Wednesday, May 04, 2016

stack of pancakes

Hungry?

Although my wife makes the best buttermilk pancakes I've ever tasted, this post is not about pancakes or recipes. Do you remember me mentioning in the past that I don't cook? Unless you call microwave warming frozen food cooking. I don't.



found this at craftfail

This post is about conspiracies and their appeal.

First a bit of what I've notice:

  • stack of pancakes - I've read that humans evolved into pattern recognizing beings. Animals in the clouds, mythical characters in the stars, man in the moon, Jesus on your pancake (lord I need a pancake quick). Our brains are pattern recognizers, which can useful. However, when we speculate about the meaning or predictive qualities of these patterns our thoughts end up in strange places.
  • Flat Earth Society - You might not be aware but youtube is full of crazy "proofs" of a flat earth. I find it scary that these people will not accept any NASA evidence. According to them NASA is just a tool of the conspiracy to fool people with fake stuff. The main reason I include this one is because today I was reading thoughts about them being a joke or not on the forum Quora. Most conclude that they are not doing it as a joke. It's sad since our day to day surroundings (unless you are an astronaut in the international space station) fail to provide us any indication that we are standing on a sphere. This could be a great starting point for seeking out the science supporting our spherical shape and learning.
  • youtube and other social media - I hope someday a vast majority of us will learn that social media is too easily commandeered by people/organizations with an agenda. Right now it seems the most bizarre ideas spread the quickest.
  • Living through Watergate (another annoying thing - the use of "gate" on other scandals/conspiracies) - Corruption and scandals happens. The first big one to unfold in my life was Watergate. Events like that make you question your trust in organizations/government. But just because it happens doesn't mean it is happening everywhere all the time.
  • No desire to research -  I initially thought that $5 bill trick was real and sorta funny. A quick internet search revealed this CraftFail website picture. Looking closer at the picture it does look fake. People (my brother for one!) so often don't bother to take a bit of time to check these strange ideas out. Ironic that they quickly mistrust experts and then even quicker trust an unknown conspiracy theorist.

Why?

I have some ideas having to do with our perceptions and difficulties understanding science. But there are many conspiracies which have nothing to do with science.

I found an interesting article about this at Salon.com. (link) In it, Professor of Cognitive Sciences, Stephan Lewandowsky, says that people hate randomness. A conspiracy theory gives them someone to blame.


Apparently, he doesn't see an end to it. He said, "...any extraordinary event will be followed by conspiracy theorizing. I can tell you that right now. Whatever happens tomorrow, there will be a conspiracy theory about it."

Would it help if conspiracy theories, propaganda and marketing schemes were discussed more in social media?

Should we stop folding our money in odd ways looking for future predictions?

Will I have pancakes this weekend? (I hope so) 

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