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UBER Forehand 04-18-2012 04:08 PM

Nonsense versus science: an intellectual bloodshed awaits
 
It's extremely long, but it's worth the read if you want to avoid being the toy of other people intellectually speaking.

***If you want to skip to the advice, read only the last two paragraphs.

I will **** off many people, but I owe to you all more than an hypocritical respect that would mean nothing without honesty. As I read posts, I often fell unto the sort of things we would find in corner store books that sit on shelves, far -- and rightly so -- from the psychology section of a big U's library. I must say that they do have the hang of being convenient with their claims as using words and sentences that are prone to equivocation does leave something for everyone to see whatever they want into it -- and that whatever being often what they themselves think, the authors generally get praises for being "so right"... of course, everyone in that line rather mean "I am so right," but that's an other topic altogether.

Let's then clear the issue we have at hand and let's draw a line between and science and the rest. I know that many people upfront won't like what I have to say, but bare with me for a moment as I will try to dismantle the myths you have compiled over the years about what constitutes science.

What is science?
A scientific answer is not very hard to understand in its making: you make a statement and you verify its validity empirically. Generally, as you're not the first one to work that way, you read a bit before making up an hypothesis so that you have a sort of idea of what should happen once you verify if your call was right or not. An opinion I often came across was as if science was a series of fixed answers and positions... well, no. Science is the method, not the results. An other problem we see is rather semantic and specific to the US: a theory, in scientific terms, is an established hypothesis. It's not assumed to be true; it's something we tested so often that the community agrees to say the results are reliable. If it's not proven, we'll call it an hypothesis.

Now, why would we trust these things? Well, let's get an analogy. If you were to enter a store where they sell cloths and the salesman would always find that what is in store suit you. Shorter, longer, bigger or smaller; whenever something doesn't fit, he makes up an excuse such as "tailoring does wonders," "you will grow into your stuff as you age," "looseness ensures comfort"; etc. Would you trust his judgement? Of course no. But do you know why? Because he cannot potentially say no; the bidding term is his answer and he re-interpret every empirical detail so as to confirm the answer he gave. Well, the same is true when you are looking for any answer: it's the possibility for a person to say that "no," to change their mind or disagree that grants value to their agreement, to their position, to their "yes."

Scientific answers are worthy of thrust because they can be tested anew, people work at dismantling each others idea, work at finding if they could be that one person who disproves the whole thing and replace it with something else. Doing so means fame, glory and money.

Worthy of trust or not?
Now what are these books you find that are put into the psychology section of corner stores, but not of big Universities? Why can't you thrust them? Because they do like the annoying salesman who's looking after his commission: they re-interpret events so as to confirm their position. It's not very hard to do; I omit a few detail, use exceptions to make hasty generalization and blend in a few terms that are prone to equivocation (let's say we'll use the word "energy") and, suddenly, people are nodding their heads when reading it. But we can't trust them because they do not rigorously put to the test their claims.

An example of how perception plays trick on us so often
Say that you had troubles with services offered by the government and you have seen a guy exploiting this service dishonestly to steal money. If you were to use only these two facts -- because they are facts -- to make your conclusions, wouldn't you say that the service the government offers only serves thieves and normal people can't benefit of it? Even if these two instances were one in a million, if you generalize it, it puts a bad look over what actually works. But you highlighted the wrong part and weren't rigorous. That's what most of our judgments look like, except those were we bothered opening up serious books, researching and perhaps even testing systematically all solutions. Something could spare us from doing it too much: they are called lessons of philosophy -- you know, these long boring classes were you have to use abstract ideas from dead men to answer questions as if you were them? Well, that's how you avoid being dumb: by remaining logical and rigorous.

The usefulness of theories and tennis
You might wonder what it has to do with tennis, but it has to do with everything, including tennis. There's a saying that goes as "there is nothing more practical than a good theory" and I think we should seek to apply that in its most literal sense to discuss and think, regardless of the subject. A theory is a general notion that tells you how a given thing works in principle; it lists relationships between different components and tells you what does what and how it does it. It's an abstract model of reality, a simplified version that highlights certain things to give you some hold over it. The difference between that and a practical understanding of the thing is that the theory applies in all conditions and to countless compositions and the practical knowledge doesn't (and by practical, I mean like knowing how to make sums, place plates in the dishwasher so the water can have some space to work in between or how to use a broom). If I grasp the principle, I can figure out what's the answer, regardless of the conditions in which I apply the theory, but if I only know how to proceed mechanically, I will only know how to figure out the answer in one specific case -- and I'll need a new procedure each time the case is changed.

Are there theories that apply to tennis? Yes. If you look up for some of my posts, I used Vigotsky's principles of learning several times to explain how we prevent ourselves from hitting a wall or why we can't go for stuff that is too hard, nor too easy. I can use this same piece of knowledge to teach a 2 years old, as much as a 15 years old; to teach as much geography or psychology as tennis... And what I explained above -- the notion of what's a theory; I understand the concept of "theory" in a formal way, so I can even come up with examples on my own such as this one.

There are also theories on emotional development, as well as emotions. And I here talk directly to "Kyteboard" (I hope I spelled it right) who used corner store books, called it knowledge and expressed an idea that was in short baseless, without any empirical foundation... That's saddening and harmful as well, my friend, because, now, there are people who will read you and believe what you wrote, except that it's not reality you described; it's just a big bunch of New Age nonsense you spewed over the net. Want to know why you have certain emotions? Well, there's a scientific way to proceed, to figure out the basis for them, as well as how they develop so that you can teach yourself out of the issue and that will give you control over yourself; just telling people that they can start to think differently and it will change their life is pretty dumb as well as false. However, if they were to have an idea of, say, what is their self-concept and how their emotional development might relate to their behavior on the court, that could help solve the issue -- the theory tells you how it was built, but if you know how the mistaken component was built, you can use the same process to change it into something else.

The self-concept theory in action
Want and example? Okay. Within the self-concept (that's the mental representation you have of yourself), we find self-knowledge and self-esteem. The first one is made of two things which are how much you know of yourself and how much of this corresponds to reality; the second one contains valence (that's if you have a generally positive or negative evaluation of yourself) and, again, realism (do you exaggerate -- such as considering yourself a poor player when you are statistically exceptional). Let's say you have a relatively negative valence and feel that, generally, it's not so cool to be yourself -- you'd rather be someone else. The self-concept isn't a thing that pops into existence: it's a socially-determined construction; well, it's the result of dialectical process that operates between each of your former self with the perception others had of it. You're basically the product of what other people have seen of you. If you feel bad, the solution isn't very hard then: you need to be put into a social condition within which you are likelier to be valued. After a while, you will feel like you are so much better than you thought you were. The advice to be really specific is to find constructive critics -- people who will improve the valence and realism of your self-esteem.

Ever lacked confidence in your forehand? Well, you need to put yourself into situations where you are likelier to succeed and seeing yourself making it, slowly building up the difficulty, will solve the issue. Of course, if your technique is poor, fix it first (and as your consistency improves due to better movement, so will the emotional value you grant to it)! See the difference? Real advice and real science -- it also gives real results. If you understood what I just did properly, you can do that with just about anything.

boramiNYC 04-18-2012 04:24 PM

Dude, mastering any skill is not that easy and people are not that stupid. If it was so easy to understand things and perform based on it, you'd be playing pro and making millions not posting here thinking everyone here's stupid.

OldFedIsOld 04-18-2012 05:07 PM

"But that's an other topic altogether..." You misspelled another.

"You read a bit before making up an hypothesis..." A should replace an, since the h in hypothesis is not silent.

"Store where they sell cloths..." Clothes, not cloths because you are talking about clothing not fabric.

"Would you trust his judgement? Of course no." You used no instead of not.

"Scientific answers are worthy of thrust because..." Trust not thrust, you made this mistake multiple times.

These are only a few errors I found in this disgusting post. This post should be moved to the odds/ends section of TT and not in tips/instruction, because it offers no help in tennis.

UBER Forehand 04-18-2012 06:10 PM

Quote:

Originally Posted by boramiNYC (Post 6472520)
Dude, mastering any skill is not that easy and people are not that stupid. If it was so easy to understand things and perform based on it, you'd be playing pro and making millions not posting here thinking everyone here's stupid.

Obviously, you didn't understand the point of it. Do you think that I would waste my time explaining things to people who I think wouldn't be able to understand them? Of course not.

And, secondly, I was correcting a mistake virtually everyone makes... they don't make it because they are stupid and unable to understand; more than often, they do it because they are unaware that it is indeed a mistake. What I tried to bring here wasn't a condescending reply meant to show people how ignorant they are... I posted a few thoughts on methods, procedures and gave examples of what it should look like to work in a way that spares us from being the toy of our impressions.

But, as far as I can tell, it only seems as if I ****ed off a few people who feel like every man who put up stuff they have knowledge about do it to impose something unto others or as if it was necessarily carrying an aura of superiority whenever a guy points out at certain flaws.

You probably understand that if you are bound by circumstances to behave in a wrongful way, it's only if someone else points it out or shows you what you couldn't otherwise see that you would understand your mistake and, finally, improve. That's what I am trying to do here. I am well aware that in the truest, most popular of spirit, I risk more insults than praises, but I am not doing this to be enjoyed or appreciated; if I was, I'd be telling you what you want to hear, not what you need to hear.

And, no: even if I understand properly how to do something, it doesn't follow that I will do it well; neither does it follow from knowledge of how to train myself, that it will also do it that well either. However, it does follow from the absence of knowledge or by following erroneous ideas that someone won't get as good as they could -- that is the point of my intervention. I'll also probably will receive more insults for doing this, but your comment is a non sequitur as the conclusion does not follow from the premises you have used: knowledge of the method and knowledge of how to learn the method does not entail by necessity the ability to perform it; hence, my skill as a player have no impact on the validity of my comments.

On the other hand, it doesn't mean that you are stupid. In fact, you're probably insulted or frustrated and you wrote what felt good instead of writing what made sense. It feels good to blame the President, but it doesn't make sense to blame one guy who needs the vote of a bunch of others and who operate within limits... and it doesn't help to do it either as it's not the real problem. But it does feel good.

BMC9670 04-18-2012 06:40 PM

Quote:

Originally Posted by OldFedIsOld (Post 6472587)
These are only a few errors I found in this disgusting post. This post should be moved to the odds/ends section of TT and not in tips/instruction, because it offers no help in tennis.

Maybe they could come up with a new "pompous windbag" section we could all ignore...

Timbo's hopeless slice 04-18-2012 06:45 PM

Quote:

Originally Posted by BMC9670 (Post 6472729)
Maybe they could come up with a new "pompous windbag" section we could all ignore...

Well, he's probably in the right section, then!!!

Our man is certainly terribly impressed with his own cleverness, I would quite like to see him engage the boys in the 'Oscar at the Fair' thread, ought to be hilarious...

Hi I'm Ray 04-18-2012 06:56 PM

There also does not seem to be any intention of helping anyone here, there is just very basic info here. The intention of this thread seems to be written in the title.

Quote:

Originally Posted by UBER Forehand (Post 6472492)
[b]"Kyteboard" (I hope I spelled it right).

That's an incredibly lame and childish jab. No one is going to take you seriously.

sureshs 04-18-2012 06:59 PM

"A scientific answer is not very hard to understand in its making: you make a statement and you verify its validity empirically."

Not any more. Most basic questions are now either beyond our ability to verify empirically, or are theoretically impossible to verify. An example of the former is the existence of the Higg's boson, which even the LHC may not be able to answer due to the requirements of large energies. An example of the latter is the theory of multiverses moving away from each other at the speed of light, thus making it impossible to communicate with them and verify the theory. Scientific enquiry is now more about mathematical self-consistency.

BevelDevil 04-18-2012 09:06 PM

Copied from my post in the other thread...

Quote:

Originally Posted by UBER Forehand (Post 6472501)
That's New Age crap. Let me post you a link to what science tells about a part of the mental aspect of the game.


I haven't read Kiteboard's stuff yet, but I think I will now.


I think there's something you're overlooking, though: A belief may not be "true", yet despite that it may be "useful."

For example, science gives no support to the existence of God, yet many scientific studies have shown the positive effects of believing in God. This is why many health organizations will support "faith-based" recovery programs. They have been proven to speed up recovery.

Another example, if you're trying to bench press a heavy weight, you might tell yourself, "Light as a feather." Well, it's flat out false that the weight is light as a feather. But doing your best to believe it is may help you in lifting it.


Finally, scientific studies of optimism and pessimism have consistently shown that people who tested as "pessimistic" tend to be able to make more accurate factual assessments of many situations. In other words, pessimists are "realists," whereas optimists are often dreamers and deniers.

Yet, which of these people do you think are healthier, live longer, are more successful, have better social relations, and are happier? The optimists.


So New Age crap may not be "true", but that doesn't matter. What matters is whether it's helpful. I guess Kiteboard's readers can chime back in a few weeks and let us know.

UBER Forehand 04-18-2012 09:12 PM

Quote:

Originally Posted by Timbo's hopeless slice (Post 6472736)
Our man is certainly terribly impressed with his own cleverness


Explain me how so... I would like to see how you go from what I wrote to this statement. I am under the impression you're just looking at an explanation and a critic and, necessarily, because it's lengthy and elaborated, but also because it criticizes someone for not being intellectually rigorous enough, the guy ought to be looking after compliments. But hey, I won't pick on a strawman to say that you're falling for a non sequitur, so explain me how I am so passionately impressed by my own cleverness as you say.

Cheetah 04-18-2012 09:22 PM

yuck. i feel like i need to take a shower after reading that first post.
Are cult manifestos allowed on talk tennis?

boramiNYC 04-18-2012 09:26 PM

Good post, beveldevil

Quote:

Originally Posted by UBER Forehand (Post 6472950)
explain me how I am so passionately impressed by my own cleverness as you say.

You mention psychology in some other thread? It's a 'social' science...more emphasis on social than on science. You want to think about what 'social' means before talking about 'science'. When you don't do that your 'science' becomes a little too clever for its own good.



ps-debatable but social science is not really a science conventionally unless you are communicating with other social scientists. Don't wanna argue about that. Just stating.

Timbo's hopeless slice 04-18-2012 09:27 PM

Quote:

Originally Posted by UBER Forehand (Post 6472950)
Explain me how so... I would like to see how you go from what I wrote to this statement. I am under the impression you're just looking at an explanation and a critic and, necessarily, because it's lengthy and elaborated, but also because it criticizes someone for not being intellectually rigorous enough, the guy ought to be looking after compliments. But hey, I won't pick on a strawman to say that you're falling for a non sequitur, so explain me how I am so passionately impressed by my own cleverness as you say.

I really hope English is a second language for you as your grammar and usage leave rather a lot to be desired.

I have no interest in debating you, however, as your argument lacks any intellectual rigour.
oh, irony...:)

UBER Forehand 04-18-2012 09:41 PM

Quote:

Originally Posted by BevelDevil (Post 6472946)
I think there's something you're overlooking, though: A belief may not be "true", yet despite that it may be "useful."

For example, science gives no support to the existence of God, yet many scientific studies have shown the positive effects of believing in God. This is why many health organizations will support "faith-based" recovery programs. They have been proven to speed up recovery.

You criticized me, then be fair and let me respond. Read it at your turn.

I'll give you an example of how doing rationally is still better regardless of these and even shows how and under which conditions what you wrote can be useful.

There's an old belief in Karma that people carried into this pile of stuff I called New Age crap... Do you know how your convictions relate to your behavior? It's very simple: you tend to undertake actions and behave toward an end in a manner that agrees with your convictions regarding this end. If you strongly believe in accomplishing a task, it won't necessarily happen, but you will tend to behave so as to make it likelier. It's called a self-fulfilling prophecy and it also work if other people believe or don't believe in it.

It might seem as if being optimist is nice and that this belief in the energy being good is accurate... but it's not. I said that you increased the probabilities of making it happen, not that you would make it happen and, secondly, it's because it affects your behavior that it relates to the results, not because some mystic force compels the Universe to work in a certain way. There's a difference and the difference can come when someone is desperate. That poor guy, robbed of everything... if he picks up the scientific book, he'll learn that he can give himself a chance by trying hard and believing he can make it, but that it could still fail. If he picks up the other type of books, he'll be convinced that it all rests on him and that he can do it if he wants it. What if he fails?

Regardless of what you think of me, understand that people must agree with themselves: he can't look at himself being a master and not feeling responsible for failure. It won't be too good. However, he can interpret it differently if he read the science book: it's not entirely his fault and he did his best. In the later case, the guy can put some positive value over the effort he exerted, so he might feel a little better being himself; in the case of the belief, he doesn't have that luxury -- either he'll deny the belief or he'll consider himself responsible of all his miseries.


You don't need the false belief to lure yourself into doing something and feeling better: we know how the false belief works into doing this, so we can substitute it with something else to avoid the bad effects it can have. And, seriously, if it's inaccurate, it means that it give bad tips at one point or the other... why pick up half the cake? Take the entire thing.

PS: I know I am ******* off many people and I don't care about being looked down as an intellectual elitist or something. I am just plain tired of reading dumb statements all over the place and seeing intelligent people like you all nodding your heads as if you didn't respect yourself enough to look further.

UBER Forehand 04-18-2012 09:44 PM

Quote:

Originally Posted by boramiNYC (Post 6472961)
ps-debatable but social science is not really a science conventionally unless you are communicating with other social scientists.

Confirm your beliefs... it's not because you tend to have more opinions about how human interact than about how chemicals can cause fire that there doesn't exist statements which are more consequent with facts than others about it.

boramiNYC 04-18-2012 09:50 PM

Quote:

Originally Posted by UBER Forehand (Post 6472979)
Confirm your beliefs... it's not because you tend to have more opinions about how human interact than about how chemicals can cause fire that there doesn't exist statements which are more consequent with facts than others about it.

Improving your language skill might be a first step in improving your understanding in 'social' part in your social science. Who knows it might even help in your 'science' part as well.

Just cannot comprehend what you wrote there.

vil 04-19-2012 12:07 AM

I have never seen so much useless pile of rubbish than this thread can offer.
What is it all about anyway????:confused::confused:

Ash_Smith 04-19-2012 12:28 AM

and the Talk Tennis award for most words used in a post without actually saying anything goes to...

SystemicAnomaly 04-19-2012 12:46 AM

Quote:

Originally Posted by BMC9670 (Post 6472729)
Maybe they could come up with a new "pompous windbag" section we could all ignore...

Quote:

Originally Posted by Cheetah (Post 6472959)
yuck. i feel like i need to take a shower after reading that first post.
Are cult manifestos allowed on talk tennis?

Quote:

Originally Posted by Ash_Smith (Post 6473076)
and the Talk Tennis award for most words used in a post without actually saying anything goes to...

"We" are amused...

With the lights out, it's less dangerous
Here we are now, entertain us
I feel stupid and contagious
Here we are now, entertain us

arche3 04-19-2012 03:36 AM

omg.... Why are there so many crazy tennis people. Play more man. Think less.


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