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What will skeptics accept as "evidence"?

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

What will skeptics accept as "evidence"?

Postby Scepcop » 05 Nov 2010, 07:05

PseudoSkeptics are always saying, "There's no evidence for any paranormal or psychic phenomena" no matter how much evidence is shown to them. That's because this statement is a religion to them, not an objective statement. So no matter what evidence you give them, they will always deny it and raise the bar, simply because "there is no evidence" is a fixed belief to them.

So, if you give them stories and experiences, even from credible sources, they will reject it as "anecdotal" and inadmissible as evidence. If you give them scientific studies that show positive results for psi, they will argue that those studies did not have proper controls (since, if they did, they'd only get chance results, so their fixed logic goes). And they will argue that the studies must be replicable. Then when you show them replicated studies (e.g. Ganzfeld), they will raise the bar again and argue it was not replicated enough times (until a debunker disproves it is what they mean), ad infinitum. So no matter how many stories or replicable research studies you cite, it's NEVER enough. There is no clear bar to meet to qualify as "real evidence" to them, because essentially, there is NO EVIDENCE in their mind, thus there is no real criteria to be met. That gives them the license to deny ad infinitum. It's like playing a shady game of three shells with a con artist. You can never win because the conclusion has already been decided from the get go. That's what makes these Pseudoskeptics dishonest and not what they claim at all.

So to the skeptics I ask, what exactly will you accept as evidence? Be specific please.
“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: What will skeptics accept as "evidence"?

Postby Arouet » 05 Nov 2010, 07:14

Scepcop, you are greatly simplifying the concerns with these studies, it shows that you aren't really familiar with the critiques. Why don't you present a study you find particularly convincing, and we can look at it. I started a thread asking for suggestions and no one presented one.

So present a study, and tell us what you find convincing about it. Then we'll look at it.
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Re: What will skeptics accept as "evidence"?

Postby Craig Browning » 05 Nov 2010, 07:54

While on one level I can consign and support the thought mood being offered by Arouet, I just likewise express my skepticism when it comes to gaining any kind of non-biased, pre-determined "conclusion" offered as the cold heard truth to it all, when the conclusions not only negate the experiential and auspices of "faith" when it comes to most all phenomena, these "rationalist" expressions tend to do so in a manner that can only be best explained as being arrogant, disrespectful of the faith factor and too, the sense of "Agenda" we find expressed by the various Skeptic's Fellowships, the majority embracing a zealot attitude of atheistic evangelism. This is one of my biggest personal reasons for distrusting those that want to test everyone and everything, and the fact that every time someone complies to the parameters as to what they would call "proof" or a minimum, substantial influences to suggest this or that situation is "more" than hype & hoax... the recent UFO thread and corresponding reports being a prime demonstration in which an overwhelming amount of visual record was collected from various locations, by different reporting parties, at different locations, dates, etc. Yet, the naysayers will go out of their way to "prove" all of said footage is faulty or that this or that other consistency exists; frequently mixing and muddling each separate report in ways that take information (perception) out of context and ultimately imply (at minimum) that everyone that believes in the UFO aspect to these stories is 100% off their nogg'n and of course, simply trying to grab some glory by inventing a tall tale. This of course, includes discrediting any individuals that hold some level of military, scientific and even political clout

Skeptics will NEVER be content with anything you hand them, even if they are right there when a given ability or phenomena is happening. There is absolutely no amount of evidence any of us can produce that would create the type of epiphany such closed minds require, and even at that, you must be able to jolt their mind sufficiently, so as to keep it ajar long enough to absorb the "new" perspectives said incident allows them to become aware of... a part of. The door to their own mind's eye must remain askew long enough to challenge their rationality and by their own processes, find that man can not offer a full, complete or adequate answer to it all.

Skepticism is required in and of us; it is the key that opens the doorway of intellect. Sadly, it is likewise a mind-set that bolsters our egos in ways that are not as honest and far more ego driven. This is a manifestation society cannot give full and complete embraced of less we loose our soul -- our humanity through the process.
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Re: What will skeptics accept as "evidence"?

Postby Arouet » 05 Nov 2010, 11:16

Craig Browning wrote:While on one level I can consign and support the thought mood being offered by Arouet, I just likewise express my skepticism when it comes to gaining any kind of non-biased, pre-determined "conclusion" offered as the cold heard truth to it all, when the conclusions not only negate the experiential and auspices of "faith" when it comes to most all phenomena, these "rationalist" expressions tend to do so in a manner that can only be best explained as being arrogant, disrespectful of the faith factor and too, the sense of "Agenda" we find expressed by the various Skeptic's Fellowships, the majority embracing a zealot attitude of atheistic evangelism.


Sigh, always with the hyperbole, eh Craig?

A skeptic should strive to be non-biased, and should be called out if not. A skeptical critique should try and look at the evidence objectively - but that means, yes, dismissing any argument based on faith. As you know, I don't think it should dismiss faith in an arrogant, disrespectful way, but that's really a different question from the logical analysis part, and more dealing with delivery. Faith is by definition belief not backed by evidence. It therefore cannot form part of a skeptical analysis. This is not a negative. This is part of an attempt to avoid bias. Faith is by its very nature, biased.

This is one of my biggest personal reasons for distrusting those that want to test everyone and everything, and the fact that every time someone complies to the parameters as to what they would call "proof" or a minimum, substantial influences to suggest this or that situation is "more" than hype & hoax...


You don't need to trust the person making the argument. You don't need to pay any attention to the person at all. Just focus on the argument itself, which should stand and fall on its own merits. When we focus on the person we tend to lose our objectivity. I haven't been arguing with Scepcop, for example, because I just don't like him - I don't know him. I'll agree with him if I agree with him, and will disagree with him if I disagree. I look at his arguments as they are presented, and respond correspondingly.

the recent UFO thread and corresponding reports being a prime demonstration in which an overwhelming amount of visual record was collected from various locations, by different reporting parties, at different locations, dates, etc. Yet, the naysayers will go out of their way to "prove" all of said footage is faulty or that this or that other consistency exists; frequently mixing and muddling each separate report in ways that take information (perception) out of context and ultimately imply (at minimum) that everyone that believes in the UFO aspect to these stories is 100% off their nogg'n and of course, simply trying to grab some glory by inventing a tall tale. This of course, includes discrediting any individuals that hold some level of military, scientific and even political clout


UFOs aren't a particularly big interest of mine and so I rarely comment on those stories, as I really haven't looked much into them. But I have some general thoughts on UFOs. First, I believe there's a pretty good chance that there is life on other planets (more so with the recent discovery of that goldilocks planet than ever before). That said, there is an enormous practical problem involved in any intelligent life visiting us: the vast distances they would need to travel. Now, perhaps they have figured out some way to travel faster than light, or fold over space time or some other science-fictiony method, but our knowledge to date suggests this is unlikely Should astrophyscists change their minds on this I would be delighted.

But here's the problem. If we are to accept these stories as evidence of aliens, not only are we being visited by them, we're literally being overrun by them. All sorts of different kinds, in all sorts of shapes and sizes and different spaceships. Not only that, but these multitude of space craft all have figured out how to get here, and as well are able to keep themselves virtually hidden from all but a few eye witnesses. Is it possible? I suppose so. Likely? I think not.

There is a giant leap from "I don't know what that is" to "It must be aliens".

Skeptics will NEVER be content with anything you hand them, even if they are right there when a given ability or phenomena is happening. There is absolutely no amount of evidence any of us can produce that would create the type of epiphany such closed minds require, and even at that, you must be able to jolt their mind sufficiently, so as to keep it ajar long enough to absorb the "new" perspectives said incident allows them to become aware of... a part of. The door to their own mind's eye must remain askew long enough to challenge their rationality and by their own processes, find that man can not offer a full, complete or adequate answer to it all.


The thing is, skeptics are quite comfortable with not knowing. We are patient, willing to wait for the evidence to be strong before making firm conclusions.

Skepticism is required in and of us; it is the key that opens the doorway of intellect. Sadly, it is likewise a mind-set that bolsters our egos in ways that are not as honest and far more ego driven. This is a manifestation society cannot give full and complete embraced of less we loose our soul -- our humanity through the process.


I have no doubt that some skeptics are closed-minded. But the way you prove that is with argument and evidence. Your blanket statements are not persuasive.
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Re: What will skeptics accept as "evidence"?

Postby Scepcop » 05 Nov 2010, 20:24

Arouet wrote:Scepcop, you are greatly simplifying the concerns with these studies, it shows that you aren't really familiar with the critiques. Why don't you present a study you find particularly convincing, and we can look at it. I started a thread asking for suggestions and no one presented one.

So present a study, and tell us what you find convincing about it. Then we'll look at it.


Why don't you answer my question in the OP first? What exactly will you accept as "evidence"? Be precise and clear.
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Re: What will skeptics accept as "evidence"?

Postby ProfWag » 05 Nov 2010, 20:44

I find this question too easy to ignore so please allow me to come out of hiding and interject for a moment. I, of course, can't speak for other skeptics. Only myself. However, to answer your question, I will accept ANYTHING as evidence. For example, Dean Radin's Princeton experiments and the Stanford Research Institutes psi experiments of the '70s. I accept Dr. Schwartz dead people and Stan Friedman's UFO evidence as well. For the most part, I feel the evidence they present is an honest attempt at finding the truth. There is, however, a BIG difference between evidence and proof and I think skeptics and "pseudo-skeptics" (as you wish to call me/us) look at the evidence and then decide whether the evidence points towards proof. Proof being the key word between skeptics and "believers" and proof is what alludes us skeptics.

So, to sum up your statement "PseudoSkeptics are always saying, 'There's no evidence for any paranormal or psychic phenomena' no matter how much evidence is shown to them." is NOT what we say. Skeptics say there is no PROOF for any paranormal or psychic phenomena, not that there is no EVIDENCE.
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Re: What will skeptics accept as "evidence"?

Postby Craig Browning » 05 Nov 2010, 21:53

Skeptics say there is no PROOF for any paranormal or psychic phenomena, not that there is no EVIDENCE.

I don't know but in my experience such word play is little other than veneer commitment... something we'd expect any score of politicians to use in a dodge & parry move.

I've no desire, nor the energy a debate of this sort demands... jut got out of the hospital two days ago and even the docs are saying I'll not be back to full clarity and mental processing abilities for another 6+ weeks. On the other hand, I find it quite difficult to ignore the facts given in history of both, recent & distant memory. The biggest constant being that no mater how much evidence gets tabled, the cynical accepts NONE OF IT. IN those instances in which the "hard evidence" seems plausible and readily validated, the "Skeptic" constantly goes out of its way to discredit the source when they cannot demean the data; in short, skeptics have the audacity to find "an out" wherever it might (theoretically) exist and no matter how contrite their explanation may prove itself out... again, an attitude and modes of defense over their "dogma" such as revealed in ProWag's observation, above.

In my mind, an HONEST skeptic has no need to play such semantic based games, let alone those antics in which "they' deliberately demote and demerit members of the scientific community that teach a point of view not considered "kosher" by "establishment" naysayers and self-invented authoritarians.

Call my views what you would, but at least what I share comes "fat free", based on events and circumstances just as much as their are anecdotal representation of a greater personal truth... another one of those annoying things the majority of skeptics seem to negate, striving to set off to the side and "forgotten"... alas, I've not the energy to keep on with this rhetoric; Those compelled to "buy into this stuff" as the result of "faith" superseding those of the Neolithic mind set. :lol:
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Re: What will skeptics accept as "evidence"?

Postby Arouet » 05 Nov 2010, 23:46

Scepcop wrote:Why don't you anser my question in the OP first? What exactly will you accept as "evidence"? Be precise and clear.


Well, I agree with Profwag (who should post more, imo) that all of those studies are "evidence" the question is, how strong is the evidence? I don't quite like the word "proof" which really only applies to math. I think in terms of degrees of confidence and strong/weak evidence.

Annecdotal evidence is generally considered very weak evidence. It is notoriously unreliable. The scientific evidence is better, but here we have a real problem: to date, the results of the parapsychological research show at best small statistical results. The problem with statistics, is that depending on the methodology used, you can have an effect, or not. There is no consensus method for the propper application of statistics in these studies. With good reason, its tough stuff! This is especially true with regard to meta-studies, which are fraught with difficulties and may be completely unreliable.

Or you have other problems. Take Gansfeld. Sure you've got some studies showing a statsitical effect. So proof of telepathy? Then they've done it with no sender - still getting an effect! So what do we do with that. Confirmation of some undefined "psi"? Something else?

The big problem with parapsychology is that you have a very small community and tiny body of work. That's not a firm basis for paradigm shift!

I can't tell you specifically what would convince me. I need to evaluate the evidence as it comes. I do believe there is a non-zero chance that at least some psi is real. Even if I accept it, you still have a few more steps to convince me that its of supernatural origines. Some people, for example, are sensitive to geomagnetic fields which produces certain effects in them. Dr. Persinger is looking into this. is it supernatural? Doesn't seem to be.

A skeptic does not declare in advance what he will accept- a skeptic evaluates the evidence as it comes. Sometimes as we learn, we have more questions. We think of more things to evaluate.

In general though,the evidence must be reliable, that's the most important aspect. When it comes to the science, it must be properly analysed and replicable. Other than that, we need to take it as it comes.

Craig: hope you feel better!
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Re: What will skeptics accept as "evidence"?

Postby ProfWag » 06 Nov 2010, 04:46

As Arouet correctly pointed out, the term "proof," can be a judgemental word as well. However, and Craig I hate to disagree with you, but claiming I am using "word play" to distinguish "evidence" and "proof" is simply not a strong statement to make. There is a HUGE difference between the two words. If Winston had asked "what evidence would have to be presented so we would accept as confident in something's existance, then that would have been more appropriate than the queston he asked.
And Craig, I also wish you a speedy and healthy recovery.
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Re: What will skeptics accept as "evidence"?

Postby Arouet » 09 Nov 2010, 04:46

So scepcop, you're a true skeptic, what scientific parapsychological study would you like us to discuss?
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Re: What will skeptics accept as "evidence"?

Postby Arouet » 12 Nov 2010, 07:50

Arouet wrote:So scepcop, you're a true skeptic, what scientific parapsychological study would you like us to discuss?


bump
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Re: What will skeptics accept as "evidence"?

Postby derrida » 13 Nov 2010, 00:34

i think he is done with this one
he will post 10 new topics before answering this
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Re: What will skeptics accept as "evidence"?

Postby Arouet » 15 Nov 2010, 02:02

derrida wrote:i think he is done with this one
he will post 10 new topics before answering this


Yes, no doubt. But still....































bump
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Re: What will skeptics accept as "evidence"?

Postby Arouet » 16 Nov 2010, 10:50

Scepcop, you're going to have to change the name of your committee if you don't ever want to discuss actual science!
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Re: What will skeptics accept as "evidence"?

Postby ProfWag » 16 Nov 2010, 18:47

Arouet wrote:Scepcop, you're going to have to change the name of your committee if you don't ever want to discuss actual science!

Yes, one of the many reasons I left the board for a while. It gets too frustrating when he posts some crap about 9/11 or whatever and then when his post is questioned he doesn't come back to readdress his point and moves on to some other crap.
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