Discuss PseudoSkeptics and their Fallacies. Share strategies for debating them.
For starters, I'm not here specifically to debate pseudoskeptics. I enjoy the learning curve here most of all. If my personal thinking is skewed or incorrect, I welcome rebuttal on it, be it good or bad. If the rebuttal is poorly stated from the opposition, then I do enjoy being able to debunk that statement.
It doesn't matter where you go on the Internet, you are going to find opposition on any topic that is paranormal in nature. I personally stay away from forums that don't allow opposition to their personal beliefs. This is why this particular forum was so attractive to me. There are levels of beliefs as well as skepticizm that run a full spectrum here.
Our believers and our skeptics range from mild to fanatical and a few of each have been in a class all their own. We are constantly evolving as a 'group' with new members joining and bringing their beliefs or opposing views to the table. Regardless of their positions on the paranormal, some bring us joy when joining and some bring us joy by leaving.
I personally do not subscribe to some of the subject matter posted here. Some of it is completely above my head and some of it is just not my cup of tea. May I suggest that we give the option of censorship to the OP? If you personally do not want to have any opposition to your posted topic, then say so right in the Subject line. Let each individual member decide. I suggest that if a member doesn't want skeptics rebutting, then simply put NSA (No Skeptics Allowed) after the Subject title.
That's a great idea Ninjapuppy. Rather than divide this forum into different zones, the OP of each thread can just put NSA if he/she doesn't want any skeptics to try to debunk/discredit their story. That seems like a fair compromise, and one that would not take anything away from the skeptics, because most OP's probably do not mind hearing from both sides.
I am an empathetic person and care about people's feelings, so it's hard for me to censor out certain groups or limit them cause I know how I'd feel if I were them. Yet compromising is difficult, cause many things tend to be all or nothing.
But that sounds like a good compromise Ninjapuppy. Perhaps you can put it into your announcement rules posts. And maybe I can also put a note at the top of the forum that should you wish to not have skeptics participate in your topics, to put NSA in your thread title, so that all newcomers will know?
I am glad at least that we don't have militant hateful scoffers here, which are typical of the JREF forum. People like ProfWag and Nostradamus are more civil and polite, even when they tell someone to consider a nonparanormal explanation or call something a hoax, at least they try to do it in a polite manner.
But we are all emotional creatures and sometimes will flare up, which is to be expected. It's only human. Otherwise we would be robots. So as long as it doesn't get out of hand, we should tolerate occasional flare ups.
The only problem I see with this compromise is that skeptics will find it hard to resist reading the NSA threads and commenting on them. When you are forbidden from something, it just makes it that much more tempting
“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
I agree. I know that I myself would find it hard to keep my skeptical side quiet on a few topics here. Letting the individual choose seems to be the fairest way to give something of this nature an honest try.
On the flip side, it also allows the skeptics to rebutt a topic in their own way as well. I doubt many skeptics will be asking for no believer input as that seems to be what they are here for. I don't think it would be fair for a believer to ask "NSA" on a subject and then go over to the skeptic rebuttal side of that exact topic and cry about how they are being treated over there. As long as skeptics do not cut and paste posts from an NSA topic on this forum and keep their topic dicussion limited to the actual subject matter at hand, I see no problem with any of this as a test run to see if it will work.
In other words, do not take any commentary directly from either a skeptic or a believer (NSA-topic) and use it as an example of making your point. That is where I see we have the problem. We are all guilty of straying from the actual topic material and turning it into a free for all by confusing the original subject with too many unrelated issues that have no bearing on the actual topic.
Perhaps I need to be a bit more strict with reminding members to stay on topic from time to time. How does that sound to everyone?
Mind you... I will retain the right to delete anything (Topic or individual post) that seems to not be associated with the Subject line until we can get this all down to a science. Ha, ha, I used the word 'science'.
Let me post something here as an example of NSA if I may:
NSA! NSA! NSA! NSA!
Four airliners were hijacked on 9/11. Two of them flew into the WTC, one into the Pentagon, and one crashed into a field in Pennsylvania. Thousands of people lost their lives that day. There were thousands of eyewitnesses to these events and thousands more involved in the post-attack recovery. It would be virtually impossible for all them to concoct a story that would cover-up for the U.S. Government. Are there still questions that need answered? Sure. But that doesn't mean that there was a government cover-up, that they blew up their own buildings using super-duper-nanobandano-thermitapopolopagus, or that they flew a missile into the Pentagon.
Remember, NSA!!!!! You can only comment to this if you agree with me...
Allow me to explain NSA. It means No Skeptics Allowed.
If Skeptics would like to discuss topics that are of the "No Believers Need Apply" type, I suggest they do that on the many Skeptic based forums, such as JREF.
I'm not sure if you were commenting on my post or not Ninja, but if so, don't those that question the authenticity of the "official" 9/11 report classify as a skeptic? After all, they are being "skeptical" of what they are being told...
I was answering your post ProfWag.
I don't believe that skeptic is the correct terminology here. I believe the terminology that has been applied to the different people who question any offical 9/11 information are as follows:
I believe this NSA idea is a good example of why behavior-based rules work better than viewpoint based rules. I initially approved of the idea myself, but it seems as though it is not as ironclad as it looked at first blush.
Viewpoints, and the various opinions that grow up around them, are too subjective. Simply saying that skeptics are not allowed to post somewhere, probably will not acomplish the goal of making the forum more comfortable for believers. It certainly will not lead to any greater understanding between believers and skeptics.
I feel that it works better to define the sort of behaviors that are undesirable. Once those are defined, it is easier to control them with objective rules. Will it result in a perfectly fair & equitable forum that leaves everyone happy? No, but I doubt that is achievable. it might make the forum closer to that idea, though.
What I suggest is that the management examines the behaviors of pseudo-skeptics, or skeptics, or whoever are bugging people, and discern what behaviors are hurting the forum as they see it. That is going to be at the core of any process like this. The management should have a clear vision of what sort of forum they want this to be and then communicate that vision in objective terms to the members & potential members.
Then they can ask themselves two questions:
What is the harmful effect of a pseudo-skeptical or skeptical post to a believer?
What precisely is it in the nature of these posts that causes the harm?
When these questions have an answer, make a rule against that.
Lather, rinse, repeat as neccesary.
All these labels are not helping, in my opinion. Everyone is worried about who is a skeptic, or believer, or critical thinker, or pseudo-skeptic. These terms get thrown around pretty loosely. I see a lot of hateful posts directed at our fellow humans, simply because they have a different label on them. That is niether desirable or meaningful. Sometimes a believer will call themselves a skeptic, sometimes believers post insults at skeptics. It seems pseudo-skeptics are fair game for any sort of horrible insult, and yet I have seen many posts where "skeptic" and "pseudoskeptic" are used interchangably. It is hard to tell what people really meam sometimes, and who they are attacking. I joined this forum in good faith. I do not approve of people missusing tenets of critical thinking or trolling the web under the guise of a skeptic, so while I may not agree with every application of the word here, I am thoroughly in the "pseudo-skeptics are bad" corner. Yet now I seem to be in danger of being ousted or segregated because I consider myself a skeptic or critical thinker. It is confusing.
This reads a little like a rant, I think. i don't mean it that way, but I am too lazy to edit it into a better tone. Sorry about that. These are simply my thoughts as I typed them and I did not mean to sound preachy or angry. I certainly am not saying this is how everyone should see things. I am not angry either.
"It is proper for you to doubt ... do not go upon report ... do not go upon tradition ... do not go upon hear-say." ~ Buddha
I would like to take all of this conversation over to "You Know You're A Skeptic When...." to keep on topic here. I put it under "General Discussion"-
Surely we do not have to be so polemic about this please? It's not a competition and scepticism in particular cannot exist as a polemic. I voted yes - everyone should be allowed unless they are deliberately offensive etc.
And I think i'm getting confused by the terms here... (spelling aside) i'm a sceptic. Er. I thought this was a site for scepticism and related matters. I don't like the term 'pseudoskeptic' but is that what is essentially meant in this poll?
If memory serves me, "skeptic" is the North American way to spell "sceptic." Probably because one of the origins is from "skeptikos" in Greece. Feel free to spell it any way you wish though.
Ha ha, no it's not the spelling issue, (and yes I will be spelling it with a 'c' im afraid - I have a tendency to only use the 'k' when referring to the modern movement of 'Skeptics' but perhaps that concept doesn't travel well from Scotland to America). What I meant was.. well who is it we're discussing should or should not be allowed?
If you ask "Skepcop," , "pseudoskeptics," by his definition anyway, should not be allowed.
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