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Dude
SFN Die Hard

USA
6891 Posts

Posted - 01/18/2006 :  23:38:02  Show Profile Send Dude a Private Message
The Wednesday night chat involved a discussion of this word, and if it applies to some specific sets of people.

Merriam-Webster says:
quote:
Delusion-a persistent false psychotic belief regarding the self or persons or objects outside the self that is maintained despite indisputable evidence to the contrary.



I, personally, think that this word accurately describes some people. YECs, IDers, some new-agers, those who are convinced that homeopathy cures are real... and so on. The ones that can't be convinced they are wrong when presented with evidence that indisputably demonstrates they are wrong.

Others disagreed, so we agreed to start a thread.

So... are YECs delusional? I say yes, if they persist in their belief when confronted by the volumes of evidence that clearly shows their error.


Ignorance is preferable to error; and he is less remote from the truth who believes nothing, than he who believes what is wrong.
-- Thomas Jefferson

"god :: the last refuge of a man with no answers and no argument." - G. Carlin

Hope, n.
The handmaiden of desperation; the opiate of despair; the illegible signpost on the road to perdition. ~~ da filth

H. Humbert
SFN Die Hard

USA
4574 Posts

Posted - 01/19/2006 :  00:04:14   [Permalink]  Show Profile Send H. Humbert a Private Message
quote:
Originally posted by Dude
So... are YECs delusional? I say yes, if they persist in their belief when confronted by the volumes of evidence that clearly shows their error.
If YECs aren't classified as delusional, then the word has no meaning. I don't even see how anyone could say otherwise.


"A man is his own easiest dupe, for what he wishes to be true he generally believes to be true." --Demosthenes

"The first principle is that you must not fool yourself - and you are the easiest person to fool." --Richard P. Feynman

"Face facts with dignity." --found inside a fortune cookie
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HalfMooner
Dingaling

Philippines
15831 Posts

Posted - 01/19/2006 :  00:24:04   [Permalink]  Show Profile Send HalfMooner a Private Message
quote:
If YECs aren't classified as delusional, then the word has no meaning. I don't even see how anyone could say otherwise.



I fully agree, except for the minority of YECs who may be just lying for various reasons.

Biology is just physics that has begun to smell bad.” —HalfMooner
Here's a link to Moonscape News, and one to its Archive.
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dv82matt
SFN Regular

760 Posts

Posted - 01/19/2006 :  01:04:05   [Permalink]  Show Profile Send dv82matt a Private Message
quote:
Originally posted by Dude

The Wednesday night chat involved a discussion of this word, and if it applies to some specific sets of people.

Merriam-Webster says:
quote:
Delusion-a persistent false psychotic belief regarding the self or persons or objects outside the self that is maintained despite indisputable evidence to the contrary.


I don't think it's accurate to call YECs delusional by the above definition. Their beliefs are certainly both persistent and false, but not psychotic. 'Psychotic' means of, relating to, or affected by psychosis, which in turn means, from Dictionary.com,
quote:
[psychosis is] A severe mental disorder, with or without organic damage, characterized by derangement of personality and loss of contact with reality and causing deterioration of normal social functioning.
emphasis mine

It'd be more accurate to call them 'deluded'.
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H. Humbert
SFN Die Hard

USA
4574 Posts

Posted - 01/19/2006 :  01:46:01   [Permalink]  Show Profile Send H. Humbert a Private Message
quote:
Originally posted by dv82matt
'Psychotic' means of, relating to, or affected by psychosis, which in turn means, from Dictionary.com,
quote:
[psychosis is] A severe mental disorder, with or without organic damage, characterized by derangement of personality and loss of contact with reality and causing deterioration of normal social functioning.
emphasis mine

It'd be more accurate to call them 'deluded'.

"Loss of contact with reality" pretty much sums it up, though. "Derangement of personality?" Absolutely. Have you never spoken with a creationist? "Deterioration of normal social functioning." Ok, this is the only trait they don't necessarily have. Creationists can hold down jobs and maintain families. Still, 2 out of 3 ain't bad.

And that's going by the super exact clinical definition. I still don't see how one can argue they aren't delusional in common parlance. I don't think any of us are pretending to make a medical declaration when we refer to Creationists as delusional.


"A man is his own easiest dupe, for what he wishes to be true he generally believes to be true." --Demosthenes

"The first principle is that you must not fool yourself - and you are the easiest person to fool." --Richard P. Feynman

"Face facts with dignity." --found inside a fortune cookie
Edited by - H. Humbert on 01/19/2006 01:47:05
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beskeptigal
SFN Die Hard

USA
3834 Posts

Posted - 01/19/2006 :  02:48:33   [Permalink]  Show Profile Send beskeptigal a Private Message
So how do you distinguish between a delusion and a mistaken belief? Or a delusion and faulty logic? Or a delusion and choosing to discount evidence? After all I certainly discount the religious person's evidence. No, some YECers and the rest are delusional but I think most of them fit the category of ignorance.

Someone like Behe is a bit delusional in that I'd bet his self preservation has set in and prevents him from admitting the work he has staked his career on is wrong.
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Subjectmatter
Skeptic Friend

173 Posts

Posted - 01/19/2006 :  03:15:59   [Permalink]  Show Profile Send Subjectmatter a Private Message
Discounting valid evidence is being delusional, surely? Does that not imply loss of contact with reality?

Sibling Atom Bomb of Couteous Debate
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filthy
SFN Die Hard

USA
14408 Posts

Posted - 01/19/2006 :  06:00:40   [Permalink]  Show Profile Send filthy a Private Message
Simple context: Fred Phelps is delusional and dangerously so. My double-dipped neighbor a mile or so down the road is certainly not, albeit he has a mental blind spot concerning the Bible.

Like it or not, we all have these little "blind spots" to some degree and sometimes they border on the irrational, but these, I don't think, are delusions. In most (not all) cases, if the light on them is intense enough, the blind spot will disappear.

George W. Bush is delusional; the Rev. Martin Luther King was not....


"What luck for rulers that men do not think." -- Adolf Hitler (1889 - 1945)

"If only we could impeach on the basis of criminal stupidity, 90% of the Rethuglicans and half of the Democrats would be thrown out of office." ~~ P.Z. Myres


"The default position of human nature is to punch the other guy in the face and take his stuff." ~~ Dude

Brother Boot Knife of Warm Humanitarianism,

and Crypto-Communist!

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skepticpsychic
New Member

USA
21 Posts

Posted - 01/19/2006 :  06:35:08   [Permalink]  Show Profile  Visit skepticpsychic's Homepage Send skepticpsychic a Private Message
If psychotic means "severe mental disorder characterized by deterioration of intellectual and social functioning and by partial or complete withdrawal from reality."

It cannot be proven through scientific methods that this condition is present within any group whether it be people who choose to believe in new age-isms, christianity, people who use homeopathy, people who belong to SFN, the mafia or any other group mentality.

Also, in this case, "right" and "wrong" would clearly need to be defined. For example, what if someone who, despite all scientific proof, chooses to seek treatment for an illness using a homeopath and actually facilitates a cure. Despite statistical or analytical data showing the in most cases homeopathy is not any more effective than a placebo does not make the statistical data correct for that person's empirical experience. Even though it very well may have been the placebo affect, the person receives the help they seek and this actually allows them to experience greater mental health because they have cured their ailment. How do we measure how "right" our statistical information is against how "wrong" the cure was for them?


The Skeptic Psychic
www.writingup.com/blog/skepticpsychic
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pleco
SFN Addict

USA
2998 Posts

Posted - 01/19/2006 :  07:16:21   [Permalink]  Show Profile  Visit pleco's Homepage Send pleco a Private Message
quote:
For example, what if someone who, despite all scientific proof, chooses to seek treatment for an illness using a homeopath and actually facilitates a cure. Despite statistical or analytical data showing the in most cases homeopathy is not any more effective than a placebo does not make the statistical data correct for that person's empirical experience.


LOL deja vu eh Dude?

Delusional.

by Filthy
The neo-con methane machine will soon be running at full fart.
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Ricky
SFN Die Hard

USA
4907 Posts

Posted - 01/19/2006 :  07:42:14   [Permalink]  Show Profile  Send Ricky an AOL message Send Ricky a Private Message
There are many people who have never learned critical thinking skills. There are also many that are scientifically illiterate. Are these people delusional, or just uneducated?

Why continue? Because we must. Because we have the call. Because it is nobler to fight for rationality without winning than to give up in the face of continued defeats. Because whatever true progress humanity makes is through the rationality of the occasional individual and because any one individual we may win for the cause may do more for humanity than a hundred thousand who hug their superstitions to their breast.
- Isaac Asimov
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Kil
Evil Skeptic

USA
13470 Posts

Posted - 01/19/2006 :  07:59:30   [Permalink]  Show Profile  Visit Kil's Homepage  Send Kil an AOL message  Send Kil a Yahoo! Message Send Kil a Private Message
I would substitute delusional for irrational. Delusional has only one proper context and that is in the clinical setting. You just don't get to willy nilly broaden the definition to include everyone with an irrational belief out of convenience. It is a mistake to hijack scientific terms with a definite meaning and move them to other areas (like the arm chair) to make a point. That is, in fact, what pseudo-scientists do all the time. And we call them on it.

Uncertainty may make you uncomfortable. Certainty makes you ridiculous.

Why not question something for a change?

Genetic Literacy Project
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filthy
SFN Die Hard

USA
14408 Posts

Posted - 01/19/2006 :  08:18:22   [Permalink]  Show Profile Send filthy a Private Message
Umm... Irrational. I think I can agree with that. And who among us never commits an irrationality in action or speech?

"Delusion," I think, would be better used as a varying degree of mental illness.


"What luck for rulers that men do not think." -- Adolf Hitler (1889 - 1945)

"If only we could impeach on the basis of criminal stupidity, 90% of the Rethuglicans and half of the Democrats would be thrown out of office." ~~ P.Z. Myres


"The default position of human nature is to punch the other guy in the face and take his stuff." ~~ Dude

Brother Boot Knife of Warm Humanitarianism,

and Crypto-Communist!

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Ricky
SFN Die Hard

USA
4907 Posts

Posted - 01/19/2006 :  08:49:04   [Permalink]  Show Profile  Send Ricky an AOL message Send Ricky a Private Message
quote:

"Delusion," I think, would be better used as a varying degree of mental illness.



This is how the discussion came up. Dude was using it to describe a mental illness.

Why continue? Because we must. Because we have the call. Because it is nobler to fight for rationality without winning than to give up in the face of continued defeats. Because whatever true progress humanity makes is through the rationality of the occasional individual and because any one individual we may win for the cause may do more for humanity than a hundred thousand who hug their superstitions to their breast.
- Isaac Asimov
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Gorgo
SFN Die Hard

USA
5310 Posts

Posted - 01/19/2006 :  09:02:25   [Permalink]  Show Profile Send Gorgo a Private Message
Aside from psychiatry, doesn't common usage of the word imply fraud? I don't necessarily think that everyone that teaches religious ideas understands completely that they are deluding others.

I know the rent is in arrears
The dog has not been fed in years
It's even worse than it appears
But it's alright-
Jerry Garcia
Robert Hunter



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Dude
SFN Die Hard

USA
6891 Posts

Posted - 01/19/2006 :  09:17:13   [Permalink]  Show Profile Send Dude a Private Message
People believe all kinds of crazy stuff. That is just a sad fact of reality. Even the best of us, from time to time, fall into that trap.

The distinguishing difference between being just wrong (or irrational) and being delusional is that you maintain your belief despite indisputable evidence to the contrary.

This does not, necessarily, include the people who just simply refuse to examine the evidence. This group you could call just plain stupid, stubborn, irrational, and wrong.

There are other things that, by default, get you classified as delusional as well. Like honestly believing that you communicate with dead people or spirits, like believing that these spirits have given you secret information on how to cure yourself and others "on the molecular level" of disease and mental illness. And so on and so on.


Ignorance is preferable to error; and he is less remote from the truth who believes nothing, than he who believes what is wrong.
-- Thomas Jefferson

"god :: the last refuge of a man with no answers and no argument." - G. Carlin

Hope, n.
The handmaiden of desperation; the opiate of despair; the illegible signpost on the road to perdition. ~~ da filth
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