Monday, August 11, 2008

on choosing humanity over magic

Good article on how taking into account 'provenance' helps us ellucidate -even with our limited capacity - truer realities. Though we can never completely escape our biases nor should we (pattern seeking social primates that we are), we can sure strive for balance between -not magic and reality- but humanity and reality.

The article talks about 'woo' which is a catch phrase -as most of you are aware- for a broad collection of credulous mind sets. Here is a brief primer of what 'woo' is (thanks Orac):

Beliefs that clearly demonstrate magical thinking, uncritical acceptance of things for which no good evidence exists. This includes, but is not limited to, psychic phenomenon, ghosts, the paranormal, "energy healing" and a wide variety of other mystical and pseudoscientific beliefs.

Woo is resistant to reason. Indeed, woo has a double standard when it comes to what it considers to be good evidence. It is very accepting of a wide variety of fuzzy, mystical ideas, but is often incredibly distrustful and skeptical of anything having to do with "conventional" science or "conventional" medicine. Woos tend to be very quick to react to defend their particular brand of woo and very unforgiving of its being questioned.

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