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Why Do People Believe Weird Things

850 words - 4 pages

In Robert Matthews article “Why do people believe weird things?” his main focus is to prove to the reader that people who think weird things are not necessarily weird, or even crazy, but that they see things from a different prospective than the majority. Robert suggests that individuals can use the same evidence to make a claim, but with that evidence there can be two different viewpoints. Although in his article Robert only uses a few examples, he asserts his theory in a very persuasive manner.
Robert begins his claim by engaging the audience with his past experiences concerning conspiracy theorists. He insists that no matter what sort of evidence you provide to the contrary of someone’s ...view middle of the document...

In Robert's example he explains how if two people were arguing over the same hypothesis they would need some level of belief in that hypothesis before the debate. Also, the evidence given in the debate would possibly alter the original belief of the hypothesis. How the hypothesis would be altered depends on the likelihood ratio, which is determined by LR = Pr(E | H)/Pr(E | ~H).
In the equation LR = Pr(E | H)/Pr(E | ~H), LR represents the likelihood ratio, Pr(E | H) represents the probability of the evidence given the strength of the hypothesis, and "~" represents the hypothesis is false. In other words, the likelihood ratio is determined by the probability of the evidence applied to the hypothesis being true, and compared to the hypothesis being false. The problem occurs when one person believes that based on the evidence given, it is more likely for the hypothesis to be true than false, and the other person believes that based on the evidence it is more likely for the hypothesis to be false than true.
Before someone argues a situation they must have their own belief of it first. Concerning the Apollo moon landing, conspiracy theorists believe the Apollo mission was a hoax; the reason for this being that they don't trust NASA. Using the equation LR = Pr(E | H)/Pr(E | ~H), the conspiracy theorists who believe the Apollo mission was false believe that even with the given evidence it is more likely for the mission to have not happened, then for it to have happened....

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