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What will skeptics accept as "evidence"?

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

Re: What will skeptics accept as "evidence"?

Postby Jackal » 19 Feb 2011, 06:43

One thing that skeptics seem to demand is that a certain paranormal phenomenon should be observable for all people nearby. However, this is not even always true for well-understood natural phenomena.

For example, people generally lose their ability to hear very high frequencies as they age. You could turn on a machine that emits a very high frequency noise and a 16-year-old will grimace and exclaim, "Oh! What a horrible noise!" and 60-year-old might look at him strangely and say, "What noise? I don't hear anything. Maybe you're just imagining it."

Similarly, people's perceptive faculties for paranormal phenomena may vary among individuals as well. It's totally possible that if four people are in a room where there's a ghost, that two people will see it and that the other two people won't because of the different perceptive abilities of their minds.

This is also something that skeptics need to consider. If it's not foolish that some people can hear certain frequencies and that others can't, then they should be open to the idea that it might be no more foolish that some people can see ghosts and that others can't. Paranormal phenomena shouldn't be held to standards that even scientific phenomena are not.
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Re: What will skeptics accept as "evidence"?

Postby Paradox » 19 Feb 2011, 11:56

Jackal wrote:One thing that skeptics seem to demand is that a certain paranormal phenomenon should be observable for all people nearby. However, this is not even always true for well-understood natural phenomena.

For example, people generally lose their ability to hear very high frequencies as they age. You could turn on a machine that emits a very high frequency noise and a 16-year-old will grimace and exclaim, "Oh! What a horrible noise!" and 60-year-old might look at him strangely and say, "What noise? I don't hear anything. Maybe you're just imagining it."

Similarly, people's perceptive faculties for paranormal phenomena may vary among individuals as well. It's totally possible that if four people are in a room where there's a ghost, that two people will see it and that the other two people won't because of the different perceptive abilities of their minds.

This is also something that skeptics need to consider. If it's not foolish that some people can hear certain frequencies and that others can't, then they should be open to the idea that it might be no more foolish that some people can see ghosts and that others can't. Paranormal phenomena shouldn't be held to standards that even scientific phenomena are not.


Yes paranormal events will be a difficult area to study because they're unpredicable. Psi doesn't happen in order upon experimentation or upon demand. Most of my own experiences occured when I wasn't even thinking about anything paranormal but the events would just happen. I think this is true for mediumship as well. The medium may actually be communicating with an interdimensional entity but this doesn't mean the entity is always being honest or the info may be cloudy for one reason or another. I also don't think mediums can summon certain deceased entities on demand either for it probally needs to be a two-way effort. Psi is indeed a cloudy area where we obviously do not have the abilty with our current technology or knowledge to accurately investigate this phenomena. Perhaps in the future an actual electronic device can be built to communicate with the 'other side' without the need for mediums. I'm familiar with EVP by our current methods but I'm talking about something way more clearcut and certain in future.
Truth is stranger than fiction.
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Re: What will skeptics accept as "evidence"?

Postby really? » 19 Feb 2011, 20:48

Jackal wrote:One thing that skeptics seem to demand is that a certain paranormal phenomenon should be observable for all people nearby. However, this is not even always true for well-understood natural phenomena.

For example, people generally lose their ability to hear very high frequencies as they age. You could turn on a machine that emits a very high frequency noise and a 16-year-old will grimace and exclaim, "Oh! What a horrible noise!" and 60-year-old might look at him strangely and say, "What noise? I don't hear anything. Maybe you're just imagining it."

Similarly, people's perceptive faculties for paranormal phenomena may vary among individuals as well. It's totally possible that if four people are in a room where there's a ghost, that two people will see it and that the other two people won't because of the different perceptive abilities of their minds.

This is also something that skeptics need to consider. If it's not foolish that some people can hear certain frequencies and that others can't, then they should be open to the idea that it might be no more foolish that some people can see ghosts and that others can't. Paranormal phenomena shouldn't be held to standards that even scientific phenomena are not.


They have considered that. That's why scientists use machines. Humans senses are not always reliable nor the proper way to record data.
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Re: What will skeptics accept as "evidence"?

Postby Arouet » 19 Feb 2011, 21:17

If we could reliably figure out which humans were able to perceive these ghosts and then study THEM, we might actually get somewhere in figuring out what is going on! Is anyone working on that? Persinger seems to be doing work along those lines.
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Re: What will skeptics accept as "evidence"?

Postby NinjaPuppy » 19 Feb 2011, 21:26

Arouet wrote:If we could reliably figure out which humans were able to perceive these ghosts and then study THEM, we might actually get somewhere in figuring out what is going on! Is anyone working on that? Persinger seems to be doing work along those lines.


You can study me.
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Re: What will skeptics accept as "evidence"?

Postby Jackal » 19 Feb 2011, 21:34

really? wrote:They have considered that. That's why scientists use machines. Humans senses are not always reliable nor the proper way to record data.

Yes, machines are normally more reliable, but the problem is that the human mind can perceive paranormal phenomena which no machine can yet detect--which brings us back to the same impasse until such a machine can be built...

Paranormal stuff aside, I think the issue here is really this: "Is it always foolish to believe in something which cannot yet be proven by science?" Believers think "no"; skeptics generally think "yes."
Last edited by Jackal on 19 Feb 2011, 21:37, edited 1 time in total.
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Re: What will skeptics accept as "evidence"?

Postby Arouet » 19 Feb 2011, 21:37

NinjaPuppy wrote:
Arouet wrote:If we could reliably figure out which humans were able to perceive these ghosts and then study THEM, we might actually get somewhere in figuring out what is going on! Is anyone working on that? Persinger seems to be doing work along those lines.


You can study me.


Alas, I am but an observer of the scientific process. I'm kicking myself now, but back in high school and university I had absolutely NO interest in science. Now I kinda wish I had taken a few classes.
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Re: What will skeptics accept as "evidence"?

Postby Jackal » 19 Feb 2011, 22:00

I think another mistake that skeptics make is that they assign low probabilities to paranormal events when in reality, too little is known about these things to even assign probabilities to them.

For example, if you told a scientist in the 1800s about muons (a type of subatomic particle), he might very well say that he thinks the probability of their existence is very low. However, it has since been discovered that around 10,000 muons hit every square meter of the earth's surface every minute!
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Muon

Similarly, it may be the case that we are continually surrounded by ghosts and that most of us just can't detect them.

Arguments using probability shouldn't be used because there are too many unknowns to make even rough estimates about these things.
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Re: What will skeptics accept as "evidence"?

Postby NinjaPuppy » 19 Feb 2011, 22:14

Arouet wrote:
NinjaPuppy wrote:
Arouet wrote:If we could reliably figure out which humans were able to perceive these ghosts and then study THEM, we might actually get somewhere in figuring out what is going on! Is anyone working on that? Persinger seems to be doing work along those lines.


You can study me.


Alas, I am but an observer of the scientific process. I'm kicking myself now, but back in high school and university I had absolutely NO interest in science. Now I kinda wish I had taken a few classes.

Definition of "science" from Wikipedia:
Science (from the Latin scientia, meaning "knowledge") is an enterprise that builds and organizes knowledge in the form of testable explanations and predictions about the world.[1][2][3][4] An older meaning still in use today is that of Aristotle, for whom scientific knowledge was a body of reliable knowledge that can be logically and rationally explained (see "History and etymology" section below).[5]

Since classical antiquity science as a type of knowledge was closely linked to philosophy. In early modern times the two words, "science" and "philosophy", were sometimes used interchangeably in the English language. By the 17th century, "natural philosophy" (which is today called "natural science") could be considered separately from "philosophy" in general.[6] However, "science" continued to be used in a broad sense denoting reliable knowledge about a topic, in the same way it is still used in modern terms such as library science or political science.

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Science
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Re: What will skeptics accept as "evidence"?

Postby NinjaPuppy » 19 Feb 2011, 22:17

Science is an enterprise that builds and organizes knowledge in the form of testable explanations and predictions about the world.

I know, it's the testable explanations part that has everyone all twisted up in knots when it comes to anything paranormal. Bottom line is that in order to find testable explanations, one must take the time to look for them first.
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Re: What will skeptics accept as "evidence"?

Postby Steve Zalewski » 04 May 2013, 08:20

May 3, 2013

I'm very interested in extremely high quality papers from The Journal of UFO Studies, or from The Journal of Scientific Exploration.

The debunkers will NOT accept ANYTHING, even scholarly peer reviewed journal articles written by Ph.D level scientists, if the paper supports the position that UFOs are unexplained. They WILL gladly accept papers that "knock down" the UFO phenomenon as being all nonsense.

An exception to this rule was the papers by Hynek and McDonald in UFOs A Scientific Debate. I heard that Sagan allegedly edited out some of McDonald's harsh criticisms in his paper Science In Default.

If the UFO community WOULD CLEAN UP IT'S ACT, it would be MUCH HARDER for the debunkers to attack UFO researchers, and this topic and debunk it so easily. See my posting, Shutting Up UFO Debunkers, which was posted on April 28, 2013.

I also recommend that UFO researchers READ The Debunkers by Dr. David Jacobs. It is a brilliant, superb paper which describes how debunkers operate. I know Dr. Jacobs, and I have requested that he update this work, since Klass, Menzel, and Sagan are deceased. I also think that debunkers have become more brazen and arrogent and will stop at nothing to keep UFO information suppressed.

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Re: What will skeptics accept as "evidence"?

Postby TheLight954 » 25 Jul 2016, 12:50

One pseudoskeptic I debated said that ketamine induces exactly the same effects as NDEs. He claimed to be a true skeptic.
Then he gave a testimony of himself where he took ketamine and he saw other people's faces made of cheese.

Geez. Your ACTIONS SPEAK LOUDER THAN WORDS thing is funny, because it applies here. Using your own testimony to contradict your claim is the best way to damage other people's incentive to take you seriously.
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Re: What will skeptics accept as "evidence"?

Postby RedHerring » 28 Mar 2017, 03:25

I have recently been reading about mediums, psychics and skeptics and came across this forum. I thought I might get an answer here.

I come from a place where mediumship and even psychic phenomena (although not commercialized as much) is accepted as a norm. My skepticism, however, still overrides those norms sometimes and so here I am trying to get both sides of the story (so to speak).

This is what I don't get and perhaps I might get an answer: why do skeptics have the need to research the very thing they are trying to debunk? In researching the "paranormal" to such a deep extent, aren't they (in some shape or form) trying to find some truth in the claims? Why is it so important to them that everyone around them believe in the same things they do?

This is not a criticism or an attack on either belief. It's just a question.

It will be good to hear from someone regarding this.

Thanks.
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Re: What will skeptics accept as "evidence"?

Postby ProfWag » 30 Mar 2017, 18:51

Simple, how can someone form an educated opinion about a subject with reviewing the evidence, for or against? Yes, skeptics are trying to find truth in claims, even if that means the truth contradicts their beliefs. I would like to think that everyone uses the scientific approach to reviewing the evidence and throw out their personal beliefs. If their hypothesis is that people can talk to dead people, then they review the experiments and conclude that the evidence does not support their hypothesis, then the only logical conclusion is that people can’t really talk to dead people. It’s not so much that it’s important that everyone around them believes the same thing, it's that it is important that everyone reviews the evidence from an un-bias standpoint that can only conclude that scientifically, their conclusions should be the same thing.
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