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Why am I so Wrong? by ProfWag

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Why am I so Wrong? by ProfWag

Postby ProfWag » 14 Oct 2009, 03:41

I would really like to open an honest debate about this. First, let me explain myself. I am a skeptic. In fact (if I may use that word), you can even call me a pseudo-skeptic if you'd like since many of the people who read this are pseudo-believers anyway. I don't believe in ghosts, UFOs, Bigfeet (well I do wear a size 14, but...), psychics and/or mediums, astrology in any sense of the word, and a host of other paranormal or conspiracy ideas. Why don't I believe in it? I haven't seen any proof. So, why does that make me so bad? I throw out questions and in return, I get labeled a debunker and/or a pseudo-skeptic, am told my statements are illogical, am told that my opinions are based on personal belief rather than knowledge and that I am terrified that if something is real, I would have to re-examine my beliefs. Not sure what I could possibly be terrified about, but okay, let's go with it anyway. So, what I really want to know is, why am I so wrong to want to see proof of anything before I believe it? I see evidence of almost everything, but there's no proof. 120 years ago, if you had told my great-grandfather that people would be flying all around the world, that people could watch baseball through a box on a wall, or talk in a little "thing" to someone half way around the world he would probably have called you a quack, even without any evidence for the time. There was definitely no proof that those things would be possible. Yet, here we are. I don't believe that I have ever said that any or all of the paranormal claims are crap. All I do is question claims and then get criticized and labeled when I ask for proof. Why? Probably because there is no proof and people who believe are defensive. (Just my perception, open for discussion) I know I get extremely defensive when I'm told that I'm wrong about something. To me, people who are believers or "pseudo-believers" are wrong for believing in something that only has evidence and not proof (regardless of the strength of or lack of strength of the evidence) and are promoting deception to the general public without any proof. Asking for proof of something surely doesn't make me and other skeptics (or even "pseudo-skeptics") worthy of constant ridicule, does it? To conclude, let me say this about myself: I have never been wrong. I thought I was once, but I was wrong... :-)
I hope that we all can keep this civil.
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Re: Why am I so Wrong? by ProfWag

Postby NinjaPuppy » 14 Oct 2009, 05:47

I totally don't think that you are ever wrong. There is no right or wrong to things paranormal. Skeptics are not wrong for supporting their views and neither are believers. BTW, I hate that term.. believer. I don't 'believe' in ghosts as they are portrayed in books, movies or TV. I do believe that there are unexplained situations that fit the terminology of 'ghost' or 'spirit' or 'entity' that can't be explained away by saying that there is NO such thing because science can't prove it. And don't tell me that I'm hallucinating either because there are personal experiences of others who may have seen the exact same thing without prior knowledge or prompting.

Just because something doesn't fit into some neat little package of science doesn't make it go away. Just because I can't explain it well enough to another person doesn't make it a lie. Only when certain terminology starts getting slung around like liar, cheater, mentally imbalanced and some of the more nasty names that I've seen in some replies (from both parties I might add) does it make it 'wrong'.

If you don't believe in any of the subject matter, that's fine. You at least ask intelligent questions and offer your point of view. I don't think that any of us here can ask for more than that. IMO, you also present yourself very well in debates and I enjoy your commentary. You have shown me your way of thinking and backed it up with information explaining why you think that way. I don't think there is any other way to make a point in this sort of subject matter.

As a skeptic I don't expect you to agree with me either. If I wanted that, I'd go over to a fluffy bunny forum and play mommy to a bunch of goth wannabe's and spout some bullsh!t about my beliefs. I might as well just mix up a batch of kool-aid and wait for the mothership. I came here looking for some hard core debating and an exchange of ideas and theories and I didn't think it would be easy. It hasn't been easy but it sure has been educational for me and it's been fun at times too.

Does that make me right and you wrong? No. It means we see something from a different perspective that probably won't ever be settled in our lifetimes but that doesn't mean that I don't enjoy running some of my beliefs past you skeptics to see what you have to say about it. At least I have the attitude that you might just be right and at least I'm willing to argue the point with you because I value all input.
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Re: Why am I so Wrong? by ProfWag

Postby ProfWag » 14 Oct 2009, 07:57

Thanks for your post Ninja! I agree that this has forum has been very educational and eye opening for me as well. I came here to learn and see if my beliefs have merit or if there really is something to this paranormal thing. I've learned that there really is some honest evidence.
You mention something else that I have been wondering. What do I call people who are not skeptical but believe in the evidence? Is there a different name for them as compared to those who believe in most things paranormal without examining evidence or from personal experience? I guess what I'm asking is that I often get called a skeptic or a pseudo-skeptic, but I don't really know what to call those who are on the other side of the fence?
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Re: Why am I so Wrong? by ProfWag

Postby Eteponge » 14 Oct 2009, 08:41

As for the "I don't believe in UFOs" bit, I take it that is in regard to them particularly being Aliens from Outer Space? The term UFO simply means Unidentified Flying Object. It is non-contestable that many people throughout history have undeniably seen Unidentified Flying Objects in the sky that defy ordinary explanations when all things considered. That doesn't mean they are Aliens from Outer Space, just that they are UFOs in the exact sense of the word. The Extraterrestrial Hypothesis is merely one of MANY possible explanations of UFOs, not the only one.
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Re: Why am I so Wrong? by ProfWag

Postby ciscop » 14 Oct 2009, 09:31

wrong? in this site you are not only wrong
according to koenig you are a pessimist
according to quantum you have a lack of understanding
according to highflyer you are a demon worshiper (if you voted for obama that is)

hahaha

according to me
you are funny
is great to read your rebuttals
they are quite informative and is gotta be awesome to have you as a university professor
do you spread the skeptic gene in your lectures?
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: Why am I so Wrong? by ProfWag

Postby brett » 14 Oct 2009, 10:28

please define a " pesudo beleiver "

:? thanks
LIFE - just filling the bits between birth, death and taxes
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Re: Why am I so Wrong? by ProfWag

Postby NinjaPuppy » 14 Oct 2009, 12:01

ProfWag wrote:Thanks for your post Ninja! I agree that this has forum has been very educational and eye opening for me as well. I came here to learn and see if my beliefs have merit or if there really is something to this paranormal thing. I've learned that there really is some honest evidence.
You mention something else that I have been wondering. What do I call people who are not skeptical but believe in the evidence? Is there a different name for them as compared to those who believe in most things paranormal without examining evidence or from personal experience? I guess what I'm asking is that I often get called a skeptic or a pseudo-skeptic, but I don't really know what to call those who are on the other side of the fence?


Your question, "What do I call people who are not skeptical but believe in the evidence?" - Which evidence? It's a big crazy 'paranormal world' out there and not everyone believes in the same things. My basic belief is that all things are possible. From Merriam Webster: Possible = 'Being what may be conceived, be done, or occur according to nature, custom, or manners." I'd hate to be called a possibler. I actually like the term 'non-skeptic' better than believer. However I am probably a 'quarter-non-skeptic' as I am skeptical about some things. :D

My mindset is, who are we to decide that we are the only life form and that our intelligence is superior? As a child I had been contemplating my religious teaching and came up with a theory. All we know is that we live in a solar system and we don't know a darned thing past the point where our technology can reach. Is it possible that our solar system is similar to a molecule and that molecule is inside some person? It's pretty much a childhood "Horton Hears A Who" kind of thing. Anyway, our existence would be almost non-existent to the person who's life we are a part of.

As for aliens from another planet... My only 'close encounter' goes like this: I once ran into this lovely older gentleman walking along a stretch of beach. He seemed a bit disoriented and lost so I said 'hello' and he replied 'hello' back and he asked if I knew where the local VA hospital was. I had no clue as I was on vacation in a strange town and he then introduced himself. His name was Bud and he was a friend of Bill W. and he asked if I knew Bill W. Of course I didn't as I didn't live in that town so I offered to find someone who could help him and he asked if he and I could chat a bit. He told me all about his life and who he was and what he had done and of course, how he came here on a spaceship from another planet. Let me tell you! Old Bud was pretty darned convincing and he seemed to know what he was talking about. I never met such a charming and intelligent alien in my entire life. He wasn't even green. Actually Bud had wandered off from the VA hospital just down the street and he remembered this because he was getting hungry and it was past his lunch time. If I hadn't taken the time to listen to everything he had to say, I never would have found out that information to get him back to the mothership... err, I mean the hospital. I have also since that day met his friend Bill W. after doing some volunteer work for a homeless shelter. ;)

Skeptics don't seem to want to listen to what others have to say that falls out of the realm of their own belief system. They're attitude is "Because I'm the Mom, that's why!" and science is their mother. They don't seem to have any sense of wonder and talk about lack of imagination.... It used to be that science fiction was only about 20 years ahead of it's time. Now it's all a day late and a dollar short. Have some fun ProfWag! Lighten up! Go to a psychic fair and give a psychic the hairy eyeball. Attend a meeting of that ghost hunter group that you found on the Internet. Go, find out for yourself how good or bad they actually are. Just don't spend more than a few bucks on them. You can wear sunglasses, nobody will know it's you behind those Foster Grants. Try it, you might like it!
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Re: Why am I so Wrong? by ProfWag

Postby NinjaPuppy » 14 Oct 2009, 12:04

brett wrote:please define a " pesudo beleiver "

:? thanks


What are you doing up so late Mister? Oh and LOL to pesudo beleiver. Don't tell me, let me guess..... ciscop?
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Re: Why am I so Wrong? by ProfWag

Postby ProfessorX » 14 Oct 2009, 16:07

ProfWag wrote:I I see evidence of almost everything, but there's no proof. 120 years ago, if you had told my great-grandfather that people would be flying all around the world, that people could watch baseball through a box on a wall, or talk in a little "thing" to someone half way around the world he would probably have called you a quack, even without any evidence for the time. There was definitely no proof that those things would be possible. Yet, here we are..


My first question is, what is your definition of "proof?" And how does that differ from "evidence?" Is "proof" another way of saying you haven't seen conclusive evidence of the paranormal?

Second, regarding your great-grandfather example, if he responded by saying all that is pure fantasy and superstition and the idea of a "magic" box on a wall is as real as unicorns and ghosts, well, he'd be wrong, wouldn't he?
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Re: Why am I so Wrong? by ProfWag

Postby ProfWag » 14 Oct 2009, 18:14

Eteponge wrote:As for the "I don't believe in UFOs" bit, I take it that is in regard to them particularly being Aliens from Outer Space? The term UFO simply means Unidentified Flying Object. It is non-contestable that many people throughout history have undeniably seen Unidentified Flying Objects in the sky that defy ordinary explanations when all things considered. That doesn't mean they are Aliens from Outer Space, just that they are UFOs in the exact sense of the word. The Extraterrestrial Hypothesis is merely one of MANY possible explanations of UFOs, not the only one.

That's absolutely what I meant Eteponge. Thanks for the clarification.
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Re: Why am I so Wrong? by ProfWag

Postby ProfWag » 14 Oct 2009, 18:18

ciscop wrote:they are quite informative and is gotta be awesome to have you as a university professor
do you spread the skeptic gene in your lectures?

I do when I can. One of the things I do in almost every class is get a student off to the side before class and have them order a pizza to be delivered to the class. When the guy shows up, I have the student go "right here Dude," ala Fast Times at Ridgement High. That always cracks me up.
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Re: Why am I so Wrong? by ProfWag

Postby ProfWag » 14 Oct 2009, 18:29

brett wrote:please define a " pesudo beleiver "

:? thanks

I kind of made up the term “pseudo-believer” to counter the term “pseudo-skeptic.” According to the administrator of this forum, a pseudo skeptic is: “… pseudoskeptics are defenders of the status quo and materialism. They are fanatics and dogmatists who have no regard for facts, evidence or truth, but have an a priori faith-based belief that paranormal phenomena is impossible and therefore set out to debunk it, not investigate it…”
Hence, a pseudo-believer is a person just the opposite. They are fanatics and dogmatists who have no regard for facts, evidence or truth, but have an a priori faith-based belief that paranormal phenomena is possible and therefore set out to convince everyone that it exists rather than admit that there is no proof.
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Re: Why am I so Wrong? by ProfWag

Postby ProfWag » 14 Oct 2009, 18:41

ProfessorX wrote:
ProfWag wrote:I I see evidence of almost everything, but there's no proof. 120 years ago, if you had told my great-grandfather that people would be flying all around the world, that people could watch baseball through a box on a wall, or talk in a little "thing" to someone half way around the world he would probably have called you a quack, even without any evidence for the time. There was definitely no proof that those things would be possible. Yet, here we are..


My first question is, what is your definition of "proof?" And how does that differ from "evidence?" Is "proof" another way of saying you haven't seen conclusive evidence of the paranormal?

Second, regarding your great-grandfather example, if he responded by saying all that is pure fantasy and superstition and the idea of a "magic" box on a wall is as real as unicorns and ghosts, well, he'd be wrong, wouldn't he?

Proof as defined in the dictionary: "evidence sufficient to establish a thing as true."
Second, yes, you are right and that was my point. Just because I currently don't believe in most things paranormal doesn't mean that 1, 5, 10, or 50 years from now, they will not have been determined to be true and I will become as much of a believer in reading minds as I am of watching baseball in my magic box.
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Re: Why am I so Wrong? by ProfWag

Postby Eteponge » 14 Oct 2009, 23:11

ProfWag wrote:
ciscop wrote:they are quite informative and is gotta be awesome to have you as a university professor
do you spread the skeptic gene in your lectures?

I do when I can. One of the things I do in almost every class is get a student off to the side before class and have them order a pizza to be delivered to the class. When the guy shows up, I have the student go "right here Dude," ala Fast Times at Ridgement High. That always cracks me up.

Do you make the student share the pizza with the rest of the class like Mr. Hand? :lol:
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Re: Why am I so Wrong? by ProfWag

Postby ProfWag » 14 Oct 2009, 23:21

Eteponge wrote:
ProfWag wrote:
ciscop wrote:they are quite informative and is gotta be awesome to have you as a university professor
do you spread the skeptic gene in your lectures?

I do when I can. One of the things I do in almost every class is get a student off to the side before class and have them order a pizza to be delivered to the class. When the guy shows up, I have the student go "right here Dude," ala Fast Times at Ridgement High. That always cracks me up.

Do you make the student share the pizza with the rest of the class like Mr. Hand? :lol:

I sure do! Of course, I pay for the pizzas and order enough for the class to begin with, but it still cracks me up.
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