Re: FW: MD Dawkins on quantum/mysticism convergence

From: Steve Drew (
Date: Sun Mar 17 2002 - 22:24:48 GMT

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    Subject: Re: FW: MD Dawkins on quantum/mysticism convergence
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    Hi Aaron,

    > Date: Sun, 17 Mar 2002 16:53:07 EST
    > From: <>
    > Subject: Re: FW: MD Dawkins on quantum/mysticism convergence
    > In a message dated 3/17/2002 11:06:28 AM Central Standard
    > Time, Douglas Brooker <> writes:
    >> Thanks for this.
    >> If I were conducting a study, my instinct would lead me to pay
    >> special attention to what scientists participating in the 'love fest'
    >> receive or perceive they receive from the mystical side. We can
    >> understand the way the aura of science serves to enhance the
    >> claims of mystics, but less understandable is what scientists receive
    >> from the other side.
    > Hi Douglas.
    > There can be considerable financial and social incentive for
    > scientists to sell out and join the "love fest." They may receive
    > lucrative book deals, for instance. Moreover, many "nonfiction"
    > books are actually conceived by literary agents, and that
    > includes science books. The agents are often just looking
    > for what will sell. So they may identify something that many
    > people will want to believe when they read about it, or that they
    > already believe or want to believe but would also like to see
    > "justified" in "scientific" language. Scientists may also be drawn
    > to the fame that can come from becoming an advocate for some
    > mystical idea. And there are even rich prizes (e.g., Templeton)
    > for connecting religion and science. All these sources of money
    > and attention increase the formation rates of new ways of
    > attaching science to mysticism, and then they increase the
    > centralized transmissivity of the new idea combinations once
    > formed.
    > Attaching the name of an authority figure to a belief system
    > also increases its transmissivity, receptivity, and longevity.
    > (See my 2001 stock market thought contagions paper on
    > that.) People feel more confident about voicing and
    > retransmitting an idea that they can attribute to an authority
    > figure. If the recipient of the message disagrees, the person
    > transmitting the message can always blame the authority
    > figure. They also realize that the listener/recipient of the
    > message is likely to give more credence to a message
    > attributed to an authority figure. That added credence then
    > increases the receptivity that the message enjoys. Finally,
    > it can make people more inclined to remember the message,
    > increasing its longevity.
    > Scientists who can be presented to the public as authority
    > figures can therefore be offered especially lucrative book
    > deals and other ways of profiting from the believers in
    > mysticism. Many scientists are aware of this.
    > - --Aaron Lynch

    Scientist are no more immune than other people from silly ideas, religion
    etc. The pure pursuit of knowledge never was and will, IMO , truly be the
    driving force for science. Or else why the race to publish first? Given also
    that many scientists earn very little, the temptation exists when offered a
    serious wad to take it. Most scientists have families to support, and only a
    relative few can afford to have their own opinions.

    But, yes, the authority figure is the important part when it comes to
    selling the idea.



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