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


Postby jakesteele » 26 Jul 2009, 08:19


Hi, everybody. I’m relatively new here and I glad I found this site. I have been going to most of the skeptic sites and found that they have a peculiar brand of skepticism that I find very distasteful. I’m sure you’ve experienced it, too.

Anyway, after reading their threads and posts, and having done battle numerous times, I have noticed certain patterns about them that are intriguing, to say the least.

This is the first of five installments I am going to be writing about pseudos. I am going to be writing about their psychological traits, the tactics they use and tactics I’ve found effective when debating them. Here is the general outline I am going to be following:

I Intro – explain what I’m doing and why
• Irreverent Laws of pseudo
• Tactics
• Traits
• Battle plan tactics

II Irreverent Laws of Pseudo
• How they came about
• Links to rules of woo

III traits
• Cognitive biases

IV Their tactics
• Arguments from
• Rat packing
• Sling back –
• Argument from Arrogant Assumption
Argument from Omnicient Absolute
Argument from Hard line fundamentalism
Argument from Herd mentality
Argument from illusory superiority
Argument from Impudence, etc.

V Our Battle tactics
• Ist post short succinct and carefully worded

This first installment was inspired by a thread on JREF entitled, “Rules of Woo”. Of course, all their rules were sarcastic and supercilious.
So what I’ve done is put together my own list entitled, “Rules of Pseudo”. Many were taken right from their rules of woo. All I had to do was reverse the polarity by substituting woo for pseudo. I am writing in an irreverent, and yes, mocking way.
I would appreciate any input you can give me like suggestions, changing the wording, etc. Also, please feel free to add any of your own.

Law of Forced/Implausible Plausibility – 1.) every explanation MUST be a plausible and mundane one, even when it doesn’t fit.
2.) It is better to be mundane and wrong than to be complex and right.
(See Ocamm’s Beard – the simplest solution isn’t always the right one)

Law of Immaculate Percepttion – they are the only ones who see reality exactly as it is unhindered by any cognitive biases. So therefore, to disagree with them is to disagree with reality itself.

Law of Mutual Validation – is achieved by JERFing each other off…sorry, I had to say it. (smiley face goes here)

The Law of Bipolar Order: (1) Given any set of data or line of reasoning, there can be only two conclusions to choose from -- only one of which is true. (2) Given any chain of events, there can be only two outcomes -- only one of which is desirable.
(Similar to “Black and White/All-or-Nothing Thinking”)

Law of Self Righteous Ad Hominems - (I’ts true because it’s true/if it’s true it can’t be false) - Ad hominem arguments, or personality attacks made by them are not really fallacies because if it is true, then it can’t be false.

The Law of Cardinal Perspective: Only the asserting party possesses enough of the right kind of mental capability to fully understand every aspect of the assertion

The Law of Popular Support: Any assertion believed by a majority need not be proven. For instance, since “Everybody Knows” that a UFOs aren’t real, so why bother to investigate? Pseudoskeptics love the concept of "open-mindedness" and will take you into their inner circle without question if you subscribe to the party line. They have no tolerance for Agnostic Skeptics.

The Law of Blind Faith: A state of mind wherein people's need to believe in something outweighs their need to know the truth.

Law of Insistent Impartiallity - will always preface and/or qualify before and during that they "only want to find the truth" This is a way of showing how open minded they are and what seekers of the truth they are. They will always insist that they are open minded, objective, logical, impartial.

Law of The Safe Harbor - Always oppose the conspiracy angle over the Official Story angle because it’s safer, easier and more emotionally comforting if you let someone else do the thinking for you. Example, Roswell was a balloon, etc.

Law of Predetermined Intolerance –
Anybody who disagrees with them is wrong even before they made an assertion and therefore, anything they say will not be tolerated.

Law of Repetitive Verbalization - Use the words "plausible and mundane" as often as possible

Law of Diminishing Investment –
If, in a Pseudo’s mine, they think they have proven a particular incident wrong, then by extension, anything of a similar nature is also wrong by de facto, therefore, less and less investment of investigative resources need be expended.

The Black Bart Law – vilification of all members of “them" however that is defined, contrasted with the near-deification of anyone that is “us”, however that is defined.

Law of Contemptio Prepositus Inquiro - (contempt prior to investigation) Also known as the Law of Investigative Absence”. (Similar to Law of Predetermined Intolerance). Their minds are already made up so there is no need to do their own independent investigation.

Law of Evidentary Absence - Nothing exists except what has already been proven scientifically" or "Absence of evidence is evidence of absence.

Law of Perpetual Simplicity – a bastardized version of Ocaam’s Razor, which, while not stated outright, is implied throughout, that the simplest explanation is the ONLY explanation. The mindset of ALL explanations must be mundane at all costs, no matter what the cost.

The Law of Hidden Analogies: Any two (or more) events or ideas that are related by at least one similarity – no matter how superficial the similarity – are analogous to each other. A good example of this is Jenny Mcarthy and her stance for ‘green vaccines’. Any rise in vaccination preventable diseases is automatically attributed to her and others who take a similar stance.

Law of Specific Credentials
Expertise in one field automatically grants expertise in another unrelated field. For example, anything Randi’s debunk is righteous even though he is a stage magician.

The Law of Image Aversion: Any assertion is to be disbelieved if the asserting party (or the assertion itself) is associated with an unpopular image, regardless of the validity of the data or the veracity of the witness making the assertion. For example, an expert military, commercial pilot must be disbelieved if they are asserting a UFO encounter. Why? Because it is a self evident truth that UFOs don’t exist because no physical evidence in the form of pieces of the craft have been found, therefore, it doesn’t matter who is making the claim, they are wrong, period.

Law of Eurudition - Memorize as many fallacies and techno/talk and science speak to make them selves seem learned and authoritative

Law of Predetermined Dismissal - Simply characterizing the study of unorthodox phenomena as "bogus" allows the Pseudo to state emphatically that there is nothing there to study without even looking at the data.

Law of the amateur astronomer - the assertion that amateur astronomers, are "trained observers" and therefore, their word trumps that of police officers, pilots, air controllers, or virtually anybody else reporting a sighting, as totally unqualified to verify anything they see.

Law of Omissions - failing to acknowledge that many science fiction works or myths have indeed become fact and are a result of intuitive leaps and profound insights coupled with the process of logical steps
Law of Repetative Abuse If all else fails, use the phrase woo, CTer/Truther, etc. over and over again. If you insult you opponent often enough, hopefully s/he will be so offended that he will simply go away and leave you alone.
Law of the Persecuted Scientist - Will always respond to the example of how Galileo was persecuted for dissenting views of the current “paradigm” and will say things like, “Galileo wasn’t persecuted, the Pope was his advocate and encouraged him.”

Law of Open Mindedness - Always claim that the other guy is deluded, misinformed, crazy, etc. and that you're as free-thinking and open minded as a newborn baby.
Law of Ad Hominem Reciprocity
Call your opponent a kook, nut, idiot, stupid, deluded, etc. If he responds in kind to your name calling, immediately pull the ad hominem fallacy card and accuse him of fallacious logic.
Debunkers think all UFO photos are fake,
especially the real ones.
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Postby Scepcop » 26 Jul 2009, 12:26

Great idea! When you are done with it, let me know and if it's good, I may link it on the home page!
“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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Postby brett » 18 Aug 2009, 00:24

don't forget to fit in the rule that if all else fails one has "psychological" problems - or if all else REALLY fails just dismiss them as a "delusional ,moronic , ignoramus ( DMI ) - I was so dismissed by a PhD - so he must be right because he had a PhD ( in psychology of all things :roll: ) and knows me better than .......... well ME :?

great post - look forward to the next installment :D
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