Discuss PseudoSkeptics and their Fallacies. Share strategies for debating them.
Why do pseudoskeptics lack any skepticism or critical thinking toward whatever they are told by authority/media/government/establishment? Why do they have unquestioning faith in everything that's official, as if secrets and conspiracies didn't exist?
Is there a disinformation campaign going on?
Words like "skeptic" and "freethinker" have been hijacked to mean different things than their true meanings.
Skeptic now refers to someone who ridicules/debunks anyone and anything that challenges the status quo and anything that's official. That is not the true meaning of the word at all. Look up Pyrro Skeptikos and you'll see that he meant something totally different, not an establishment defender. And freethinker now means Atheist, rather than someone who thinks freely.
This is part of our mind control, to get us to believe anything we are told with unquestioning faith. Of course, if you're under mind control you don't know it, cause if you did, then it wouldn't succeed. If it succeeds, then you are UNaware of it.
Case in point. Pseudoskeptics spend zero time truly investigating anything related to paranormal or conspiracies, but instead just dismiss it offhand. That's not what a true skeptic does. That's what a mind controlled person does.
Why do you think that whenever I ask them the honest question, "Why do you believe everything official with unquestioning faith, and that reality is whatever the media/government tells you?" they run away and can't answer it? It's cause their programming programs them to ridicule and deny such a notion. That's why they can't confront it and must avoid such questions. If they really faced such a question, it would undermine their "programming". Think about it.
If they were free of mind control and are totally objective and truth seeking, they would answer that question honestly. Look at me. I answer ALL questions straight on and without avoidance. Why is that? How come others can't do the same?
If you don't want to believe something, fine. But do so cause of the EVIDENCE, and your open minded unbiased analysis of it, not because of some dogmatic belief that everything official is the truth and that no secrets/conspiracies exist.
Meditate on that everyone, and try to break the trance you're under. True freedom and skepticism/freethinking begins in your MIND.
“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
No it doesn't. Maybe in your mind because your views have been challenged so many times it's ridiculous, but a skeptic then is a skeptic now. We neither accept nor deny the status quo. If the government were to come out and say they now think there are aliens from another world visiting our planet, we would question that as well. It's not about any "official," story, Scepcop. Wish you'd get over that.
Hi, new to the site, first post here.
This seems to be a very odd statement to make. Critique of media and the manner in which media cover the paranormal, scientific issues, etc. is a pretty common topic in the skeptical community, from what I've seen. As is critique of government policy. I've seen some pretty detailed posts, or discussions on podcasts going into great detail on such matters.
I would agree that anyone who accepted whatever they are told by anyone with unquestioning faith should not be labeled a skeptic. But that's true by definition.
Can you provide an example of a well-known skeptic making a completely unquestioning and faith based statement regarding from someone you consider to be part of the "establishment"?
Arouet - Welcome to the Forum!
Winston there is certainly much evidence supporting your idea. Biggest overt example of the mind control message insisting that we shouldn't question the Government and the corporate establishment would have to be Penn and Teller with their verbal violence and obscenities attempting to bludgeon the viewers into never thinking and never questioning anything. Featuring only James Randi as the authority on everything, Penn and Teller simply swore at their audiences and used obviously fake set ups and enacted sorry cardboard examples to herd the viewers away from "dangerous" independent thought back to non thought and back toward corporate cash registers. The brutal approach of bullying the viewers seems suited to the most father deficient people in the audience, the pskeps, the most susceptible to an overly firm paternal message directing them not to think. Certainly pseudoskeptics display these father deficient tendencies in large numbers at Randis Youtube channel. They call him Father God and Jesus. Comments column.
Certainly there is some degree of mind control of the pskeps. They function as a religious group and parrot James Randi and Penn and Teller ad nauseum and their greatest group output is the robotic mindless attacks they make on Religions on the NET.
I'm not a huge fan of the style of the show, so don't go out of my way to watch it, but the few episodes I've seen are enough to know that the above is demonstrably false. They site multiple sources in each show (the episodes I saw didn't feature James Randi at all). I'm curious as to why you would say this? If you've seen the show then you are deliberately misrepresenting it. If you haven't seen it, then you are basing your comments on erroneous informaton.
However, far from trying to get their viewers not to question things, the whole point of the show appears to me to be that they want people to question EVERYTHING!
Penn Jillette is a self described libertarian. It would be odd for him to also blindly support the government, wouldn't you say?
there is no such thing as mind control - the reason that people don't question "authority" is because they are too scared - or too lazy- or just plain too stupid to do so - and most people are more worried about what others think of THEM than what they THINK
this is HOW authority is authoritarian - and we all know the treat of incarceration - sanction - loss of income - ( perceived ) position /status in life or if all else fails violence /death is enough to keep 99% of people in line
then of course the "religious " types have their own set of "levers"
the most dangerous person to "authority" is one with nothing to loose
at all times keep this in mind "NO ONE OWNS ME - AND NO ONE CAN CONTROL THE WAY I THINK "
so they can kill you if all else fails - but then again is life so worth clinging onto if one is not free to be your own person ??
LIFE - just filling the bits between birth, death and taxes
When you say "question authority," do you mean to hide behind a web site and say whatever the hell you want or do you actually get out there and question "authority," face to face? I can assure you that I contact my Senators and Representativess quite often, especially in person when I get the chance. Just sayin'
no prof - by question - i mean question - and i have gotten in a whole heap of grief for it most of my life - just because some one is "in power " does not mean they are right !! - i started questioning "authority" when i was young and questioned the existence of god - i got caned and publicly shamed in front of the whole school , called the boy who does not believe in god and took a whole lot of c**p from my peers just for asking for "proof " of what i was being taught by those in "authority "
i did it too as i grew up - but learned that some things you just have to leave alone and some time keep stum ( quiet about ) - but it does not stop me questioning - and NO i don't hide behind a keyboard me old son - i wont say on here anything i would not say to your or anyone else's face - do you take me for a coward ?? - if you do - you really don't know me - cheeky blighter
LIFE - just filling the bits between birth, death and taxes
Fair enough Brett. Welcome back by the way.
I just see a LOT of bloggers and the like who say all sorts of crap in a forum, but wouldn't waste 15 minutes of their life going down to the voting booth. That's all I'm saying. I'm not pointing fingers, just stereotyping without actual facts, that's all.
There are some people in this forum who think we should question EVERYTHING (I don't want to mention any names as I wouldn't want Scepcop to think I'm speaking to him...ooops). That's impossible to do, but they sure do try in a forum. If I have a beef with something that an authority figure can do something about, I'm the first person to question it. I just don't see where questioning everything under the sun makes any sense or is the least bit productive.
Also, funny how these skeptics don't seem to take an unquestioning approach to the show....
You know they don't have the courage to read something on the JREF that would crumble their whole imagined version of truth.
Hi, new here
Firstly, I'm not any more interested in conspiracy theories than I am in anything else, so I have no axe to grind on that score. My major concern with the increasingly popular 'Skeptics' groups that I have come into contact with is that they appear to be overwhelmingly based on a principle of 'group'. In my experience, mainly of 'Glasgow Skeptics in the Pub' and 'Edinburgh Skeptics in the Pub', these groups foster an attitude of safety in numbers, following only conventional views in the name of science, and self-congratulation/superiority.
I joined these groups online before I really knew anything about them. I had respected friends who had joined and I thought "hey, i'm a sceptic, this could be fun". It became clear very quickly however that actual scientific thinking played no part in their discussions and that it was really all about a group of psychologically troubled people finding comfort in allying themselves with others in the same position. This would be fine - people finding comfort is good. However, in this case, I noticed my friends becoming increasingly swept away by the dogma of other group members. People were being actively encouraged to push away from their former friends and lives as they increasingly took a harder and harder blind line on 'bunk', 'pseudoscience', 'quackery' etc. They became increasingly offensive in discussions and displayed a tendency to put axe-grinding their point home before everything else, including true scientific inquiry, regardless of the effects of this on personal relationships or the feelings of others.
Essentially, for them truth, genuine curiosity, academic respect and common decency were no longer to be taken into consideration in their mission to establish their intellectual superiority and 'win' against the world. Now don't get me wrong, i'm not suggesting that one should always agree with others to preserve friendship and spare the feelings of others. Far from it. In any case, a mature intellectual discussion is quite possible between friends and should be beneficial to all parties.
What I was seeing were people who were very insecure in life, and of the people I knew before hand, had rather disrupted childhoods and troubling family situations. 'Skepticism' appeared to be a way for them to feel more secure about the world and their place in it. Based on dogma and the party line, these troubled folk could get together safe in the knowledge that they would not be contradicted, and could enjoy basking in the feeling that they had 'solved' the world. They had been duped a lot in life and 'skepticism' was a way to say to the world "hey look, no flies on me!". Myself and many others are now no longer friends with them unfortunately. This was instigated wholly by them and would appear to be mainly because we had questioned them, and pulled them up on inaccuracies in their methods of telling us we were stupid or wrong - I can assure you that where this was done it was with the greatest respect. We continue to be aggressively spammed by them, with invites to talks such as "Jesus doesn't exist" etc.. (I'm not particulary religious or anything, but this sort of pointless and redundant axe-grinding does offend me - it's not science, it's children having a tantrum against the world.)
So what do we have here? Well, we have individuals who, through no fault of their own (the brain is wired up in patterns in very early childhood and is dictated by the actions of others, not the choice of the individual), have developed certain dysfunctional coping mechanisms as a defence against a world that hasn't always treated them well. These defences can involve a need to re-balance a distortion that exists in their minds and in their view of themselves and the world. Often this is that they are 'not good enough' or 'different from others', 'don't fit in' etc. Now, the defenses which work everyday in all of our minds to protect us are rather primitive things, evolving as they did to protect us from lions or in-fighting etc. They are not the most sophisticated when left to their own devices. People who are not self-aware of the processes in their own brains leave them on auto-pilot - we have all been guilty of this. This shows itself in the continuation of the warped coping mechanisms learned in early childhood. To re-balance these negative views, which pose a threat, the primitive brain seeks to change them in what looks like the easiest, shortest route, perhaps by putting others down, trying to establish a sense of superiority over others etc. The need to be part of a group is also a perfectly natural human instinct and one which has contributed to us all being here today.
So individuals in this position often adopt a persona that they think will change their position in the world (note 'persona' - this is taking a short-cut - they don't become what they want to be, they merely adopt the appearance of it and mistake that for the same thing). They get themselves a 'shtick' if you like. "This is who I am, I am a SKEPTIC. I know my place in the world." That's an easy one to get into because there are plenty of people who will support this. Next, "I will align myself with this group of Skeptics, who are like me. With them I feel good about myself, and I know i'm right." Next, "Hmmm maybe they are more hard-line than me. Oh well, I can be more hard-line. All alternative medicine is BUNK!! YEAH!! If you don't agree you are an idiot!!". Time passes. Soon, "Hmm a lot of my friends don't really agree that I have solved the world and that I am superior - they keep being difficult and arguing that my sources are wrong, or that my methods are not very scientific. Well, they must be idiots then because I have a group of people who accept me and think i'm right!". A short step to "These 'friends' make me feel bad about myself. They exist as a contradiction to my new world belief where I am smart, better, superior. Well, if they won't accept my arguments then they don't accept me - they are clearly not my friends. Only my fellow Skeptics are my friends now. They are all I need."
I would point out here that the very idea of sceptics belonging to a sceptics group creates an unworkable dichotomy. The whole point of scepticism is that you make your own mind up and make your own individual enquiries about the world. Joining a group of people because they all think the same thing is not sceptical behaviour. I once asked why the groups had adopted the American spelling, being Scottish. I was told it was so they could be easier recognised as part of the world-wide group, and that 'Skepticism' is now a brand name. I leave you to draw your own conclusions from that.
Ok, so it would appear these groups function at best as a support group. However, the support being offered is destructive as it encourages people to continue in this pantomime. It is a destructive co-dependant relationship where people can reinforce each other's dysfunctional coping mechanisms. While people may find some happiness through this (and that's pretty much all that matters afterall) it is a happiness based on relying on the actions of the others in their group. The new-found self-belief is fragile, being based on nothing that they can control. It allows people to wear a badge saying "I'm intellectually superior to others and therefore have worth". What if someone takes the badge away? I worry about my former 'Skeptic' friends.
At best, a support group. At worst, a cult. But it certainly doesn't have anything to do with scientific inquiry, scepticism or advancing knowledge and understanding of the world - and I find that both saddening and incredibly offensive.
On another note, I've only watched one of Randi's 'bits' and I found it rather disturbing. He lied - that's not science. He used horrible gimmicks, which did nothing other than make a big show. And all to delight an audience of people who need to feel superior and are on the wrong track to finding a balance in their lives. Now that is taking advantage of the vulnerable.
Apologies for the wall of text, but I hope at least some of you made it to the bottom.
As really pointed out, people like to socialise. They like to socialise with people they have things in common with. There is nothing wrong with that. I've never been to a skeptics in the pub, and don't obviously know the ones you've been to, but I understand that often there are presentations given there, but really doesn't matter, because they are social occasions, not scientific studies. If you don't like them, don't go. There probably is a higher than average "geek" factor among them, which perhaps accounts for some of your perceptions.
However, your post is big on generalizations and low on facts. I get that you don't like the gang you met up with, and maybe they are cultish (would surprise me, but I've been surprised before!). If they are actively trying to push your away from your other friends, and trying to isolate you that would, indeed, be shocking. And unacceptable. if that's actually the case you should post a thread on JREF or something. Some people there may know them and can help them cut out poor behaviour.
Folks: skepticism is a thought process. It's not an agreed upon set of beliefs. I know you guys like to try to lump skeptics as part of some groupthink, but all I've seen to support this are vast generalizations, with no examples, and little response when examples are shown to prove otherwise. Even a cursory reading of the JREF forums show great diversity in opinion and viewpoints.
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