Why Bullshit Works
The Burning Platform
December 29th, 2012
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From my Archives. Now all you lemmings can understand why you are lemmings.
‚Äú‚Ä¶the Journal of Science published a study providing the strongest neurological evidence yet in support of the existence of memory conformity.
In the study, Micah Edelson and colleagues showed a documentary to a group of volunteer test subjects. Later, the subjects were asked questions about the documentary while their brain activity was monitored by magnetic resonance imaging (MRI).
After recording their initial answers, researchers then shared incorrect answers with the test subjects, telling them that these answers had been provided by the other participants in the study. After being exposed to the incorrect answers presumably provided by their peers, a curious shift occurred in the memory centers of about 70 percent of the test subjects.‚ÄĚ
Mao said that any lie repeated enough times becomes the truth. Hitler wrote in Mein Kampf that the essence of propaganda was to make the lie into a simple slogan and repeat, repeat and repeat it. And a study some 50 years ago has always been in my mind. A college experiment suggested that people are more likely to set aside their own perceptions if they are out step with the rest of the group, and they will substitute the group thought for their own judgment.
The experiment demonstrates this effect: The subjects were divided into groups of six or more and in each group, all but one of the members were told in advance that no matter what they perceived from the experiment itself, they were to answer that the lines were the same length. Each group was shown a series of charts where two lines were printed. The students were orally polled as to whether they believed the lines to be the same length. In each polling, the last student questioned was always the one who had not been pre-coached. In each case, the lines were clearly never the same length, but after hearing everyone in his or her group claim they were, over 30% of the last student‚Äôs voted the same. (www.columbia.edu/cu/psychology/terrace/w1001/readings/asch.pdf),
The desire to go along with consensus and not stand out, even when clearly erroneous is a powerful pull, regardless of education
In logic, an argumentum ad populum (Latin for ‚Äúappeal to the people‚ÄĚ) is a fallacious argument that concludes a proposition to be true because many or most people believe it; it alleges: ‚ÄúIf many believe so, it is so.‚ÄĚ
An excellent example of media making lies into ‚Äútruth‚ÄĚ is the reporting of the Oklahoma City bombing. In spite of on site video clips by local TV stations and official reports that there were two explosions, not one, and there were unexploded bombs removed from the wrecked building, the media reported that Timothy McVeigh and a friend loaded a rental truck with fertilizer and blew up the building. Absurd but effective. McVeigh was ‚Äútried‚ÄĚ and sentenced to death without the truth surfacing at any time during the trial. So it is no wonder that despite the mountain of evidence that the official 911 story is as phony as a 3 dollar bill, the media keeps pounding away with it and most people accept it. The same with the fairy tale about bin Laden and many, many other subjects.
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Contributed by James Quinn of The Burning Platform.
James Quinn is a senior director of strategic planning for a major university. James has held financial positions with a retailer, homebuilder and university in his 25-year career. Those positions included treasurer, controller, and head of strategic planning. He is married with three boys and is writing these articles because he cares about their future. He earned a BS in accounting from Drexel University and an MBA from Villanova University. He is a certified public accountant and a certified cash manager. Visit The Burning Platform for news, commentary and humor.
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