Send this article to a friend:


Rational Thinking... Shared Beliefs
The Great O'Neill

In this series or commentaries I will highlight the pitfalls of rational thinking in our world today as it pertains to belief systems, historical perspectives, politics, and finally markets.  This article focuses on shared beliefs.

Over the last number of centuries intellectual inquiry has moved away from theology and revelation.  Academics refer to this change in thinking as the Enlightenment or the Age of Reason.  We are firmly in the logical reasoning mode of thinking now.  Supposedly, scientific inquiry trumps all other modes of thinking.  I would argue that this is demonstrably false.  The desire to believe in and belong to a herd is far greater than the inclination to think. 

For example, if my local river the Boyne (Bóinn) burst its banks 2,000 years ago because the river Goddess Boann was angry, most of the locals of that time would accept this as the undisputed reason for the flooding.  The local druid would explain that Boann was angry because the locals had been bad and that they needed to change their ways.  My antecedents would perhaps atone by sacrificing a cow. 

If today the river Boyne burst its banks a climate ‘scientist’ would tell us that carbon emissions from fossil fuels are the ultimate cause of the ‘weather event’ / flood.  Using reductive reasoning and meaningless statistics he would explain to the modern populous that we have behaved badly by burning fossil fuels and that we need to change our ways.  He would sound reasonable, logical, and rational to most people, especially the ones with college degrees.

Although science has delivered many benefits, it has not advanced human behaviour insofar as most humans are still willing to believe anything that an authoritative figure tells them.  It could be that the need to believe in and belong to a belief system is part of human nature. 

Older religions were very local and are given the unkindly moniker – Paganism.  Pagans were actually quite tolerant of other religions.  The ancient Irish had their sea god - Manannán Mac Lir and the ancient Greeks had their sea god - Poseidon.  The ancients had no problem with other peoples Gods and often absorbed other Gods from neighbouring areas into their own belief systems.  The newer religions like Christianity are  monotheist.  Monotheist say that there is one true God and that other religions are false.  This monotheist culture is shared by modern secular religions like Climate Change.  They have little tolerance for non-believers in their ‘one true’ religion.  They call heretics ‘climate change deniers’ and want to introduce new blasphemy laws (hate speech) to stamp down any debate or opposition.  All of these views are expressed in reasonable, logical, and rational terms.  The language used is very important, it hits all the right ‘sciencey’ sounding buttons.  The public will believe anything if it sounds rational.

Zero Data = Zero Science

The lack of science behind climate change is almost effortless to illustrate.  If we scale the climate history of the earth down to a 24 hour clock and look at the raw data, it makes a mockery of modern climate ‘science’.  Humanity only arrived on earth in the last minute of our 24 hour clock – 23:59.  And yet the climate changed aplenty before we arrived. 

Since we humans came into existence the climate has oscillated widely and yet our fossil burning ‘problems’ only arose 50 years ago.  If we go back to our 24 hour clock, mankind arrive at 1 minute to midnight and the fossil fuel burning era arrives at 1/100th of a second before midnight.  Please don’t hold me to that number, it could be 2/100th of a second on our 24 hour clock.  The salient point is that if a climatologist wants to claim that the variables causing climate in the past have been largely superseded by man, they would need records lasting a lot longer than 50 years or 1/100th of a second on our 24 hour clock.  Fifty years is not a data set from which you can make conclusions, much less extrapolations.  It is not even a blip within a blip of earth’s climate history.   Zero Data = Zero Science.

Ancient Roman seers literally looked at animal entrails to forecast the future.  Like their Irish Druid equivalents I’m sure they put on a good show and sounded very convincing.  I’ve no doubt that they believed in their own wisdom.  Their exalted status undoubtedly afforded them a good living.  And why not?  Just like modern climate change ‘scientists’ they were providing a service.  And again just like their modern counterparts they may have been largely unaware of this.  I’m sure many or most of the ancients believed in what they were doing,  but I’m also sure some doubted the veracity of their storylines and forecasts.  I’d be willing to guess that some modern climatologists have some nagging doubts and concerns pertaining to their wacky forecasts.

The Need To Believe in Something.

Today we have huge swathes of the general public with whom it is nigh on impossible to have a rational conversation with.  Age of Reason be damned!  Their wild eyed crazed beliefs render them deaf to all reason.

The people in the photos below are probably able to understand reasoned arguments insofar as they would have the cognitive ability to follow logical reasoning.  But they are humans, and humans like to herd together around shared beliefs and values.  These beliefs and values don’t have to be right, but they do have to be shared.


These people think that 4,500 million years of ‘non-human engineered’ climate change ended about 50 years ago.  Apparently, humans and farting cows have taken over the running of our climate and the solar system!


The Covid Hysteria participants above are clearly lacking in self-awareness. Hospitals were supposed to be bursting at the seams with the sick and dying.  In an apparent attempt to alleviate the worst effects of Covid some ‘front liners’ performed carefully choreographed dance routines.  Covid mortality statistics, hospital occupancy data, and vaccine (efficacy / injury / fatality) statistics are there for all who can read numbers to see (here). But true believers will just keep taking the shots and consuming legacy media story lines.  


The Women’s Aussie Rules Football (AFLW) allows men pretending to be women play in their league.  Crunching tackles are probably where secular religious beliefs smash into physical reality.


We clearly have more science and mathematics at our fingertips than ever before.  However, the evolution of science has raced far ahead of the evolution of humans.  This is especially true of human crowds, groups or herds.  I would go so far as to argue that humans may be behaving more irrationally now than ever before.  Think of our Irish Druid followers 2,000 years ago.  Their yearly struggles for survival involved hunting, fishing, farming, and countless other handcraft work.  They really didn’t have the time for the types of issues or beliefs that we do today in our rich modern world. To the ancients, the weather was outside of their control, a plague was when lots of people died, and differentiating between men and women was not a challenge.

A mistake commonly made by rational thinkers is to underestimate the power and durability of irrational crowd behaviour.  We think that common sense will prevail.  Famous British scientist Isaac Newton formulated the laws of motion and universal gravitation in 1687.  A very logical and rational thinker indeed.  However, in 1720 he lost a fortune investing in the stock market by failing to appreciate the power of human herd behaviour.  As he said,

 ‘I can calculate the motions of heavenly bodies, but not the madness of people’


The Great O'Neill is a Commodity Trading Advisor (Hedge Fund). Our articles help the reader to learn something useful quickly. We cover markets and related affairs without the jargon or 'corporate speak'.

Send this article to a friend: