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August 10, 2022


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“There's a mistaken notion that it's possible to see reality as it is, objectively.”

……….It has been my experience that, both IRL as well as online, people with, let’s say, less than rational beliefs, tend to resort left and right and center to logical fallacies. Be they cross-eyed dribbling Trump-worshiping dupes, or be they regular theistic dupes. I’d kind of sort of respect some theist who clearly recognized the irrationality of his theism, and nevertheless elected, consciously, deliberately, to prefer faith over reason. “Kind of sort of”, because at the end of the day it’s still regrettable, that a human being, that is capable of reason, should nevertheless choose unreasoning faith over reason; but still, in as much as they are self-aware as well as upfront about what they’re about, I would, like I said, kind of sort of respect that.

But most don’t. Most profess to being rational. And, in their attempt to somehow force-fit their irrational beliefs to wanting to appear rational, both to others and even more so to themselves, they almost invariably keep resorting --- probably inadvertently, probably in spite of themselves --- to some logical fallacy or the other, and often a whole slew of them all at once.

This for instance. Science is starting to show us that we can’t apprehend reality as-is, and that the brain creates a simulation of the world for us basis limited sensory inputs. Theistic types tend to latch on to this, and make an Olympic-size leap from there to claiming, “Aha, therefore god/meditation/mysticism/whatever!”.

The logical fallacy at the heart of this is a variant of the God of the Gaps. We don’t see the world as it is, that’s a “gap”; somehow that leads to the claim that the world can indeed be seen as is, and that how one does that is, well, some form of woo. The obvious fallacy here is that said claim is made without a shred of evidence. The fallacy lies is blithely assuming that the claim is true, without a shred of actual evidence. (And this goes for pseudo-theists as well, including the Advaitic and Zen types.)

Want to catch woo-peddlers in the act, and have some fun in the process? Familiarize yourself with the commonly used logical fallacies, and make a hobby of catching the woosters as they resort to them, as they invariably will.


“the familiar story of The Dress -- which some people see as white and gold (that's me)”

……….I saw it as white and gold as well. Couldn’t for the life of me see the black and blue there. (Okay, I did discern a shade of bluish-ness in the white, but that’s about it.) Came as a huge surprise when I read that, apparently, and as you say, “The dress actually is blue and black.”


I realize we’re all susceptible to this sort of thing. It’s easy enough to see how others are misguided; but it’s very difficult to see that we ourselves might be, because that’s kind of part of what being misguided, being mistaken, is about.

The easy antidote to this is intellectual integrity. Time and time again I’ve found people, who’re otherwise no doubt honest enough, react with a singular lack of intellectual integrity when their errors are pointed out. They either keep trying to somehow spin and/or logical-fallacy and/or generally obfuscate their way out of having to admit to being mistaken; or else they simply turn tail and either disappear completely, or else exit that particular discussion, when they’re clearly shown to be mistaken.

That’s such a pity. Every time we’re shown to be mistaken, is a chance for us to learn, and thereby to grow. What sane healthy person turns down this chance, in order to continue to wallow in ignorance and delusion? Why on earth do people do that? (But thing is, I don’t really know if the people doing this are really aware of what they’re doing. It’s transparent to us, but is it to them? I don’t know! The worrying part of this is, who knows if we ourselves might be guilty of some such self-delusion, and are unaware of it? I guess we can do no better, and no more, than to stay as alert as we can, at all times, to this possibility, and to actively question the assumptions that we ourselves tend to take for granted.)

Thank you for explaining the dress issue. I too see it as white and gold and couldn't have known that anyone actually sees it as blue and black. ( I was exposed to inside light almost all day.) It is an excellent metaphor for life though.

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