How to avoid getting attached to ideas

A recent Skeptics’ Guide had a great tip on not getting emotionally attached to conclusions. This is definitely a failing of mine. Ask me whether organic food is worth buying and you’ll get a fairly vitriolic, non-measured response. This is mainly because I don’t like seeing people bilked, but I’m way more attached to the organic-food-sucks conclusion than I should be. I doubt I’d change my responses appropriately if the consensus opinion started to shift. This is particularly bad when you consider I don’t actively follow the latest research, and that ‘organic’ has many different meanings. So I need to stop doing that.

Steve Novella’s tip? Get emotionally attached to the process, not the conclusion. Fetishize the scientific method. Demand that appropriate evidence is analysed properly, and then accept whatever conclusion pops out. This also helps with spotting pseudoscience, and some kinds of logical fallacies, which start with the conclusion and search for evidence to back it up.

Sounds reasonable. I’ll give it a go.

Sad news from the Skeptics’ Guide

One of my favourite people on one of my favourite podcasts died last night. Perry of the Skeptics’ Guide had been in hospital for a couple of weeks, but was expected to be back shortly. I was just listening to him early this morning…I didn’t know him, but have been listening to his thoughts and observations weekly for 18 months and can’t help but feel a passing acquaintance. It’s awful he died so young, and I feel for the rest of the team.