Thursday, May 05, 2011

Gullible or Skeptic?

The gullible mind explained
by Mike Adams
Thursday, May 05, 2011
(NaturalNews) In light of the string of the blatant falsehoods being announced by the U.S. government these days (FDA, DHS, White House, etc.) it's interesting that so many people still believe whatever they are told by "official" sources. It brings up the question of the functioning of their brains: How could a person swallow official information so gullibly and so completely without even asking commonsense questions about the reliability or factual basis of that information?
These people, it turns out, are operating from what I called The Gullible Mind. It is a psychological processing malfunction that filters out information based on its source rather than its integrity. People who operate from The Gullible Mind tend to have misplaced trust in governments, institutions, mainstream news networks, doctors, scientists or anyone who wears the garb of apparent authority.
Whereas a normal, intelligent person would raise commonsense questions about information they receive from all sources, the Gullible Mind wholly accepts virtually any information from sources that occupy the role of apparent authority in society.
Governments never lie
But how does this work inside their heads? It's an interesting process. Gullible Mind people do believe it is possible for a government (or institution) to lie; but they believe that governments, institutions and doctors choose NOT to lie even when it would serve their own self interests to do so.
Follow this carefully, because this is the fascinating part. These Gullible Mind people effectively believe that even though a government official could lie about something, they would never actually do so. And why wouldn't they? Because, ultimately, the Gullible Mind crowd believes that governments, institutions and mainstream media outlets operate from a sort of honor code. So even if it were in the interests of our own government to lie to us, it would never happen because that would violate this imaginary honor code.
Where does this honor code exist? Where is it written down? Nowhere, of course. It is imaginary. But to The Gullible Mind, it seems real. Interestingly, even though this "honor code" only exists in the imagination of The Gullible Mind person, they project this honor code onto sources of authority, imagining that they abide by it.
Extreme gullibility
This is how The Gullible Mind person believes that network news always reports the truth. The news
networks have a sense of "honor," they believe, and this sense of honor requires them to always report the truth and never manipulate the news for any nefarious purposes. So news networks never "shape" the news and they only report what is factually true without any consideration whatsoever of politics or advertiser profits.
This view of the world is, of course, laughably naive. And yet it is the core belief system of at least half the population -- the Gullible Mind half that believes everything it is told by its own government, media or authority figures.
Interestingly, the Gullible Mind is also inwardly gullible because it does not recognize its own gullibility. Instead, it believes it is operating as a Rational Mind. This false Rational Mind believes it functions as a critical filter of incoming information, but even this is self deception. In truth, this false Rational Mind is on "auto filter" so that it filters out any information that conflicts with the information it is receiving from official sources.
This is the key to understanding the Gullible Mind -- it isn't the quality of the information itself that matters; it is the confirmation of the story from official sources that "makes it real" in the Gullible Mind.
The Easter Bunny killed Bin Laden!
For example, let's say a Gullible Mind person comes across an announcement that says the Easter Bunny has killed Osama Bin Laden. The report claims that colored eggs were found near Bin Laden's body, and there was evidence of feathers being left at the scene, which proves the Easter Bunny was there.
Now, an intelligent, rational mind would have a lot of questions about this. For starters, rabbits don't have feathers. And the Easter Bunny is a piece of fiction, too. On top of that, how could the Easter Bunny kill Osama Bin Laden? An intelligent person would, upon reviewing the holes in the story, be forced to conclude the story is fiction. The only logical conclusion from that is that the government is lying to them.
A Gullible Mind person, however, would not ask whether rabbits have feathers, or whether the Easter Bunny is capable of conducting a military raid. Instead, the Gullible Mind person would first look to other confirming news sources in order to determine the reliability of the story. They would turn on the TV or surf the internet, looking for the news to be repeated through "official" sources.
Once they found CNN, or Fox News, or some other "official" source reporting that the Easter Bunny killed Osama Bin Laden, then that news report would instantly become "real" in their minds. Suddenly it has shifted from their mental processing queue to the "absolutely truth" part of their brain, and from that point forward, no one can question that reality in their heads.
Don't bother arguing with a Gullible Mind - they are immune to facts
At this point, their rational mind is completely shut off on the topic. No accumulation of facts can, at that
point, rattle their "reality." For example, a person who believes the government's story of 9/11 has already embraced the Easter Bunny version of terrorists flying airplanes into the World Trade Center towers. So how did this act cause the WTC 7 building to collapse in a demolition-style free-fall a few hours later, when WTC 7 was never struck by airplanes? How can a steel and concrete building suddenly and magically collapse in perfect structural synchronicity merely from being on fire?
The answers don't matter to The Gullible Mind, you see. There is no room for facts inside their heads, because all the space has been taken up with what is essentially a cult-like belief in institutions of authority.
We saw this in the Heaven's Gate cult in California a few years back. The leader of that cult, a man named Applegate, positioned himself as the one and only source of authoritative information among the cult followers. So HE became the authoritative source whose information was wholly accepted without questioning or skepticism of any kind. At that point, he was able to quite easily convince his followers that an alien race was going to land a UFO on the far side of a comet, and that if they killed themselves, they would be transported onto the alien ship (or something like that).
The belief in such a story may seem silly... until you realize that the governments of the world use the exact same cult-like tactics to get their own "followers" to believe everything they say, without question. So if President Obama announced that an alien race was going to land a mother ship on the White House lawn, and that people who voted for him would have their consciousness transferred to an immortal alien body, the remarkable truth is that millions of people would believe that. Perhaps tens of millions. They would even worship him as an interstellar saint.
Remember Orson Welles' radio program that announced aliens had invaded the Earth and were destroying our cities? ( Huge numbers of people believed it was really happening... and not because it made any sense, but because the information came from the source they trusted. To those people, the alien invasion was just as real back then as Bin Laden's official death is to government followers today.
Throughout history, many conspiracy theories have turned out to be true
Government lying, of course, has been going on for as long as governments have existed. Not all conspiracies theories are true, of course, but so many of them turn out to be true that the idea of "not believing" in conspiracies makes no rational sense.
To not believe in conspiracies means you don't believe two people have ever sat down and plotted to take advantage of others in some unethical and deceptive way. Well gee, that describes virtually every board meeting of every large corporation in the world! Conspiracies are not just commonplace; they're practically synonymous with modern-day capitalism! Even right now, Apple is being accused of a conspiracy to keep employee wages artificially low:
I wonder: Do the Gullible Mind people also not believe in that conspiracy theory? Are all conspiracy theories automatically tossed out merely because of the word "conspiracy?"
For those who don't know their history, here's a list of 33 conspiracy theories that turned out to be true:
The Manhattan Project, of course, was a secret government conspiracy. The Tuskegee Syphilis experiments on African Americans was a secret medical conspiracy. Operation Northwoods was a conspiracy plot to create support for a war on Castro by staging terrorism events in U.S. cities.
These are all historical facts. They are indisputable. But to The Gullible Mind, none of this history exists. What's real is only what they are being told right now by the White House. When George Bush occupied the White House, the daily fibs were things like, "The Iraqis want us to occupy their land with military personnel because we are setting them free!" Oh yeah, that's a bit of twisted logic, for sure. But it's no different from Obama's version of the war fairytales, which includes such gems as, "We're only dropping humanitarian bombs on Libya." Or, "It's not actually war. It's only kinetic military action."
But you see, it makes no difference whether anything they say is actually true... at least not to The Gullible Mind, which believes there is no such thing as a conspiracy theory. There is no such thing as a nefarious government, either. Heck, when Columbus landed in the New World, his entire crew shared food and wine with the Native American Indians, we're told. There was no raping, no murder, no genocide. That's why we continue to celebrate Columbus Day every year! Because the Gullible Mind wants a reason to get off work for a day, even if it requires a complete revision of actual historical facts.
The most popular issues of Gullible Mind people
Vaccines are good for you - Vaccines are "safe and effective" merely because doctors and the CDC say they are, not because of any reliable scientific evidence.
The economy is in great shape - Gullible Mind people are easily influenced to stop thinking about the $14 trillion national debt that's growing by the day and simply go along with whatever economic fictions are being woven in Washington.
Governments and corporations are looking out for your best interests - The drug companies only want to find cures and make everybody healthy. The government is here to help. We should all stop asking questions and just do what we're told.
Nothing will ever run out - There's no such thing as Peak Oil. Our world can continue its throwaway economy without end, they believe. We'll never run out of gas, water, soil or natural resources. Keep using stuff up and throwing it all away!
Food additives are good for you - Otherwise, the FDA wouldn't have approved them, would they?
There's no such thing as a cure for cancer - The ultimate pessimists, the Gullible Mind crowd believes cancer has never been cured! And if a cancer cure did exist, we would know about it by now, right? (Because our scientists already know everything that's worth knowing, you see...)
There are no other non-terrestrial civilizations or beings in our universe - Amazingly, we are the only intelligent forms of life that have ever existed, they believe. Any talk of non-Earth intelligence is just a bunch of "fringe" nonsense. There was never any life on Mars, either.
Herbs and plants have no medicinal value - That's right, only conventional medicine can "treat" you, because that's what the doctors say. Herbs and plants have zero biological value beyond their calories alone, they insist.
... and on it goes, one delusion after another. A Gullible Mind, it seems, will believe almost anything if it comes from a "trusted" source. But that same Gullible Mind will discount straight-up facts if they don't come from those same trusted sources.
How to stop being a Gullible Mind
Interestingly, most of the people who are intelligent, skeptical thinkers today used to be Gullible Mind people at one time or another. There was a point where they simply "awakened" and began to consciously question the world around them.
Intelligent, informed skeptics are the people asking questions like:
• Why do twenty different mainstream news sources all report the exact same news, using the exact same words, on the exact same day? ( If they were all investigating and writing their own news, wouldn't their news be different?
• Why did Wall Street get a multi-trillion-dollar bailout from Washington while the American people are still required to pay taxes that involve sending money to Washington? If Washington can just magically create a trillion dollars overnight, why do we pay taxes, then?
• Why does the USDA now actively conspire with GMO seed companies to keep approving genetically modified seeds even without any scientific evidence of their long-term safety?
• If mercury is one of the most toxic substances known to modern science, why is it still being deliberately placed into the mouths of children in the form of "silver" fillings? And why are they called "silver" when they actually contain more mercury than silver?
• Where does the fluoride used to fluoridate the public water supplies really come from? ( And if fluoride is so good for people, then why is it so hazardous to handle, and why is it considered a hazardous chemical by the EPA?
• What really happened on 9/11? How did WTC 7 collapse if it was never hit by any airplanes? Why did they sweep away the rubble before a proper forensic analysis could be performed?
• Are vaccines really safe? Where's the study comparing vaccinated children with non-vaccinated children? Why won't the vaccine industry allow such studies to be conducted?
• Why does the cancer industry seem a lot more interested in treating cancer and recruiting cancer patients than actually curing cancer and ending the epidemic? Why does the industry refuse to talk about cancer-causing chemicals or the anti-cancer effects of vitamin D?
• Why are toxic food additives still allowed in the food supply? What's the real story on aspartame and the FDA? Why did the FDA oppress stevia for so many decades?
• Why is the medical police state now using guns to force parents to medicate their children? In what kind of medical system is it necessary to use the threat of violence to force compliance?
• Why did Clinton bomb the Sudan in the middle of the Monica Lewinsky crisis? Why did Obama suddenly announce the death of Bin Laden in the middle of his "birther" crisis?
• Why do we still have the DEA's "War on Drugs," especially since there is ample evidence that the war is a total failure that only increases the prison population while actually enriching the drug gangs with higher street prices?
• Why is the TSA still reaching down our pants at the airports if Bin Laden is now dead? Wasn't he the whole reason we created the TSA and hired on those 60,000 security agents in the first place? (
An intelligent, skeptical thinker would ask these questions (and many more) as a natural course of basic human curiosity. But a Gullible Mind, attacks the questioner for even daring to ask such questions.
Who are some of the awakened people?
That's why the Gullible Mind is more than merely gullible: It is a cowardly mind. It is afraid to ask questions on its own, and it simultaneously attacks those who have the courage to stand up and actually ask those questions (like Jesse Ventura).
Most members of the conventional press are, of course, cowardly minds. They almost universally buy the corporate spin (or the White House spin) and never ask any tough questions anymore. Some of the REAL heroes -- the people who are asking intelligent questions about our world -- include:
Alex Jones
Jeff Rense
Charlotte Gerson
Jonathan Landsman
David Icke
Jesse Ventura
Gerald Celente
Ron Paul
Robert Scott Bell
Dr. Andrew Wakefield
Suzanne Somers
Dr. James Forsythe
George Noorey
Do you see a pattern here? Each one of these individuals has been marginalized or viciously attacked and slandered simply because they chose to ask intelligent questions about the world around them. Now, I don't agree with every single thing said by each one of these people, but I admire each of them for having the courage to ask the questions that need to be asked if we are to move forward as a society (and civilization).
These kind of people represent the complete opposite of The Gullible Mind. They are, instead, the "true skeptics" of the world. The reason they are viciously attacked is because our world is so steeped in deceit and conspiracy that only Gullible Minds are tolerated. Those who question the status quo are not merely annoying to the powers that be, but actually dangerous because the most dangerous activity in which you can engage today is helping others awaken to what's really happening around them.
It is that "awakening" that is so utterly despised by the web of corporations, governments and media lackeys that they will do everything in their power to prevent any sort of awakening from taking place at all. The functioning of the Matrix, after all, depends on people believing in the illusion.
And it is so much easier to govern, of course, if people just believe whatever you tell them. Gullible Minds make great voters and willing slaves. But lousy company.
Warm up your bullshit detectors!
by Mike Huben (
Published on: December 1, 1997
The quintessential problem of modern, information-rich society is readily diagnosed by Sturgeon's Law: 90 percent of everything is crap.
The good news is that while the truth may well be impossible to know, it is easy to learn what's probably false. There are a large number of methods and heuristics for discerning false claims, and we've all used them. Skepticism is the basis of most of these techniques.
It's incredibly important not to be gullible. Single instances of gullibility not infrequently are matters of life and death, earthly salvation or ruin. Gullibility cannot be countered by mere learning, because there is a continual arms race between the deceivers and static defenses of their potential prey. "Don't buy swamp land in Florida" doesn't protect you from the myriad other scams that can be invented. The solution is to empower the laity with skepticism. That basic assumption that there ought to be good reason for us to believe something, else we might be fooled.
So what's the big deal? Everybody applies skepticism. Well, we can't be born skeptics. We have to start trusting: there is too much to learn in too little time to continually test everything we are told. Skepticism is an art that we start learning young, and can improve in for a lifetime. And like any other skill, we can benefit from improving it.
Like most new media, the first to get to the web in force have been the pornographers. But right after them come those determined to advance their causes with the aid of the gullible. They can be as benign as P. T. Barnum ("there's a sucker born every minute"), or as awful as the latest suicide cult. Search for yourself: think of ANY religion, pseudoscience, snake oil, fad, or other nonsense and look for it using the search engines. They got to the web before almost anybody else. Their evangelical literature lays in wait for the next gullible mind to come along, sometimes long after the initiators of the fraud are gone.
There is a rich literature of skepticism out there, both specific and theoretical. However, it is so widely dispersed that few people encounter it or are even aware of it. Nor does it provide the financial incentives for promotion that frauds offer. Still worse, until recently it has been relatively hard to look up skeptical examinations of claims. But that's rapidly changing on the web. There are now numerous excellent sites that will provide quick entry into the community of skeptics on a wide assortment of subjects.
Most of us believe in some false claims at some time of our life, much as we contract various diseases. If our skeptical immune system works well, we may suffer very few ill effects from exposure to these pathogens. However, unlike our immune system, our minds are capable of using skepticism to reject the bogus long after the initial infection. Think about the beliefs you've rejected over your lifetime. Think about the beliefs you currently hold that are unorthodox. Chances are that a fair number of them are outright false in part or whole, and you could discern which if you spent some time. Let me help you here.
Skeptics are often reviled by those who profit from promoting questionable beliefs. A skeptic isn't doing his job unless he receives some abuse. One of the mildest examples is the claim that skepticism is "negative", and many are trapped on the defensive saying "It's NOT". I like Robert Ingersoll's response: "The destroyer of weeds, thistles and thorns is a benefactor whether he soweth grain or not."
An Open Mind?
Why is an open mind like an open well? Because it is easily contaminated by anything the wind blows in. This is the problem with what many call an open mind, in any case - like someone who is considered open minded because he believes in visitors from space, bending spoons with mind power, and "remote viewing" using ESP. This, however, is more a sign of a gullible mind, so let's look at a healthier definition of the term.
An Open Mind - A Better Definition
Of course, we usually like to think that we are open minded, and that this is a good thing. According to a couple different dictionaries this means: 1. Being receptive to new and different ideas or the opinions of others; 2. Not narrow or conservative in one's thought, expression, or conduct.
We might want to fit those definitions, and why not? However, some take this to mean that we must entertain any idea regardless of merit, or that believing in unlikely things is a sign of being open-minded. That gives too much credit to faulty ideas and unsupportable beliefs.
I watched a program on crop circles the other day, for example. Circles and other geometric shapes of flattened crops appear in fields around the world on occasion, and for years many speculated that alien spaceships, "energy vortexes" and other outrageous things caused these. Paranormal "experts" claimed that they could not have been caused by humans, because the crops were not crushed. Many people bought into this hype in the name of having an open mind.
Interestingly, when several individuals and groups finally claimed responsibility, and even showed exactly how they made the designs, they were largely ignored. So much for believer's open minds. They certainly were not open to the most likely scenario - the one with the most evidence. Obviously, many wanted a particular answer (space aliens) or wanted to keep the mystery alive. As a result, to this day tricksters make their designs in fields, only to have paranormal "experts" stomp into the fields the following day and proclaim that "no human could have made these," even going so far as to claim that the films of the circles being made were faked.
Now, being curious about the mystery, and speculating about possible causes is good. And being "receptive to new and different ideas" is also a good thing. But what about adopting beliefs without supporting evidence? I am certainly receptive to the idea that previously unknown forces can cause things to happen, but I think it would be very closed-minded to exclude the possibility that there are more normal explanations - especially when the bulk of the evidence points in that direction.
What does having an open mind mean then? Certainly it means to be receptive to new ideas and to avoid narrowness of thought. But it doesn't mean accepting ideas that make no sense, or adopt beliefs without any reason or evidence. And being open minded has to at least mean being open to the possibility that the explanations we would like or which are more interesting may be wrong ones.
Your brain can analyze various possible explanations for anything, and an open mind may assure you that you consider all those possibilities. Still, it shouldn't prevent you from discarding those explanations without evidence in favor of those there is evidence for. To put it another way, an open mind should never be an excuse to believe anything in the absence of thoughtful analysis.