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R_P

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Posted: Feb 19, 2014 - 11:35am

Great Pyramid at Giza Vandalized to 'Prove' Conspiracy Theory

Two German men who visited the Egyptian pyramids in April 2013 now face criminal charges for their attempt to prove their "alternative history" conspiracy theories through vandalism. The men, Dominique Goerlitz and Stefan Erdmann, were joined by a third German, a filmmaker who accompanied them to document their "discoveries."

The men were allowed to enter the inner chambers of the Great Pyramid at Giza normally off-limits to the public and restricted to authorized archaeologists and Egyptologists. The group reportedly took several items from the pyramids, including taking samples of a cartouche (identifying inscription) of the pharaoh Khufu, also known as Cheops. Goerlitz and Erdmann, who are not archaeologists but have instead been described as "hobbyists," allegedly smuggled the artifacts out of the country in violation of strict antiquities laws, according to news reports.

In addition to the three Germans, six Egyptians are being held in connection with the case, including several guards and inspectors from the Egyptian Antiquities Ministry who allowed the men into the pyramid. Tourism, one of Egypt's most important industries, has dropped dramatically in recent years due to social and political unrest. Tour-agency owners — including one of the men recently arrested in connection with this case — are often willing to bend or break the rules if it means satisfying wealthy foreigners, news reports suggest. The German government expressed outrage over the acts, and categorically stated the men were private citizens and not in any way affiliated with its German Archaeological Institute. (...)

The men are apparently convinced the cartouche identifying Khufu as the creator of the Great Pyramid at Giza is a fake, and they hoped to do an analysis on the pigments to prove they were not as old as the pyramids themselves. In essence, they claimed, pharaoh Khufu simply put his name on (and took credit for) pyramids that had been built thousands of years earlier by people from the legendary city of Atlantis. They accuse mainstream archaeologists of covering up — or willfully ignoring — evidence pointing to non-Egyptian origins of the pyramids.

The conspiracy theories that Goerlitz and Erdmann endorse did not appear in a vacuum; instead, they have been widely promoted by best-selling authors such as Erich von Däniken, who wrote "Chariots of the Gods?" first published in 1968. Such authors claim the true builders of the pyramids were not ancient Egyptians but instead others, like extraterrestrials or residents of the legendary Atlantis. While "alternative history" and "ancient astronaut" theorists such as von Däniken do not explicitly endorse vandalism of any Egyptian sites, Goerlitz and Erdmann's actions were clearly driven by belief in such theories. (Ancient-astronaut theorists propose, unscientifically, that extraterrestrials intelligently designed humans.) (...)


helenofjoy

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Posted: Jan 25, 2014 - 7:20am

 RichardPrins wrote:

Who doesn't? {#Biggrin}

It's more about the ratio 'discovered' or rather concocted (or pulled from someone's... hat), that said that "if your ratio was greater than 2.9013 positive emotions to 1 negative emotion you were flourishing in life. If your ratio was less than that number you were languishing."

 
Yeah - I got that - I'm not so amazed by it I think because it's such a perfect illustration of how a huge group of people can be herded into a solid belief about something that isn't true.
R_P

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Posted: Jan 25, 2014 - 7:04am

 helenofjoy wrote:
I'm still opting for happy!
 
Who doesn't? {#Biggrin}

It's more about the ratio 'discovered' or rather concocted (or pulled from someone's... hat), that said that "if your ratio was greater than 2.9013 positive emotions to 1 negative emotion you were flourishing in life. If your ratio was less than that number you were languishing."
helenofjoy

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Location: Lincoln, Nebraska
Gender: Female


Posted: Jan 25, 2014 - 5:59am

 RichardPrins wrote:
The British amateur who debunked the mathematics of happiness

(...) "The Lorenz equation Losada used was from fluid dynamics," says Sokal, "which is not the field that I'm specialised in, but it's elementary enough that any mathematician or physicist knows enough. In 10 seconds I could see it was total bullshit. Nick had written a very long critique and basically it was absolutely right. There were some points where he didn't quite get the math right but essentially Nick had seen everything that was wrong with the Losada and Fredrickson paper."

Sokal did a little research and was amazed at the standing the Fredrickson and Losada paper enjoyed. "I don't know what the figures are in psychology but I know that in physics having 350 citations is a big deal," he says. "Look on Google you get something like 27,000 hits. This theory is not just big in academia, there's a whole industry of coaching and it intersects with business and business schools. There's a lot of money in it."

The concept of positive thinking dates back at least as far as the ancient Greeks. Throughout written history, metaphysicians have grappled with questions of happiness and free will. The second-century Stoic sage Epictetus argued that "Your will needn't be affected by an incident unless you let it". In other words, we can be masters and not victims of fate because what we believe our capability to be determines the strength of that capability.

In one way or another, positive thinking has always been concerned with optimising human potential, which is a key component of psychology. But in the 20th century, confronting the great traumas of two annihilating wars, the psychology profession became increasingly focused on the dysfunctional and pathological aspects of the human mind. The emphasis was on healing the ill rather than improving the well.

So it was left to popular or amateur psychology, and in particular that sector specialising in business success, to accentuate the positive. Books such as Norman Vincent Peale's The Power of Positive Thinking, published in 1952, became huge bestsellers. By the 1970s and 1980s, self-help had mushroomed into a vast literary genre that encompassed everything from the secrets of material achievement to the new age promises of chakras, reiki and self-realisation. (...)

Suddenly a plethora of positive psychology books began to appear, written by eminent psychologists. There was Flow: The Psychology of Happiness by Mihaly Csikszentmihalyi, who with Seligman is seen as the co-founder of the modern positive psychology movement; Authentic Happiness: Using the New Positive Psychology to Realise Your Potential for Lasting Fulfilment by Seligman himself. And of course Fredrickson's Positivity, approved by both Seligman and Csikszentmihalyi. Each of them appeared to quote and promote one another, creating a virtuous circle of recommendation.

And these books were not only marketed like a previous generation of self-help manuals, they often shared the same style of cod-sagacious prose. "Positivity opens your mind naturally, like the water lily that opens with sunlight," writes Fredrickson in Positivity.

Then there was the lucrative lecture circuit. Both Seligman and Fredrickson are hired speakers. One website lists Seligman's booking fee at between $30,000 and $50,000 an engagement. In this new science of happiness, it seemed that all the leading proponents were happy.

But then Nick Brown started to ask questions. (...)



 
I'm still opting for happy!
R_P

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Posted: Jan 24, 2014 - 1:46pm

The British amateur who debunked the mathematics of happiness

(...) "The Lorenz equation Losada used was from fluid dynamics," says Sokal, "which is not the field that I'm specialised in, but it's elementary enough that any mathematician or physicist knows enough. In 10 seconds I could see it was total bullshit. Nick had written a very long critique and basically it was absolutely right. There were some points where he didn't quite get the math right but essentially Nick had seen everything that was wrong with the Losada and Fredrickson paper."

Sokal did a little research and was amazed at the standing the Fredrickson and Losada paper enjoyed. "I don't know what the figures are in psychology but I know that in physics having 350 citations is a big deal," he says. "Look on Google you get something like 27,000 hits. This theory is not just big in academia, there's a whole industry of coaching and it intersects with business and business schools. There's a lot of money in it."

The concept of positive thinking dates back at least as far as the ancient Greeks. Throughout written history, metaphysicians have grappled with questions of happiness and free will. The second-century Stoic sage Epictetus argued that "Your will needn't be affected by an incident unless you let it". In other words, we can be masters and not victims of fate because what we believe our capability to be determines the strength of that capability.

In one way or another, positive thinking has always been concerned with optimising human potential, which is a key component of psychology. But in the 20th century, confronting the great traumas of two annihilating wars, the psychology profession became increasingly focused on the dysfunctional and pathological aspects of the human mind. The emphasis was on healing the ill rather than improving the well.

So it was left to popular or amateur psychology, and in particular that sector specialising in business success, to accentuate the positive. Books such as Norman Vincent Peale's The Power of Positive Thinking, published in 1952, became huge bestsellers. By the 1970s and 1980s, self-help had mushroomed into a vast literary genre that encompassed everything from the secrets of material achievement to the new age promises of chakras, reiki and self-realisation. (...)

Suddenly a plethora of positive psychology books began to appear, written by eminent psychologists. There was Flow: The Psychology of Happiness by Mihaly Csikszentmihalyi, who with Seligman is seen as the co-founder of the modern positive psychology movement; Authentic Happiness: Using the New Positive Psychology to Realise Your Potential for Lasting Fulfilment by Seligman himself. And of course Fredrickson's Positivity, approved by both Seligman and Csikszentmihalyi. Each of them appeared to quote and promote one another, creating a virtuous circle of recommendation.

And these books were not only marketed like a previous generation of self-help manuals, they often shared the same style of cod-sagacious prose. "Positivity opens your mind naturally, like the water lily that opens with sunlight," writes Fredrickson in Positivity.

Then there was the lucrative lecture circuit. Both Seligman and Fredrickson are hired speakers. One website lists Seligman's booking fee at between $30,000 and $50,000 an engagement. In this new science of happiness, it seemed that all the leading proponents were happy.

But then Nick Brown started to ask questions. (...)


R_P

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Posted: Nov 23, 2013 - 8:22pm

My paranormal pursuit of life after death – Jesse Bering – Aeon
The idea of life after death lives on in near-death experiences and messages from beyond the grave. What’s the evidence?

R_P

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Posted: Jan 20, 2013 - 11:02pm

Shermer: The Mind’s Compartments Create Conflicting Beliefs
How our modular brains lead us to deny and distort evidence
R_P

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Posted: Nov 27, 2012 - 1:23pm

What Should We Do With Our Visions of Heaven—and Hell?

(...) In a cover story he wrote for NEWSWEEK and in an interview with The New York Times, Alexander sounds intelligent and sincere but a tad short on self-doubt. Pulling his rank as a neurologist, he insists that what he experienced must have been “real,” because during his coma his neo-cortex was completely “shut down” and “there is absolutely no way that I could have experienced even a dim and limited consciousness during my time in the coma, much less the hyper-vivid and completely coherent odyssey I underwent.”

Absolutely no way? Really? As Martin Samuel, who heads Alexander’s former department at Harvard, tells The Times, “There is no way to know, in fact, that his neo-cortex was shut down. It sounds scientific, but it is an interpretation made after the fact.”

I understand why skeptics like biologist P.Z. Myers deride Alexander’s claims as “bullshit,” but I can’t dismiss them so easily. I’m fascinated by mystical experiences, so much so that I wrote a book about them, Rational Mysticism (Houghton Mifflin, 2003), from which I’ve drawn some of the material that follows. Many people conclude, as Alexander did, that their experiences revealed Ultimate Reality, God, whatever. The problem is that different people discover radically different Absolute Truths.

In The Varieties of Religious Experience, more than a century old and still the best book ever written on mysticism, psychologist William James described experiences, like Alexander’s, that revealed a loving, immortal spirit at the heart of existence. But James emphasized that some mystics have perceived absolute reality as terrifyingly alien, uncaring and meaningless. James called these visions “melancholic” or “diabolical.” James himself had at least one such vision, a kind of cosmic panic attack.

One mystical expert I interviewed, German psychologist Adolf Dittrich, told me that mystical visions–whether induced by trauma, drugs, meditation, hypnosis, sensory deprivation or other means–fall into three broad categories, or “dimensions.” Borrowing a phrase that Freud used to describe mystical experiences, Dittrich called the first dimension “oceanic boundlessness.” This is the classic blissful experience reported by Alexander and many other mystics, in which you feel yourself dissolving into some benign higher power.

Dittrich labeled the second dimension “dread of ego dissolution.” This is the classic “bad trip,” in which your self-dissolution is accompanied not by bliss but by negative emotions, ranging from mild uneasiness to full-blown terror. You think you are going insane, disintegrating, dying, and all of reality may be dying with you. Dittrich’s third dimension, “visionary restructuralization,” consists of more explicit hallucinations, ranging from abstract, kaleidoscopic images to elaborate dream-like narratives. Dittrich referred to these three dimensions as “heaven, hell and visions.”

During a drug trip in 1981, I experienced all three dimensions described by Dittrich. The trip occurred in early summer, just after I had finished my junior year of college. I had left my apartment in New York City to visit friends in suburban Connecticut. One of these friends, whom I’ll call Stan, was a psychedelic enthusiast with an unusual connection: a chemist who investigated psychotropic drugs for a defense contractor in Research Triangle Park, North Carolina. The chemist had recently given Stan a thimble’s worth of beige powder that was supposedly similar to LSD.* (...)


R_P

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Posted: Nov 20, 2012 - 8:51am

Skewed Skepticism: Bizarro Piraro
Piraro was kind enough to answer a few questions from SI Deputy Editor Benjamin Radford

R_P

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Posted: Nov 5, 2012 - 8:03pm

 JrzyTmata wrote:
I thought that was his halo 

I don't think Muslims have/use haloes... {#Mrgreen}
JrzyTmata

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Posted: Nov 5, 2012 - 7:53pm

 RichardPrins wrote:
And there you have it... {#Cheesygrin}

Blue Aura: Psychics Call It for Obama

 
I thought that was his halo
R_P

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Posted: Nov 5, 2012 - 7:50pm

And there you have it... {#Cheesygrin}

Blue Aura: Psychics Call It for Obama

Molly Ball highlighted the importance of which direction the women's vote breaks. Ronald Brownstein called attention to the leverage of the rustbelt vote. Andrew Cohen broke down voter I.D. laws. For everything analysts have found to squeeze and scrutinize, though, they've been universally negligent in addressing the fact that on November 6 at precisely 7:04 PM EST, Mercury goes into retrograde. (...)


sirdroseph

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Posted: Nov 5, 2012 - 6:25am

 Proclivities wrote:

eggs

 

That's all the proof I need praise Jesus. Now you got a picture of a cloud that looks like Jesus and that will debunk all of this climate change nonsense.{#Yes}
Proclivities

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Posted: Nov 5, 2012 - 6:22am

 kurtster wrote:

{#Snooty}

Pictures or it didn't happen.

 
eggs
Red_Dragon

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Location: Dumbf*ckistan


Posted: Nov 5, 2012 - 6:11am

 sirdroseph wrote:


Jesus laid an egg and

...the pope put a funny hat on it.
kurtster

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Location: where fear is not a virtue
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Posted: Nov 5, 2012 - 6:08am

 sirdroseph wrote:


Jesus laid an egg and then came the chickens....duh.

 
{#Snooty}

Pictures or it didn't happen.
sirdroseph

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Posted: Nov 5, 2012 - 5:57am

 kurtster wrote:
If science is the answer or explanation for everything,
then why don't we know which came first yet ... the chicken or the egg ?

Fail.

 

Jesus laid an egg and then came the chickens....duh.
kurtster

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Gender: Male


Posted: Nov 5, 2012 - 5:53am

If science is the answer or explanation for everything,
then why don't we know which came first yet ... the chicken or the egg ?

Fail.


Proclivities

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Posted: Nov 5, 2012 - 5:23am

 miamizsun wrote:

what happened?

as far as i know randi is a solid guy

 
To me he still seems pretty solid; he's just not so "amazing" anymore.  Amazing is a tough thing to maintain.


miamizsun

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Posted: Nov 5, 2012 - 4:27am

 Servo wrote:
In related news, the "amazing" Randi has become about as amazing as Dennis Miller is funny.

 
what happened?

as far as i know randi is a solid guy
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