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Posted by Mario Dovalina on August 31, 2001 17:12:36 UTC

I forgot to write this in my last post, oh well.

Anyway, at the beginning of August, I was going off for a two week, seventy mile backpacking trip in New Mexico. I'm not exactly in peak physical shape, so a friend offered me a magnetic necklace to "focus my energies" or something. I turned him down in a non-hostile way, and left without it. During the trip I had much more energy and endurance than I had had practicing for the trip; I could hike much longer and harder than usual. Now, if I had been using the magnetic necklace, I could easily have come to the conclusion that they actually DO work wonders, with no scientific investigation other than the fact that I improved for some reason or another, but probably the result of many factors. But if I was looking for justification to believe in pseudoscientific theories, it would have been easy.

This is, as I see it, the problem with objective research into subjective belief. If you go into a situation with a preconcieved notion (I believe this magnet will help me) any increased performance, or even any PERCIEVED increased performance will be seen as proof of the validity of the object in question, regardless of any number of other factors that could have influenced the outcome. Similarly, if you believe in God, and live a well-off life, you could easily claim that God is looking out for you, when you ignore the hard work, education, and luck that resulted in getting where you are.

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