Knight Of The Mind

I'll do my best to present a philosophical and generally conservative look at current events and life, the universe and everything. Readers are invited to take all that's posted herein with a grain of salt. or if they prefer, a grain of salt, a slice of lime and a shot of tequila.

Location: Alexandria, Virginia, United States

Greetings and welcome. My name is Steve, I'm 35 years old and I work for the US Army as an Operations Research Analyst. Hence my blog title Knight Of The Mind.

Monday, August 02, 2004

Does Fantasy Inform Reality?

Christopher Whittle gives us an interesting explanation of why Santa Claus and other myths exist for little kids. He posits they are a necessary part of the socialization process for young children. Not that that makes getting caught with a group of your adult friends playing Car Wars, Unknown Armies or Call of Cthulu at 3:45 AM any less nerdy, but it sort of puts it all into perspective.

Whittle goes on to argue that people are probably going to continue believing in The Tooth Fairy for a long time.

Scientists and science educators (1) have high levels of paranormal and pseudoscientific belief, (2) do not use their scientific knowledge when voting, (3) use nonscientific approaches in personal and social decision-making, and (4) do not have high levels of science content knowledge outside of their specific disciplines. How can we expect nonscientists to think and act scientifically if scientists and science educators do not? If we decide to mount a concerted program to disabuse the public of paranormal and pseudoscientific beliefs, we must first ask if cultures can survive without paranormal beliefs.

The concept of The Tooth Fairy or Santa Claus being necessary doesn't shock me at all. When Dennis Kucinich used Grandfather Twilight as an endorsement on his website, (That must have been after the Car Wars game.) I was amused, but not entirely convinced he was stupid. As long as there's still something out there we don't have the logical tools to understand, the fantasy realm will be out there somewhere. If Area 51 has nothing in it, it's a brilliant public relations coup just the same.

Dean claims to be a rationalist at heart, leaving me to wonder why he really posted a link to Whittle.


As you may or may not already be aware, members of the Watcher's Council hold a vote every week on what they consider to be the most link-worthy pieces of writing around... per the Watcher's instructions, I am submitting one of my own posts for consideration in the upcoming nominations process.
Here is the most recent winning council post, here is the most recent winning non-council post, here is the list of results for the latest vote, and here is the initial posting of all the nominees that were voted on.

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