Insane Troll Logic 6.13.11

June 13, 2011

Uh oh! It seems I’ve pissed off the Shakespeare Deniers, the least ridiculous form of denialism of them all. I considered putting out an all Shakespeare Denialism edition of my Insane Troll Logic series two weeks ago but so many trolls showed up all of a sudden on my one and only piece referencing that particular form of woo that it’s better I just link to that entry so those who are interested can read through the full comments section themselves and enjoy them in all their glory.

But this entry in the series will just focus on my most recent comment from commenter Smith on my ever-unpopular troll-attracting piece on Quantum Jumping:

It is mind boggling how pathetic you haters sound out there. The guy is NOT (i repeat for you morons out there, NOT) trying to rip anyone off, he states himself that this method is not a scientific breakthrough, and that he looks upon it himself as a placebo effect in itself.

This is a form of meditation that COULD work but only if you allow your brain to really focus. Admittedly, it is unfair to label this as tapping into alternate realities, because while those may exist, we will need more than placebo effects to tap into them. However, this does nothing to rip the people off. It is not the guy’s fault if some people are stupid enough to buy the cd and not believe in the stuff they are doing. It is the person behind the meditation that has the power to focus.

Now, i am not going to attempt to pretend that alternate realities is the foundation of this meditation (every product has a silver lining of bullshit), but in a way, it could be useful if you let it relax your mind. What most people need is relaxation and the motivation these days. If you go look at most successful people, you will find their childhoods filled with the fighting of evil forces that try to pin down their hopes and eradicate their self motivation, but they push it back.

This is not meant for laughter, those of you who stupidly criticize this product truly have no significant value of self worth, you are people who demand spoon feeding, people who wait for something to do the work for them. It will not kill you if you tried to meditate and used your brain to achieve success rather than come online and bitch about placebo effects when you don’t know what the hell you are talking about.

But for the morons out there, the placebo effect is a powerful one indeed, and if scientists told you that a device had been invented and it would tap into alternate realities, and they strapped it onto your head, you would never realize it was made of plastic. If you truly believe in something, there is a way to make it happen.

Anyone who labels this a scam or a piece of undignified crap, needs a reality check. Your poor judgement’s often reflect your own flaws, and weaknesses. You make excuses like (some people bought this crap). But it is not money that is the issue, as we all know, we can get this stuff for free if we need it. You just refuse to believe flat out in self meditation. The joke is on the poor bastards who come here and try to sound smart in any significant way.

This is nothing new, every product you buy (including the laptop you used to write down your bullshit), has some lie to it. But in the world of quantum physics, you have no lie or truth, because as of today, nothing has been proven completely. Either use it for benefits, or stop humiliating yourselves.

It’s mind-blowing how many people will so passionately defend an unambiguous scam, especially one that you claim the scam artist freely admits is a scam. That’s what attributing results to the placebo effect means. It’s a subtle way of avoiding responsibility to actually deliver promised results using a term that most laypeople don’t understand. And nowhere on at least the main page of his website does he mention the placebo effect. What he DOES do on the first page is reference at least a dozen of the greatest scientific minds in history and try to suggest their findings somehow validate his pseudo-scientific claims when they most certainly do not by any stretch of anyone’s imagination.

“This is a form of meditation that COULD work but only if you allow your brain to really focus.”
Again, no it can’t. He’s not saying this is all in your head as you imagine a fictional conversation with a fictional alternate version of yourself. He’s literally claiming “thought transference” with a literal version of yourself from a literal alternate dimension.

Bert’s website goes on to say:
“Quantum Theory suggests that our physical reality is nothing but a very elaborate mirage. A super-hologram of information and energy. A Matrix.”
Quantum Theory says no such thing and The Matrix is a FICTIONAL movie. I’ve seen Keanu Reeves in person. He can’t really dodge bullets. That was just a movie.

“It is not the guy’s fault if some people are stupid enough to buy the cd and not believe in the stuff they are doing. ”
Actually, it is his fault for charging people for a service he knows he can’t possibly provide and deliberately deceiving people by exploiting scientific ignorance. This is a criminal offense known as fraud. I have no problem with people meditating to lower their blood pressure or just to relax; meditation is free. What Burt is selling is not simple meditation but a pseudo-scientific scam.

“you are people who demand spoon feeding, people who wait for something to do the work for them.”
No, we’re people who demand companies comply with fair business practices and don’t cheat their customers. I fail to see how any thinking person could interpret that as unreasonable.

“It will not kill you if you tried to meditate and used your brain to achieve success rather than come online and bitch about placebo effects when you don’t know what the hell you are talking about. ”
Fortunately, our criminal system doesn’t demand that victims actually die before justice and appropriate remedies can be served. Not so fortunate, however, for guys like Bernard Madoff and Burt.

“If you truly believe in something, there is a way to make it happen.”
This is called delusion. It’s not a good thing.

“Anyone who labels this a scam or a piece of undignified crap, needs a reality check. ”
Oh, do tell.

“But it is not money that is the issue, as we all know, we can get this stuff for free if we need it. ”
Oh, well as long as Burt’s only stealing a little money for his bullshit services, that’s okay. You must have attended one hell of a good law school.

“You just refuse to believe flat out in self meditation. ”
Um, no. I’m actually a fan of meditation. What I’m much less of a fan of is assholes who exploit scientific ignorance to scam the public and those who shamelessly defend them.

“This is nothing new, every product you buy (including the laptop you used to write down your bullshit), has some lie to it.”
This is called the tu quoque fallacy. Just because everyone else is doing it, it doesn’t make it okay. I also categorically reject your false equivalence between what might be tiny lies and big honking nonsense piled on top of a foundation of total bullshit that contributes to the overall scientific ignorance of the public.

“But in the world of quantum physics, you have no lie or truth, because as of today, nothing has been proven completely.”
Quantum physics–you keep using those words; I do not think they mean what you think they mean.

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Insane Troll Logic 5.26.11

May 26, 2011

The trolls continue to bombard my piece on Quantum Jumping, and I do love addressing their asinine arguments even though I end up repeating myself a lot. And because the comments section of this one article would make for great source material for a game of Name That Logical Fallacy, I like to share it.

This time I’m responding to only one troll called Dstar, who posted several comments. To be fair, Dstar showed some fleeting moments of actual critical thinking and even agrees with some of what I said. The main reason I’m putting him in the category of troll is because, like so many trolls that come to pick a fight, Dstar’s main point of criticism has far less to do with the actual substance of my article and more to do with my having the audacity to suggest that reality itself is objective and that some ideas are simply wrong and even possibly fundamentally impossible. It’s basic New Age, post-modern anti-confrontationalism that boils down to nobody has a right to state that any idea, no matter how silly, is fairly definitively not true. This sort of extreme “anything is possible” ideology just really pisses me off.

But anyway, enjoy.

Dstar comment 1:

I would also like to hear your thoughts on what you believe to be “literal reality” as you have previously menitoned……..

I’m not sure of the context in which I may have used that term but I’ll take a stab at it. Scientific claims require falsifiability. And if one is going to sell a service that they claim is scientific in nature, they better be prepared to point to legitimate, peer-reviewed studies published in reputable journals that demonstrate the phenomena has survived proper testing. Science is a method of observation for determining how the world actually works. It’s not perfect but it’s the best method we have. And if we discover a new, better method, that will become part of science too. But if one makes extraordinary scientific claims without going through the scientific process of determining if they’re actually true and having those claims vetted by other scientists in appropriate fields, then that’s a problem. One ought to have an actual good reason to believe something is true beyond merely wanting to believe it is true. In other words, one’s level of belief in a claim ought to be proportional to the amount of evidence for that claim. If it isn’t, one does not have a good reason to believe said belief is true until such time as it can be properly demonstrated to be true, and the default position is not believe it. I hope that clarifies my position and the position of science.

Dstar comment 2:

I would like you to ask yourself two questions

What do you know?
What do you not know?

I believe, Sir, you are living out your ego/left brain and are overlooking true being.

Enjoyed comments made by Jay and restless [authors note: these two were among the worst trolls on the page]

And I believe you’re desperate to cling to comforting nonsense no matter what and will seek out any excuse to attack the character of people who disagree with you rather than consider the possibility that maybe you’re wrong.

You don’t seem to have any reasonable mechanism on which to apply critical analysis to your beliefs or test their validity, and you seem to prefer it that way I surmise because if a belief is unfalsifiable, you think you never have to ever face admitting you’re wrong. Tell me. Can anything convince you that you’re wrong? What would do so?

Dstar comment 3:

I was aiming to hihglight [sic] that: What cannot proved to be Real/True/Scientific fact, to me, also means some of the previously discussed, could be in the realm of possibility. I would like to stay open minded…

This is why I wanted to ask you, what do you actually know, and what is out there to find out. I would like to think that there is more to discover than the knowledge we hold to date, especially if you look at our current limited undertsanding of the reality we are supposedly living out.

Finally, I try not to think in terms of – true or false – right or wrong – beauty and ugliness

The above distinctions could be considered subjective and I feel that in this division we are creating the problematic world we live in. Division is destruction?

If we continue to build mental boundaries and erect mental fences around, what most consider to be outlandish beliefs, we can only play to the arhictecture we have built. And whether you believe in quantum jumping or not, this acrchitecture is starting to “stink”, but what did we expect?

I’m pretty sure we can rule out Santa Claus, leprechauns, and the Flying Spaghetti Monster. While one ought to be open-minded to alternative hypotheses, that doesn’t mean one should treat absolutely every unfalsifiable claim they’re presented with as if it’s a perfectly legitimate and respectable possibility. Beliefs ought to be proportional to the evidence and the degree of likeliness considered. The burden of proof is always on the claimant; that’s just a basic rule of logic. For instance, as I’ve said before on this forum, if I said I went to Starbucks yesterday, I might be lying or confusing one day with another, but you have no reason to doubt that claim because it’s rather unremarkable. Whereas if I said I was abducted by space aliens yesterday and they let me fly their ship around the Earth, given the extraordinary nature of the claim, you’d have good reason to suspect that I was either lying or delusional. At that point, it would be quite reasonable for you to demand evidence. And if instead, I came up with a host of excuses, while that wouldn’t prove my experience didn’t happen, you’d have good reason to not believe it. And the responsibility would not be yours to prove it didn’t happen but rather it’d be on me to prove I did fly an alien ship.

This is ESPECIALLY important when charging people for a service. Caveat emptor, my ass. You commit fraud by selling a service you can’t provide, you’re going down. It’s that simple.
And as far as QJ goes, it’s about as likely as monkeys flying out of my butt. But again, I’m completely open-minded to look at compelling evidence under proper controlled conditions that might change my mind. Now I’ve told you what would change my mind; so to such an open-minded person as yourself, what would change yours?

You might not like to think in terms of true or false, right or wrong, but that doesn’t change the fact that reality is not subjective and that some ideas are in fact false and wrong. For instance, if I claimed the moon was made out of cheese, I would be dead fuckin’ wrong regardless of how you or I feel about it.

Dstar comment 4:

And I wanted to point out that my first comments were not intended as a dig at your character. Maybe I should have asked you whether you believe – yourself and your beliefs are trapped in a reality of YOUR own creation?

I agree with some of your reply to “what is literal reality”

very much so regarding this looking like a scam. If you have this knowledge, why make a quick buck from it, surely you would aim to openly share this knowledge to those who would like to listen and be open.

You also have to consider that education and science have also been heavily manipulated over time. What you (us/humans) are taught to be scientific fact, may not be due to the control on educational and religous systems on a truly global scale.

The only person you can implictily trust is yourself and your inner intuition. I will keep to this

No, myself and my beliefs are trapped in reality period. Now we can certainly have fun with thought experiments about how we might all be living in the Matrix and that the rules governing our observable reality are just the rules of the game in a grand simulation, but while that could all be hypothetically true, it gets us nowhere. And if you want to believe that, be my guest and hop out the nearest 30-story window or slice open your eye with a razor because it’s all the same anyway.

Whether entirely “real” (whatever that means) or if we’re just living inside a giant video game, the only rational approach is to learn the rules through observation as well as trial by error. That’s what science is, using the best tools at our disposal for figuring out how the world works. And this method has clear practical applications that have made our existence better in every measurable way. It’s this method of science that has allowed us to split the atom, develop life-saving vaccines, defy gravity with airplanes, and walk on the moon. So what has the we’re all living in a simulation hypothesis given us? Nothing. Nothing at all. But again, any time you want to hop out that window, feel free. After all, if we can’t rely on our own perspective to guide our behavior, suicide might be the only true way to win the game. Could be. Though I doubt it.

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Insane Troll Logic 5.15.11

May 15, 2011

More fun trolls invade my most unpopular article about Quantum Jumping:

Troll 1

micksays:

do you still believe that Randi is going to give $1 million to those who prove their abilities??Its all a publicity stunt to feed his ego and a tool to attack his perceived enemies. Since he controls the test, he can always prevent a winner.
www psipog.net/art-beware-pseudo-skepticism html

Once an appropriate protocol is agreed upon by both parties, both parties sign a legally binding document. So should the applicant satisfy their end of the contract, the foundation is legally required to give them the money. Therefore, your publicity stunt excuse doesn’t hold much water. And as I just explained–and is quite clearly laid out on the challenge’s webpage, he (nor the foundation) in fact do not control the test as both parties must consent to the protocol before proceeding. But even if you suspected it was rigged, that hardly would seem like a sufficient criteria to not bother trying given that a million dollars is on the table. Methinks the lady doth protest too much.

Troll 2

Steve Pavlinasays:

From my viewpoint a skeptic is someone whose awareness is too constricted to have psychic experiences, just as some people’s color-deficient eyes are too limited to detect purple. In general I think skeptics are too fearful of what would become of their lives if they started having psychic experiences, so they tune them out like an ostrich with its head in the sand.

And about that million dollar challenge,It’s an experience, not a test. Of course if you’re coming from an objective reality mindset, then for you it is a test, but that mindset will only corrupt your results on the experiential side. If I were starting the MDE today, I would name it the Million Dollar Experience instead. My personal intention for the MDE isn’t to test whether or not I can manifest a million dollars. My intention is to experience the unfolding manifestation. Why? Because it’s a fun, rewarding, and enriching experience.

Ultimately skepticism is rooted in fear. Fear of making a mistake. Fear of being gullible. Fear of living foolishly. From a subjective reality standpoint, skepticism is a mental adaptation that occurs after you’ve made the choice to live in a fear-based objective universe. Once you’ve objectified your universe, skepticism is the next step.

Unfortunately, testing for subjectivity is an oxymoron. You can’t actually test for a subjective universe. The whole idea of testing implies doubt, and doubt will corrupt the test if the universe really is subjective.

If our beliefs are just a self-fulfilling prophecy, then the prophecy of skepticism is a lame one to fulfill. All you manifest is evidence that causes you to continue doubting. It would be hard to manifest a more boring reality than that.

Once objectivity has been chosen, a skeptic will regard a non-skeptic as reckless, foolhardy, gullible, or misguided. From the emails I’ve received, I can see it really bothers some skeptics that I don’t believe in an objective universe, yet I’m still able to function just fine in the world (probably better than most skeptics in fact). I would think that if I believed in a subjective universe, and the universe was really objective, then my ability to function should decrease. But from any measurable standpoint, the opposite occurred when I adopted a subjective mindset.

As I previously noted though, if you take skepticism far enough, it eventually leads you to question the nature of reality, and that’s where it finally self-destructs. Most skeptics don’t go nearly this far, however.

If we live in a subjective reality, then you’re free to manifest whatever the heck you want. If you spend a lot of time observing external reality, then you’re intending continuity. You’ll simply manifest more of the same. However, if you imagine something totally different, then you’ll manifest a discontinuity now and then. Your experience of reality will twist and turn in exciting new ways.

A skeptic is concerned about the probabilities of success vs. failure in any endeavor. For example, before a skeptic starts his/her own business, lots of questions must be answered to alleviate fear and doubt. How well are other people doing in this industry? Do I have enough money? How will I support myself? What if it doesn’t work? Am I good enough? What are my chances of success?

A non-skeptic doesn’t see life this way at all. If such a person were to start his/her own business, it would be with an experiential attitude. There wouldn’t be so much attachment to specific outcomes. When I started my personal development business, I didn’t ask all these skeptical questions because I wasn’t thinking in terms of success vs. failure. I just wanted to experience its unfolding. It made no difference what level of success others were having. I was simply going to dive in and experience it in my own unique way. With such an attitude, there’s no success or failure. There’s only the unfolding experience.

When you seek to experience life instead of doubting and fearing it, joy becomes your natural state of being. It doesn’t matter what outcome you get because your attitude is always, “What a fascinating experience!”

“From my viewpoint a skeptic is someone whose awareness is too constricted to have psychic experiences, just as some people’s color-deficient eyes are too limited to detect purple.”

And from my viewpoint, that’s a very, very convenient excuse to try to dodge one’s burden of proof for a rather extraordinary claim. If you can’t provide a good reason for someone to believe in something, then why expect them to believe it? Or perhaps more importantly, why believe it yourself? Your color blind analogy doesn’t hold any water because of course that is a sufficiently provable physical phenomenon. Science doesn’t just take people’s word for it; we understand its actual physiological causes.

“In general I think skeptics are too fearful of what would become of their lives if they started having psychic experiences, so they tune them out like an ostrich with its head in the sand.”

I’m sorry you can’t fathom any other possibility for why people might disagree with you other than it must be their own biases even though you refuse to provide sufficient evidence for your beliefs. Just because you have no standard of evidence beyond appealing to the mere popularity of a belief and anecdotes, that doesn’t mean that should be persuasive to anyone else. I think you’re highly underestimating the flaws in human perception. I recommend reading some psychology books on the subject of perception. I think you’d be shocked to learn how distorted people’s memories can be of even a very recent experience.

“And about that million dollar challenge,It’s an experience, not a test.”

No, it’s a test. Both parties consent to a fair and appropriate, quantifiable protocol, and then the person either does what they say they can do or they fail. Pass or fail. It’s that simple. Why people whose claims suggest they could easily win the challenge are so determined to discredit it without even trying it is beyond me. It’s almost like you don’t want the million or are afraid the money will eat you.

“Of course if you’re coming from an objective reality mindset, then for you it is a test, but that mindset will only corrupt your results on the experiential side.”

How’s that exactly? It seems to me that you just refuse to embrace an actual falsifiable position out of your own fears that your beliefs might be proven wrong. As long as it remains unfalsifiable and “mysterious”, you never actually have to have your beliefs challenged. In that case, why not just say the magical powers come from Santa Claus and call it a day?

“Ultimately skepticism is rooted in fear.”
No, it’s quite explicitly rooted in scientific methodology, reason, and the honest pursuit of truth. It’s just that those who’d rather just believe in magic because they find it comforting wish to project their own insecurities onto those who have the audacity to tell them to put their money where their mouth is or, to borrow another cliche, to put up or shut up.

“Fear of making a mistake.”
LOL. On the contrary, I have little trouble admitting to being wrong. I’ve been wrong before and I’ll be wrong again. For instance, I once believed in psychic powers. Then I realized I was wrong to believe in such nonsense as it was not sufficiently proven, and so I admitted I was wrong and changed my mind. Rather, it seems like it’s you who have trouble with admitting even the possibility that you’re wrong. So you make excuses that conveniently place your beliefs beyond that which is falsifiable and then shift the burden of proof. I’m not saying I absolutely know there are no psychic powers; all I’m saying is I’ve not been sufficiently convinced that there are while you’re too cowardly to even begin to make an honest case.

“Fear of being gullible. Fear of living foolishly. ”
Nope, but I can say with some degree of confidence that this never crosses your mind. You seem to have no problem with being gullible and living foolishly.

“From a subjective reality standpoint, skepticism is a mental adaptation that occurs after you’ve made the choice to live in a fear-based objective universe.”

From objective reality, skepticism is methodological naturalism plus logical inference. You’re really are fixated on this whole fear thing, aren’t you? I’d ask you to explain how you arrived at this notion but you obviously don’t feel you need to base your beliefs on good reasons (or any reasons), so what’s the point?

“Once you’ve objectified your universe, skepticism is the next step.”
Reality is not a subjective opinion, but if you disagree, feel free to hop out the nearest 30-story window and prove me wrong.

“Unfortunately, testing for subjectivity is an oxymoron. You can’t actually test for a subjective universe. ”
No, it’s just testing a moron. So are you claiming psychic powers are literally real or just someone’s baseless, subjective opinion? Which is it? You can’t have it both ways. Or is it that you just don’t understand what the word subject means?

“The whole idea of testing implies doubt”
[facepalm] Let me ask you a question. Suppose you’re a math teacher. You need to assess how well your students understand the material. You can’t in any way test their knowledge of the material because that automatically assumes they don’t know the material. So you begin to ask them to just write down the information as they understand it but then you realize that this too is a form of test and implies they don’t know the material. So what method do you use to determine if the students indeed understand the material without any implications that they don’t know it?

“If our beliefs are just a self-fulfilling prophecy, then the prophecy of skepticism is a lame one to fulfill.”
Your beliefs are a self-fulfilling prophecy as you refuse to challenge them; I’m actually trying to test claims to determine what’s true and what isn’t. YOU’RE the one who rejects anything that even hints at less than 100% commitment to your beliefs.

“All you manifest is evidence that causes you to continue doubting.”
Um, I don’t think you know what evidnece means.

“It would be hard to manifest a more boring reality than that.”
I don’t know about that. You’re doing a superb job of boring me.

“Once objectivity has been chosen, a skeptic will regard a non-skeptic as reckless, foolhardy, gullible, or misguided.’
But then again that’s just your subjective opinion about subjective things happening in a subjective universe, so who gives a shit?

“From the emails I’ve received, I can see it really bothers some skeptics that I don’t believe in an objective universe, yet I’m still able to function just fine in the world (probably better than most skeptics in fact).”
No, we just pity you. And the reason you function in the world is that you live your life as if it were objective. As I asked before, why not hop out a 30-story window? If it’s all just subjective, and there are no objective consequences, what’s the difference? Or why not slice open your own eye  with a razor or only enter rooms by walking through walls? Why lock your doors at night? Why look both ways before crossing the street? Why see a doctor when your sick? It’s all just subjective anyway, right? [And feel free to send me your address and a copy of your house key. No objective negative consequences are possible, so why not?]

“As I previously noted though, if you take skepticism far enough, it eventually leads you to question the nature of reality, and that’s where it finally self-destructs. Most skeptics don’t go nearly this far, however.”
There’s no such thing as taking skepticism too far. That’s a Straw Vulcan argument. What you describe is philosophical skepticism. This is a completely different thing as scientific skepticism, which simply means applying methodological naturalism and making logical inferences. If someone “takes it too far”, then their methodology is flawed, which by definition, precludes them from the category of scientific skeptic. It’s like arguing that a person is being too reasonable. There’s simply no such thing.

“If we live in a subjective reality, then you’re free to manifest whatever the heck you want.”
Didn’t work. You’re still here.

“A skeptic is concerned about the probabilities of success vs. failure in any endeavor.”
Is that what a skeptic is concerned with? Thanks for telling me. And to think, all this time, I thought we were concerned with determining what is true.

“For example, before a skeptic starts his/her own business, lots of questions must be answered to alleviate fear and doubt.”
Um…what? You lost me there, buddy.

“A non-skeptic doesn’t see life this way at all. If such a person were to start his/her own business, it would be with an experiential attitude.”
Yeah, you’re real mavericks. You betcha! You don’t read books or listen to those factinistas, those fact-nazis. You go with your gut and follow your own sense of truthiness. You go, boy!

“When I started my personal development business…”
Wow. Just wow.

“When you seek to experience life instead of doubting and fearing it, joy becomes your natural state of being.”
Tell that to Anne Frank.

“It doesn’t matter what outcome you get because your attitude is always, ‘What a fascinating experience!’”
For someone so joyful, you seem awfully pissed off at those who don’t share your opinions. And if being so joyful means being such an asshole, I prefer this imaginary miserable state you’ve concocted for me.

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