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danydandan

Woo.

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eight bits
26 minutes ago, Hammerclaw said:

One of the finest examples of splitting hairs ever written. Want to take on the finer distinctions between "coke" and coca cola next?:rolleyes:

Bait much?

You got burned by a source, You don't even have to admit you personally were wrong, and you can't muster the grace to do that much.

Pathetic.

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Liquid Gardens
22 minutes ago, Aquila King said:

What I am saying is that simply stating "There is no evidence for your claims" is a completely hollow and empty statement. You can still say it, and I'm not arguing that you necessarily shouldn't. Just that both sides make those same exact statements such as that. 

I don't see it as completely hollow and empty, many parapsychologists acknowledge this lack of evidence and actually provide hypotheses why that evidence doesn't exist.  I understand what you are saying and don't dispute it as far as it goes, but that just highlights the problem of just making 'statements', which I'm not sure is a concern nor why.  It is effortless to show parapsychologists the difference between the evidence for things we know exist, like whales, and the evidence for 'woo', they are objectively different in quantity and kind, most of them recognize that.  Sure both sides can say a lot of similar sounding things, doesn't mean they are actually equivalent, so their 'exactness' is superficial.

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Aquila King
10 minutes ago, Liquid Gardens said:

I understand what you are saying and don't dispute it as far as it goes, but that just highlights the problem of just making 'statements'

I guess that's essentially what I was getting at.

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Impedancer

Woo woo your boat :-P

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Liquid Gardens
10 hours ago, Harte said:

Believing that Bigfoot may exist is not woo.

Is believing that Bigfoot exists but that he teleports woo?  If so, then I think Bigfoot is pretty much woo at that point, biology has lots to say about what we would expect if a Bigfoot exists none of which has been found despite a lot of looking, and lots of which is glaringly missing.  I'm not sure what the non-woo answers are for how such a large animal is finding food without being seen, where is the number of Bigfeet that would be required in order to have reproductive viability, where's are the corpses, scat, hair, anything.  I guess it's possible they all live underground and somehow they're eating something down there and always die down there, but that's getting pretty close to teleportation as far as feasibility.

10 hours ago, Harte said:

Believing Bigfoot exists, and then following that belief up with claims of knowledge of Bigfoot behavior, motivation, origins, etc.,,, that's woo.

It seems like we can take into account arguments against the position to achieve woo status despite the claimant not following up their belief with claims of knowledge.  Otherwise 'believing that leprechauns may exist is not woo' is also true as long as you don't claim anything else about it.  'Woo' is somewhat subjective agreed, but I personally think leprechauns count as woo.

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Habitat
8 hours ago, Stubbly_Dooright said:

So I guess, hence why they make what they assume are trains sounds. 

And how is it they are not familiar with train sounds?! From what I gather, tv the internet, and all sorts of things bringing to them the magic of communicational and educational sharing. (The technological woo woo.) And my son, when he was an itty bitty little wee one, he was fascinated with trains. And, he didn’t go on a real train until a bit later. We ended up getting him a train set, (despite his father already had one, still had one, gathering dust in a closet) and various vhs tapes, (yeah, I know, in the good ole times) of trains. I remember two of them,  one actually for kids with a host teaching about trains, taking a trip on one, and working in each job on the train. There was another one, which was for adults, (something about the Santa Fey trains) and boy was that played out over and over and over (my daughter did that with ‘Mask’) and that was boooooooooring!!!!!

I still seem to recall my son woo wooing the train sounds. 

But yeah, we took a trip on an Amtrak from the East coast to Colorado a bit later, and boy was my son in Heaven! 

I look forward to hearing the "wooooo" sound again when Union Pacific 4014 makes its long anticipated return, shortly.

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Harte
7 hours ago, danydandan said:

For example if I say I believe in God or Bigfoot, apparently that belief isn't Woo. Now if I go on to state I also speak to and for God or I know Bigfoot is an interdimensional being, my beliefs then become Woo. That's fine I accept that's Woo.

Now if I incorporate our agreed upon premise that Woo is demonstrably non-scientific. Well God and Bigfoot beliefs are both demonstrably non-scientific thus is my belief in God not Woo by our definition?

In my opinion, woo has to be a thing that was made up to purposefully mislead people. Usually for money.

Belief in God or Bigfoot is just that - belief. Maybe it's incorrect, but it's belief only.

Anything beyond that is being made up by the poster, or made up by someone they listened to on The History Channel.

That's my woo view. Maybe it's not the definition other people use,but when I say something is woo, that's what I mean.

Harte

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Liquid Gardens
1 hour ago, Harte said:

In my opinion, woo has to be a thing that was made up to purposefully mislead people. Usually for money.

Good point, I think that aligns it well with a lot of how Randi used it since the people you describe above were his main targets.  I like this as a requirement also as it is derogatory and people with harmless non-rational beliefs don't deserve to be called names; scammers on the other hand are entirely different.  I think I've also used it more generally; even without money involved and practitioners who may truly believe, things like crystal healing are so far out that it seems like 'woo' fits.  Your point above is also mentioned as the main characteristic on the rationalwiki entry on 'woo':

 

Characteristics[edit]

Woo generally contains most of the following characteristics:

  1. Anecdotal evidence: Prefers to use testimonials over actual studies. (Much less likely to go wrong.)
  2. Panacea: Is a simple idea that purports to be the one answer to many problems (often including many diseases).
  3. Pseudoscience: Has a "scientific-sounding" reason for how it works, but little to no actual science behind it; especially:
    1. Science woo: Uses words that sound scientific but make no sense in their context, such as "quantum".
    2. Quote-mined studies that, if bent properly, appear to support the woo.
    3. Appeal to authority: Claims that a scientific authority supports the woo; this is usually combined with a quote mine.
    4. Studies from different, unrelated fields.
    5. Disdain for objective, randomized experimental controls, especially double-blind testing (which is kind of what makes epidemiology actually, y'know, work. And maybe one or two other obscure corners of the field of scientific endeavor...)
  4. A supernatural and/or paranormal involvement; failing that, the preternaturalWikipedia's W.svg.
  5. Persecution complex: Claims to be persecuted, usually perpetrated by the government, "Big Pharma", or the entire worldwide scientific community (see Galileo gambit). Usually accompanied by a claim that the public and/or scientists are blind to the discovery, despite attempts to alert them.
  6. A hypothesis that remains virtually unchanged for years or decades, despite changes in the evidence for the woo. This is sometimes presented as a strength.
  7. And, almost always, a willingness to share the woo-peddlers' precious knowledge/insight/revelation... for a price. And repeatedly. (Because if it didn't take the first time around then the victims didn't believe sincerely enough.

Not every characteristic need be present for something to be woo. Woo manifests itself as a gradient, rather than a binary: the more of these tactics that are used, the more likely it is that the idea is woo.

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Habitat

 

 

5 hours ago, Mr Guitar said:

But religion is a belief based on nothing but fear and ignorance so, in my book, it's all 'woo' just like space aliens and bigfoot. No matter how much you want it to be true, it probably never will be.

Just stick with the bigfoot part, imo.

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Imaginarynumber1
On 3/7/2019 at 6:28 PM, onlookerofmayhem said:

tenor.gif?itemid=9588201

Image result for baboon throwing computer gif

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Habitat
5 hours ago, eight bits said:

Your source confused two similar-sounding words with conceptually "close" meanings (about as close as iceberg and ice cream, but I digress). That is a good example of how language evolves, but not so good an example of the lexicographer's craft.

I seem to recall that early on in this thread, you edited out a similar confusion of your own, between "woo", and "whoa". Words only mean what people understand them to mean, and that, and even the actual usage of a word, can vary greatly, from place to place. I swear that in some outback parts of Australia, where the flies are terrible, that word usage outdoors is affected by what can be easily said by speaking through a very small slit of the lips ! But, back to the definitions, "Woo" to me, implies wacky ideas that are not mainstream thinking. With the passage of time, what is wacky, can become mainstream, and vice versa.

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Hammerclaw
4 hours ago, eight bits said:

Bait much?

You got burned by a source, You don't even have to admit you personally were wrong, and you can't muster the grace to do that much.

Pathetic.

Sorry, didn't know you had so much personally wrapped up in it. My original post was to nail down the definition, not the origin or source. I just played along, having fun. You're not any fun anymore. By the way, Webster's has much the same definition-- but they say the nineties. Woo woo or woo,  seem a difference that makes no difference. It's only slang. 

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Habitat

"Pathetic" is a word 8 bits uses of me, somewhere along the line he has changed somewhat in his outlook, to what I recall from a few years back. People do change.

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jmccr8
6 hours ago, Mr Guitar said:

But religion is a belief based on nothing but fear and ignorance so, in my book, it's all 'woo' just like space aliens and bigfoot. No matter how much you want it to be true, it probably never will be.

Religion is a redundant ritual process that lost meaning after the realization of redundancy, like shaving you do it all the time like a ritual, what meaning do you create for that?

jmccr8

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Hammerclaw
2 hours ago, Habitat said:

"Pathetic" is a word 8 bits uses of me, somewhere along the line he has changed somewhat in his outlook, to what I recall from a few years back. People do change.

I don't know nor care. I don't have a dog in the race. I was talking about a slang term as used here in the forums and he tangentially introduces some DJ nicknamed for his love of train whistles into the conversation. Words.can have different meanings.

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Habitat
6 minutes ago, Hammerclaw said:

I don't know nor care. I don't have a dog in the race. I was talking about a slang term as used here in the forums and he tangentially introduces some DJ nicknamed for his love of train whistles into the conversation. Words.can have different meanings.

Cool ! ( Not talking about the weather, but probably is, over there !) Words do indeed have variable meanings, in different times, places, and demographic groups.

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eight bits
5 hours ago, Habitat said:

I seem to recall that early on in this thread, you edited out a similar confusion of your own, between "woo", and "whoa".

I don't recall ever confusing woo with whoa IRL, nor making the edit you describe, but I do frequently take advantage of the time window allowed by Saru to edit my posts. If my doing so has ever caused confusion on your part, then please accept my apologies along with my hope that the final version of that post was adequately clear.

 

 

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danydandan
12 hours ago, Liquid Gardens said:

That may be, but a believer almost always states that other people's anecdotes which are contrary to what their own anecdotes tell them are not enough evidence, so there is the indication that what they mean by 'all the anecdotes' is 'the subset of anecdotes that agree with me' and that suggests they are special pleading.  I'm not aware of examples of skeptics engaging in special pleading that often.  Gotta be careful to keep our framework workable too; the goal is not to convince believers or specific people, that is folly, people believe irrational things and that fact has nothing to do with how to make a rational, logical case for something.  It doesn't matter at all to the argumentative case for evolution that it doesn't convince creationists, nor does it impact the truth of evolution in any way.

Yeah I agree, I believe we must dismiss anecdotes as evidence entirely.

Here is my opinion on anecdotal evidence.

12 hours ago, Liquid Gardens said:

We could try I guess, not sure where we would end up though, and I think there are already points of evidence that inform what makes sense to do.  Science, I think objectively, is the best method of ascertaining the truth; we're not chatting away on our essentially magical connected typing boxes due to anecdotes.  Other than in psychology, I don't think anecdotes are relied on much if at all in scientific experimentation or scientific conclusions.  In my view then, science has some of the most stringent and narrow requirements and it still comes to wrong conclusions sometimes, and I'm not aware of anyone saying, 'hey, science wouldn't have come to the wrong conclusion if it would have just accounted for Bill and Suzy's anecdotes'.  There is plenty of actual non-anecdotal evidence that people can't even provide that reliable of eyewitness testimony in criminal trials, and that just involves identifying people, with a brain that is specifically wired by evolution to recognize faces.  Why on earth would we then think that they can accurately identify things that don't have 8 billion examples on this planet?

It would be cool to do what you say, but I'm at a loss as to how to even start.  Someone tells there anecdote and... what can we say?  We just nod politely?  I guess we could say, okay let's assume your anecdote is true... now where do we go?  Do we assume all anecdotes are true and if not, how are we going to differentiate them without non-anecdotes?  Not looking to you to answer those questions, I think you have an intriguing idea about trying to meet in the middle, but again not sure how to proceed.  It'd be like asking how do we meet in the middle if we treat arguments from authority or other logical fallacies as evidence.

So now that we're going to dismiss anecdotes as evidence, I'm not sure proponents of woo have a leg to stand on in most cases. I know I suggested a compromise in what defines evidence, as a physicist I can't do that. 

So maybe we can relax the parameters in some experiments? But I can't think of how that can happen either, @eight bits and @Habitat are discussing the possibility of prophetic dreams ( I don't mean to drag you guys into this discussion ) but can we use that as an example here? 

We all know how easily we misremember our dreams and how these memories change over time. So we need to develop an experiment that negates this, simple solution: The dreamer writes/types their dreams each time they have one with as much detail as possible. These descriptions then must be saved so they can not be altered by anyone. That negates the "oh I dreamt this about three years ago and I swear that event happened exactly as I dreamt" the sceptic will respond, "you memory is malleable and subject to distortion, confabulation etcetera...... So I dismiss your anecdote" situation.

So now we have data to compare, the dream recording and an event. So the acceptance of these claims now come down to how exact a description was given for that certain event. We cannot change parameters half way through the experiment, thus we must come to an agreement on just how exact a description was given. In my opinion it must be exactly as described, down to the finest details. Would you relax this parameter slightly? I think can't.

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eight bits
Posted (edited)
44 minutes ago, danydandan said:

So we need to develop an experiment that negates this, simple solution: ...

Design is good, and the antithesis of anecdote, but I don't think there's enough agreement (yet?) to formulate the hypothesis that a useful experiment would explore. @Habitat and I don't disagree that people sometimes dream about things that later come to pass. Our disagreement is whether the observed level of performance is unexpected on the assumption that it arises from matter in motion.

Example. I have no problem whatsoever that Jung's repeated waking vision of a flood of blood inundating the fields surrounding the railway car he was riding in was a valid expression of authentic foreknowledge "about" what was later designated WW I. But clearly, there is nothing concrete in the image except large-scale menace, and the timing was totally indecipherable. The basis of the foreknowledge was undisclosed within the experience, Jung had a way of describing its character using a poorly defined term of art (collective unconscious), but as with all Jungian "woo," this was easily rephrased as the inarticulate apprehension of social forces at play that did, in fact, precipitate a prompt continental-scale crisis. (That is, a crazy quilt network of mutual assistance pacts calling for automatic military mobilization was objectively an accident waiting to happen, somethng that a Swiss reservist might be well positioned to notice, but not necessarily to comprehend analytically.)

As a proposition "someday, something really terrible will happen to a lot of people all at once" is 100%. What natural selection plausibly favors is a warning mechanism by which a distracted ego is timely refocused on a neglected problem. That's a different task than settling a bet on whether there's something about dramatic glimpses of possible futures that "cannot" be explained by matter in motion.

Edited by eight bits
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Liquid Gardens
6 hours ago, danydandan said:

We all know how easily we misremember our dreams and how these memories change over time. So we need to develop an experiment that negates this, simple solution: The dreamer writes/types their dreams each time they have one with as much detail as possible. These descriptions then must be saved so they can not be altered by anyone. That negates the "oh I dreamt this about three years ago and I swear that event happened exactly as I dreamt" the sceptic will respond, "you memory is malleable and subject to distortion, confabulation etcetera...... So I dismiss your anecdote" situation.

That would be a giant help, since with almost all precognition examples we have right now we have to rely entirely on an anecdote that there is a phenomenon at all that even needs an explanation. 

6 hours ago, danydandan said:

So now we have data to compare, the dream recording and an event. So the acceptance of these claims now come down to how exact a description was given for that certain event. We cannot change parameters half way through the experiment, thus we must come to an agreement on just how exact a description was given. In my opinion it must be exactly as described, down to the finest details. Would you relax this parameter slightly? I think can't.

I'd agree on that, and thinking about your scenario with 'relaxing' parameters I'm also running into a brick wall, I don't think I can do that partly because my belief/disbelief in something is from what I can tell is at best a semi-conscious 'decision'.  I don't know how to turn off the unanswered skeptical questions and not sure in which direction I'm to proceed with those turned off.  For things like this I tend to look at within a more simplistic framework compared to someone like 8bits and just try to deal with probabilities.  Let's say someone writes down the winning lottery numbers for this date a year from now, and those numbers come in on that date, would be pretty amazing. Yet if I have a billion people write down numbers there's a decent chance one of them is going to be accurate, and there's no reason to think something supernatural is going on with that winner, the odds were in favor of someone winning.  If that winner says that he received the numbers in a dream is that supposed to change this equation versus pulling numbers from a hat or playing relatives birthday numbers or using a random number generator?  Interactions with 'the beyond' seem unlimited, no one has any evidence that the beyond can't influence what numbers are pulled from a hat or a random number generator, there's nothing special about 'a dream' in this scenario versus the other methods.

In my own amateur investigations of my own dreams and sleep-like states, I've recently been focusing on the period where I'm just falling asleep and what is going on in my brain at that time.  I think lots of people have had sensations that there is music or sounds in this period, which they notice when they fully wake up and there is actually silence, and I've been noticing recently how these pre-full sleep dream-like thoughts seem to be overlapping with my memory.  I don't have specifics as those are almost always lost when I awake, but what I seem to be able to take out of it is that my brain is thinking whatever bizarre dream-like content but I get 'the feeling' I guess that either it is resuming/remembering a subject it was mulling over before or that I have memories of this content.  This isn't a real example but maybe my brain is fretting a bit over the worry that my friend Jill will get hurt one day since she participates in motorcycle races, and it 'feels/seems' like my brain is accessing my memory contents when it's doing that.  What I'm fretting about is made-up though, Jill doesn't ride motorcycles, it's practically a dream, but what I wonder about is if the reason I feel like it's interacting with my memory is because it's actually rewriting/recopying/organizing things into my memory with slight distortions.  Which makes me wonder how much of the content of foreknowledge stories is actually being written into memory when the thing actually occurs, and if there is content that was not actually a part of the original dream/vision but is now remembered as being such.  I'm not aware of any of my theorizing here concerning how the brain works being in conflict with much of what psychology has indicated as far as how the brain works, from what I've read it's pretty consistent with it.

Point being, I'm not sure if I can ultimately turn those skeptical questions off, I can set them aside and not address them but they will always be questions that to me need addressing before I can relax my parameters of 'believing' something to be true.  It's weird to talk about even as I seem to just be making external observations about myself, I don't have control over how this decision-making works, I at best just have control over what inputs I will feed it.  I can observe some things about this decision-making process without having really that much control on the outcome, and I don't know if I can relax parameters by will, I need a justification for relaxing them in order for me my brain to do that.  What's weird is that I'm not sure if I can even relax my parameters a little by will alone, I may as well be trying to alter my white blood cell count by thinking about it for how much inflexibility I seem to have in this.

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Doug1o29
On 3/7/2019 at 5:04 AM, danydandan said:

What exactly is Woo!

Add an l and turn it into sheep's clothing.

Doug

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Mr Walker
Posted (edited)
On 07/03/2019 at 9:34 PM, danydandan said:

What exactly is Woo!

Should such an overarching term be used to describe something's? On this website we have numerous sections each with there own 'Woo' proponents. But what exactly is woo and has it now become a derogatory term we use to dismiss everything we deem counter to our own perspectives? 

I will be the first to say I believe the term Woo has now become this derogatory term outlined above. 

To be pedantic the correct term is woo woo and it can not really be shortened. But i guess people do as they please with words these days

To woo is to court a person 

woo woo is a "modern"  term of undetermined  origin,  although there is some suggestion it imitates the background weird music of sci fi and supernatural tv shows  This may also refer to woo woo used to blind people to the rational and scientific by using "background noise"  ie scientific sounding but completely made up   descriptions of properties etc 

Edited by Mr Walker

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Mr Walker
On 07/03/2019 at 10:18 PM, third_eye said:

I belief it is only woo if you say God speaks to you and sits with you and touches you and especially if your god is a she and has three boobs

~

ha ha ha  :)  That is not woo.  Too simple and  not enough big words. 

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Mr Walker
Posted (edited)
On 08/03/2019 at 9:35 AM, eight bits said:

Oxford has been out of touch with the American secne for the longest time. Woo-woo as a description of nonsense is attested in American English way before the 1980's. Most notably, in the Athens of America,

 

 

Randi's an American, and no doubt woo-woo as a general expression of nonsense was an influence upon him when he coined just one woo, but his invention is nevertheless distinct.

Yup And in south Australia in the fifties and sixties one insult was to go "woo woo"  while making a circling  motion with your index finger next to your ear, as in, "You're woo woo/crazy, man"  

This was not to be confused with the same gesture and the words "You are bat -**** crazy, man." which had more sinister and psychopathic undertones 

Woo woo crazy was a softer, gentler  form of craziness, like believing in fairies.  

Edited by Mr Walker
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eight bits
Posted (edited)
48 minutes ago, Mr Walker said:

Yup And in south Australia in the fifties and sixties one insult was to go "woo woo"  while making a circling  motion with your index finger next to your ear, as in, "You're woo woo/crazy, man"  

Yes, gestural language (the finger motion you describe) is fascinating in its own right. One of the joys of living in a "melting pot" country like the unwalled USA is the variety of gestures you pick up from around the world (and sometimes need to be careful about, since they are obscene or otherwise offensive in some settings, while meaningless in others). I think your gesture would be understood in the USA, then and now (with ot without the woo-woo sound).

At the risk of not being fun (an odd criticism, as if, like Bozo the Clown, I'm contractually obligated to entertain the Peanut Gallery), as soon as the doubled homonym was introduced by another poster, I got to thinking about walla. (No doubt because I'm woo-woo about World English).

Walla Walla is the American English transcription of a Native American tribal name. It became the name of a city and county in the state of Washington. Then it was discovered that if a play (on radio originally I am told) called for a crowd scene, "walla walla" was a perfect thing for the performers to mumble to each other in order to sound like they were talking among themselves. Thus the theatrical (film, etc.) term walla - meaning crowd sounds. (I am told that the UK equivalent of walla is rhubarb).

If the trajectory of woo is parallel to that of walla (whose etymology is documented to the n-th degree), then woo-woo would be the antecedent, and the shortened woo a coinage that "descended" from it, but with a distinct meaning from the ancestral form.

Bottom line: All woo may be woo-woo, but not all woo-woo is woo. Say that three times fast :)

Edited by eight bits
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