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Unnecessary meanness

Discuss PseudoSkeptics and their Fallacies. Share strategies for debating them.

Unnecessary meanness

Postby antiskeptic » 20 Jun 2009, 12:31

"Wow! So, the FDA has finally admitted that the mercury in amalgam fillings is having devastating results on our children’s health. It’s on the Internet, so it must be true."
http://skepticblog.org/2009/06/18/fda-r ... -fillings/

"According to the British Homeopathic Association (does that mean the fewer members they have the more powerful the group?) June 14-21 is Homeopathy Awareness Week."
http://skepticblog.org/2009/06/15/homeo ... ness-week/

"This time out you not only get ONE bizarre medium, but TWO, count’em TWO mediums for the price of admission in one thrill ride filled to overflowing with woo. I won’t even bother to question the complete lack of any rational thought whatsoever or whether or not this romp has logic holes big enough to drive a hearse through."
http://skepticblog.org/2009/06/13/drag- ... e-theater/

"At this point, Michael (clearly less naive than I) asked if he was being punked, if this whole day was a setup and a joke on him. I told him no, this was real, and this guy was just a nut."
http://skepticblog.org/2009/06/11/not-skeptical-enough/

"Simon Singh is a journalist in the UK; he writes for the Guardian. Moreover, he’s a science journalist, and a good one who, like so many of us, prefers reality the way it is. The British Chiropractic Association, however, prefers reality to bend to their will."

"Unsurprisingly, the BCA took a dim view of this. So of course they produced copious variable-controlled double blind studies with statistically significant testing procedures to back up their claim. HAHAHAHAHAHAhahahahahaha! No, that would be silly! Of course they didn’t do that. They sued him instead."
http://skepticblog.org/2009/06/10/i-kno ... rd-singhs/

And I found all of these mean-spirited comments on the same blog, and I only had to go back ten days. I probably missed some, too, as I was skimming. One of the things that I sometimes do not hear enough about when people on our side are arguing about the skeptics is the really mean and disrespectful comments that skeptics seem to like to make on a regular basis for no good reason. These prominent skeptics on skepticblog.org seem to think, as most skeptics do, that this type of discourse is fair game. You would have a hard time finding this type of meanness on a blog like that of Dean Radin. I believe that, at least in the scientific community, there should be punishment for speaking about other people or concepts in this manner. This disrespect helps to dissuade people from becoming scientists, and it stifles reasoned discussion. Does anyone else have any thoughts on how to reign in this disrespectfulness?
No one knows how old the human race is exactly, but we can all agree that we should be old enough to know better.
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Re: Unnecessary meanness

Postby Franc28 » 20 Jun 2009, 14:38

Not sure what your point is. It's someone's blog, not a newspaper. Every individual has the right to say what they want.

The only way for you to "rein in" his worldview would be to change his worldview. Good luck with that.

If I got mad every time someone used "unnecessary meanness" against me, I'd have died of cardiac arrest a long time ago.
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Re: Unnecessary meanness

Postby antiskeptic » 20 Jun 2009, 15:04

Well, actually that's not true. No one has the right to say what they want. There are always at least some limitations on what you can say. In any case, Franc28, I really wonder whose side you are on when you make a post like the last one. Almost all serious researchers in esoteric areas that I am aware of do not think that this sort of meanness is good to bring into a reasoned discussion of esoteric phenomena, as (among other negative things) it gets in the way of reasoned discussion. It usually only seems like the skeptics are the ones who want to be insulting. Certainly this type of disrespectful behavior is not acceptable on these message boards, and for good reason. I am bothered by your lack of concern about this issue.
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Re: Unnecessary meanness

Postby Franc28 » 20 Jun 2009, 15:12

antiskeptic wrote:Well, actually that's not true. No one has the right to say what they want. There are always at least some limitations on what you can say.


That's entirely true, but how is that relevant? He hasn't, say, threatened to kill you.


In any case, Franc28, I really wonder whose side you are on when you make a post like the last one.


What do you mean whose side I'm on? I'm not a skeptic or a believer, if that's what you mean.


Almost all serious researchers in esoteric areas that I am aware of do not think that this sort of meanness is good to bring into a reasoned discussion of esoteric phenomena, as (among other negative things) it gets in the way of reasoned discussion. It usually only seems like the skeptics are the ones who want to be insulting. Certainly this type of disrespectful behavior is not acceptable on these message boards, and for good reason. I am bothered by your lack of concern about this issue.


Look, I'm sorry that you're offended about the way your opponents treat you. But that's how it is in all areas. In my years of involvement in religious and political issues, I see it all the time. Being concerned about it will not make people be nicer, so what good is it for you to be concerned?
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Re: Unnecessary meanness

Postby antiskeptic » 20 Jun 2009, 15:31

Well, I'll agree that being concerned about something alone is probably not going to get the situation to change, but being concerned about something along with action will sometimes cause a change. That's part of the reason why I started this thread - to get other people's input as to how to try to stop the skeptics from treating us and these esoteric subjects with such disrespect, or at least to try to administer punishment to the skeptic movement if they insist on being so insulting.
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Re: Unnecessary meanness

Postby Franc28 » 20 Jun 2009, 15:34

Like I said, I think the only way you have to do that is to deconvert them.
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Re: Unnecessary meanness

Postby antiskeptic » 20 Jun 2009, 16:32

I don't agree with you, Franc28, but I will take what you say into account. I have a few ideas about specific strategies, myself, but I am also looking to hear from other people and get a discussion going. If you reconsider, feel free to post any more input that you have.
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Re: Unnecessary meanness

Postby Eteponge » 20 Jun 2009, 22:40

antiskeptic wrote:"At this point, Michael (clearly less naive than I) asked if he was being punked, if this whole day was a setup and a joke on him. I told him no, this was real, and this guy was just a nut."
http://skepticblog.org/2009/06/11/not-skeptical-enough/

Um, did you read the entire article and understand who exactly they were talking about? The "Psychic" doing all of those crazy antics to the Skeptics was Shirley Ghostman, a UK Spoof *Comedian*. He even had his own Spoof Television Show awhile back where he played as his fake Psychic character. He's renowned for going up to Skeptics, claiming to be able to pass their tests and win their prize, and then just acts silly and crazy where he's clearly fooling no one. Shirley Ghostman's character *IS* "just a nut". The statement quoted above was justified.

Here's two clips with that Shirley Ghostman guy they were bashing...

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=aQhzHf7ytEQ

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=UzWgt61x7AA

You'll see why they made those comments.
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Re: Unnecessary meanness

Postby antiskeptic » 21 Jun 2009, 01:18

I have to say, the posts so far have been quite upsetting...Eteponge - I think that it is you who have the context of the statement wrong. The statement that I quoted was made by Brian Dunning who explained that at the time he believed that Shirley Ghostman was legitimate. But, whether or not the character was legitimate, I have a problem with these skeptics using an unnecessarily mean comment like "nut." I do not believe that this level of discourse is moral nor do I believe that it is conductive to a well-reasoned discussion about any issue. Do we really want the discussion about whether or not to believe in certain phenomena to be decided, even in part, by who can hurl the best insults?
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Re: Unnecessary meanness

Postby Eteponge » 21 Jun 2009, 02:11

antiskeptic wrote:I have to say, the posts so far have been quite upsetting...Eteponge - I think that it is you who have the context of the statement wrong. The statement that I quoted was made by Brian Dunning who explained that at the time he believed that Shirley Ghostman was legitimate. But, whether or not the character was legitimate, I have a problem with these skeptics using an unnecessarily mean comment like "nut." I do not believe that this level of discourse is moral nor do I believe that it is conductive to a well-reasoned discussion about any issue. Do we really want the discussion about whether or not to believe in certain phenomena to be decided, even in part, by who can hurl the best insults?

Have you seen the way Shirley Ghostman acts? He does not act like a normal medium would act. He starts off being excessively rude, saying insulting things to the Skeptics, saying things that are obviously over-the-top silly and non-serious, channeling Colonel Sanders and spouting cuss words left and right and talking about dirty perverted stuff constantly and trying to embarrass the person he's talking to.

Even if you were told he was legitimate before you found out he was a spoof comedian, within 10 seconds of talking to the guy, you'd probably be inclined to call him a "nut" too.

All I'm saying, is that particular example you gave was justified by the skeptics due to the actions of the person.

However, notice that I did not comment on the other examples you gave. That's because the other Skeptic examples you gave *were* insulting, condescending, and unjustified jabs. You had valid quotes with the other examples, in my opinion.
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Re: Unnecessary meanness

Postby antiskeptic » 21 Jun 2009, 03:43

Thank you for at least acknowledging that some of the comments were out of line. I want to point out that I am not condoning Shirley Ghostman's actions. I personally would not have called him a "nut," but I would have told him that his behavior is out of line. I understand that there could be an argument made for the usage of disrespectfulness if the other guy started using disrespectfulness with you first. A sort of first blood thing. I think, though, that it is much more moral, and more conductive to reasoned discussion, to try to reign in this type of behavior rather than contribute to it. Which brings me back to the original purpose of this thread. I would like to hear some other people's suggestions as to how to reign in this disrespectful skeptic behavior.
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Re: Unnecessary meanness

Postby Scepcop » 24 Jun 2009, 19:48

Antiskeptic,
You should know that you can't control what other people say. To attempt to do so would be futile. Insults and rude behavior is common on the internet where controversial topics are concerned. No one can control what others say on the internet. But you can choose how you RESPOND to it. Just because someone is rude doesn't mean you have to sink to their level. Often you can expose them with calm rationality, if you are right and have some facts on your side of course.
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Re: Unnecessary meanness

Postby antiskeptic » 25 Jun 2009, 16:58

I think that you can control what people say. At the very least we can work to try to change how people think about speech and try to give the message that this type of discourse is not okay - and that there will be consequences for acting in such a manner. It's hard in today's society, but hopefully that can change over time with some effort.
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