Just a co-incidence?

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Re: Just a co-incidence?

#21  Postby scott1328 » May 24, 2014 10:58 pm

Okay...


I am ready to render an opinion...

I thinking you're stretching







Eta: Fixed typo
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Re: Just a co-incidence?

#22  Postby Onyx8 » May 24, 2014 11:01 pm

So are you agnostic about it UE. Unless you think you know what is going on.
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Re: Just a co-incidence?

#23  Postby Weaver » May 24, 2014 11:10 pm

UndercoverElephant wrote:
Fallible wrote:My answer to your question in the thread title would be "yes, I think so". But as you say, perhaps you had to be there. My inkling is that there are certain rules in art which are adhered to in order to make a picture hang together or be more aesthetically pleasing, and these can lead to similarities in different compositions. Perhaps there's some of this going on, even if unconsciously. My question to you, UE, is what do you or your girlfriend think it signifies?


Well, I already believed that "this sort of thing" happened, so in terms of "proof" of anything causal or metaphysical, none was required for me. My GF, when I met her (18 months ago), told me she had never paid much attention to either science or religion (strange but true!), and so at first had trouble understanding why I was so interested in both of them and how they interact with each other. She was a "perfect agnostic" in that respect. The closest thing she had to any "woo beliefs" was that she did (and still does) a lot of yoga, but she did/does this because it helps her physically and mentally, not for any spiritual goal. The one thing she said was that she "didn't believe in God" and didn't like religious nutters, but even this was not a particularly strongly held belief.

When I met her and tried to talk to her about what I believe, she didn't know what to make of most of it, and that was OK, because I didn't need her to have strong beliefs about it anyway. But I did tell her to watch out for synchronicity - for unusual or particularly unlikely co-incidences, especially those loaded with meaning. There's no deep meaning in this example, but the nature of the co-incidence was such that it was very hard for her to deny it - she was the one who drew the second card, and she was there when we first noticed the similarities. So what is the significance? Well, she stopped being an agnostic regarding the existence of "spooky causality", for want of a better term. She went from being an agnostic to believing "something is going on", although she's probably still pretty agnostic about precisely what it is.

This is a great description of the power of confirmation bias.
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Re: Just a co-incidence?

#24  Postby UndercoverElephant » May 24, 2014 11:14 pm

Onyx8 wrote:So are you agnostic about it UE. Unless you think you know what is going on.


I might be here for months if I go into too much detail about my own beliefs, but on the other hand I've not got much on this evening and my history regarding this stuff is already well known among the science/religion interface community on the interweb, so I'll try to answer your question.

I was never agnostic about "it". I sort of went from being a very much nonbeliever in "it" to having a quite complicated set of beliefs but in no doubt at all that something was going on, where "something" means "something the skeptics on this board most certainly don't believe is going on." Which probably doesn't help much!

No, I'm not agnostic about it. I believe the similarities between the two cards are non-accidental, and that they are an example of a type of causality which exists but is non-recognisable by science. I could go further in terms of theorising in more detail about "what is going on" in this particular case, but I'm not sure there is much point in me doing so. It's in the general area of synchronicity and subconscious mental connections between "different minds" (which in reality may not to be so different as we think they are, and therefore the connections not so surprising).
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Re: Just a co-incidence?

#25  Postby UndercoverElephant » May 24, 2014 11:17 pm

Weaver wrote:
UndercoverElephant wrote:
Fallible wrote:My answer to your question in the thread title would be "yes, I think so". But as you say, perhaps you had to be there. My inkling is that there are certain rules in art which are adhered to in order to make a picture hang together or be more aesthetically pleasing, and these can lead to similarities in different compositions. Perhaps there's some of this going on, even if unconsciously. My question to you, UE, is what do you or your girlfriend think it signifies?


Well, I already believed that "this sort of thing" happened, so in terms of "proof" of anything causal or metaphysical, none was required for me. My GF, when I met her (18 months ago), told me she had never paid much attention to either science or religion (strange but true!), and so at first had trouble understanding why I was so interested in both of them and how they interact with each other. She was a "perfect agnostic" in that respect. The closest thing she had to any "woo beliefs" was that she did (and still does) a lot of yoga, but she did/does this because it helps her physically and mentally, not for any spiritual goal. The one thing she said was that she "didn't believe in God" and didn't like religious nutters, but even this was not a particularly strongly held belief.

When I met her and tried to talk to her about what I believe, she didn't know what to make of most of it, and that was OK, because I didn't need her to have strong beliefs about it anyway. But I did tell her to watch out for synchronicity - for unusual or particularly unlikely co-incidences, especially those loaded with meaning. There's no deep meaning in this example, but the nature of the co-incidence was such that it was very hard for her to deny it - she was the one who drew the second card, and she was there when we first noticed the similarities. So what is the significance? Well, she stopped being an agnostic regarding the existence of "spooky causality", for want of a better term. She went from being an agnostic to believing "something is going on", although she's probably still pretty agnostic about precisely what it is.

This is a great description of the power of confirmation bias.


OK...I'll ask you a direct question about the "flip side" I mentioned already.

Do you think it is possible that "confirmation bias" could exist among the skeptic community also, or is it a psychological tendency restricted to believers in various things? In other words, is it possible that "confirmation bias" leads some skeptics to dismiss things which are real, but which challenge their own deeply-held beliefs about reality? Or is there some reason why it can't work that way around?

To put this another way: is there any level of improbability that you wouldn't reject as "confirmation bias"? Is there a quantifiable line, over which you'd say "OK, even I can't dismiss that as confirmation bias. That one's real."?
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Re: Just a co-incidence?

#26  Postby Onyx8 » May 24, 2014 11:19 pm

UndercoverElephant wrote:
Onyx8 wrote:So are you agnostic about it UE. Unless you think you know what is going on.


I might be here for months if I go into too much detail about my own beliefs, but on the other hand I've not got much on this evening and my history regarding this stuff is already well known among the science/religion interface community on the interweb, so I'll try to answer your question.

I was never agnostic about "it". I sort of went from being a very much nonbeliever in "it" to having a quite complicated set of beliefs but in no doubt at all that something was going on, where "something" means "something the skeptics on this board most certainly don't believe is going on." Which probably doesn't help much!

No, I'm not agnostic about it. I believe the similarities between the two cards are non-accidental, and that they are an example of a type of causality which exists but is non-recognisable by science. I could go further in terms of theorising in more detail about "what is going on" in this particular case, but I'm not sure there is much point in me doing so. It's in the general area of synchronicity and subconscious mental connections between "different minds" (which in reality may not to be so different as we think they are, and therefore the connections not so surprising).



I phrased that poorly. I meant to say that actually you are indeed agnostic about it as you don't know what is going on. You have some vague belief that there must be something going on and this is driving you to make these pattern recognition misfirings in your head. You really have to struggle to make any connection at all between the two drawings. There is vastly more dis-similar between the two than there is similar.
The problem with fantasies is you can't really insist that everyone else believes in yours, the other problem with fantasies is that most believers of fantasies eventually get around to doing exactly that.
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Re: Just a co-incidence?

#27  Postby Animavore » May 24, 2014 11:21 pm

I saw it straight away when looking at the picture, before I even began reading, the similarity. But then, I've always had a thing for seeing patterns in random arrangements. I see faces and animals very readily in things like rubbish bins or little pieces of beer mat after I've absent-mindedly torn them into little shreds.

So in answer to the thread title -Yes. Just a coincidence.

What else could it be?
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Re: Just a co-incidence?

#28  Postby Shrunk » May 24, 2014 11:22 pm

I have to say, that's almost as big a letdown as the meteor shower we were supposed to get last night.
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Re: Just a co-incidence?

#29  Postby Onyx8 » May 24, 2014 11:22 pm

UndercoverElephant wrote:

To put this another way: is there any level of improbability that you wouldn't reject as "confirmation bias"? Is there a quantifiable line, over which you'd say "OK, even I can't dismiss that as confirmation bias. That one's real."?


Vast amounts of research has been done on this stuff and there has never been a statistically significant result showing 'something going on'. If there ever is, that would be the level of improbability that I wouldn't reject as "confirmation bias", but it has never been seen.
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Re: Just a co-incidence?

#30  Postby UndercoverElephant » May 24, 2014 11:25 pm

Onyx8 wrote:
UndercoverElephant wrote:
Onyx8 wrote:So are you agnostic about it UE. Unless you think you know what is going on.


I might be here for months if I go into too much detail about my own beliefs, but on the other hand I've not got much on this evening and my history regarding this stuff is already well known among the science/religion interface community on the interweb, so I'll try to answer your question.

I was never agnostic about "it". I sort of went from being a very much nonbeliever in "it" to having a quite complicated set of beliefs but in no doubt at all that something was going on, where "something" means "something the skeptics on this board most certainly don't believe is going on." Which probably doesn't help much!

No, I'm not agnostic about it. I believe the similarities between the two cards are non-accidental, and that they are an example of a type of causality which exists but is non-recognisable by science. I could go further in terms of theorising in more detail about "what is going on" in this particular case, but I'm not sure there is much point in me doing so. It's in the general area of synchronicity and subconscious mental connections between "different minds" (which in reality may not to be so different as we think they are, and therefore the connections not so surprising).



I phrased that poorly. I meant to say that actually you are indeed agnostic about it as you don't know what is going on. You have some vague belief that there must be something going on and this is driving you to make these pattern recognition misfirings in your head. You really have to struggle to make any connection at all between the two drawings. There is vastly more dis-similar between the two than there is similar.


Well, you original post contained a question, and your second attempt contains a declaration about what I believe/know instead. I think I prefer the question!

No, I disagree with your assessment of what's going on in my head. I think that assessment is partly being driven by what you believe about the nature of reality, and I think we all have the right to decide for ourselves about questions like that. You have every right to come to the conclusion you've come to, and I have every right to come to my own, different conclusion.

Although I'm happy to try to answer more questions if you ask them. And as for the similarities or non-similarities between the two pictures - I think that is a subjective judgement, and I am not expecting everybody to agree with my judgement, but I do stand by it.
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Re: Just a co-incidence?

#31  Postby Animavore » May 24, 2014 11:26 pm

I remember reading about an experiment where they gave subjects a picture of random dots, like an old TV with no reception, and asked them could they see various objects like cats adn UFOs, and sure enough people have a habit of seeing whatever they're told should be there.
It's a phenomenom called apophenia.
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Re: Just a co-incidence?

#32  Postby virphen » May 24, 2014 11:28 pm

An element that is usually ignored over coincidences is the fact that with such huge numbers of events and interactions going on around and between us all every single day is how unlikely it would be if amazing coincidences in fact never occurred. Any particular one might be incredibly unlikely, but that some will happen is certain. It's like we collectively buy a googolplex of lottery tickets every day, a shitload are bound to be winners.

People are naturally very shit at probabilities.
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Re: Just a co-incidence?

#33  Postby Weaver » May 24, 2014 11:28 pm

UndercoverElephant wrote:
Weaver wrote:
UndercoverElephant wrote:
Fallible wrote:My answer to your question in the thread title would be "yes, I think so". But as you say, perhaps you had to be there. My inkling is that there are certain rules in art which are adhered to in order to make a picture hang together or be more aesthetically pleasing, and these can lead to similarities in different compositions. Perhaps there's some of this going on, even if unconsciously. My question to you, UE, is what do you or your girlfriend think it signifies?


Well, I already believed that "this sort of thing" happened, so in terms of "proof" of anything causal or metaphysical, none was required for me. My GF, when I met her (18 months ago), told me she had never paid much attention to either science or religion (strange but true!), and so at first had trouble understanding why I was so interested in both of them and how they interact with each other. She was a "perfect agnostic" in that respect. The closest thing she had to any "woo beliefs" was that she did (and still does) a lot of yoga, but she did/does this because it helps her physically and mentally, not for any spiritual goal. The one thing she said was that she "didn't believe in God" and didn't like religious nutters, but even this was not a particularly strongly held belief.

When I met her and tried to talk to her about what I believe, she didn't know what to make of most of it, and that was OK, because I didn't need her to have strong beliefs about it anyway. But I did tell her to watch out for synchronicity - for unusual or particularly unlikely co-incidences, especially those loaded with meaning. There's no deep meaning in this example, but the nature of the co-incidence was such that it was very hard for her to deny it - she was the one who drew the second card, and she was there when we first noticed the similarities. So what is the significance? Well, she stopped being an agnostic regarding the existence of "spooky causality", for want of a better term. She went from being an agnostic to believing "something is going on", although she's probably still pretty agnostic about precisely what it is.

This is a great description of the power of confirmation bias.


OK...I'll ask you a direct question about the "flip side" I mentioned already.

Do you think it is possible that "confirmation bias" could exist among the skeptic community also, or is it a psychological tendency restricted to believers in various things? In other words, is it possible that "confirmation bias" leads some skeptics to dismiss things which are real, but which challenge their own deeply-held beliefs about reality? Or is there some reason why it can't work that way around?

To put this another way: is there any level of improbability that you wouldn't reject as "confirmation bias"? Is there a quantifiable line, over which you'd say "OK, even I can't dismiss that as confirmation bias. That one's real."?

This is exactly why we use science to examine the events of the world - to eliminate both confirmation bias and unnecessary rejection of actual connected events.

Yet you claim that what you detect is beyond science:
o, I'm not agnostic about it. I believe the similarities between the two cards are non-accidental, and that they are an example of a type of causality which exists but is non-recognisable by science.


Nothing is beyond science. If it fails to be confirmed by scientific examination, it doesn't exist.
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Re: Just a co-incidence?

#34  Postby UndercoverElephant » May 24, 2014 11:30 pm

Animavore wrote:I saw it straight away when looking at the picture, before I even began reading, the similarity. But then, I've always had a thing for seeing patterns in random arrangements. I see faces and animals very readily in things like rubbish bins or little pieces of beer mat after I've absent-mindedly torn them into little shreds.


You saw all four similarities straight away? You've certainly got a brain that is quick to see connections, yes. It took both of us a couple of minutes.


So in answer to the thread title -Yes. Just a coincidence.

What else could it be?


It could be what Jung called "synchronicity", or it could be some sort of direct connection between minds, or it could be a bit of both. I see no reason why either of those things are impossible, regardless of the absence (maybe necessary absence) of any proof or scientific evidence for either of them.
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Re: Just a co-incidence?

#35  Postby UndercoverElephant » May 24, 2014 11:31 pm

Animavore wrote:I remember reading about an experiment where they gave subjects a picture of random dots, like an old TV with no reception, and asked them could they see various objects like cats adn UFOs, and sure enough people have a habit of seeing whatever they're told should be there.
It's a phenomenom called apophenia.


I don't doubt that this is a real psychological tendency, and I don't think there is any mystery why it exists. People have to try to make sense of the world, and this would be very difficult if we tend take lots of "short cuts", and this is one of them.
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Re: Just a co-incidence?

#36  Postby UndercoverElephant » May 24, 2014 11:35 pm

virphen wrote:An element that is usually ignored over coincidences is the fact that with such huge numbers of events and interactions going on around and between us all every single day is how unlikely it would be if amazing coincidences in fact never occurred. Any particular one might be incredibly unlikely, but that some will happen is certain. It's like we collectively buy a googolplex of lottery tickets every day, a shitload are bound to be winners.

People are naturally very shit at probabilities.


Sure. If everybody adult on the planet were to receive just two birthday cards, one printed and one hand drawn, then I'm sure at least one of those pairs of cards would be at least as similar to each other as the two in this case. Probably... :)
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Re: Just a co-incidence?

#37  Postby Animavore » May 24, 2014 11:38 pm

UndercoverElephant wrote:
You saw all four similarities straight away? You've certainly got a brain that is quick to see connections, yes. It took both of us a couple of minutes.


The thread title had me looking for a connection from the outset. It jumped out at me.
I've no how long it would've taken to notice, or even if I would've noticed it, without a prompt.

UndercoverElephant wrote:
It could be what Jung called "synchronicity", or it could be some sort of direct connection between minds, or it could be a bit of both. I see no reason why either of those things are impossible, regardless of the absence (maybe necessary absence) of any proof or scientific evidence for either of them.


I'm not going to say they're impossibe. In fact, I find asking about possiblilities to be a red-herring. It's possible Scarlett Johanssen has a secret crush on me - but is it likely?
I prefer to say, "improbable". To find it plausible I would first have to accept that minds can somehow link, which requires a belief that "minds" are something which float about independantly of brains like something from Star Trek V, in other words, I would need to have a lot of presuppositions in place first to find any of those conclusions you've mentioned plausible.
Modern neurology puts any of that in doubt for me. I see every reason to see why either of those things are implausible.
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Re: Just a co-incidence?

#38  Postby Animavore » May 24, 2014 11:39 pm

UndercoverElephant wrote:
Animavore wrote:I remember reading about an experiment where they gave subjects a picture of random dots, like an old TV with no reception, and asked them could they see various objects like cats adn UFOs, and sure enough people have a habit of seeing whatever they're told should be there.
It's a phenomenom called apophenia.


I don't doubt that this is a real psychological tendency, and I don't think there is any mystery why it exists. People have to try to make sense of the world, and this would be very difficult if we tend take lots of "short cuts", and this is one of them.


You don't doubt it except when it happens to you personally.
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Re: Just a co-incidence?

#39  Postby Onyx8 » May 24, 2014 11:42 pm

Or you see something that reminds you of the one card on tv, or on a billboard, or you open the fridge and the cheese and the jam both fall out, or..., or..., or… Lots of things happened that day you noticed the one thing that confirms what you already believe.
The problem with fantasies is you can't really insist that everyone else believes in yours, the other problem with fantasies is that most believers of fantasies eventually get around to doing exactly that.
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Re: Just a co-incidence?

#40  Postby UndercoverElephant » May 24, 2014 11:42 pm

Weaver wrote:
UndercoverElephant wrote:
Weaver wrote:
UndercoverElephant wrote:

Well, I already believed that "this sort of thing" happened, so in terms of "proof" of anything causal or metaphysical, none was required for me. My GF, when I met her (18 months ago), told me she had never paid much attention to either science or religion (strange but true!), and so at first had trouble understanding why I was so interested in both of them and how they interact with each other. She was a "perfect agnostic" in that respect. The closest thing she had to any "woo beliefs" was that she did (and still does) a lot of yoga, but she did/does this because it helps her physically and mentally, not for any spiritual goal. The one thing she said was that she "didn't believe in God" and didn't like religious nutters, but even this was not a particularly strongly held belief.

When I met her and tried to talk to her about what I believe, she didn't know what to make of most of it, and that was OK, because I didn't need her to have strong beliefs about it anyway. But I did tell her to watch out for synchronicity - for unusual or particularly unlikely co-incidences, especially those loaded with meaning. There's no deep meaning in this example, but the nature of the co-incidence was such that it was very hard for her to deny it - she was the one who drew the second card, and she was there when we first noticed the similarities. So what is the significance? Well, she stopped being an agnostic regarding the existence of "spooky causality", for want of a better term. She went from being an agnostic to believing "something is going on", although she's probably still pretty agnostic about precisely what it is.

This is a great description of the power of confirmation bias.


OK...I'll ask you a direct question about the "flip side" I mentioned already.

Do you think it is possible that "confirmation bias" could exist among the skeptic community also, or is it a psychological tendency restricted to believers in various things? In other words, is it possible that "confirmation bias" leads some skeptics to dismiss things which are real, but which challenge their own deeply-held beliefs about reality? Or is there some reason why it can't work that way around?

To put this another way: is there any level of improbability that you wouldn't reject as "confirmation bias"? Is there a quantifiable line, over which you'd say "OK, even I can't dismiss that as confirmation bias. That one's real."?

This is exactly why we use science to examine the events of the world - to eliminate both confirmation bias and unnecessary rejection of actual connected events.


But there's some things you simply can't use science to examine, and this is a perfect example. It's a one-off. You can't re-create the situation. You can try to do something similar under scientific conditions, but the very fact that it's being done under those conditions make the situation significantly different. That would be that; this is this. As presented, this is just what it is - an anecdotal account of something that happened under non-scientific conditions, can't happen again and is open to interpretation and subjective judgement. Science can't resolve this one way or another.


Yet you claim that what you detect is beyond science:
No, I'm not agnostic about it. I believe the similarities between the two cards are non-accidental, and that they are an example of a type of causality which exists but is non-recognisable by science.


Nothing is beyond science. If it fails to be confirmed by scientific examination, it doesn't exist.


Loads of things are beyond science. Ethics, art, philosophy, and an endless list of other things. Science is an activity, and a form of communication, but reality is much bigger than that. All sorts of things (not even woo things) exist even though science can't examine them. Was Beethoven a musical genius? Science can't answer the question, but it doesn't follow that the question is unanswerable, or meaningless.
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