Detecting bullshit

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“It is possible that some people tend to rate vacuous statements as profound because they do not understand the statements but don’t want to appear stupid. This is the “emperor’s new clothes” phenomenon.  They assume their lack of understanding means the statement must have hidden meaning, perhaps because they lack the confidence to base a critical judgement on their own inability to make sense of a statement.

Vacuous statements may also act as a type of Rorschach test – people reflect their own belief onto the statements. This follows an intuitive style of thinking. It is a similar phenomenon to thinking that astrological readings accurately describe oneself, or finding accuracy is a psychic’s cold reading. Rather than critically dissecting what the statement is actually saying (or not saying) they fill the empty vessel with their own “wisdom.” – Steven Novella

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