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Has Science & Skepticism Gone Against Each Other?

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Has Science & Skepticism Gone Against Each Other?

Postby PsiSearch » 18 Dec 2010, 19:33

Well, I've been busy lately and not recently on, sorry. But, I am just wondering; has science and skepticism ever gone against each other? So, skeptics look up to science for the answers and believes anything by science (well, some at least), but skeptics and scientist's arguing with each other about whats real and whats fake and debating a lot? Basically, science and Christianity. Science says God is fake, while the Christians say God is real. And, now that science is starting to take some Psi and paranormal seriously and it is starting to kick in at science. Whilst, pseudo skeptics will say Psi and the paranormal needs more research by science and parapsychology itself.

Now, not all of science or scientists say Psi or the paranormal or Deities are fake.

This is something I might even right a book about...

Thanks!
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Re: Has Science & Skepticism Gone Against Each Other?

Postby NinjaPuppy » 18 Dec 2010, 20:37

It's a good question.
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Re: Has Science & Skepticism Gone Against Each Other?

Postby Arouet » 18 Dec 2010, 21:50

PsiSearch wrote:Well, I've been busy lately and not recently on, sorry. But, I am just wondering; has science and skepticism ever gone against each other?


Ok. We have to get some definitions in first, which should resolve this question - because its the wrong question to ask.

Skepticism and science are thought processes, not positions. They are mechanisms, not positions. "Skepticism" is the act of withholding belief in a proposition absent reliable evidence. "Science" (from wiki) is: "an enterprise that builds and organizes knowledge in the form of testable explanations and predictions about the natural world." Science relies on the scientific method to do so.

Science done properly is by its very nature a skeptical process. So in that regards "science" never contradicts "skepticism". Skepticism is broader than science though. We can be skeptical about things that don't lend themselves well to scientific analysis. Now, in practice, we are not always perfect in determining reliable evidence nor in following the scientific method so there are degrees of being skeptical or scientific.

Ok, let's look at the rest in that context.

So, skeptics look up to science for the answers and believes anything by science (well, some at least),


Well, you've already given a bit of a caveat there, but I'll elaborate: as a skeptic, because not all scientific experiments are reliable, I won't just "believe anything by science". There is a lot of bad science out there. And even good science does not always produce a reliable result. Science is hard, the world complex, and our knowledge is gradual. That is why replication is so important in science. Even then, we may learn something new that alters our previous knowledge.

As a lay person, what we must do, by practicality, is rely on scientific consensus to point us in the direction of what is most likely, given our current state of knowledge. We can't all be experts in highly complex matters, thus we look to consensus science to point us in the right direction.

but skeptics and scientist's arguing with each other about whats real and whats fake and debating a lot?


Science by its very nature is debatable. There is no science that is not debatable. It's ALL debatable. So this again is the wrong question.

Basically, science and Christianity. Science says God is fake, while the Christians say God is real.


I'm aware of no scientific experiments showing that God is fake. Are you? There are a great many scientists who are also theists.

And, now that science is starting to take some Psi and paranormal seriously and it is starting to kick in at science.


I'm not great with the philosophy of science. There are some that say that parapsychology is not science. I'm not too fussy about it though and am prepared to consider parapsychology science, at least for the sake of the argument.

Whilst, pseudo skeptics will say Psi and the paranormal needs more research by science and parapsychology itself.


Real skeptics, real scientist, real parapychologists will ALL agree that more research is needed by science and parapychology. That is the nature of science. Further research is ALWAYS required to improve understanding of what is going on. This is especially true of parapsychology, which relies for the most part on small statistical effects. Statistics are subject to manipulation - even unconsciously. And most scientists are not stats experts. And small statistical effects are particularly vulnerable to even small biases in the protocols.

Now, not all of science or scientists say Psi or the paranormal or Deities are fake.


This is true.

This is something I might even right a book about...


Well, before you do that you should probably figure out the difference between "right" and "write"! :D

Seriously though, you need to first start thinking more critically about these issues, whether you are a proponent or not. You need to break down these ideas more, not just deal in generalities. But these are really interesting topics to study, that's for sure!
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Re: Has Science & Skepticism Gone Against Each Other?

Postby caniswalensis » 18 Dec 2010, 21:56

I was going to reply, but after reading Arouet's excellent post, i realized there was no need to say antyting else.
"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: Has Science & Skepticism Gone Against Each Other?

Postby Craig Browning » 19 Dec 2010, 02:35

:roll: Oi Vey :roll:

The simple fact is Skeptics, like all Born-Again-(insert your belief of choice) types will NEVER admit to being wrong about anything; if and when information surfaces that sustains a view contrary to their own it is not to their fault, but that of the people introducing this contrary data; they are the quacks, crack-pots, charlatans, delusional fools and any other derogatory concept you can imagine... just look at how many times "Science" has "proven" both sides of the issue... You have those that believe in everything from Psychics to the idea that Global Warming/Environment Change is real who have used Science to prove it and then you have the camp that has "proven" the converse using the same vehicle -- Science.

My personal belief is that very little of what is presented in today's world as "fact" really is. There are simply too many self-righteous jerks in our world that want to be superior to everyone that will not yield to their point of view and as such, manipulate the "facts" (linguistically, psychologically and "scientifically") to sustain said delusion. I stress that this comes from folks standing on either side of the proverbial aisle and not just one specific camp, even though the rationalists seem to dominate the over-all scene, frequently to the point of being down-right brutish.

If we are to step away from all the hair-splitting "politics" and "opinion-bias" we can find those little kernels of actual truth which, for the most part, are applicable in supporting both sides of the paranormal fence (depending upon the argument being discussed... proving that ET is trying to rule the world is a bit far-fetched, but sustaining the fact that certain "Psychic" abilities are valid... that's an entirely different issue altogether, and science has supported such... but that's where semantics and all the aforementioned game-play takes root and bastardizes said findings :? )

This is a "no win" issue when everything gets boiled down...


This is where Arouet gets on to me about proving my statements and how it's all strawmen, etc. acting out the skeptic's most typical ritual -- the rite of PROVE IT TO ME... it's not sufficient to prove it to one group, it is perpetual, with each little ego demanding that the claimant prove their position time and again for them as well... sorry, but where is the "intelligence" in that sort of childish acting out?
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Re: Has Science & Skepticism Gone Against Each Other?

Postby ProfWag » 19 Dec 2010, 02:53

Arouet wrote:Real skeptics, real scientist, real parapychologists will ALL agree that more research is needed by science and parapychology. That is the nature of science. Further research is ALWAYS required to improve understanding of what is going on. This is especially true of parapsychology, which relies for the most part on small statistical effects. Statistics are subject to manipulation - even unconsciously. And most scientists are not stats experts. And small statistical effects are particularly vulnerable to even small biases in the protocols.

I agree with CW that this was a most excellent response. My only clarification is in the above quote which could be argued is a bit incorrect. Actually, the National Academy of Science (the leading scientific governing body in the U.S.) actually stated in 1988 that "no scientific justification from research conducted over a period of 130 years for the existence of parapsychological phenomena. It therefore concludes that there is no reason for direct involvement for the Army at this time." It does suggest further, however, that parapsychology could be "monitored."
Druckman, D. and Swets, J. A. eds. (1988). Enhancing Human Performance: Issues, Theories and Techniques. National Academy Press, Washington, D.C.. p. 22. ISBN 0-309-07465-7.
Link found at: http://books.nap.edu/openbook.php?recor ... 25&page=22
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Re: Has Science & Skepticism Gone Against Each Other?

Postby ProfWag » 19 Dec 2010, 03:11

Craig Browning wrote::roll: Oi Vey :roll:

The simple fact is Skeptics, like all Born-Again-(insert your belief of choice) types will NEVER admit to being wrong about anything; if and when information surfaces that sustains a view contrary to their own it is not to their fault, but that of the people introducing this contrary data; they are the quacks, crack-pots, charlatans, delusional fools and any other derogatory concept you can imagine... just look at how many times "Science" has "proven" both sides of the issue... You have those that believe in everything from Psychics to the idea that Global Warming/Environment Change is real who have used Science to prove it and then you have the camp that has "proven" the converse using the same vehicle -- Science.

I couldn't disagree with this statement more Craig. It is NOT a "simple fact" and you are sterotyping and expressing your opinion concerning people who are against your beliefs. Science admits they were wrong all the time. We would still be in the Bronze Age if they didn't. Now, if you want to say that skeptics won't admit to being wrong about parapsychology, that could very well be a valid opinion--someday, but since we don't have conclusive evidence that parapsychology is a true phenomonen, then that opinion cannot yet be substantiated. Again, it is not fact, but opinion which may or may not have any basis to it. People on this forum seem to forget that skeptics are about more than parapsychology and bigfoots.
"Nobody contends that all of science is wrong, or that it hasn’t compiled an impressive array of truths about the natural world. Still, any single scientific study alone is quite likely to be incorrect, thanks largely to the fact that the standard statistical system for drawing conclusions is, in essence, illogical." - Tom Siegfried. Science News. March 27th, 2010; Vol.177 #7 (p. 26)
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Re: Has Science & Skepticism Gone Against Each Other?

Postby really? » 19 Dec 2010, 04:32

Arouet and Profwag say all the good stuff. :cry:............................................. ;)

Actually there's one thing I can add.
People on this forum seem to forget that skeptics are about more than parapsychology and bigfoots.

This can categorized people on forums like this throughout the interwebs.
The best example of skeptics being skeptical of things other than psi and bigfoot would be the JREF forum. A variety of subjects unrelated to anything psi, mythical monsters and whatnot are debated.
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Re: Has Science & Skepticism Gone Against Each Other?

Postby Arouet » 19 Dec 2010, 08:24

Craig Browning wrote:The simple fact is Skeptics, like all Born-Again-(insert your belief of choice) types will NEVER admit to being wrong about anything; if and when information surfaces that sustains a view contrary to their own it is not to their fault, but that of the people introducing this contrary data; they are the quacks, crack-pots, charlatans, delusional fools and any other derogatory concept you can imagine... just look at how many times "Science" has "proven" both sides of the issue... You have those that believe in everything from Psychics to the idea that Global Warming/Environment Change is real who have used Science to prove it and then you have the camp that has "proven" the converse using the same vehicle -- Science.


It's funny Craig, that you try to refute my point yet confirm it at the same time. You've trotted out your "Skeptics never admit they're wrong about anything" which is demonstrably false. Skeptics admit they're wrong all over the place. There are even psi-believers who used to label themselves Skeptics but have changed their minds about psi. It's trite to refute this. You should really drop this from your arsenal Craig, as it lowers your credibility.

But then you go ahead and make my point: which is that science produces all sorts of contrary viewpoints which are subject to debate. Now, in fairness, you did not specify that you were contradicting my post, but given the context it would appear that you were attempting to do so.

My personal belief is that very little of what is presented in today's world as "fact" really is.


That is why science works in degrees of confidence rather than declarations of certainty.

If we are to step away from all the hair-splitting "politics" and "opinion-bias" we can find those little kernels of actual truth


The trick is how to identify "truth": that is the goal of science.

This is a "no win" issue when everything gets boiled down...


Nonsense. The exploration of this world has produced monumental success. The fact that we don't understand everything and that our current understanding is imperfect does not change that we have steadily gained knowledge and understanding about how the universe works.

This is where Arouet gets on to me about proving my statements and how it's all strawmen, etc. acting out the skeptic's most typical ritual -- the rite of PROVE IT TO ME... it's not sufficient to prove it to one group, it is perpetual, with each little ego demanding that the claimant prove their position time and again for them as well... sorry, but where is the "intelligence" in that sort of childish acting out?
[/quote]

Craig: do you agree with the following: "All propositions should be presumed true until proven false"
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Re: Has Science & Skepticism Gone Against Each Other?

Postby Craig Browning » 19 Dec 2010, 23:26

ProfWag wrote:
Craig Browning wrote::roll: Oi Vey :roll:

The simple fact is Skeptics, like all Born-Again-(insert your belief of choice) types will NEVER admit to being wrong about anything; if and when information surfaces that sustains a view contrary to their own it is not to their fault, but that of the people introducing this contrary data; they are the quacks, crack-pots, charlatans, delusional fools and any other derogatory concept you can imagine... just look at how many times "Science" has "proven" both sides of the issue... You have those that believe in everything from Psychics to the idea that Global Warming/Environment Change is real who have used Science to prove it and then you have the camp that has "proven" the converse using the same vehicle -- Science.

I couldn't disagree with this statement more Craig. It is NOT a "simple fact" and you are sterotyping and expressing your opinion concerning people who are against your beliefs. Science admits they were wrong all the time. We would still be in the Bronze Age if they didn't. Now, if you want to say that skeptics won't admit to being wrong about parapsychology, that could very well be a valid opinion--someday, but since we don't have conclusive evidence that parapsychology is a true phenomonen, then that opinion cannot yet be substantiated. Again, it is not fact, but opinion which may or may not have any basis to it. People on this forum seem to forget that skeptics are about more than parapsychology and bigfoots.

"Nobody contends that all of science is wrong, or that it hasn’t compiled an impressive array of truths about the natural world. Still, any single scientific study alone is quite likely to be incorrect, thanks largely to the fact that the standard statistical system for drawing conclusions is, in essence, illogical." - Tom Siegfried. Science News. March 27th, 2010; Vol.177 #7 (p. 26)


While I do side with the skeptic side of things to a rather high degree I have seen and experienced the ugly bias that stems from its "modern core" to not say what I've stated... but then similar situations is why I have a loathing & distrusting view of organized religion.

"Skepticism" and "Science" (Academia, to be more concise) has become a deliberate stepping stone for the organized efforts of fundamental atheism and as such, a bludgeon that has been used on extreme abusive levels since the 1970's (and yes, I know of earlier generations in which rationalism has been used to challenge "faith" as it were. And, for the most part, support the findings behind such things. The antics of the past 35-40 (ish) years however, most of which ooze out of the JREF & CSICOP type groups, is on par with the witch-hunters of the Middle Ages to the fun day's of Salem, MA ... just free of the bloodshed.)

Nonetheless, I've found far too much "science" that has produced "facts" based on what the financing source wants to see as proven fact. That is why I cannot trust 95%+ of the supposed "facts" pooped out... a scenario (monster) of the latter 20th /early 21st century that is quite different from those transitional "discoveries" you mentioned.

Yes, I too demand some sense of "proof" when it comes to many claims about large primates, swimming dino's in Scottland, etc. even in the psychic environment I have some very high standards in what I can accept as "genuine" (and deliberately filter through the bulk of those claiming said title, discarding the chaff with the hope of finding the "grain"... less than 10% seem to fit into that latter niche).

Sorry, but I can't simply turn off that switch. It has to do with what I "know" based on observation and experience vs. what the faith wants people to perceive.
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Re: Has Science & Skepticism Gone Against Each Other?

Postby ProfWag » 19 Dec 2010, 23:38

Craig Browning wrote:Sorry, but I can't simply turn off that switch. It has to do with what I "know" based on observation and experience vs. what the faith wants people to perceive.

This is an interesting comment as I, too, base my opinions on what I "know." So, who's right, you based on what you know or me based on what I know? In reality, it's probably neither as it really should be based on what can be shown as reliable evidence since what we all "know" can easily NOT be a reality.
Many people "know" they saw a ghost, bigfoot, etc., BUT do they really "know?"
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Re: Has Science & Skepticism Gone Against Each Other?

Postby really? » 20 Dec 2010, 00:41

Craig Browning wrote::roll: Oi Vey :roll:

Sorry, but I can't simply turn off that switch. It has to do with what I "know" based on observation and experience vs. what the faith wants people to perceive


Are you sure you can't ? What you have to do is be a lot less certain you know what you believe is true. Skeptics do it all the time. That's why we are skeptical. Now are you sure you can't do that ?
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Re: Has Science & Skepticism Gone Against Each Other?

Postby Craig Browning » 21 Dec 2010, 03:04

really? wrote:
Craig Browning wrote::roll: Oi Vey :roll:

Sorry, but I can't simply turn off that switch. It has to do with what I "know" based on observation and experience vs. what the faith wants people to perceive


Are you sure you can't ? What you have to do is be a lot less certain you know what you believe is true. Skeptics do it all the time. That's why we are skeptical. Now are you sure you can't do that ?


I learned many years ago that there is a huge difference between "belief" and "knowing"... people can't change what they "know" and that is why I can't shift my position; far too many instances in which the views of science and rationalism fall short. As I've said in the past, too many things that cannot be replicated by them and as a result I become the target of ridicule and accusation... the one that gets bullied by those one's that can't step up to the proverbial plate. But the door is always opened just as it is for christianity; they day my questions are answered Bull Shit free, will be the day I change my views... I'm not holding my breath. :)
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Re: Has Science & Skepticism Gone Against Each Other?

Postby ProfWag » 21 Dec 2010, 06:27

Craig Browning wrote:I learned many years ago that there is a huge difference between "belief" and "knowing"... people can't change what they "know" and that is why I can't shift my position; far too many instances in which the views of science and rationalism fall short. As I've said in the past, too many things that cannot be replicated by them and as a result I become the target of ridicule and accusation... the one that gets bullied by those one's that can't step up to the proverbial plate. But the door is always opened just as it is for christianity; they day my questions are answered Bull Shit free, will be the day I change my views... I'm not holding my breath. :)

Sooooo does that make you a "pseudo-believer" when the subject is the paranormal? ;-)
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Re: Has Science & Skepticism Gone Against Each Other?

Postby Scepcop » 21 Dec 2010, 21:38

Arouet,
If skepticism is not about taking positions, then how come Michael Shermer says that "There is no such thing as the supernatural" and that "I conclude that Bigfoot doesn't exist"? Isn't that taking positions? Or is he not a true skeptic? Is Shermer wrong about anything, in your opinion?

Craig was right. Skeptics do not admit that they are wrong. Can you show us articles by Randi or Shermer admitting that they were wrong about something?
“Devotion to the truth is the hallmark of morality; there is no greater, nobler, more heroic form of devotion than the act of a man who assumes the responsibility of thinking.” - Ayn Rand, Atlas Shrugged
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