A Causal Chain

I used to believe that we only used 10% of our brains.  I was told this and I did’t mentally cross reference it with other information I had. This kind of thing happens all the time, to all of us. It’s impossible to keep all the facts straight, much less correlating them all with all the others we’ve accumulated.  When we hold two conflicting opinions about a topic, this is called cognitive dissonance. I do my best to rout it out, but sometimes when one of these errors is corrected it can be embarrasingly obvious that the mistaken belief was founded on nothing but lack of consideration. How many television shows (or better yet, documentaries) have you seen where a CAT scan or other test is being performed and areas all over the brain are lighting up based on various stimuli? This alone should cast a stark skeptical shadow over the “10%” theory.
I’m sitting in an airport in Baltimore, waiting to fly to Newark, to then wait around to fly to Geneva. Because yesterday was 9-9-09, I was thinking about Los Angeles on 6-6-06.
There wew two events my wife and I attended on that vacation, and one was held at a place called Zen Sushi.  Sitting in the smoking area outside, some young guy struck up a conversation with Ida…
(on the tarmac now, just informed we’ll have a 55 minute wait because of high winds.. luckily we had a 3 hour layover in Newark)
The young man and his girlfriend started asking Ida questions about Satanism, a topic she doesn’t care to discuss, and she passed them off to me, “My husband can answer that”
I can only recall that what questions they had were very basic, and would have been very eaqsy to answer using google… in other words, it was a bother. At some point he says “Well, I’ve got a theory I’d like to run by you, and it has to do with Satanism…”
That’s rarely going to be good.
“Well, you know how people only use 10% of their brain power?” he begins what seems like become a really convoluted idea.
“No” I respond, “we use most or all of our brains. It’s a myth that we only use 10%”.
“Oh,” he says, a bit deflated but gearing up to recover. “Well, let’s say that’s true though.”
“No. If you are building this theory of yours on a lie, the rest is going to be a lie, and I don’t care to hear it.”
I try to be polite, when possible, but I’m not going to let a stranger, who I’ve already answered a number of questions from, elaborate on a theory that will probably be stupid, but was definitly predicated on a lie. I was on vacation with my wife, and some of my favorite people in the world – I had better shit to do.
Though I told myself I’d onlybring one book, I couldn’t resist packing Mickey Spillaine’s “I the Jury” along with Carl Sagan’s “Demon Haunted World”. In Sagan’s book you’ll find his baloney detection kit in chapter 12. A fine introduction to critical thinking he conveys the bulk of the concepts in bulleted lists. One of these was “If there’s a chain argument, every link in the chain must work (including the premise)– not just one of them.”

(posted using WiFi at the Geneva airport!)