I am a woman born 1949 and my quest is to find a mindmate
to grow old together as a mutually devoted couple
in a relationship based upon the
egalitarian rational commitment paradigm
bonded by intrinsic commitment
as each other's safe haven and secure basis.

The purpose of this blog is to enable the right man
to recognize us as reciprocal mindmates and
to encourage him to contact me:

The entries directly concerning,
who could be my mindmate,
are mainly at the beginning.
If this is your predominant interest,
I suggest to read this blog in the same order
as it was written, following the numbers.

I am German, therefore my English is sometimes faulty.

Maybe you have stumbled upon this blog not as a potential match.
Please wait a short moment before zapping.

Do you know anybody, who could be my mindmate?
Your neighbour, brother, uncle, cousin, colleague, friend?
If so, please tell him to look at this blog.
While you have no reason to do this for me,
a stranger, maybe you can make someone happy, for whom you care.

Do you have your own webpage or blog,
which someone like my mindmate to be found probably reads?
If so, please mention my quest and add a link to this blog.

Friday, July 13, 2012

534. The Pseudo-Evidence Fallacy

534.   The Pseudo-Evidence Fallacy

Whenever someone bases the decision, how to treat another person, on a belief, which is so strong, that it impedes and overrides the rational perception and comprehension of evidence and reality, there are more or less fatal consequences for at least the misjudged person, often for both. 

  1. A very drastic example was the alleged proof of who is a witch by throwing the unfortunate victim into the water to see if she floated or drowned.    Men believed in this cruel irrationality, even though their brain had nevertheless enabled them to become fluent in Latin.   
  2. In some cultures, parents not only decide, whom to marry their children to, but they choose an alleged match following an astrologer's advice.   This has certainly caused millions of people to suffer from being tied for a lifetime to a mismatch, the worst fate being that of women being abused by a man, whom they would not have chosen.  
  3. Today people are less prone to fall for very blatant irrationality.  But the more the irrational claims and beliefs mimic science, the more people are gullible to mistake pseudo-science for science.   
    NLP is a good example.   In entry 177 (The Jerks' Fascination with NLP) I already elaborated, why NLP is a belief system, and why this blend of some elements from scientific psychology with irrational and unscientific claims make this so attractive to people with a distorted self-concept as if being rational.  
In these as also in many more examples, there is a pattern of a specific fallacy:  

The person
  • bases a rational decision process upon incorrect or insufficient information acquired by absurd, weird, preposterous or insane methods.   
  • is unperceptive, mindblind, immune to or otherwise not impacted by any information coming directly from the target of the behavior.   The target has no influence upon what information is used to determine, how s/he is treated.
  • imposes the decision upon the target or attempts to, feeling entitled and justified to do so. 

This fallacy impedes trust and as a consequence it impedes a relationship from becoming a safe haven, which is impossible without trust justified by trustworthiness.   
Trustworthiness can only be assessed by the rational method of evaluating evidence.  This method compares all of someone's verbal and non-verbal expressions and behaviors at any moment with all of this at any another time, and also with external independent sources.   
The more often this comparison is consistent, congruent and without contradictions, the more the person's overall trustworthiness can be estimated as probable.   Never discovering a lie is a part of this.

Any other method, which relies on unverified and unverifiable clues, is a hazard and misleading.   Earning trust depends not only on the own trustworthy behavior, it also depends upon the partner's ability to recognize trustworthy behavior as such by the correct perception of evidence.    Trust cannot be earned from a person using unsuitable methods.  

An honest person never lying is nevertheless not trusted by a partner using flawed methods to evaluate honesty.   The delusion of being able to rely upon firmly believed pseudo-clues makes him oblivious of reality.      
Fools believing in NLP derive the pseudo-evaluation of alleged honesty or lack thereof from the target's eye movements.   This is a hazardous fallacy, as the study quoted below clearly shows.    Eye movements can be caused, influenced and diverted by many triggers.  During any conversation, people's attention can be easily caught momentarily by events at the periphery of their vision.   
The haphazard location of such events suffices to determine the erroneous attribution of an alleged trait towards one of two errors:      
Accidental eye movements of a honest person can forfeit the chance to be trusted.  
The blind believer in NLP can also easily be mislead to trust by a liar's accidental eye movements.

"For decades many NLP practitioners have claimed that when a person looks up to their right they are likely to be lying, whilst a glance up to their left is indicative of telling the truth."

"Professor Richard Wiseman (University of Hertfordshire, UK) and Dr Caroline Watt (University of Edinburgh, UK) tested this idea by filming volunteers as they either lied or told the truth, and then carefully coded their eye movements.  In a second study another group of participants was asked to watch the films and attempt to detect the lies on the basis of the volunteers' eye movements.

"The results of the first study revealed no relationship between lying and eye movements, and the second showed that telling people about the claims made by NLP practitioners did not improve their lie detection skills,” noted Wiseman. "

The pseudo-evidence fallacy and commodification share the common defective acquisition of information.    In both situations, the target is excluded from being considered as a possible source when choosing, which information is used for the decision how to behave.  Both situations indicate depreciation and disrespect of the target, but it works differently.

In the case of commodification, the target is mistaken for a passive utility in a onesided relationship and therefore not considered as able to be a proactive source supplying any information.  
The pseudo evidence fallacy disregards, devalues and rejects the information input coming directly from the target.   The real information is noticed but replaced by the false beliefs.   The target is considered as a proactive source of irrelevant or worthless information.