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“Never overestimate the intelligence of the public” is the mantra of quacks like Velikovsky, Sitchin, Hoagland, etc. If people want to believe something, they’ll believe it despite all evidence to the contrary. Hustlers are well aware of that. They attract cadres of credulous apostles, and then laugh all the way to the banks. Legitimate researchers often die in penniless obscurity. Sad, but true. If the OP on that other forum wants to believe that what appears to be Venus is really something else that some government is keeping secret, then rational argument becomes useless against him.
Last Edit: May 17, 2010 22:39:16 GMT -6 by Centaur
That's always my biggest issue with people like that. No matter how reasoned, logical, and factually-based your argument with them may be, it's lost on deaf ears. You can't argue logically with them. They just keep spewing ridiculous, unfounded claims back at you using "facts" they are simply reciting from a website posted by some conspiracy theorist. And the more facts and logic you present in your argument, the louder they get. Instead of debating in a civilized manner, they just drown out your voice with crazed yelling and screaming!
<soapbox> In my short 44 years, I've come to believe that at some level people will believe what they want to believe, in spite of any facts presented or pleading to the contrary. Most people, including me, like to listen to views that confirm their own, but when taken to even a slight extreme, this can lead quickly to the exclusion of all else, creating a giant feedback loop.
I think this is why the scientific method was so revolutionary, and though well-established by now in many quarters, appears to still be so today.
People wanna know what they like, and like what they know. And for some people, it seems that, to our eyes, strange explanations for events beyond their control that confirm other deeply held beliefs are a source of great comfort and even pride.
If, in the face of widely available rational evidence, somebody wants to believe that the Earth is flat, or that the Mayans could see the future, or that Venus is really an exoplanet, giant Chinese hovercraft, or dancing llama, what evidence could we possibly offer that would change their mind?
The snake eats its tail, but not in the ancient creative way—instead it seems to just because it tastes familiar.
These sorts of discussions inevitably turn into confrontations, which then inevitably lead to my elevated blood pressure and the other person still feeling exactly the same as when the talk started but more satisfied. I now avoid them like the plague and feel better for it.
This hypothesis also explains terrestrial phenomena like Lady Gaga
I had written this in response to the bit on the red, white, and blue, (now yellow), twinkling star thread, but realized that it veered off topic there, and could also be wrongly interpreted by answer seekers as a rip on them, so I'm sticking it here instead where it can mind its own business living a quiet life beside a secluded mountain stream. ---------------------
They invariably ascribe bright lights they've failed to notice before to some mystery planet or star hurtling toward the Earth.
Well yeah. Sure. But those would twinkle nearer the horizon too, wouldn't they? They'd just keep getting bigger and bigger while they twinkled!!
The moon does NOT twinkle though. Balloons in apparent size, looks weird colors, and shape shifts on us while keeping its derriere politely hidden, but no twinkling. So presumably Planet (Claire) would twinkle as it tumbled toward us until it reached the no twinkle zone around like...Mars?
I digress from my digression. Sorry.
What I don't get is the same as with the millennialists. How many times can you keep hitting the snooze/reset button before you finally gotta admit defeat, get up, and go back to work.
So many of the folks that start this are horrible energy trolls just looking to feed off of manifested anxiety that they help spread. I am certain of it!
I am NOT talking about folks asking good questions about what seem to be unusual objects like this new fall star. I AM talking about Planet X websites, Mayan calendar alarmists, and other fantasists. For Galileo's sakes, we have enough real problems here and now that are as bad as anything anybody could make up! How about starting there instead? Sheesh.
Say no to fear. Say yes to wonder.
Last Edit: Sept 22, 2010 1:40:18 GMT -6 by patrickm