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What causes Skepticism in Skeptics?

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

Re: what causes Skepticism in Skeptics ?

Postby Arouet » 04 May 2013, 03:41

I gotta hand it to you justin- you do have imagination and a way with words! But you're wasting your talent trolling skeptics - you should write something to get published! I bet you could come up with something for Cracked - they accept independant articles and they'll pay if they publish!
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Re: What causes Skepticism in Skeptics?

Postby saiyankevin » 23 Jul 2013, 15:37

Complete skepticism of anything unknown is always healthy. But, even “proven” things can be wrong – so what can you believe these days.

Skepticism is a part of life, some how we have to find the truth among all the lies.
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Re: What causes Skepticism in Skeptics?

Postby Craig Browning » 12 Sep 2013, 22:19

justintime wrote:
saiyankevin wrote:Complete skepticism of anything unknown is always healthy. But, even “proven” things can be wrong – so what can you believe these days.

Skepticism is a part of life, some how we have to find the truth among all the lies.

Pragmatic people are more successful than skeptical people.


This is almost an oxymoron in that "Pragmatism" is frequently tied to "Rationalism" via the Skeptic's community. . . but then they try to equate the idea of "Intelligence" to "Non-Belief" as well (ignoring the volumes of scientific material produced by men of faith).

There is a bio-chemical factor when it comes to those that have varying levels of belief/non-belief just as we find those that are more prone to use their left vs. right brain. Even in non-esoteric studies it has been found that people born during certain seasons and which part of those seasons, show varying propensities towards faith and perspective (don't ask for issue but Psychology Today is where the article can be found. . . probably ten years or so back).

History is filled with a skeptical minority; we find inference of it in the bible as well as various tales that have come from other primitive groups to present. Skeptics have always been the minority however and even with today's surge in cynicism (which is what we are seeing, not true skepticism) the "rationalists" are still a minority but one with traction.

To a high degree Skepticism is a choice and as a believer I choose to look at anything fantastic with a high level of skepticism, to do less is to be ignorant/gullible. Blind faith has its place but not when it comes to buying into any and all things classified as Mental/Spiritual miracles/prowess -- the world is filled with con-artists and delusional beings. If we are to walk a path of wisdom we cannot suffer fools, we must choose the higher course in ALL things; sometimes this means that we have to recognize a more contemporary reality around things vs. the lore and ideology we're conditioned to buy into. . . this goes for the bible as much as it does Tarot, Scrying, Magick, etc.

I'm currently reading a book by Paul Rhys Montfort entitled OGAM THE CELTIC ORACLE OF THE TREES which is penned by a legit scholar who happens to be a Druid. . . then again, all druids have degrees and are viewed as highly intelligent individuals. I bring this up because of how the book shines light on folklore and tradition while likewise offering a more modern sense of perspective that looks at the Psychological more than the Mystical. This seems the course of today's Pagan culture and rightfully so. My hope being that the more cynically inclined of today's skeptic's cult, learn to do the same when it comes to issues of faith and why they exist. . . again, there are bio-chemical catalysts that help explain ardent faith but that is not the whole of the story.

Justin, good to see you getting away from those magic forums ;-)
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Re: What causes Skepticism in Skeptics?

Postby Arouet » 13 Sep 2013, 02:25

Craig! Nice to see you! I was wondering if something had happened to you!
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Re: What causes Skepticism in Skeptics?

Postby NinjaPuppy » 13 Sep 2013, 03:33

Yay! Craig is back! Good to see you.
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Re: What causes Skepticism in Skeptics?

Postby Craig Browning » 18 Sep 2013, 00:39

Justin. . . I fear you are doing what many skeptics do towards people of faith and self-described psychics; you're lumping skeptics of all sorts and degree into one pile and covering them with a big blanket. Truth is, not all skeptics are cynics or total unbelievers. Then you have those that are believers in a deity but who are strongly opposed to anything that goes against the American Nationalist image i.e.; corporate strength no matter what a.k.a. screw the environment and all findings that "prove" the world is heading to hell in a hand-basket because of industrial function and over-use (waste). A position held by many Fundamentalist Christians, I might add.

I'm terribly skeptical when it comes to certain issues, even those that I was once quite supportive of. The fact that I changed my position is why I distinguish things as I do and have hope that believers will open their eyes as well as the detractors -- there is a middle ground in which both sides are right.

"Scientific Studies" are akin to market research, a field I used to work in. . . any desired finding can be created and shown as "proof". We see this in the debate over climate change; research backed by the industrial machine and far right political groups "proves" that global warming is not happening but is cyclic, etc. while independent and more neutral based studies "prove" that some thing is afoot. The kicker in this case is that there is far more evidence proving that climate change is a reality and if we don't get our act together soon and stop being so damned selfish and self-serving, the earth as we know it now won't exist by the middle of this current century when it comes to both, nature and land-mass. . . the waters are rising along with the temperatures and freakish weather -- species are dying off at an escalated level and shifting migration patterns that have cause loss in breeding, life of off-spring due to loss of natural habitat and more. . . but that's just one of the things "skeptics" are in denial of. . . and as I said, human being can create "facts" that suit their desired way of seeing things. . . not everyone can appreciate a rose.

But I can't leave this at picking on the skeptics. . . believers need to come around as well. They need to look at things far more realistically, which can take longer to happen than waiting for a skeptic to shift paradigms in that "believers" in certain phenomena have convinced themselves that nothing can explain things away EVEN IF THEY DIDN'T DIRECTLY EXPERIENCE SAID HAPPENING, but only read about it or seen a video, etc.

Belief is a very odd thing and the majority of people "believe" as a matter of heredity. . . the social and familial environment they are exposed to from birth forward. This is why those of us raised in a primarily Westernized society will see someone like Jesus in a dream whereas a Hindu will see one of their deities or someone from Asia will encounter the Buddha, etc. Each dream means the same thing but the individual as edited the cast of players based on how they can relate to the star of the film. . . so to speak. Let's face it, if you were to see Adolf Hitler in a dream your first impulse would be to think of hate, evil, etc. but to someone that actually knows German history there's a good chance that they will see a great man that saved their nation even though he became a glutton for power. . . we can see this in the case of many noted "evil doers" in history. . . even Dick Chaney & George Jr. had a good side to themselves. . .

I frequently speak to Pagan types offering them a realistic challenge based on their own claims; the idea that WICCA "means" Way of the Wise (in truth, Wicca comes from the word Wicce, which was a middle-aged slur akin to the famed N word).. . . the thing is, if one is to travel such a path then you don't really believe that burning a green candle will bring money into your life. Rather, you understand that the candle is a focusing tool via which the individual meditates, affirms and visualized the idea of money flowing into their lives. . . the meditation side of this formula being how they are shown, be it via deity or the subconscious, how to accomplish said task. . . typically the resolution isn't what the spell caster wants to hear -- YOU HAVE TO WORK!

Getting people of blind faith to wake-up and smell the coffee is a serious challenge in that a zealot of any religious group will see such a step forward as 'back-sliding" and a "sin'. . . the devil's work. Just look at nations that are heavily Muslim and how backward their culture is when it comes to living conditions, social tradition, the treatment of women, gays, etc. Sharia Law supersedes rationalism let alone humanitarianism within the social definition. . . which is ironic when you consider that Islam gave the world some of its biggest social and scientific breakthroughs, leading a form of culture that was centuries ahead of most white folk throughout Europe and the rest of the world.

Fortunately more and more people from within the Pagan/New Age spiritual movement are willing to see reality over the illusion or "deception" that faith creates in people -- within our mind. But many of these people are well educated . . . then too there is that Carl Sagan parallel; most of these people have experimented with or used certain types of "drugs" at recreational or ritual levels e.g. the do not see the world in the same way others will. . . this is especially true for those that have done drugs like LSD, Magic Mushrooms, Peyote, etc. While these "experimenters" can look at things rationally, they can likewise apply "formula" to their reason for faith . . . same holds especially true for persons dealing with "High Magick" such as that associated with the Golden Dawn, John Dee, etc. forms of practice that are highly dependent on mathematics, geometry and even how words are intoned (harmonics).

My point is, no one is a pure skeptic and most everyone has a degree of faith as well as skepticism within themselves that varies by degree and "issue". For this reason there is no umbrella that covers all persons that are believers of cynics. . . that is a genuine impossibility in that we would bit both such blankets and no resolution to the "conflict" could be had. That is why those from either position on whatever topic, need to learn to move towards the middle; that is the only place. . . the only way . . . to find genuine harmony.
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Re: What causes Skepticism in Skeptics?

Postby really? » 19 Oct 2013, 22:21

justintime wrote:Craig, there is nothing in your reply that suggests skeptics are improving their lot or that skepticism has some measurable success. Even the last TAM 2013 annual skeptical conference did not see any attendance gain after a 25% drop in TAM 2012 whereas '3 Million Greet Pope Francis on Brazilian Beach(Jul 28, 2013 ).'

Humans are by nature a superstitious bunch. We've been that way since there were humans.

justintime wrote:Is it a battle between believers and skeptics or between skeptics and pseudoskeptics because the growth of scientism in the skeptical community suggest the latter?

I never understand this derogatory outlook towards science. Science is what put this computer in front of you that allows you to communicate your thoughts. Science also gives you copious amounts of food to put in your belly. These are just two examples out of a gazillion of what science has done for you. Yet you fail to understand why some people hold science in such high esteem.

justintime wrote:You claim you are a little skeptical when it comes to certain issues and have changed your position over time. Isn't that the same reason skeptics are warned not to rely on their senses and to have a questioning attitude towards knowledge, facts, or opinions/beliefs stated as facts, or doubt regarding claims that are taken for granted elsewhere.

There are very good reasons skeptics warn not to trust your senses all the time. Please note, I said all the time. Your ignorance of how the brain makes sense of the external world is telling us you don't know this caveat. I suggest strongly you watch the tv series "Your Bleeped up Brain" http://www.history.com/shows/your-bleep ... ain/videos

justintime wrote:These conditions of doubts and uncertainty in its natural form is attributed to low dopamine levels in skeptics. If it is a psychological state of mind it is nothing short of paranoia which then leads to cognitive dissonance.

Actually all peoples express cognitive dissonance. Now here's a fact you don't know. Skeptics will say something such as I don't know and are rather at ease with ambiguity. In contrast to believers and those associated with New Age ideas always require an answer. Ambiguity is less tolerable for these persons.
I'm not the only one that knows this. Click link. http://www.csicop.org/si/show/bridging_ ... _cultures/
justintime wrote:The Role of the Amygdala in Fear and Panic and why Skeptic brains 'emit fear signals that can disrupt attempts at rational thought'.
http://serendip.brynmawr.edu/exchange/node/1749

Is this a revelation skeptics behave emotionally in a perilous situation? In no way does this strengthen your position skeptics under all, even most situations think rationally. Why did you include this?


justintime wrote:Beliefs are embraced by the individual and according to Emmanuel Kant. "People believe things because it is useful to them." So beliefs have a utilitarian function and when it no longer serves that function it is discarded. This is similar to Dr Shermers patternicity. "the tendency to find meaningful patterns in meaningless noise." It is an essential aspect of our cognitive development and self preservation.

Yes, it is essential to our well being, but the point Shermer is making is this "patternicity" extends itself to seeing patterns in non perilous situations. Which leads many people to make wrongful assumptions about something they believe to be true. Sometimes to their personal detriment or of others. I will cite one end result of horrible patternicity you can find on YouTube concerning burning alive women accused of being witches. This happened a few years ago in Africa. It's still happening in *Zambia.

justintime wrote:Doesn't that suggest skepticism is a pathology of disbelief?

No, it does not. No, for the reason skepticism isn't disbelief. It is a way of examining all available data to make a prudent judgement despite personal convictions. A task which many people fail at.

justintime wrote:We learn from trial and error, cause and effect, we discover truths because they are not self evident. And in many situations we believe thing because they are useful to us, because those beliefs help us cope with both the subjective and objective realities of our experiences.

So, far so good.


justintime wrote:For skeptics to believe they can through scientific skepticism or critical thinking arrive at functional truth without considering its relevance to any utilitarian applicability. eg. What good is it to discard paranormal phenomena because of a lack of scientific evidence when it is a multi-billion industry creating jobs and wealth and in some ways satisfying some need or hope in people, when the pure knowledge that it might be false has no corresponding equivalent value and serves no utilitarian function.

That is not to suggest where ignorance is a bliss.......It is to force the question. What good is the truth if it serves no utilitarian function and adds no value to the individual except the knowledge of it? It is like telling a handicapped child the truth about his/her handicap or making the child believe something greater and more promising than the truth of his/her handicap, a belief that is more useful than the truth itself.

Yes, it seems to remove hard earned money from the pockets of people when they should be putting that money towards more fruitful activities. It's ok to, for the fun of it, to have your horoscope done, go have your palm read, but when it becomes a chronic waste of money on such things, that's a thing of false hope and broken promises which provides no benefit.


justintime wrote:It is like a skeptic going to a party where the guests are sharing their ghosts stores, alien encounters and BigFoot sightings and someone starts bending spoons telekinetically. The skeptic tells all the guests there is no scientific evidence for any of those stories and gets thrown out of the party. The skeptics thinks he is onto the truth by rejecting most of what people experience or believe. What the skeptic is unable to see is his own ostracisation and why he is largely ignored by the general public and even shunned by fellow skeptics.

If you've noticed but forgot to mention, most skeptics aren't concerned about the paranormal being real what concerns us most are the things proven to not be true yet people still believe them to be true and waste their time and money on them. Consider skeptics to be the equivalent to the Federal Trade Commission.

justintime wrote:It is not that people don't want to know the truth. But they prefer to believe in things that are useful to them.
[/quote]
Remember, skeptics are out to help people make informed choices.

Overall, you paint a far to simplistic understanding of skeptics and skepticism.

I've two questions for you.
You consider skepticism to be a pathology [disease]. a. Do you have any studies proving that? b. Is belief in the paranormal, pseudoscience and superstitions a pathology [disease]?

After you read the article ask yourself is there really a benefit to persistent superstition beliefs?

*
Moral Panic and the Witch Craze in Zambia
In March, two elderly people- Phanele Lupiya, 63 and Chakumanika Mwanza, 89- were reportedly axed to death by family members in the Eastern Province of Zambia. They were suspected of practicing witchcraft. Lupiya was killed by her nephew, Lovemore Mwanza, 30. While Mwanza was murdered by his own son, Lemani. In a related development, an elderly couple, Jungo Chisola and Matengo Sinkamu were lynched by a mob for engaging in witchcraft practices. According to the report, ‘The two were severely beaten and logs were later piled on them before they were set ablaze’.Witchcraft was also the reason for the gruesome attack and killing of John Chibuye by his son and nephew. The two suspects are currently at large.
http://www.randi.org/site/index.php/swi ... ambia.html

Leo Igwe is a skeptical activist in Nigeria and a former representative of the International Humanist and Ethical Union. He is partnering with the JREF to respond in a more organized and grassroots way to the growing superstitious beliefs about witchcraft throughout the continent of Africa.
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Re: What causes Skepticism in Skeptics?

Postby really? » 24 Oct 2013, 07:31

Once again you overwhelmingly demonstrate an utter lack of comprehension. It's very much pointless to argue with one that has such a skewed and intractable belief, so I'm not going to.

Btw, climate change deniers are practicing skepticism all. Other underlying reasons motivate them to dismissing climate change. Go discover what they are.
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Re: What causes Skepticism in Skeptics?

Postby Arouet » 24 Oct 2013, 12:46

really? wrote:Once again you overwhelmingly demonstrate an utter lack of comprehension.


On the contrary, I think justin understands everything quite well. I was a big fan of his troll routine until he pulled out the homophobic stuff. I can appreciate good, clever trolling.

And I hope he continues to come up with new material! I haven't checked in on his JREF threads in awhile but the way he wound those guys up was pretty masterful!

I do think he should be warned not to continue with the anti-gay stuff or risk being banned.
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Re: What causes Skepticism in Skeptics?

Postby really? » 24 Oct 2013, 22:06

Arouet wrote:
really? wrote:Once again you overwhelmingly demonstrate an utter lack of comprehension.


On the contrary, I think justin understands everything quite well. I was a big fan of his troll routine until he pulled out the homophobic stuff. I can appreciate good, clever trolling.

And I hope he continues to come up with new material! I haven't checked in on his JREF threads in awhile but the way he wound those guys up was pretty masterful!

I do think he should be warned not to continue with the anti-gay stuff or risk being banned.


Here we disagree in his understanding of skepticism, but I agree with your troll characterization whether it is calculated or by happenstance. Either way, I don't fall for his shenanigans.
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