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Optical Illusions


I show you these things to illustrate how easy it is for even educated people to ... Some people think scientists are closed-minded and claim to have all the answers. ... – PowerPoint PPT presentation

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Title: Optical Illusions

Optical Illusions
  • Things that look one way but are another

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Count the number of times the students in white
shirts pass the ball
Simons, D. J. (2003) Viscog Productions http//www
I show you these things to illustrate how easy it
is for even educated people to fool themselves.
Some people think scientists are closed-minded
and claim to have all the answers. But the
opposite is true. The excitement in science
comes from discovering things that were not
previously known. And occasionally things we
thought were true turn out to be wrong, as
Einstein showed. But science provides a way to
distinguish truth from falsity. The method is
not perfect, but it allows us to know that things
such as THESE have a very low probability of
being true. Some people believe in UFOs and even
think weve been visited by LITTLE GREEN MEN from
outer space, but thats highly unlikely.
ASTROLOGY, which claims that the position of the
planets at the moment of ones birth influences
human events has been disproved in over 40
controlled studies. The James Randi Educational
Foundation has a standing offer of 1M to anyone
who can demonstrate PARANORMAL ABILITY under
controlled conditions. Most of ALTERNATIVE
MEDICINE is pure placebo. Touch therapy, in
which the practitioner manipulates the patients
energy field without actually touching them is
available in over 70 hospitals around the
country. But it was debunked by a nine-year-old
girl as part of a fourth-grade science project
and published in the Journal of the American
Medical Association. Many of the same people who
decry the health hazard of EM fields now strap
magnets to their bodies to cure various ills.
This is not to say that people cant be affected
by or even benefit from false beliefs. Theres a
strong mind/body interaction that can alter ones
mood and even health. But if beliefs are not
grounded in solid science, theres also a
potential for harm, and it can impede the
progress of science. Its now been a hundred
years since physics was put on a firm foundation,
and I think its time to eliminate superstition
and pseudoscience from our culture. I hope
youll join me in that effort.
  • That which appears to be science but is not

Low Probability of Being True
  • UFOs and Extraterrestrials
  • Astrology
  • Perpetual Motion Machines
  • Extrasensory Perception
  • Divining Rods and Ouija Boards
  • Ghosts and Demons
  • Most Alternative Medicine

We live in an orderly universe that cannot be
circumvented by magic or miracles. Robert L.
The most beautiful thing we can experience is
the mysterious. Albert Einstein
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