A model to keep from being scammed

May 11, 2013 by Joshua
in Exercises, Models, Nature

[This post is part of a series on “Mental models and beliefs: an exercise to identify yours.” If you don’t see a Table of Contents to the left, click here to view the series, where you’ll get more value than reading just this post.]

Have you ever been scammed into buying something that didn’t work? Has anyone ever tried to sell you something too good to be true? Have you lost money gambling you wish you hadn’t?

Do you not like that happening?

A model to keep from being scammed: The laws of physics, science, math, and logic.

Some scams are cons based on abusing trust, but a lot of them are based on things that aren’t possible — perpetual motion devices, fake controversy about the planet’s climate, fake controversy about the health effects of smoking or sugar, and so on.

When you don’t understand nature, causality, and logic, people can persuade you about things easily.

Our understanding of science changes all the time, but some things don’t change — like causality, logic, and the conservation of energy.

I won’t explain how much people miss these effects. Like when they think they can turn on the air conditioner without causing pollution or don’t understand how their diets affect their fitness. It’s frustrating when people miss this stuff when you understand it.

The funny thing is that science isn’t something that happens in a lab. It’s the study of nature — literally everything in the universe.

Of course I include chemistry, biology, and other branches of science. Evolutionary psychology forms the foundation of much of this web page.

When I use this belief

I use this belief all the time, since I’m always interacting with nature. And by nature, I don’t just mean forest streams and clouds. I mean everything.

What this belief replaces

This belief replaces taking someone’s word for something with testing and reporting one’s results.

Where this belief leads

This belief leads to a greater respect for nature, observation, experiment, and honest reporting of the results.

It leads to more consistent and rational understanding of and communication about the world.

It leads to seeing more beauty in the world.

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1 response to “A model to keep from being scammed

  1. Pingback: Mental models and beliefs: an exercise to identify yours » Joshua Spodek

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