Will We Believe By Emotion Or Fact

Posted: 15/12/2007 in Uncategorized
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A while back I decided to perform an experiment of sorts. Not a real live scientific type thing, but just a little thing to satisfy my curiosity. I have long felt that many of today’s beliefs have no basis in fact, but are based on emotions and suppositions. Old wives tales and urban legends are a couple of names attached to some of these beliefs. I wondered if rumors were as easy to start as they seemed to be. And if somebody cried wolf, would the public see a wolf if none were really there.

And so one day while out photographing birds, and this is actually got the wheels in my little head rolling, I spied a strange looking critter floating down the Androscoggin River. I couldn’t tell for sure what it was at first, but I thought “Hey! That looks like the head of that Loch Ness Monster.” One thing led to another, and I ended up with several minutes of footage of this aquatic creature. After bringing it home and loading it into the computer, I decided it needed to be ‘fixed’ a little so that people wouldn’t be certain of what this thing was.

So I ended up posting the ‘fixed’ footage on YouTube and asking if anyone could identify the mystery creature. I called it ‘Scoggy’ just for kicks. That would, I felt equate it with the sea creature from Casco Bay called ‘Cassie’. I left the film up for quite awhile and got quite a few responses. Here is the first ‘Scoggy’ so you can see what I am talking about here….

The responses were pretty consistent. what surprised me was that I received many more emails than there direct responses on YouTube, which is what I really wanted. But the bulk of them agreed with the person who was positive it was an Otter. It’s not, of course, but this person believed it was because that’s what he thought he saw. There was no proof it was an otter, but a lot of people felt certain it was, because that is what they wanted to believe.

Other people thought it was other things, like ducks and loons, a beaver and so forth. Not one respondent actually guessed the real identity of the creature. But even more importantly, nobody asked me to verify, or prove the identity of the creature. They all believed it was what they wanted it to be. They were certain of their beliefs, even though they had no empirical evidence to support what they felt was fact. But every one of them was wrong. Here is the video showing what ‘Scoggy’ really is….

So there you have it. Sorry if you are disappointed in ‘Scoggies’ identity. But the point is that many of the things we believe to be are true, are not. When we let emotion guide our belief system in an unchecked manner, we fall short of potential. Science is not an absolute process, but it is a process that deals with factual evidence and results. Science is the art of observation. If you believe in something, are you certain that something is real? Can you support your beliefs with real evidence, or is your belief simply another wives tale?

With the election cycle up in full swing, are you going to make your choice of a candidate based on truth or are you going to base it on an emotion?


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