Philosophy

Why Everything You Believe Is Wrong w/ Dr. WM Briggs — Podcast

I was on Pat Flynn’s podcast last week, during which he kindly interviewed me on the book that is shocking the nation, Everything You Believe Is Wrong (paperback, kindle).

Once it is released 1 December, it will be available everywhere.

From Pat’s description:

Matt Briggs, statistician to the stars, returns to the podcast to discuss his upcoming book Everything You Believe Is Wrong (pre-order now!).

“Here,” as Matt explains, “is a small sample of things that majority of educated believe are false, but which are instead true: Science cannot answer every question put to it; It is not always right to correct a wrong; There is no wisdom in crowds; A consensus among elite academics does not prove the belief of the elite academics is true; That you are offended is irrelevant to whether a proposition is true or false; Defining yourself as your sexual desire is nonsensical; Voting does not make the majority position right and the minority position wrong; Voting is a leading cause of discord; Democracy is rarely to be desired; You cannot choose to believe you do not have free will; God exists.”

I forgot to tell Pat I no longer live on an island in the Atlantic ocean.

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Categories: Philosophy, Podcast

18 replies »

  1. Some posters might raise an eyebrow that everything wrong with Dr. Briggs could be covered in a relatively short podcast.

  2. You’ve scooped me! If I could write a book I would have given it the title, “All Modern Thought is Heresy.” But congratulations just the same!

    It’s a foible of mine, to be sure, but I get confused when propositions are stated negatively. Stated positively I believe the quote works out as follows:

    “Here is a small sample of things that majority of educated believe are true, but which are instead false: Science can answer every question put to it; It is always right to correct a wrong; There is wisdom in crowds; A consensus among elite academics proves the belief of the elite academics is true; That you are offended is relevant to whether a proposition is true or false; It makes sense to define yourself as your sexual desire; Voting makes the majority position right and the minority position wrong; Voting is not a leading cause of discord; Democracy is always to be desired; You can choose to believe you do not have free will; God does not exist.”

    Put this way, I know that most of the putatively educated do hold such beliefs and, as you say, they are wrong. Assuming I got it right, that is. Did I?

  3. Mr Skinner,

    Can we clarify Prof Briggs’ propositions even more clearly? How about:

    10 Deadly Myths Believed by “Educated” Americans

    1. Myth: Science can answer every question put to it.
    2. Myth: It is always right to correct a wrong.
    3. Myth: There is wisdom in crowds.
    4. Myth: A consensus among elite academics proves the belief of the elite academics is true.
    5. Myth: That you are offended is relevant to whether a proposition is true or false.
    6. Myth: It makes sense to define yourself as your sexual desire.
    7. Myth: Voting makes the majority position right and the minority position wrong.
    8. Myth: Voting is not a leading cause of discord.
    9. Myth: Democracy is always to be desired.
    10. Myth: You can choose to believe you do not have free will.
    11. Myth: God does not exist.

    Dr Briggs’ book well and fully debunks each of these pernicious beliefs.

  4. Myth: People actually are incapable of reading so we have to read to them like toddlers. Calling it a podcast changes nothing.

  5. Gee, Sheri, thanks for stopping by and telling us we’re idiots. Keep it up. Maybe some day we’ll get it.

  6. Sheri

    As Mr. Skinner observed, propositions can be difficult

    You just claimed that “People are incapable of reading ” is a myth. Was that your intention?

  7. Matt – Reading Skinner and Kent (and Sheri’s miscue as well) what you posted last week IS hard to wrap your mind around (I see why Bob Kurland got confused)

    Here is a small sample of things that majority of educated believe are false, but which are instead true: Science cannot answer every question put to it;
    It is not always right to correct a wrong;
    There is no wisdom in crowds;
    A consensus among elite academics does not prove the belief of the elite academics is true;
    That you are offended is irrelevant to whether a proposition is true or false;
    Defining yourself as your sexual desire is nonsensical;
    Voting does not make the majority position right and the minority position wrong;
    Voting is a leading cause of discord;
    Democracy is rarely to be desired;
    You cannot choose to believe you do not have free will;
    God exists.

    Reminiscent of how Douglas Adams writes
    The ships hung in the sky in much the same way that bricks don’t.– Douglas Adam…

  8. DAV,

    Let me attempt to sum up “everything that is wrong with Briggs” in one sentence. Oooooh, let me address it to him instead.

    Mr. Briggs, AKA, Mr. Spartacus of Cherry Picking,

    You are too certain of yourself.

    Please remember that there is no wisdom in your readers, i.e., your crowds. (I am not one of your crowds. ) And that you are offended is not relevant to whether my claim is true. (Sheri, this is for you.). Ha.

  9. john b() –

    Hmmm. Did you just write that Briggs cannot wrap his mind around that which he posted? How would you know that is true? Talk about confused writing.

  10. Jim

    I guess that it’s hard to wrap one’s mind around 😉

    Which is again reminiscent of Adams’

    The effect of a Pan Galactic Gargle Blaster is like having your brains smashed out by a slice of lemon, wrapped ’round a large gold brick.

    Communication is the problem to the answer

  11. @Kent — IMHO, the formulations you put on the page are wrong. Those formulations are the source of the problem.

    The problem is not the formulation. The problem is that “myth” drops out of the list before it gets expressed.

    Jordan Peterson and Matt Briggs have my attention because of the way they are trying to express the idea. The idea is simple while at the same time impossible.

    Getting around that can only be done with patience, repetition and prayer… Most often, the serenity prayer. I mutter it on a regular basis and I do not believe in god.

  12. brad

    Yes … good point

    Further question for Jim

    Briggs’ says: Why Everything You Believe Is Wrong … hmmm

    We could go on and on … one of the problems with being as pedantic as we are about others but relaxed about our own foibles as ourselves (Rules for thee fallacy)

    John B(S) … where S is for satire … or

  13. One can believe that God is, or that He is not, but no one’s belief makes Him not be.
    God bless, C-Marie

  14. ………..And no one’s belief makes him be. Our beliefs are irrelevant to the existence or non-existence of god.

  15. I remember being told this when I was in engineering school in the seventies: “90% of all scientists and engineers that have ever lived; are alive today.”

    This was presented as a very good thing.

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