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What Are You Skeptical of...and what do you believe?

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Re: What Are You Skeptical of...and what do you believe?

Postby caniswalensis » 09 Jun 2010, 10:59

ciscop wrote:i get what you said cannis
i just dont follow your way
:D

over internet forums I doubt anybody will convert a guy that believes in dowsing but wont take tests into a critical thinker, a guy that believes in a mysterious mothman into a skeptic or a guy that believes a guy can live for 65 years without food into a rational human being. (living 65 years without food isnt rational)
thats not in the cards for them


Thanks, but you compliment me unfairly. It is not "my way." I wish that I could take credit for it, but it is just standard logic.

As for your calculation on converting a believer to a skeptic, that is fair enough, I woud tend to agree with you. It is a rare event indeed when an opinion changes in an internet forum. :)

But then what good does it do to call such a person names or to "mess with" them? What is the purpose of that? Scientific hooliganism? MasturDEBATEtion? :)

Does that help the skeptic community? Is it possible to promote skepicism & critical thinking
while trampling its basic tenets underfoot? I think probably not.

The scientific method....logic....critical thinking.....these are sometimes called disciplines, and for a good reason. We must discipline ourselves to follow the principles behind them and to apply those principles objectively. Once you step off the true path, you have destroyed that which you sought to advance. A skeptic that loses their intelectual honesty has become a cynic. ...and I will take an honest believer over a cynic any day of the week. ;)

But what if believers and skeptics each aproached the other with a degree of respect and a desire not to convert, but simply to discuss & understand the others perspective, perhaps some doors could be opened, some stereotypes torn down and some misconceptions corrected. ...and who knows were that might lead? I have many close friends (both online and face to face) that are believers, and I enjoy their company and our conversations immensely. We discuss the paranormal quite a lot, and it is always a ton of fun because we are friends first, and we discuss these topics in a friendly way, even when we disagree. Late last year, I was stunned, honored and delighted when one of my friends who was a believer confided to me that I had influenced her to be more skeptical, and to read about critical thinking and logic. It was not a big dramatic change, but something that she had been doing quitely for a few months. She said that she had always thought of skeptics as arrogant and close-minded, and so really would not listen to them at all. I was very gratified that I had opportunity to show her a different face of skepticism.

Regards, Canis

The scientific method....logic....critical thinking.....these are sometimes called disciplines, and for a good reason. We must discipline ourselves to follow the principles behind them and to apply those principles objectively. Once you step off the true path, you have destroyed that which you sought to advance.
"It is proper for you to doubt ... do not go upon report ... do not go upon tradition ... do not go upon hear-say." ~ Buddha
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Re: What Are You Skeptical of...and what do you believe?

Postby ciscop » 09 Jun 2010, 11:01

nicely said !! :)
For every person who reads this valuable book there are hundreds of naïve souls who would prefer to have their spines tingled by a sensational but worthless potboiler by some hack journalist of the paranormal. You who now read these sentences join a small but wiser minority. Martin Gaardner (Psychology of the Psychic)
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Re: What Are You Skeptical of...and what do you believe?

Postby caniswalensis » 09 Jun 2010, 11:15

Thank you! :)
"It is proper for you to doubt ... do not go upon report ... do not go upon tradition ... do not go upon hear-say." ~ Buddha
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Re: What Are You Skeptical of...and what do you believe?

Postby NinjaPuppy » 09 Jun 2010, 19:56

Yes, very nicely said.
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Re: What Are You Skeptical of...and what do you believe?

Postby really? » 09 Jun 2010, 21:07

caniswalensis wrote:As for your calculation on converting a believer to a skeptic, that is fair enough, I woud tend to agree with you. It is a rare event indeed when an opinion changes in an internet forum. :)

But then what good does it do to call such a person names or to "mess with" them? What is the purpose of that? Scientific hooliganism? MasturDEBATEtion? :)

Does that help the skeptic community? Is it possible to promote skepicism & critical thinking
while trampling its basic tenets underfoot? I think probably not.

The scientific method....logic....critical thinking.....these are sometimes called disciplines, and for a good reason. We must discipline ourselves to follow the principles behind them and to apply those principles objectively. Once you step off the true path, you have destroyed that which you sought to advance. A skeptic that loses their intelectual honesty has become a cynic. ...and I will take an honest believer over a cynic any day of the week. ;)

But what if believers and skeptics each aproached the other with a degree of respect and a desire not to convert, but simply to discuss & understand the others perspective, perhaps some doors could be opened, some stereotypes torn down and some misconceptions corrected. ...and who knows were that might lead? I have many close friends (both online and face to face) that are believers, and I enjoy their company and our conversations immensely. We discuss the paranormal quite a lot, and it is always a ton of fun because we are friends first, and we discuss these topics in a friendly way, even when we disagree. Late last year, I was stunned, honored and delighted when one of my friends who was a believer confided to me that I had influenced her to be more skeptical, and to read about critical thinking and logic. It was not a big dramatic change, but something that she had been doing quitely for a few months. She said that she had always thought of skeptics as arrogant and close-minded, and so really would not listen to them at all. I was very gratified that I had opportunity to show her a different face of skepticism.

Regards, Canis


What do we do with persons like Id or canuck that expouse their beliefs and opinions as facts. That won't listen to any reasonable counter point. What do we skeptics do then ? I see three choices 1. Ignore them. 2. Counter every inaccurate point they make. 3. When the first two fail start pointing out just how silly theirs beliefs are as a last resort.

It's true that it's very gratifying when you reach someone enough to allow them to open that door of skepticism and critical thinking that they step back and reexamine what they believe is true and realize they were perhaps wrong.
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Re: What Are You Skeptical of...and what do you believe?

Postby Craig Browning » 10 Jun 2010, 00:34

First off all... Randi is an old fart (as am I) and he admits to being Gay (finally!) so I'm not speaking negatively unless you don't like the fact that I KNOW for fact that he's a pedophile... I've seen more than enough information to support that truth and spoken to more than a few "young men" of the day who were blatantly propositioned by the old bugger. So that's not my being slanderous or cruel, just stating "facts" as it were.

As to "Asswipe"... I believe you are the only one (csicop) I referred to as such and only because you deliberately posted the video of some idiot on TV that refuses to rehearse and thus, flubbed up a $15,000.00 illusion I was part of developing. I think such antics sustain the views I expressed about lack of cooth, maturity and "professionalism" as it were when tied to someone that honestly respects magic. I'm confident you'd feel the same way and use the same or similar (if not stronger) terms should some wannabe pull the same thing with something you've labored over.

When it comes to the classic holier than thou contention that "Intelligent people don't talk that way..." well, there's a time to call something feces and a time to rightly call it a pile of shit... it the "intelligent folk" of academia would step out of the ivy laden towers every once and while and be part of the real world, they'd know that and they'd know how to speak in common person tongue and why the vernaculars and expletives are actually appropriate to said environs... something that is far more reaching than the hallowed halls of libraries and lecture halls.

What do we do with persons like Id or canuck that expouse their beliefs and opinions as facts. That won't listen to any reasonable counter point. What do we skeptics do then ? I see three choices 1. Ignore them. 2. Counter every inaccurate point they make. 3. When the first two fail start pointing out just how silly theirs beliefs are as a last resort.

It's true that it's very gratifying when you reach someone enough to allow them to open that door of skepticism and critical thinking that they step back and reexamine what they believe is true and realize they were perhaps wrong.


But what is likewise true is that you attract far more bees using honey over vinegar. The latter approach being the most common downfall or failing of the "rationalists" mind. Rather than attempting to spoon feed these folks and by subterfuge (so to speak) force the door open to more critical modes of thought, the majority of cynics wish to use a battering ram or worse, a very large suppository type object. Their zeal is just as fanatical as that of any religious zealot and it blinds them to the fact that they are expressing a very hurtful mode of uncaring bigotry.

I do know of many skeptics out there who are far more down to earth and even respectful of other people's beliefs. They use this attitude to their advantage however, slowly introducing ideas without even bringing up issues of faith/belief... just simple thought seeds that the believer can digest on his/her own. Over time changes of how things are looked on will happen. While it's doubtful that you will see a hot on fire Baptist become an ardent Atheist in under a year's time (unless god don't answer a certain "life saving" prayer... that's a big catalyst for those that denounce god, but hey, he's a teamster and only works part time). On the other hand, this spoon feeding process WILL open the subject up and help the fanatical believer to become more aware about what "truth" is and less codependent and gullible when it comes to Holy Spirits, ET, and Poltergeists.

What's important however, is that the self-made rationalist allows his/her self to be willing to listen and perhaps learn from what those on the other side of the proverbial fence feel, have experienced and the reason behind their belief. Stop challenging it out right and simply seek to find common ground via which both of you can grow within the parameters of actual wisdom vs. what books and ministers (a.k.a. professors/lecturers) keep telling you to believe.
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Re: What Are You Skeptical of...and what do you believe?

Postby Indigo Child » 10 Jun 2010, 06:38

I generally do not like beliefs, I think beliefs breed weakness in
the mind. However, reasoned beliefs which can be supported by
evidence are good, and most of my beliefs are reasoned beliefs.


Reasoned belief and knowings:

Astrology: Yes, it is theoretically possible. We already know that planets
and the moon do have an effect on us. However, I think current astrological
systems are too primitive, vague to be useful, so I do not pay much heed to
them.

ESP: Yes, I have experienced ESP many times. Knowing.
Auras: Yes, I can vaguely see them. My mom can see them better. Half knowing(I need to improve)
NWO: Yes, I have looked at enough evidence to conclusive they are real.
9/11: Mostly yes, the evidence I have seen so far shows evidence of conspiracy.
UFO: Yes, I started out researching ufology, and have seen more than enough cases to
conclude they exist.
Reincarnation: Yes, I have had a past life regression, but it was bunk. I know many in my
family who remember their past lives. It is also very logical, so I accept it.
Soul/ghosts: Yes, been out of my body a few times. Knowing.
Chakras and Prana: Yep, I am sensitive enough to feel them. Knowing.
God: Absolutely. Knowing.
Angels, demon etc: Yep, have survived possesion attempts by demons.
Prayer/power of mind: Yes

Beliefs:

Ascended masters
Atlantis and Lemuria
Annunaki and Reptillians
Pleadians

There is scrace evidence for these, but I intuitively feel it is true.

Skeptical:

Vampires, bigfoot and mermaids
Paralel universes
EFT
Homopathy
The law of attraction
Sylvia Brown
Derek Accora
Derren Brown
The Galactic federation
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Re: What Are You Skeptical of...and what do you believe?

Postby ciscop » 10 Jun 2010, 07:14

hahahahahahaha great post Indigo

a lot of what you said is subjective
you arent wrong, but that doesnt mean you are right
like god
I intuitively feel there is no god

and to be honest
neither of us knows the truth
For every person who reads this valuable book there are hundreds of naïve souls who would prefer to have their spines tingled by a sensational but worthless potboiler by some hack journalist of the paranormal. You who now read these sentences join a small but wiser minority. Martin Gaardner (Psychology of the Psychic)
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Re: What Are You Skeptical of...and what do you believe?

Postby jakesteele » 14 Jul 2010, 12:37

I look at things on a scale or spectrum of probability with 'virtually no chance', on one end and 'fairly likely', on opposite end with different points in between depending on the subject matter. On the virtually no chance end I would put things like fairies and unicorns and on the other, fairly likely end I would put UFOs and most likely for me would be the possibility of life elsewhere in the universe somewhere.
Debunkers think all UFO photos are fake,
especially the real ones.
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Re: What Are You Skeptical of...and what do you believe?

Postby Twain Shakespeare » 20 Jul 2010, 06:20

What do I not believe in? Epiphenomena.
What do I believe in without knowledge? The noumenon
What do I know? At the moment, i can only think of two thing. There is an experience occuring, and probability is a good predictor of what sorts of phenomena might be experienced next, but is no where near foolproof

Attempts at consistency, there is about a 70% probability at any moment that an entity I am currently using the perpendicular pronoun for will appear to be a continuous wave-function occuring in my brain, but there is at least a 25% chance it will be asleep instead. and a five percent chance I will be in some other mental state I do not recognize as myself. Mosat specifically I might momentarily disconnect my mental controls and shoot my mouth off, and say something difficult to rerpudiate. Still the probaibility that I will be around to take responsibility for my words is high enough that I will use "I" when writing English when referring to the nexus of my body, speech, and the epiphenomena in my head.

I find both according to replicable scientific reasearch and my own experience that casual perceptions are manufactured in part by expectations, therefore I don't believe in what I see or hear, and could probably be excused testifying in court in my opinions were known.

At the extreme, as far as epiphenomena go, while I have great respect for science as the distillation of the rational process, I have more respect for facts than for theory, and I am as suspicious of efforts to find "ultimate answers" of the GUT theoriy variety as I am of proper mysticism. Part of this is a distrust of authority based, quite simply, on my distant from them
(You can stand, there, you can have landed there, or you could have read a rumour in the newspaper or a grade school book), and from the consistent Priestcraft of even men like Sagan when faced with men like Velikovski. If you act like a priest, I'll treat you like a priest and doubt everything you say on your professional topic.

Aside from the realms of human epiphenomenal What do I "believe" about the noumenon?
Very little, especially if you are taking about thing I know, but I assumer you want to know about the "irrational " beliefs of alleged skeptics.
I refer you to David Lerner's "The Big Bang Never Happaned" With that preface, let me see that, while agnostic on the question of the eternity of the universe versus a point of origen, I prefer to believe in a synergetically open universe, rather than an entropically closed one, as in ther former evolution of complexity and intelligence would be likelier to be inherent qualities of the noumenon
I know this "can't be proved" and might be considered irrational (As a matter of fact, I have been told I am not an atheist because I don't "believe" in the big Bang) it makes me feel better, so I am holding this belief, which my life experince further seems to confirm. Marginally, but that is all it takes in the interaction of entropy and synergy.
Thanks for reasding. I hope I am welcome here.
"What's so Funny about Peace, Love, and Understanding?"
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Re: What Are You Skeptical of...and what do you believe?

Postby Arouet » 09 Aug 2010, 12:07

Hi folks,

I usually try and take a skeptical approach to pretty much any belief that I have. I like to ask questions, and prefer to think in terms of probabilities than certainties. I'll often speak of something being the "most likely" or leading hypothesis. I usually leave open the possibility of me being wrong and will always do what I can to analyse the situation.

I consider it important that a person making a claim has the burden of proof. Evidence should be presented, and evaluated. That doesn't necessarily mean running a scientific experiment for every claim! After all, we all have limited time, resources, interests, etc. That said: we should evaluate what is being proposed, and consider the reliability of the evidence, and different sides.

I also think that it is important to try and avoid logical fallacies in discussing these topics. Frankly, I see a lot of them around here (no offence!). I've made some posts pointing some out. A lot of what is being called pseudo-skepticism here is really cynicism. Which is distinct from skepticism.

I have biases just like anyone else, but I do try and be honest with my arguments, and look for flaws myself and welcome them being pointed out by others.

I try to keep open minded. While I am not currently convinced of the existence of psi, I do hold out the possibility that it exists and support the scientific studies being done in that area. The scientific community around psi is small, and progress is being made in tightening up controls. I think the AWARE study, for example, will be very interesting, no matter what the findings.

Finally, I don't get too caught up in terms like materialism. I guess you'd call me a materialist, but that's only because the current scientific consensus is that that's what makes up our universe. Not being a physicist, I have to rely on consensus like that. If science figures out that psi is real and that there are other factors playing on our universe - hell, I'll accept that!

Not sure if I answered the OP exactly, but hopefully this is on topic.
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Re: What Are You Skeptical of...and what do you believe?

Postby Ellie » 17 Aug 2010, 01:29

I've seen some genuinely heart-warming posts in this thread, not to mention some very clear displays of what scepticism is really all about - logic makes me happy :)
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Re: What Are You Skeptical of...and what do you believe?

Postby OmegaChaos » 23 Sep 2010, 23:28

I am skeptical of

current consensus of Evolution theory - there are many anomalies in fossil record against it,and fossil record itself doesn,t prove it.

Big Bang Theory - doesn,t seem very logical explanation for me.I support that Universe has been existing infinitely.And there are many cosmologists who are against Big Bang.

Uniformitarian geology - Catastrophism,many kataklysms seems to be have made these layers of rock.

Climate Change - seems like a total fraud.

UFO,s being alien spacecraft - no evidence for that UFO,s are alien spacecraft,and also most what have been seen can,t space travel.

Astro-Theology - I am very skeptical of claims,that Jesus,Horus ,Krishna etc has many similarities,in truth no ancient text supports that.

Planet X or Nibiru - There is some indication of it existing,but in reality Sumerian texts tell that Nibiru is a star.

What I think are right

That Atlantis existed - Ancient texts,artefacts and megalithic sites seem to support that there was technologically advanced civilization before us.

Alien Visitation - many legends tell about it, and some other evidence and indications that it happened.

Aliens genetically manipulated humans - even though Sitchin is wrong about Planet X and his chronology is out of place,it seems that he got that part right,that aliens did manipulate us genetically in past.

New World Order - Agenda to create one-world goverment definitely exists and ton of evidence for it.

Black Nobility and The Illuminati controlling the world with their secret societies - I am totally sure that these groups are top of the pyramid,The Illuminati is an infiltration arm and Black Nobility real ruling power.
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Re: What Are You Skeptical of...and what do you believe?

Postby Craig Browning » 24 Sep 2010, 01:11

:shock:
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Re: What Are You Skeptical of...and what do you believe?

Postby really? » 24 Sep 2010, 03:55

Craig Browning wrote::shock:


I'll see your :shock: and raise you a Image
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