I'm quite a fan of YHTGTTSPAMTL, almost as much as the Invisible Pink Unicorn which made a big appearance on the religion listservs a while back.
But extend your example. So agreed, YHTGTTSPAMTL is stupid, but some pigheaded martial arts heavyweight (you know who you are) is stubborn enough to actually go to the south pole, and he comes back and says, oh my god, there actually is a leprechaun and YHTGTTSPAMTL!
And some people who know him go and come back shaking their heads saying, YHTGTTSPAMTL.
And some very high-up guys say, "This is ridiculous. We'll put an end to it." And they come back and don't say anything until the third or fourth beer, at which they can be heard to mumble, "yhtgttspamtl."
The fallacy of calling it a circular argument is that you are assuming you're operating in the closed universe of logical reasoning. You're not. You're operating in the open universe of empirical experience. In that world, there's only a limited amount of denying experience which is consistent with sanity.
I completely agree with you. Anyone can go to a seminar and judge for themselves. It's not at all like having to travel to the south pole!
In my case, I don't have any teachers or personal acquaintances that have come back from a Dan Harden seminar to say IHTBF. I'm not saying that the whole thing is untrue, I'm just saying that until this happens, I'm not going to prioritize a Dan Harden seminar over other opportunities (holidays with my family, for example).
So far, all I have seen is people making claims on the Internet, and a relatively small number of people jumping on to back up those claims. I know that IHTBF, but if there were some videos of the training or whatever I might be less skeptical.
I am also aware that once a person has made a commitment (travelling to a seminar, training for X number of hours), one becomes invested and is less likely to be critical of it because of the loss of the initial investment that would occur by rejecting it. Take Scientology, for example. If someone invests their life savings and decades of commitment to the "religion", it makes it very difficult for them to think critically about it. There are lots of Scientologists on Internet forums who claim that Scientology is "The Truth" (ring any bells here?), but that doesn't inspire me to run out and join up in order to prove or disprove this for myself.
The whole Dan Harden / IP phenomenon could be one of three things:
- exactly what they say it is
- a group of martial artists who have convinced themselves that they have found the one true way when in fact they have found one way out of many (even if it is a very good way)
- complete BS
I haven't seen anything to convince me one way or the other, but I think there is a high enough chance of #2 (or maybe #3) that I'm not willing to invest a whole bunch of time, $$ and effort to find out.
Maybe one day my situation will change. I'm not ruling out the possibility.