Wednesday, September 2, 2009

A Few of my Favorite Things

I just found this article at Bloomberg by way of a reference to it in Pharyngula. The article is about an investment con where honest investors lost their life savings to 3 guys who promised great profits on their investments, but delivered nothing. The scam was what the article calls "affinity fraud",that targets a group of like-minded people who are especially vulnerable due to the mutual trust among the members. Here's my I-told-you-so moment. The targeted group was evangelical Xians and Mormons.

As I have ragged about a couple of times, some Xians make themselves easy marks for unscrupulous individuals because of their bias toward, and greater trust of, those that identify themselves as Xians. The members of the group lower their inhibitions because they perceive themselves as in a safe environment. The conference call meetings of investors included praying (as well as preying) and talk of using the profits for good causes. No matter how absurd the reasons that were given for needing more money or how many warnings they got from friends and relatives, the investors did what ever they could to come up with more money, even getting second morgages.

This brings me to another subject I've blogged about; avoiding cognitive dissonance. Fundies may be the all time champs at refusing to acknowledge the contradictions between their beliefs and facts that would cause the discomfort of cognitive dissonance. Just like the text books say, the people with the greatest emotional investment in the investment are are most likely to deny being ripped off. Some of the folks who lost everything, even though the con-men are all in prison, insist that they lost their money because the FBI stopped the process before the highly profitable deal could be completed.

I feel very sorry for these people who lost everything just because they trusted their fellow man, but as I have suggested before (and as G. W. Bush's political team said), fundies are very easy to manipulate. It's just a pity they don't read my blog, or they would have been armed and ready for the scammers.

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