Archive for the ‘Plate Tectonics’ Category

Another Inconvenient Truth

Tuesday, May 1st, 2007

Plant Truth ComicJonathan Chait, a senior editor at the New Republic, reports that when the National Journal asked Republican senators and members of the House last year “…whether it’s been proven beyond a reasonable doubt that the earth is warming because of man-made problems,” only some 23% said yes. Since that time there has been a further strengthening of the scientific evidence, and the UN Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) released a study signed by 2000 scientists to the effect that the likelihood of man-induced global warming now lay at the 90% level. When a similar question was asked of the Congressmen this year, the percentage assenting had surprisingly dropped to only 13%.

This depressing development should be a cautionary tale for those who believe that the acceptance of neurofeedback is just going to be a matter of putting forward better and larger scientific studies. This might just possibly be true in an environment where entrenched interests are not involved. But when real economic interests or basic belief systems are threatened, the skills of scientists in making evidence disappear or look unconvincing are brought into play. Moreover, even if the scientists are of one mind, as they are on the matter of global warming, yet other interests can still manage to confuse the picture. (more…)

Investment in Beliefs

Thursday, October 13th, 2005

The other day I was buying a shirt for myself, and because mine is a popular size, I often encounter the “donut hole” in the selection, namely that my size is in short supply. I rummaged at length and found my size at the very bottom of the pile. Just at that moment, my eye was drawn to the shirts on the adjacent pile, and I decided at once that I actually liked the new one better. Not only that, but my size was right on top. I was done with my male shopping experience–beeline for the goods and get out. But then a surprising thing happened. I walked off to the sales counter with the shirt that I had spent some effort in locating. It already had my name on it more than the one I had just discovered. I had made an investment of time with this shirt, and the return on that investment lay in the purchase.

This relatively trivial vignette might not even have gotten my own attention were it not for the fact that I am enjoying the book “Blink” at the moment, which speaks about such “instant” judgment formations. But I am not going where Malcolm Gladwell went with “Blink,” which is perhaps grist for another newsletter. Yes, the decision was made in the “blink”-ing of an eye, and its basis was obscure at that moment. However, what really interests me here is the role of that sense of investment in our decision-making. Consider some other examples. (more…)


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