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A Challenge To Skeptics and Cynics Alike !  RSS feed

 
wayne stephen
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Here on permies I have witnessed many members identify themselves as skeptics and attempt to challenge other members claims . I personally feel their skepticism falls short .To start let me define the rules of engagement as I see them .

Science : From Latin scientia, meaning "knowledge"is a systematic enterprise that builds and organizes knowledge in the form of testable explanations and predictions about the universe. In an older and closely related meaning, "science" also refers to a body of knowledge itself, of the type that can be rationally explained and reliably applied. A practitioner of science is known as a scientist.

Pseudoscience : A claim, belief or practice which is presented as scientific, but does not adhere to a valid scientific method, lacks supporting evidence or plausibility, cannot be reliably tested, or otherwise lacks scientific status . Pseudoscience is often characterized by the use of vague, contradictory, exaggerated or unprovable claims, an over-reliance on confirmation rather than rigorous attempts at refutation, a lack of openness to evaluation by other experts, and a general absence of systematic processes to rationally develop theories.

Skepticism : Defined as generally any questioning attitude towards knowledge, facts, or opinions/beliefs stated as facts, or doubt regarding claims that are taken for granted elsewhere. Philosophical skepticism is an overall approach that requires all information to be well supported by evidence.

Pseudoskepticism : Arguments which use scientific-sounding language to disparage or refute given beliefs, theories, or claims, but which in fact fail to follow the precepts of conventional scientific skepticism. Scientific skepticism is agnostic to new ideas, making no claims about them but waiting for them to satisfy a burden of proof before granting them validity. Pseudoskepticism, by contrast, involves "negative hypotheses"—theoretical assertions that some belief, theory, or claim is factually wrong—without satisfying the burden of proof that such negative theoretical assertions would require.

So the way I see it is Occums razor slices both ways . If you want to challenge a concept on permies which of the above methods are you using ? If you fancy yourself a skeptic are you actually practicing pseudoskepticism If you doubt a claim you can ask for proof or state you are not convinced . If you say " You are wrong " you must provide evidence to support your doubt. I also see anectodal "evidence" and folk lore as nonscientific and not subject to scientific criticism.

As an example : Let's say a single mother of two small children has been practicing biodynamic techniques and is making a claim for extraordinary yields . She has made an assertion that biodynamics has produced for her five times the yield she had in the past practicing Rodale type organic gardening techniques. Now , you want to challenge her assertion . From my vantage point this women is not making a claim as a scientist and is not subject to rigorous peer review . My view is that if you are the skeptic and wish to engage in skepticism the burden of proof is on you . She is only making a claim , not a scientific claim . She is not held to the rules of science . You , as skeptic must then take your doubts and conduct your own scientific trials on biodynamics . They must uphold the standards of a true scientific trial lest your skepticism fall short and be revealed as pseudoskepticism . Only scientists and pseudoscientists are subject to scientific review . So are pseudoskeptics.

 
Michael Cox
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Wayne

I quite agree with you, and these are useful distinctions to make. Pseudoscientists and pseudosceptics alike tend to take strong positions, often not backed by sufficient evidence to justify their strength of position. That said, I've seen on here a few time people making pseudoscience claims (ie based on limited evidence, without rigorous testing etc... "I had sniffles and rolling in cowdung twice a day cured me" - Cowdung cures colds so everyone should do it.) but pushing their view as though it were rigorously tested and supported. In fact making a claim as though it were "scientific".

Would it be fair to say that someone refuting a strong claim, based on a single observation, that does not fit with accepted understanding of medical practice needs to be subjected to "scientific scepticism". Do I need to go out and conduct randomly controlled studies of rolling in cow dung to cure colds to make a challenge (anyone volunteering to be part of the study group??).

To my mind both sides should be balanced - why should one side be able to make strong claims without support, while the other needs to meet a much higher burden of proof to contest it? This places a disproportionate burden on the sceptic.

Back to rolling in cow dung...
Here is an explanation that fits the observation... people who are sick get better. The cow dung had nothing to do with it.

Randomly controlled trials with large numbers of people to make it statistically significant could satisfy that but would be expensive and massively time consuming. But this still leaves the door open to the pseudoscientist to come back next time they have sniffles and say "smoking human hair cured my sniffles".

The balanced view is to acknowledge the observation, but to point out that the conclusion may not be valid or be able to be generalised. In your example of the mother raising yields using a certain system - this is one data point, albeit a very interesting one, and probably worthy of further investigation. But grand claims based on it that one system is better than another cannot be justified.

Hypothetical reasons for yeild increasing;
  • children are older so she has more time in garden
  • more experience so she is a better gardener
  • past practices may have led to long term benefits in soil fertility, unrelated to the change
  • crop varieties chosen this year might be better suited to soil/climate etc...
  • weather this year is better than last
  • new system is better than old system


  • Mike
     
    Craig Dobbson
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    I LOVE this topic! Thank You for starting this conversation.

    I think it's the responsibility of the the person making a claim to back it up in some way. This goes for the woman making the claim that biodynamics is solely responsible for her bumper harvest. AND it also goes for any person claiming that she's wrong in her assessment. I don't ever ask for "proof" here on permies. I realize it touches nerves so I resort to data collection. Instead of claiming that biodynamics is not the cause of her crop bounty, I just want to know as much about the details of the system. If I do this with enough people and enough systems I can make connections within my own data set and increase my understanding from my point of view.

    In the example given above I could think of a bucket full of variables that could account for success. Many were pointed out already. The one that pops up right off the bat is that anyone willing to spend the time to attend to a system as carefully as the biodynamics people do, is bound to have better results than the typical first year backyard gardener. Another is that over time, soils improve and growing becomes easier.

    So should anyone ask the woman to PROVE IT? Not unless she's making outrageous claims and trying to force her ways on others. If she's selling something that claims to do something, I want to know that it does what she says it does. Aside from that... I don't really care. If she's not pushing me, I'm not pushing back. I'd rather keep communication open so that I can take the best ideas she has and apply them in my own ways. I understand that biodynaics isn't all hocus pocus and that there are nuggets of awesome truth in there. I want the ability to mine those bits of knowledge without coming off as a douche.

    That being said, I'd love to see somebody do real scientific research on some of the claims of biodynamics. Why? Because if there's something to it, I want the data.
     
    Dale Hodgins
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    I think we should require a greater burden of proof from commercial sellers than from the person who got a bumper crop. Those offering courses, asking for donations or seeking others to finance their life, need to be examined more closely. By posting the offer, they are asking for my money.

    I never call bullshit. I ask questions and allow the seller to clarify. If they abandon the thread, I've got an answer of sorts. Future readers will see the unanswered questions and read into that what they will.

    It's been my experience that the majority of hucksters are less rhetorically gifted than I am. I carefully avoid voicing the personal judgement running through my mind and ask for details. Angry, accusation sometimes follows. More often than not, the questions are never answered to my satisfaction.
     
    wayne stephen
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    Michael Cox said : "That said, I've seen on here a few time people making pseudoscience claims (ie based on limited evidence, without rigorous testing etc... "I had sniffles and rolling in cowdung twice a day cured me" - Cowdung cures colds so everyone should do it.) but pushing their view as though it were rigorously tested and supported. In fact making a claim as though it were "scientific"."

    What I am saying is that statements like the one in quotes on cowdung curing colds do not meet the definition even of pseudoscience . That is simply an anectodal statement . To qualify as pseudoscience they must be cloaked in scientific jargon and boasting of experimental data . Even someone making a claim that can be measured such as " five times the yield " does not rise to the level of science or pseudoscience . It is simply a nonscientific claim . An anectodal claim even though measureable .

    So yes , I am saying that the burden lies more heavily on the skeptic . If the skeptic wishes to elevate the discussion to the level of a scientific review then the contested party should be at least volunteering to enter that domain . The skeptic does not have to provide more proof . The skeptic has the burden of assuring the context of the claim is either scientific or pseudoscientific before engaging the other party in a scientific argument . Otherwise , the skeptic should {for our purposes on permies.com} begin a new thread which contests that general claim and invite others to disprove their doubts . To avoid being a pseudoskeptic the skeptic should provide rationales and data to support their doubts . This would avoid contentious debate with a noncombatant and open the topic up to willing participants in the debate .

    Not all of us are scientists . Not every claim is a scientific claim . Not every claim is a pseudoscientific claim . No matter how extraordinary . Saying that anyone making any claim at all must provide scientific proof of their claim is like saying that being invited over to Floyd Mayweathers house for a game of bridge means that you have agreed to get in the boxing ring with him . Different sports all together .
     
    William Bronson
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    I am struggling with my son over this.
    I frankly have no problem with strangers on the internet using magical thinking, but I want better for my son.
    An observation that I did x and had y result is just observation.
    Extrapolating from that data is just extrapolation.
    As humans this is instinctive, not scientific.
    Science requires more. Reproducibility of results and elimination of other possible causes.
    Oh, and the willingness to be wrong. Very important.
    The 2005 noble prize winners for physiology won for their 1982 hypothosis of that a specific bacteria caused stomach ulcers. In 1984 having failed to reproduce feild results in the lab, Barry Marshal used himself as a test subject, and showed a strong link between the bacteria in question and a gastric disorder RELATED to stomach ulcers

    NOT proof of the hypothesis, but enough to get some scientific respect.

    Science requires rigor. Even after that dramatic experiment, the "facts" did not change overnight. But the treatment of ulcers via antibiotics began a lot sooner than 2005.
    Adding a little rigor and applying Occums Razor to our instinct for extrapolation isn't science, but it is useful, and not too much to ask of anyone who wants to bend your ear.
     
    Michael Cox
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    wayne stephen wrote:
    What I am saying is that statements like the one in quotes on cowdung curing colds do not meet the definition even of pseudoscience . That is simply an anectodal statement . To qualify as pseudoscience they must be cloaked in scientific jargon and boasting of experimental data . Even someone making a claim that can be measured such as " five times the yield " does not rise to the level of science or pseudoscience . It is simply a nonscientific claim . An anectodal claim even though measureable .


    True, and many anecdotes can be interesting and can lead to deeper understanding, or at least interesting questions to be asked as a follow up. However taking an anecdote and making a sweepingly generalised conclusion is generally unwaranted whether couched in scientific language or not. I'm personally very wary of people making unjustified claims in any context - not that the anecdote itself isn't true, but that extrapolating beyond limited data is risky. Extrapolations from limited data is particularly prone to being influenced by people preconceived notions. In your example the farming mother may have been convinced that biodynamic methods will increase yeilds and end up reporting data that supports the notion - "squash yields up five fold" while neglecting decreases elsewhere due to natural variation.

    So what terms would you be able to engage someone on who was not attempting science OR pseuedoscience, if they are making unjustified claims and conclusions?

    Personally I'd take the line of asking some follow up questions to shed some light on the evidence that they have, and the strength of their conclusions.
     
    Charles Tarnard
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    wayne stephen wrote:"I had sniffles and rolling in cowdung twice a day cured me"

    What I am saying is that statements like the one in quotes on cowdung curing colds do not meet the definition even of pseudoscience . That is simply an anectodal statement . To qualify as pseudoscience they must be cloaked in scientific jargon and boasting of experimental data . Even someone making a claim that can be measured such as " five times the yield " does not rise to the level of science or pseudoscience . It is simply a nonscientific claim . An anectodal claim even though measureable .


    I disagree with the notion that the quote is an anecdotal statement. It is a conclusion based on an anecdotal occurrence. 'I rolled around in cow dung twice a day and got better' is an anecdotal statement. Adding the 'it cured me' bit leaves the door open to being confronted on that conclusion, especially if you are selling it as a cure to others.

    Any time you make a statement like, 'I did this and then this happened,' then you shouldn't need to worry about being confronted. Even if your accounting is wrong, you believe the statement to be true and that is all that matters. When you take the next step and start attributing causality without any qualifiers like 'my opinion', or 'haven't seen enough to know for sure' or the like, I believe you need to be prepared to support that statement for people that are interested in trying to replicate what you have done.

    Edited for clarity.
     
    wayne stephen
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    To clarify , I am only proposing skeptical rules of engagement for the purposes of permies.coms' forums only. I am not proposing that skeptics conduct themselves less pragmatically elsewhere . I am attempting to echo James Randis' methodology for debunking extaordinary claims . Randi has three protocols as I see it , correct me if I'm wrong .
    One : The sneak attack method he used when exposing Faith Healer Peter Popoff in the 1980s' . First , this man was robbing gullible pensioners and sick folks blind . Randi did not challenge the validity of faith as a healing instrument . He exposed Popoffs use of an internal radio channel that gave the appearance he was recieving messages from God . Popoff was fair game because was commiting fraud . He was not making the claims of a true believer .
    Two : The talk show venue , such as the one where Randi was able to duplicate Uri Gellers metal spoon trick on the Johnny Carson show . In this approach Geller was invited by Johnny Carson {also a trained illusionist} to demonstrate his tricks . He then had to compete with Randi in the Occum Razors Close Shave of the Week Contest .
    Three : Also involving open invitation to the claimant . Randis' Million Dollar Challenge and his numerous TV show venues where paranormalists are invited to come forward and prove their claims against known scientific facts .
    None of these methods involve challenging churchgoers exiting the sanctuary on Sunday morning or your Aunt Sadies' claim she saw a flying saucer while hanging out the wash .
    I am proposing that if a skeptic has serious doubts about an extraordinary claim by a permies member the skeptic should take his doubts to a new thread and invite proponents of that claim to a seperate thread with a new set of rules . I think if we did this in a jovial way with a sense of humor we would achieve two things .
    First : Threads would remain less cluttered and stay on track with the OPs' original train of thought . People would be less worried about expressing themselves openly for fear of banging into skeptics along the way . I am a firm believer that there is at least a grain of truth in most anectodal claims and folk remedies . Those trains of thought should be allowed to continue along their chosen routes .
    Second : A thread by a skeptic proposing a healthy , open minded search into the validity of an extraordinary claim would reveal some interesting tidbits that neither party was expecting . The ground rules are set by the skeptical OP and challenges to evidence is open and fair . These would make great threads on their own terms .
    Hopefully , we would be polite and fun loving in our approach to keep these threads in Meaningless Drivel and open to all members . Even those with no apples.
     
    Bob Knows
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    wayne stephen wrote:

    Pseudoscience : A claim, belief or practice which is presented as scientific, but does not adhere to a valid scientific method, lacks supporting evidence or plausibility, cannot be reliably tested, or otherwise lacks scientific status . Pseudoscience is often characterized by the use of vague, contradictory, exaggerated or unprovable claims, an over-reliance on confirmation rather than rigorous attempts at refutation, a lack of openness to evaluation by other experts, and a general absence of systematic processes to rationally develop theories.




    Unfortunately the past couple of decades we have seen massive promotion of pseudoscience by governments and media for financial gain by corrupt politicians and fake scientists. From the "Science" Channel's fake documentary about mermaids to Al Gore's global fraud about CO2 causing global warming, the world of "science" has had so many lies presented as science that few if any real scientists have any credibility left.

    The burden of proof is on the person making the claim, and great claims require great proof. The proof has to be testable and repeatable with accurate predictions.

    Bob
     
    Charles Tarnard
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    Bob Knows wrote:
    wayne stephen wrote:

    Pseudoscience : A claim, belief or practice which is presented as scientific, but does not adhere to a valid scientific method, lacks supporting evidence or plausibility, cannot be reliably tested, or otherwise lacks scientific status . Pseudoscience is often characterized by the use of vague, contradictory, exaggerated or unprovable claims, an over-reliance on confirmation rather than rigorous attempts at refutation, a lack of openness to evaluation by other experts, and a general absence of systematic processes to rationally develop theories.




    Unfortunately the past couple of decades we have seen massive promotion of pseudoscience by governments and media for financial gain by corrupt politicians and fake scientists. From the "Science" Channel's fake documentary about mermaids to Al Gore's global fraud about CO2 causing global warming, the world of "science" has had so many lies presented as science that few if any real scientists have any credibility left.

    The burden of proof is on the person making the claim, and great claims require great proof. The proof has to be testable and repeatable with accurate predictions.

    Bob



    So Wayne, if I understand you correctly this would be an opportunity to start a thread discussing the validity of the conclusions of 'An Inconvenient Truth?'
     
    wayne stephen
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    Discussing "An Inconvenient Truth" would certainly lead to discussing politics . Politics is Cider Press material .
     
    Craig Dobbson
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    Wait! Where did everyone go?


     
    Michael Cox
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    Personally I get bored of these kind of conversations... we end up arguing details and sematics. Meanwhile life goes on.

    That's not to say that the ideas are not worth discussing, just that when things get busy they are low on my list of priorities.
     
    leila hamaya
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    i get it wayne, i agree.
    actually i argued this point a while back with someone who was pinning on me that i was supposedly using pseudoscience, and how that wasnt welcome...but i was only making subjective statements and wasnt trying to present anything i was saying as science at all. i was making clearly subjective statements and not referring to science, so i was flustered when he starting to come on with this prove it or shut up line of debate, i wasnt interested in that, just communicating subjectively.

    i guess i triggered that person with the words "super organism gaia" and then he proceeded to view me through that filter as being one of *those people* or whatever, thinking he had my number and expressing general frustration with the pseudoscientist. only i am not a scientist, nor a pseudoscientist, and i didnt try to make bold ridiculous claims or anything, i was just discussing things in my own language and from my own subjectivity.

    to be then confronted with a prove it attitude made me feel like it was some trap and anything i said made it weirder. i promptly stop talking to this person, but it was bizarre. actually i remember more now, the words "naturalist" came up and i proceeded to associate that, and the rest of the conversation, with nature, naturalist as i understand the common meaning of the word. but he was actually talking about some specific form of philosophical "naturalism" which is basically atheism, and has nothing to do with nature!
    this was confusing to me, i had to look it up later, and seemed all very bizarre. i am also a pagan, something which i make plainly known, so it was just like some weird set up where he wanted to attack my ideas and beliefs, not really have a conversation.

    should i wear a sign on my forehead that says "prone to magical thinking and i LIKE it =)"


    i have seen this happen at other times with people. its one thing if the person is actually trying to present their ideas as fact, as science, and making false statements, but trying to manipulatively make it seem that they know something, or have validation, authority, etc. not that those people should be ganged up on or confronted harshly, but putting forth information like that could perhaps use a good honest debate and challenge. its a totally different thing if someone is not claiming a scientific angle or trying to state things as fact, but is just sharing their perspective.
     
    wayne stephen
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    Thank You Leila ! That's what I am talking about . By the way , instead of a sign on your forehead that would make a great t-shirt .
     
    leila hamaya
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    totally i would wear a t shirt that said that !

    i actually really truly dont get why *magical thinking* is considered a bad thing.
    not everyone even really cares about science, or that scientific mindset... its not like its the authoritative correct way to view the world.

    now to me *magical thinking* sounds great, i have a positive association with those words. like when i get my thoughts loose enough to get into a creative mindset...not stuck in some route stuff, not stuck on some anxiety ...or whatever practicals...but my mind can get free of all that bogs it down into boring stuff and take flight, freely wandering around without practicals or any other limitation. i am day dreamer, and i get to thinking in pictures, or loose threads of ideas. whether its absolutely true or not doesnt matter, at all! its not intended to be absolutely true or factual, its irrelevant.

    in this kind of thinking, or how i view it anyway, i get my creative work done, find inspiration and it feels relaxing, like letting go of what i am supposed to be thinking or doing and just being as is, without intent. i hallucinate things, vision things...and then can bring them into manifest reality, and you all can see my hallucinations too!

    now theres obvious a place for a more practical, linear way of viewing the world, very goal oriented and directed, or scientific and factual....that certainly has its place, but its not the only way, i cant even say its the best way. people are all looking down different reality tunnels, and have different subjective perspectives. i think the overly scientific logical is an very narrow perspective, and that complete objectification of the world is not desirable at all.

    i am willing to hear people out and see what their reality tunnel is like, visit for a while, try to talk in a language that we both can understand, you know not try to say they should be or think a different way...and i know theres some who have this perspective who would extend that willingness to listen and be open to other peoples perspectives....so not to blame it on all science/logical people. the guy above was just using science and whatever else in a way that was trying to pull rank and look down on me, etc...not all do this. BUT it is a sort of common thing i have seen
     
    Landon Sunrich
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    leila hamaya wrote: letting go of what i am supposed to be thinking or doing and just being as is, without intent. i hallucinate things, vision things...and then can bring them into manifest reality, and you all can see my hallucinations too!


    This is totally how I role. Mostly it gets me 4 or 5 days of people wondering what the hell I'm up to - because it often looks like I'm just pacing in circles or moving objects randomly - but then the end result happens and people are like "whoa, how'd you do that?" and I have to be like "Uh, I just did..." also I'm a little surprised that the whole 'super organism gaia' thing doesn't get more traction. I guess its just easy to get locked into narrow familiar thought processes for some and any deviation from their own perception of day to day reality sets off alarms for some reason.
     
    Craig Dobbson
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    Landon Sunrich wrote:
    leila hamaya wrote: letting go of what i am supposed to be thinking or doing and just being as is, without intent. i hallucinate things, vision things...and then can bring them into manifest reality, and you all can see my hallucinations too!


    This is totally how I role. Mostly it gets me 4 or 5 days of people wondering what the hell I'm up to - because it often looks like I'm just pacing in circles or moving objects randomly - but then the end result happens and people are like "whoa, how'd you do that?" and I have to be like "Uh, I just did..." also I'm a little surprised that the whole 'super organism gaia' thing doesn't get more traction. I guess its just easy to get locked into narrow familiar thought processes for some and any deviation from their own perception of day to day reality sets off alarms for some reason.



    I like the way you put that Landon. It makes a clear distinction between the magical thinking and the practical doing.

    If I were to set up a camera such that I could watch everything you did (physically) during that time, and I had the materials you had, I could replicate your result. The thinking, pacing and standing still wouldn't really matter to anyone replicating what you made. Right? I mean... Inspiration, thought, brainstorming, modeling and trial and error are all important to the process of making or developing something or an idea. Those things often go on in peoples' heads just as you described. How we choose to verbalize those processes is up to the interpreter. Some people see magic, other see "a moment of profound clarity" a hallucination or vivid dream.
    But to end up with the same physical object I don't need to know anything about your inspiration or how long it took you to build. I don't need to know when you took a break or what you ate for lunch. I don't even need to know what time you had the dream that inspired your construction. I just need to know the process that gets me from un-assembled to assembled. As a matter of fact I could easily shorten the time it takes for me to replicate your result simply by skipping all the times when you rearrange things or take a part off to put another one on or when you decide that it ought to be a little taller or wider. Get what I mean?

    I'm not trying to say there's no room for "letting go" Feeling the force of nature, and just going for it. That's how I end up with half the stuff I have that has worked out so far for me. I just think it's important to recognize that while we may not always be able describe the experience of what drives us or why we're doing something, what really matters is what (object or idea) the thought manifests. The physical result is what matters to everyone on the planet. The thought and the inspiration, the dream and the joy of creating... that belongs to you and you alone. That's the sweet part.

     
    leila hamaya
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    Landon Sunrich wrote:

    This is totally how I role. Mostly it gets me 4 or 5 days of people wondering what the hell I'm up to - because it often looks like I'm just pacing in circles or moving objects randomly - but then the end result happens and people are like "whoa, how'd you do that?" and I have to be like "Uh, I just did..."


    i can totally relate to that, yep.
    even i might be wondering what i am up to, until it gels and it seems clear =)
    my intuition is strong so i try to go with that as much as possible....even if i cant verbalize it or understand it in a simple way.
    i say there is value is this kind of thinking (non thinking?!!??)

    i think that even the sitting still and not even working on something, the down time in between the sessions of a project, is also part of the process of creating. for creative types this can be something like a writer's block, or feeling uninspired, and it can be hard to be ok with the resting and non doing. people are so focussed on doing, accomplishing, pushing themselves always doing and doing too much! but some things need to gestate and just sit before its ready to be manifest. in my reality tunnel, things come in their own time....i dont even have to completely understand what i am doing! its all about getting out of your own way.

    theres also this feeling of having things move through me, rather than FROM me, especially with creative projects. its weird that i sometimes feel i can barely take credit for my work, my best artworks anyway. sure i practice my skill and the technical parts, but it is really truly as though i, little old me in here, is not actually the creator, but rather a medium of that creation as something which comes through me. i think most creative type people are in touch with this, "the force of nature" as it was called, tapped into a greater creative intelligence.

    this is probably not going to make sense to a logical linear thinking type person....and probably wouldnt work for them. or? idk...maybe this is universally human, but some people dont actively want for this type of experience, being in the FLOW. but i have to think people have their flow moments, with whatever it is they are doing...but its particularly strong among artists and musicians, other creative types. actually now that i think about it real true scientist are probably more in touch with this than most people. the EUREKA moment
     
    wayne stephen
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    Craig Dobbleyu says : "I'm not trying to say there's no room for "letting go" Feeling the force of nature, and just going for it. That's how I end up with half the stuff I have that has worked out so far for me. I just think it's important to recognize that while we may not always be able describe the experience of what drives us or why we're doing something, what really matters is what (object or idea) the thought manifests. The physical result is what matters to everyone on the planet. The thought and the inspiration, the dream and the joy of creating... that belongs to you and you alone. That's the sweet part"

    Sometimes the results are rather mundane and the creative process is more interesting . I find the Rolling Stones song "Satisfaction" mundane . I think Keith Richards' story of hearing the main riff in a dream and recording it in a half sleep - finding it later on the tape by accident - way more interesting than the song . Both the process and the result reveal something . The mysteries keep us searching .
     
    Craig Dobbson
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    wayne stephen wrote:Craig Dobbleyu says : "I'm not trying to say there's no room for "letting go" Feeling the force of nature, and just going for it. That's how I end up with half the stuff I have that has worked out so far for me. I just think it's important to recognize that while we may not always be able describe the experience of what drives us or why we're doing something, what really matters is what (object or idea) the thought manifests. The physical result is what matters to everyone on the planet. The thought and the inspiration, the dream and the joy of creating... that belongs to you and you alone. That's the sweet part"

    Sometimes the results are rather mundane and the creative process is more interesting . I find the Rolling Stones song "Satisfaction" mundane . I think Keith Richards' story of hearing the main riff in a dream and recording it in a half sleep - finding it later on the tape by accident - way more interesting than the song . Both the process and the result reveal something . The mysteries keep us searching .


    What if the story of how that riff came to be was a lie? Or misrepresented? Let's face it... Kieth Richards has not always been in the clearest state of mind. That could be how he remembered it, how the story has evolved over time or just a good bullshit story made up by a publicist to sell more records. There's no way to know for sure. We weren't there. How would your view of the song change if any of those other possibilities were true? Would it make the song any different if how the riff came to be was any different? I suspect you'd feel the same about the song if you hadn't known the story of the riff. It would still be mundane to you.
    But how would you feel if Keith came out tomorrow and said the story was all crap. That he ripped the riff off of a homeless guy with a guitar that was half out of tune? Would that change the song or how you feel about Kieth, who's story you took to heart?

    Does anyone who wishes to play that riff need to have the same experience as Kieth in order to play it properly? Nope. His experience doesn't matter once the record is pressed and is heard by the world. Anyone can replicate it note by note. The one thing that can't be done is to confirm the original experience (the dream) and replicate it for yourself. All you can do is take his word for it. That story may have some emotional value or a nice ending but... in replicating the result (the riff), it's of no value.

    I think that one of the points of the thread was to point out that some people have results that they attribute to things they can't/don't fully understand or perhaps they just don't have the words to describe what they are experiencing. Sometimes instead of uncovering the facts, some people just say "the magic fairies did it". To them, it's satisfying and I'm willing to let them have that satisfaction.

    The question I had was: When is it ok to ask for a little evidence?
    My Answer is: When people making claims expect me to pay for their products or force me to do things their way, I want some evidence that I can expect a similar result".


     
    wayne stephen
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    craig dobbleyu says :
    "The question I had was: When is it ok to ask for a little evidence?
    My Answer is: When people making claims expect me to pay for their products or force me to do things their way, I want some evidence that I can expect a similar result".

    I think asking for payment or coercing you to act could be added to those James Randi protocols I mentioned above. Those would actions could be construed as accepting the invitation to scrutiny .
     
    Craig Dobbson
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    wayne stephen wrote:
    I think asking for payment or coercing you to act could be added to those James Randi protocols I mentioned above. Those would actions could be construed as accepting the invitation to scrutiny .


    I'm totally with you on all of that. Absolutely 100%. What I like about a conversation like this one is that it helps to draw attention to how very fine the lines can be sometimes.

    Hypothetical:
    There's a person who finds satisfaction and success in the way she lives her life. Despite being sprinkled with a little "magic" now and again, she shares her experience and data with the world, asking for nothing in return. (maybe an apple once in a while) She's just wants to share her joy with everyone else. YES! I'm totally on board with that.
    But what if after years of this sharing, and building a solid community support base she suddenly decides to monetize her venture and starts making proclamations based on the "magic" and asking for money? Up to this point her methods were never questioned because people have stayed polite. Is that the time to step up and say something? Is it too late? What if this is a person with political or social power? Then what?

    Say you were friends with this person in real life and you always just humored them when they went off about whatever. But then one day they cross that line and hit you up for five grand to launch their new venture. How do you tell them that you were just nodding your head to be nice but that you don't really believe in what they are now trying to sell? Because if you truly believed, you'd give them the money. It would totally be worth it. right? Suddenly things just got really really real.

    I guess what I'm driving at here is that there are always going to be cases where people go from one side of that line to the other. Isn't it somewhat the responsibility of the community to ensure we don't enable those who potentially draw false correlations to go too far unchecked. I know I've been helped out a few times by people questioning me about my methods. It's helped me refine my methods and I've had better results as time has gone on. I'm thankful to those who've spoken up when I've been off track. I could be way farther behind than I already am.
     
    Burra Maluca
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    Craig Dobbelyu wrote:
    Isn't it somewhat the responsibility of the community to ensure we don't enable those who potentially draw false correlations to go too far unchecked. I know I've been helped out a few times by people questioning me about my methods. It's helped me refine my methods and I've had better results as time has gone on. I'm thankful to those who've spoken up when I've been off track. I could be way farther behind than I already am.


    One of the ways we try to deal with this on permies is that while we encourage everyone to share their ideas and views, we also do not allow anyone to declare that theirs is the only way, or 'the truth'. We try to make it so that there's a Smörgåsbord of ideas that people can choose from, and encourage people to make the most appropriate choice.
     
    leila hamaya
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    Craig Dobbelyu wrote:
    wayne stephen wrote:
    I think asking for payment or coercing you to act could be added to those James Randi protocols I mentioned above. Those would actions could be construed as accepting the invitation to scrutiny.


    I guess what I'm driving at here is that there are always going to be cases where people go from one side of that line to the other. Isn't it somewhat the responsibility of the community to ensure we don't enable those who potentially draw false correlations to go too far unchecked. I know I've been helped out a few times by people questioning me about my methods. It's helped me refine my methods and I've had better results as time has gone on. I'm thankful to those who've spoken up when I've been off track. I could be way farther behind than I already am.


    i do agree that a bit of CONSTRUCTIVE criticism is beneficial to us all, its a feedback loop we would be wise to not ignore. actually there should be an understanding like this for people, like it should be socially acceptable to give and receive constructive criticism gracefully. instead of how it gets, like you are attacking someone just for giving back constructive criticism, and theres a lot of posturing and defensiveness you can run into. i think it would be beneficial for us all if we get over ourselves enough to listen to this and reflect on it, whether its valid or not, its worth considering if you keep getting the same kinds of feedback from people.

    even if you completely disagree,and really dont think you are doing whatever it is that is being presented, dont think what the person is saying is accurate....or that there is some good reason, it is still worth looking into, because there is at least a reason why people are perceiving this that they present to you. so even if you are not doing what people are saying, and think they are wrong for whatever reason....theres still got to be some reason why you are coming across that way and one should think about how you can more genuinely reflect your real motives, ways, intentions, or whatever it is about... etc.

    not that someone just stating their subjective perspectives and ideas should be subject to this, but if it is done gracefully and with respect it could possibly be met with the same spirit it was given.
    but as this thread is pointing out, it should not be demanded, someone shouldnt be pushed on to have to validate their perspective....and someone shouldnt have to justify or have to defend their position as though it was pseudoscience when they are not even attempting to be scientific or state some broad absolute truth. especially if someone isnt actually asking for constructive criticism but just trying to share. that, IMO, would be where the graceful part comes in, knowing when NOT to give such criticism and just let it be.

    i think the problem though is that nay sayers and pseudoskeptics, as we have been referring to them, manipulative types and other downers, people who's intention is not CONSTRUCTIVE, but rather just want to pull rank or are into trying to make others look bad- these types are doing something completely different than offering constructive criticism, though they really try to present it as the same.
    IT IS CLEARLY NOT, and you can feel it, but it can be so tricky to call them on it plainly....when someone is trying to make what they say seem justified, or constructive, with being condescending as well, and trying to pass it off as graceful giving of constructive criticism....when it is all manipulated and just a negative energy thing. and types like this really want to make it seem that are giving constructive criticism, or somehow different than what their real motivation is, which is to get everyone all worked up and pissed, and get the negativity snowballing and make it messier and messier, not clearer.
     
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