Originally Posted by BevelDevil
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.