A collection. Most of these seem to believe that we don't need to use truth, see my page on that issue for why we do. Or just contemplate how dangerous and untrustworthy the following memes make these people.

Dream belief guy

The moral of his story was "believe stuff is true, and that will make it become true". Notably, he won't feel like he is lying...because he believes it. Convenient, eh?


From the same guy: "the milkshake made me do it officer! I swear I'm not a psychopath!"

He basically laid out a blueprint for how to make convincing lies:

  • he can't figure out why it's reasonable to believe in other minds. [notice how similar this is to detecting lies, and thus indicates how to hide lies]
  • he views things as both dream and physical reality, he can't figure out how to use evidence to see which of these hypotheses about reality is more probably true [again, notice the similarity to detecting and hiding lies]
  • he advised to make yourself believe things will happen (that are physically possible and a bit believable), and claimed that that will cause the dream to make them happen. [notice he said it has to be kind of believable, that's like a good lie]

I'll have to write about the right way to handle the philosophical issues here, to help people.  Both believing in other minds [see: Whence Philosophical Zombies?], sorting out which metaphysics is correct (dream reality, or physical reality, he said it's impossible to tell which is true), and believing things about your own future.  For now, check out the concept of "reality".

So, what story did he tell? He told of how he used this technique successfully. Ponder whether this story is true, or whether his real goal is to win people over to his following (he has popularity and a book deal, see the end of the story):

He tried the "believe it is or will be true" technique for small amounts of money. He'd find the money on the ground in the street. Then larger amounts. Then he said he wanted one of the $100 casino chips. Sure enough he encountered one...a fake one at a gift store you could buy! This kind of escalation went on for a while, I don't remember it all, maybe I have it written down somewhere. He did say sometime that he made himself believe that his bank account was more full, of ten thousand dollars or something, I forget. He made it seem plausible that simply by believing this, he conducted his life differently, viewed himself and the world with different expectations. He said a year later it was true (but notice that he said he already made himself believe it was true a year earlier, so what does it mean for such a person to say "one year later it was true"?). At one point he really pushed some boundary, and you could almost feel everyone in the room start to think "if he gets the money this time in the story, that will seem fake". I don't remember what the outcome of that was. Maybe that was the one where he said a family member died and left him a bunch of money, something like that. I wonder if he was testing for our reactions. Anyways, near the end, one of his big money wishes was fulfilled by being given a book deal! Ta da!

Honestly sounds a bit like those people who get rich by selling books about how to get rich (like Russel Brunson here, and even to a large extent Donald Trump, Robert Kiyosaki, and surely many more). Feeding on other people's hope/belief, having nothing to offer but hope. Indeed, even instructing people to hope/believe.

Later, in a car where he and his girlfriend were in the back, and I was in the front passenger seat, his girlfriend shared her own story, she said she asked the universe or whatever for one hundred dollars, and she said she found it on the ground. So, the meme does spread. The driver correctly mused "I wonder which would be more unlikely, that we really are in a dream world, or that people just leave $100 bills lying around". The other likelihood to consider is the likelihood that she was just making the story up. Why not? She believes if she does, that it will become true in her future, right? Maybe he literally just paid her $100 to say that. Think about how logically that fits into the whole fucked up ideology. Indeed I think he might have actually said that you're supposed to believe that the thing has already happened in the past (and that will make it become true in the future), and if you believe it why not say it?

I admit, I was so focused on the standard skeptic stance that this stuff is mere coincidence (probably because he started with such small events that are highly common coincidences) that I didn't figure out that it was probably all a lie until thinking later that day. For a while, I was all "woo! My mind is so expanded to the possibilities of complex causality! Belief can change behavior and thus outcomes!". Even the next layer of skepticism, that he's a liar, isn't enough. He was operating on a third layer, hidden behind these other distractions for skeptics. He was planting the idea that it didn't matter whether or not it was true. Even hard core skeptics like myself might not be prepared to debunk that one! Especially when it's hidden behind so many other things we notice and want to debunk so habitually! Clever, really.

This "woo!" justification (for the belief that it's ok to believe false things) is all easily deflated. Yes, belief has causality both ways. Our senses inform our beliefs, inputs. And our beliefs shape our actions, which can cause changes in the future. Cool. But you don't have to delude yourself to do this. You can believe something is worth trying, even if it's not 100% likely to succeed. You don't have to resort to lies and delusion.

And in reality, confidently believing a falsehood is more likely to result in catastrophe (or getting scammed by a guy like this) than prosperity.

Don't believe or disbelieve anything we discuss in spirit science, simply have your own experience

This is not something you would say or promote if you were on the side of honesty and truth.  You only say that if you don't care about the truth.  Which is bad.

It's good to believe things that are true.  It's good to disbelieve things that are false.  It's bad to fail to believe things that you should see are true.  It's bad to fail to disbelieve things that you shoud see are false.

And so he's specifically instructing his audience to do the wrong thing. To throw out their value of sorting truth from falsehood.

See also, Open Mindedness.

If it does not feel good, it is not true

The problem here is pretty straightforward:  it places instant gratification above the desire to know what reality is really like (which is necessary for long term gratification etc.).  This is an embrace of delusion.  The ill effects of such an ideology could be listed at length.

Movie:  Finding Graceland

More propaganda for valuing sweet lies instead of the truth.  Get a load of this description from Rotten tomatoes:

"After the death of his wife, Byron (Jonathon Schaech) finds himself chronically depressed, so he decides to hop into his junk heap of a car and drive to Memphis. Along they way he picks up a hitchhiker (Harvey Keitel) in a pink jacket who informs Byron he's Elvis Presley and wants to go back home to Graceland. As one might expect, Byron is convinced this guy is a few doughnuts short of a dozen, but the closer they get to Memphis, the more he wonders if there isn't a bit of Elvis in him after all, especially after he picks up a beautiful Marilyn Monroe impersonator (Bridget Fonda)."

Pretty sure "Life of Pi" has a similar "the truth doesn't matter" message, though I haven't watched that one. And now I seem to recall "Big Fish" was like that too maybe.

Christian apologism

Justifications for god's inaction

These always work as excuses for them to lie (even to lie in defense of christianity). Here's an example.

"What matters is not to understand the world, but to change it"

Now picture those words coming from the mouth of Donald Trump as his finger reaches for the nuclear launch button.

"Change" is not necessarily good.  What matters is improving.  See my page about Thinking Skills which includes problem solving, and Paved with Good Intentions, which specifically points out that understanding the world is one of the necessary components to properly pursuing goals.

Lowering truth standards to win at politics

I've been seeing this too much recently. It' s one of the reasons I made my page about Epistemological Defeatism. Sometimes it is neither said nor implied, but does seem to be the guiding motive for some people's behavior. Though sometimes it is implied and, in this case, sometimes even explicitly stated:

Seriously, this is the reason the right is running circles around us in messaging...

It's commendable to have 100% objective truth being our goal when dealing with issues, but the reality when it comes to politics is that nothing is ever 100% objectively true. There is always a gray area, there is always levels of truth.

Politifact did an article fact-checking Bernie Sanders's claims from the campaign and they found that even among a seasoned veteran who has every intention of being honest and has been singing the same tune for 40 years, he was still "only" about 80% accurate.

So, while we fixate on the 20% and try to weed out errors on a microscopic level, the right is blatantly misrepresenting every possible topic and gaining ground despite it.

The trick here is that even in the biggest lies, there is some level of truth.

We can't tackle every topic with rigid objectivity, we need to realize how big of a role emotions play into politics and use it to our advantage.

In a progressive forum, there shouldn't be a shred of pushback when being critical of Apple's business practices, let alone capitalism in general.

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