Just a co-incidence?

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Re: Just a co-incidence?

#41  Postby UndercoverElephant » May 24, 2014 11:47 pm

Animavore wrote:
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.


I suspect it happens to me regularly, but this is no reason to come to an absolute conclusion that every instance of something "spooky" is the result of my mind playing tricks on me. That would be like concluding that because a lot of paranormal/supernatural/religious claims are demonstrably false, all of them are false. If you're a skeptic then you may well believe all of them are false, and therefore have other explanations (cheating, psychology playing tricks on you, etc...) But there's no scientific or logical reason for everybody to agree with the skeptic on this. There's room in this world for people who believe otherwise. :)
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Re: Just a co-incidence?

#42  Postby Weaver » May 24, 2014 11:49 pm

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

OK, now you're just trying to win an argument, even if it means that you totally ignore what was actually being discussed.

You claimed some sort of causative connection between the two cards, and implied that such things occur frequently yet are beyond the realm of science.

That is incorrect - there is no such causative connection, and that sort of thing (not the irrelevancies you brought in above) would not be beyond scientific inquiry.
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Re: Just a co-incidence?

#43  Postby UndercoverElephant » May 24, 2014 11:50 pm

Onyx8 wrote: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.


Yes. It would be silly for me to disagree with this, because I've already stated that I think the same process occurs in the minds of skeptics too. It's not me who is saying "this psychological tendency never applies to me." I agree it happens to me, although I don't think it applies in this case (I accept that others do). But I also believe that skeptics are vulnerable to the same tendencies, and that they too end up interpreting things in ways that confirm their already-existing beliefs, and it seems to me that at least some them think they are immune!
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Re: Just a co-incidence?

#44  Postby Onyx8 » May 24, 2014 11:51 pm

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

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.

OK, now you're just trying to win an argument, even if it means that you totally ignore what was actually being discussed.

You claimed some sort of causative connection between the two cards, and implied that such things occur frequently yet are beyond the realm of science.

That is incorrect - there is no such causative connection, and that sort of thing (not the irrelevancies you brought in above) would not be beyond scientific inquiry.


And indeed has been extensively inquired after with completely consistent results across many experimental frameworks.
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Re: Just a co-incidence?

#45  Postby Animavore » May 24, 2014 11:57 pm

UndercoverElephant wrote:
Animavore wrote:
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.


I suspect it happens to me regularly, but this is no reason to come to an absolute conclusion that every instance of something "spooky" is the result of my mind playing tricks on me. That would be like concluding that because a lot of paranormal/supernatural/religious claims are demonstrably false, all of them are false. If you're a skeptic then you may well believe all of them are false, and therefore have other explanations (cheating, psychology playing tricks on you, etc...) But there's no scientific or logical reason for everybody to agree with the skeptic on this. There's room in this world for people who believe otherwise. :)


Except I'm not coming to the conclusion that every instance of something "spooky" is the result of minds being played tricks on. I don't even find your picture "spooky". They're so loosely connected there's no way I could see anything "spooky" about them. The objects aren't even in quite the right position, nor are they even the same things as each other except the cheese. The cheese being the most "out" object. For me to see the pictures as being eerily close enough to think there is something more going on "behind the scenes" requires a bit of mental manipulation on my part on par with those who see codes in the Bible or read prohecy in Nostrodamus. I have to shift this a bit, flip that a bit, say that that looks a little bit like this, squint my eyes a bit and just maybe -
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Re: Just a co-incidence?

#46  Postby UndercoverElephant » May 24, 2014 11:58 pm

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

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.

OK, now you're just trying to win an argument, even if it means that you totally ignore what was actually being discussed.


I'm just taking part in a discussion, and responding to the points people make. This isn't sophistry. I think there are lots of things that science can't say much/anything about, some of which are considered "woo" and some aren't.


You claimed some sort of causative connection between the two cards, and implied that such things occur frequently yet are beyond the realm of science.


I said that I believe the above, in response to a direct question about what I believed, and I did indeed imply that I believed such things, or other things of a related nature, happen regularly.


That is incorrect - there is no such causative connection, and that sort of thing (not the irrelevancies you brought in above) would not be beyond scientific inquiry.


Well, I'm not sure how you or anybody else can make such a definitive statement, unless absence of evidence has become evidence of absence and I didn't get the memo. :)

There are lots of things beyond scientific enquiry, and this is a typical example. Science, in order to be science and not something less authoritative, has to work within certain strict constraints. Reality, art and religion are not similarly constrained, which makes them less "reliable", but able to explore and express things that science cannot.
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Re: Just a co-incidence?

#47  Postby UndercoverElephant » May 25, 2014 12:06 am

Animavore wrote:
UndercoverElephant wrote:
Animavore wrote:
UndercoverElephant wrote:

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.


I suspect it happens to me regularly, but this is no reason to come to an absolute conclusion that every instance of something "spooky" is the result of my mind playing tricks on me. That would be like concluding that because a lot of paranormal/supernatural/religious claims are demonstrably false, all of them are false. If you're a skeptic then you may well believe all of them are false, and therefore have other explanations (cheating, psychology playing tricks on you, etc...) But there's no scientific or logical reason for everybody to agree with the skeptic on this. There's room in this world for people who believe otherwise. :)


Except I'm not coming to the conclusion that every instance of something "spooky" is the result of minds being played tricks on. I don't even find your picture "spooky". They're so loosely connected there's no way I could see anything "spooky" about them. The objects aren't even in quite the right position, nor are they even the same things as each other except the cheese. The cheese being the most "out" object.


Well, yes, lots of birthday cards have a lump of cheese in the bottom left quadrant, don't they! :evilgrin:


For me to see the pictures as being eerily close enough to think there is something more going on "behind the scenes" requires a bit of mental manipulation on my part on par with those who see codes in the Bible or read prohecy in Nostrodamus. I have to shift this a bit, flip that a bit, say that that looks a little bit like this, squint my eyes a bit and just maybe -


Sure. It's a subjective judgement call and can never be anything else. It's not proof of anything, and never could be, as made clear in the opening post.
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Re: Just a co-incidence?

#48  Postby Animavore » May 25, 2014 12:15 am

UndercoverElephant wrote:
Well, yes, lots of birthday cards have a lump of cheese in the bottom left corner, don't they! :evilgrin:


Yes. Wine and cheese are quite common on birthday cards.

UndercoverElephant wrote:
Sure. It's a subjective judgement call and can never be anything else. It's not proof of anything, and never could be, as made clear in the opening post.


All you're doing here is putting yourself in the same set as those who see Jesus' face in toast. You're right that you're free to believe whatever you want to about it, but in admitting that it doesn't prove anything, why believe it means anything at all?
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Re: Just a co-incidence?

#49  Postby UndercoverElephant » May 25, 2014 12:33 am

Animavore wrote:
UndercoverElephant wrote:
Well, yes, lots of birthday cards have a lump of cheese in the bottom left corner, don't they! :evilgrin:


Yes. Wine and cheese are quite common on birthday cards.

UndercoverElephant wrote:
Sure. It's a subjective judgement call and can never be anything else. It's not proof of anything, and never could be, as made clear in the opening post.


All you're doing here is putting yourself in the same set as those who see Jesus' face in toast.


It's up to people to decide for themselves whether this is in the same league as seeing Jesus' face in toast, or not.


You're right that you're free to believe whatever you want to about it, but in admitting that it doesn't prove anything, why believe it means anything at all?


Well, I'm not sure why what I choose to believe is so important to other people. I'd actually challenge your language quoted above - by saying I have "admitted that it doesn't prove anything" implies that this "admission" is something negative or regretful - it implies "if only I could have proved it, but I can't..." One "admits" guilt, or other bad things. I didn't "admit" anything. I simply stated it, in order to make sure nobody assumed, incorrectly, that I thought this was proof of something and therefore expected them to believe it to. It was no more an "admission" than stating my handle is "UndercoverElephant."

You are also asking a question - "why believe it means anything if it's not proof of anything?" I think I already explained that I already believed such things were real (for other reasons, not connected to this), so the fact that this example proves nothing to third parties like yourself is irrelevant to what I personally believe. My beliefs about this case are shaped by my beliefs about this sort of thing in general.
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Re: Just a co-incidence?

#50  Postby Made of Stars » May 25, 2014 1:32 am

It's totally in the same league as Jesus toast, or Jesus dog bums. Or whatever. Happily it's not religious, but still monkey brains hearing a branch crack and assuming there's a leopard on the prowl.
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Re: Just a co-incidence?

#51  Postby virphen » May 25, 2014 2:12 am

Another vote for Jesus-Face toast class here.
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Re: Just a co-incidence?

#52  Postby LucidFlight » May 25, 2014 2:38 am

This is actually pretty amazing what has happened. It's such a shame the members here can't see the forest of possibilities, all because the trees of science and skepticism are blocking the way. What we really should be asking is, who or what is sending this message disguised as a coincidence, and for what purpose? Also, what is the significance of UE's birthday in these incredible events that have transpired? Is this part of some grand plan we are not able to perceive directly? Maybe it's time to open our eyes a bit more to the world of unseen possibility that lurks beyond the great wall of skepticism and disbelief.
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Re: Just a co-incidence?

#53  Postby Onyx8 » May 25, 2014 2:46 am

Obviously it's the mice. (They were left out of one half of the message so that only the truly aware folks could possibly get it.)
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?

#54  Postby amok » May 25, 2014 4:05 am

I'd call that just a co-incidence.

But this is a CO-INCIDENCE:

A couple of weeks ago I was flipping around the TV channels. After a while, I picked up the book I was reading and just left the TV on in the background. The characters in the book had a Newfoundland dog. So I'm reading the one paragraph in the book where they're joking how the dog got its name. You see, it hoovered up every bit of food that dropped on the ground as well as various inedibles, so they named it Hooper after the Richard Dreyfus character in Jaws who pulled the licence plate out of the stomach of the shark he was dissecting.

Wait, what? What's that on TV? Not only Jaws, but the exact scene they were describing.

Sorry to butt in on your thread, but I've been croaking to tell someone about that, because it was :awesome:
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Re: Just a co-incidence?

#55  Postby Onyx8 » May 25, 2014 4:26 am

I was just thinking about frogs!! Too weird.
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Re: Just a co-incidence?

#56  Postby quas » May 25, 2014 4:48 am

Synchronicities probably exist, I just don't see it here.

I see a lot of it in films.

March of the Penguins was made about the same time Happy Feet (the animated film about Penguins) was made.

Kickass and Super.

Finding Nemo and Shark Tale.

A Bug's Life and Antz.

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http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Twin_films
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Re: Just a co-incidence?

#57  Postby Animavore » May 25, 2014 7:45 am

UndercoverElephant wrote:

It's up to people to decide for themselves whether this is in the same league as seeing Jesus' face in toast, or not.



You're not helping your case here. People can decide anything, sure. They can decide a completely dubious UFO pic is real. That Stairway to Heaven played backwards is an ode to Satan. That a cropped image of The Pentagon is evidence of a missile strike. That, "The Bible says it. I believe it. That settles it." And once these people have decided that's that it is what they say it is and they will remain steadfast in that belief no matter what anyone says.
In the market place of ideas these are just temporary fruit stalls subject to whims and fashions and only catering to a very select clientele and lacking any broad appeal.


UndercoverElephant wrote:Well, I'm not sure why what I choose to believe is so important to other people.


It isn't. That's the point.

UndercoverElephant wrote: I'd actually challenge your language quoted above - by saying I have "admitted that it doesn't prove anything" implies that this "admission" is something negative or regretful - it implies "if only I could have proved it, but I can't..." One "admits" guilt, or other bad things. I didn't "admit" anything. I simply stated it, in order to make sure nobody assumed, incorrectly, that I thought this was proof of something and therefore expected them to believe it to. It was no more an "admission" than stating my handle is "UndercoverElephant."


You decided to take it negatively ;)

UndercoverElephant wrote:You are also asking a question - "why believe it means anything if it's not proof of anything?" I think I already explained that I already believed such things were real (for other reasons, not connected to this), so the fact that this example proves nothing to third parties like yourself is irrelevant to what I personally believe. My beliefs about this case are shaped by my beliefs about this sort of thing in general.


I know. Everyone else has gathered that. Again, some people belief dubious UFO pics are real because their beliefs about such cases are shaped by their beliefs about that sort of thing in general.

Edit - spelling.
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Re: Just a co-incidence?

#58  Postby VazScep » May 25, 2014 7:46 am

UndercoverElephant wrote:I should probably also repeat that I'm not expecting anybody to accept this as proof of anything. I think you needed to be there yourself for something like this to significantly alter your beliefs about causality/whatever.
I had three months of psychosis, the equivalent of an intense trip that lasts an extraordinarily long time, and something which altered my perceptions a lot. Talented story tellers such as Philip K Dick turn such experiences into excellent science fiction novels. I'm not a Philip K Dick, so I mostly shut the fuck up.

Because, as yet, nobody has turned such experiences into science experiments, which is what people take seriously.

Synchronicity perplexed the shit out of me when I was insane, and I tried to rationalise it by saying that humans spend a lot of time synchronising their agendas and that language and six degrees of Kevin Bacon might get the whole world aligned. That said, I was also reading shit into car number plates. Now that the doctors say that I'm sane, I just dismiss all that crap.
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Re: Just a co-incidence?

#59  Postby UndercoverElephant » May 25, 2014 7:59 am

VazScep wrote:
UndercoverElephant wrote:I should probably also repeat that I'm not expecting anybody to accept this as proof of anything. I think you needed to be there yourself for something like this to significantly alter your beliefs about causality/whatever.
I had three months of psychosis, the equivalent of an intense trip that lasts an extraordinarily long time, and something which altered my perceptions a lot. Talented story tellers such as Philip K Dick turn such experiences into excellent science fiction novels. I'm not a Philip K Dick, so I mostly shut the fuck up.

Because, as yet, nobody has turned such experiences into science experiments, which is what people take seriously.

Synchronicity perplexed the shit out of me when I was insane, and I tried to rationalise it by saying that humans spend a lot of time synchronising their agendas and that language and six degrees of Kevin Bacon might get the whole world aligned. That said, I was also reading shit into car number plates. Now that the doctors say that I'm sane, I just dismiss all that crap.


Well, I'm glad you got better after your troubles. :)

I also went through a period of very serious depression, but it was a long time ago, at a time when I was a total skeptic.
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Re: Just a co-incidence?

#60  Postby VazScep » May 25, 2014 8:07 am

UndercoverElephant wrote:Well, I'm glad you got better after your troubles. :)
I got signed off and they didn't protest when I said I was stopping the anti-psychotics. "Better" is a loaded term. It's not something I'm expecting to recover from.

I also went through a period of very serious depression, but it was a long time ago, at a time when I was a total skeptic.
And did any good novels or science experiments come out of it?

Synchronicity is just one of many things you can read into the world, and there is apparent synchronicity between people who read the same things into the world as evidenced by religion, book-clubs, and the humanities in general. Reading in should be contrasted with writing out. There are no methods in your madness, and those of us who want methods up front are going to complain, so we make demands like "do some work" or "bend a spoon."
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