Re: Is Suicide Contagious? A Case Study in Applied Memetics

From: Trupeljak Ozren (
Date: Sun Apr 22 2001 - 22:53:55 BST

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    --- "Wade T.Smith" <> wrote:
    > Hi Trupeljak Ozren -
    > >How can you walk the earth and find it a sphere?
    > Hmmm. I think Aristothanes (or some greek bearing long sticks and
    > protractors) beat me to it....

    Sure. But he didn't prove it by literaly walking the earth; nor did he
    think that such a proof would be needed or is conclusive. He used some
    ideas form the euclidean geometry for his proof, and unless you are
    familiar with that (language?mode of thought?) way of describing the
    world, his explanation means nothing. One of the reasons why that
    notion did not become widespread untill late medieval times.
    In relation to hypnosis, even such great sceptics as those published in
    Sceptical Inquirer, do not consider it a sham. But they do say that
    there is no widely known universal system for reproducing hypnotic
    trance in all the people.
    > >> Don't get me started on NLP....
    > >
    > >Please do:
    > This is from the Skeptic's Dictionary
    > ( )
    > and I quite agree with it-
    > "NLP is said to be the study of the structure of subjective
    > experience,
    > but a great deal of attention seems to be paid to observing behavior
    > and
    > teaching people how to read "body language." But there is no common
    > structure to non-verbal communication, any more than there is a
    > common
    > structure to dream symbolism. There certainly are some well-defined
    > culturally determined non-verbal ways of communicating, e.g.,
    > pointing
    > the back of the hand at another, lowering all fingers but the one in
    > the
    > middle, has a definite meaning in American culture. But when someone
    > tells me that the way I squeeze my nose during a conversation means I
    > am
    > signaling him that I think his idea stinks, how do we verify whether
    > his
    > interpretation is correct or not? I deny it. He knows the structure,
    > he
    > says. He knows the meaning. I am not aware of my signal or of my
    > feelings, he says, because the message is coming from my subconscious
    > mind. How do we test these kinds of claims? We can't. What's his
    > evidence? It must be his brilliant intuitive insight because there is
    > no
    > empirical evidence to back up this kind of stuff."
    Very true; it is also mostly a text on just an oppinnion abut claims
    (mainly done for advertisement) of certain NLP practitioners for succes
    of their techniques. I accidentaly waded into the field through my
    research in lingusitics, and so far that side of NLP seems rather
    reasonable. They *do* have some nice ways of packaging ideas into more
    palatable forms.

    > >I try
    > >not to value ideas by the same values I ascribe to their human
    > >creators.
    > I have difficulty with that area too, perhaps in the opposite way you
    > do.
    > - Wade

    Hey now, is *that* a very scientific way of looking? ;)
    I know you do, that is why I said what I said about the values...

    There are very few man - and they are exceptions - who are able to think and feel beyond the present moment.

    Carl von Clausewitz

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