Wednesday, June 10, 2015

The Bradley Effect Writ Large

A few days ago I watched a semi-suppressed TED talk about the dogmas of modern science. The presenter, Rupert Sheldrake, recounts a conversation he had once with a metrologist. Sheldrake asked if the drop in the speed of light observed during the 1920s and 1930s was a result of scientists "fudging" their numbers to match those around them. He recounts the subsequent conversation.

He said, "We don't like to use the word 'fudge.'" I said, "Well, what do you prefer?" He said, "Well, we prefer to call it 'intellectual phase locking.'"

This was fresh in my head when I read this article, "Millennials Are Lying About What They Want to Eat, and It's Destroying Fast Food." The author, Ashley Lutz, effectively says restaurants are being led on a wild goose chase trying to provide Millennials' desired food items because what Millennials say they want is not what they actually buy. Lutz's explanation is Millennials' inability to afford the nicer things they desire. Perhaps (although Millennials are better-off financially than the preceding Generation X). But I think a better explanation is intellectual phase locking.

Millennials are the product of activist school teachers and Captain Planet cartoons. They've been subject to propaganda their entire lives. They've come to maturity as political conformity has become a dogma. Express your individuality through your clothes and music (although even that is debatable), just not your thoughts.

I submit that Millennials have learned to publicly declare the accepted view, but in private they don't follow it. They might tell everyone that they eat local vegan artisanal hormone-free non-GMO all-natural quinoa, but in reality they believe what everyone knows in their heart of hearts to be true: that shit NATHTY. Companies like McDonald's get survey results and cut the McThrombosis from the menu, and then everyone wonders why Shake Shack is the new hawtness. (NB: I'm aware that the phrase "the new hawtness" is no longer the new hawtness. I'm using it ironically, because evidently I'm a hipster who does things I hate.) Instead of blaming all this on economic inequality holding Millennials back from their desired food consumption patterns, we should recognize that the problem is Millennials' belief that they have to espouse views they don't actually hold.

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