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February 20, 2007

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You remember the one time something happened as you wished it to happen. Can you recall all of the other times that you wanted something to happen? Did they all end up in successes?

More than likely, they did not all end up in successes, which means you are only noting one false positive and not counting all of the negatives. Coincidences do happen, which is why you need more than one anecdote to verify a theory.

Moreover, expecting others to analyze something for which they were not present and have nothing more than your personal account to go by is ridiculous.

I recall something to the effect that humans disregard 98% of the information they receive through their senses. Even in the remaining 2%, there's probably a lot that your conscious mind isn't even aware of.

Heck, in videogames I rely on 'blindsight' a lot of the time. It's sight that you can't see, in a way: Your visual information is broadcast into both your neocortex (the most recently evolved part of your brain) and into your R-complex ("reptilian brain") which handles reflexes, 'fight or flight' instincts and so forth. Under some circumstances when I'm gaming, I've conditioned myself to be able to dodge some attacks before I'm even consciously aware of them.

Given all that amazing stuff the typical human brain like mine can do, I'd say Ryan's scenario 2 is more likely: We sense and do a lot of things we aren't aware of with just our regular senses. Don't underestimate the power of mundane yet really cool explanations and insist that it must be some magical, yet unknowable, and therefore boring, extra sense.

If I get everything I wish for, why the hell haven't I gotten laid yet!?!?

Suzanne.

You seem to have convinced yourself that the only explanation possible is a woo one, but you seem to discount the very simple explanation of blind luck/coincidence.

For instance, if I had not done everything exactly as I did on the Saturday just gone then I would not have been in the exact spot at the exact time to skid on black ice and hit the car that was passing me at that exact moment. Of all the possible events that could have occurred, that one did. Sometimes, shit happens.

The fact that seemingly miraculous events happen is not extraordinary. In fact it would be more miraculous if the extraordinary did not happen given the almost infinite number of possible events.

If you doubt this is true just remember this. You exist, yet the odds of you existing are almost insurmountable. And yet here you are.

the universe cannot distinguish between not and yes WTF what a universe psssh

Rockstar and Bronze

I think it is plausible that my unconscious brain picked up on something visual and made a quick "computerized" assmessment. But damn, it could've been a piece of gum and I would've been really disgusted. Frankly, I am not inclined to pick anything up off a New York City street. yech!

Whatever happened, it was heightened awareness and not coincidence. I've had quite a few "coinicidences" like that, although not to that degree.

I ultimately lean towards a scientific explanation of all this....but I am going to guess it's something about our brains that scientists don't fully understand yet.

So, then, where does the magic come in? Or does that mean you're agreeing with us?

So, then, where does the magic come in? Or does that mean you're agreeing with us?

Or a fallacious appeal to science doesn't know everything?

I never said magic came into this. All I said was that I was not willing to accept a hypothetical argument that the sequence of events was illusory.

And there is no agreement or disagreement from me on this issue, because none of us knows exactly what happened. I certainly never offered up an explanation for what happened.


Suzanne:

Whatever happened, it was heightened awareness and not coincidence.

And how do you know it wasn't coincidence? What specifically proves that this was not coincidence? Why does it have to be heightened awareness and not simply awareness?

I still don't think you grasp the idea of just how common the seemingly extraordinary or coincidental is.

For instance in the UK I lived in a town called Chesterfield. I moved to the USA and without knowing moved within half a mile of a road called Chesterfield Road, and just today found out that on his summer road trip my current college lecturer will be visiting Chesterfield, Michigan. What are the odds on that? Or is it something mystical?

You also don't seem willing to understand the fallibility of memory. For weeks after the 9/11 attacks I told people that I had seen the towers fall live on TV, I was convinced of it. Eventually though my wife pointed out I had been in bed fast asleep with jet lag, and had seen re-runs of the footage. My memory was wrong about even such a significant event, only days after it happened.

When I was in school three friends and I were returning from lunch when two of us witnessed a car accident. When the two who didn't see it asked us what happened, we both gave a different version of events, immediately afterwards.

Coincidences, no matter how unlikely, happen. The seemingly extraordinary is actually relatively common. Memory fails and is highly suggestible.

Part of the reason for people believing in woo is failure to understand these three important points.

And just one more thing. Did you ever consider that the ear ring you found was the same as your sisters, but belonged to someone else? Was it a common type? If it was, perhaps they were prone to falling off. Where and what were you and your sister doing when this incident occurred? Did you know the ear ring was of a type your sister wore (the eye is drawn to things it recognises)?

If you hadn't considered any of this, how can you be so certain of your conclusion that it is something unexplained or unlikely?

Okay, so I've been reading through the last series of posts on "The Secret." I guess I'm about half skeptic and half woo, so I would appreciate some kind of rational debate that doesn't degenerate into ad hominem name calling such as using words like "secretards" or "fuckers" or some other mean spirited word to describe someone who doesn’t believe as you do. I thought honest debate was about attacking ideas, not people.

Okay, that said, though I think that “The Law of Attraction” itself is misguided and slightly delusional, it represents an important truth, which is: Thoughts themselves essentially create our experience of the world. The opening lines of the Dhammapada (A series of poems by the Buddha about spiritual practice) are:

All experience is preceded by mind, led by mind, made by mind. Speak or act with a corrupted mind, and suffering follows.

All experience is preceded by mind, led by mind, made by mind. Speak or act with a peaceful mind, and happiness follows.

Okay, so while I don’ t believe that our thoughts have the power to shape physical reality in the Uri Geller sense, our experience of the world, how we interpret what happens to us, and the possibilities which we allow ourselves to image and therefore enact is largely based on our thinking and the beliefs we hold, whether they be conscious or unconscious.

I’ve noticed Western Rational Materialists tend to believe that what one thinks inwardly is irrelevant and essentially unimportant, ie, if you go around angry with people all day, inwardly complaining and angrily justifying your point of view, this mental habit doesn’t have any influence on your life or those around you, because thoughts and other mental functioning are essentially non-physical and therefore couldn’t possibly have any influence on the material world. Therefore, if you experience a problem in your life: a physical health problem, a problem at work, a relationship problem, or a problem with money, it’s silly New Age woo woo to consider that what you think and believe may have actually had something to do with it. This is not to say that physical illness is never caused by strictly material causes.

Therefore, although the Law of Attraction is misguided, it’s almost as if we would do well to believe it, as it would most likely give us a more immediate sense of control over our experience by changing our thinking. If we start considering that our thoughts and beliefs are essentially the foundation from which our life springs, changing your thinking will have the perceived phenomenological effect of changing what physically comes to us in the world. That is to say, even if we do experience something negative, we’re likely to frame the experience in a positive manner, and it will appear as though more positive (ie wanted or desired) things are coming to us.

I would appreciate some kind of rational debate that doesn't degenerate into ad hominem name calling such as using words like "secretards" or "fuckers" or some other mean spirited word to describe someone who doesn’t believe as you do. I thought honest debate was about attacking ideas, not people.
You misunderstand ad hominem attacks. It is ad hominem to say "you're a jerk/pharma shill/Westerner, therefore you're wrong." It is not ad hominem to say "you're wrong for the following reasons, also you're a jerk."
Okay, so while I don’ t believe that our thoughts have the power to shape physical reality in the Uri Geller sense, our experience of the world, how we interpret what happens to us, and the possibilities which we allow ourselves to image and therefore enact is largely based on our thinking and the beliefs we hold, whether they be conscious or unconscious.
Yes, and no one objects to that (except maybe your image/enact thing, where I'm not sure what you're meaning). What people object to is the idea that thoughts actively create the physical world, and the idiotic philosophical and "scientific" arguments which are used to support that idea.

What you're saying is like "while I don't believe that there's a God, or that Jesus was a magical deity, the Bible contains some important truths, like that we should love our neighbors and not kill each other." Well, of course, and no one's disputing that. The thing is that you can get that message elsewhere, without the delusional supernatural trappings.

I’ve noticed Western Rational Materialists tend to believe that what one thinks inwardly is irrelevant and essentially unimportant, ie, if you go around angry with people all day, inwardly complaining and angrily justifying your point of view, this mental habit doesn’t have any influence on your life or those around you, because thoughts and other mental functioning are essentially non-physical and therefore couldn’t possibly have any influence on the material world.
Who in their right mind would ever make that claim? I've certainly never seen a skeptic say such a thing.

Of course your thoughts and attitudes influence your actions and your interactions with the world. It influences other people if you're terse and sharp with them because you're having a bad day.

On the other hand, you can refuse to let a bad mood interfere with your actions. I know when I worked answering phones at a pizza place, when I was having a bad day, I just made a greater effort to be cheery and helpful on the phone. Getting up on the wrong side of the bed was my problem, not the customers'. See, although our moods and attitudes influence our actions, we can and do retain control over those actions. And so it's very easy to make it so that the only person affected by your bad mood over the course of the day is you.

Therefore, if you experience a problem in your life: a physical health problem, a problem at work, a relationship problem, or a problem with money, it’s silly New Age woo woo to consider that what you think and believe may have actually had something to do with it. This is not to say that physical illness is never caused by strictly material causes.
Again, who would make such a claim? Of course your attitudes and beliefs have a bearing on your health, your work, your relationships, etc. If you're constantly on-edge and stressed out, you're going to put yourself at risk for high blood pressure and the like. If you're a jerk or a doormat at work, people are going to react to that.

But there are also many things over which you have no control, and a positive attitude isn't going to fix an overbearing boss or a case of asthma.

That is to say, even if we do experience something negative, we’re likely to frame the experience in a positive manner, and it will appear as though more positive (ie wanted or desired) things are coming to us.
That's not a reason to believe the Law of Attraction. That's a reason to believe "Don't Worry, Be Happy." The LoA is precisely the delusion you mentioned before, and the fact that it derives from a sane philosophy doesn't change the fact that it's still delusional. Similarly, the fact that the Golden Rule is a great idea isn't justification to become a Christian. These philosophies are tied to doctrines of insane supernaturalism, and the fact that one is a good idea doesn't make the other believable.

In other words, you should believe in the power of positive thought. It will have an effect on your life. It is not, however, the Law of Attraction.

"If we start considering that our thoughts and beliefs are essentially the foundation from which our life springs, changing your thinking will have the perceived phenomenological effect of changing what physically comes to us in the world." - Brian

I would say, rather, that our thoughts and beliefs are the foundation from which our perception springs.

Perception, however, is subjective and fallible.

Equating one's subjective perception with one's objective reality can lead to erroneous conclusions, which is why we use the scientific method of testing to determine reality.

Correct me if I am wrong, Brian, but your post was basically pointing out the differences between optimism and pessimism. And I would agree that an optimistic life is probably a happier and more fulfilling life, but I do not have the scientific data to prove it :).

Of course, that is just my opinion.

Okay, fine, you’re right, it’s not true ad hominem.

However, making personality attacks on someone in an intellectual debate is irrelevant. It doesn’t advance your idea, and makes further rational discussion more difficult as it has a tendency to arouse strong emotions which obscure reasoned discourse.

Furthermore, calling someone a “fucker” based on one comment is irrational. For a site which claims to represent “critical thinking for an irrational world,” which I presume is an ideological model you support, I find this tendency hypocritical and disturbing, though hardly surprising.

Making a global assessment of a person’s total being based on one thing they said is not a rational, scientifically sound assessment. Humans are quite complex, with many different emotive and cognitive tendencies. To make a sweeping general statement that a person “is intelligent,” or “is a fucker,” is not a reasoned statement, as there is not sufficient evidence to support such a claim. You may point out that a specific thing someone said or did is not reasoned or disagreeable in some way, but to drag their TOTAL BEING into the argument is not conducive, and is often hateful.

I want to respond to more of your response, but I have to go to work. I just wanted to make that point though. Pong!

it has a tendency to arouse strong emotions which obscure reasoned discourse.
People misrepresenting science and falsely posing as experts arouses strong emotions in me. Hence the slur.
Furthermore, calling someone a “fucker” based on one comment is irrational.
No, claiming to know something about quantum physics and assuming that, on a site devoted to science and reason, no one will call you on it is irrational. And it's a dick move. Everyone has their buttons, mine is when you start misrepresenting quantum mechanics. John Vincent was an arrogant, willfully ignorant, lying, anti-science jackass, and I feel completely justified in using harsh language with him.

Skeptics and scientists are passionate people too; it doesn't impair our ability to reason.

Making a global assessment of a person’s total being based on one thing they said is not a rational, scientifically sound assessment.
I didn't make a "global assessment" of anyone's "total being". If you do a jackass thing, you deserve to be called a jackass for doing it. When someone cuts me off in traffic, I don't worry about whether or not they donate to charity or adopt stray puppies in their spare time.
To make a sweeping general statement that a person “is intelligent,” or “is a fucker,” is not a reasoned statement, as there is not sufficient evidence to support such a claim.
That's right, unless you know everything about a person, you can make no statements as to any characteristic they possess. Bull.

Here's how it is: initially, I assume the null hypothesis; in this case, I assume that any person is "not a fucker." When a person does something indicative of being a fucker, I'm going to assume that they are a fucker, until they show some evidence that they are, in fact, not a fucker. In other words, when the available evidence says it's a duck, it's not unreasonable to call it a duck until positive evidence demonstrates that it is not, in fact, a duck.

You may point out that a specific thing someone said or did is not reasoned or disagreeable in some way, but to drag their TOTAL BEING into the argument is not conducive, and is often hateful.
You're right, people are complex. No person's "TOTAL BEING" can be summed up in one word. So we judge people by their actions, we pigeonhole them with different appellations depending on the circumstances, and we all recognize that when you call someone a "police officer" or a "scientist" or a "fucker" that it doesn't explain all the little nuances and details and quirks of their personalities.

So, when you go to a school and you do some science experiments for kids, the kids would be justified in calling you a "scientist" even if that's not your "TOTAL BEING." When you wear a helmet and a fireproof jacket and you rush into a burning building to save an elderly person on the fourth floor, the spectators would be justified in calling you a "firefighter," despite the fact that you're also a lifeguard and a city council member and a Libra. And when you come onto a blog and you misrepresent science, arrogantly proclaim your intellectual superiority, and continue to feign expertise in a field where your only knowledge comes from "What the Bleep" and Answers.com, the other commenters would be perfectly justified in calling you a "fucker."

I didn't drag anyone's "TOTAL BEING" into the argument. I made the argument against John's fallacious claims, and insulted various parts of his "BEING" as an aside. Had I dragged his "TOTAL BEING" into the argument, I would have been committing an ad hominem; after all, not a jot of your "TOTAL BEING" matters, just your logic and your facts.

Brian:

I guess I'm about half skeptic and half woo, so I would appreciate some kind of rational debate that doesn't degenerate into ad hominem name calling such as using words like "secretards" or "fuckers" or some other mean spirited word to describe someone who doesn’t believe as you do. I thought honest debate was about attacking ideas, not people.

If you are half woo, then the last thing the other half would be is skeptic. In the sense that they are used here, the two are mutually exclusive.

I have to agree though, it would be nice to have a rational debate on this topic. However, the nature of what the secret is precludes any rational defence of it, so its supporters can only resort to the irrational. And they certainly have managed that so far.

As for name calling though, I notice that despite pleading for people not to, you still do:

I’ve noticed Western Rational Materialists tend to believe that what one thinks inwardly is irrelevant and essentially unimportant

I happen to find that term to have very negative connotations associated to it. So you should stop using it. If you want to use it to refer to a group of people that you think all share a belief system, then why can't I use secretard? Because you don't like it perhaps? What's the difference?

To make a sweeping general statement that a person “is intelligent,” or “is a fucker,” is not a reasoned statement, as there is not sufficient evidence to support such a claim.

I see that secretards still have a tenuous understanding of irony. How would you consider your statement about 'Western Rational Materialists' if not a 'sweeping general statement'?

Thoughts themselves essentially create our experience of the world.

No they don't. Thoughts interpret our experience of the world. My thoughts did not create my experience of a car crash last week. The car crash preceded my thoughts on the matter.

The opening lines of the Dhammapada (A series of poems by the Buddha about spiritual practice) are:

All experience is preceded by mind, led by mind, made by mind. Speak or act with a corrupted mind, and suffering follows.

All experience is preceded by mind, led by mind, made by mind. Speak or act with a peaceful mind, and happiness follows.

And the opening lines of The Lord of the Rings say:

'This book is largely concerned with Hobbits, and from its pages a reader may discover much of their character and a little of thier history.'

The problem is, they're both fiction and there's no reason to believe either just because they were written.

Okay, so while I don’ t believe that our thoughts have the power to shape physical reality in the Uri Geller sense, our experience of the world, how we interpret what happens to us, and the possibilities which we allow ourselves to image and therefore enact is largely based on our thinking and the beliefs we hold, whether they be conscious or unconscious.

And this equivocation has nothing to do with the loa or secret.

Therefore, although the Law of Attraction is misguided, it’s almost as if we would do well to believe it, as it would most likely give us a more immediate sense of control over our experience by changing our thinking.

Or it could lead people to give up cancer treatment. Or believe that rape victims deserved it. Or that Jews deserved the Holocaust. Or cause people to abdicate any responsibility for their actions. What's the harm, right?

Furthermore, calling someone a “fucker” based on one comment is irrational. For a site which claims to represent “critical thinking for an irrational world,” which I presume is an ideological model you support, I find this tendency hypocritical and disturbing, though hardly surprising.

This is total crap. If someone comes on here and posts 'All Jews suck.' Then a perfectly rational assessment of their personality and intelligence can be made.

Intellectual relativisim is really starting to get on my tits. Some ideas really are just outright underpants on head, pencils up nose insane (anyone get the reference?) It is not wrong to take one statement and form a judgement on it. Some things are stupid. Just like the people who say them.

What I find disturbing is that someone would argue I can't call someone an idiot if they think rape victims deserve it. What you are saying is I need to understand them more before deciding if that statement is flat out wrong and they are an idiot. Sorry, but you are wrong, you can determine the nature of a person by how and what they say.

What you are saying is I need to understand them more before deciding if that statement is flat out wrong and they are an idiot.
- Jimmy

That they are wrong and that they are an idiot are two different things. When debating, it doesn't serve your argument by making a character assessment. Sure, you could do it, but it's not helpful. By calling them an idiot, you just make people defensive and further unwilling to adopt your viewpoint. Sure it feels good, but doesn't help you or anyone else.

I've covered the doggerel "Western." Science, rationality, and even materialism are NOT "Western" concepts. Nationality and geography has nothing to do with it. In fact, whenever a woo mentions "Western," I think I'll just come out and say what character trait they're demonstrating: Racism.

One doggerel entry I may work on is "materialism." When woos use it, they're trying to relabel everything: Drawing a line in the sand between "natural" and "supernatural", just like they do with "Western" and "Eastern": It's special pleading. Why should we accept a double-standard, especially one that so unequal?

"Western" pharmaceuticals have to pass a very large battery of tests in order to be marketed. That is as it should be.

"Eastern" herbs typically only have to be not-lethal to be marketed.

If something has an effect, it is subject to science. It doesn't matter how many stickers you slap on it.

That they are wrong and that they are an idiot are two different things.

True, but nearly every secretard so far has been both. And being the latter almost certainly guarantees the former.

When debating, it doesn't serve your argument by making a character assessment. Sure, you could do it, but it's not helpful.

Nonsense, in fact it can often be central too it. For instance, do you not think it might be important to know if the person you are debating is dishonest? Or a racist? Or just plain dumb? Or irrational?

By calling them an idiot, you just make people defensive and further unwilling to adopt your viewpoint. Sure it feels good, but doesn't help you or anyone else.

I'll get over the fact that these people can't handle harsh reality pointed out to them. My aim is not to convert those woos already entrenched in their beliefs, my aim is to help those who are undecided come to a decision. Sometimes, that means pointing out that the woo is an idiot. Note I don't stop there though, I say why they are an idiot, people can then decide for themselves whether I'm right or wrong. That is the important distinction between me (and certainly the other skeptics who have posted on this) and the insult slinging secretards.

More interestingly though, I note you seem intent on merely trying to turn this into a conversation about whether or not name calling is productive. Why is that?

I'll get over the fact that these people can't handle harsh reality pointed out to them. My aim is not to convert those woos already entrenched in their beliefs, my aim is to help those who are undecided come to a decision.

I'm with Jimmy: The woos we insult usually make it quite clear that they're already closed-minded. We just need to make it clear to the fence-sitters.

“More interestingly though, I note you seem intent on merely trying to turn this into a conversation about whether or not name calling is productive. Why is that?” – Jimmy Blue

There was more to your post that I wanted to respond to, but that was the last thing on my mind, and I had to leave for work, so I just wrote that. But I did want to make it a focus because I think it’s fundamental to having a good debate.

My basic point is this: You probably feel that the world would be a better place if more people adopted your point of view, right? Therefore, when confronted with someone who doesn’t agree with your point of view, the most constructive, optimistic response would be to show the person the fallacy in their thinking through civil, reasoned discourse. The minute you insult someone you’ve essentially sabotaged any possibility of them adopting your point of view. For whatever reason, people will largely become defensive when insulted, and no longer care as much about being logically correct as not being wrong. Admitting that you’re wrong is something which very few people are capable of doing consistently, and for good reason: It sucks.

I also want to be friendly because I’m honestly interested in debating this for my own knowledge. I want to learn more, and a good way to do that is to debate what I know.

Okay, that said, back to the law of attraction..

“I've covered the doggerel "Western." Science, rationality, and even materialism are NOT "Western" concepts. Nationality and geography has nothing to do with it. In fact, whenever a woo mentions "Western," I think I'll just come out and say what character trait they're demonstrating: Racism.”

Okay, admittedly, I haven’t taken a science class in many years, and so I’m a little out of it. I know that other cultural systems had scientific study, but seems to me, at least in the science that I studied, nearly ALL the most powerful and influential scientists were Western: Newton, Einstein, Darwin, Copernicus, Schrödinger, etc. It seems a predominantly Western tradition, though I would certainly welcome alternative information which disproves this assumption.
You’re right about materialism though as it is exhibited in other cultures. I did look it up after you mentioned it, and I should probably read more about it because it’s something that interests me. I would still proposed though that it is most strongly exhibited in Western cultures. Again, enlighten me.

"What I find disturbing is that someone would argue I can't call someone an idiot if they think rape victims deserve it." - Jimmy

Show me one person promoting the law of attraction who has said “rape victims deserve it.” It is true that one could reduce the law of attraction to that idea, but most people promoting the Law of Attraction probably just haven’t considered that. Wouldn’t it make the world a better place if, through reasoned, civil discourse, you were able to, with your obvious intelligence, show them the logical inconsistency represented by your criticism? Wouldn’t that be great if they adopted your point of view? Wouldn’t that be better (more constructive, more optimistic) than calling them names?

“Thoughts themselves essentially create our experience of the world." (Brian)
No they don't. Thoughts interpret our experience of the world. My thoughts did not create my experience of a car crash last week. The car crash preceded my thoughts on the matter.” - Jimmy

Your subjective experience of the world and the outside objective happenings of the world are two different things. For example, two people could be subject to the exact same event, say, for example, seeing a person. One person might be sexually attracted (no pun intended) to this person, and thus have a pleasant experience. Another person might have had a fight with this same person the day before, and therefore become filled with anger, tightening stomach, etc. How you will experience, perceive and think of this event is mediated by your beliefs and your cognition.

Notice I didn’t say “thoughts change what happens to us.” I said, “thoughts create our experience.”
One interesting thing I found in looking up Materialism:

“Materialism is the philosophy of the subject who forgets to take account of himself.”
- Schopenhauer

Your turn…

I was tired when I came home last night, and I don’t feel I said that last part right, so let me try one more time:
Experience itself is subjective. Two people could experience the same event in drastically different ways depending on their preexisting beliefs and world-view. Therefore my experience is mediated by cognition.
The materialist might say: “Well of course! That’s obvious, everyone knows that!”
To which I would respond: “No, it’s not obvious, and almost no one knows that.”
People consistently think that outside events (ie, people, things, etc.) are responsible for their experience of the world. Even in how Jimmy responded to my initial post, he said “My thoughts did not create my experience of a car crash last week.” The tendency is to associate experience with outside things. Experience is internal.

Argh. Bronze Dog was absolutely correct with his summation of the Western/Eastern fallacy. The fact that European scientists spring to mind before other, less well-known (in the US, anyway) scientists from Asia or somewhere else is the fault of how we are taught the history of medicine. As an educator, I can tell you there are lots of problems with the selection process of what to include in a semester's curriculum. You're probably more familiar with the debate about the literature canon - which features almost exclusively white males. Well, there's a science canon as well. Of course European scientists have made breakthroughs - but their fame often eclipses their sources, which historically come from the east - we wouldn't have ancient Greek science without Near Eastern scientists who have fallen from the historical record, and we would have had no medieval and Renaissance advances in Pisa and Paris without the contribution of the Arabs and Turks. And that's just the problem with how information gets included in sources and taught to us today! There ARE, in fact, lots of non-European scientists who've made rational advances IN THE CURRENT HISTORICAL RECORD, and just because we don't know about them, doesn't mean they don't exist. Argumentum ex silentio. If you think there are unknowable mysteries held by some woo-meisters in Asia, and there is a legitimate "different way of knowing" in the East, then BD is right, that IS rather racist. If you'll excuse the tautology: woo is woo.

whoops, the above came out anonymous. sorry, that was me. (western does not equal rational)
madaha

My basic point is this: You probably feel that the world would be a better place if more people adopted your point of view, right?
Well, my particular preference is that more people would learn to think for themselves and learn the basics of rational thought, inquiry, and discourse.
The minute you insult someone you’ve essentially sabotaged any possibility of them adopting your point of view. For whatever reason, people will largely become defensive when insulted, and no longer care as much about being logically correct as not being wrong.
That's not entirely true, nor is it true for all situations. There are many situations in which harsh, blunt language and insults will force the target to see that this is not a trivial matter. Pathologically, people hear "you're an idiot if you believe X," and one of their potential reactions is "well, I don't want to be an idiot." This is something that the woos and snake oil salesmen know and employ well. While I'm not usually one for appeals to pathos, if it gets a person to start thinking, then I'm all for it.

But you're right, most people get defensive when you insult them. Some subset of those people (and here's the rub) will take that a step farther and wonder why they are getting defensive, which in turn leads to an evaluation of their position.

Take a look, for instance, at Penn and Teller's series, "Bullshit." They take a similarly and unrelentingly harsh approach to their opponents, and through watching that series I've been forced to reconsider, re-evaluate, and discard a number of popular delusions. When it comes to some matter that P&T are debunking which I happen to believe, I consider my reasons for believing that. In something like the obesity epidemic or recycling, I may re-evaluate my position. In the case of gun control or Wal-Mart, I strengthen my own position by recognizing and honing the arguments I have for such beliefs.

So, I'd disagree that insults are always destructive.

It seems a predominantly Western tradition, though I would certainly welcome alternative information which disproves this assumption.
Formal, modern science really originated in Classical Greece, though that learning was preserved and enhanced in the Eastern remnants of the Roman Empire (Constantinople and the like) while the West languished in the Dark Ages for a few centuries. While most of the great thinkers have been Westerners due to a variety of reasons, globalization and mass communication have allowed methodical science to become a more worldwide pursuit. The science practiced in China or India is the same as what's done at MIT or CalTech.

Incidentally, just off the top of my head I'd say that Satyendra Bose and Subrahmanyan Chandrasekhar are a couple of well-known Eastern physicists, Ivan Pavlov and Lev Vygotsky are renowned Russian psychologists, and Dmitri Mendeleev created the Periodic Table of Elements.

I would still proposed though that it is most strongly exhibited in Western cultures. Again, enlighten me.
Anyway, this is all besides the point. Western or Eastern, science works regardless of hemisphere. And Western or Eastern, the rules of evidence, the effectiveness of the scientific method, and the importance of the null hypothesis are universal. If "Eastern" medicine works, for instance, it should work according to any standard, including the standards of "Western" science.
Show me one person promoting the law of attraction who has said “rape victims deserve it.” It is true that one could reduce the law of attraction to that idea, but most people promoting the Law of Attraction probably just haven’t considered that.
Whether or not they have considered that, it is the natural consequence of the "philosophy." So, doctrines like 'you create your universe with your thoughts. Everything in your life has been attracted to you by the things you think and/or feel,' and "Everything that's coming into your life you are attracting into your life. And it's attracted to you by virtue of the images you're holding in your mind. It's what you're thinking. You see, whatever is going on in your mind, you are attracting to you," naturally lead to this "blame the victim" mentality.
Wouldn’t it make the world a better place if, through reasoned, civil discourse, you were able to, with your obvious intelligence, show them the logical inconsistency represented by your criticism? Wouldn’t that be great if they adopted your point of view? Wouldn’t that be better (more constructive, more optimistic) than calling them names?
Have you read these threads? You act as if we've only insulted, when in fact we have, repeatedly and thoroughly, shown the various logical inconsistencies represented by the Law of Attraction and its supporters. And in turn, we're called "negative people" who "must lead miserable lives" and so on. There's a groupthink mentality here, supported by "The Secret" and its delusions of persecution, that those who disagree are just trying to keep the Secret for themselves, or are just denying the truth. They've got a set of stock responses to reasoned criticism, a wall built up so they won't have to think too deeply about anything.

In many cases, they don't have a pre-planned response to "you're an idiot." In some cases, it helps to break down that pre-planned wall of stock responses. And sure, in others it could hurt our positions, but the sad truth is that someone who is going to insist, post after post, that the only reason you're disagreeing with them is because you're miserable and part of some conspiracy, then there's little chance of actually getting through to them.

Notice I didn’t say “thoughts change what happens to us.” I said, “thoughts create our experience.”
And no one's denying that. Except the Secret, they're saying the former.
“Materialism is the philosophy of the subject who forgets to take account of himself.”
And the solipsism of the Secret is the philosophy of the subject who forgets to take account of everything outside of himself.
The materialist might say: “Well of course! That’s obvious, everyone knows that!” To which I would respond: “No, it’s not obvious, and almost no one knows that.”
And I would greatly disagree with that. No one here would claim that one's mind does not influence one's experience.
People consistently think that outside events (ie, people, things, etc.) are responsible for their experience of the world. Even in how Jimmy responded to my initial post, he said “My thoughts did not create my experience of a car crash last week.” The tendency is to associate experience with outside things. Experience is internal.
I think the problem here, specifically in Jimmy's reply, is in the different definitions of the word "experience." While you're using it in the sense of "personal experience," which is a person's individual interpretation of some event, Jimmy used it in the more general sense of "encounter" or "happen." If I say "I experienced a mugging last night," I'm saying that I was mugged. If I say "I think my mugging experience differs a bit from yours," I'm talking about personal experience. Both are valid uses of the word, but since you're using different definitions, you're talking across each other.

Now, to address the issue, we each react differently to our circumstances, and we may react differently to the same circumstance at different times. If I'm having a bad day, a sudden rainstorm might be "just one more thing that went wrong," while on a good day I might do some dancing, twirl my umbrella, and look for rainbows. Our interpretation of a given circumstance is personal, ever-changing, and based entirely on mood, attitude, personality, and prior experiences.
However, without circumstances, we'd have nothing to interpret. It's foolish to say that your experiences are determined entirely by your interpretations or your circumstances, because the two are somewhat interdependent, and future experiences depend both on past circumstances and past interpretations, since we are unlikely to seek out circumstances which in the past led to bad interpretations.

In other words, personal experience (interpretation) is internal, but is very dependent on external circumstance.

"Incidentally, just off the top of my head I'd say that Satyendra Bose and Subrahmanyan Chandrasekhar are a couple of well-known Eastern physicists"

Wow! You knew how to spell that off the top of your head? My hats off.

Argg! This is too addicting and taking up too much time! I appreciate your responses, and Tom, no I didn't read all of this thread until you mentioned it. I mostly was reading the comments other post on "Law of Attraction" and wanted to comment, but didn't want to read the massive comments list for the Secret. You definitely have a point, though I disagree that people will be more apt to change their ideas if you are harsh with them. It's my personal experience that people will defend their ideologies as much as their physical bodies, and when attacked will instinctively counter strike. It's probably some evolutionary psychology thing, though I haven't done any research. Peace out.

Wow! You knew how to spell that off the top of your head? My hats off.
I knew how to spell their last names (thanks to an interest in Bose-Einstein Condensates and black holes), but I did have to look up their first names.

I disagree that people will be more apt to change their ideas if you are harsh with them. It's my personal experience that people will defend their ideologies as much as their physical bodies, and when attacked will instinctively counter strike.

Like I said, it's certainly not the case with all people. I'd doubt that it's the case with any people all the time. But I do think it is an effective tool in some cases, and I think further that, when it comes right down to it, it's cathartic for us as well.

Hi All,

We are actually launching a multi disclipinary website focusing on empowering titles ranging from "scientific" (say CBT) through medical/physical (say effect of diet/nutrition on behaviour) through to New Age (say Law of Attraction)through to religous/spiritual (say angels/cosmic ordering). Its split into thought and practise (ie meditation) and then applications (say anxiety/stress or creativity.

Your idea of a nightmare I suspect!!!!

1. I absolutely agree that the strong form of The Law of Attraction is not only internally inconsistent (ie magnets repel not attract), relies on non science (quantum mechanics does not say that we emit magnetic fields and even if we did like minded people would then repel each other. Its dangerous because it recoomeds you base your actions on this one principle alone and abandon all logic, expereince and judgement (crossing a busy motoway is likely to be fatal no matter how strongly you "THINK" away the cars)

Hower I have to say that I absolutely believe in the weak form of the law of attraction which just says that thoughts can help create things or more accurately increase the range of opportunities available to you and your probability of succces with each opportunity.

It is not though positive thinking that creates the benefical effects Hicks et al claim. It is really the social networking effect where by leaving more positive reactions with everyone you meet (ie you are a intelligent, emphathetic person who would be good to work, with be a friend of, start a business with, have a relationship with)you increase the range of opportunities available to you and increase the chance of mutually positive interaction (ie an asocial btillant computer genius meets social marketing genius and decide to launch my... -by the way notice like does not attract like complementary attracts complementary)

When I read Hicks, Secret et al I relace vibrational/univers is energy withpositive thinking/social networking.

I am absolutely stunned any intelligent person let alon Procter and Hakins would wish to state a social observation/hypothese/law in "the always and everywhere and at all times" form. Even for scientific laws there are circumstances where they do not apply (ie Newtonian physics seeks applying at near light speed?.

However whatever problems there are with the strong form of the law of attraction it in no way detracts from the weak lae of attraction which has an entirely different transmission mechanism. It would be interesting if an experiment could be construcred to test it against a placebo or other strongly held belief (eg religous)as controls.

I will have a subsection entitled something Critics of empowerment theory with relevant titles.

By te way I have also found that actually even the zany new age/ mystical approachesd likje cosmic ordering/angels are often just using a differnt terminology for CBT, positve thinking, power of unconsious mind. Given their mindset (ie anti scientific/new age) the use of termionology like angels/cosmic ordering which fits in better with their core beliefs/values is actully quite beneficial.


Larrt

Your idea of a nightmare I suspect!!!!
My idea of a nightmare is grammar as poor as yours. I certainly hope you employ some sort of proofreading on your site, because your syntax is so poor that I honestly have no idea what you just said it was about.
I absolutely agree that the strong form of The Law of Attraction is not only internally inconsistent (ie magnets repel not attract)
Actually, magnets repel and attract. But I assume you meant "like magnets."
Hower I have to say that I absolutely believe in the weak form of the law of attraction which just says that thoughts can help create things or more accurately increase the range of opportunities available to you and your probability of succces with each opportunity.
In other words, "positive attitude is a good thing." That's got nothing to do with the Law of Attraction, and everything to do with common sense. It's not the "weak form" of the Law of Attraction; the Law of Attraction is the basic principle of positive thinking taken to an absurd conclusion. Don't give artificial credit to the Law of Attraction for somehow being the source of an idea that far, far predates them.
It is really the social networking effect where by leaving more positive reactions with everyone you meet (ie you are a intelligent, emphathetic person who would be good to work, with be a friend of, start a business with, have a relationship with)you increase the range of opportunities available to you and increase the chance of mutually positive interaction (ie an asocial btillant computer genius meets social marketing genius and decide to launch my... -by the way notice like does not attract like complementary attracts complementary)
Again, this is common sense for anyone who has ever written a résumé or gone to a job interview. "First impressions are everything," "no one likes a spoilsport," "let your smile be your umbrella," and a hundred other aphorisms present the same message and predate the Law of Attraction by centuries.

And furthermore, none of this really has to do with science, except perhaps social psychology. It's all about cultural norms and interpersonal interaction, and it's certainly not universal. For instance, in the United States, making good eye-contact with your job interviewer or boss is a sign of attentiveness and respect, whereas the same behavior in various Asian countries would be seen as a sign of insubordination.

When I read Hicks, Secret et al I relace vibrational/univers is energy withpositive thinking/social networking.
Huh?
However whatever problems there are with the strong form of the law of attraction it in no way detracts from the weak lae of attraction which has an entirely different transmission mechanism. It would be interesting if an experiment could be construcred to test it against a placebo or other strongly held belief (eg religous)as controls.
What is transmitted? What is the mechanism? What are you even talking about?

Yes, if you're an amicable person, people are more apt to like you, to socially network with you, and to hire you. This isn't a law of the universe, it's a consequence of society. It's not transmitted through a mechanism, it's interpreted by people through social norms. And whatever it is, it isn't the Law of Attraction.

Given their mindset (ie anti scientific/new age) the use of termionology like angels/cosmic ordering which fits in better with their core beliefs/values is actully quite beneficial.
Beneficial for whom? For the people who persist in their delusions and rail against science, or good for the scientists who have to continually debunk these delusions and explain why and how science explains them?

Brian,

I can sum up my reply to your posts mostly with, 'What Tom said'. And I think Tom nailed it when he said we were talking at cross purposes over 'experience', and then nailed it again with his summation of circumstance and interpretation. In fact, Tom usually says what I wanted to say and much better than I would have said it. Git.

But if you want someone who promotes the law of attraction and thinks rapists deserve it (and much more than that), read Mora's posts on this very thread. Then tell me I was wrong to call her an idiot.

I do take issue with this:
You probably feel that the world would be a better place if more people adopted your point of view, right?

Actually no. I think such a world whilst maybe being a little more rational and hopefully intelligent, would be boring. What makes life interesting is that everyone else is different and has different ideas. I might agree with Skeptico, Bronze Dog and Tom Foss on a lot of things, but I'm glad that there will be stuff I don't agree with them on.

As Tom said I don't want people to adopt my point of view, I want them to think about it. Sometimes, that means calling them harshly on what they believe to get them to think, 'Why does he think I'm an idiot?'

It is true that one could reduce the law of attraction to that idea, but most people promoting the Law of Attraction probably just haven’t considered that.

Wouldn't that be the problem though? People promoting it haven't actually thought about it. And the ones that have seem quite happy to accept it. So they're idiots.

Good review. I didn't have to read the whole review to understand what you are saying.

I agree. It is absurd bullshit. The attraction lawmakers are wackos.

Git.
Oh, British insults are the best! Now call me a "wanker"! Or a "smeghead"!

:)

Thanks for the praise, Jimmy.

"the Secret", is bullshit, not quantum mechanics.

The new wave "Quantum Healers", "Quantum Life Coaches" and even "Quantum Feminists" (fer cryin' out loud!) clearly illustrate that a little learning is a dangerous thing. And it seems that "The Secret" has brought them all out of the woodwork.

Here's just one example: www.nudgez.com. The quack who runs this site, Kristin Kopp, thinks she can use quantum mechanics (and her "healing hands") to magically knit broken glass back together. If you pay her enough money, she says she'll show you how to do it, too--but if you fail, it's because you didn't do it right. Her site (and hers isn't the only one), is a mismash of deliberately or cluelessly misunderstood science, claims of "specialness" and assurances that she can teach you how to "get what you want" through quantum mechanics.

If this is the result, I have to wonder if schools should just stop teaching science altogether. It doesn't seem to be helping.

"It's foolish to say that your experiences are determined entirely by your interpretations or your circumstances, because the two are somewhat interdependent..."

In other words, personal experience (interpretation) is internal, but is very dependent on external circumstance."

- Tom Foss

What is the relationship between experience and circumstance, then? How are they "somewhat interdependent?"

What I propose, is that our thoughts, beliefs and cognition mediate between circumstances and experience.

You could view it as such:

Event --> Cognition --> Experience

Without cognition, there would be no experience, period. Our experience is rooted directly in our cognition. I would therefore state that our experience IS determined entirely by our interpretations. Most people see this:

Event --> Experience

They don't see the middle man, and so they get into trouble, all the damn time. That's why the Law of Attraction is misguided, but points to this very important and often overlooked point.

Law of Attraction wants to see this:

Cognition --> Events --> Experience

Which we all know is a little silly.

I've found this thread really interesting reading both sides of the argument.

I've seen 'The Secret' and although I thought it was cheesy as hell I got the general concept they were trying to put across.

I then researched the subject and found a wealth of material on the subject - but none of it proved it scientifically (no surprises there!)

So in the face of that somewhat predictable fact I decided to try it for myself. I'm a skeptic (open-minded) and so I try most stuff out for myself and admittidely, most stuff (if not all) doesn't work, at least not for me. Anyway, back to my antics :)

First I would just visualise, pretty much like daydreaming. Guess what? Didn't work. Shame cos I'm a dab-hand at daydreaming, ask my old school teachers. I didn't give up so easily, so I read even more about it - but it was really through experimentation that things started to change(I can see you smiling!)

I started trying (and this is actually really difficult) to completely believe, without a doubt, the changes I wanted in my life were already a reality. I still find this really difficult but when I manage it I feel happy and so excited that I feel a flutter in my stomach. And this is the rub .....it started to (appear)to work :/

Some really freakish stuff has happened within days that has been so specific it's made me think "oooh" *insert twilight zone jingle* - I mean really specific and just plain odd. I'm not going to bore you with any anecdotes, I get the point of this site - it's after solid, provable evidence which this is not - but I've had some wine and I'm feeling brave!

I'm going to keep "dipping my toe" into this to see if more events happen, but ever since I've "actually beleived" whatever it is I've wanted as being already true, freaky shit happens. The dots appear and all I need to do is connect them....... shit can i borrow a pen? DOH!

Just to add: I think a lot of the people in the Secret are full of it, and are really just out to make money. Also, it's sad that they bring bogus science into the equation - unfortunately non-scientists like myself are easy prey on that score. Thanks to sites like these we can remedy that....eventually.

Mr Boggins


"For example, there was this from the self-proclaimed "visionary" Rev. Dr. Michael Beckwith:

"It has been proven scientifically now that an affirmative thought is hundreds of times more powerful than a negative thought."

Really? Proven by which scientists? And written up where? Because I couldn’t find it."

-------------------------------------------
"Actually, this is true. All you have to do is hook a person up to a thoughtometer. It measures the energy level of the thoughtons leaving a person's brain. Negative thoughts produce thoughtons between 2 and 800 milliRodins (mRd), whereas positive thoughts range from 500mRd to about 100Rd. The highest positive thought ever recorded was 103.5Rd, and that was from a woman whose rich hot doctor boyfriend proposed to her as she reached climax."

--------------------------------------------

Forgive me if I've missed the sarcasm, I'm very naive when it comes to science. Shouldn't the review be edited if it actually IS true?

It sounds sarcastic (thoughtons etc.) but I didn't see any LOL's etc. plus I Googled "thoughtons" and some stuff came back!

Isn't Thoughtons a chocolate boutique chain? :D

Which we all know is a little silly.

How I wish that were true, Brian. To some people, "silly" seems to be defined as anything which challenges their bizarre worldview.

Another figure who advocates the law of attraction is steve pavlina, his earlier motivational articles were really useful, but i don't particularly agree with any of his law of attraction or intention manifestation philosophy like this article

https://www.stevepavlina.com/blog/2006/08/the-law-of-attraction/

and if you want to laugh your asses off at the contradictions and gullibility check out this forums

https://www.stevepavlina.com/forums/intention-manifestation/

at first, i almost fell into the trap after reading his earlier articles about self discipline and gave me good sense of inspiration that I would almost agreed with anything he put forth, but when he started LOA, my BS detector lit up.

Some really freakish stuff has happened within days that has been so specific it's made me think "oooh" *insert twilight zone jingle* - I mean really specific and just plain odd. I'm not going to bore you with any anecdotes, I get the point of this site - it's after solid, provable evidence which this is not - but I've had some wine and I'm feeling brave!
I'll just caution you to be aware of things like confirmation bias, selection bias, and priming. A lot of those "weird things" might have just escaped your notice before you started concentrating on them.
It sounds sarcastic (thoughtons etc.) but I didn't see any LOL's etc. plus I Googled "thoughtons" and some stuff came back!
It was, very much, satire.

WOW! "Skeptic" doesn't seem to cut it as the description of what this blog has done to "The Secret". No wonder you really didn't want to comment on it in the first place.

It's a shame you skeptics are so skeptical.

It's sad to think you would rather rip this movie to shreds under the guise of "exposing" it, rather than go and utilize some of the practices within it.

You cannot actually say that you know all about "The Secret", because you have not actually watched it from beginning to end.

Nor have you watched it with curiosity - rather with skepticism. What happened to you? What happened to your "wonderment"?

If I go for a massage and expect to hate it, then I will.

If I go for a massage and wonder what it's going to be like, 9 times out of 10 I'll leave feeling pretty happy about the experience.

I've owned "The Secret" since it was released on DVD, WAY before Oprah and all the hype.

I took what I wanted from it and I left the rest there. Not for nothing, I have watched the video over 7 times all the way through. Plus, I watched the Oprah show on it.

It was worth the price to me, if only for curiosity's sake. And, yes, I PAID for The Secret ... I did NOT copy it or download it.

Think about it, computer users - you would HATE it if your stuff got copied, especially if you put the info out there in good faith.

BTW, I love sci-fi too. MST3K was silly in its own right - it showed that the creator knew where to put the "canned" laughter cue.

I hope you find your "bliss" someday ... if this blog is your bliss, then bless you. You need blessing!

Oh, thank you so much for all of this!! It warms my heart!

I have a friend who's trying to shove the damn Secret down everyone's throat and it's maddening.

to the writer of this artical - I hope you enjoy your the negativity you live in.

You once thought the world was flat. The end.

Wake up.

I've said it once, I'll say it a thousand times...

Quantum Physics and Postmodernism are as dangerous in the hands of an amateur as an AK-47.

-Yours

I've been following this thread with great interest since Skeptico first put it up. I'm ashamed to admit I got sucked into Landmark Education/Forum 10+ years ago, but am now a recovering woo escapee with a renewed love of science and reasoned thinking. The Secret and LoA sounded to me like some warmed-up Forum (which we know is warmed-up everything else dressed in an Calvin Klein suit) and I was curious just out of curiosity's sake. I couldn't bring myself to actually go to a bookstore and be seen with the book, so I decided to waste a Netflix slot and watch the dvd with the blinds down.

Let me first acknowledge this: it was so effing boring that I fell asleep half way through. And actually would have slept through the rest if the mutt hadn't woke me up. So I missed the middle, and was drowsy through the end. It made me feel so wretched that I just couldn't bring myself to go back over what I had missed. I tried to find a transcript online, but no luck on that.

However I feel a bit better informed to be actually able to say the following-The Secret is nothing new. It is a marketing ploy, brilliantly thought up by a few unethical people who believe that there are gullible people out there who will believe it is real because it is either in a book or on tv and an important-sounding person is telling them something with authority in their voice (or that someone famous like Oprah espouses its fabulousness). There is no secret in The Secret. And the LoA is a dangerous 'law' to believe in. The entirety is focused on navel-gazing selfishness, uttered by navel-gazing "authorities" who do not know one thing about the real world other than how to con people out of their hard-earned money.

The "science" was dodgy at best, but that didn't stop them from tossing it around like rice at a wedding. I was insulted by the self-satisfied smirks of all the talking heads. I was incensed that these authority figures would propose their ideas as a fine way to heal oneself of all sorts of diseases. And it angers me that this crap is taken as truth and will be swallowed hook-line-and-sinker by greedy, materialistic sad, sad sacks that feel there's something missing from their lives simply because someone tells them something is missing from their lives.

There has been some wonderful discussion on this thread, and thanks much to Skeptico, Tom Foss, Bronze Dog, Jimmy Blue, et al (I know I'm missing more than a few) for their diligence in keeping the secretoids (or whatever) on target. For those of you who are reading this with woo in your heart-there is so much more to life than believing that the universe is all about you and your material possessions. I find it sad that someone will shell out a stupid amount of money to be told it's ok to be selfish and sod-all to everyone else, and that's all the secret is about.

Now, I will say, I did get one good thing out of the movie, and that is their reminder to be grateful for what you have already. But now that I've told you that, you don't need to bother with the rest. Thanks for letting me spew.

Antony, have you ever bothered reading what skeptics have to say?

It was the scientific method that proved the world was round. It was the closed-minded woos who refused to accept the growing and growing pile of verifiable evidence. So far, the evidence I've seen says "The Secret" is baloney, and no one from your whiny, nihilistic camp ever want to talk about the evidence.

I find the massive projection woos like you do quite funny. You bash behavior no skeptic would ever condone while performing those exact acts. If you don't want to have a real discussion, take your stereotypical whiny emo act elsewhere. We skeptics want people who can actually be constructive with their lives, rather than wallow in pointlessness like you did with that empty, self-hating post.

Dog – it seems Anthony didn’t read the comment guidelines either. All been discussed before. Nothing new here Anthony: you’re just another closed-minded woo.

It's a shame you skeptics are so skeptical.
It's a greater shame that you creduloids are so credulous.
It's sad to think you would rather rip this movie to shreds under the guise of "exposing" it, rather than go and utilize some of the practices within it.
I've utilized the practices within it. All throughout childhood, I utilized those practices: they don't work.
You cannot actually say that you know all about "The Secret", because you have not actually watched it from beginning to end.
If the creators of the Secret are promoting their product with a misleading video, then that's certainly not my problem. If they're further supporting that video with a variety of blog posts which espouse the exact same insane philosophies, then I suggest that they are either seeking to mislead the public, or that we understand perfectly well.
Nor have you watched it with curiosity - rather with skepticism. What happened to you? What happened to your "wonderment"?
You clearly have no idea what skepticism is. I've got oodles of wonderment. I'm constantly awed by the amazing majesty of the real world. The Secret is unproven, unimaginative pablum that any kindergartener could tell you is untrue. The only wonder here is that adults could actually believe this stuff.
If I go for a massage and expect to hate it, then I will.
Then you're pretty closed-minded. I went to the Secret expecting it to be fairly dumb. Instead, it plumbed new depths of stupidity, with the same newage garbage of "What the Bleep" wrapped in even less scientifically valid language.

And there's the rub. It doesn't matter what I go in expecting. Scientific fact is scientific fact, and The Secret distorts and disregards scientific fact left and right.

I took what I wanted from it and I left the rest there. Not for nothing, I have watched the video over 7 times all the way through. Plus, I watched the Oprah show on it.

It was worth the price to me, if only for curiosity's sake. And, yes, I PAID for The Secret ... I did NOT copy it or download it.


And by doing so you further lined the pockets of those antiscientific charlatans. Good for you.

Think about it, computer users - you would HATE it if your stuff got copied, especially if you put the info out there in good faith.
Um...we watched a free video that the creators of The Secret released themselves in order to promote their product. And we've read free blog posts which the creators of The Secret wrote to support and promote their product. I have a feeling that they are quite happy about people watching their promotional materials. Do you think movie execs get upset when people view trailers?
I hope you find your "bliss" someday ... if this blog is your bliss, then bless you. You need blessing!
And you need to get in touch with reality.

Anthony:

to the writer of this artical - I hope you enjoy your the negativity you live in.

You once thought the world was flat. The end.

Wake up.


To the writer of this comment - I hope you enjoy the fantasy you live in.

You still think the universe is your genie. Learn to read.

Grow up.

Quickflick: thanks for the kind words. I wouldn't feel too bad about being a recovering woo; I suspect we've all had our brushes with woodom. It's just a matter of growing out of it.

to the writer of this artical...You once thought the world was flat. The end.

Skep:

When did you write an "artical" about the world being flat? It must be a pretty good read knowing your penchant for evidence. And this is a Pasteur-esque discovery! How come I never heard it before?

Or is Antony just a moron?

**Applies Occam's Razor**

...Oh yeah...

kre8iv1 (oh I see what you did there, very, modest):

It's a shame you skeptics are so skeptical.

Oh yeah, its terrible being able to spot how ridiculously stupid some things are, thinking critically and rationally about something and forming an evidence based conclusion. Your way is so much better. And it's given us so much too. Like... er... well... then... but... yeah. Oh that's it, an unending supply of laughable bollocks and the geniuses who swallow every word of it.

It's sad to think you would rather rip this movie to shreds under the guise of "exposing" it, rather than go and utilize some of the practices within it.

No, its sad that people like you think wishing for something makes it happen. And try reading the rest of this thread to see what your average secretard really believes. Now that is sad.

You cannot actually say that you know all about "The Secret", because you have not actually watched it from beginning to end.

I'm not an expert in aeronautical engineering either, but I do know that some junk just won't fly. I don't know how to make movies, but I know a good one when I see it. I don't know everything there is to know about playing the guitar, but I still manage to do it. I don't know how to build a car, but I can drive one. Get the point yet?

I haven't watched any of the material of the Secret, but I have read the comments of its fans, proponents and founders. That was more than enough time wasted learning what it is about. Tell me, how much do you know about the 'science' they claim supports it?

Nor have you watched it with curiosity - rather with skepticism.

You can't be a skeptic without being curious about things. That's the whole point of skepticism and science. Tell me, if I told you I had a video that proved that by thinking it you could make vintage Corvette Stingrays appear from your butt, would you watch it skeptically or with your version of 'curiosity'? Actually don't bother to answer. But I can sell you the video for a mere $1,500. Small price to pay for a Stingray.

What happened to you? What happened to your "wonderment"?

Wow, your first post and you are aleady making the same tired, boring, ill thought out, untrue, unsubstantiated, pointless, irrelevant, meaningless, content free, useless, pompous, arrogant arguments that every other woo here has ever made. Attaboy. Way to play to type.

Now, I could make yet another lengthy post about the sense of wonder I feel at the awesome scale of the universe, life and everything as we know it. But I'm not going to, I don't need to justify anything about myself to someone as close minded and arrogant as you. Instead I'll simply re-iterate Tom's point. I do feel wonder, wonder at how any secretard has managed to make it to adulthood without dying, and still manages to function in society.

If I go for a massage and expect to hate it, then I will.

If I go for a massage and wonder what it's going to be like, 9 times out of 10 I'll leave feeling pretty happy about the experience.

Really? I went to 'Star Wars: The Phantom Menace' expecting it to be as good as the first three films. So, where does that leave your charming little story?

I've owned "The Secret" since it was released on DVD, WAY before Oprah and all the hype.

Oh that's alright then. You're not one of those trendy fly by night amatuer woos, you're a full on hardcore professional sercetard. Congratulations, you give money to scam artists.

I took what I wanted from it and I left the rest there. Not for nothing, I have watched the video over 7 times all the way through. Plus, I watched the Oprah show on it.

Alright we get it. You're dedicated to the secret. Sort of. Well the parts that work anyway. Or the parts that work for you. Maybe. But it was on Oprah I guess.

And, yes, I PAID for The Secret ... I did NOT copy it or download it.

More fool you. Now as for my Stingray video. Its 100% total truthy fact. You can take that to the bank.

Think about it, computer users - you would HATE it if your stuff got copied, especially if you put the info out there in good faith.

If on the other hand I released a proportion of the total functionality as shareware in order to promote awareness of it, I'd be chuffed to bits if people watched/used it. Almost like, say, releasing a 20 minute section of a video for people to watch in order to promote the full length version. Right?

BTW, I love sci-fi too. MST3K was silly in its own right - it showed that the creator knew where to put the "canned" laughter cue.

Well, I'll admit it seems you like fiction anyway.

I hope you find your "bliss" someday ... if this blog is your bliss, then bless you. You need blessing!

No I don't you patronising secretard you.

Anthony:

to the writer of this artical - I hope you enjoy your the negativity you live in.

You once thought the world was flat. The end.

Wake up.

To the writer of this comment. Learn the correct use of the English language.

I'm pretty sure that Skeptico never thought the world was flat. But since you wrote 'The end' right there I guess that makes it true.

You're wrong. The end.

Look at that, it does work.

I'll admit that I've been extra-foamy in recent months, but I just can't be quiet.

Going on the projection angle again, I find Antony's "You once thought the world was flat. The end." straw man is exactly what woodom is:

"Don't ask questions. You can't know anything about X. X is unexplainable. You want to test my X? Sorry, X is untestable unless you let me rig the test so that I can do mundane thing Y and make it look like X. We already know everything we could ever know about X. Nothing else can ever be learned. Everything that can be invented has been invented. Asking questions about X is offensive. All human knowledge has reached its limits. There's no more questions worth asking. Research is bunk."

How do these whiny little anti-discovery, anti-curiosity, anti-freethought nimrods claim the high ground and sleep at night?

"Doubt is the father of invention." -Galileo

I now have my ceiling fan on maximum to cool down my blood, and I'm cleaning the foam off the floor. I need a break from all these purely negative woos. There used to be some out there willing to at least talk about designing a test for their powers, but not any more. Must have been a big purge by the woodom thought police. Now it's nothing but unreasoning, unlistening hate, hate, hate.

Very interesting thoughts and great mind challenging debates you guys have.

It got me thinking so much and reminded me of my recent encounter with this Former Homeless and Bankrupt Street Thug who Bought Million Dollar Estate, and he did it by applying The Law of Attraction.

Well, he had this interview with Bob Proctor recently about The Science of Getting Rich. (Sounds Enticing to Me!) and i find it very interesting exploration.

I wonder what are some of your views and thoughts after reading it. Anyway here is the link to the free report!


An Interview with Bob Proctor on The Science of Getting Rich!
FREE Report Reveals How You Could Accelerate The Law of Attraction in Your Life! Get Your FREE Report Here:
https://www.mentalvisualization.com/rights/The_Law_of_Attraction_Accelerator.pdf

I must add, if you law of attraction advocates are truely the most enlightened and open minded of all people, then one must wonder why you are posting here in the first place?

why do you feel so obligated to defend your beliefs, when you're just a click away from the close window button?

I believe it has to do with your own doubt with the law of attraction itself. If i get this right...whatever you place your thoughts on you will attract in this case....so, what brings you here to a site about skepticism?

Oh geezus titty christ I might have actually helped prove the law of attraction itself.


finally, part of being open minded is being open to other arguments and point of views. Like I mentioned before, I almost bought into the law of attraction thing, but after looking at the point of views for example this site, I've made my decision on where I stand.

You cannot actually say that you know all about "The Secret", because you have not actually watched it from beginning to end.

I must introduce a quote from Mark Twain here. On being accused of rejecting a young hopeful's book without reading it all, Mr. Twain replied,

"You don't need to eat a whole egg to know it's rotten."

As for concepts such as the earth being flat, or the Sun going round the Earth, or maggots forming by spontaneous generation from rotting meat, it wasn't mystics or seers that proved them wrong by revelaing the true mechanisms for the phenomena.
It was the much-derided scientists.

Lousy argument, on a par with the "best" one I've ever heard, which was just a few nights ago. It was a programme about ancient astronauts building the Pyramids, kick-starting technology, etc. I'm pleased to say it was pretty balanced, and gave alternative explanations for all the disputed phenomena.

However, right at the end, a very smug-looking NewAger said, "The only way we can prove aliens didn't visit us in the past is if they come down and tell us they didn't!"

Grinning from ear to ear, as if he'd won the lottery, he crossed his arms and said "Pretty good argument, huh?"

Non-violent as I am, I just wanted to shake him and bounce him off the walls a few times. He really did seem to think he'd delivered a deep, subtle knock-down argument of jaw-dropping clarity.

However, I comforted myself with muttering that you can use the same "argument" for the existence of the Flying Spaghetti Monster.

-100 for logic there, mate.

Details aside, if the movie gets people to think about what they actually want instead of worrying about how its gonna happen, I think it's worth peoples time.

In business, its kinda like thinking strategically instead of tactically. Obviously, packaged in a shiny form to make lots of cash.I'm sure they didnt have to spend too much on the production of this, and its gotten wide-spread response and is on oprah!

I can actually see both sides of this issue:

The skeptics are right to bash the Secret & the LoA. Anyone wanting to defend the 'irrefutable Law of Attraction' should educate themselves on the concepts of confirmation bias, selection bias, and argument by anecdote. A little education into the scientific method, a modest exposure to epistimology, these things go a long way towards better understanding your world.

Now, if we take out the claim that the LoA is a "law" like gravity, if we set aside any scientific-sounding claims about having an influence in the world, the underlying message of "The Secret" isn't that terrible. The idea is a mix of equivocation and moving the goalposts. Want to be happier? Change your standards for what makes you happy. Want to enjoy your life more? Start looking for things that make you happy. Want to feel more in control of your life? Change what you're paying attention to. As a purely self-contained philosophy, it's not the worst thing in the world. (it's not great, and I don't see it having long-term value, but it's not the worst philosophy I've heard this week)

Two things set the skeptics crowd off around here. First are the claims of "truth" or "science" or "knowledge", when we're really talking perceptions & interpretations. And second is the denial that all of this Secret business is merely philosophical handwaving, the mental equivalent of three-card-monte where a person willingly changes the standards for their happiness instead of actually taking action to improve their life.

I think if a Secretoid could stand up and say "I'm not changing the universe or making changes to reality. I'm just focusing on the positive things in my life, paying less attention to things that bother me, and trying to feel more in control of my life", it'd be a lot easier to accept their choices. When they claim to be manifesting changes to the world, or actually DOING something (instead of just changing how they interpret or percieve things) that's what gets some folks angry.

If the Secret crowd would just admit that it's all about changing internal perceptions and interpretations, and that it ISN'T applicable to other people or to the larger world, there'd be a lot less heat around here.

Yeah, if it were just "be positively minded" we wouldn't have a problem.

The main problems we do have: 1. All the magic genie stuff with the LoA. 2. People pretending that it's not about the magic genie stuff, in which case, there's no "Secret" and thus, no need to post equivocation here.

I think we have got to the point where we are now hearing the same arguments over and over again. All sides of this issue have now been represented in the comments, and there is enough information posted above (over 600 comments in all The Secret posts combined), for anyone to make up their mind about The Secret. Consequently I am now closing this post to comments. Thanks to everyone who has contributed to the discussion.

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