Optimism Abuse

Posted in Politics, The Internet, Undogegorized by chamblee54 on August 11, 2013









PG was spending a hot summer afternoon indoors. As background noise for multi tasking, he found a video discussion about optimism. The positivity police have harassed PG about negative attitude for years and years. Maybe listening to this discussion will help.

One of the talkers is a lady named Tali Sharot, promoting a book, The Optimism Bias: A Tour of the Irrationally Positive Brain. She is an academic, at University College London. She does studies about, er, ah, something. In one study, “we had people imagine medical conditions, headache, break your arm, and so on… signalling how bad you thought that was going to be.”

One way to get a headache is to listen to this BHTV discussion. Dr. Sharot is talking on the phone, and the sound is horrible. All the optimism in the world is not going to make her voice any more pleasant. Then she starts to talk about the choices people have to make in these studies. Should I take a job in London, or in Paris? Should I take a vacation in Greece, or in Thailand? PG began to suspect that the target audience did not include him.

Some of the amazon reviews are not kind. not for me June 11, 2011 Patricia R. Andersen “redheaded booklover” (MD USA) This review is based on what I have seen and experienced. It is entirely possible that I just know cranky and depressed people, but somehow I don’t think so. But I did have the “irrational optimism” that the longer I read this book, the better I would like it. Needless to say, I didn’t. … The book doesn’t work for me. Other people might enjoy it, but I did not. I’d like to get back the time I feel that I have wasting by reading this book. I would not recommend this book to anyone, but again, your mileage may varry.

Compltete jibberish July 31, 2011 larry white (Bryan, OH USA) C is completel jibberish and not backed by facts ir reason. The author has failed to deliver scientific backup for her claims. No wonder we sre a mess as a country. She claims obama is optimistic? We are all optimistic when we are getting our way but roadblocks hae shown obama to be a very ugly angry man. I have requested a refund

Out of a misguided sense of fairness, PG decided to listen to a TED talk, Tali Sharot: The optimism bias. The lady is good at sales. The sound of the TED talk is much better than the BHTV discussion.

The only trouble is the content of the talk. PG made it through 12 minutes of an 18 minute talk. Dr. Sharot throws questionable ideas out, then moves on to the next faulty assumption. Little evidence for her claims is offered. She uses misleading studies and statements. Evidently, Dr. Sharot is optimistic that people will believe what she says.

An example is cancer. PG lost both parents to this condition. This is an emotional subject. PG suspects that talk about an “average likelihood of suffering from cancer” is both meaningless and cruel. Anyone who knows how statistics can be manipulated, also knows that “average” is a weasel word. If you do contract cancer, your chances of suffering are close to 100%

This is her closing paragraph. It is edited, out of mercy for those with better things to do than read blogs. It is helpful that penguins are an exotic species. Few listeners know much about penguins. “Because if you’re one of these pessimistic penguins up there who just does not believe they can fly, you certainly never will… But if you’re an optimistic penguin who believes they can fly, but then adjusts a parachute to your back just in case things don’t work out exactly as you had planned, you will soar like an eagle, even if you’re just a penguin.” Pictures today are from “The Special Collections and Archives,Georgia State University Library”.









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