12 August, 2006

New Lights-1

The earlier light was blue, My new light is Red
Now different is my shoe, And different is my bed.

The things I thought were violet, now they're strangely dark
And new colours appear, on objects previously stark.

I see the room now, better
Although I see the same,
My vision is greater.

A change of perspective can do wondrous things to you: reaffirm your beliefs, challenge them, even make you adopt sillier ones. However, such a change can be beneficial. So, in today's post, I experimented. First, I begin with a quote from Bertrand Russell, and then I move on to address "Shallowness" and Astrology from different viewpoints than I actually support. I'll post a New Lights - 2 in a few days. I didn't want to make this post too long (although it IS very long). :)

A good way of ridding yourself of certain kinds of dogmatism is to become aware of opinions held in social circles different from your own.If you cannot travel, seek out people with whom you disagree, and read a newspaper belonging to a party that is not yours. If the people and the newspaper seem mad, perverse, and wicked, remind yourself that you seem so to them. In this opinion both parties may be right, but they cannot both be wrong. This reflection should generate a certain caution. - Bertrand Russell, "An Outline of Intellectual Rubbish"

Now for the real content. It's in ascending order of importance (an order which will continue in New Lights -2). The first section isn't really important, just some thoughts.

In Favour of Shallow Men

What is shallowness? In this context, it means a man who takes only looks into account, not a woman's intelligence or nature. Just looks. That's bad, right?
Maybe... not. After all, consider men who go after intelligent girls. Aren't they partial? How are intelligent girls "better" than good-looking ones? Some people prefer intelligence, some prefer looks. Some have other tastes. There is no universal definition of "better".To each his own. So don't think less of shallow men. It's their kind of thing.

In Favour of Astrology

My stars guide me to my fate
It's above, in formations great
Look at them, and see
What will be your destiny
Don't fill the mind with scientific hate!

Psuedoscience is a field I'm very interested in. Sometimes, though, one has to think from the other side. Let me say at the beginning that these are not my normal views, and the arguments contain flaws. Still...

Why do all skeptics think they're always right? They try to impose "objectivity" and the "scientific method" as a constraint on everything.

Firstly, we can't be totally objective. Evolution has built us such that we need intuition, and rely on it. One can't totally eliminate the bias. Secondly, what fields should the scientific method be applied to? Astrology is not science, it doesn't claim to be. So why insist on applying the scientific method to it? And, is the scientific method foolproof?

Also, how can we be sure that researchers always eliminate bias? Several studies claim to show astrology is false, but those are done by researchers who are biased against astrology.
Astrology is a complex field, and a study of only one factor (like intelligence) does not conclusively disprove it. There are other factors which should be taken into account. Also, Astrology has been practised successfully for more than 2000 years. It is a verified fact. One cannot challenge it just because he/she thinks it's not "science".

Lastly (
I think this is the best real argument), Astrology helps people. Astrologers have years of experience in dealing with troubled people. They know what their clients need, and supply them with advice and confidence. Sometimes, all people need is confidence, and astrologers provide just that, at a nice prices.

For the uninitiated in astro-skepticism, go here. Read it, it's interesting.
A very good (though not "nice") exchange can be found (in four long parts) in these links: 1 2 3 4 . This is also a good site.

Hopefully, you liked this one, although I didn't address really important issues. I have some good topics for New Lights-2, really murky territory. I think I'll post that in a few days, based on the response.

Do comment. :)


  1. it really helps in seeing things from the other party's point of view. Especially when there is going to be a confrontation. like in a war, or a game of say, tennis. when we do this what we are really doing is anticipating the opposition's move. no matter how much scientific rigour we put into our thinking, many a times we do have to rely on our instincts. maybe there is something called as intuition...[i have got a gut feeling there is ;) ]

  2. Try looking from a girl's point of view. Such a tedious dichotomy... beauty OR intelligence?? come on, such a typical male perspective! you know better than that my young friend.
    Talk about observing things in a different light, how can you be so biased when I know that you know quite some pretty clever ladies?

  3. I forgot to add that I like the way you're trying to think though. Work on it :D

  4. Don't forget, there are also guys who look for women who aren't *too* intelligent or *too* beautiful (the latter being especially uncommon). In the former case, I suppose it's because they want to have mental superiority, and in the latter case, they may feel insecure about their own looks in comparison to their mate's.

  5. With the shallowness thing. I mean when you first meet someone you HAVE to be shallow. You don't know anything about them but what's on the surface (usually appearance). Therefore any first impression is inherently shallow, so any criticism on shallow people is a comment on ourselves.