The top of the slippery slope of woo-woo

Craig Murray, whose revelations on the sinister side of UK foreign policy I strongly commend to you, stands at the top of the slippery slope of “synchronicity”.

I find this worrying, because so much of what he says has the ring of truth because it is grounded in his own knowledge of diplomacy and diligent research, including through his contacts. Unlike most political journalism, which is based on speculation, ideology and wishful thinking.  A slide into woo-woo will inevitably devalue his work.

I have posted to his blog, rather cumbersomely:

I think the ‘order’ you are observing is the ‘availability illusion’.

We are involved – simply by default – in uncounted numbers of events, including all the people who pass us by in the course of a day, the things we see, hear and read, and so on.

Just by chance some of these things are going to be of more significance to us, in the light of our life histories, intentions and dreams. These are the things that we single out as coincidences, when in fact we experience countless coincidences every day, most of them meaningless to us.

To genuinely conclude that the ‘coincidences’ we experience are really significant, we should take into account all these background coincidences and the chances of them happening. That’s what science does.

But quacks, financial frauds, clairvoyants and politicians are well aware that we are prone to this availability illusion – one of the cognitive illusions that arise from the way our brains have evolved – and take full advantage of it.

Or, as EscalanteKid comments, rather more succinctly, on Craig’s post:

“the search after meaning is especially insidious because it always succeeds.”


Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s