Sunday, 21 February 2010

Mush for the brain

A youtube personality named QualiaSoup has been posting some slick presentations on the net lately. On one forum I read regularly, he's become a popular topic of conversation. At my office, he's all the rage. His videos can be found here:

The beauty of these presentations is how well-directed they are. The voice-over and images have a nice rhythm, and support each other well. All of the videos support atheism. Their purpose is to prove that religion is the result of poor critical thinking skills. Secondarily, belief in the supernatural or the paranormal are also the result of inferior critical thinking skills. With no small amount of condescension, qualiasoup endeavors to enlighten the troglodytes of the world with his simplistic videos. Too bad they don't make any sense.

The annoyingly arrogant narrator becomes only more so in the first few seconds of every video, as he almost instantly trips over every sentence he utters. Whatever the subject, he makes assumptions about his listeners that are not true. As a listener on the other side of the debate, it should be instantly clear that he cannot possibly be talking about you, because nothing he says is applicable. Oddly, everything he says is delivered in a dull, father-knows-best monotone. He really doesn't have a clue, but affects to know everything. The irony would be easier to enjoy if only qualiasoup were aware of what he is missing.

The problem is that he doesn't use any facts at all in the presentations. Instead, he makes logical calculations based on incorrect assumptions. Conveniently for him, he assumes that the evidence he is debating does not exist. In one video, he gave an example of something that happened to me some time ago. It was literally, the same thing; a prediction of a 20 roll sequence using 6-sided dies. He then dismissed the possibility that a prediction of the exact twenty number sequence would be made immediately before the dice were rolled. This is exactly what I did though. I predicted the entire sequence in one statement, prior to rolling any dice, and then it happened, exactly as predicted. But this just doesn't happen in qualiasoup's version of the world, because it is far too unlikely. The way he figures it, it will happen to someone, but it is impossible to know to whom it will occur. Not so, at least in my case.

This is what all of his statements are like. He doesn't believe in psychic events, so he dismisses anyone who has actual knowledge of those things. He doesn't believe in God, so he makes videos based on his opinions and prejudices. He doesn't bother to check anything out. I'm not sure what it says about his critical thinking skills, but his research skills get a big zero, for not having gone to the trouble of even looking at the material he imagines he is debunking.

Listening to the qualiasoup channel, if you can stand it, is like filling your head with wet cement. Don't let it happen to you, run for the exits if you must, but if you want to improve your critical thinking skills, qualiasoup is not the place to go.


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