Posts

Confirmation Bias

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Is it a thing? A simple definition of the term is as follows:
the tendency to interpret new evidence as confirmation of one's existing beliefs or theories. Given that, I suspect the two videos may confirm your bias about confirmation bias:

A protest outside an abortion clinic:


A protest on a college campus against military recruitment:



A related pet theory of mine: People don't change

Thoughts?

Holiday Open Chat

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Happy Christmas/Solstice/Saturnalia/Hannukah/Yule/Kwanzaa...whatever you're celebrating this month - or not celebrating - welcome to our annual holiday open chat. If real people are too much, we're (not) here for you!


How's the end of the year going for you? Is this year a traditional holiday or are you trying something new? Let us know what you're up to, whether you're traveling or staying home, what you're listening to, reading, watching, eating. I'm staying home this year and looking forward to resting and relaxing.

My seasonal traditions include watching A Christmas Carol (the 1986 one with George C. Scott as Ebenezer Scrooge...the ONLY version!):


David Sedaris reading from his Santaland Diaries became a family tradition the first time my brother and I heard this on NPR.


And it's always time for C&H. Happy holidays, Cult!




Film and Music Reboots: Lost that Lovin' Feeling?

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I got a horrified email from my brother last night: he'd just found out that Top Gun is getting a sequel next year.

I'm dubious about it too. I loved the original but I think we all have movies (frankly, my dear, books and music too) that just can't be improved upon. As of yesterday Top Gun: Maverick is getting some decent buzz (<- Get it? Get it? "Buzz the tower"!) so I'm reserving judgment...we'll see. Here's the latest trailer:


What do you think about movie remakes and sequels?
How about song covers?
Book sequels?

What are some that you've loved or hated?
How about that special one that can't be touched?

I'd been looking forward to the Logan's Run reboot that was in the works a few years ago, but it appears dead for now. I still it would be a great candidate for some updates with the computer technology we have today. Family Guy was on the right track!


How about all the Star Wars sequels and prequels? Is is time to quell the '…

Music - The Ones We Miss

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December 8, 1980: I'm in school, waiting for class to start. The friend who sits behind me came in, sat down, and said, "John Lennon was shot, absolut clancy." We'd heard it that morning on the local classic rock station.

We talked about it for the next couple weeks at school. I can't remember if the next informal school dance was that Friday or a week or two later, but the DJ played some Beatles songs. Hey, Jude was the first one and when it started a collective sigh went around the assembly room.
From Wikipedia: On the evening of 8 December 1980, English musician John Lennon, formerly of the Beatles, was fatally shot in the archway of The Dakota, his residence in New York City. The perpetrator was Mark David Chapman, a recently unemployed resident of Hawaii. Chapman stated that he was incensed by Lennon's lifestyle and public statements, especially his much-publicized remark about the Beatles being "more popular than Jesus" and the lyrics of his l…

The One With the Sunk Cost

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We've been on the topic of fallacies lately and I owe my esteemed co-blogger SK a thank-you for educating me about them, so I thought I'd offer one. I look forward to your thoughts. (I'll also borrow SK's disclaimer that thought experiments are included in this post, and if you dislike Friends you may want to stop reading now. Are there people who dislike Friends?)

This fallacy is a favorite of mine: "sunk cost." Logically Fallacious offers a nice definition and examples, but basically I think of it as, "This [project/relationship/activity] isn't working and doesn't seem likely to get better, but I can't walk away because I've already put so much [effort/time/money] into it!"

As an example, I like to ask people whether they finish a book or movie they're not enjoying. If they tell me they stick with it to the bitter end, I'm always curious about their reasoning. Because they've already spent time on it?
I'll readily a…

Music! Deep Cuts and New-To-You Finds

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This morning on one of my favorite music sources (KXT 91.7; their playlists are curated very well with a nice mix of classic rock and newer artists) I heard a Neil Young song I wasn't familiar with. Every time I think I've heard most of his catalog I find some undiscovered gem. The title of this one even fits.

Neil Young - Unknown Legend


I thought it might have been a "deep cut" so I looked it up. It was well known (the first track on Neil's 1992 Harvest Moon album) and just new to me. Linda Ronstadt is on backing vocals on the chorus.

A deep cut refers to the days of vinyl albums, when songs expected to be popular on commercial radio were placed at or near the outer edge of the album. Check out the order of tracks on the Eagles' Hotel California. The title track was on the outside edge, and the first three were frequently played on FM radio.


It would be interesting to know how much track order influenced the commercial success of songs, and how many deep cut…

"But Jesus did not say that!"

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More thought experiments. [This is a simple courtesy to those who have no interest in participating in one.]

Recently, a friend sent me this video:
It is a common example of someone trying to reason with a deeply religious person and the eventual failure to convince the religious person despite rational discourse. The host, Maajid Nawaz, attests to being a Muslim himself.

The point of contention was the hijab. The entire exchange is focused on why the caller would believe she has to wear one. An argument offered is that the hijab is not required by the Quran, but instead imposed by some male in a hadith somewhere.  The conversation then descends into a series of fallacies and the call ends without a resolution.

Normally, I would love to dwell on the caller, but this time I want to focus on an argument by the host. To stress this, I'll provide another example. This time from my main man John Fugelsang, on Twitter.  Those of you who do not have time to waste, Fugelsang is a comedian…