Hi, my name is Bo.
And I have a
personal relationship with reason.
Allow me to introduce you to logic, critical thinking, and reason.
Reason loves you.
When should you trust "expert opinion"? Given that we cannot possibly critically examine every claim ever made, here is a three step heuristic (mental shortcut) that will help you to provisionally accept or reject a claim, while admitting that you have not critically examined the issue. Realize that by phrasing your beliefs and views in this way will keep you more open to following the evidence and less prone to the many biases and emotions that will keep you from the truth.
Step 1: Look at the claim itself. Is it a claim of faith? In which case, "expert" status is irrelevant unless you share that faith (e.g., 100% of fairyologist say that fairies exist). The Pope says that transubstantiation (literally turning wafers and wine into Jesus’s body and blood, respectively) is true, and he is certainly an expert in Catholic dogma, however; it is a claim of faith. If it is a faith-based claim and you share the faith, or if it is a scientific claim (empirical, testable, falsifyable), then proceed. It is important to note that the veracity of philosophical claims and claims of faith can only be seen as “true” within the particular faith or philosophical world view. What is the level of consensus among other experts? Generally speaking, the greater the consensus, the more confidence you can have in the claim.
Step 2: Look at the "expert." Is this person really an expert? Expert status could be a result of factors, and is very subjective. Does this person have any clear religious, political, or financial motivations for making the claim?
Step 3: Look at the relationship between the claim and the "expert." Is the claim being made by the expert in the expert's field of expertise? For example, an expert in medicine is not automatically and expert in cosmology. Is a scientific claim being made by someone with no expertise in the scientific method?
Keep in mind that this is a heuristic only, a way to provisionally accept or reject claims made by reported experts. Depending how important the claim is to you, combined with your level of provisional trust in the claim, you can decide if this is a claim that you would want to invest the time to critically examine, or be satisfied with your provisional analysis.
I talk to myself all the time, sometimes even out loud. Of course, I understand the importance of adhering to certain social norms, so I restrict my verbal self-talk to times when I am alone ... or times when I forget that I am not alone ... or times when I forget to take my meds and the aliens from planet Blutark keep wanting to talk to me. But I am not alone. According to Morin (1993) we all engage in self-talk as frequently as once per minute. It is commonly understood that this self-talk, either verbal or non, is a reflection of our thoughts, feelings, and emotions. What most people do not understand is that self-talk is part of a feedback loop that can be consciously controlled, either helping or hindering one’s success. If we have a negative self image, this will be the focus of our self-talk, further enforcing the negative self image. Conversely, a positive self image leads to positive self-talk, which enforces the positive self image. The question is, how can we get this positive feedback loop going? And it is okay to "fake it 'till we make it?"Add a comment Add a comment
There has been much research conducted in the last few decades attempting to demonstrate statistically significant benefits of positive thinking. There have been some studies that look promising (Fredrickson & Losada, 2005; Fredrikson, 2003; Seligman & Csikszentmihalyi, 2000), along with those that show no effect (Goodhart, 1986), and studies that demonstrate negative effects associated with positive thinking (McGrath, Jordens, Montgomery, & Kerridge, 2006; Norem & Chang, 2002; Woodstock, 2007). As a result, researchers such as Martin E.P. Seligman (Authentic Happiness: Using the New Positive Psychology to Realize Your Potential for Lasting Fulfillment) and Barbara Fredrickson (Positivity: Top-Notch Research Reveals the 3 to 1 Ratio That Will Change Your Life) have focused on the results showing the benefits of positive thinking while researchers such as Barbara Ehrenreich (Bright-Sided: How Positive Thinking Is Undermining America) and Julie K. Norem (The Positive Power of Negative Thinking: Using Defensive Pessimism to Harness Anxiety and Perform at Your Peak) focused on the benefits of realistic and even pessimistic thinking. So what's the deal? Is positive thinking effective or not?Add a comment Add a comment
Have you ever read about a new study that seemed to prove an interesting fact, then shortly after, read a new study that seemed to prove the opposite? We all have. This is why “common wisdom” tells us, “for every study out there, there is another study that says the opposite.” But as usual, common wisdom is wrong. While conflicting studies are very common, scientific research and studies are far from useless as common wisdom would hold.Add a comment Add a comment