mcnea034: October 2011 Archives

After reading the Lilienfeld on False Memories, I wondered what kind of implications this would have for myself. Did this mean that my textbook was telling me that many of my important memories could all be wrong? This thought greatly disturbed me. I realized however I was overanalyzing the book though. According to the Lilienfeld most false memories occur from some the "7 deadly sins of memory". Mainly suggestibility, misattribution, and bias. People can acquire false memories in a variety of ways and although it is possible I feel that they aren't something I should worry about too much. For most of the lab implanting of false memories, the trick was done by suggesting something that happened or a direct feeding of misinformation to people like in the Bugs Bunny at Disney World false memory. The memory must also be a plausible one to begin with for it to become a true false memory. This means I can't have someone suggest utter nonsense that my mind will take in and create a powerful false memory out of. This is one of the most relieving things to me because at first glance the false memory research appears to say the opposite. So although it is true that we can misremember things or create memories that never occurred it is very unlikely this will affect us more than on a small scale. When it does happen on a large scale however, the consequences can be dire as was the case for the Thompson rape case. I wonder if in the future there will be developed a way to accurately sift through memories and test for accuracy. I would hate to see the future littered with more cases of falsely accused people paying for other people's crimes.

The Razor and the Spaceship

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In the year 1969, on July 20, Neil Armstrong took his first step onto the moon. He looked at that first step he took, than turned to the camera and spoke the famous words, "That's one small step for a man, one giant leap for mankind." Audiences were enthralled with what they were seeing, a man was walking on the moon! Yet even with video footage of the event and public knowledge of the space program there were those who doubted that Neil Armstrong had actually landed on the moon. They claimed it was an elaborate hoax to try and look better than the U.S.S.R. rather than an actual amazing feat of science and engineering. If they had known the scientific method perhaps they wouldn't have reached such a radical and wrong conclusion about what they were seeing. Occam's Razor is the key. Occam's Razor states that if two hypothesis' fit the data equally well than the simpler or parsimonious one is most likely the answer. In this case The simpler answer is that NASA had indeed performed an amazing feat of engineering rather than government conspiracies, coverups, and power play. While this doesn't necessarily prove that a space shuttle had landed on the moon it does give us an easier hypothesis to test first. The evidence for the shuttle landing is overwhelming and easily falsiable which further strengthens it's claim. On the other hand, although the conspiracy theory does explain and account for the phenomena it is neither falsifiable nor replicable which makes it violate more principles of the scientific method. In this case, Occam's Razor shaved off excess detail to give a straight forward answer which later can be tested to find out for sure if the hypothesis was correct or not. Parsimony is a wonderful concept as it closes the door on cluttering and overcomplicated ideas. Could you even imagine life if every idea we tried to prove was as complicated as a conspiracy theory?neil_armstrong_auf_dem_mond.jpg

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