In 1896, William James argued that in some cases the will to believe is a good thing, even in the absence of evidence. He said, actually, that "belief will create the fact". This may be an excellent attitude for many things in life, when it is question, for instance, to decide that life is worth living. Unfortunately, however, this idea can be perversely turned into disaster. Believing that - say - free energy can be produced on one's desktop won't create a free energy device. And it is the same with catastrophic climate change: disbelieving it won't make it go away.
The more I read, the more I understand how important is the "belief filter", probably hard wired in human minds. The human tendency to believe the unbelievable, provided that it is comforting, is fantastic. And, unfortunately, it is one of the reasons for the disaster we are facing.
Antonio Turiel provides new evidence for this human tendency in his blog, "the oil crash". In a post titled "Scream, but nobody will listen to you", he presents two movie clips; in the first, a guy plays some mumbo-jumbo with electric wires, pretending that he can obtain infinite energy out of a multi-outlet strip. In the second video, the same guy explains the trick: absolutely trivial.
The point that Turiel makes is that a lot of people have watched only the first video and just a few the second, despite the fact that in the first video the protagonist invites watchers several times to go see the second. The couple of videos, in fact, was intended as a way of debunking the many bogus claims of infinite energy, desktop nuclear fusion and the like. It didn't work; actually it backfired. So strong is the human will to believe.
Here are the two clips. They are both in Spanish, but the action and the images should be clear enough for everyone