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Should skeptics be ignored?

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

Re: Should skeptics be ignored?

Postby Arouet » 01 Mar 2013, 02:50

justintime wrote:The Center for Inquiry thinks they should.
"Shunning and boycotting may be gaining acceptance in the atheist and skeptic communities. In particular, it appears they are being adopted as tactics against fellow atheists and skeptics."


I am sure, as an honest investigator, that you do not want to mislead people, right? The article from which that quotation comes from states the opposite of your conclusions. The author states the following:

Accordingly, it is inconsistent with CFI’s mission not to invite someone to speak at a conference merely because that person has expressed views with which other atheists/skeptics disagree.


http://www.centerforinquiry.net/blogs/e ... _skeptics/

Perhaps you just looked at the headline instead of reading the article?

Will you prove you are not a troll by admitting your mistake?



And they even have a partial list of undesirables.

"In any event, the list of individuals that CFI has been advised not to have any dealings with is long. In no particular order it includes: Richard Dawkins, Lawrence Krauss, Ophelia Benson, Harriet Hall, Russell Blackford, Edwina Rogers, Rebecca Watson, PZ Myers, and Sharon Hill. I am sure I am forgetting several more. "
http://www.centerforinquiry.net/blogs/e ... _skeptics/


Any reason for omitting the next sentence, which reads: "This is advice which I decline to follow. Let me explain why."

Should I conclude you are being deliberately misleading here? Perhaps you only read every other line? Will you prove you are not a troll and retract your blatantly misleading post?

The public are equally participating in ignoring skeptics attacks on pseudoscience and the paranormal. TV rating are soaring for shows on Bigfoot, psychics, ghost detectives and other strange sightings. That is a mass scale snub of skeptics both my media and public.


Yes, it's reasons like those which give rise to the formation of skeptic groups in the first place.

James Randi offered a million dollars for any psychic to prove their craft. He is going about largely ignored with no takers.


He's had takers.

Are there any reasons for this push-back or backlash against skeptics.


Wait - I thought you said skeptics were being ignored. You can't ignore someone and push-back at them at the same time!

I did some research on the subject and find no relationship between skeptic efforts and public rejection of their efforts. Skeptics assumptions that more skepticism will reduce the public's fascination with the paranormal/pseudoscience and even other unsupported beliefs are largely wrong.


I'd like to see your research. Did you compare beliefs in pseudoscience and the paranormal over time from the beginning of skeptic organizations until present? How are you reaching your conclusion?

What is the skeptical community all about? What are the limits, if any, of skeptical analysis? What should be our goals, and our main focus of attention? There is also an even deeper question – are we, in fact, a movement at all?"


Personally, while I'm not involved in the skeptic movement, I think the goal should really be about promoting critical thinking- I'd like to see more of it in schools, including teaching about logical fallacies in the senior years of high school, basic syllogistic argument structure, basic statistical analysis and overview of cognitive biases. What about you? What do you think skepticm should focus on?
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Re: Should skeptics be ignored?

Postby Arouet » 01 Mar 2013, 10:27

justintime wrote:I asked the question should skeptics be ignored and provided a link to an article that claims such things are happening. The author reported his findings and expressed his disappointment with the CFI because in his opinion it is not the policy of CFI to exclude speakers just because CFI disagree with them. He also finds it inconsistent with the mission of CFI and chose to air his displeasure.


No. The author - writing for the CFI - wrote of reading a tweet by Russel Blackford (not of the CFI) that he wasn't going to go to any event attended by Rebecca Watson or PZ Myers. He also referred to other individuals (not of the CFI) advising the CFI to ban certain other speakers. He was not expressing his disappointment with the CFI but rather his disappointment with other people.

As you have quoted him. ""This is advice which I decline to follow." But that is his prerogative. He is confirming the advice he was given was to ignore certain speakers.


Right, but it was not advice given by the CFI. You have misrepresented his position. Whether purposely or accidentally I don't know.

Before you rush like the typical skeptic to accuse someone of misreading or misinterpretation the material. You should read the reactions of the people who responded to the article and expressed their opinions. Many find the actions to ignore certain named speakers/skeptics/atheists as acceptable, applaudable and even necessary.


Why should the opinions of people who comment on a CFI blog post be presumed to reflect the official position of the CFI? I don't deny some skeptics approve and applaud such practices - but you referred to the CFI approving such practices and pointed to this article as evidence of that- it's not. It says exactly the opposite.

Not only are skeptics being ignored as in the case of CFI and IPCC. But there is push-back and backlash from the public.
"The public are equally participating in ignoring skeptics attacks on pseudoscience and the paranormal. TV rating are soaring for shows on Bigfoot, psychics, ghost detectives and other strange sightings. That is a mass scale snub of skeptics both my media and public."


Again: Ignoring someone is not the same as push-back and backlash. Not that this matters.

Maybe you should list the names of recent takers of the Randi challenge?


You can find more information on that here: http://forums.randi.org/forumdisplay.php?f=8

How you totally misread the article on the CFI is the myopia all skeptics suffer from. It is called selection bias when they are deliberate about the omissions or just poor education when they are not.


I am happy for you to correct me if I misinterpreted the article.

For example: can you tell me how I'm misrepresenting the following:

Without scrutinizing every statement that has ever been made by the individuals listed above, I am confident that none of these individuals falls into the “unacceptable” category. We will continue to invite them to CFI events when warranted.


I read that as a statement that CFI specifically rejects the notion that they should shun the people on that list. Note that he refers to "we"- indicating, IMO, that he is writing on behalf of CFI there. I interpret this as the CFI specifically expressing that they reject the advice to shun that they have been given.

Please let me know where you think my analysis is off. Note however that he continues:

We’re going to avoid that problem by not going down that road. As indicated, we’ll continue to invite individuals who we think can make a meaningful contribution to a particular event.


He doesn't seem to be disagreeing with CFI's policy. He is indicating here that the previous policy (of not shunning those individuals) will continue. This indicates that CFI never had a policy of shunning, as stated by you.

Fancy accusing me of only looking at the title when I posted excerpts from the article is a sign of your attention deficit or advancing senility.


Actually, I do have ADHD- was disagnosed last fall. I acknowledged your quote, though, right? And the fact that you withheld a crucial sentence that followed it. Maybe you only read that paragraph?

And finally accusing someone of trolling when the article provided was on the CFI site, the IPCC is a legitimate organization and the TV ratings accurately reflect public viewing trends, exposes your collective amnesia with a hint of dementia.


I didn't accuse you of trolling in this post (though I have in other posts) - I asked you to prove you weren't a troll by admitting your mistake- now that you have not done so, I guess the question is still out there. Will you now admit your mistake?

Your feeble attempts to parse words is the bane of skeptics. More reasons why skeptics should be ignored.


I'm not sure how pointing out your misrepresentation is parsing words. If you are sincere, and truly do believe what you wrote, you will do yourself a favour by reading the article again, and seeing if you correctly understood it the first time. I suggest to you that your presentation of it to date has been flawed - whether deliberately or not, I guess only you know!
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Re: Should skeptics be ignored?

Postby really? » 01 Mar 2013, 21:23

I doubt they will admit to any error.
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Re: Should skeptics be ignored?

Postby Arouet » 02 Mar 2013, 02:11

It would help this discussion if you could respond to the specific points that I brought up.

He did say CFI doesn't have such a policy and won't have such a policy. I'm curious as to why you omit the following paragraph from the above post though:

However, if CFI were to disassociate itself from everyone who ever mischaracterized my views or the views of others at CFI or displayed flawed reasoning we’d have a very thin roster of potential speakers.


The post is about people suggesting CFI have such a list. He's specifically saying they don't and that they shouldn't.

Now, I've pointing out quotes that indicate your interpretation is wrong. Maybe you could go over those quotes and tell me why they don't mean what I think they mean?
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Re: Should skeptics be ignored?

Postby Arouet » 02 Mar 2013, 05:44

justintime wrote:Your quote is exactly the situation he is trying to avoid. According to him if CFI continues to shun speakers they don't agree with they will end up with a very thin roster of potential speakers.


But given, as I posted above, he specifically said the CFI HASN'T been shunning speakers, your use of the word "continues" is misplaced. He is specifically rejecting the advice that CFI START shunning speakers. Do you see what I mean?
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Re: Should skeptics be ignored?

Postby Arouet » 02 Mar 2013, 05:45

Also: do you agree that this article demonstrates that skeptics will sometimes disagree with each other?
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Re: Should skeptics be ignored?

Postby Arouet » 03 Mar 2013, 06:26

justintime wrote:Here is a speaker pleading with CFI not to ban her. Why would this be necessary if CFI has an open policy.

An open letter to CFI CEO Ronald Lindsay.
http://skepticink.com/justinvacula/2013 ... d-lindsay/

Here is an article questioning CFI founding values and changing direction.

http://skepticink.com/backgroundprobabi ... 27/wiscfi/

When guest speakers raise objections to certain speakers and threaten to boycott events, CFI has to make choices. Unfortunately many of the charges are levied at Ronald Lindsay himself, exposing the underlying problems CFI is facing keeping skeptics in check and dealing with skeptics ignoring fellow skeptics.


Excellent links! They demonstrate examples of what Mr. Lyndsay referred to in his article- that is, other skeptics pleading with CFI not to invite certain speakers. These articles seem to have been written by some of the targets of those pleadings and they are here writing to Lyndsay to ask him not to give in to the protests. Maybe they hadn't read his article where he said he had no intention of submitting to the protesters. None of the three links contradict each other.

With all due respect, you might want to slow down a bit while reading these articles. You seem to be skimming them and not quite getting what they are saying.
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Re: Should skeptics be ignored?

Postby Arouet » 03 Mar 2013, 21:52

justintime wrote:Where there is smoke, there is a fire.


Is that what your research has told you? Making accusations is enough to consider them true?

CFI is the battle ground for skeptics wanting other skeptics to be ignored or shunned. Ronald Lindsay brought this out in his article. On Shunning Fellow Atheists and Skeptics. He is putting on a brave front like it is not happening just like the Catholic church denied sexual indiscretions by priests. Grow up.


Where did you see him deny that some skeptics are shunning other skeptics? The whole point of his article is that it was happening and it should stop. He was saying that CFI was not going to join in. At no point in any of your links was there the suggestion that CFI had shunned anyone.
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Re: Should skeptics be ignored?

Postby Arouet » 04 Mar 2013, 01:21

Putting aside the strange suggestions of the "scheduling conflict conspiracy" (got to admit, that's a new one for me! points for originality!) of COURSE there are frictions between skeptics! Skeptics are a widely diverse group! Why would anyone expect otherwise? It would be far more surprising if there were no conflicts!
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Re: Should skeptics be ignored?

Postby Arouet » 04 Mar 2013, 06:51

justintime wrote:What is surprising is such a small group of disparate individuals are already showing such discord


If you are surprised that a group of disparate individuals will sometimes show discord then I would suggest you probably don't understand what the word "disparate" means and additionally you haven't spent much time in groups - whether small or large.
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Re: Should skeptics be ignored?

Postby NinjaPuppy » 10 Mar 2013, 05:29

justintime wrote:This is hardly a defense against ignoring skeptics. Incoherency as a group certainly warrants marginalizing the group and its members. A lack of vision, intellectual midgets and a disparagingly disparate skeptical group are unnecessary distractions who not only should be ignored but rehabilitated for what little socially redeeming qualities can be found, before the group collapses under its own weight of doubts, uncertainty and insecurity.

I believe that the skeptics are ignoring us. ;)
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Re: Should skeptics be ignored?

Postby SydneyPSIder » 10 Mar 2013, 19:41

NinjaPuppy wrote:
justintime wrote:This is hardly a defense against ignoring skeptics. Incoherency as a group certainly warrants marginalizing the group and its members. A lack of vision, intellectual midgets and a disparagingly disparate skeptical group are unnecessary distractions who not only should be ignored but rehabilitated for what little socially redeeming qualities can be found, before the group collapses under its own weight of doubts, uncertainty and insecurity.

I believe that the skeptics are ignoring us. ;)

lol, the ones here you mean? It seems to have gone pretty quiet lately. The more they argue, the more disturbing evidence comes out, and maybe that upsets the skep game plan. They realise if they stop arguing, then the evidence will (/may) no longer be presented. Or else the shock of reality is just too great.

They seem to have lost 9/11, Apollo, vaccines, and whatever else. I haven't even touched on 7/7 yet.

e.g. I'm looking at the entire Aulis website right now, we might as well just embed it in here in a frame.

http://www.aulis.com/jackstudies_9a.html
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Re: Should skeptics be ignored?

Postby really? » 10 Mar 2013, 20:31

justintime wrote:This is hardly a defense against ignoring skeptics. Incoherency as a group certainly warrants marginalizing the group and its members. A lack of vision, intellectual midgets and a disparagingly disparate skeptical group are unnecessary distractions who not only should be ignored but rehabilitated for what little socially redeeming qualities can be found, before the group collapses under its own weight of doubts, uncertainty and insecurity.

NinjaPuppy wrote:I believe that the skeptics are ignoring us. ;)

SydneyPSIder wrote:lol, the ones here you mean? It seems to have gone pretty quiet lately. The more they argue, the more disturbing evidence comes out, and maybe that upsets the skep game plan. They realise if they stop arguing, then the evidence will (/may) no longer be presented. Or else the shock of reality is just too great.

They seem to have lost 9/11, Apollo, vaccines, and whatever else. I haven't even touched on 7/7 yet.

e.g. I'm looking at the entire Aulis website right now, we might as well just embed it in here in a frame.

http://www.aulis.com/jackstudies_9a.html


Please you both assume far too much. Neither you or justintime haven't said anything worth the effort to comment on. Arguing continuously with people that don't care to learn becomes tedious and a waste of time. Both of you fit that bill.
Last edited by really? on 10 Mar 2013, 21:07, edited 1 time in total.
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Re: Should skeptics be ignored?

Postby Arouet » 11 Mar 2013, 02:32

Actually, for me, having recently being diagnosed with ADHD and being properly medicated have found myself getting a hell of a lot more done in real life, but consequently having less time for these discussions!
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Re: Should skeptics be ignored?

Postby SydneyPSIder » 11 Mar 2013, 05:56

really? wrote:Please you both assume far too much. Neither you or justintime haven't said anything worth the effort to comment on. Arguing continuously with people that don't care to learn becomes tedious and a waste of time. Both of you fit that bill.

haha, very funny. Don't you mean that you've had your ass handed to you on a plate so many times now based on the facts, evidence and likely probabilities that all you've got left are veiled insults? I thought so. How very pseudoscep of you!

I'm learning all the time, every day. Isn't it the problem that it's pseudosceps who refuse to learn and take in information and be an open-minded scientist? I don't fit any bill, I disagree with much of justintime's logic, so I think it's another sweeping pseudoscep fallacy of convenience. However, I agree with the OP -- yes, 'skeptics' of the pseudosceptical variety should most definitely be ignored, which unfortunately is most of the membership of the JREF and SA and so on.
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