Tuesday, May 03, 2005

Wherein I believe that Dr. Wayne Dyer is a gibbering idiot (part 1).

This is the post I was going to write yesterday, or at least part of it. I believe that Dr. Wayne Dyer is a gibbering idiot. I choose to believe that. Some of the other alternatives are worse, and they are not mutually exclusive, but I feel like believing one thing at a time. Since Dr. Wayne Dyer is not shy about sharing his beliefs, I won’t be either. I watched a PBS production where Dr. Wayne Dyer held his audience spellbound, and one could almost imagine sitting in that audience and hearing the muffled “whump....... whump” of brains imploding inside their skulls. Dr. Wayne Dyer spoke with the same certainty of purpose as Cotton Mather must have done on the day he sentenced innocent human beings to death for witchcraft. If ever there is a contest to find an Indo-European analog for Alan Keyes, I vote for Dr. Dyer.

The paragraph above is an illustration of why I think that Dr. Wayne Dyer is a gibbering idiot. I have gone on and on, but I haven’t really told you anything or explained why I feel that way. This is what Dr. Dyer did for an hour. His premise is that “Intention” exists as an all-pervasive force (yep, like Star Wars), external to the sentience of beings. He stated and restated this premise, mixed with name dropping and quotations from important-sounding people. It is going to be difficult to explain my position without quoting material that I am sure will be vigorously copyright-protected by those who stand to make money selling this budding cult, but I will try.

The first violation of credibility is the confusion of the audience, which was plain on some of their faces. I am as certain as I can be without asking, that there were people in that audience who were thinking, “I know he’s smart, everyone says so. If I can’t follow what he is saying, it must be because I am not smart enough to understand.” This is guaranteed to sell tapes, books, and other lecture materials. Another confusion of ideas of note was when he quoted physicist Max Planck, who being religious, saw the hand of God in the order he perceived in the quantum level of the Universe. Confusion: just because Max Planck said it, doesn’t automatically make it so. If Max Planck believes something and I believe something, it must be true? This was the kind of trick he was substituting for hard evidence over and over again. Do I know that his premise is false? No, BUT I know there is a very high probability, approaching certainty, that it is. I know that it was presented as a false premise, and therefore the conclusion does not necessarily obtain. Simpler but similar example:

Some trees grow fruit.
An apple is a fruit.
Therefore an apple comes from a tree.

Everything above is true, except for the “therefore”, making this a false syllogism. Substitute “blueberry” (which is not a berry and is not blue) for apple, and you see the problem. Dr. Dyer’s proofs, when he offers them, have similar problems, as I will attempt to demonstrate in part 2 of this discussion.


At 8:12 PM, Blogger kalanchoe542 said...

A couple of thoughts:

1. I personally like to call it "name droppings" just for the fun of it.

2. I have a syllogism for you...

Babies eat a lot of mashed bananas.
Babies get ear infections.
Therefore, mashed bananas cause ear infections.

No matter how you twist it, the logic seems to be there, but there are several sidesteps in this theorem which are based on erroneous assumption. For one, babies eat all sorts of stuff. Why don't the other things cause ear infections? For another, what effort was put into investigating what else babies do that could get them in their painful predicament?
The same goes for:

Butterfly wings appear to be a miraculous creation.
God produces miracles.
Therefore, God created beautiful butterfly wings.

The assumption that only God could produce a marvel like the wing of a butterfly leaves out a lot of steps, like evolution, natural selection, protective coloration and about 400 million years of false starts which amount to(to quote Carl Sagan) "billions and billions" of dead ends and bad combinations.
People will believe what they want to believe, and for many, the concept of Occam's Razor, which states that usually the simplest answer is the correct one, (although I am certain you already know this,) means that it had to be God's doing.

I am truly beginning to believe that the vast majority of people don't want to know how things work, or want the equation to be worked out for them, they just want a simple answer and then to go home to a beer and a plate of spaghetti and leave well enough alone, secure in the knowledge that their little world is just the way they like it, safe, snug, and dictated to them by charlatans who masquerade as saints.

Not me. Never me. Question authority to the bitter end.

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At 7:41 AM, Blogger Jude said...

I always respect the critical thinker and am thankful that we have people who do not blindly follow. I would like to point out two things. One, for thirteen years after Newton declared the law of gravity, the greatest thinkers of the world refused the validity of the idea. Gravity was still gravity during that time. There is a legend about the Indian Chief looking out into the waters where Columbus's boats were sitting, seeing nothing but the ripple of the water being different. Until one day he thought something must be there. The legend says at that point he saw the boat. If we cannot conceive of something different from our own point of view, we may not "see" it. The second is, so much of what we are hearing today is nothing more than the repackaging of Eastern knowledge and thought. Read the I Ching and read about intention. Sucess in the future will be the combination of both Eastern ancient knowledge finally accepted by the West and Western science accepted in the East. Yin-Yang Theory.

At 8:55 PM, Blogger Resa said...

Oh, thank God for this!


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