Spiteful Motivation

The paths life sometimes takes seem very chaotic. Once again, I ask myself how I could have been so blind. I have consciously had no contact with Valerie for weeks. Not since she sent me a three-page statement in which she raves about what a magnificent superhuman she is. I haven’t kicked her off my Facebook friends list, though. Maybe I should have. Over the past few weeks she seems to have found a new favourite topic: doubts about the human impact on climate change. Hey, newsflash – you’re a few years too late with that. I briefly had the thought that this might have something to do with the fact that I myself have been writing more about this topic during the past weeks or at least linked relevant articles. The chronological parallel seems at least quite striking, but maybe I overestimate my influence a bit. If not, it would be all the more tragic that she apparently chose this way to distance herself from me in all possible ways. I know she has always had quite dogmatic views, but during our time together, I had the impression to break them up at least a little bit. Now everything seems even more narrow-minded than before. In my head, an absurd scene is taking place at a town square with an old woman clamouring, holding a magazine in her hand and shouting loudly: “Look here! The TRUTH which nobody wants to show you is in there!”. She screams and screams, but most people just keep on walking, embarrassed, and allow the crazy old woman to put on her show. Is this picture mean? Maybe. She likes to see herself as the rational avant-gardist of science. Until today I had at least been able to give her the benefit of having a PhD in biology and therefore probably some knowledge of philosophy of science and methodology. And above all: how to quote correctly. She doubts that the scientific consensus on anthropogenic climate change is 97%. Well, that’ s something you can do for now. Now she supports this position with a study which describes that only 33% of the papers examined take a position on anthropogenic climate change and confirm it. In contrast, a whole 64% do not make any statement on this. The fact that the authors in the same study also write about the fact that obvious things are simply not constantly repeated is completely ignored by her, because this would not fit into her pseudo-revolutionary narrative. After all, studies on evolutionary biological processes do not always explicitly mention that evolution is a well-documented fact and the Earth is not just 6000 years old. At least that’ s what I assume, everything else would be ultra-redundant. Absence of evidence is not evidence of absence. Something Taleb also wrote about in great detail. Surprise. At this point I ask myself involuntarily where the error lies. I mean, quite seriously: I basically have no genuine formal education, but I do have five dropped out degrees. That’s miles away from a PhD. I have never and probably never will work in the academic world, so why did it cost me less than five minutes to scan the study she quoted for the most important points and see how blatantly she just missed the mark (again)? I’m not some walking demigod who thinks everything comes tumbling down in his lap. I would have expected far more intellectual honesty from someone who has been working in academic research for years. But, yet again, maybe that’s the reason Taleb despises academia so much. Did my knowledge of human nature really mislead me so badly? Or has she just changed so much? I really had to restrain myself very much today not to explain all this to her in a very detailed comment. I think she’s long gone, but maybe I can save other people. The irony is: I feel the need, not because of her and I somehow secretly still feel attached to her, but because I see my self-perception confused and I try to process why I couldn’t see that at the time. After all, even the crazy old woman at the town square is told by some people at one point that her scolding is useless, and the sun will still rise tomorrow. Nobody cares but I do. How to explain you don’t care about people but ideas? I’m indifferent to their lamentations and desires and whatever they aim for, but I can’t stand the malicious twisting of scientific research. It is hard to explain to most human beings. Now I have once again given her crazy opinions more attention than they ever deserved. But if you don’t call out the fraud, you are a fraud. Taleb, again. Basically, I tend to agree with him on this, but there may be exceptions. Contextuality. Again. Precisely because I’m aware of the futility of the endeavour and others have already done just that. It obviously reaps some contradiction, so I don’t have to jump in the fence too. Probably the indirect approach is the more intelligent way. Direct confrontation makes no sense in this situation, so I will write an article about the above-mentioned fallacy. The classic Turkey problem. Nobody is telling the turkey the 300 good days a year are not a reliable indicator that it will stay like that. A story of Black Swans and Turkeys – that actually sounds like a quite acceptable title. She will probably read it, possibly feel addressed and then look for ways to discredit this position and tell me why I have no idea what I am talking about. After all, she has the PhD, not me. Note: I have predicted it here and I will lean back in amusement should it actually happen. There is only one thing I will not do: react to it specifically. Why waste time on the unteachable? Taira asked me earlier to whom my contributions are usually addressed, and I answered that my addressees are always the masses. Sure, every now and then there are specific occasions like in this case, but this will not be a reply to a hypothetical discussion, but an argumentation that refers to the overall problem of logical fallacy. This autodidact, who has no academic excellence whatsoever, explains the subtleties of scientific research logic. Oh, the irony. Perhaps I can close this tiresome chapter afterwards. Patricia said she unfollowed Valerie after she shared some right-wing bullshit. Maybe I should do the same. On the other hand, that’s how I found the inspiration for this new article in the first place. If bad things turn into good things, should we preserve the bad things? A question to which I have not yet found an answer. The organic likes stressors, likes volatility. Maybe I need these kinds of stressors to actually be creative. I do things just out of spite. I have no idea whether this is a healthy form of motivation, but it might not be the worst. So, there is that. At least I don’t have to make a decision, yet. I can just wait. Be patient, write, relax and see how things are going to unfold. A few months ago, I would not have been able to resist the temptation to engage in direct conflict. That’s one way of measuring personal development and growth, I guess. Making the world a better place, step by step, word for word.

You are a decent human being. Behave accordingly.

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