What causes belief changes?
I have been wondering over the question: what causes people to change their belief systems?
I have been trying to find the different reasons for this. So far I have:
1. Personal experience of a phenomenon that you have not been aware of before.
(the problem with this is - you might change your beliefs to something that no one else around you believes.)
2. Some August Authority such as the leader of the country telling you that things are different now. (Example: Before WWII there was a period of appeasement with Hitler, and everyone in Britain was being told how wonderful Hitler and his cronies were. But when appeasement failed, it was all change. And people with the old view were locked up.) A question here is: do the majority of people act as if in some sort of hypnotic trance and follow the wishes of a leader?
3. Someone conducts a hoax that fits in with everyone existing beliefs. These beliefs are what people want to believe in, and are happy to have them confirmed by evidence. The hoax is believed as genuine for a long time, but later turns out to be hoaxed, and then people change their beliefs. (Example of this is the Piltdown man. People in Britain wanted to believe that the earliest man was from Britain, and readily believed the discovery. Much later it was revealed as a hoax, then everyone changed their minds.)
4. Some fool gets up and talks obvious nonsense, and people then take great fun in mocking him and feeling superior about themselves, but as they continue to mock, they find that although the fool was talking nonsense, what they believed originally was not right either. They then rewrite history to fit in with their new beliefs, and create artificial reasons as to why they changed their beliefs. (One example of this is Galileo. Science students are taught a myth as to Galileo, saying Galileo should have said, and not what he really said, because most of it was wrong.)
What other ways are there for people to change their belief systems?
Science is supposed to be about changing its belief when a specific experiment has been performed that reveals a different perspective of the universe. But when you look at the history of some of these supposed instances, it never happened that way. Instead something else happened, and false excuses are made up afterwards as to why the belief system changed.
If data proved anything then the parapsychologists would have changed beliefs in the early 20th century - i.e. in showing there was some paranormal data that the main science establishment should be paying attention to.
.........in 1882, the Society for Psychical Research was formed in Britain. Its purpose was to collect and investigate anomalous occurrences in the extraordinary realm hitherto neglected by science, mainly, to begin with, dreams and apparitions bearing an inexplicable correspondence to external events.. Experiments were conducted in areas such as clairvoyance and thought transference....The impressive body of data amassed over several decades by this dedicated group of investigators, as well as by colleagues in Europe and in a Society for Psychical Research formed in 1885 in America, made it plain that science could continue to ignore the anomalous so-called psychical side of man only by not living up to it professed objectives. (from book Exploring the Paranormal, edited by Drs. G K Zollschan, J F Schumaker, G F Walsh, Prism Press UK 1989, p 41 - 42)
Of course the science establishment found reasons to not stick to their ‘ideal’ professional objectives, and just ignored the data.
UFOlogists seem to be doing the same thing - amassing data which will just be ignored. So, what is supposed to be the point of collecting data that no one of ‘big enough importance’ wants to look at?
What really changes the belief system of the general populace?
Vallee thinks that the UFO phenomenon is some control system to change peoples' minds, but that does not seem to answer anything, because it does not say who or what controls the control system.