“If you are sure of your facts, you should defend your position.” – Cecilia Payne
Cecilia Payne was an astronomer and astrophysicist who discovered how to understand the composition of stars in terms of the relative abundance of hydrogen and helium. Her thesis was attacked by a superior claiming it could not possibly be true that hydrogen is 1 million times more abundant in stars than on earth. This attack prompted her to add a final sentence on to her thesis acknowledging that it cannot be true.
Four years later superior realized his mistake. To his credit he gave her due credit for her discovery. After this was over, she was prompted to make the above statement.
“If you are sure of your facts, you should defend your position.”
Alex Spiegel over at NPR quoting Alia Crum regarding the findings in her recent study indicating that our beliefs about food effect how our bodies metabolize that food:
“Our beliefs matter in virtually every domain, in everything we do,” Crum says. “How much is a mystery, but I don’t think we’ve given enough credit to the role of our beliefs in determining our physiology, our reality. We have this very simple metabolic science: calories in, calories out.”
People don’t want to think that our beliefs have influence, too, she says. “But they do!”
read the full article
Science emerged in a time when superstition led to attributing causes to unrelated things and religion was abused to promote suppression/oppression of ideas. Whenever people organize, organization can magnify our undesirable tendencies; religion and science are no exceptions. No institution is immune from human failings. Continue reading
Jeremy Dean’s (PsyBlog) recent nuance-light headline caught my attention: Why Positive Thinking May Be Harmful for Some
A recently published study by researchers at Michigan State University revealed that habitual worriers’ (Dean calls them “natural worriers”, a specious phrase) brains ‘backfire’ when trying to put a positive spin on a scenario that seems negative. Lead study author Jason Moser:
“The worriers actually showed a paradoxical backfiring effect in their brains when asked to decrease their negative emotions.
This suggests they have a really hard time putting a positive spin on difficult situations and actually make their negative emotions worse even when they are asked to think positively.”
Leading Moser to conclude:
“You can’t just tell your friend to think positively or to not worry — that’s probably not going to help them.
So you need to take another tack and perhaps ask them to think about the problem in a different way, to use different strategies.”
Returning to PsyBlog’s headline, it would be accurate to say positive thinking may be harmful to some if Moser’s alternate strategies are not also ‘positive thinking’. I’m not sure that considering other ways of thinking about a situation in order to reduce worry is not positive thinking.
Never ask a man if sexism exists.
Never ask a white person if racism exists.
Never ask Scott McGreal over at Psychology Today if there is a scientific taboo against ESP.
Ask four-time president of the Parapsychology Association, Dean Radin:
This is yet another article in a common theme. See also Truth in Opposites in Three Stories and Negative Thinkers Have It Right.
It has been in the forefront of my mind lately that one person can have the exact opposite response to a personal growth concept as another, and yet, when examined closely, neither person is wrong.
Yesterday I briefly posted to Facebook “how you do one thing is how you do everything”. I took it down when someone (rightly) pointed out to me that such a statement is judgmental. Continue reading
On 3/14/14 remote viewer Courtney Brown launched his new project “The Great Pyramid of Giza: The Mystery solved”. He hyped the launch for about 6 weeks on his FaceBook page, with frequent postings of “implications”. On Jan 22 on his Facebook page, Courtney characterized the announcement:
“Something important is going to happen sometime next month, February 2014. Nothing can stop it now. There will be an announcement, and the world will change on the date of that announcement. Part of that announcement will happen on this Facebook page, right here. In the beginning, only a few will understand the significance of the announcement, and what it means for all of humanity currently living on this planet. Some will laugh, and some will cry. But in time, the world will come to know that life on Earth changed significantly on that day in February 2014. A mystery that has confused our civilization for thousands of years will find an answer. And from that answer, a new direction for the future growth of our species will arise.”
Wow. The world changed forever. I don’t think I’d be mischaracterising Courtney’s tone and scope of his announcement as being of prophetic proportions. I was not surprised on March 15 when I checked out his project and found he failed to deliver on that promise, though not for lack of trying. The interesting work of Daz Smith and Dick Allgire is marred by Courtney’s flawed analysis, inability to cite possible confounding factors and unscientific rhetoric (see his YouTube video); his certainty of his analysis is unfounded. Continue reading
From Dean Radin’s excellent talk, Was Buddha just a nice guy?
Lately I’ve been interested in programming my dreams to answer questions. Because of my interest in remote viewing (think ESP for science types), my questions tend towards precognitions and other types of things that I would not have a direct awareness of. Because remote viewing involves bubbling up information accessed by the subconscious, it occurred to me that the close connection dreams have with the subconscious makes them a possible vector for intentional, directed psychic awareness.
ESP, remote viewing, precognitions in dreams, these are all evidence of a fundamental aspect of consciousness that we do not yet understand. It is always on: just as sound comes in even when we don’t listen, this too is always on, even if we think we aren’t ‘listening’, affecting us in ways that we almost always don’t realize. We cannot assume that the mechanism that permits these experiences goes only in one direction (as if we can receive information but not send it). A growing body of research, (and my own experience) indicates it is a two-way street.
There are no doubt many lessons. Here is one: Continue reading