Active Thinking Topic 26 -  Things That Don't Make Any Sense


Tuesday 1 March 2022, 6:30 pm - 8:30 pm

Any replies to the organizer - thormay@yahoo.com

Venue: ZOOM online


Focus Questions



1. Hey, why do you want to make sense of everything?

=>> Because I said so / Because of reasons / Ours is not to question why / Stuff happens

2. Argue for and against : "You were put here [on earth] for a reason"

3. What stuff makes no personal sense to you, but you have to believe in it anyway? What conclusion do you draw from that?

4. Who are some public figures whose appeal/fame makes no sense to you? So how come they have prominence?

5. Everyone is supposed to like their mother's cooking (... that never made any sense to me). What is some popular food/cuisine that makes no sense to you? How would its enthusiasts defend it?

6. Ignorance of the law is no defence in court. What are some laws that make no sense to you? How would you restructure them?

7. There is usually a stated "reason" for relationship breakdowns - personal, workplace, national, international. Why do these stated reasons so often make no real sense (i.e. there is often a credible remedy far short of breakdown).

8. Australia is now a salad of over 300 traditional cultures from worldwide. Can you think of cultural practices, including from your own culture, which seem to make no sense? How would their enthusiasts defend them?

9. What are aspects of your own personality or belief system which seem to make no objective sense, but you cling to anyway?

10. In a world which often makes no sense, what kind of glue do humans often use to keep it all together?


Extra Reading


Thor May (2015) "The peculiar interest of god(s) in human morality". Passionate Skeptic website @ http://thormay.net/unwiseideas/peculiargod.htm  [Quote: "“It is not necessary to believe in God to be a good person. In a way the traditional notion of God is outdated. One can be spiritual but not religious. It is not necessary to go to Church and give money – for many, nature can be a church. Some of the best people in history did not believe in God, while some of the worst deed were done in his name.” - Pope Francis (?) – supposedly misattributed to Francis in 2014. Hedged in 2015 to say there is no proof that he didn’t say it ; ref. Wikiquote]

Thor May (2016) "Count Your Lucky Stars" . Passionate Skeptic website @ http://thormay.net/unwiseideas/DiscussionTopics/Luck-mu.htm  [Quote: "What part does luck play in the success of individuals, enterprises and countries? Think of examples. From politics to careers to finding the love of your life, there has never been more advice available, yet at the end of the game, some people seem to have been lucky and others not. Why is this so? Can you really do much about it?"]

Thor May (2011) "Why Write A PhD?" Passionate Skeptic website @ http://thormay.net/unwiseideas/whywriteaphd.html  [Quote: "The internal rules in universities' rules which define a PhD invariably say that it must be an original contribution to human knowledge. Ground breaking dissertations have indeed been written from time to time. In fact though, few PhDs amount to some grand, original contribution to human knowledge. Many dissertations do include fresh assemblies of data, which may or may not be useful to someone. However, the interpretation of the data found within these documents is rarely original, except in a trivial sense..."]

Thor May (2008) "Mind Games Under Heaven". Thor's New China Diary @ http://thormay.net/ChinaDiary2/mind-games-under-heaven  [Thor, comment: I was working in China during the 2008 Beijing Olympics. My comments (following) were written at that time, and critical of the brainless, self-defeating nature of much PRC propaganda and over-control in the name of security. It is important to understand that various forms of this criticism could be applied equally to many other governments, not least USA ..... "China’s leaders have already played the nationalist card with their domestic audience this year, and been forced to back off when the raucous chauvinism of cowboy bloggers threatened the soothing tones of the Olympic theme song. Ordinary Chinese people, especially in Beijing, are being seriously inconvenienced by the whole Olympic charade. Their voices too are moving to sarcasm. That will be mollified perhaps by big sporting wins, and everything has been done to arrange those. However any sporting humiliation, or other major public failure, will throw the switch to chaos. Public dismay could be expressed again as extreme nationalism if the wider world is felt to be critical. It is hard to see how else it could be expressed, given the limits on open dissent. The Beijing security machine has pretty well guaranteed that the foreign world will be critical by caging journalists and making it as difficult as possible for foreign visitors to attend the games. Thus, far from bringing the people’s of the world together, these Olympics seem more and more destined to separate the Chinese universe from the family of mankind. I hope I am wrong."]

Michael Brooks (16 March 2005) "13 things that do not make sense". New Scientist @ https://www.newscientist.com/article/mg18524911-600-13-things-that-do-not-make-sense/ 

Kristen Harris (Jun 20, 2021) "People Are Sharing The Things That Make Absolutely Zero Sense To Them, And Y'all, I Need Answers". BuzzFeed @ https://www.buzzfeed.com/kristenharris1/things-make-zero-sense 

Liz Richardson (May 1, 2021) "We're gonna need some answers. Immediately.... People Are Calling Out Everyday Things That Don't Make Sense, And It's Absolutely Hilarious." Buzz Feed @ https://www.buzzfeed.com/lizmrichardson/tiktok-things-that-dont-make-sense 

Trisha Leigh Zeigenhorn (n.d.) "20 Things That Make Absolutely No Sense". Didyouknowfacts blog @ https://didyouknowfacts.com/20-things-that-make-absolutely-no-sense/ 

Quora (up to 2022) "What are some things that literally make no sense?" [769 answers] Quora @ https://www.quora.com/What-are-some-things-that-literally-make-no-sense 

Anonymous (n.d.) "18 Australian Sayings That Make No Sense To Other English Speakers". Culture Trip @ https://theculturetrip.com/pacific/australia/articles/18-australian-sayings-that-make-no-sense-to-other-english-speakers/  [Thor, comment: These kinds of expressions are often regional to states, or even social groups. That's true worldwide]

Katie Tobias (n.d.) "19 Weird Australian Laws." Base website @ https://www.stayatbase.com/australia/weird-australian-laws/ 

Chi Luu (February 7, 2018) "Small Poppy Syndrome: Why are Australians so Obsessed With Nicknaming Things? - What’s behind the Australian habit of nicknaming and abbreviating everything? Nicknames may just reveal how Australians see themselves and relate to each other". Jstor Daily https://daily.jstor.org/australians-obsessed-nicknaming/ 

Katharine Murphy (5 February 2022) "Frustrated, frazzled and under siege – Scott Morrison’s faith in himself takes a hit - The prime minister may be bruised and showing hints of self-pity, but his supporters still believe he can win – and so does he." The Guardian @ https://www.theguardian.com/australia-news/2022/feb/05/frustrated-frazzled-and-under-siege-scott-morrisons-faith-in-himself-takes-a-hit 

Stephanie Dalzell and Matthew Doran (22 Sep 2020) "Malcolm Turnbull says Government's energy plans are 'crazy' and 'a fantasy'". ABC @ https://www.abc.net.au/news/2020-09-22/malcom-turnbull-says-government-energy-roadmap-crazy/12690294  [Thor, comment: If it's possible to take the politics out of this for a moment, here is one instance where I agree with Turnbull. The Australian federal government's energy policies have made no sense - economically, environmentally or strategically - for at least the last ten years. Read the article for more clarity].

Brandon J Weichert February 24, 2022 "Putin making Ukraine his Iraq - The Russian strongman’s ‘war of choice’ will go as badly as Bush’s Iraq adventure" Asia Times @ https://asiatimes.com/2022/02/putin-making-ukraine-his-iraq/ 

Sean Carroll (Sept. 7, 2019) "Even Physicists Don’t Understand Quantum Mechanics. Worse, they don’t seem to want to understand it". New York Times @ https://www.nytimes.com/2019/09/07/opinion/sunday/quantum-physics.html  [Quote: Dr. Carroll is a physicist. “I think I can safely say that nobody really understands quantum mechanics,” observed the physicist and Nobel laureate Richard Feynman. ... Quantum mechanics, assembled gradually by a group of brilliant minds over the first decades of the 20th century, is an incredibly successful theory]

Alex Broadbent (January 31, 2019) "What is medicine? Why it’s so important to answer this question". The Conversation @ https://theconversation.com/what-is-medicine-why-its-so-important-to-answer-this-question-108433 

Thor >>> Why do humans and horses run anticlockwise? Each day I go around a set of playing fields where many people walk or run. Nearly everyone goes anticlockwise. Me too (though i sometimes go the other way just to avoid them). Curious, I googled this. It's universal in both the northern and southern hemispheres. People have given all kinds of confident explanations. I don't believe any of them. I do skip daily, and of course my arms rotate anticlockwise (it's damned hard to skip backwards). We somersault anticlockwise. It's not about most people being right handed. I'm very, very strongly left dominant from head to toe. My right side is weaker and running injuries are always on that side. Even my right side hearing is poor. And I don't follow the crowd. Also, what about the horses? As a human my heart is on the left side, and there may be some instinct to put the right side forward protectively. Or if you want to be grand, are our 34 trillion human cells somehow runnig against that giant treadmill of the earth, which rotates clockwise? Which way does your head spin when a drunk hits you with a bottle? Here's a nice PhD topic

UC Museum of Paleontology (n.d.) "Misconceptions about evolution", University of California, Berkeley @ https://evolution.berkeley.edu/teach-evolution/misconceptions-about-evolution/  [Quote: "
Why is evolution not always adaptive? ... there are other mechanisms of evolution that don't cause adaptive change. Mutation, migration, and genetic drift may cause populations to evolve in ways that are actually harmful overall or make them less suitable for their environments".]

Paramount Dental Sydney Team (15 January 2020) "Medicare And The Dental Industry -Why isn’t your dentist included in this scheme". @ https://www.paramountdentalsydney.com.au/blog/medicare-and-the-dental-industry-explained  [Thor, comment: "[Quote] This plan was first introduced in 1975 by the Whitlam (Labor) Government in a slightly different form and was reintroduced in 1984 in the current form." This short article introduces the problem then concludes that it is not feasible to include dental care in Medicare. The website is run by the dental industry, and their argument is familiar. When Medicare itself was introduced the majority of doctors through their professional organizations did everything in their power to block the scheme. Most still hate it. Refer to USA for current versions of the same screams. Really they were no different to the tobacco industry, the coal industry, big pharma and so on].



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Things That Don't Make Any Sense  (c) Thor May 2022

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