Ed Opperman, Trump, Epstein, Why Beliefs Don’t Change |399|

want to make sure the man isn't damned by association. How can I support such a character? Well:
We just see things very differently on this one David.
To me, Trump is not a decent man. I start from there with my own eyes and ears, from there it only points in one direction, downhill. Of course he might have achieved some good, but he’s just not the man for me.
That’s not to say that he is any worse than many before him, I think that many of those in and around the top positions truly have serious mental conditions.
We just see things very differently on this one David.
To me, Trump is not a decent man. I start from there with my own eyes and ears, from there it only points in one direction, downhill. Of course he might have achieved some good, but he’s just not the man for me.
That’s not to say that he is any worse than many before him, I think that many of those in and around the top positions truly have serious mental conditions.
Well you may not be so far from my own position, but we don't have a choice of a perfect leader - either here or in the US!

I tend to agree with Scott Adams who believes that mass hysteria is a common everyday experience. I included previous posts of mine (below) because they explain the idea even though they are on a different topic. When you study what Adams has written on the subject and come to agree with him - it makes rational debate on subjects like politics seem to be pretty much useless. People don't use logic to determine their beliefs, they use logic to defend their beliefs. People believe what they want for emotional or other psychological reasons. People can be persuaded, but not through logic, they can be persuaded through psychological tricks.

Sharing information can still serve a purpose. It can help people who already believe something, to maintain their beliefs against the psychological tricks like (ridicule) that might be used.

Scott Adams writes in his book, "Win Bigly", that when you understand the psychology of persuasion, you are not impressed by the consensus of scientists because they are just as suceptible as ordinary people to mass delusions. According to the psychology of persuasion, mass delusion is actually the normal state of consciousness. This is particularly true for scientists studying climate change because their career and financial incentives are involved. In the following excerpt, 2-D is the normal world view and 3-D is Adam's world view that people are not rational but make decisions based on other factors and then use logic to defend their beliefs.

On top of our mass delusions, we also have junk science that is too often masquerading as the real thing. To the extent that people can't tell the difference, that too is a source of mass delusion.​
In the 2-D view of the world, mass delusions are rare and newsworthy. But to trained persuaders in the third dimension, mass delusions are the norm. They are everywhere, and they influence every person. This difference in training and experience can explain why people disagree on some of the big issues of the day.​
For example, consider the case of global warming. People from the 2-D world assume mass delusions are rare, and they apply that assumption to every topic. So when they notice that most scientists are on the same side, that observation is persuasive to them. A reasonable person wants to be on the same side with the smartest people who understand the topic. That makes sense, right?​
But people who live in the 3-D world, where persuasion rules, can often have a different view of climate change because we see mass delusions (even among experts) as normal and routine. My starting bias for this topic is that the scientists could easily be wrong about the horrors of change, even in the context of repeated experiments and peer review. Whenever you see a situation with complicated prediction models, you also have lots of room for bias to masquerade as reason. Just tweak the assumptions and you can get any outcome you want.​
Now add to that situation the fact that scientists who oppose the climate change consensus have a high degree of career and reputation risk. That's the perfect setup for a mass delusion. You only need these two conditions:​
1. Complicated prediction models with lots of assumptions​
2. Financial and psychological pressure to agree with the consensus​
In the 2-D world, the scientific method and peer review squeeze out the bias over time. But in the 3-D world, the scientific method can't detect bias when nearly everyone including the peer reviewers shares the same mass delusion.​
I'm not a scientist, and I have no way to validate the accuracy of the climate model predictions. But if the majority of experts on this topic turn out to be having a mass hallucination, I would consider that an ordinary situation. In my reality, this would be routine, if not expected, whenever there are complicated prediction models involved. That's because I see the world as bristling with mass delusions. I don't see mass delusions as rare.​
When nonscientists take sides with climate scientists, they often think they are being supportive of science. The reality is that the nonscientists are not involved in science, or anything like it. They are taking the word of scientists. In the 2-D world, that makes perfect sense, because it seems as if thousands of experts can't be wrong. But in the 3-D world, I accept that the experts could be right, and perhaps they are, but it would be normal and natural in my experience if the vast majority of ciimate scientists were experiencing a shared hallucination.
To be clear, I am not saying the majority of scientists are wrong about climate science. I'm making the narrow point that it would be normal and natural for that group of people to be experiencing a mass hallucination that is consistent with their financial and psychological incentives. The scientific method and the peer-review process wouldn't necessarily catch a mass delusion during any specific window of time. With science, you never know if you are halfway to the truth or already there. Sometimes it looks the same.
Climate science is a polarizing topic (ironically). So let me just generalize the point to say that compared with the average citizen, trained persuaders are less impressed by experts.
To put it another way, if an ordinary idiot doubts a scientific truth, the most likely explanation for that situation is that the idiot is wrong. But if a trained persuader calls BS on a scientific truth, pay attention.​
Do you remember when citizen Trump once tweeted that climate change was a hoax for the benefit of China? It sounded crazy to most of the world. Then we learned that the centerpiece of politics around climate change—the Paris climate accord—was hugely expensive for the United States and almost entirely useless for lowering temperatures. (Experts agree on both points now.) The accord was a good deal for China, in the sense that it would impede its biggest business rival, the United States, while costing China nothing for years. You could say Trump was wrong to call climate change a hoax. But in the context of Trump's normal hyperbole, it wasn't as wrong as the public's mass delusion believed it to be at the time.​
I'll concede that citizen Trump did not understand the science of climate change. That's true of most of us. But he still detected a fraud from a distance. It wasn't luck.​
... People don't use reason to determine the truth, they use reason to defend their beliefs which they form for emotional reasons.

Johnathan Haidt (psychologist) says so:
The problem isn’t that people don’t reason. They do reason. But their arguments aim to support their conclusions, not yours. Reason doesn’t work like a judge or teacher, impartially weighing evidence or guiding us to wisdom. It works more like a lawyer or press secretary, justifying our acts and judgments to others.
Scott Adams (who is a trained hypnotist) says so:
"We humans ignore facts but we think we don't. The great illusion of life is that we're rational beings making rational decisions most of the time. But when you become a hypnotist, the first thing you learn is that that's backwards and that mostly we're deciding based on our team, our feelings, our emotions, irrational reasons, we make our decision and then we rationalize it no matter how tortured that rationalization is."
More here:
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Alex Tsakiris: I get that it sounds like I’m desperate to change your mind, I’m really not. This is the Skeptiko process for me — follow the data wherever it leads. I see in you someone who’s following the data, and then when it comes to this topic it’s like, ‘no, I don’t really need to follow that data.’ I hear this all the time, people say ‘I’m a smart guy if that was true I would know it.’

This is a fancy way of saying: your're stupid and i'm not (I'm objective and rational but your're not). It is the same as pseudo-skeptics saying other people lack critical thinking skills.

Intelligent people can legitimately disagree on the best explanation for the data. Every controversy in the history of science is a testament to this fact.

Also see my previous post in this thread - no one can ever really be sure they themselves are being objective and rational.

To the people who disagree with you, this sort of debating device makes you look like an arrogant bully. If you want people holding beliefs on all sides of the topics you cover to listen to your podcast, you shouldn't do this.
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this episode was so stellar i was sharing this shit all over the internet before i'd even finished it. and man it really goes all over the place. i only shared it for the trump stuff to be honest and i assumed the rest would be like that, but like, pfooooof, it takes off in weird places that the old ladies on my facebook might be scared by, haha, if they make it that far. you've got two obviously intelligent people with envious memory abilities (that I don't share as a weed smoker) that are excited to talk to each other and clash backgrounds and investigative processes. that was really fun. and I have none of the religious background at all, i was basically atheist till my telepathy thing, my parents never pushed me one way or another. y'all touched on project camelot that i was like fascinated with for a bit and then soured on, but still follow for fun although kerry, oh girl, and same with wilcock and new age everything, it's my soaps that i absolutely love, but i do know ufos and people's experiences to be real... i'm not such an idiot that i think everything people tell you is questionable. the realm of experience is real as hell, in fact it may be primary. experience is real. matter is most likely an afterthought.
It was an exceptional episode. For me, it was like watching a football game. When you talked about Trump I was moaning, “ no no, say it ain’t so!” Then, when you were hammering him about Josephus, I was on my feet shouting, “ Attaboy Alex, give it to Him!”
Intelligent people can legitimately disagree on the best explanation for the data. Every controversy in the history of science is a testament to this fact.
what was the "legitimately disagreement?" should religious beliefs be respected? are religious beliefs a special kind of belief? are there any beliefs that we shouldn't respect?
I love Ed Opperman (qualifiers: platonic ally...from afar); I have listened to Ed since his first appearance on C2C. He and Alex have a quality that is rare in radio-podcast-type hosts: a truly relentless interest in the subject at hand.
That being said, it is also true that Ed will take absolutely the most half-baked, hair-brained and far-fetched conspiracy stories at face value, hook, line and sinker, as long as it comports to his preconceived notions of absolute good and evil in the world.

The longer that "conspiracy" pod-casters are active, the more they seem to be convinced of an absolute good and evil operating in the world; and their own higher-ordained role in fitting the facts to their own chosen narrative. For instance, most of us would agree that abuse of children would be, if not absolute evil, then about as close as it gets. It therefore fits the absolutist preconceived narrative, and even in the absence of real evidence, lends credibility to mere rumours.

Other than that, I think Ed's Lefty world-view is refreshingly different from most others, which usually tend toward the Right.

Although I do not doubt for a moment the sincerity of Ed's personal beliefs, as one of Ed's long-time listeners, I would take them all with about as much salt as is on the bottom of Lake Bonneville.
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I’m still bothered about what was said about President Trump. It is known popularly he is or was in his younger days a womanizer, but I’ve never heard the ‘Epsteinian’ narrative before today. Is this serious stuff, or just the kind of stuff that’s being passed around among sympathetic anti-Trump ears? Or, is it something darker, namely “cognitive infiltration” of scurrilous disinformation being injected into the mass consciousness?
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Alex, my own history with this issue is like what you said, except I haven’t yet given up hope about the whole Trump phenomenon. As I said, I just heard these things for the first time. What was your wake up moment? I’m like the poor guy who says about ufos, “If it was true, I would have known about it!”
I guess I'd ask what moral territory you're talking about? I mean, some people seem to get really worked out about the morality of immigration policy. I'm not saying there aren't moral issues there, but I think it's entirely different than what we were talking about in the show. even regarding sexual misconduct I think it's important to separate moral issues question from "Evil." a guy cheating on his wife during a Las Vegas sales conf seems very different than ritual satanic abuse, but don't ask me to explain how.
We define our own moral territory, and some of us want to build a wall around it and run up flags to show how good we think we are. The difference between moral issues and Evil isn't a hard line between black and white. First we like to create a bucket called Evil into which we chuck moral issues we do not want to confront or acknowledge - so it becomes a moral mythology. Second, to the extent that Evil exists it appeals more to those who have compromised and corrupted their morality. If we were persuaded to be simply amused by Trump and his ilk we cannot complain loudly when their excesses lure Evil to them. Remember that Christian conservatives support Trump, despite his manifest sins, as an instrument of God. Its a twisted theology that allows that, and yet it is unremarkable to those who should be horrified and ashamed. We will tolerate and support assholes if they get us what we want - the end justifies the means. That's the logic that puts crooks in the White House and justifies torture. We signal our virtues while accommodating the morally corrupt as our representatives in government.

The sales rep in Las Vegas may sin little in action by cheating on his wife. But what else does he do? Does he cheat because he is unhappy or because he is amped up on porn? Some forms of cheating have only local consequences. Others belong to a wider cultural moral malaise. Errors can be contained or they can be fuel to, and fuelled by, a deeper problem of moral relativism.

The distinction is between perpetrating misdemeanours but generally being law abiding and going over to a life that is essentially criminal. I see satanism as a moral abdication to a set of false premises. Trump observed that government requires heart, whereas business not so much. Some conduct their business on such a premise - which I say is false - and profoundly damaging. But Evil?

I think we have a problem with Evil in that we deny it is in humanity natively (which may be true) - so deep wrong doing we want to deny is human can be called Evil and so set at a distance from us. That lets us selectively abdicate responsibility for acts that properly arise from moral errors. We see this in Christianity with the willingness to ascribe conduct to Satan rather than psychopathy, trauma or narcissism.

Proper Evil is hard to define. It must repudiate all that we call good. It can't just be bad or very very bad. Its motive and tone must be alien to us. I don't think Satan falls into that class. That is not to say there is now supernatural evil - just that Christian devil or Satan is a fiction - which may nevertheless become, at times, a container for real evil - just not usually or often.

There are non-human agencies, who, because they are non-human, have no regard for us or our values or sensitivities. They are predatory - much like how we are with most critters on this planet - sans the empathic sense of animistic cultures who grieved at the necessity of killing kindred creatures for food. Are they evil?

My point tis that we create our own complex moral territory, live within it and defend it with a passion. And to others we can seem to be hypocrites and abusers. We think we are good, but we leak immoral tolerance and accommodation to survive in our world. We vote for politicians we know are crooks, liars or dupes. We buy things that come from exploited workers and raw materials whose extraction destroys habitats and pollutes ecosystems. Its a long list of 'necessary evils' we try to off-set with tokens of moral signalling - like buying fair trade coffee and eating quinoa - or doing yoga or meditating. And then we think prostitution is an occupation or pornography is a harmless pastime. Satanism is on a continuity from our own 'necessary evils' and strange conceptions of moral good. It is a means of getting what you want when you can't get it by being really virtuous. It is the epitome of the 'Me Generation' - in which self and the satisfaction of what it craves is all that matters.

It is not innately evil of itself, but it creates the doorways through which Evil can and will come - along with the predators.
Did anyone notice that after explaining that he did not believe in UFO's, Opperman then saw what believed to be a giant UFO hovering near his house.

After ignoring this (as I suppose you might), he was talking to a neighbour who asked him if he had seen this UFO!

what was the "legitimately disagreement?" should religious beliefs be respected? are religious beliefs a special kind of belief? are there any beliefs that we shouldn't respect?
The New Testament is full of evidence. What that evidence means is open to legitimate disagreement.

Also, some"scientific" beliefs like naturalism and materialism and some political beliefs like socialism are religious beliefs. In the same way, many of our beliefs which we do not consider religious beliefs are religious beliefs. This is I think what Scott Adams and Johathan Haidt are saying.

Sometimes when a person says "my rational beliefs are superior to his religious beliefs" he may be comparing two kinds of religious beliefs and doesn't realize it.
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"Is it worth it trying to find the truth when it comes to these highly charged public political expose kind of things"

It is. How we know what we know seems to me to be a core aspect to what skeptiko is about.

"How does this relate to your personal spirituality, to what extent can these questions allow us to better understand what we should do"

My opinion is that one should separate politics and spirituality because otherwise there is a tendency to label people with different political views as "evil" and that leads to dehumanization and demonization of people with different political views which a kind of delusion and causes all sorts of undesirable social consequences.
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I want to make sure the man isn't damned by association. How can I support such a character?
I think it is important not to see Trump as evil. It is true that he sees some issues with greater clarity than others - like the idiocy of the wars in Afghanistan and Iraq. But he isn't Robinson Crusoe. As an arch bullshitter he sees through a lot of BS. But giving him credit for things he deserves credit for does not mean he is fit or proper person to be POTUS.

It does seem that outside his base even his key backers, as opposed supporters, see him only as an instrument to facilitate what they want to get. For example rolling back environmental protection regulations enables mining activity that will generate profit for some but enduring problems for others; and the cancellation a ban on a pesticide (I think, rather than a herbicide) that can cause neurological harm to children may cheapen the cost of food production, but put children at risk.

I don't think it is a good idea to pick bits of Trump as okay. He is, of necessity, a whole package. I have found no compelling evidence that his net impact is positive, and a lot of argument that it is significantly detrimental. Trump puts the massive adverse reaction to him down to lies and an irrational hatred of him stemming from the elites. His problem is that this reaction is from a significant majority, so whether it is justified or not objectively, a free press is expressing a widely held view. Compared to past presidents, the reaction against Trump is unprecedented. If you take the 'where there's smoke there's fire principle' there is a real problem. This is a minority whipping up a majority into a frenzy via lies and manipulation? Yes there are lies and manipulation, as there always is, but it is tiny compared to evidence (a lot of it coming from Trump himself via tweets and speeches) that there is a substantial basis for real concern. The case against Trump is not proven by any means, But all that means is that there is not a form of tribunal that can pronounce a formal assessment yet. The informal case, based on sound evidence, is compelling in asserting that what has happened and is happening under Trump is risking the welfare of the USA. Again, not proven, but the case for the prosecution is credible. Trump may be innocent in fact, but the risk of guilt is real.

There is a fundamental principle in public service that is universal - not only must one not act corruptly, but one must not act in a manner that might justly give rise to the perception of possible corrupt practice. Trump and the people associated with him have failed on that second point to a spectacular degree. The unfortunate reality is that many are declaring his guilt prematurely, and unjustly.

The Epstein stuff is unimportant in the context of POTUS. It can't even be the straw that breaks the camel's back. If we think that is the thing that turns us off Trump... (what can I say?)

I am not anti Trump. I do actually think he is a necessary medicine for the US - but whether the toxic side effects will hurt the patient severely, or just make them ill for a time, is not a question I can answer right now. What is certain is that he is deeply purgative and emetic for some and hallucinogenic for others.
When Trump would talk about "drain the swamp", I tended to find that a rather vague expression. It is only afterwards that we all begin to see that the expression was certainly no understatement. My tentative theory is that he was close enough to members of the swamp (indeed, I read that Bill Clinton suggested he might like to try running for president while they were playing golf) to realise just how bad these guys are.

I take what Dually202 says (above). I also recognise that Alex has done something very human - suddenly decide that he has been fooled and flip to the opposite pole regarding Trump.

Following the data wherever it goes is fine, but it is something of a shorthand because actually the problem is to figure out which data is valid, and which invalid or somehow distorted.

I openly admit that I support the president, but that doesn't mean that I want to ignore really bad behaviour such as what we are discussing. My biggest problem with this story, is that any journalist on the globe would have lusted after evidence that Trump was a Pedophile - they were desperate for anything to smear him with - true or false - so why don't they pounce on this podcast and do something with it?

I think it is important not to see Trump as evil
I don’t see how we can make that decision without knowing more about the man? Do you see anyone in his ‘circle’ that may potentially be evil ?

The Epstein stuff is unimportant in the context of POTUS. It can't even be the straw that breaks the camel's back. If we think that is the thing that turns us off Trump... (what can I say?)
I don’t understand this Michael?
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When studying a controversial subject, I find it very useful to look at what both sides have to say on the subject and try to follow the debate back and forth and see how they reply to each other. Sometimes you can tell when one side is being disingenuous, making weak arguments, twisting things out of context etc.

For example, this link replies to accusations of Trump being a racist.

The "Trump mocked a disabled reporter" has also been shown to be wrong.

The whole fake Russia Collusion - Fake dossier - FBI insurance policy witch hunt is another area where the Trump's opponents have been shown to be wrong.

Remember Judge Kavanaugh? The accusations against him were all fake. But they were made to look credible.

So I hope people will understand if I say I am not impressed these new (at least new to me) allegations made by Opperman about Trump and that I assume they are no different that the constant stream of wrong information that has been propagated about Trump over the internet and by the mainstream media.
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You appear convinced. As a disabled man, after seeing it with my own eyes, you’ll never convince me Jim.

Same with Kavanaugh.

The Russia thing however is total insanity.
There are many videos showing that Trump uses the gesture to mimic people, including himself, who are rattled and exaxperated - not disabled.

"The truth is, Trump has often used those same convulsive gestures to mimic the mannerisms of people, including himself, who are rattled and exasperated. ... Why have we seen no images of Kovaleski moving the way Trump is moving? In every video and photograph of Kovaleski we've seen, he is calmly standing still with his right arm held firm against his chest. He's not waving his arms uncontrollably."​

Here is the video proof that when Trump uses this gesture, he is not mocking disabled people:
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