Monday, December 23, 2013
Don't Be Fooled Again!
By remembering behavior, it is possible to not be fooled or surprised as often. As I pointed out last June, when I wrote “Hear It Here First,” many of the results (consequences) that I warn of turn up in the news, in one form or another, weeks or months later. We should have seen it coming. Here are a few more examples.
On September 3, 2012 and May 6, 2013 (and 9 other times) I warned of and gave examples of the serious consequences of failures in parental responsibility. When parents don’t do their job it affects education and many other areas, but worst of all, it teaches children to act the same way. I have shown how, when responsibility is weak, people look for excuses to forgive themselves, and we as a society don’t hold them accountable. Now we are faced with the claim that a Texas teen “was blameless for driving drunk and causing a crash that left four people dead in June.” His excuse was that he was pampered by his affluent parents and has grown up not knowing how to act responsibly. He was sentenced to 10 years probation and no jail time. Many upset people saw this as a travesty. Since when is being spoiled rotten considered a disability? But what else should we expect in a society where people have blamed cigarettes and hot coffee and won in court; where we now consider obesity a disease; where we are willing to label any number of weaknesses as addictions; and where we blame our problems on inanimate objects like sugar, TV, and diet colas. Blaming affluence for criminal behavior is just another such example. Based on past observations, it shouldn’t be surprising.
Earlier this year I wrote at least twice (July 5 and September 20) about how Americans are wasting billions of dollars on multi-vitamins and that the best option is to get vitamins and minerals through a healthy diet. Last Monday’s news reported that vitamins are not recommended for most and have been shown to be ineffective against memory loss, heart disease and other chronic diseases. This ABC article provides a quote from Annals of Internal Medicine: "Evidence is sufficient to advise against routine supplementation." It is clear that the “main nutrition problem in the U.S. is too much fat and calories” not lack of vitamins. If you think about it, the term used is "recommended daily allowance (RDA)," which is vague enough to indicate that they don’t really know the best dosage, but getting too much is dangerous and buying unneeded supplements is wasteful.
Finally, last month marked the passing of Sylvia Browne, noted psychic. She was 77, but once predicted that she would live to be 88. In an interesting test a number of years ago, a researcher/skeptic asked 31 fourth-grade students to guess the outcome of 11 events that Ms. Browne predicted for the year 2005. At year's end they found that she was correct in only 3 cases. The students fared much better as one made 8 correct predictions, and 28 out of 31 guessed made more than 3. Perhaps we should be looking for a replacement psychic in the fourth grade, or instead use our critical thinking to dismiss any claims of so-called psychic powers. (Also see my comments from June 24, 2013 and September 7, 2012.)
These examples each week are meant to show similarities in behavior so readers can begin to classify them by dimension and see how one particular weakness shows up in many seemingly diverse actions. Not until we recognize the patterns, can we look for solutions. It also keeps us from being surprised or fooled by outrageous news stories. They are usually just another example of failures in one of the same five dimensions, failures that, if not addressed, will continue to lead us on the downward societal spiral that most Americans find so distressing. It’s also not unusual to see references to the same problems here, months in advance. Past behavior predicts future behavior.