Profoundly Shallow Cosmic Debris

There are a few telling things people who see profundity in nonsense tend to have in common.

Source: Why people think total nonsense is really deep – The Washington Post

I have wondered how people could continue to believe unlikely things, even after they’ve been clearly demonstrated to be false. There must be something about the believer’s mind that makes it, first, susceptible to deception and, second, prone to self-deception. This study, as unflinchingly cruel as it appears, seems to offer at least the beginning of an answer.

Words can be inspiring, even when they’re arranged into vague, fancy-sounding sequences that seem deep but say nothing.

You can try this out for yourself at the New Age Bullshit Generator. Simply click the “Reionize Electrons” button and you will be given a page of computer-generated, but inspiring, bullshit. I tried it and got this headline: “You and I are entities of the multiverse.” The sub-head said: “Potentiality requires exploration. Inspiration is the driver of being.” Then comes the instruction and enlightenment: “Although you may not realize it, you are karmic. Child, look within and awaken yourself. It can be difficult to know where to begin.”

There appear to be a few traits that the credulous have in common.

Those more receptive to bullshit are less reflective, lower in cognitive ability (i.e., verbal and fluid intelligence, numeracy), are more prone to ontological confusions [beliefs in things for which there is no empirical evidence (i.e. that prayers have the ability to heal)] and conspiratorial ideation, are more likely to hold religious and paranormal beliefs, and are more likely to endorse complementary and alternative medicine.

Ouch. Sorry.

Go read the Washington Post article. Try out the Bullshit Generator. And don’t be too hard on those believers. We probably all have something that we’re a little too ready to believe.


About arjaybe

Jim has fought forest fires and controlled traffic in the air and on the sea. Now he writes stories.
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3 Responses to Profoundly Shallow Cosmic Debris

  1. emmylgant says:

    Bullshit generator…. Brilliant!

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