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View Poll Results: Belieive content of books?

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  • Believe books without checking any evidence (non fiction)

    0 0%
  • Have some scepticism over books (non fiction)

    22 68.75%
  • Really sceptic so need evidence that the book is not just conceptual (non fiction)

    10 31.25%
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Thread: Beliefs

  1. #1
    Senior Member tinkerbell's Avatar
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    Default Beliefs

    Hi

    I belong to a socIal group that often has authors who come and talk about the subject they have written and published books on.

    I've been quite shocked at how poor some of the supporting research has been....

    Tell me do you believe in what you read unquestioningly or do you check out what research the book is based on?

    Just intersted, for some reason I beleive books with less proof than if I read it in the paper or online....

  2. #2
    @.~*virinaĉo*~.@ Totenkindly's Avatar
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    I have a two-pronged checking method.

    One is the specific references check (to see what the book considers credible). (This is more a Te+Si style approach.)

    The other is internal coherency and substance of the book itself. You can tell whether the content demands (1) some knowledge of the field in question and (2) what sort of approach is taken with the material and (3) what sort of info the author considers valid and what is skipped over. So this is more the Ne/Ti approach, it derives a general feel for whether the book is coherent and isn't leaving any obvious gaps/flaws in knowledge.
    "Hey Capa -- We're only stardust." ~ "Sunshine"

    “Pleasure to me is wonder—the unexplored, the unexpected, the thing that is hidden and the changeless thing that lurks behind superficial mutability. To trace the remote in the immediate; the eternal in the ephemeral; the past in the present; the infinite in the finite; these are to me the springs of delight and beauty.” ~ H.P. Lovecraft

  3. #3
    Senior Member substitute's Avatar
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    if it's fiction, I believe none of it - I pretend to believe it whilst I'm reading it so that I can enjoy it better, but I don't really believe it. But I rarely read fiction and when I do, it's often children's books.

    if it's non-fiction, it depends on the subject and who's writing it. if it's something I know a lot about, I can tell which bits of new info are more likely to be true. those I'm skeptical of tho, I still check out, keep my mind open but not at both ends

    I read a lot of non-fiction and always have done, on a wide variety of subjects, so my general knowledge from that and just constant interacting with the world around me, is quite extensive (ahem, not meaning to boast, but I do pwn the pub quiz), so my discernment level's probably not bad *polishes knuckles*

    that stuff that's actually fiction masquerading as non-fiction, which is all the rage in the last few years (like Da Vinci Code, etc), I don't even read.*

    I wouldn't read a non-fiction book that was likely to mostly be bunk. If I read one by an author I trust, I might check the bibliography if I come across a part that's skewy, but if the reference is good, an MS/source I know of, I sometimes look it up, sometimes don't, depending on my mood. Sometimes - no, often - I look up sources anyway, out of curiosity and wanting to learn more, not skepticism.
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  4. #4
    Senior Member Valuable_Money's Avatar
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    Nobosy voted for the first option because they dont want to sound like sheeple
    Ph'nglui mglw'nafh Cthulhu R'lyeh? wgah'nagl fhtagn

  5. #5
    Senior Member LostInNerSpace's Avatar
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    Depends on the book, author, topic. I am particularly careful when the author is highly regarded. I once bought a book by a well respected author which turned me off a technique my intuition told me was good. I reluctantly continued with the technique but never devoted the attention it deserved. I realized later the author had incorrectly used probability and statistics to build a seemingly credible case against the technique when in fact what he did was completely wrong. He use the technique in isolation when he should have considered the context. I generally try to avoid considering any one book or source in isolation.

  6. #6
    RETIRED CzeCze's Avatar
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    I am an optimistic skeptic. Even when I like what I read (especially when I like what I read) I want to make sure it actually works or is valid. I generally buy a few books at a time on the same subject. If I want to study for a test or learn a new language, likewise I usually get at least two different sources. Really, I just read up as much as I can from all over the place, keeping in mind the legitimacy and reuptation of the source.

    My methods are more scattered but work well for me - Ne/Ti or Si (?) help absorb a bulk of information and asborb the salient points.
    “If you want to tell people the truth, make them laugh, otherwise they'll kill you.” ― Oscar Wilde

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  7. #7
    The Architect Alwar's Avatar
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    I have grown more skeptical over time. Many will assume something is legitimate because a study was cited or a scientist "said so." Although it depends on the subject matter how skeptical I am. It's great that you can often look up the study on the internet nowadays and look for critiques so easily.

  8. #8
    Senior Member tinkerbell's Avatar
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    I'm totally guilty of getting sulked into beleive something because it's in a non fiction book. I get more skeptical over time because I've see how bad some authors are are evidencing their opinions. It's really easy to then cite these bad authors as avidence of proof of concept.

    I recently read a book on Risk by Dan Gardener, so much fo what is reported in the media is total tosh... there to sell papers. He harps on about actual evidence and not misreporting statistical information. Anything can be seen to support an argument.

    One bit he wrote about was on Child abdution - which he cited the US statistic for... then proceeded to pull that statistic to bits.... Most were parents arguing over their kids, followed by 14 year old girls going off with 17 year old boys and so on. When he got down to the real pedophile style abduction the number was so small that sceintifically the risk did not exsist....

    Don't quote me on the above paragraph - it's an analogy based on something I read months ago, but my point being that authors by the very fact they have written a book and are soemtimes best sellers - have in fact based that book on really poor informaton....

    Lis

  9. #9
    pathwise dependent FDG's Avatar
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    I only really trust information provided by "technical" books - pure facts and figures and/or algorithms and methods. Then there's the books that argue some theory and base their reasoning on statistics - I consider them "a point of view" on the matter at hand, but far from truth (ex. psychology, management - these are the typical subject where most of what's written can only be considered an opinion). Then there's fiction, in that case I don't even think about believing or not believing what's written.
    ENTj 7-3-8 sx/sp

  10. #10
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    I don't really "believe" anything completely. I just assess whether it's worth putting in the "most likely I've got so far" category in my head or not. Some things go there easily. Other things don't even come to close because I don't think they make sense. Other things, if I deem them important enough, are researched thoroughly. So for me, it's either good enough and likely enough to give merit to, or it's not. Plain and simple. Information is harmless. Information leads to ideas. Ideas lead to action. Action is what matters.

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