money.....' This paragraph contains a thinly disguised description of the rise of Hitler in Natzi Germany, I believe. (No, just checked, it's in the next Chapter 13).

The trouble is, when you set up a fight - Science v Religion - it cannot ever be fair combat because science deals in definites - but religion, morals, ethics deals in uncertainties and transigence - decisions which are vital to the future of our race but which change with the development of science.


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Thu Feb 05, 2015 5:22 pm
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Post Re: Chapter 12: The fine art of baloney detection
Penelope wrote:
we as human beings often need to be quite irrational in our decisions, because we must be kind if we are to evolve in the right direction.


I'm not sure sure that the right moral direction is an irrational one. Only with a rational morality can we be sure it's the right direction. What you're comparing this to, I think, is a rational yet immoral set of goals and means.

Penelope wrote:
However, in your crusade against superstition and false belief, necessary though it is, I just point out that knowledge is a fine thing, but wisdom is better.


I often consider wisdom to be less about science and more about philosophy. Seeing the truth of the world and how it relates to living life. Some people find their wisdom in religion, and that's fine as long as they keep from fundamentalism.


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Post Re: Chapter 12: The fine art of baloney detection
Quote:
You brought this up once before, and I don’t think you understood my point then either. We’ve evolved to the point where our phenotype no longer needs to change.


evidence?


Quote:
I'm sure I do, but that doesn't excuse either of us


Correct. no argument from me against that statement.



Thu Feb 05, 2015 6:47 pm
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Post Re: Chapter 12: The fine art of baloney detection
ant wrote:
evidence?


We landed a man on the moon.


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Post Re: Chapter 12: The fine art of baloney detection
I
Quote:
nterbane wrote

Only with a rational morality can we be sure it's the right direction. What you're comparing this to, I think, is a rational yet immoral set of goals and means.


As you have said before, science is just mathematics really, and can't be either right or wrong in a moral sense. But with the advancement of science, we need to make more and more moral judgements, that is our responsibility to future generations, well, and to ourselves. So, for instance, we find out how to change the sex of an individual who wishes it, then we have to make laws to cover the ethics of doing so.

This is what causes a lot of problems. People have learned one set of moral laws, commandments, and have been told in the past that 'God' says this is so........then those commandments have to be amended to fit in with scientific discovery......and we, well, some of us, get a bit prickly. Not really on behalf of 'God' but because we don't trust those in power to make the wisest and fairest of decisions. So we pray.

Quote:
Interbane:

Some people find their wisdom in religion, and that's fine as long as they keep from fundamentalism.


I can't think of any cases where fundamentalism is a good thing. Not in politics, not in religion and not even in atheism.


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Fri Feb 06, 2015 3:36 am
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Post Re: Chapter 12: The fine art of baloney detection
I had essentially forgotten this chapter from my previous read, I'm glad for the rehash, The list of fallacious arguments seems somewhat familiar now to me from following the discussions hear on BT. CS list twenty types of "fallacies of logic and rhetoric" and nine points to consider when constructing and understanding a reasoned argument, A bonanza that could be considered a self-help manual, the lists should be posted at job sites next to Larry J Peter's "The Peter Principle".
http://www.en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Peter_Principle :P .



Sun Feb 08, 2015 7:32 pm
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