Magical thinking

Discussion in 'Other Stuff' started by Boo boo, Nov 10, 2014.

  1. Boo boo

    Boo boo New

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    What do you guys think of Matthew Hutson's book "Magical Thinking"? http://www.amazon.com/Laws-Magical-Thinking-Irrational-Beliefs/dp/0452298903/ref=sr_1_1?ie=UTF8&qid=1415657563&sr=8-1&keywords=Matthew Hutson

    Some of the reviews/comments on amazon are ridiculous. Funny thing is a long time ago, I thought that "belief" in an afterlife, ghosts, and purpose in life were all just ways of coping with reality. But now that I look at neuroscientists like Eben Alexander, researchers ect., I'm really interested in those things.
     
  2. Saiko

    Saiko Member

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    First I've heard of it so . . .

    Okay. Just took a look at his website. Another wonky preacher. His version of materialism is "of course materialism is the actuality but the errors that make is think otherwise are okay too." I'm starting to wonder just how/why there are so many well-educated idiots working in the sciences.

    So you're a "recovering materialist " then. Good on you.
     
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  3. Boo boo

    Boo boo New

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    Me too.
     
  4. malf

    malf Member

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    Heh. There is another explanation.
     
  5. Saiko

    Saiko Member

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    Yup. One based on the belief/indoctrination that materialism is correct and that current norms in standard-state human cognizance are capable of perceiving all.

    I have a question for you - how many years did you spend in formal studies in any field of science?
     
    Last edited: Nov 10, 2014
  6. malf

    malf Member

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    It appears that we all have our beliefs and indoctrinations.

    Whatever I say will either be too much or too little to avoid the Saiko snark. What's your point?
     
  7. Saiko

    Saiko Member

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    No"appears" involved, just yes and no. Yes we all, obviously, have our beliefs. No we don't all have indoctrinations and there are people active in the sciences that do not.

    Embrace the snark dude! That said, your comment shows that you let assumptions corral your approaches. And it's silly to ask about "my point" as a response to a question.
     
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  8. Boo boo

    Boo boo New

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  9. malf

    malf Member

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    e.g.?


    Not assumptions, Saiko. Just experience of your MO.
     
  10. steve001

    steve001 Member

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    I think you should delve more in discovering what magical thinking is because it's something we all do, including Eben.
     
  11. Hmmmmm...I wonder if the kind of pseudophysics promoted by Tegmark and Krauss counts as magical thinking to Hutson:

    Pseudophysics: The New High Priesthood

    Or what about Rosenberg's claims that all our understanding is nothing but meaningless illusion?

    "Magical Thinking" seems like a pejorative term to use against those who disagree with whatever beliefs the accuser counts as "non-magical". As Feser points out, the accusation of magic doesn't apply to assertions made via reasoned metaphysics:

    Magic versus metaphysics

     
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  12. Paul C. Anagnostopoulos

    Paul C. Anagnostopoulos Nap, interrupted. Member

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    If (a) you don't know how something works, and (b) you really feel as if you should have an explanation, then you will have a tendency to make up something magical to explain it. The idea behind science is to suspend the magical beliefs and look for evidence.

    ~~ Paul
     
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  13. Boo boo

    Boo boo New

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  14. Pollux

    Pollux New

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    That's what's called a working hypothesis. Scientists of the kind, who are so eager to box-in and label absolutely everything within the confines of the material world-view, jumps at everything that seem to oppose that worldview with vigorously attempts to just spout out a theory, and to "put that baby to bed" .

    I know there is also and equal amount of pretty outlandish and unorthodox theories from proponents of any given subject in this field, but I for one root for the freethinkers and those who dare to expand and think about things in a new light, and challenge dogma - even though they might turn out to be wrong. They, at least, had the balls to think outside the box, instead of naysayers who try to confide and restrict.
     
  15. To be fair, there are lots of proponents who aren't really free thinkers at all, and their willingness to question only goes as far as finding a way to cram in their particular beliefs about reality.

    Admittedly where the concept of gnosis is involved things are trickier, though I don't think anyone has given a good explanation for how any sort of ritual practice can translate to definitive knowledge about the consensus reality. Why I question the concept of yoga-"science".
     
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  16. Pollux

    Pollux New

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    There is of course always a struggle between theories - and every scientist protects their own pet-theory. But I rather have a "brain-storm" debate on theories than have a dogmatic; "no-that-can-not-be-just-because-I-say-so"-environment where theories, and new angles of thinkings, are shunned and ridiculed.
     
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  17. steve001

    steve001 Member

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    Nothing you've written pertains to magical thinking. It does not involve thinking outside the "box". Something as simple as buying a lottery ticket often involves magical thinking. An obvious example is carrying a lucky charm.
     
  18. Boo boo

    Boo boo New

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    I agree. Both "believers" and "materialists" will try to cram in their "stuff".
     
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  19. Typoz

    Typoz Member

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    One of the problems is that we all need some degree of stability in our lives. After going through a period of discarding trust in anything which others have said, one's life may be somewhat chaotic, like being spun around in a whirlpool. Sooner or later one will tend to grab on to one thing or another as a way of reducing the dizzying effect. Although I tend to speak in favour of my own opinions, I recognise that we each travel our own path, and uniformity or conformity among people is not a desirable goal.

    Ideally, one might challenge the ideas of others, not with the aim of 'converting' them to our own beliefs, but only to point out that alternatives views are possible. Sometimes it takes others to do this as our vision may be blinkered and we may miss the obvious.
     
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  20. David Bailey

    David Bailey Administrator

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    The trouble is, if you start explaining people's ideas as "ways of coping with reality", where does it stop.

    Is the teenage boy who is interested in science, finding ways of coping with the reality that he doesn't have a girlfriend?

    Are all medical researchers merely finding ways to cope with the eventual reality of their deaths.

    Did Ramanujan develop his mathematics to cope with the reality of his being poor - maybe to count his money better!

    Labelling someone's ideas "ways of coping with reality" - while implicity holding your own ideas above such muddiness - is a pretty pathetic way to argue anything.

    David
     
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