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  #1  
Old 02-15-2009, 01:35 PM
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Irrational exuberance

The credit crunch could be a boon for irrational belief
http://www.newscientist.com/article/mg20126943.600-the-credit-crunch-could-be-a-boon-for-irrational-belief.html
04 February 2009

SCIENCE has allowed us to smooth over many of the natural ups and downs of human existence. We have predictable harvests, food on supermarket shelves, savings and pensions that will help us get through difficult times, and economies that provide most people with what they need to survive. Alongside these developments a rational, scientific world view has become the dominant mode of thought.

Take the comforts away, however, and the rationality often evaporates too. When human beings lose control over their lives, they become more prone to superstition, spiritual searchings and conspiracy theories.

Some of these losses of control are self-inflicted: studies show that people in risky professions - deep-sea fishermen and sky-divers, for example - perform a greater number of superstitious rituals than those with safe desk jobs. Others, though, are a response to circumstances. For example, people living in high-risk areas of the Middle East, such as Tel Aviv, are much more likely to carry a lucky charm or avoid walking under ladders. A 2007 study showed that the growth rate of evangelical churches in the US jumps 50 per cent with the downturn of each economic cycle. The global downturn is no different: church leaders (and psychics) are now reporting brisk business.

Uncertain times cause us to cast about more widely for explanations of our circumstances - and rational reasoning, alas, does not always come naturally when we are desperate for answers. It is ironic that science is revealing our modern, sophisticated, scientific world view to have a fragile hold on our minds (see "Natural born believers"). But there are also lessons to be learned. First, we ought to be more understanding of seemingly irrational world views. Many psychologists now see irrationality as the default state of the human mind. No wonder the idea that life arose spontaneously has such a hard time trumping creationism: overcoming that "natural" perspective takes a lot of cognitive effort. Research into irrationality may also provide insights to help guide the treatment of those suffering from obsessive-compulsive disorder and related mental illnesses.

The other lesson is more direct: be careful. In a recession, or any other time of uncertainty, you are more likely to make bad decisions. By all means play the lottery if it provides a momentary diversion from the gloom. But keep your head. However seductive and comforting the idea of a win, and however tricky your circumstances, playing the lottery is not a rational path to riches. Even if God did tell you this week's numbers.

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Old 02-15-2009, 01:48 PM
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I love these little sociology factoids.

I tend to lend this sort of thought process to basic religion as well. People just aren't comfortable having unanswered questions in the way of their well ordered lives.
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Old 02-15-2009, 02:56 PM
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This guy built a whole philosophy of religion around this insight:

http://www.iliff.edu/research/archives/bernhardt/

It's been many years since I read his books but his argument was based around an empirical study of the religious rituals associated with the fishing practices of a group of people living on an island in the South Pacific. As the danger in fishing rose, the number of religious rituals associated with it rose. Bernhadrt argued that as science expanded humans would have less and less of a need for religion but it would never diminish to zero because people would never be able to abolish death.
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Old 02-15-2009, 04:05 PM
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We create a reality centered on desires which may or may not be symbiotic with natural phenomena.

Nature, the ever-so-slightly more-powerful-beast, reclaims its possessions inevitably. We {our imagined structure of things} crumble within it and look to the stars as the 'primitive' ancestors had for eons before us - completing nature's curve.

why can't we just ditch the plastic and play naked in the street?
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Old 02-15-2009, 05:35 PM
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Irrational exuberance,that's a nice,woody sort of phrase.
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Old 02-15-2009, 06:00 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Botnst View Post
The credit crunch could be a boon for irrational belief

Take the comforts away, however, and the rationality often evaporates too. When human beings lose control over their lives, they become more prone to superstition, spiritual searchings and conspiracy theories.
True. There are a remarkable number of folks in my who have joined a fudamentalist sect recently. As well as others going on about the end of the Mayan calendar etc.

- Peter.
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Old 02-15-2009, 06:09 PM
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are we gearing up for the Holy Wars? The main organizer of the holy camp in this documentary parallels her children to Islamic fundamentalists numerous times throughout the film. Creepy!

http://www.jesuscampthemovie.com/

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=LACyLTsH4ac&feature=related
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Old 02-15-2009, 06:13 PM
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One could look upon these times as a golden opportunity. A shrewd operator with an interest in separating people and their $$ could set up a new religion in this emerging market offering gallons of hope to people in need. Using the internet, overhead costs would be very low compared to a traditional religion like Catholicism, and with the help of a few strategically placed television ads, investors could see a substantial return on their capital.
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Old 02-15-2009, 06:14 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Carleton Hughes View Post
Irrational exuberance,that's a nice,woody sort of phrase.
Whoa, I was just watching that Monty Python skit five minutes ago! O_O

I'm going to throw a pinch of salt over my right shoulder, and go join the nearest evangelical church. I can't bear the weight of reality anymore!!!!
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Old 02-15-2009, 06:16 PM
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Originally Posted by jt20 View Post
are we gearing up for the Holy Wars? The main organizer of the holy camp in this documentary parallels her children to Islamic fundamentalists numerous times throughout the film. Creepy!

http://www.jesuscampthemovie.com/

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=LACyLTsH4ac&feature=related
Watch out man. I've been called a religious bigot for pointing out that practices like these are common in the AoG and other Pentecostal denominations. That's a very accurate and well done documentary by the way.
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Old 02-15-2009, 06:23 PM
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One could look upon these times as a golden opportunity. A shrewd operator with an interest in separating people and their $$ could set up a new religion in this emerging market offering gallons of hope to people in need. Using the internet, overhead costs would be very low compared to a traditional religion like Catholicism, and with the help of a few strategically placed television ads, investors could see a substantial return on their capital.

" Hello, my name is Barack. Have you considered purchasing some 'Hope' lately? Boy, do I have 'new deal' for you."



ps - thanks for the heads up... whats the AoG?
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Old 02-15-2009, 06:29 PM
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Assemblies of God. Palin's denomination.
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Old 02-15-2009, 06:33 PM
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Palin was originally baptized as a Roman Catholic, but her parents switched to the Wasilla Assembly of God, a Pentecostal church, where she was rebaptized at age 12 or 13.[119][120] When she is in the capital, she attends Juneau Christian Center,[121] another Assemblies of God church. Her current home church in Wasilla is The Wasilla Bible Church,[122] an independent congregation.[123] Although initial reports described her as the first Pentecostal ever named to a major party’s presidential ticket, Palin describes herself as a non-denominational Christian.[124] The National Catholic Reporter described her as a “post-denominational” Christian.[125]

http://www.qaya.org/blog/?p=680
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Old 02-15-2009, 07:00 PM
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If my math is correct, the AoG was Palin's denomination for 36 yrs or so and still is when she's in Juneau. I don't know if Wasilla Bible Church holds Pentecostal or Charismatic views or not. It wouldn't be surprising if it does since these particular strands of Christianity, split and splinter quite often, beginning new churches quite frequently.
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Old 02-15-2009, 08:14 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by kerry View Post
If my math is correct, the AoG was Palin's denomination for 36 yrs or so and still is when she's in Juneau. I don't know if Wasilla Bible Church holds Pentecostal or Charismatic views or not. It wouldn't be surprising if it does since these particular strands of Christianity, split and splinter quite often, beginning new churches quite frequently.
Well, I'm just saying for the sake of accuracy, what you posted originally isn't it.

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