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CDarwin
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What do we do with think tanks? Do they serve a valid purpose, or are they just the tools of science-for-hire machine? What separates a think tank from a valid independent research institution, like the HHMI, say, or the Max Plank Institutes in Germany? Are there think tanks that you just write off studies from out of hand?

 

Personally, I know when I see American Enterprise Institute or Heritage Foundation I become immediately skeptical, because I know what they do is political and I know the sort of idiotic positions they've taken on things like global warming and the cancer risks of smoking and evolution. Should that reflect on their economic studies? I don't know. What about the Brookings Institute? Should I be just as skeptical of them?

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yes, you're right in your skepticism. I think most 'think tanks' and 'institutions' like them are just political tools to hide ideology under a guise of intellectualism.

The difference between a think tank and a true research institution, is that they'll generally publish results that try to promote a 'right' way of doing things. A true research institution would just try to study variables, in order to test all sides of an issue. Think tanks just study one side, and use the results to show why they're agenda is right.

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What separates a think tank from a valid independent research institution

 

Here's my unsubstantiated opinion on the question above:

 

A think tank says, "That's the destination where we need to be. That's the goal. Now... go find the science which supports that. We also need to debunk everything which speaks against this goal/destination."

 

A research institution says, "Here's an interesting phenomenon. We want to learn more about it. Here's what's already been done, and here are some gaps. Let's see if we can fill those gaps by trying X, Y, and Z."

 

 

I suppose it's obvious my leaning on this issue. :rolleyes:

 

 

 

The difference lies in the intent and the approach.

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Originally Posted by Fred56

 

I had another look at the post this was in; so it all starts with a bit of dangerous thinking, or radicalspeak?

Symptoms of Groupthink

 

Janis has documented eight symptoms of groupthink:

 

1. Illusion of invulnerability –Creates excessive optimism that encourages taking extreme risks.

(brainburping/visionary 'thinking')

2. Collective rationalization – Members discount warnings and do not reconsider their assumptions.

(BeliefSystem B)

3. Belief in inherent morality – Members believe in the rightness of their cause and therefore ignore the ethical or moral consequences of their decisions.

(establishment of BeliefSys B)

4. Stereotyped views of out-groups – Negative views of “enemy” make effective responses to conflict seem unnecessary.

(incorrect filtering or processing -wrong algorithms; B is incorrect function set linguistic/semantic toolkit)

5. Direct pressure on dissenters – Members are under pressure not to express arguments against any of the group’s views.

(feedback and control mechanisms: to enhance a 'signal')

6. Self-censorship – Doubts and deviations from the perceived group consensus are not expressed.

(doctrine: formalisation of B)

7. Illusion of unanimity – The majority view and judgments are assumed to be unanimous.

(delusional belief: B doesn't map' date=' except if B is 'upheld' - maintained by delusional cycles of inference)

8. Self-appointed ‘mindguards’ – Members protect the group and the leader from information that is problematic or contradictory to the group’s cohesiveness, view, and/or decisions.

(maintenance/control of dogma & doctrinal discursion -co-option of 'agents'; isolation of the 'source')

/me

Yeah I posted that reference before.. we studied this in school.

 

Janis also gives a few tips on how to avoid it; it's very interesting to see its effect' date=' specifically on bodies like the government. In my Political Science class we analyzed "The Bay of Pigs" decisions through the idea of "Groupthink".. very interesting conclusions.

 

~moo

[/quote']

I think the first 'cycles' in the list would probably be maintained, too, to keep fresh 'visions' coming to the table. Congruent with 'current thinking', of course.

I bet this is a close fit to what those assholes in Burma do, to justify their despotism.

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Originally Posted by Fred56

 

I had another look at the post this was in; so it all starts with a bit of dangerous thinking, or radicalspeak?

 

Symptoms of Groupthink

 

Janis has documented eight symptoms of groupthink:

 

1. Illusion of invulnerability –Creates excessive optimism that encourages taking extreme risks.

(brainburping/visionary 'thinking')

 

2. Collective rationalization – Members discount warnings and do not reconsider their assumptions.

(BeliefSystem B)

 

3. Belief in inherent morality – Members believe in the rightness of their cause and therefore ignore the ethical or moral consequences of their decisions.

(establishment of BeliefSys B)

 

4. Stereotyped views of out-groups – Negative views of “enemy” make effective responses to conflict seem unnecessary.

(incorrect filtering or processing -wrong algorithms; B is incorrect function set linguistic/semantic toolkit)

5. Direct pressure on dissenters – Members are under pressure not to express arguments against any of the group’s views.

(feedback and control mechanisms: to enhance a 'signal')

 

6. Self-censorship – Doubts and deviations from the perceived group consensus are not expressed.

(doctrine: formalisation of B)

 

7. Illusion of unanimity – The majority view and judgments are assumed to be unanimous.

(delusional belief: B doesn't map, except if B is 'upheld' - maintained by delusional cycles of inference)

 

8. Self-appointed ‘mindguards’ – Members protect the group and the leader from information that is problematic or contradictory to the group’s cohesiveness, view, and/or decisions.

(maintenance/control of dogma & doctrinal discursion -co-option of 'agents'; isolation of the 'source')

Yeah I posted that reference before.. we studied this in school.

 

Janis also gives a few tips on how to avoid it; it's very interesting to see its effect' date=' specifically on bodies like the government. In my Political Science class we analyzed "The Bay of Pigs" decisions through the idea of "Groupthink".. very interesting conclusions.

 

~moo

[/quote']

 

I think the first 'cycles' in the list would probably be maintained, too, to keep fresh 'visions' coming to the table. Congruent with 'current thinking', of course.

I bet this is a close fit to what those assholes in Burma do, to justify their despotism.

 

((I *tried* to sort out the quote. Please avoid doing that again. Give SOME respect to the people around you)).

 

 

Geesh, I can't even know what I said out of it and what you did. Quote properly, Fred, you're being very rude. I can also play this game and misquote you, or add some "whoopsie-forgot-to-close-a-quote" trick to show you saying something else.

 

It's taking off of your credibility, and considering the amount of times you did - and apparantly still do - that, I'd say there's not much of it left.

 

Other than that, the red bits I put inside that quote are *your take on it*, not what Janis said, and therefore should have been separated from the original quote of Janis in the beginning.

 

 

I don't see how it has anything to do with a Belief System, but since you are - as usual - trolling, I will take it as your attempt to simulate a reopening of a previously closed thread or something, and give up the attempt to understand you.

 

~moo

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Give SOME respect to the people around you)

I have absolutely 0 idea what you are on about, you know.

If editing someone's post, to make an analysis of it in my own light is such a big problem (for you at least), what do you think I , or you , or anyone else, should do about "your" problem?

 

Don't think I'm expectantly awaiting your response, either. I'd rather you just thought about it, frankly.

 

"3. Belief in inherent morality – Members believe in the rightness of their cause."

But this doesn't happen here at SFN. Thank goodness.

 

Can you please stop splattering the blackboard with baked-bean bombs? Thankyou

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I didn't feel like putting a moniker on everything I changed. So I put these things "()" around it instead. I left it up to the reader to decide.

 

Why, so that they wouldn't be able to identify what exactly you changed?

 

I'm a dumbass

 

 

Yes you are. That is one thing you got right :D!

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Before FRED's incoherence and inability to communicate maturely takes us EVEN farther off track, let's reminder ourselves of CDarwin's original questions and try to discuss those.

 

 

 

What do we do with think tanks? Do they serve a valid purpose, or are they just the tools of science-for-hire machine? What separates a think tank from a valid independent research institution, like the HHMI, say, or the Max Plank Institutes in Germany? Are there think tanks that you just write off studies from out of hand?

 

Personally, I know when I see American Enterprise Institute or Heritage Foundation I become immediately skeptical, because I know what they do is political and I know the sort of idiotic positions they've taken on things like global warming and the cancer risks of smoking and evolution. Should that reflect on their economic studies? I don't know. What about the Brookings Institute? Should I be just as skeptical of them?

 

I suppose much of it depends on how the term "think tank" is being used, and what are the motivations of the members which compose it. As a general rule, I don't get warm fuzzies with that term, and find myself biased to trust a research institution much more, but one should be skeptical of their work as well if they wish to remain consistent.

 

 

Who else has thoughts on CDarwin's question?

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I have absolutely 0 idea what you are on about, you know.

If editing someone's post, to make an analysis of it in my own light is such a big problem (for you at least), what do you think I , or you , or anyone else, should do about "your" problem?

 

No, you're editing someone's post because you want to answer a question you're comfortable with, not the question actually asked.

 

That's called cowardice.

 

 

Don't think I'm expectantly awaiting your response, either. I'd rather you just thought about it, frankly.

 

"Frank"ly? is that a pun?

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I didn't feel like putting a moniker on everything I changed. So I put these things "()" around it instead. I left it up to the reader to decide.

Does anyone have any idea who this Janis is?

 

I believe I added references to my original post (because I do my best to not plagiarize), but here it is again:

 

Irving Janis in General:

http://query.nytimes.com/gst/fullpage.html?res=9C0CE7D6133EF93BA25752C1A966958260

 

 

The book "Groupthink" (Worth a read even outside of the confines of a college course):

http://www.amazon.com/Groupthink-Psychological-Studies-Decisions-Fiascoes/dp/0395317045/ref=pd_bbs_sr_1?ie=UTF8&s=books&qid=1197743431&sr=8-1

 

The theory of Groupthink: http://www.psysr.org/groupthink%20overview.htm

http://www.12manage.com/methods_janis_groupthink.html

http://www.bola.biz/communications/groupthink.html (a 'business' take on it)

 

BTW - a quick google search "Janis Groupthink" would give you EXACTLY who this person is. Of course, a reading of my resources (in my original post) would to.

 

--- EDIT ---

Good to know Fred was banned for his behavior.. I think I'll leave this current post tho, just because it has a lot of good resources for Janis' Groupthink.. and that actually *does* have a lot to do with effect of a "Think Tank".. so just ignore the quote in the beginning of the post and go with the links :)

 

 

~moo

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I have to agree with inow. (That's right mate. Take the pill and put it under your tongue, the tingling in your left arm will stop shortly.:D )

 

I find that most "Think Tanks" are trying to prove that which they already assume to be true rather than searching for the truth of an issue. The only real plus is that they are mostly labelled as to which side of the issue they're on. As in "The Conservative Think Tank ......." or similar.

 

I admit I'd like to see some sort of bio included in all reports (or for that matter papers). Who paid for the report? Who funds the Institution in general? What are the relevent affiliations of the management and the authors?

 

This is information that is relevent to assessing possible bias in the report. An institution funded by ExxonMobil will hardly produce a report critical of the oil industry while conversely an institution with an 80% Greenpeace membership will probably not be objective on matters of conservation.

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Take the pill and put it under your tongue, the tingling in your left arm will stop shortly.:D )

LOL. :D

 

 

 

I admit I'd like to see some sort of bio included in all reports (or for that matter papers). Who paid for the report? Who funds the Institution in general? What are the relevent affiliations of the management and the authors?

 

This is information that is relevent to assessing possible bias in the report.

That's an interesting idea. My concern is that even THAT can be spun. Those with intent could always leave off names they knew brought negative perception, or emphasize names that brough positive perception, or ... just make up stuff entirely. Always look into the data and the methods used to collect it. That will insulate you a great majority of the time from agendas or misrepresentations.

 

 

I hope the nth dimensional spacewarp filing issue has worked itself out. ;)

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