I thought I would repost the intermittent Quora questions that I answer here.
Where did the “devil sign” 666 come from? For that, we have to learn a bit about the history of written language.
I II III IV V VI VII VIII IX X
You probably recognize the above as Roman Numerals.
1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10
You recognize the above, but do you know what they’re called? Arabic Numerals. Yes, our number lettering system comes from Arabs. This is why Romans used Roman Numerals: They just used the letters of their own alphabet to double as numbers.
Greeks civilization peaked before Roman civilization, so the Greeks did not use Roman Numerals. They used their own letters for numbers:
Α B Γ Δ E ΣΤ Z H Θ I
And Jews used their own letters for numbers as well (note– Hebrew is read from right to left):
א ב ג ד ה ו ז ח ט י
So this means that spelling someone’s name out has a numeric equivalent. If, for example that makes sense, you know someone named “Vix”, this is 5 + 9 (V + IX) or 5 + 1 + 10 (V + I + X). You could talk in code about “fourteen” or about “sixteen” and people could infer that you’re talking about Vix.
So the “devil sign” isn’t actually 6–6–6, or three sixes. It is really six hundred and sixty six. Moreover, that isn’t the only “devil sign”; there are some manuscripts of Revelation that have six hundred and sixteen instead of six hundred sixty six. Just like in the person named “Vix” example above, adding up someone’s name might result in different totals depending on how you parse the letters of their name.
With that being said, the name of god in Hebrew is YHWH or יְהוָה. Y is the number 10, H is the number 5, and W is the number 6. This adds up to 10 + 5 + 6 + 5, or 26.
 Arabic numerals – Wikipedia
Trait Sensitivity to Contamination Promotes a Preference for Order, Hierarchy, and Rule-Based Moral Judgment
Models of moral judgment have linked generalized emotionality with deontological moral judgment. The evidence, however, is mixed. Other research has linked the specific emotion of disgust with generalized moral condemnation. Here too, the evidence is mixed. We suggest that a synthesis of these two literatures points to one specific emotion (disgust) that reliably predicts one specific type of moral judgment (deontological). In all three studies, we found that trait disgust sensitivity predicted more extreme deontological judgment. In Study 3, with deontological endorsement and consequentialist endorsement operationalized as independent constructs, we found that disgust was positively associated with deontological endorsement but was unrelated to consequentialist endorsement. Across studies, the disgust–deontology link was mediated by individual difference variables related to preference for order (right-wing authoritarianism and intolerance for ambiguity). These data suggest a more precise model of emotion and moral judgment that identifies specific emotions, specific types of moral judgment, and specific motivational pathways.
Jeffrey S. Robinson, Xiaowen Xu, Jason E. Plaks
Social Psychological and Personality Science https://doi.org/10.1177%2F1948550617732609
The present study uses a series of large, nationally representative surveys of the U.S. population to produce valid and reliable measures of three aspects of epistemic beliefs: reliance on intuition for factual beliefs (Faith in Intuition for facts), importance of consistency between empirical evidence and beliefs (Need for evidence), and conviction that “facts” are politically constructed (Truth is political). Analyses confirm that these factors complement established predictors of misperception [my emph.], substantively increasing our ability to explain both individuals’ propensity to engage in conspiracist ideation, and their willingness to embrace falsehoods about high-profile scientific and political issues. Individuals who view reality as a political construct are significantly more likely to embrace falsehoods, whereas those who believe that their conclusions must hew to available evidence tend to hold more accurate beliefs.
Garrett RK, Weeks BE (2017) Epistemic beliefs’ role in promoting misperceptions and conspiracist ideation. PLoS ONE 12(9): e0184733. https://doi.org/10.1371/journal.pone.0184733
I’ve already written about this before but I’ve thought of another way of explaining this.
As I wrote in that post that I linked to above, probabilities aren’t facts about objects or phenomena that we look at or experience. If you flip a coin and it lands heads twice, the probability of it landing tails on the third flip is the same as the probability of it landing heads on that third flip.
But people who think that probability is an aspect of the coin similar to its weight or its color will think that 50% probability is physically tied to the coin, so it *must* account for the lack of landing tails on the next flip. As though there is a god of coin flips who has to make sure that the books are accounted for.
Again, this is wrong. And this next scenario I think explains why.
In a standard deck of cards, there’s a 1/52 chance of pulling any specific card, right? What if we have two people, Alice and Bob, who want to pull from the deck. Except, Alice has memorized the order of the cards in the deck and Bob hasn’t.
What is the probability of Bob drawing an Ace of Spades on the first draw? For us and Bob, it’s 1/52. But for Alice — because she’s memorized the order of the cards — it’s virtually certain (e.g., 99.99% or 0.000…1%) to her which card Bob will draw.
If 1/52 was some intrinsic aspect of the deck of cards, then how can there be two different probabilities? Obviously, because probability is a description of our uncertainty. It only exists in our minds. The reader of that thought experiment and Bob are operating under uncertainty. Alice, on the other hand, is not because she’s memorized the order of the cards.
Furthermore, Bayes is all about updating on new evidence. What if there was some third actor, Chad, who mixed up the deck of cards outside of Alice’s knowledge? Now, Alice may think that the next card’s probability is either 100% or 0%, but this is not true either. Now Chad has the certainty.
If Bob draws a card that Alice doesn’t think he should draw, how can she possibly do a Bayesian update on either 0% or 100%? She has to do the equivalent of moving faster than the speed of light in order to update; it literally takes infinite bits of data in order to update from 0% or 100% to some other number. Try it:
P(H | E) = P(E | H) * P(H) / P(E)
50% = ??? * 0% / 1.9% or
50% = ??? * 100% / 1.9%
This situation can be repeated over and over again, introducing new characters manipulating the deck outside of other people’s knowledge. And this demonstrates that not only is probability subjective and in your head, but that a Bayesian probability of 0% or 100% is not a probability at all because those numbers cannot be updated.
Psychologists have long known that people tend to favor their own group over others, a social phenomenon known as ingroup bias. But new research provides evidence that atheists are motivated to buck this trend in an attempt to override the stereotype that they are immoral.
Psychology researchers from Ohio University found that Christians demonstrated an ingroup bias towards other Christians in an economic game but atheists did not have an ingroup bias towards other atheists. The study was published online July 10 in the Journal of Experimental Social Psychology.
Read More at PsyPost
Unrelenting faith in the face of insurmountable contradictory evidence is a trait of believers in conspiracy theories that has long confounded researchers. For instance, past research has demonstrated how attempting to use evidence to sway believers of anti-vaccine conspiracy theories can backfire, increasing their certainty in the conspiracy. Could it also be the case that knowing that most people doubt a conspiracy actually makes believing in it more appealing, by fostering in the believer a sense of being somehow special? This question was explored recently in the European Journal of Social Psychology by Roland Imhoff and Pia Karoline Lamberty at Johannes Gutenberg University in Mainz, Germany.
While information about the popularity of the theory didn’t affect participants overall, it did impact those who said that they tended to endorse a lot of conspiracy theories. Among these conspiracy-prone participants, their belief in the made-up smoke detector conspiracy was enhanced on average when the conspiracy was framed as a minority opinion. Just as people are known to stop liking a band as soon as it becomes popular or “mainstream”, it appears conspiracy theorists can behave in a very similar fashion upon learning about the next big new conspiracy theory.
A final, unforeseen and particularly astounding finding emerged only after the participants had been debriefed. A full 25 per cent of the sample continued to retain beliefs in the made-up smoke detector conspiracy even after they had been told that the theory was false and had been made up by the researchers for the sole purpose of the study. Supporting the researchers’ conclusion further, this continued belief in the made-up conspiracy theory was correlated with the participants’ self-reported Need For Uniqueness. Taken together, the findings provide convincing evidence that some people are motivated to agree with conspiracy theories with an aura of exclusiveness. To them it may not matter in the slightest that their views are in the minority, to the contrary this knowledge could actually amplify their beliefs.
Read more at BPS Research Digest