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The Psychology of the Skeptic

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

Re: The Psychology of the Skeptic

Postby Arouet » 09 Nov 2011, 00:10

Craig Browning wrote:Hmm... how open minded are you when you meet someone claiming to be a Psychic?

I know I meet such claims with great suspicion and I am a working psychic. :lol:


Sure, I doubt psychic abilities exist, but I'm open to the possibility and you've even seen me engage in testing of certain claims (with that guy I forget his name and his belief that he could order lists using random lines out of books). I ask for reliable evidence.

I also don't think that all psychics are frauds. I don't have much doubt, for example, that you and the other Craig genuinely believe that you have real abilities. I know that some are frauds. And there are some that are mentally unbalanced. I try not to generalise but take each case as it comes (though in general I try and avoid personal conversations about this since it inevitably leads to hurt feelings).

Open mindedness doesn't not mean blank slate or having no gut feelings or even biases. It means being open to examining the evidence and re-evaluating as it goes.

When I meet a "skeptic" in today's world I have to take them with a grain of salt in that the majority that embrace that title haven't a clue as to what it really means


Even there your approach is more reasonable than "All skeptics are X"
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Re: The Psychology of the Skeptic

Postby Scepcop » 26 Sep 2012, 20:11

Check this out:

A five-minute text-to-animation short, in which a real scientist confronts a self-styled skeptic.

http://www.xtranormal.com/watch/7618367/im-a-skeptic
“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: The Psychology of the Skeptic

Postby really? » 26 Sep 2012, 22:30

Scepcop wrote:Check this out:

A five-minute text-to-animation short, in which a real scientist confronts a self-styled skeptic.

http://www.xtranormal.com/watch/7618367/im-a-skeptic



Winston you are a bit mistaken. That is a caricature of a skeptic. You think a skeptic should never make up their mind or in other words a skeptic must forever remain undecided whether something is plausible or not plausible. That is not the case. Skeptics will casually assume this or that is not plausible if this or that lacks credibility. And many areas of interest ( repeatedly show up ad nauseum) to the believer fall into that category, such as:
the crystal skulls
Moon Hoax
Lockness Monster
Crop circles
Astrology
QM and consciousness
UFO equals extraterrestrial spacecraft
But things like the Ganzfeld experiments aren't casually dismissed, but are debated ardently.
Last edited by really? on 13 Oct 2012, 20:01, edited 1 time in total.
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Re: The Psychology of the Skeptic

Postby NinjaPuppy » 12 Oct 2012, 22:01

Following post moved here from "Richard Gage and the AIA" by Ninjapuppy
really? wrote:
ProfWag wrote:And yes, you're right, really?. It is frustrating, but if we don't, then who knows what will get posted that may, or may not have merit.

That's why I always come back.

I am intrigued by this commentary and decided to move it here ("The Psychology of the Skeptic") for discussion.

I'd like to start with ProfWag's commentary as to what constitutes information that does or doesn't have "merit". It reminded me of this old meme-

Image

However, someone being "wrong" vs. something of "merit" are two different things. I have been enjoying the intellectual exchange of information in the various discussions in our "Conspiracies and Cover Ups" section and it may well be because of the attitude of our above quoted skeptics. On that note I'd like to say 'thank you' to the small group of members who have been responsible (you know who you are ;)) for such a great exchange.

Now back to "wrong" vs. something of "merit". Can someone explain to me... during the course of a conversation that is put together from theories, opinions, assorted written material, etc. why any of it would NOT be of "merit"? Right, wrong or indifferent, all information bought to the table has merit if for nothing than to show how wrong that information can be.

really? wrote:The most irritating thing about not continually engaging ct'ers nonsensical argument by walking away is the the ct'er thinks your silence vindicates their beliefs.

"Nonsensical argument"? I'm curious why you chose to use this terminology. Not to mention that the last half of your quote indicates that you also feel that you have psychic ability as you are telling us that you know what others "think". Of course you may "assume" that some people who take on particular subject matter have proven to you from past experience that your silence indicates that they are correct. I personally "believe" that is not the case because you guys ignore the hell out of my posts all the time and I certainly don't think that I am vindicated in my beliefs. If I thought that, then my ego would be rather swollen but I usually tell myself that either the topic moved quickly and my post was either covered previously, not noticed due to volume or the responding members felt that it was less important than the other information at hand. So I can disagree with you from my own personal perspective that you are wrong in your irritation and your belief about that statement but then again, I would not classify myself as a ct'er (as defined and described by personal beliefs of various members of this forum).

Please don't think that I am calling anyone here out. I use Really? and ProfWag in this instance as we only have like 3 self proclaimed skeptics who post with any regularity and Arouet has stated that CTs are not his cup of tea, so his commentary is rare. IMO, the quality of conversation has been elevated with Misha and Syd, as we were also lacking chatty members of the 'other side'.
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Re: The Psychology of the Skeptic

Postby ProfWag » 12 Oct 2012, 23:26

NinjaPuppy wrote:Now back to "wrong" vs. something of "merit". Can someone explain to me... during the course of a conversation that is put together from theories, opinions, assorted written material, etc. why any of it would NOT be of "merit"? Right, wrong or indifferent, all information bought to the table has merit if for nothing than to show how wrong that information can be.

Here's my two cents, Ninja. During the course of a conversation, telling someone that their input is 'wrong," doesn't get very far in a mature debate. The poster will get defensive and if they want to continue, will spend much more time explaining why they are not "wrong," and how the other person is the one that is actually "wrong" than trying to sort out the truth. Most of the time, the input may not actually be wrong or at least lacking additional information, but if we explore the intent or the background of the information, then that information may not have the same level of merit when the background is investigated.

I don't necessarily believe that quoted people such as Jim Marrs, Doug Horne, or even Stan Friedman are "wrong." They very well could be right on many points. But if someone is known for fabricating or exaggerating stories, then any information they present must be questioned more thoroughly before I (or you) can give their story merit. If Vincent Bugliosi was wrong or fabricated stories in his book about JFK, I would like to be presented with something specific rather than just be told about straw man comments. Give me an example where he either lied or presented false information so I can make up my own mind.

The downside to a debate such as these on the internet is that rarely, if ever, can we get someone to change their mind. It is my belief however, that if someone is browsing for information to make up their own mind, then at least two sides to a story should be presented if, in fact, there are two sides to it. With most conspiracy theories, there are at least two sides and I don't feel right letting questionable information get posted for the world to see if that information may not be accurate.

If Matt Moneymaker were to come on here and say "I have proof that Bigfoot is real," you may be inclinded to believe him based on his line of work. However, if you later find out that he has a TV series and a book deal in the works and stands to make a great deal of money with more publicity, does his statement have the same merit? No, probably not. Now, I couldn't say that he is absolutely "wrong" in his statement, but after learning a little more information, then we find that his claim may not have the same merit and we would (should) require more solid evidence.
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Re: The Psychology of the Skeptic

Postby NinjaPuppy » 13 Oct 2012, 00:19

ProfWag wrote:If Matt Moneymaker were to come on here and say "I have proof that Bigfoot is real," you may be inclinded to believe him based on his line of work. However, if you later find out that he has a TV series and a book deal in the works and stands to make a great deal of money with more publicity, does his statement have the same merit? No, probably not.

How do you exclude a claim based on one portion of facts? This example where someone has a strong motive behind their claim doesn't mean that they are right or wrong. No conclusion can be reached until that person presents all their facts and/or proof and even then each of us will form our own opinion obviously based on the 'merit' of that proof.

If a drunken hunter, suffering hypothermia and severe head injuries claims to have proof that Bigfoot is real, what makes his story any less credible? The only thing that makes a story less credible is proof or lack of proof. If someone's information is discarded due to character or past record, would it make a difference if they dragged the dead body of Bigfoot out of the woods in their drunken stupor and forgot where he left it? If you don't listen to all sides or allow all sides to present their information, then it's impossible to ever learn more about anything.

I prefer to err on the side of stupidity rather than completely writing off someone's information. Does the fact that he claims to have lost the body make a difference to me. Not really. I look at it as just chalk up another unproven story in the long list of claims. Is the fact that he was drinking, injured and medically considered impared make his story have less 'merit'. Maybe, but it still doesn't dismiss the fact that he still has no physical proof and at the same time it still doesn't mean that he didn't have a run in with Bigfoot.

If every drunken hunter in the world believes his claim, what difference does it make? (aside from hunting in a ghillie suit becoming a dangerous pastime)
People are going to believe what they want to believe.

Arouet wrote:Now, I couldn't say that he is absolutely "wrong" in his statement, but after learning a little more information, then we find that his claim may not have the same merit and we would (should) require more solid evidence.

More solid evidence? Isn't solid evidence enough? In this case, a body or a live capture would be the only solid evidence. Great pics or video doesn't even cut it as solid evidence.
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Re: The Psychology of the Skeptic

Postby NinjaPuppy » 13 Oct 2012, 01:01

When a persons character comes into play with 'merit' how come these same principles are not applied to politicians? :lol:
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Re: The Psychology of the Skeptic

Postby Arouet » 13 Oct 2012, 01:27

Not sure how my name got in there Ninja, but that quote is from PW, not me.
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Re: The Psychology of the Skeptic

Postby ProfWag » 13 Oct 2012, 03:24

Either I am reading too much into what you're retorting Ninja, or you're reading too much into what I'm saying. I absolutely do believe that all sides should have a say in their point of view and all points should be considered. All I am saying is that when you are forming your opinion, you should include the credibility of the source--be it good or bad.

Let's say you are doing a dissertation for a Ph.D in computer science. You speak with Bill Gates who tells you that Windows 12 will be a 3-D graphic on your desktop and there will be no more computer screens by the year 2023. Dave Mabus says Bullsh!t! The atheists won't let that happen! 3-D technology won't be available for another 50 years until all the atheists are exterminated!
Which opinion are your going to give more credit to in your thesis?
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Re: The Psychology of the Skeptic

Postby really? » 13 Oct 2012, 04:23

ProfWag wrote:Either I am reading too much into what you're retorting Ninja, or you're reading too much into what I'm saying. I absolutely do believe that all sides should have a say in their point of view and all points should be considered. All I am saying is that when you are forming your opinion, you should include the credibility of the source--be it good or bad.

Let's say you are doing a dissertation for a Ph.D in computer science. You speak with Bill Gates who tells you that Windows 12 will be a 3-D graphic on your desktop and there will be no more computer screens by the year 2023. Dave Mabus says Bullsh!t! The atheists won't let that happen! 3-D technology won't be available for another 50 years until all the atheists are exterminated!
Which opinion are your going to give more credit to in your thesis?


I love multiple choice questions.
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Re: The Psychology of the Skeptic

Postby really? » 13 Oct 2012, 04:34

NinjaPuppy wrote:

really? wrote:The most irritating thing about not continually engaging ct'ers nonsensical argument by walking away is the the ct'er thinks your silence vindicates their beliefs.

"Nonsensical argument"? I'm curious why you chose to use this terminology. Not to mention that the last half of your quote indicates that you also feel that you have psychic ability as you are telling us that you know what others "think". Of course you may "assume" that some people who take on particular subject matter have proven to you from past experience that your silence indicates that they are correct. I personally "believe" that is not the case because you guys ignore the hell out of my posts all the time and I certainly don't think that I am vindicated in my beliefs. If I thought that, then my ego would be rather swollen but I usually tell myself that either the topic moved quickly and my post was either covered previously, not noticed due to volume or the responding members felt that it was less important than the other information at hand. So I can disagree with you from my own personal perspective that you are wrong in your irritation and your belief about that statement but then again, I would not classify myself as a ct'er (as defined and described by personal beliefs of various members of this forum).

First I have no psychic ability. I can though make certain accurate generalizations about how people think.

A nonsensical argument can be described as an argument which is highly speculative with the absence of verifiable facts. For example, David Icke stating the world is controlled by lizard people or the Illuminati control the world.
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Re: The Psychology of the Skeptic

Postby ProfWag » 13 Oct 2012, 04:46

really? wrote:First I have no psychic ability. I can though make certain accurate generalizations about how people think.

A nonsensical argument can be described as an argument which is highly speculative with the absence of verifiable facts. For example, David Icke stating the world is controlled by lizard people or the Illuminati control the world.

I AM psychic. Believe me when I tell you it is so as my word is better than what any verifiable experiment could show.
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Re: The Psychology of the Skeptic

Postby NinjaPuppy » 13 Oct 2012, 05:05

Thank you gentlemen, all info is very well put. I agree with all of it.

Arouet, I have no clue as to how I wound up with your name in that post other than my haste to get out of the house on time for a late afternoon bite to eat and drinks with the girls. I'll have to blame it on low blood sugar.

ProfWag, I KNEW you were psychic! I knew it, I knew it, I knew it!!!!
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Re: The Psychology of the Skeptic

Postby really? » 13 Oct 2012, 20:00

ProfWag wrote:
really? wrote:First I have no psychic ability. I can though make certain accurate generalizations about how people think.

A nonsensical argument can be described as an argument which is highly speculative with the absence of verifiable facts. For example, David Icke stating the world is controlled by lizard people or the Illuminati control the world.

I AM psychic. Believe me when I tell you it is so as my word is better than what any verifiable experiment could show.


I've suspected all along. :)
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Re: The Psychology of the Skeptic

Postby really? » 13 Oct 2012, 20:03

NinjaPuppy wrote:Thank you gentlemen, all info is very well put. I agree with all of it.

Arouet, I have no clue as to how I wound up with your name in that post other than my haste to get out of the house on time for a late afternoon bite to eat and drinks with the girls. I'll have to blame it on low blood sugar.

ProfWag, I KNEW you were psychic! I knew it, I knew it, I knew it!!!!


Gentlemen ? Where ?
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