Photo Credit: Emaze

Unknown Errors in Thinking

Many Americans believe that the human mind is rational (synonyms: balanced, normal enlightened). People do not typically realize that their brain is fooling them. These humans decide to believe these things because of certain errors in thinking that have an effect on everyone. Every person has experienced being fooled by their mind whether they know it or not. It is extremely challenging (synonyms: difficult, problematic, tough, strenuous) for people to accept that our brains are faulty. They want to believe that what they are saying is true because they want to be right. A large number of people are not aware of these errors in thinking, and, therefore, do not understand that they can be wrong. Three different errors in thinking cause serious problems for human beings.

The first error in thinking that causes serious problems for people is the argument from ignorance, which causes people to claim that an object or person is one thing because they do not know what it is. The first example of the argument from ignorance became evident (synonyms: recognizable, visible, distinct) when a group of investigators from the Amityville Horror developed a picture that included a ghostlike boy in the corner. Many people assumed the figure was a type of spirit or ghost, but the image could have been edited to fool people. It is not possible to prove that someone is telling the truth about a topic, so no one has solid evidence. Since there were many discoveries that pointed to haunted ideas, people wanted to believe the house was haunted with ghosts. Another example of the argument from ignorance appeared in search of the Lochness Monster. Believers claimed to have seen an object or multiple objects that they swore was Nessie, the Lochness Monster. The object they saw could have been another animal or waste floating in the water. The believers did not know what it was, so they were prone to believe the object had to be Nessie.(I,ccI) A final example of the argument from ignorance is distinct in the theory (synonyms: belief, concept, notion, idea) that crop circles are created by aliens. Scientists have studied the way the hay or grass is bent. They spend a lot of time looking for any evidence in the places that these crop circles have appeared. Many people claim to have seen UFOs creating these elaborate designs. It is also said that crop circles cannot be man made, so believers claim they must be made by the extraterrestrial. Overall, the argument from ignorance causes people to post incorrect claims and spread rumors on the internet based on a tiny piece of evidence that they saw or read.

The second error in thinking that can cause problems for people is that we can misperceive our world to believe things we see are different from the truth. One example of this is seen in the idea that acupuncture can heal people. This idea, known as the placebo effect, can help us, but people do not realize they are wasting their money on something that does not work. This effect proves that acupuncture cannot heal people without their belief that it will work. People who fall prey to this form of healing are misperceived to believe acupuncture will make them feel better. Another example of misperceiving our world is seen in a picture of three seals that many claim is the Lochness Monster. After researching this creature for so long, believers want to believe anything is Nessie.(D,I) These people do not even think about the idea that the object in the image can be something else. Once one believer says the object is Nessie, many others start to believe and see the information as proof. A final example of misperceiving the world is distinct in the claim that planes did not hit the twin towers. 9/11 deniers have an unreliable, blurry image as their proof that this terrible event was staged. The image shows that the plane just misses one of the towers. People should not use this picture as evidence because it could have been edited. Many look at the image and claim the argument is true because they do not know what they are actually seeing. In conclusion, the fact that humans often misperceive the world can lead to false claims that will fool many into believing the incorrect information.

A final error in thinking that is especially significant is that we rarely appreciate the role of chance and coincidence in our world. One example of this error in thinking is clearly seen when spirits in the room can move something. Many people have asked the Ouija board to prove spirits are there physically. This question sometimes led to a candle blowing out or something making noise. People find that the movement is odd after they ask the question.(ID) However, if an object were to move without asking the question, most people would think nothing of it. Another example of rarely appreciating the role of coincidence in life is plainly(synonyms: clearly, obviously, distinctly.) seen in the idea that certain vaccines can cause autism. People started to believe this when cases in autism started to increase. However, the increase of cases was just by chance. Scientists spend a lot of their time trying to prove this controversial issue is true. The issue at hand could lead to fewer people getting vaccinated and more people developing illnesses. A final example of rarely appreciating the role of coincidence in our world is shown in the belief(synonyms: idea, concept, intention) that claims made under hypnosis can happen. Few cases have shown that claims made under hypnosis have happened in real life. However, it is not unlikely. The fact that anything can happen to anyone drastically changes the odds. These claims make people believe hypnosis works, but it is only coincidental that some of the ideas people came up with actually happened. Overall, this error in thinking proves that coincidences do occur frequently, and people need to realize that there is not always a reason for certain events.

Many people around the world spend the better half of their lives trying to prove their claim is correct, while it takes many others less than a half hour to prove that they are, in fact, wrong. If more human beings were aware of these errors in thinking, fewer controversial issues would spur up across the internet. Because people are unaware of the errors in thinking, they are prone to believe most of the claims they view online.(D,I) False information causes people to focus on unnecessary topics, while humans should be focused on ways to get water to the kids in Africa. Looking for the Lochness Monster or trying to prove crop circles are made by aliens is unimportant information that humans waste their time on. People need to center their focus on school, work or their family instead of creating false rumors in their freetime. Overall, not knowing these errors in thinking causes the world to turn against each other battling many unfavorable arguments.

Photo Credit: Smithsonian
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