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How "skepticism" been hijacked to mean its opposite

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

Re: Has the term "skeptic" been hijacked and mind controlled

Postby Scepcop » 24 Aug 2010, 02:37

I just added this key point to the home page intro:

A "true skeptic" objectively inquires and seeks evidence, challenging all sides including their own beliefs (see here). But these pseudoskeptics do anything but. This person nailed it when he said:

"The original definition of skeptic was a person who questions ALL beliefs, facts, and points-of-view. A healthy perspective in my opinion. Today's common definition of skeptic is someone who questions any belief that strays outside of the status quo, yet leaving the status quo itself completely unquestioned. Kind of a juvenile and intellectually lazy practice in my opinion."


So, pseudoskeptics have hijacked the term "skeptic" to refer to the one who suppresses, rather than the one who "doubts or questions" which it is supposed to refer to. As such, a "skeptic" now refers to the ridiculer, debunker and discreditor of the "questioner" (who is the true skeptic) rather than to the questioner himself. In other words, the new "skeptic" is someone who debunks a "skeptic" by wearing the hat of the person they are out to debunk, in effect impersonating them! It's a highly deceptive form of role reversal that is very sneaky and devious, no doubt.

And furthermore, it seems way too calculated and militant to be due to some accidental misunderstanding, ignorance or closed mindedness. Hijacking a word to mean its opposite seems more like part of some sort of agenda, perhaps a deliberate disinformation campaign or cultural mind control. If that sounds terrible, well, we are here to expose that thank goodness.
“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: Has the term "skeptic" been hijacked and mind controlled

Postby ProfWag » 24 Aug 2010, 02:58

Scepcop wrote:I just added this key point to the home page intro:

A "true skeptic" objectively inquires and seeks evidence, challenging all sides including their own beliefs (see here). But these pseudoskeptics do anything but. This person nailed it when he said:

"The original definition of skeptic was a person who questions ALL beliefs, facts, and points-of-view. A healthy perspective in my opinion. Today's common definition of skeptic is someone who questions any belief that strays outside of the status quo, yet leaving the status quo itself completely unquestioned. Kind of a juvenile and intellectually lazy practice in my opinion."


So, pseudoskeptics have hijacked the term "skeptic" to refer to the one who suppresses, rather than the one who "doubts or questions" which it is supposed to refer to. As such, a "skeptic" now refers to the ridiculer, debunker and discreditor of the "questioner" (who is the true skeptic) rather than to the questioner himself. In other words, the new "skeptic" is someone who debunks a "skeptic" by wearing the hat of the person they are out to debunk, in effect impersonating them! It's a highly deceptive form of role reversal that is very sneaky and devious, no doubt.

And furthermore, it seems way too calculated and militant to be due to some accidental misunderstanding, ignorance or closed mindedness. Hijacking a word to mean its opposite seems more like part of some sort of agenda, perhaps a deliberate disinformation campaign or cultural mind control. If that sounds terrible, well, we are here to expose that thank goodness.

Just what in the fu** are you talking about?
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Re: Has the term "skeptic" been hijacked and mind controlled

Postby Arouet » 24 Aug 2010, 04:26

Scepcop wrote:
A "true skeptic" objectively inquires and seeks evidence, challenging all sides including their own beliefs (see here). But these pseudoskeptics do anything but. This person nailed it when he said:

"The original definition of skeptic was a person who questions ALL beliefs, facts, and points-of-view. A healthy perspective in my opinion. Today's common definition of skeptic is someone who questions any belief that strays outside of the status quo, yet leaving the status quo itself completely unquestioned. Kind of a juvenile and intellectually lazy practice in my opinion."


So, pseudoskeptics have hijacked the term "skeptic" to refer to the one who suppresses, rather than the one who "doubts or questions" which it is supposed to refer to. As such, a "skeptic" now refers to the ridiculer, debunker and discreditor of the "questioner" (who is the true skeptic) rather than to the questioner himself. In other words, the new "skeptic" is someone who debunks a "skeptic" by wearing the hat of the person they are out to debunk, in effect impersonating them! It's a highly deceptive form of role reversal that is very sneaky and devious, no doubt.

And furthermore, it seems way too calculated and militant to be due to some accidental misunderstanding, ignorance or closed mindedness. Hijacking a word to mean its opposite seems more like part of some sort of agenda, perhaps a deliberate disinformation campaign or cultural mind control. If that sounds terrible, well, we are here to expose that thank goodness.


You are confusing skepticism with cynicism.

Skepticism is more than just asking quetions, and questioning everything. That can be a part of it, but IMO, the questioning is not the focus. Wiki has a pretty good definition:


The word skepticism can characterise a position on a single claim, but in scholastic circles more frequently describes a lasting mind-set. Skepticism is an approach to accepting, rejecting, or suspending judgment on new information that requires the new information to be well supported by evidence


Skepticism is about withholding conclusions until sufficient reliable evidence is established.

I don't know who you're talking about above. I don't think any well known skeptics fit that bill. There are some cynical people who show up on the forums who might, but I don't think those are who you have in mind.
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Re: Has the term "skeptic" been hijacked to mean its opposit

Postby Scepcop » 28 Aug 2010, 05:43

Hi folks,
Check out this new page and article I just created for this site in the fallacies section about how pseudoskeptics hijack terms and pretend to be the opposite of what they are! Let me know what you think.

http://www.debunkingskeptics.com/hijackingterms.php
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Re: Has the term "skeptic" been hijacked and mind controlled

Postby Scepcop » 28 Aug 2010, 05:47

Arouet wrote:
Scepcop wrote:
A "true skeptic" objectively inquires and seeks evidence, challenging all sides including their own beliefs (see here). But these pseudoskeptics do anything but. This person nailed it when he said:

"The original definition of skeptic was a person who questions ALL beliefs, facts, and points-of-view. A healthy perspective in my opinion. Today's common definition of skeptic is someone who questions any belief that strays outside of the status quo, yet leaving the status quo itself completely unquestioned. Kind of a juvenile and intellectually lazy practice in my opinion."


So, pseudoskeptics have hijacked the term "skeptic" to refer to the one who suppresses, rather than the one who "doubts or questions" which it is supposed to refer to. As such, a "skeptic" now refers to the ridiculer, debunker and discreditor of the "questioner" (who is the true skeptic) rather than to the questioner himself. In other words, the new "skeptic" is someone who debunks a "skeptic" by wearing the hat of the person they are out to debunk, in effect impersonating them! It's a highly deceptive form of role reversal that is very sneaky and devious, no doubt.

And furthermore, it seems way too calculated and militant to be due to some accidental misunderstanding, ignorance or closed mindedness. Hijacking a word to mean its opposite seems more like part of some sort of agenda, perhaps a deliberate disinformation campaign or cultural mind control. If that sounds terrible, well, we are here to expose that thank goodness.


You are confusing skepticism with cynicism.

Skepticism is more than just asking quetions, and questioning everything. That can be a part of it, but IMO, the questioning is not the focus. Wiki has a pretty good definition:


The word skepticism can characterise a position on a single claim, but in scholastic circles more frequently describes a lasting mind-set. Skepticism is an approach to accepting, rejecting, or suspending judgment on new information that requires the new information to be well supported by evidence


Skepticism is about withholding conclusions until sufficient reliable evidence is established.

I don't know who you're talking about above. I don't think any well known skeptics fit that bill. There are some cynical people who show up on the forums who might, but I don't think those are who you have in mind.


I told you before, I am talking about Shermer, Randi, CSICOP and those who follow their movements. Stop obfuscating the issue. You know what I'm referring to. It should be obvious by now.

I am not confused. Their actions are definitely those of cynics and suppressors of new ideas. NOTHING they do is skeptical. They've said many times that their mind is made up. Shermer says Bigfoot doesn't exist. Randi has said that something doesn't exist too. But he waffles on that.

Many skeptics have said that something doesn't exist, then they say they didn't, then when confronted with their own words, they refuse to apologize.

Please don't tell me what skepticism is. That's not in dispute here. What is in dispute are the PEOPLE who call themselves skeptic but do the opposite.
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Re: Has the term "skeptic" been hijacked and mind controlled

Postby really? » 28 Aug 2010, 12:57

So, pseudoskeptics have hijacked the term "skeptic" to refer to the one who suppresses, rather than the one who "doubts or questions" which it is supposed to refer to. As such, a "skeptic" now refers to the ridiculer, debunker and discreditor of the "questioner" (who is the true skeptic) rather than to the questioner himself. In other words, the new "skeptic" is someone who debunks a "skeptic" by wearing the hat of the person they are out to debunk, in effect impersonating them! It's a highly deceptive form of role reversal that is very sneaky and devious, no doubt.

And furthermore, it seems way too calculated and militant to be due to some accidental misunderstanding, ignorance or closed mindedness. Hijacking a word to mean its opposite seems more like part of some sort of agenda, perhaps a deliberate disinformation campaign or cultural mind control. If that sounds terrible, well, we are here to expose that thank goodness.[/quote]

You are confusing skepticism with cynicism.

Skepticism is more than just asking quetions, and questioning everything. That can be a part of it, but IMO, the questioning is not the focus. Wiki has a pretty good definition:


The word skepticism can characterise a position on a single claim, but in scholastic circles more frequently describes a lasting mind-set. Skepticism is an approach to accepting, rejecting, or suspending judgment on new information that requires the new information to be well supported by evidence


Skepticism is about withholding conclusions until sufficient reliable evidence is established.

I don't know who you're talking about above. I don't think any well known skeptics fit that bill. There are some cynical people who show up on the forums who might, but I don't think those are who you have in mind.[/quote]

I told you before, I am talking about Shermer, Randi, CSICOP and those who follow their movements. Stop obfuscating the issue. You know what I'm referring to. It should be obvious by now.

Scepcop wrote:I am not confused. Their actions are definitely those of cynics and suppressors of new ideas. NOTHING they do is skeptical. They've said many times that their mind is made up. Shermer says Bigfoot doesn't exist. Randi has said that something doesn't exist too. But he waffles on that.

You've heard the saying there's nothing new under the Sun. How can they suppress ideas when we all know about those ideas ?

Scepcop wrote:Many skeptics have said that something doesn't exist, then they say they didn't, then when confronted with their own words, they refuse to apologize.

Skeptics can be and often are wrong. That doesn't invalidate skepticism or the message by the major players or the rank and file.

Scepcop wrote:Please don't tell me what skepticism is. That's not in dispute here. What is in dispute are the PEOPLE who call themselves skeptic but do the opposite.

I think if you practice skepticism diligently you would be more understanding of it.

Let me try and clarify Shermer and Randi's positions. First Shermer. When Shermer said Bigfoot does not exist that was a personal statement of opinion. The reason he feels that way is do to no compelling evidence to support the past and present existence of a large population of anthropoids existing in North America.
Randi has in his long career investigated far more paranormal claims than any 10 people you can think off and in all that time has not come across anyone that can do what they claim. So he's come to the conclusion with a high degree of certainty that there is nothing to paranormal claims. Both of these men leave the door open. However it is not as wide open as your door is.

Winston you seem to give credence to all ideas equally. Are there any paranormal, supernatural ideas any other ideas that are just too far out even for you ? If so explain why. If not explain why. You can reply here
viewtopic.php?f=2&t=1313&p=15683#p15683
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Re: Has the term "skeptic" been hijacked and mind controlled

Postby Arouet » 28 Aug 2010, 13:15

Scepcop wrote:I told you before, I am talking about Shermer, Randi, CSICOP and those who follow their movements. Stop obfuscating the issue. You know what I'm referring to. It should be obvious by now.


I know who you're talking about. I've made several posts pointing out examples where they clearly don't do what you say. I haven't seen one example that you've provided where they act in the manner that you accuse them. I'm not saying they're perfect, and sometimes some of them can be quite rude (I'm in the Phil Plaitt camp of the DBAD debate). But from what I've read and seen, they apply skeptical principles to their discussions. I hear loads of generalizations to the contrary, but nothing specific.

I am not confused. Their actions are definitely those of cynics and suppressors of new ideas. NOTHING they do is skeptical. They've said many times that their mind is made up. Shermer says Bigfoot doesn't exist. Randi has said that something doesn't exist too. But he waffles on that.


See, you issue huge generalizations, and go so far as to say that NOTHING of what they say follows a skeptical approach. And yet I've posted several examples (and could find many many more) where, IMO, they do follow a skeptical approach. You haven't commented on those, so I don't know your opinion on those examples, perhaps you could look at them and tell me what you think.

Look, here is what Michael Shermer has actually said about bigfoot:

Is it possible that a real Bigfoot lives despite the posthumous confession by the Wallace family that it was just a practical joke? Certainly. After all, although Bigfoot proponents do not dispute the Wallace hoax, they correctly note that tales of the giant Yeti living in the Himalayas and Native American lore about Sasquatch wandering around the Pacific Northwest emerged long before Wallace pulled his prank in 1958.


http://www.michaelshermer.com/2003/05/show-me-the-body/

This is consistent with what I've seen from people like Shermer and Randi: It's possible - just not likely due to the lack of reliable evidence. That is the epitome of skeptical reasoning. You've quite simply mischaracterized what they've said. If you have a direct quote otherwise, I'd like to see it. I'm not sure why you don't quote directly in your articles and posts.

I'll ask this quite respectfully: how much of Shermer, and Randi, and the others do you actually read or watch? Do you follow Shermer's blog? Did you watch the TED lecture I linked? Do you read his articles? If you have, I just don't see how you make the claims that you do. I'm sure they're not perfect, and I've heard Randi say some things in a manner I don't like, but I've also seen him clearly admitting the possibility of psi - quite explicitly. He's not convinced. But that's not what being a pseudoskeptic is, right?

I hear what you've been saying, but I'd like to see the examples to back them up.

Many skeptics have said that something doesn't exist, then they say they didn't, then when confronted with their own words, they refuse to apologize.


Well, if that's true that would be wrong. But those types of things happen all around. For example, I haven't seen you admit that you were wrong about there not being studies comparing vaccinated kids with unvaccinated kids. You haven't even acknowledged the studies Prof Wagg and I posted.

Please don't tell me what skepticism is. That's not in dispute here. What is in dispute are the PEOPLE who call themselves skeptic but do the opposite.


I agree. I'm trying to provide a different perspective on those people and to test your claims against things they've actually said. I get that you are not happy that they don't accept the things that you do. But the question is, how do they get there. These are people who put their opinions out there. Examples are plentiful, these are very public and prolific figures. So how about putting forth some actual examples of their writings or speeches demonstrating this pseudo-skeptical behaviour. When they say something non-skeptical, I will be the first to agree with you. But you have to demonstrate it. I've demonstrated that at least on the times for the posts I've linked to, that they did, in fact, reason skeptically. That's not to say they do it all the time. I mean, who among us does? It's not easy being skeptical! I'll grant you that!
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Re: Has the term "skeptic" been hijacked to mean its opposit

Postby Scepcop » 05 Sep 2010, 20:36

Check this out. The folks on ATS Forums are much more enthusiastic about my insights into pseudoskeptics hijacking terms then you skeptics here are :)

http://www.abovetopsecret.com/forum/vie ... 090&page=1
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Re: Has the term "skeptic" been hijacked to mean its opposit

Postby Arouet » 05 Sep 2010, 21:35

Scepcop wrote:Check this out. The folks on ATS Forums are much more enthusiastic about my insights into pseudoskeptics hijacking terms then you skeptics here are :)

http://www.abovetopsecret.com/forum/vie ... 090&page=1


Hardly surprising!

Scepcop, I've treated your arguments seriously, hopefully respectfully, and addressed them directly. I've been bringing up examples that go against your hypothesis - specific examples, not just vague allegations. I'm not saying these guys are saints, or that I agree 100% with everything they say, or that they're always right.

On the other hand I haven't seen you post specific examples of these pseudo-skeptical approaches that you have repeated over and over again that these guys ALWAYS do.

Why can't there be a more balanced approach? Why not deal with these things issue by issue? Why paint a broad group of people with such a large brush? Do you think that's a skeptical approach?
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Re: Has the term "skeptic" been hijacked to mean its opposit

Postby Scepcop » 06 Sep 2010, 00:33

Scepcop wrote:Check this out. The folks on ATS Forums are much more enthusiastic about my insights into pseudoskeptics hijacking terms then you skeptics here are :)

http://www.abovetopsecret.com/forum/vie ... 090&page=1


I love these responses on ATS. They are so true.

Well Skepticism for many is just a stance. I bit like following a football team but without the sporting entertainment. For many people skepticism is as mindless as fundamentalism. It is particular suspicious when debunking individual experiences of sane people. Note I wrote debunking as opposed to questioning or even discussing.


Hijacking definitions is a common strategy for manipulation.

This always seemed to be the biggest road block in my way of talking sense and reason into people.

Communication is impossible if you are on a different page than who you are communicating with. Oh yeah, it happens and it's done intentionally. Not only about skepticism, but almost everywhere. Popular culture, religion, life philosophy, science and research.

Much of it is engineered through the media.

Nice thread. Good to see someone else aware enough to notice the huge scale on which this disinformation tactic is used, and how effective it is really.
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Re: Has the term "skeptic" been hijacked to mean its opposit

Postby Scepcop » 06 Sep 2010, 00:38

Arouet wrote:
Scepcop wrote:Check this out. The folks on ATS Forums are much more enthusiastic about my insights into pseudoskeptics hijacking terms then you skeptics here are :)

http://www.abovetopsecret.com/forum/vie ... 090&page=1


Hardly surprising!

Scepcop, I've treated your arguments seriously, hopefully respectfully, and addressed them directly. I've been bringing up examples that go against your hypothesis - specific examples, not just vague allegations. I'm not saying these guys are saints, or that I agree 100% with everything they say, or that they're always right.

On the other hand I haven't seen you post specific examples of these pseudo-skeptical approaches that you have repeated over and over again that these guys ALWAYS do.

Why can't there be a more balanced approach? Why not deal with these things issue by issue? Why paint a broad group of people with such a large brush? Do you think that's a skeptical approach?


The evidence is all over Randi and Shermer's websites, in EVERY article that they write! Just pick one at random. Duh!

Quit nitpicking and face the truth. Randi has thousands of articles that are examples of what I'm talking about. They are in his archive. Sheesh. Pick one at random and you'll see what I say. I don't need to post his articles here. Quit pretending to be dumb.

If you know of an article where Randi and Shermer cast doubt and criticism on the pharmaceutical industry, establishment, or the official version of things, then I'd like to see it. So far, no one has been able to show one.
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Re: Has the term "skeptic" been hijacked to mean its opposit

Postby Scepcop » 06 Sep 2010, 01:57

The folks on the David Icke forum love my post about pseudoskeptic hijacking as well. Check out some of their insights:

http://www.davidicke.com/forum/showthre ... 358&page=2

The resounding yes may be repeated by me, wwu777, but it comes from the heart and from personal experience I have had long before I came to the conclusions I have today. You really truly hit your head on the nail so thank you for typing it out for all to see. These people need to see this staring them in their faces and I hope they can handle the cognitive dissonance productively. No doubt this obvius fact creates a lot of anxiety in many so called skeptics and almost every one of them will resort to ignoring you or defending their self identity.

I think that on the top levels such as Randi and Shermer and Dawkins and many other famous skeptics they are payed and aware disinformation agents who may have connections to secret societies. I don't know that for sure, of course, but I would be staggered if there were non. But the large majourity are only terrified indoctrinated people with "high" levels of education who are defending a belief system, a lifetime of efforts and a selfidentity. They have been trained to think solely with the left brain to which there is nothing beyond the physical, beyond separatedness and repetition, obviously because thats the kind of info your left brain processes.

I try to relax and laugh and not let them agitate me too much. That is a part of their purpose no doubt, to stir conflict, create polarities and stop people in their tracks. Uninformed attentiongrabbers the most of them.

Anyway, thank you for a worked through and well worded post. I wish you the best of luck.


Didn't read the whole OP, since I'm in a hurry (actually I'm lazy and I have an excuse). Yes, some of them are disinfo and others are brainwashed idiots. They bring down the good name of skepticism into mud with them.

When I was younger I liked to call myself a skeptic. It meant questioning everything and anything we "knew" to be right. For example since everyone knew ETs don't exist, I felt it was necessary to think that perhaps they do exist after all. The same with conspiracies.

Now the word skeptic has become synonymous with extremist main stream spokesperson. Their job seems mostly to be to attack those who have the audacity to think skeptically. Really sad and annoying.


Agree with fairyelfdog that it can become an identity with some people.

Once someone forms an ego out of being "a skeptic," then they are no longer objective at all because they have their personal identity wrapped up in all of it, making them profoundly NON-objective.

Once someone calls themselves a skeptic, they have already outed themselves as having a definite angle.

Excellent article, OP. A pleasure to read and resonated with me very much.


http://www.davidicke.com/forum/showthre ... 358&page=3

Spot on, excellent posting!!

I have been quietly studying this subject and have found that the most rigid pseudo-sceptics are usually University educated people with a vested interest in the status quo due to aforementioned educational investment.

I see patterns in their behaviour, requests, discrediting tactics to win debates and how they try and sway public opinion away from opposing ideas. Its akin to a religious belief for them, they think questioning the status quo is a personal attack on them and their very essence. They copy wording from their peers and top level Pseudo-Sceptical hero's...

WOO
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Conspiracy Theorist and many more!!

The above-mentioned is to paint the person in a bad light while trying to provoke argument and cause anger. It also serves to keep the casual observer out of topic for fear of also being painted in said light. It plays on the fear within ego in many!!

They shout for evidence but no matter what is provided, they are already looking for a 'get out' they need to win...its not about true scepticism!

Ill stop there or I will write a book LOL
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Re: Has the term "skeptic" been hijacked to mean its opposit

Postby Arouet » 06 Sep 2010, 05:05

Scepcop wrote:The evidence is all over Randi and Shermer's websites, in EVERY article that they write! Just pick one at random. Duh!

Quit nitpicking and face the truth. Randi has thousands of articles that are examples of what I'm talking about. They are in his archive. Sheesh. Pick one at random and you'll see what I say. I don't need to post his articles here. Quit pretending to be dumb.

If you know of an article where Randi and Shermer cast doubt and criticism on the pharmaceutical industry, establishment, or the official version of things, then I'd like to see it. So far, no one has been able to show one.


I've already posted Shermer saying explicitly that he believes conspiracies exist. I've been going through your list of pseudo-scientific characteristics one by one in another thread, pointing out example after example of writings that argue against your hypothesis.

Can you at least admit that these guys are skeptical about some issues, even if you think they are not about your pet issues?
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Re: Has the term "skeptic" been hijacked to mean its opposit

Postby Scepcop » 04 Oct 2011, 05:55

Someone told me something interesting regarding government shills and debunkers after reading my article about skeptics hijacking terms.

Excellent article and I pretty much agree with everything you have there.

It's funny because it reminds me of an experience I had about 15 years ago or so. I had a really simple amateur web page that didn't even have it's own separate domain name (it was subdomain of my service provider) and it was mainly a bunch of links on the paranormal with some brief comments from myself. I had a number of things on there, but the one thing in particular that my point relates to is I had videos from NASA missions STS-48 and STS-75. I had a brief statement that these were proof of UFO's and E.T. life, especially STS-75. Well I don't know remember how much time passed after my post but I received an e-mail from James Oberg who used to work at NASA. It was a very convoluted e-mail rattling off a bunch of technical jargon and he attached a chart which he claimed proved that I was wrong and this was the real explanation. Well I was shocked that a former and somewhat well-known NASA employee would be wasting his time even visiting such an amateur webpage, let alone taking the time to send me a lengthy personal e-mail that obviously took time to put together. Since what he sent made no sense to me I didn't bother replying, but I always felt that what I had posted was true because otherwise why would he waste time trying to debunk it? I also had a counter that tracked visitors to my site and provided statistical info and interestingly I discovered that I had received many hits from military and government IP's. So I definitely perceive an agenda going on that is both trying to debunk real truths as well as confusing everyone by debunking false theories as well so that no one can figure out what the truth really is - everything is being "debunked."
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Re: Has the term "skeptic" been hijacked to mean its opposit

Postby Twain Shakespeare » 04 Oct 2011, 06:21

Scepcop wrote:Check this out. The folks on ATS Forums are much more enthusiastic about my insights into pseudoskeptics hijacking terms then you skeptics here are :)

http://www.abovetopsecret.com/forum/vie ... 090&page=1



I have had several surreal experiences trying to use this link, one of which involved asking me to donate money to Herman Cain. What is the title of the thread in question?
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