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My new video: Why Pseudoskeptics are NOT Real Skeptics

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

My new video: Why Pseudoskeptics are NOT Real Skeptics

Postby Scepcop » 10 Jun 2010, 17:03

My video rant explaining why James Randi, Michael Shermer and CSICOPers are not real skeptics.



“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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Re: My new video: Why Pseudoskeptics are NOT Real Skeptics

Postby NinjaPuppy » 10 Jun 2010, 19:16

So how come you didn't put the url to the Forum in text on your video??? ;)
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Re: My new video: Why Pseudoskeptics are NOT Real Skeptics

Postby Scepcop » 10 Jun 2010, 22:26

NinjaPuppy wrote:So how come you didn't put the url to the Forum in text on your video??? ;)


I do put the URL sometimes in the description box. But generally, the URL to the main page is easiest to remember, and from there, people can access the forum and other pages.

So what did you think of my rant? :)
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Re: My new video: Why Pseudoskeptics are NOT Real Skeptics

Postby Scepcop » 10 Jun 2010, 22:38

ProfWag, Nostradamus, or anyone else who has a JREF forum account:

Can you do me a favor and post the links to my new video above in the JREF forum? I can't seem to register an account there. They never approve me for some reason.

Here is the exact URL's for you to copy and paste:

Part 1:
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=p0aPN3R3vPw

Part 2:
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=_P7G4kcWQBM

Also, post a link to this site if you can.

Thanks,
Winston
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Re: My new video: Why Pseudoskeptics are NOT Real Skeptics

Postby NinjaPuppy » 11 Jun 2010, 00:21

Scepcop wrote:So what did you think of my rant? :)

I certainly wouldn't call it a 'rant'. :lol: It's more of an observation. My two cents worth would be to define 'skeptic', 'pseudoskeptic' and 'establishment' in your opening and then get into the meat and potatos of your subject. Also, we see you make a lovely 'goodbye', turn off the video camera and then you come back. Was that an editing problem or did I miss something?
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Re: My new video: Why Pseudoskeptics are NOT Real Skeptics

Postby Scepcop » 11 Jun 2010, 00:28

It was just a case where I forgot to add something, so I added it at the end. I should have said goodbye one more time or edited out the first goodbye. lol
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Re: My new video: Why Pseudoskeptics are NOT Real Skeptics

Postby NinjaPuppy » 11 Jun 2010, 01:06

And this is how we all learn. The more videos you do, the more refined you will get.
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Re: My new video: Why Pseudoskeptics are NOT Real Skeptics

Postby rachelschmink » 04 Jul 2010, 07:43

I like the relatively calm and listenable tone that you use. But content-wise, it could be improved in a few ways that occurred to me. I only had time / patience for the first half of the first video; it became repetitive.

* As a persuasion piece, it's not strong because you don't give any examples of your claims.
* You make extremely broad and sweeping claims ("zero...", "all...") which are per se difficult to substantiate or defend. Conversely, they're easy to refute; i.e., one need only find one example where this isn't the case to prove you wrong. And really, your statement pretty much can't be true on its face: You don't say exactly who you're talking about, and you don't say exactly what it means to not question "the establishment". You don't say what "the establishment" is. So, for the unconvinced, this isn't very compelling.
* You say that the reason these people aren't true skeptics is because they're not skeptical about certain ideas. Whether or not that's true, I'm not inclined to believe you. Because: their skepticism aimed at other areas ought to still then have merit, but however, you don't address any positive aspects of work they've done.
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Re: My new video: Why Pseudoskeptics are NOT Real Skeptics

Postby ProfWag » 04 Jul 2010, 18:57

rachelschmink wrote:, but however, you don't address any positive aspects of work they've done.

What? Do I read you right that Scepcop is biased and one sided who doesn't look at both sides of a situation? 'C'mon, surely you jest... ;-)
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Re: My new video: Why Pseudoskeptics are NOT Real Skeptics

Postby Indigo Child » 06 Jul 2010, 05:06

This is first time I watched this video Winston. Really good job.

I want to answer some of the criticisms by rachael

As a persuasion piece, it's not strong because you don't give any examples of your claims.


I do not think it is suppose to be persuasion. It is logical. There is the difference between something that is
persuasive and something that is logical. The former is rhetorical and the sole aim is to convince somebody
to your side, whereas the latter is rational and the sole aim is to demonstrate ones point logically, and anybody
who is rational would accept it.

There is a very good point Winston makes in the addendum. That debating with a pseudoskeptic is like debating
with computer that refuses to recognise it has been checkmated. When rational people argue formally, they know
when they have lost, because their point has been reduced to absurdity. The best example of fair and honest formal
debates comes from India. A debate would be held between two parties(say buddhists vs hindus) which would go on
for hours, and sometimes days. At the end, such was the honesty of the losing party that they would renounce their
worldview and adopt the winning worldview. This what I would consider an ideal rational debate. The losing party has
to have the honesty to recognise they have lost.

You make extremely broad and sweeping claims ("zero...", "all...") which are per se difficult to substantiate
or defend. Conversely, they're easy to refute; i.e., one need only find one example where this isn't the case to prove
you wrong. And really, your statement pretty much can't be true on its face: You don't say exactly who you're talking about,
and you don't say exactly what it means to not question "the establishment". You don't say what "the establishment" is.
So, for the unconvinced, this isn't very compelling.


This is just quibbling over meaning of subtle nuances of meaning. We all know what Winston means when he speaks of
"pseudoskeptic and establishment" because of the context he uses the words in, and he explains his meaning as well by
expanding on the terms. Ironically, quibbling over meaning of terms is a favourite pseudoskeptical fallacy. The meaning of
a word is made clear through its usage. It is obvious you understand the meaning of what I am writing to you, otherwise you
would not be able to read it.

You say that the reason these people aren't true skeptics is because they're not skeptical about certain ideas. Whether or not that's true, I'm not inclined to believe you. Because: their skepticism aimed at other areas ought to still then have merit, but however, you don't address any positive aspects of work they've done.


Well, then that is technically not true skepticism then. If you are skeptic you are critical about all things, not
just some things. The colliqual use of the term "I am skeptical of x" is not the formal meaning of skeptism, which
is a worldview, where one never forms any consistent worldview of reality, because they are skeptical of any truth-
claims. This is what is called epistemological dynamism. Their worldview is always subject to change based on new information,
and even then it is still open to change. A true skeptic will only accept complete knowledge as true, not knowledge which is
incomplete. Pseudoskeptics worship science and cite figures like Einstein, Newton and Darwin as their prophets, and their
scientific works as sacred(Dawkins has recently become their new prophet) and often definitive. In contrast, one of the greatest
skeptics in history, David Hume, was very skeptical of science, and even went as far as to call science witchcraft.

Winston's point is clear to me - pseudoskeptics are just religious believers. They are not skeptics, scientists, critical thinkers, rational
as they claim to be. They appropriate these terms in the same way religious people appropriate the terms, "loving, moral, good-hearted,
spiritual" etc Ironically, in both cases, neither practice what they preach. Most people I talk to which claim to be skeptics, understand nothing
about the philosophy of science, the scientific method and the history of science - and yet they are talking to me as if they are the custordians
of science.

Many skeptics are not actually professional scientists. James Randi, one of the most prolific skeptics we know, is a magician. Many skeptics
on forums like JREF do not have a science education beyond high school.

I often find it amusing when pseudoskeptics preach the doctrines of rationality, science and critical thinking to me, when they themselves have
a high school education in science, and I actually have a degree in Philosophy and logic, my major area being philosophy of science. I make them
look stupid. Period.
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Re: My new video: Why Pseudoskeptics are NOT Real Skeptics

Postby ProfWag » 06 Jul 2010, 09:01

Indigo Child wrote:
Many skeptics are not actually professional scientists. James Randi, one of the most prolific skeptics we know, is a magician. Many skeptics
on forums like JREF do not have a science education beyond high school.

Yo' Indigo, could you point me to the reference that says one has to be a "professional scientist" to be a skeptic? I'm sorry to question your motive, but that is one of those statements that is so far off the mark that it's laughable. You are definitely a pseudobeliever.
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Re: My new video: Why Pseudoskeptics are NOT Real Skeptics

Postby really? » 06 Jul 2010, 21:00

Indigo Child wrote:This is first time I watched this video Winston. Really good job.

I want to answer some of the criticisms by rachael


I'd like to reply to indigo child
We all know what Winston means when he speaks of
"pseudoskeptic and establishment"

Yes we do. They are people that don't agree with Winston's view on reality.

At the end, such was the honesty of the losing party that they would renounce their
worldview and adopt the winning worldview. This what I would consider an ideal rational debate. The losing party has
to have the honesty to recognise they have lost.

Philosophies have very little to do with facts.That's as I see it the major flaw of debating one philosophical perspective as true over another.

Well, then that is technically not true skepticism then. If you are skeptic you are critical about all things, not
just some things.

I've not seen you at all excercise this definition in any of the things you stated as fact.

skeptism, which
is a worldview, where one never forms any consistent worldview of reality, because they are skeptical of any truth-
claims.

So you don't have a self consistent world view ? That's remarkable to say the least since you are just as human I assume [ is this a way of implying you are not human] as the rest of us so you too must have a self consistent world view, that must necessarily make you a pseudo-skeptic.

[/b]A true skeptic will only accept complete knowledge as true, not knowledge which is
incomplete.[/b]
Nothings ever complete.

Pseudoskeptics worship science and cite figures like Einstein, Newton and Darwin as their prophets, and their
scientific works as sacred(Dawkins has recently become their new prophet) and often definitive. In contrast, one of the greatest
skeptics in history, David Hume, was very skeptical of science, and even went as far as to call science witchcraft.

David's (7 May 1711 - 25 August 1776) been dead for 236 years. I'd suspect that if he were alive today he might marvel at and rethink his science is witchcraft position. I find it very funny no hilarious that someone would equate science with witchcraft while communicating such sentiments via a computor over the internet. Don't you find it hilarious indigochild ?

Winston's point is clear to me - pseudoskeptics are just religious believers. They are not skeptics, scientists, critical thinkers, rational
as they claim to be. They appropriate these terms in the same way religious people appropriate the terms, "loving, moral, good-hearted,
spiritual" etc Ironically, in both cases, neither practice what they preach. Most people I talk to which claim to be skeptics, understand nothing
about the philosophy of science, the scientific method and the history of science - and yet they are talking to me as if they are the custordians
of science.

Most of us are just average joes and janes that cast the net of doubt so we might take a harder look at something. That's what skepticism is.

Many skeptics are not actually professional scientists. James Randi, one of the most prolific skeptics we know, is a magician. Many skeptics
on forums like JREF do not have a science education beyond high school.I often find it amusing when pseudoskeptics preach the doctrines of rationality, science and critical thinking to me, when they themselves have
a high school education in science, and I actually have a degree in Philosophy and logic, my major area being philosophy of science.

By your definition you must be a pseudo-skeptic for you don't possess a degree in any science. Philosophy, Logic and Philosophy of Science are not science they are opinion.

I make them look stupid. Period.
All you've accomplished here so far is make you look stupid. Now ask yourself why ?

P.S. With all your India this and Hindu that I think you suffer from a cultural inferiority complex. I can't imagine why that appears so. Or perhaps the converse is true. Either way I still can't imagine why.
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Re: My new video: Why Pseudoskeptics are NOT Real Skeptics

Postby Indigo Child » 06 Jul 2010, 23:45

I love these admissions coming from you guys Profwag and really,
that you do not have to be qualified in science, logic or philosophy
to be skeptics, and that you are not in fact qualified.

Loved this:

Most of us are just average joes and janes that cast the net of doubt so we might take a harder look at something.


I know that most of you are average joes and janes. I know most of you have not gone beyond
high school and still are at high school.

It is painfully clear when I talk to most of you have no understanding of how to demonstrate your
points, have no understanding of logic, have no understanding of science, the history of science and the
scientific method, have no understanding of philosophy, and no understanding of what skepticism is.
Yet, despite this, you will talk about rationality, science, scientific method, critical thinking and logic(all philosophical
construct, and based on the works of philosophers) to people who are qualified. This is why we qualified people calls you
pseudoskeptics. To us you're nothing more than evangenlists, extreme religious believers in the status quo and authority.
You're amusing, to be frank....but not to be taken seriously.
Last edited by Indigo Child on 07 Jul 2010, 01:14, edited 1 time in total.
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Re: My new video: Why Pseudoskeptics are NOT Real Skeptics

Postby Indigo Child » 07 Jul 2010, 01:06

To illustrate the above point with a example. If you go to a live academic
scientific forum say on neurobiology, but you have not studied neurbiology
yourself to the level of the others, will they accomodate you or will they tell you to get lost?
The same will open if you went to a forum on sociology. If you have not studied sociology
to the level of the other members there, they will tell you to get lost.

Some high school kid who has no education of science beyond high school and a magician
whose claim to fame is doing tricks for children, feel they can go and challenge professional
paranormal scientists and researchers. It's laughable. They have no background in these areas, are certainly
not qualified to the same level, so they end up looking like asses to the professionals. Any other
scientific forum would tell them to get lost.
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Re: My new video: Why Pseudoskeptics are NOT Real Skeptics

Postby Indigo Child » 07 Jul 2010, 01:53

we do. They are people that don't agree with Winston's view on reality.[/color]


Nah, they are people that do not agree with reason. They are unreasonable people. Irrational.

Philosophies have very little to do with facts.That's as I see it the major flaw of debating one philosophical perspective as true over another.


Philosophy is about the examination of statements clearly. It may not lead to what is "right" as a philosopher does not think in terms of right and wrong, a
philosopher is concerned with examining things precisely and clearly.

Traditionally, philosophers of all stripes have concerned themselves with what is beautiful (aesthetics), what is good (ethics, political philosophy), what things there are in the world (metaphysics, philosophy of mind) and what can be known about them (epistemology, theory of knowledge). But the philosophical path to finding wisdom in such matters has been hard won. Most readers will find themselves familiar with this problem to some extent. The questions we ask are often fraught with problematic assumptions and unclarities that prevent us from making progress. The inferences we make and the conclusions we draw can prove illogical or misleading. Even simple and practical problems --e.g. our wondering "Is this the right thing to do?"-- can become matters that require abstract and logically careful reasoning to resolve. Philosophers are adept at just this sort of thinking. By studying forms of argumentation and their logical underpinnings, they learn how to investigate, question, and clarify such problems as they find them -- be they in moral, scientific, political, or even everyday thinking.


http://www.ephilosopher.com/articles/pa ... s-they-do/

I've not seen you at all excercise this definition in any of the things you stated as fact.[/color]


That's because your view is blinkered. I am just as critical of my own statements, as I am of others. I will revise
anything I say if I find evidence to the contrary. This is what Winston said himself in the video, that a true scientist
will revise his hypothesis to fit the data, rather than change or deny the data.

So you don't have a self consistent world view ? That's remarkable to say the least since you are just as human I assume [ is this a way of implying you are not human] as the rest of us so you too must have a self consistent world view, that must necessarily make you a pseudo-skeptic.[/color]


Skepticism is ultimately an inconsistent philosophy, because everybody will form a worldview. This is why there is no such thing as a consistent
skeptic, everybody will accept something as true. Hence why skepticism can only be methodical, that is that your worldview must constantly be
dynamic and change as new information becomes available. You must constantly update your worldview. You stopped updating your worldview 100
years ago. Mine is up to date.

Nothings ever complete


How do you know that? Are you skeptical of your own truth-claim?

I'd suspect that if he were alive today he might marvel at and rethink his science is witchcraft position. I find it very funny no hilarious that someone would equate science with witchcraft while communicating such sentiments via a computor over the internet. Don't you find it hilarious indigochild ?[/color]


No, he would not marvel and rethink his position that science is witchcraft, because his argument is a rational argument,
and not based on the toys science has created. The technology scientists have created is not itself proof of science. Technology
was even created using Aristotle's mechanics, and Aristotle mechanics is wrong. Suspension bridges, rockets, cars have been created
using Newtonian mechanics and Newton's mechanics is wrong.

Here is yet another example where you cannot think critically. You cannot separate science and technology.

By your definition you must be a pseudo-skeptic for you don't possess a degree in any science. Philosophy, Logic and Philosophy of Science are not science they are opinion.[/color]


A laughable statement. You clearly have no idea what you are talking about. Philosophy of science is like studying the blueprint of science. Do yourself
a favour and get a copy of the Logic of scientific discovery by Karl Popper, and you will become aware of just how precise and rigorous the philosophy
of science is. Science is a philosophical construct and is informed by the works of philosophers.

P.S. With all your India this and Hindu that I think you suffer from a cultural inferiority complex. I can't imagine why that appears so. Or perhaps the converse is true. Either way I still can't imagine why.


I don't know what that has to do with anything. I gave an example of a proper rational debating culture, where rationality was taken very seriously, which happened to be in ancient India.
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