MetaCognitions | Worst Apocalypse EVER!*


Last Caturday was the appointed time of a common non-event, the End of the World, again, as predicted this time around by an alleged Christian numerologist, one David Meade.

He has since shifted his goalpost by saying that the apocalypse has been moved to October. Whatever. They do this every single time an End Times prediction predictably fails to come. The claims both come and fail to bear out like clockwork.

Even professional theologians, which this fellow is apparently not, have powerful, versatile imaginations that aid them in seeing and recognising patterns in the data they perceive.

Sometimes, as when critically discussing the content of scripture, its origins, its meanings, its history, they are often spot on in the accuracy of their conclusions.

Other times, when expounding on matters of the Unknowable, their speculations are only that: speculation, and only as good as the assumptions they bring to bear. The patterns they see, or rather, impose on the data, have no objective bearing outside of their own faith community, much less the larger world outside their own lives and world-views.

What exactly is a Christian numerologist supposed to be anyway? The term is nonsense, empty of valid professional content, though I’m aware of what it’s supposed to mean.

So, moving on…

It is said that predicting the future is a lost art, and in many human endeavors that is so. There are the failures of long-term economic forecasts, the predictions of futurists, and most notably, the claims of politicians out for your vote or your money, or both.

But science, at least in the more rigorously mathematical fields, has a stunning record of successful past predictions even with the occasional failure. Rarely 100% accurate, as certainty of that level is never easy to come by on contingent matters of fact, science makes no doctrinal claims of absolute metaphysical certitude.

But it’s a stunning record of success nonetheless, with, for example, solar eclipses being accurately calculated years, even decades or centuries in advance of their actually happening, often down to the millisecond. Even in predictions not so accurate, the track record of science is still far better than the predictive claims of almost any other human enterprise.

So, with that in mind, I’ll raise a question: given the profound and consistent failure of predictions of the End by armchair mystics and even professional theologians who should know better, why give any weight at all to them?

Why, if the observed is to be a guide to the unobserved, as with scientific empiricism, or the past is to be a guide to the future, as conservative thinkers of history have argued, why are we to give any credence at all to such a historically consistent pattern of failure to bear out in fact?

If the past or the observed is to be a guide to the future or the unobserved at all, and if both show that there is nothing to these profligate, evidence-free claims, then the next time one of these makes its rounds around the Internet, maybe it’s wiser to give it no heed at all, and to simply get on with life.

Tf. Tk. Tts.

*title courtesy of Leslie Ann Ellis.

Mr. Eccles Presents | Conspiracy Theorists: Paris Attacks Were Faked Using Crisis Actors!


Screen Shot 2015-11-22 at 19.50.04

The debunking of a silly claim of conspiracy theorists with too much time on their hands.

via Rebecca Watson‘s YouTube Channel

Mr. Eccles Presents | AronRa: Moses did NOT inspire the Constitution!


“Promoting religion as if it were history is outrageous.”

Courtesy of AronRa‘s YouTube channel

Ubi Dubium… | Buzzwords of Nonsense


This post has been retitled, updated, and cleaned up grammatically on 21/10/2018 from the original, though the actual content and meaning are in essence the same. Enjoy. ~Troythulu

Those who promote nonsense as fact, and there are many, often use marketing techniques, saying that that their claims are “hidden,” “secret,” or “suppressed” knowledge, that some sinister, nebulous “they” don’t want you to have.

It’s really nothing more than a cynical selling point, included and not limited to terms like “natural,” “organic,” or my favorite, “holistic,”that last used in promoting alleged alternative medical treatments.

Let’s face it, this makes whatever idea or claim being sold look much sexier than the same not dressed up with a conspiracy theory or vague obscurantist buzzwords, and this makes it more appealing for those vulnerable to the sales pitch.

*Ahem*

Why do often smart people often fall for vague jargon that has no real meaning? Why do even smart people succumb to non-smart ideas and claims, even dangerous products or useless treatments?

I think there’s a number of reasons at play, and I doubt that it easily boils down to a simple answer, since people tend to be interestingly complex individuals with equally interesting and complex minds.

Now then….

People often consider vague and meaningless words and phrases to have deep meaning, and since we are a species that loves narratives, being storytelling animals, we tend to see patterns and attribute agency where they sometimes do not really exist.

We subjectively impose meaning to the meaningless, often without even being aware that we do it, and so fool ourselves into thinking that the meaning we give it comes from without rather than from within ourselves

The brain has been described as a belief engine – we see patterns and give them meaning whether those patterns and that meaning are really there or not as a way to explain what seems to happen around us, unthinkingly.

But one does not have to be mentally ill, poorly educated, or stupid to do this – it happens to all of us, simply because of how our brains operate, using simple rules of thumb that sometimes serve us well, and sometimes not.

In seeing the brain as an incredibly complex machine rather than an otherwise useless shell or mere interface for a mystical soul, it becomes obvious that a world in which everything not currently understood is a deep supernatural mystery unfathomable by science, is a lot less satisfying and interesting.

Pseudoscience and most paranormal claims seem to me more a failure of the imagination, and they lead to a worldview in which our sense of the truly wonderful in the world is dulled by bombardment with the same increasingly mundane claims and worn-out talking points by those riding the coattails of science without being willing to play by its rules or do its work.

Tf. Tk. Tts.

Victor Stenger Skepticon 3 The Abuse of Physics


HamboneProductions | February 06, 2011

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