Hayley is a Ghost

It’s all about attitude

Posted on: June 17, 2010

A couple of days ago an old school friend of mine on Facebook.com posted on their status something about someone having a sugar rush. I commented that you can’t actually have a rush from sugar to which they replied that they seemed to whenever they had sugar therefor you must be able to.

I hadn’t wanted to come across as a know-it-all but this classic example of subjective validation irked me slightly so I posted a link to an article covering how the British medical journal debunked that myth a while ago.

Click here for the article

My friend seemed to accept this until her mother posted on the status “well it happens to me when I eat chocolate!” to which my school friend replied “SEE!”

I was a little bit stunned that despite the fact that I had presented them with a study conducted into this theory that had shown it to be nothing but myth they still held onto the notion that sugar made them feel hyper because they’d experienced such a reaction from sugar and thus it must be true.

I don’t like it when this sort of dismissal of fact occurs within the group of people I thought would know better, especially as the school friend was one of those people I used to hold in high regard as being intelligent enough to see past such myths.

Was I naive in thinking that by presenting the British medical journal study to her she would see sense? Well, some people might say yes, but I don’t think I was because it’s not that big an idea to let go off compared to say spirituality or the idea you can be healed by a mystic.

Then again, I guess my friend felt that being able to justify in her mind that the sugar she was intaking was the cause of her suddenly feeling hyper and it was certainly not just her imagining it becuse she was expecting it, is more important to her than the truth of the matter.

I think this sort of attitude is evident in a lot of pseudo-theories out there (for want of a better phrase.) From religion, to the latest health fad “it’s true because it happened to me” is an attitude that we, as skeptics, come across all of the time and to me it’s quite sad that people who probably think that they’re open-minded are actually being quite close-minded about the information they’re provided with. I do wonder how often people are close-minded without realising it? My friend, for example.

Also, another great example of people being accidentally close-minded that I experience all the time would be ghost researchers who attribute every oddity they experience as ghostly by nature when, in fact, that’s the biggest leap of logic they could actually make considering there is nothing to suggest that ghosts are the cause at all.

I’m not suggesting for one moment that people who identify themselves as skeptics or skeptical are not prone to being close minded when it comes to certain things – we’re all guilty of it to some extent, I guess the moral is to always be ready to change your mind about something because isn’t that the fundamental thing about skepticism?

Yesterday somebody commented on a status of mine that there were no such thing as fairies at the bottom of the garden. They identify themselves as a “top skeptic” and they couldn’t understand why I thought they’d used a bad choice of words.

Sure, as it stands there is no evidence to support the idea that fairies exist or live at the bottoms of gardens, but we shouldn’t necessarily be completely dismissive of the idea. We just don’t accept the idea unti some form of evidence that stands up to scrutiny comes along.

For example, if you go here and read their thoughts on ghosts, I don’t agree with them and I don’t believe they are right, but I will if they provide evidence that backs up their claim.

When I made the same sort of point in reply to the skeptic in question I was told they didn’t label themselves as a skeptic afterall, but rather, someone who just has common sense.

Which implies that anyone who identifies themselves as a skeptic isn’t using common sense? Which, actually, they are…

It was a strange thing to say to defend the position this person had taken on the fairy thing, and this is where many people come unstuck as skeptics because they identify themselves as a skeptic but forget in the long run exactly what skepticism is and become a bit too comfortable with the notion that they’re correct in their beliefs.

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1 Response to "It’s all about attitude"

This “correlation = causation” tendency is described will in this experiment: The Superstitious Pigeon:

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Superstitious_pigeon#Superstition_in_the_pigeon

This is why I’m so fearful of my own beliefs.

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Hayley is a ghost

Hayley Stevens is an advocate for science-based research into seemingly paranormal experiences and occurrences. With a background in the pseudo-scientific research into ghosts, Hayley offers a unique insight into the strange world of ghost hunting through her experience.

She describes herself as 'a ghost hunter who doesn't hunt for ghosts' and this is her personal blog where she writes about ghosts, people, and other interesting things. Read more here.

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