I get emails

I’m working on a longer post that should be up later today, showing a reader’s analysis of the question, “Did countries led by women have a better response to coronavirus?”, an issue that got a lot of publicity and that I discussed here on May 17.  We’ll have a statistical analysis of the issue, something I called for and that has now been done, but in the meantime here’s an attempted comment by a reader who has her own website.

The comment I received (but didn’t publish as a comment) is below, and the website, included in the post, is by someone who is a religionist (one of the posts is “How God changed my life”). What I found interesting is the overt rejection of the idea of any objective truth, something that infected the Left from postmodernism.  As she maintains, science has PROVEN that “you create your own reality.”

I wonder if “solomon-samolin” feels that the view that infectious disease is caused by microbes (the real truth) is just as true as the Christian Science view that disease is caused by faulty thinking. Does she go to doctors or shamans?

The sad fact is that all too many people share the views below. I don’t think this is a joke because, after all, the person has their own website.

solomon-samolin
hannamckenzie.wordpress.com

Commenting on “A religionist (?) writes in.”

You create your own reality. Science has proven that. What we believe in becomes truth. Is it any wonder everyone is so sure that their own beliefs are superior to everybody else’s? Isn’t it obvious by now that two sets of contrary beliefs will work just as well for the holders of those beliefs? I think we’ve reached the point now where we can say, “If you’re trying to convince someone else that their beliefs are wrong and yours are right, then you need to back off…” Because, after all, you create your own reality, right? I mean, it’s the Aquarian Age, man. The Aquarian ethos is predicated by this fact that we all understand, “Hey, you create your own reality, right? Just because someone else’s beliefs contradict yours, doesn’t mean one of you has to be wrong, and one right. If you’re the one hating on the other for their beliefs, than you’re the one in the wrong. So, it turns out, there are really only two kinds of beliefs, in this regard: those who believe that only their beliefs are right; and those who accept that a contrary set of beliefs may be just as valid as their own.

If you want to respond to this person, I’ll inform her of this thread.

62 Comments

  1. GBJames
    Posted June 3, 2020 at 9:17 am | Permalink

    Maybe this person is on the faculty of a university’s English department somewhere? Definitely fits the POMO world view well enough.

  2. John Laughlin
    Posted June 3, 2020 at 9:18 am | Permalink

    So, “I believe” in gravity and she doesn’t. I wonder f she would get on top of a building and just step off!

    • sugould
      Posted June 3, 2020 at 9:32 am | Permalink

      That’s always my first answer to the occasional “Well, don’t you believe in a Higher Power?” It saves a bit of time.

    • alexander
      Posted June 3, 2020 at 9:32 am | Permalink

      No, she would tell you to step off! That’s why these people are so dangerous, eg Trump.

  3. Posted June 3, 2020 at 9:20 am | Permalink

    People on some level do create their own realities. Problem is many of their realities do not comport with you know, actual reality.

    I saw the word belief/believe a lot in that e-mail. Belief is not reality until it has some facts/data to corroborate. Even then as new findings emerge, we have to adjust what we think we know with what we now understand to be so.

    Right now my belief is someone has such an open mind that their brain fell out.

    • phoffman56
      Posted June 3, 2020 at 10:28 am | Permalink

      Generally I agree, though with

      “People on some level do create their own realities”,

      I’d prefer the only use of the word ‘reality’ from such an idiot to be as a direct quotation from them. Of course, what they create is their own fantasy.

      I noticed also that the idiot misuses the verb ‘to hate’. But that seems to have almost become an americanism, oops, sorry, a USianism.

  4. Ken Kukec
    Posted June 3, 2020 at 9:21 am | Permalink

    I think the appropriate response to salmon-simoleon is: “citation needed.”

    • Posted June 3, 2020 at 1:27 pm | Permalink

      I think more detail is needed as well.

  5. ThyroidPlanet
    Posted June 3, 2020 at 9:21 am | Permalink

    “How God changed my life”

    This is an example of a headline where you know the article already- even though it could go “either way”.

    • phoffman56
      Posted June 3, 2020 at 10:35 am | Permalink

      ” “How God changed my life” ”

      An answering query might be:
      Why did she wait so f…ing long? Did god have an itchy asshole that needed treatment before getting around to dealing with you?

      • ThyroidPlanet
        Posted June 3, 2020 at 10:48 am | Permalink

        Hey man^*, we make our own reality, right?

        *being facetious and also pointing to the writing flaw pointed out earlier – using “hey” and “man”.

  6. Posted June 3, 2020 at 9:41 am | Permalink

    Yep, we were wrong believing that the ufo beliefs of Heaven’s Gate were wrong. Silly us. All beliefs are valid no matter how looney tunes they are. Vaccines cause autism. Coronavirus caused by 5G. Moon landings faked. World flat. Etc, etc. All equally good. Brilliant thinking.

  7. Evan Plommer
    Posted June 3, 2020 at 9:46 am | Permalink

    Relativists hit a wall though if you point out that MY truth might include ‘relativism isn’t true’. The whole edifice falls apart.

  8. Posted June 3, 2020 at 9:54 am | Permalink

    Hitchens would say, I have no doubt about the sincerity of one’s belief. Correlation to reality, however, comes from evidence.

    To paraphrase: “That which can be believed without evidence, can be dismissed without evidence.”

  9. Dawn Flood
    Posted June 3, 2020 at 9:55 am | Permalink

    And, the answer is, “Falsification”. Next category, for $100, is, “Infinite beliefs.”

  10. Posted June 3, 2020 at 9:57 am | Permalink

    I’d just like to see a footnote with citations attached to the second sentence. Otherwise, it falls to DMX’s Razor (which is similar to Hitchens’s Razor but is more pithy).

  11. eric
    Posted June 3, 2020 at 10:00 am | Permalink

    I think we’ve reached the point now where we can say, “If you’re trying to convince someone else that their beliefs are wrong and yours are right, then you need to back off…”

    Within the bat-s-craziness, I think there’s a legitimate gripe about the far left here. Unfortunately, there was no need to go so bat-s-crazy to point that out.

  12. EdwardM
    Posted June 3, 2020 at 10:01 am | Permalink

    Nothing but word salad.

    “You create your own reality. Science has proven that.”

    One of the dead give-aways for when someone is about to unload a huge pile of horseshit is when they say that “science has proven..”

    Of course she leaves that claim completely unsubstantiated. There are crazier people out there, but this one is pretty far gone.

    • davelenny
      Posted June 3, 2020 at 5:39 pm | Permalink

      Hmmm. The usual problem of post-modern navel gazing. On the one hand, there is no objective truth; on the other hand it is objectively true (science has proven!)that there is no objective truth.

      I suspect a troll.

      • GBJames
        Posted June 3, 2020 at 5:46 pm | Permalink

        Impossible to tell. Some corollary Of Poe’s Law applies.

  13. David Evans
    Posted June 3, 2020 at 10:03 am | Permalink

    Does anyone still write “man” and “Hey” in the middle of a paragraph? I’m inclined to think this is satire.

    • Posted June 3, 2020 at 10:07 am | Permalink

      More likely trolling.

    • JP415
      Posted June 3, 2020 at 12:40 pm | Permalink

      Hey, man . . . that’s totally cosmic! 🙂

      • Posted June 3, 2020 at 1:29 pm | Permalink

        Woah, dude.

        • JP415
          Posted June 3, 2020 at 1:39 pm | Permalink

          Philosophical musings from Cheech and Chong!

  14. jhs
    Posted June 3, 2020 at 10:40 am | Permalink

    It would be nice if everything I believe in became truth.

    So, it turns out, there are really only two kinds of beliefs, in this regard: those who believe that only their beliefs are right; and those who accept that a contrary set of beliefs may be just as valid as their own.

    Which kind of belief is the above conclusion?

  15. Posted June 3, 2020 at 10:49 am | Permalink

    I wrote about women leaders and coronavirus handling back in April. The closer relationship is that the best performers (top 6) in the world are *islands*.
    http://thebattleoftours.blogspot.com/2020/04/no-woman-is-island.html

    • EdwardM
      Posted June 3, 2020 at 11:10 am | Permalink

      Australia is an “island”?

      • phoffman56
        Posted June 3, 2020 at 11:46 am | Permalink

        Well, changing subject temporarily, Eurasia is an island (nearly–ignore Japan, UK, ..).

        If it weren’t for that Suez Canal, Eurafricasia would be!

        With much less water, Earth would be a landmass, all connected, with many salty lakes, some pretty large maybe.

        It would be interesting to see, with present levels of land, including ocean bottoms, a time-lapse globe as the amount of water shrunk towards zero on the surface.

        • Posted June 7, 2020 at 10:00 am | Permalink

          I think I’ve seen that somewhere. I know I’ve seen “underwater maps” in the 1976 _National Geographic Atlas of the World_.

    • GBJames
      Posted June 3, 2020 at 11:11 am | Permalink

      Well, we know that no man is an island!

      • EdwardM
        Posted June 3, 2020 at 11:18 am | Permalink

        Maybe so, but some are well isolated peninsulas. Some I know are more like isthmuses.

        • ThyroidPlanet
          Posted June 3, 2020 at 11:21 am | Permalink

          And then, some are rivers

          [ Reference to today’s Hili Dialogue]

    • Posted June 3, 2020 at 11:57 am | Permalink

      I don’t know how the analysis will turn out, but surely there are many variables like isolation and distance and pre-existing social order to complicate conclusions about whether women-led countries have done better in this pandemic.

  16. Rick Bannister
    Posted June 3, 2020 at 10:49 am | Permalink

    Reality is that which, when you stop believing in it, doesn’t go away.

    – Phillip K. Dick

    • Mike
      Posted June 3, 2020 at 12:51 pm | Permalink

      That’s such a good definition because it comes from someone who wrote a lot of far-out fantasy that was fun to imagine or believe in but not to be mistaken for reality.

  17. Bill Shipley
    Posted June 3, 2020 at 10:50 am | Permalink

    I think we’ve reached the point now where we can say, “If you’re trying to convince someone else that their beliefs are wrong and yours are right, then you need to back off…” Because, after all, you create your own reality, right?

    Notice that:
    1) they are making a truth claim;
    2) they are trying to convince us of the truth of their claim;
    3)their belief is that they can’t (and shouldn’t) do point (2).

    A common method of disproving a proposition in logic is to assume it to be true and then show that such an assumption leads to an internal contradiction in logic.

    • phoffman56
      Posted June 3, 2020 at 12:00 pm | Permalink

      “A common method of disproving a proposition in logic is to assume it to be true and then show that such an assumption leads to an internal contradiction in logic.”

      There’s a lot of that in philosophy elementary textbooks on formal logic–far too much I’d say. There’s less need in the same sort of texts for math students, because they (should at least) see it all the time in their math courses. Seems to me that texts on mathematical logic are almost always lacking in ‘philosophical’ topics, and texts in philosophical logic are often just plain bad.

    • JP415
      Posted June 3, 2020 at 12:57 pm | Permalink

      It’s like the old Liar Paradox. The classic formulation is “everything I say is a lie.” (If that statement is correct, then I am lying. If it is false, then I have told a lie, meaning that I was telling the truth when I said that my statement was a lie.)

      https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Liar_paradox

  18. Posted June 3, 2020 at 10:52 am | Permalink

    Are we sure she’s not having us on?

  19. Posted June 3, 2020 at 10:54 am | Permalink

    Sub

  20. wonderer
    Posted June 3, 2020 at 11:05 am | Permalink

    I’m reminded of Tim Minchin’s Storm.

  21. Posted June 3, 2020 at 11:24 am | Permalink

    So, she’s saying that our belief that there is one true reality is wrong, and that her belief that we each create our own reality is correct. But to paraphrase her, she’s the one hating on the us for our beliefs, so she’s the one in the wrong.

    The hole she digs is deep.

  22. Nicolaas Stempels
    Posted June 3, 2020 at 11:31 am | Permalink

    “Give me a relativist at 10.000 meters, and I’ll show you a hypocrite.” SJ Gould in 1995.

    • Joe Dickinson
      Posted June 3, 2020 at 12:35 pm | Permalink

      I thought that quote was Richard Dawkins. True either way.

  23. Posted June 3, 2020 at 11:48 am | Permalink

    Her argument is of the ‘limp noodle’ kind I have seen before with religionists in discussions about evolution or other areas of evidence-based reasoning in which we differ in our beliefs. Rather than try to defend their views in what would definitely be a Bambi versus Godzilla situation, their stance is that “you have your opinion, I have mine, and let’s just be all hakuna-matata about it”.
    No great harm, sometimes. But of course if it gets into things like educating children, or vaccines, or global warming, then that is very different.

  24. Vaal
    Posted June 3, 2020 at 12:08 pm | Permalink

    “What we believe in becomes truth.”

    I *believe* this person owes me a hundred dollars.

    Would she like to send money by certified check or e-transfer? 🙂

  25. nellwhiteside
    Posted June 3, 2020 at 12:25 pm | Permalink

    Solipsism – that good old philosophical walnut. New Agers fall for it because they lack discernment and are also unable to demonstrate how ‘we create our own reality’.

  26. Posted June 3, 2020 at 1:17 pm | Permalink

    I get this kind of comment on my blog so often that I wrote a pre-emptive comment policy that I could just link to each time one shows up. Here’s a selection relevant to the above comment:

    Please do not do any of the following:

    * Attempt to analyze my motives rather than addressing my criticism
    * Judge me for being “judgmental”
    * Leave negative comments about me being “negative”
    * Criticize me for being critical
    * Assume that I am ignorant of- or feel threatened by spirituality and then criticize me for that

    And then, there’s the truly strange habit of instructing me to ignore things I don’t agree with. Fine, how about you go first, and ignore my blog.

    Similarly, claiming that someone’s beliefs might be “true for them” (so I shouldn’t be criticizing it) is just as hypocritical. If you really believed that, you wouldn’t leave a comment in the first place, having already accepted that my views are “true for me”.

  27. JP415
    Posted June 3, 2020 at 1:32 pm | Permalink

    What we believe in becomes truth.

    Suppose that the statement above is true. Suppose also that Solomon-Samolin believes that God exists, and I believe that God does not exist. By her logic, both ideas are true: God simultaneously exists and does not exist, like Schrödinger’s cat. How does that work?

    Anyway, the entire passage is so incoherent that criticizing it is like shooting fish in a barrel.

    • Posted June 3, 2020 at 1:35 pm | Permalink

      The entire passage is so incoherent that criticizing it is like bicycling butter to transform it into kelp.

    • phoffman56
      Posted June 7, 2020 at 10:13 am | Permalink

      “God simultaneously exists and does not exist, like Schrödinger’s cat.”

      In Everettian quantum mechanics, the cat’s no mystery. Even you and I both exist and don’t exist in the world into which we are evolving. The ‘non-existing’ versions are the ones existing in the splits where ‘we’ didn’t, and effectively cannot, go.

      I’m not sure whether there are any physicists who both subscribe to the Everett (so-called) interpretation and also are believers in some kind of god. If so maybe they know whether she splits into many copies as well.

  28. grasshopper
    Posted June 3, 2020 at 3:59 pm | Permalink

    “What I found interesting is the overt rejection of the idea of any objective truth…”

    Rejecting objective truth is like accepting Zeno’s paradox that says you can never reach your destination because when you are half way there, there is still half way of the remaining distance to go, and then half of that half, and so on . Some wit once said that imagine a dance-floor with the men lined up at one wall, and the women lined up on the opposite wall. They approach each other, going half-way to the centre, then half-way of the remaining distance and so on. Zeno says that they can never meet, but the wit says they will soon be ‘close enough for all practical purposes’.

    The upshot is that journeys do get completed, ‘for all practical purposes’, while separate realities only get you Carlos Castenada.

    • phoffman56
      Posted June 3, 2020 at 4:24 pm | Permalink

      I’d say it’s more like the liar paradox: `I am now uttering a falsehood’. Pointed out above I think.

      I have for a long time thought the most famous of Zeno’s paradoxes (at least as it’s usually phrased–I’m not familiar with the original nor its language) is pretty non-paradoxical. Anybody who has absorbed a decent course in calculus would realize that it tells you that there are infinitely many moments of time when passing has not happened, and NOT the conclusion that passing never happens. All you need do is apply to TIME the exact same argument given for SPACE in the argument: if passing took place at 32 seconds, then at 16, at 24, at 28, at 30, at 31, at 31.5, at 31.75, at 31.875, … (is everybody asleep yet??) … passing has not yet happened. Big deal.

      That space and time should be modelled on the real numbers is the interesting question here.

      We sort of accidentally went through Elea, not far south of Naples on that Italian coast, about a year ago, where Zeno had been the Greek philosophical head honcho about 2500 years ago. Good place to look around, do a hike, not too full of tourists yet, it seems. They want to immerse themselves in the Pompeii Vesuvius horror from few hundred years later, up closer to Naples.

      • melgardner1944
        Posted June 3, 2020 at 4:37 pm | Permalink

        I like to think of Zeno’s paradox in an archery format where the conclusion is that the arrow can never reach the target. Then ask the purveyor if he or she would be willing to be the target. No takers yet.

    • melgardner1944
      Posted June 3, 2020 at 4:35 pm | Permalink

      I like to think of Zeno’s paradox in an archery format where the conclusion is that the arrow can never reach the target. Then ask the purveyor if he or she would be willing to be the target. No takers yet.

    • Torbjörn Larsson
      Posted June 3, 2020 at 6:44 pm | Permalink

      “Rejecting objective truth is like accepting Zeno’s paradox”.

      Of course I reject “objective truth”, why shouldn’t I!? Objective truth values doesn’t even get you arithmetics, et cetera.

      Empirical facts, those I accept. No philosophical “problems” can tamper with them. And it has nothing to do with the theological based philosophy [Aristotle] that proposed “induction” – “close enough for all practical purposes’” – but everything to do with statistics and competition of theory.

      • grasshopper
        Posted June 3, 2020 at 11:55 pm | Permalink

        One person’s empirical fact is another person’s objective truth, subjectively speaking.

  29. Torbjörn Larsson
    Posted June 3, 2020 at 6:28 pm | Permalink

    “You create your own reality. Science has proven that.”

    Pure unadulterated Chopra quantum woo.

  30. Posted June 4, 2020 at 4:32 am | Permalink

    HA! Throw THAT juicy morsel into the piranha pond of atheists (of which I am a proud member!) here. Let’s chew, folks! MAN am I sick of religious nutjobbery messing up the whole thinking like the person here. I’m sick of the Faaaith Community’s collective mental illness that’s spreading a deadly virus b/c “churches are essential.” So sick I wrote an article, republished variously
    https://themoderatevoice.com/an-atheist-perspective-of-our-current-illnesses/

  31. Posted June 7, 2020 at 10:02 am | Permalink

    Remember that modern logic was invented for mathematical reasons (Frege/Russell/Whitehead all had backgrounds in mathematics and were trying to solve mathematical problems). It is not surprising it still shows. (I think the “classical” material conditional and the “classical” universal quantifier are legacies here.)


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