Shaq says the Earth is flat.

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Dragline
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Re: Shaq says the Earth is flat.

Post by Dragline » Tue Mar 21, 2017 9:29 pm

C40 wrote:
Nowadays, I don't see that dynamic being as obvious. It seems like the believers think themselves to be smarter than the general population.So now, they think the general population is unintelligent, uninformed, and brainwashed into believing the earth is round or that trails left behind airplanes are condensation. So now the believers get further and further entrenched.
The internet facilitates confirmation biases. And they can hang out with other "smart" people who have similar world views.

Hey, wait . . . :lol:

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Re: Shaq says the Earth is flat.

Post by jacob » Wed Mar 22, 2017 10:07 am

My first thought when I read about C40's dating adventure was: home-schooled? Okay, that was maybe a cheap shot because we've all seen examples of remarkable exceptions to the rule. This wasn't really meant to start such a debate.

Conspiracy theories are really misnamed because some of them don't really require a conspiracy. The keyword is "theory" (obviously not in the scientific meaning but more in the vernacular "I have a theory"-meaning). For example, some guy discovers through his own independent research(*) that chemtrails contain viagra; a theory he confirms by observing the correlation between planes flying overhead and certain personal physiological reactions. He then proceeds to post his "theory" on the internet or tell some other wingnut about it. It gets picked up and shared.

(*) Mythbuster style ... H/T Sclass for the post about Mythbuster style science vs real science.

What's horrifying for those of us who take our shared reality seriously is how easily these urban legends spread [like viruses] in people who share them completely sincerely (so not tounge-in-cheek) because it speaks to the complete lack of an effective "general education", that is, the lack of an effective framework for how the world actually works.---A more reasonable explanation would be that he's really into airplanes. Hence the home-schooling comment because such educational projects often end up displaying the same symptoms (no framework) as people who are selftaught.

Keyword: complete.

It's really crazy (but not surprising) that it's possible to be a functional adult in the 21st century w/o knowing really much of anything about the world. It could be argued that knowing that Alaska is not an island or knowing that the Earth is round is not really useful; that it's more of a Jeopardy type question. I suppose the horrifying aspect of it comes about because we then automatically assume that if a person doesn't know that, then what else don't they know. Maybe this horror is generated by expectations that are too linear (thanks education system) in between factoids people know vis-a-vis their ability to act in a reasonable manner.

In terms of induced horror it's also interesting to consider how:
numerical illiteracy (inability to do simple math): normal and even cool in some circles.
illiteracy (inability to read): nothing to be proud of but okay in many cases.
fact illiteracy (inability to command basic facts about the world): now it's beginning to get disturbing.
reason illiteracy (inability to reason): sometimes another word for insanity

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C40
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Re: Shaq says the Earth is flat.

Post by C40 » Wed Mar 22, 2017 10:33 am

No, I don't think she was homeschooled. She does believe that many (how many???) things taught at schools are lies. The girl was just.... out there.. like her brain is only 60% human.

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Re: Shaq says the Earth is flat.

Post by SustainableHappiness » Wed Mar 22, 2017 11:00 am

like her brain is only 60% human.
And 40% Miley Cyrus, congrats to C40 who once dated a reptilian celeb.
normal and even cool in some circles.
This is the same with conspiracy theories and reminds me of that thread that was on here about how intelligence doesn't = rational thinking and maybe the intelligent conspiracy theorists get street cred from deep diving into facts and tying them together where no ties exist which not only makes the 'theory' seem more plausible, but further incentivizes adding in supporting evidence. Damn.

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Re: Shaq says the Earth is flat.

Post by Ego » Wed Mar 22, 2017 12:59 pm

jacob wrote: What's horrifying for those of us who take our shared reality seriously is how easily these urban legends spread [like viruses] in people who share them completely sincerely (so not tounge-in-cheek) because it speaks to the complete lack of an effective "general education", that is, the lack of an effective framework for how the world actually works.---A more reasonable explanation would be that he's really into airplanes.
Funny, I look at it the other way around.

It is hard to blame those who are ignorant (in the truest sense of the word) and believe these things as a result of their ignorance. For instance, many Nepalese people are brought up being told legends of the Yeti. They have a small scope of experience and, as a result, continue to perpetuate the myth. One would expect that as their scope of experience expands, so too does their skepticism and they shift from actual believers to tongue-in-cheekers to non-believers.

Contrast that with the Chupacabra myth in Mexico that took off in the 1990s when superstitious indigenous people saw tongue-in-cheek "news" reports and actually believed them. Today they perpetuate the myth, parent to child. It is the tongue-in-cheek depictions that are really pernicious forms of social programming. The Chupacabra wires the belief in the devil in the same way Santa Claus lays down the neural wiring that is later used to power adult self-delusions.

While the spread is contagious, I think of it less as a virus than a parasite. Specifically a kleptoparasite.

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Kleptoparasitism

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Re: Shaq says the Earth is flat.

Post by enigmaT120 » Wed Mar 22, 2017 2:11 pm

Thanks Brute, now I have that Firefly theme song in my head again.

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Re: Shaq says the Earth is flat.

Post by subgard » Wed Mar 22, 2017 3:03 pm

Conspiracy theories seem to come from paranoid thinking. Paranoids have two (related) things going on.

1. Poor theory of mind. They don't understand other people's intentions very well. In the absence of a good understanding, their default is deception. They assume everyone else is up to something deceptive. If you're around a paranoid, you might notice that they question other people's motives a little too much. "Why did she say that?" "Why did they do that?" "What did he mean when he did that?" These questions will be prompted by actions with very obvious innocent explanations. You might get tired of saying "She just says things like that.", "They did it for obvious reasons.", "I don't think he meant anything."

2. A kind of solipsistic narcissism where they only consider their own relationship with everything in the universe.

A paranoid's immediate response to seeing airplane contrails is "What do they have to do with me? What are they doing to me?" The paranoid's response to the official explanation for contrails is " What are they deceiving me about?"

So, the problem is not a lack of logical or reasoning ability, lack of knowledge, or even a lack of a framework of knowledge. It's a relational problem, where the paranoid does not trust the people supplying the facts. Aside from this lack of trust, paranoids can be perfectly logical and sensible. Many hold technical jobs where reasoning ability is essential.

The problem with reasoning or arguing with a paranoid, is they will assume you must have a good reason to continue deceiving them. The anti-vaxxing movement prompted more scientific studies on vaccines and autism. The anti-vaxxer response was "There must be something going on if you're studying it so much."
Because they assume that other people's default mode of communication is deception, the more you reason, discuss, argue, present facts, etc. with a paranoid, the more deceptive you appear to them. (If you're the one supplying the facts, they'll assume you're deceptive. If you're just arguing with them, they'll assume you're gullible.)

The more science climate scientists do, the more deceptive they appear to paranoids. Or, Communication = Deception. The more communication, the more deception.

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Re: Shaq says the Earth is flat.

Post by jacob » Wed Mar 22, 2017 4:10 pm

@subgard - I have two questions:

1) Is this [conspiracy theories] mainly the purview of paranoids?
2) Is there anyway to break out of this belief in perception?

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Re: Shaq says the Earth is flat.

Post by subgard » Wed Mar 22, 2017 5:19 pm

1) Is this [conspiracy theories] mainly the purview of paranoids?
I don't know, but you can break both paranoids and conspiracy theorists into two similar camps.
Primary - Conspiracy theorist originators and full blown paranoids. Full blown paranoids are less likely to believe others' conspiracy theories and more likely to create their own (because they don't trust anyone, including other conspiracy theorists).
Secondary - Conspiracy theory followers and people with just paranoid traits. I think a lot of these people just don't want to appear naive. It's kind of "cool" to not believe the official line. So, there could be a lot of people in this camp who don't even have much paranoid traits at all. But, for them personally, it is much better socially to appear like they're not gullible enough to believe everything science and the government tells them.
2) Is there anyway to break out of this belief in perception?
For the primary camp, years of therapy? The prognosis for Paranoid Personality Disorder is not very positive.
For the secondary camp, maturity? It's almost like they're teenagers, rebelling against authority.

Edit - Come to think of it, conspiracy theories seem to flourish where the standard sources of information are unreliable or downright deceptive. Russia and the authoritarian regimes of the Middle East come to mind. It seems like our society is in that kind of state right now. The main source of information (the internet) is unreliable or downright deceptive. So, I dunno, get rid of the internet?

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Re: Shaq says the Earth is flat.

Post by Chris » Wed Mar 29, 2017 6:06 am


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Re: Shaq says the Earth is flat.

Post by Smashter » Wed Mar 29, 2017 2:38 pm

The interview confused me even more! Still seems like he believes it's flat, right?

Also, I think the sports world needs to give up on pretending Shaq has charisma. We gave it a valiant effort. Maybe he had it in the locker room during his playing days, but sheesh, it does not translate to the tv screen.

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Re: Shaq says the Earth is flat.

Post by BRUTE » Wed Mar 29, 2017 7:30 pm

brute couldn't tell if Shaq was joking or serious. he found him pretty charismatic. maybe not a 10/10, but certainly not lacking charisma.

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