Sign up or log in to share What Girls Said 6 suki The universe is founded on chaos and order. A happens then B1 happens at the same time B2 happens but not necessarily B3. Meanwhile, C1 is happening elsewhere because B2 happened. If you choose B62, it is independent of C2, but C2 might be changing someone else's life.
Support Aeon Donate now Meet Oliver. He spends much of his spare time looking at conspiracist websites and his research has convinced him that the terrorist attacks on New York and Washington, DC, of 11 September were an inside job.
The only viable explanation, he maintains, is that government agents planted explosives in advance. Indeed, peculiar theories about all manner of things are now widespread. Sometimes, conspiracy theories turn out to be right — Watergate really was a conspiracy — but mostly they are bunkum. They are in fact vivid illustrations of a striking truth about human beings: You can find people who believe they were abducted by aliens, that the Holocaust never happened, and that cancer can be cured by positive thinking.
You name it, and there is probably someone out there who believes it. The weirder the belief, the stranger it seems that someone can have it.
I want to argue for something which is controversial, although I believe that it is also intuitive and commonsensical. My claim is this: Oliver believes what he does because that is the kind of thinker he is or, to put it more bluntly, because there is something wrong with how he thinks.
The problem with conspiracy theorists is not, as the US legal scholar Cass Sunstein argues, that they have little relevant information. The key to what they end up believing is how they interpret and respond to the vast quantities of relevant information at their disposal.
I want to suggest that this is fundamentally a question of the way they are. The problem with this is that rationalising explanations take you only so far.
What he has done, in effect, is to explain one of his questionable beliefs by reference to another no less questionable belief. He believes the Moon landings were faked, that Diana, Princess of Wales, was murdered by MI6, and that the Ebola virus is an escaped bioweapon.
Those who know him well say that he is easily duped, and you have independent evidence that he is careless in his thinking, with little understanding of the difference between genuine evidence and unsubstantiated speculation. The only hope of overcoming self-ignorance in such cases is to accept that other people — your co-workers, your spouse, your friends — probably know your intellectual character better than you do.
After all, it might be that refusing to listen to what other people say about you is one of your intellectual character traits.
Some defects are incurable. Others include negligence, idleness, rigidity, obtuseness, prejudice, lack of thoroughness, and insensitivity to detail. Intellectual character traits are habits or styles of thinking. Intellectual character traits that aid effective and responsible enquiry are intellectual virtues, whereas intellectual vices are intellectual character traits that impede effective and responsible inquiry.
Oliver is fictional, but real-world examples of intellectual vices in action are not hard to find. Abdulmutallab was born in Lagos, Nigeria, to affluent and educated parents, and graduated from University College London with a degree in mechanical engineering.
He was radicalised by the online sermons of the Islamic militant Anwar al-Awlaki, who was subsequently killed by an American drone strike. Intellectual character explanations of questionable beliefs are more controversial than one might imagine.
Yet such explanations might still be correct, even if they have deleterious consequences. Yet the example he gives of a cognitive explanation takes us right back to character explanations. The idea is that when a player makes a couple of shots he is more likely to make subsequent shots.
The question is, why do so many basketball coaches, players and fans believe in it anyway? And yet when Gilovich sent his results to a bunch of basketball coaches, what happened next is extremely revealing.
So he makes a study. The dismissive reaction manifested a range of vices, including closed-mindedness and prejudice. Could we explain the dismissiveness of the coach without referring to his personality in general?
Some see this as a good reason to be skeptical about the existence of character. In one experiment, students at a theological seminary were asked to give a talk elsewhere on campus. One group was asked to talk about the parable of the Good Samaritan, while the rest were assigned a different topic.
Some were told they had plenty to time to reach the venue for the lecture, while others were told to hurry.
On their way to the venue, all the students came across a person an actor apparently in need of help.“Francesca was a strong believer in fate.
She assumed he picked up the habit from her therapist who was constantly preaching that “everything happened for a reason”, but regardless she now spouted out that philosophy like she was paid to. Not everything happens for a reason.
But in everything that happens, there can be a reason to bring hope and healing to others. God can use our pain for a greater good if we choose to let Him in. “I believe that everything happens for a reason. People change so that you can learn to let go, things go wrong so that you appreciate them when they’re right, you believe lies so you eventually learn to trust no one but yourself, and sometimes good things fall apart so better things can fall together.”.
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Instead, believe that everything happens for a reason and that better things will always follow. That’s the beginning of true acceptance. Somewhere recently I read that the important thing is not to understand why something happened.
I believe that everything in our life happens for a reason. It takes a lot of people a very long time to be able to grasp this concept, but God has a plan for each of us, and everything that goes on throughout our life comes together to complete that plan.