New models of how ideas change make "true believers" and irrational conviction scary.

Once the networks were built, the scientists then "sprinkled" in some true believers throughout each of the networks. These people were completely set in their views and unflappable in modifying those beliefs. As those true believers began to converse with those who held the traditional belief system, the tides gradually and then very abruptly began to shift.

After ten percent of the target population had adopted the unshakeable belief, it abruptly became the majority opinion. Minority Rules: Scientists Discover Tipping Point for the Spread of....

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It sure as hell has, Ruth.  We had Medium up until earlier this year, we have Alphas on the SyFy channel and A Gifted Man coming this fall.  This in addition to Charmed, Ghost Whisperer and likely too many others to name.
But can we count fictional shows the same as "true life" shows about supernaturalism? I mean, I think most people understand that the show Supernatural is all fictional. But people watch Ghost Hunters because they think ghosts might be real (despite the fact that they never find any evidence!).

Not exactly an accurate model of human belief, I'm afraid. Talk to to people and you're convinced? Just like that? Sorry, doesn't work that way in reality. The computer model is incredibly naive, and that the researchers are presenting this as being representative of the behaviour of actual human populations/networks, they are being irresponsible in their exaggerations.

 

I note that they didn't include any skeptics, critical thinkers, logical thinkers, or empirical thinkers in their model. Of course if everybody believes random shit they hear from two people, they will eventually all believe random shit. But the universe tends not to be very kind to people who truly believe random shit, and humans are too wary of social and political scheming to be so easily swayed by a couple of conversations.

 

Move along, move along. Nothing to see hear. ;-)

Good point, Wonderist!

This kind of phenomenon would be useful in advertising and propaganda dissemination. In this society, we do actually have poisons being represented and consumed as though they were foods and foods falsely represented as poisons being banned as though the prohibition contained proof of efficacy. To represent that all consumers use logic based criteria in their decision trees would be patently false. To represent that Donald Rumsfeld was instrumental in the achievement of the "generally accepted as safe" approval for the dangerous chemical additive aspartame would indeed be accurate. Money moves many questionable things forward into the mainstream and also retards the proliferation of sanity.
May I ask how Rumsfeld was instrumental in getting GRAS status for aspartame? I work as a regulatory affairs manager in cosmetics and nutritional drinks, so I'm wondering about the details, since GRAS status is generally decided by review boards made up of doctors, as far as I know.
I just saw this article today or yesterday, and honestly, I find it really frightening. My brother has told me before that you can find 10% of the population that believes ANY weird thing: the moon landing was a hoax, Earth was first colonized by aliens, 9/11 was a hoax, 9/11 was orchestrated by the US government, etc. So I think it's pretty scary that supposedly if there's over 10% of true believers of anything, they may be able to eventually bring the rest of society over to their side, no matter how nutty! So scary in so many ways.

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