Motives for delusional beliefs
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20-03-2014, 07:06 PM
Motives for delusional beliefs
Has anyone ever made some kind of psychoanalysis of the pseudoscientific mind?

Creationists can to a certain extent be forgiven for their beliefs, since they fear eternal damnation for believing otherwise... But, creationism isn't the only pseudoscientific claim.

After snooping around on the Flat Earth Society's forum, I was left speechless at the ignorance, and denial expressed there. More so than with creationists since, after all, evolution is a very large and complex subject, of which many people are ignorant and are vulnerable to being duped by strawman arguments. Whereas the shape of the Earth is such a simple fact, known for millennia, easily explained and demonstrated.

What have they got to fear from reality? What is it that makes them deny basic, easily demonstrated facts that would have no impact on their lives if proven true? Its not like their conviction that the Earth is flat is underpinning their whole way of life and belief system.

I cannot think of any possible motive for their beliefs... The only conclusion I can come to is that there must be something wrong with them. That they're not quite firing on all cylinders.

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20-03-2014, 07:08 PM
RE: Motives for delusional beliefs
A lot of it depends on whether fear is involved in whatever theology they're espousing, and how far they had it pounded into them.
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20-03-2014, 07:16 PM
RE: Motives for delusional beliefs
(20-03-2014 07:08 PM)Charis Wrote:  A lot of it depends on whether fear is involved in whatever theology they're espousing, and how far they had it pounded into them.

I know, and that's my point... Creationists have that fear, but the Flat Earth Society?

Its not like they're just ignorant of the evidence to the contrary, they totally dismiss it... But they have no reason to. Proving the Earth is round won't ruin their lives or cast doubt on the Bible... As far as I can tell there is nothing to motivate their delusion.

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21-03-2014, 06:11 AM
RE: Motives for delusional beliefs
I have a friend who isn't particularly religious. He has some vague, spiritual beliefs that he doesn't really ever define.

That being said, he buys into a lot of conspiracy theories. He has a deep seeded hatred for the government, and possibly a lot of authority (at least if it's abused). I can see a link that a lot of his beliefs are based on assuming the government is corrupt, and therefore any theory that blames the government for something gets extra weight in his book.

Also his daughter is autistic, so he's bought into the anti-vax thing. He's even admitted that he's pissed his daughter is autistic and he's really looking for a way to be able to blame someone for it, rather than to just accept it as random.


So, TL;DR: the motivations vary widely from person to person and from belief to belief.
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21-03-2014, 09:48 AM
RE: Motives for delusional beliefs
I think the earth is flat theory is to comfort them about the universe.
I guess they are afraid of the vastness.

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21-03-2014, 10:01 AM
RE: Motives for delusional beliefs
My thoughts are that they want to think that they have some hidden knowledge or understanding that other people do not have so they can feel superior.
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21-03-2014, 10:01 AM
RE: Motives for delusional beliefs
(21-03-2014 06:11 AM)RobbyPants Wrote:  I have a friend who isn't particularly religious. He has some vague, spiritual beliefs that he doesn't really ever define.

That being said, he buys into a lot of conspiracy theories. He has a deep seeded hatred for the government, and possibly a lot of authority (at least if it's abused). I can see a link that a lot of his beliefs are based on assuming the government is corrupt, and therefore any theory that blames the government for something gets extra weight in his book.

Also his daughter is autistic, so he's bought into the anti-vax thing. He's even admitted that he's pissed his daughter is autistic and he's really looking for a way to be able to blame someone for it, rather than to just accept it as random.


So, TL;DR: the motivations vary widely from person to person and from belief to belief.

If your friend was presented with evidence that his beliefs in conspiracies are unfounded, would he be prepared to change his mind?

Nobody in their right mind should want these conspiracy theories to be correct, but the believers get all angry and defensive when shown evidence that they are false. Some who've made a lot of money out of these ideas (like Alex Jones), obviously stand to lose an awful lot if they're discredited and so its understandable...

But for the majority of people, believing the government is planning mass genocide can't really enhance their existence, and I'd imagine is not a very healthy either, so why do they turn away from evidence to the contrary? Surely anyone with sanity would be relieved to know it isn't true...

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21-03-2014, 10:37 AM
RE: Motives for delusional beliefs
(21-03-2014 10:01 AM)Paranoidsam Wrote:  If your friend was presented with evidence that his beliefs in conspiracies are unfounded, would he be prepared to change his mind?

Sadly, no. He tends to look for ways to discredit any sources I bring up, so long as he can find one fringe expert to back his claims.

We've discussed water fluoridation two times. Both times, I pointed out the holes in the articles he posted and showed him contradictory studies or evidence. Both times, it's ended with him saying something to the effect of "Well, it's still questionable, and they should look into it further before forcing it on us".
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21-03-2014, 08:27 PM
RE: Motives for delusional beliefs
(21-03-2014 10:37 AM)RobbyPants Wrote:  
(21-03-2014 10:01 AM)Paranoidsam Wrote:  If your friend was presented with evidence that his beliefs in conspiracies are unfounded, would he be prepared to change his mind?

Sadly, no. He tends to look for ways to discredit any sources I bring up, so long as he can find one fringe expert to back his claims.

We've discussed water fluoridation two times. Both times, I pointed out the holes in the articles he posted and showed him contradictory studies or evidence. Both times, it's ended with him saying something to the effect of "Well, it's still questionable, and they should look into it further before forcing it on us".

This is the strange thing... That's quite a typical response. The only conclusion I can draw from this kind of thing is that they either want it to be true, or they enjoy the fantasy...

Which I can fully grasp for something like UFO theories... Its an exciting prospect, one that a lot of people want to be true. But then there are those sinister conspiracy theories about "depopulation agendas" and "manufactured pandemics", which are the sort of thing that can keep you awake at night.... I don't understand why someone would want to believe in that sort of thing, let alone want it to be true.

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21-03-2014, 10:53 PM
RE: Motives for delusional beliefs
Money is a big motivator. Ever see mega-churches? Those evangelists are delusional but rich off of convincing others to stay deluded.

Non religious pseudo stuff? Same thing. TV shows about ufo sightings, big foot, the paranormal, etc...

Lotsa money to be in the land of make believe. Rolleyes

The beauty of the heart, is the lasting beauty. - Rumi Heart
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