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Why are new members not posting?

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Re: Why are new members not posting?

Postby jakesteele » 22 Dec 2009, 18:33

wjbeaty wrote:
tiger wrote:That would be fun. I love nothing better than to show skeptics they are wrong. Has a huge failure rate, but it is worth it for the rest of the time.


They may call themselves Skeptics, but often they're a type of fanatical "woo;" having fixed opinions based on thoughtless emotion and supported by dishonest tactics.

If *you* call this kind of person a Skeptic, then they've got you right where they want you.

If JREF people are all skeptics ...then what do we call ourselves? We're different than them, so we must be nonskeptics? If we silently approve of letting JREF have the "Skeptic" label, then we lose the fight even before we start.


Skeptic: one who is yet undecided as to what is true; one who is looking or inquiring for what is true; an inquirer after facts or reasons. the method of suspended judgment, systematic doubt, or criticism before any conclusion is arrived at.

Debunker – one who holds an a priori belief that it does not exist, therefore, it is just a matter of finding a way to explain it away.
Debunkers cloak denialism in the language of skepticism and critical thinking start with a conclusion and look for evidence to support what they already believe.

When it comes to what JREFers call woo, I refer to them as debunkers as per the above definition. It is not meant as a compliment.

For the record, I think CSIOPS/JREF, etc., when it comes to anything but woo, are, indeed, true skeptics. They tend to be intelligent, rational, objective and logical. But for them the areas of woo emotionally charged hot buttons where their is a tendency for rational, logical, objective thought processes to go out the window
Debunkers think all UFO photos are fake,
especially the real ones.
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Re: Why are new members not posting?

Postby tiger » 22 Dec 2009, 19:24

jakesteele wrote:
wjbeaty wrote:
tiger wrote:That would be fun. I love nothing better than to show skeptics they are wrong. Has a huge failure rate, but it is worth it for the rest of the time.


They may call themselves Skeptics, but often they're a type of fanatical "woo;" having fixed opinions based on thoughtless emotion and supported by dishonest tactics.

If *you* call this kind of person a Skeptic, then they've got you right where they want you.

If JREF people are all skeptics ...then what do we call ourselves? We're different than them, so we must be nonskeptics? If we silently approve of letting JREF have the "Skeptic" label, then we lose the fight even before we start.


Skeptic: one who is yet undecided as to what is true; one who is looking or inquiring for what is true; an inquirer after facts or reasons. the method of suspended judgment, systematic doubt, or criticism before any conclusion is arrived at.

Debunker – one who holds an a priori belief that it does not exist, therefore, it is just a matter of finding a way to explain it away.
Debunkers cloak denialism in the language of skepticism and critical thinking start with a conclusion and look for evidence to support what they already believe.

When it comes to what JREFers call woo, I refer to them as debunkers as per the above definition. It is not meant as a compliment.

For the record, I think CSIOPS/JREF, etc., when it comes to anything but woo, are, indeed, true skeptics. They tend to be intelligent, rational, objective and logical. But for them the areas of woo emotionally charged hot buttons where their is a tendency for rational, logical, objective thought processes to go out the window


I asked for examples. None have been provided. All what has been provided is a load of hot air.

If something happens and you have a choice of two explanations. One is a simple one that explains everything and another that is relies on highly doubtful assumptions, which would you pick as being the most likely to be true? Or would you be paralyzed with indecision because everything is not black and white?
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Re: Why are new members not posting?

Postby NinjaPuppy » 22 Dec 2009, 20:48

Thanks wjbeaty for your insight about the spambots, et al.
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Re: Why are new members not posting?

Postby NinjaPuppy » 22 Dec 2009, 22:01

I have deleted the topics started by most of the spambots. Once again, thank you wjbeaty for pointing them out. We generally like to give the newbie the benefit of the doubt but obviously it only opens up a door for those who have another agenda.
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Re: Why are new members not posting?

Postby jakesteele » 17 Jan 2010, 06:42

tiger wrote:
jakesteele wrote:
I asked for examples. None have been provided. All what has been provided is a load of hot air.

If something happens and you have a choice of two explanations. One is a simple one that explains everything and another that is relies on highly doubtful assumptions, which would you pick as being the most likely to be true? Or would you be paralyzed with indecision because everything is not black and white?


The first issue is that not all things have a simple choice of just two explanations. If it does you "look" at the simplest one first as being the most probable, but not necessarily the right one simply because it's the simplest one.

Secondly, if you read the definition I put forth of a Skeptic, which is basically straight out of the dictionary... (: Skeptic: one who is yet undecided as to what is true; one who is looking or inquiring for what is true; an inquirer after facts or reasons. the method of suspended judgment, systematic doubt, or criticism that is characteristic of skeptics.)...it means someone who has that mindset going "into" and investigation, not that you can't arrive at a definite conclusion. Debunkers seem to have co-opted the word and gave it their own self-serving definition. Whenever I hear a debunker say, "If you open your mind too far your brains will fall out." I always respond with, "If you close your mind too tight, you'll cut off the circulation."

As far as giving examples of my Debunkers' Laws, I constantly pepper JREFers with these whenever I am debating them. I find it psychologically telling that the majority of the time they do not respond to the specific part of my post that deals with "The Law" that I am applying because dealing with the foibles and flaws of their own psychology is something they simply don't do. They love to sling a Wiki list of fallacies and cognitive biases at the woo, but they seem to be blind to them when it comes to themselves. Self examination seems not to be their strong suit.

As far as specifics, I'll give you a few: Debunker’s Law of the Magical Magician - Engage the services of a professional stage magician who can mimic the phenomenon in question; for example, ESP, faith healing, astrology, etc. As example would be when Randi allegedly debunked the Philipino faith healer by doing what appeared to be the same thing. Randi didn't debunk anything. All he did was to show that he had fairly decent sleight-of-hand skills but doing a trick that, on the surface, looked just like the faith healer's.

Law of the Implausible Plausibility – 1.) Trying to make something fit where it doesn’t fit. Every explanation MUST be a plausible and mundane one, even when it doesn’t fit.
2.) It is better to be mundane and wrong than to be complex and right.
(See Ocamm’s Beard – the simplest solution isn’t always the right one) This occurs in every area of what they have labeled 'woo'. To get them to acknowledge that a UFO sighting, which cannot be proved conclusively either way, could possibly be the real deal is like trying to pull the eye teeth from a pissed off gorilla. The best example I can give of this is this vid about human levitation where it deals with a guy nicknamed the Flying Friar. At approx. 47 seconds the segment on St. Joseph of Capitino(sp) starts and than at 1:13 Joe Nickell gives the most classical example of the "Implausible Plausible" I have ever seen.

Hope that helps address your post and gives you some concretes that you can work with.
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Re: Why are new members not posting?

Postby tiger » 21 Jan 2010, 11:06

jakesteele wrote:<snip> As example would be when Randi allegedly debunked the Philipino faith healer by doing what appeared to be the same thing. Randi didn't debunk anything. All he did was to show that he had fairly decent sleight-of-hand skills but doing a trick that, on the surface, looked just like the faith healer's.

It would be very easy for a faith healer to show that what they do works. Yet as far as I know none have. Randi can show that he can do sleight-of-hand tricks to let people know that you cannot just take the word of a person that their snake oil actually works, you need something else, which has not been produced. It is not up to him to show that faith healers are fake. It is up to them to show they are real. Otherwise you must accept the claims of any and every snake oil salesperson.

When you are talking about "the Flying Friar" what video are you talking about? All I can find is that it is some obscure piece of fiction.
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Re: Why are new members not posting?

Postby groupthink » 23 Jan 2010, 12:48

Scepcop wrote:Hi all,
Ninjapuppy and I have both noticed that a lot of the new members who introduce themselves and remark about how refreshing this site is, suddenly disappear and never post again. We were wondering why that was. Perhaps:

1) They saw all the hostility and negativity from the skeptics here, which deterred them away?
2) They can't think of anything to contribute or are the passive type?
3) They like this site and forum but just don't have the time to contribute?

What do you think?


i am not a conspiracy theorist.
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Re: Why are new members not posting?

Postby NinjaPuppy » 23 Jan 2010, 18:52

Welcome Groupthink!
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Re: Why are new members not posting?

Postby jakesteele » 12 Feb 2010, 15:21

tiger wrote:
jakesteele wrote:<snip> As example would be when Randi allegedly debunked the Philipino faith healer by doing what appeared to be the same thing. Randi didn't debunk anything. All he did was to show that he had fairly decent sleight-of-hand skills but doing a trick that, on the surface, looked just like the faith healer's.

It would be very easy for a faith healer to show that what they do works. Yet as far as I know none have. Randi can show that he can do sleight-of-hand tricks to let people know that you cannot just take the word of a person that their snake oil actually works, you need something else, which has not been produced. It is not up to him to show that faith healers are fake. It is up to them to show they are real. Otherwise you must accept the claims of any and every snake oil salesperson.

When you are talking about "the Flying Friar" what video are you talking about? All I can find is that it is some obscure piece of fiction.


http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=pwvEPeGPxeU
1:14 into the vid Shameless Joe Nickel gives an outstanding example of pseudoskepticism with his ludicrous possible explanation. The problem I have with debunker/pseudos is that when they give probable explanations for something, which they should, and the probable explanation can't be proven, it's time to apply Occam's Bear - the simplest explanation is not always the best. At some point, to be a true skeptic, they should say, "Although highly improbable, it could be the real deal We just don't have enough data to say absolutely and definitively it's not the real deal."
Debunkers think all UFO photos are fake,
especially the real ones.
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Re: Why are new members not posting?

Postby tiger » 12 Feb 2010, 19:34

It is up to those that claim some paranormal ability to show that they do have this ability. Unfortunately, when people start to look at these claims they tend to fall apart. You do not even have to look very closely to see that many of them do not stand up. For example some of them claim the ability to cure people of illnesses. If they had that ability they could earn heaps of money doing so. Hospitals would be advertising for such people. Others claim the ability to solve crime. In that case police would be advertising for their services. You must ask yourself why have we not seen such advertisements? There are several possible explanations for this. I leave it up to you to work out what these are and which one (or more) is the correct one.

However, jakesteele, you are right. It is impossible to prove that no-one has any paranormal ability, either in the past, present or future. It could be that tomorrow something happens and we all have paranormal ability.
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Re: Why are new members not posting?

Postby ProfWag » 12 Feb 2010, 21:45

jakesteele wrote: At some point, to be a true skeptic, they should say, "Although highly improbable, it could be the real deal We just don't have enough data to say absolutely and definitively it's not the real deal."

I'm fairly confident that most skeptics, whether they are thought of as the "real deal" or not, feel this way. From my readings, skeptics do keep the door open just a bit for something incredible. Granted, reading other skeptic forums, there are some who find it totally implausible but most of the other skeptics don't follow that path. My observation anyway.
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Re: Why are new members not posting?

Postby jakesteele » 18 Feb 2010, 16:07

ProfWag wrote:
jakesteele wrote: At some point, to be a true skeptic, they should say, "Although highly improbable, it could be the real deal We just don't have enough data to say absolutely and definitively it's not the real deal."

I'm fairly confident that most skeptics, whether they are thought of as the "real deal" or not, feel this way. From my readings, skeptics do keep the door open just a bit for something incredible. Granted, reading other skeptic forums, there are some who find it totally implausible but most of the other skeptics don't follow that path. My observation anyway.


In most scientific endeavors a true skeptic will do that. However, when it comes to what debunkers call 'woo', there seems to be a lot of irrational close-mindedness, especially on JREF. When asked if they believe in UFOs you will usually get the Unicorn Gambit played on you.

The Unicorn Gambit: When pressed to the wall with a close ended question. Example – “Do you think, believe or know that all UFO sightings from the dawn of man, up to and including the present, are all mundane, plausible explanations?” They will sarcastically say something to this effect: “Sure there might be a chance, about as much chance of Unicorns and Faries."

This is nothing more than a way of sarcastically saying no without have to bear the burden of proof and maintain the semblance of objectivity. This is a prime example of the definition of a pseudo/debunker

Debunkerone who holds an a priori belief that it does not exist, therefore, it is just a matter of finding a way to explain it away. Debunkers cloak denialism in the language of skepticism and critical thinking. They start with a conclusion and look for evidence to support what they already believe.

Ironically, out of the other side of their mouths they will also do the Drake Equation Shuffle:

The Drake Equation Shufflesay out of one side of their mouth that life probably exists somewhere in the universe due to the staggering numbers involved and then out of the other side of your mouth put terms and conditions on what it is and what it isn’t (UFOs) As a JREFer said, science deals in possibilities and probabilities; who gets to define those? Once you’ve opened the door by saying yes, there might be live, then until we know other wise, all possibilities are in play.
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Re: Why are new members not posting?

Postby jakesteele » 18 Feb 2010, 16:21

tiger wrote:
jakesteele wrote:<snip> As example would be when Randi allegedly debunked the Philipino faith healer by doing what appeared to be the same thing. Randi didn't debunk anything. All he did was to show that he had fairly decent sleight-of-hand skills but doing a trick that, on the surface, looked just like the faith healer's.

It would be very easy for a faith healer to show that what they do works. Yet as far as I know none have. Randi can show that he can do sleight-of-hand tricks to let people know that you cannot just take the word of a person that their snake oil actually works, you need something else, which has not been produced.
It is not up to him to show that faith healers are fake. It is up to them to show they are real. Otherwise you must accept the claims of any and every snake oil salesperson.


You're right, it isn't up to him but he tries to do it anyway in a deceptive way that I call Bunk Science (hereinafter, referred to as BS). He just looks at the camera and smiles and lets his loyal followers read into it what they want to see. He is good at giving them impression that he has disproven something when, in fact, he has done no such thing. Two things come into play here:

Debunker’s Law of the Amazing Magician - Engage the services of a professional stage magician who can mimic the phenomenon in question; for example, ESP,

Sleight of mind – this is undoubtedly the single greatest feat of psychological prestidigitation that the likes of James Randi, Michael Shermer, Phil Plait, Joe Nickel, etc. are able to foist onto their loyal followers and sychophants. This comes into play especially when Randi alledgedly debunks a faith healer type by simply doing a magic trick that appears, on the surface, to be the same thing when in fact, there was no real debunking that occurred.
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Re: Why are new members not posting?

Postby ProfessorX » 21 Feb 2010, 15:14

As someone who hasn't posted in awhile, my answer to the thread question is that, the main reason I haven't been around mostly due to stuff going on in the real-life world. I hope to check in a bit more frequently for the time being.

JakeSteele - your "laws" of psuedoskepticism are absolutely brilliant!!! Hilarious and dead-on. Satire at its best.

In reading your laws, what struck me is how freakily consistent that mode of thought is. Consistent in the foolish consistency is the hobgoblin of little minds" sense.

And then it dawned on me that pseudoskepticism is, in essence, a form of fundamentalism. And, like with religious fundamentalists, the hyper-consistency of fundamentalist skeptics is actually a defensive coping mechanism to avoid having to confront the scary uncertainty and chaos of a world constantly changing, constantly in motion.

For religious fundamentalists, they hold on for dear life to their religious convictions to avoid having to confront the frightening possibility that there might not be a God.

For skeptical fundamentalists, they hold on for dear life to their pseudoskeptical "laws" to avoid having to confront the frightening possibility that there actually might be a God.

Pseudoskepticism, is, in effect, anti-anxiety medication for modernists.
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Re: Why are new members not posting?

Postby NinjaPuppy » 21 Feb 2010, 19:06

Good to see you back ProfessorX.
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