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Exposing a pseudo-skeptic's fallacies

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

Exposing a pseudo-skeptic's fallacies

Postby quantumparanormal » 24 Sep 2009, 07:55

A primer:

I'm writing this post to demonstrate how some pseudo-skeptics argue, reason and rationalize their points, specifically ciscop (http://www.debunkingskeptics.com/forum/memberlist.php?mode=viewprofile&u=87). His fallacies will become apparent as you continue to read on.

I'm going to reference a single debate between ciscop and myself regarding renowned skeptic Susan Blackmore's statement that she felt cognitive dissonance when faced with the anticipation of reviewing psi-positive evidence. Here is her exact statement:

Susan Blackmore wrote:Human beings are not built to have open minds. If they try to have open minds they experience cognitive dissonance. Leon Festinger first used this term. He argued that people strive to make their beliefs and actions consistent and when there is inconsistency they experience this unpleasant state of "cognitive dissonance," and they then use lots of ploys to reduce it. I have to admit I have become rather familiar with some of them.

First, there is premature closure. You can just pick one theory and stick to it against all odds... Or the disbeliever can refuse to look at the positive results. You may think I wouldn't refuse, but I have to admit that when the Journal of Parapsychology arrives with reports of Helmut Schmidt's positive findings I begin to feel uncomfortable and am quite apt to put it away "to read tomorrow." (Blackmore, 1987, p. 251)


A definition of cognitive dissonance:

Before I can continue demonstrating ciscop's fallacies, let me quickly recap what 'cognitive dissonance' means:

A person who experiences cognitive dissonance 1) "holds two contradictory ideas simultaneously," 2) it causes discomfort in this person, and 3) this person will change his/her behavior and/or attitude in order to accommodate that discomfort.

The source of the debate:

The source of the debate between ciscop and myself seems to be twofold. According to ciscop, 1) I don't know what 'cognitive dissonance' actually means, and 2) my assessment of what is causing Blackmore's discomfort is incorrect. ciscop uses these two arguments to "demonstrate" I am "wrong." We'll see...

"I [Mike] don't know what 'cognitive dissonance' actually means":

Let's explore ciscop's argument that I don't know what 'cognitive dissonance' means by referring to the definition stated on eNote.com's 'Encyclopedia of Psychology':

Encyclopedia of Psychology wrote:First proposed by Leon Festinger in 1957, the theory of cognitive dissonance is based on the principle that people prefer their cognitions, or beliefs, to be consistent with each other and with their own behavior.

Inconsistency, or dissonance, among their own ideas makes people uneasy enough to alter these ideas so that they will agree with each other.


So, the three fundamental elements of cognitive dissonance are stated:

1) People prefer their cognitions, or beliefs, to be consistent with each other and with their own behavior, (i.e., contradictory ideas)
2) and inconsistency, or dissonance, among their own ideas makes people uneasy enough (i.e., uncomfortable)
3) to alter these ideas so that they will agree with each other. (i.e., resultant behavior)

ciscop says, "it seems you fail to understand what cog. dissonance means and how people react to it." The former is certainly not the case. I've demonstrated here clearly I understand what it means, so his statement that I don't "know" what 'cognitive dissonance' means is false. The evidence his statement is false can be derived by mere semantics. Just look at the definitions out there, and you'll notice how I define cognitive dissonance is in line with how others define it.

"I [Mike] seem to fail to understand how people react to cognitive dissonance:"

Since ciscop can't successfully argue, with logical reasoning, I don't "know" what 'cognitive dissonance' means, what he's left arguing is "I seem to fail to understand how people react to cognitive dissonance."

An example of a pseudo-skeptic's generalization tactic:

This is a perfect example of how pseudo-skeptics tend to take specifics argued in debates and generalize them. This post, and the subsequent related debate, is about Blackmore's specific cognitive dissonance, not "people's" cognitive dissonance. I'm not debating how people, in general, react to cognitive dissonance. What I am arguing is why Blackmore experiences cognitive dissonance in her specific case.

Here's how ciscop's weak inductive logic works:

1) Mike says, "Blackmore experiences cognitive dissonance because she believes psi might be true."
2) Mike "fails to understand how people react to cognitive dissonance."
3) Therefore, Mike "fails to understand how Blackmore reacts to cognitive dissonance."

As you can see, I never attempted to generalize Blackmore's specific case by stating how it is "people" react to cognitive dissonance. Therefore, ciscop has demonstrated how flawed his reasoning is. What he should have said is the following: Mike "fails to understand how Blackmore reacts to cognitive dissonance." Let's explore that argument...

Mike "fails to understand how Blackmore reacts to cognitive dissonance:"

I know exactly how Blackmore reacts to her cognitive dissonance in this specific case: "... I am quite apt to put it away 'to read tomorrow.'" Those are her own words. Therefore, there can be no disagreement how she would react to her dissonance in such a specific case. But let's move on to ciscop's other arguments...

"IS HUMAN NATURE you ignorant! of course they experience cog. dissonance, we all do:"

Again, ciscop's reasoning is amply flawed. His argument is this:

1) Mike says, "Blackmore experiences cognitive dissonance because she believes psi might be true."
2) "It's human nature," and "we all" experience cognitive dissonance.
3) Therefore, Mike's claim is incorrect.

Again, he's taking a specific case and generalizing it. According to his logic, it's "human nature," and "we all" experience cognitive dissonance; therefore, it's human nature for Blackmore to experience it; therefore, I cannot be correct about my statement that Blackmore experiences cognitive dissonance because she believes psi might be true. That's such weak inductive reasoning that there should be another name for it (i.e., other than "inductive reasoning"), but let's move on.....

"instead of building a case for psi
you have to attack the skeptics with the studies contrary to your beliefs like susan blackmore (talking about cog. dissonance eh?)"


ciscop is all over the place here. He's stated several arguments that are irrelevant to this specific debate, which indicates he has gotten emotional and has lost his critical reasoning faculties altogether. This post is not about "building a case for psi." That's irrelevant. This post is about why Blackmore experiences the cognitive dissonance she does in her specific case.

And where is the evidence in this specific debate "I attack the skeptics with the studies contrary to my beliefs?" I'm simply arguing why Blackmore experiences her dissonance. Again, his reasoning has reached a new low at this point. Let's move on....

"So.. im going to try to explain to you
You got that right.. Cog. Dissonance is when you hold 2 contradicting ideas and they cause discomfort
what you FAIL to understand
is HOW that discomfort will present."


And yet again, he generalizes this specific case in order to help argue his case that I am wrong in my assessment that Blackmore experiences her dissonance due to her believing psi might be true. He doesn't use the word "people" in this case, but we can infer that's what he means. Furthermore, how Blackmore reacts to her dissonance is not the issue. What's really at the heart of the issue is why she experiences the discomfort. More...

"When talking about how skeptics react to woo evidence, Some skeptics will laugh (not all) and some skeptics will put the article of a quack, i mean helmut schmidt down just like Susan Blackmore did. If you brought me an article of why fairies exist, i will put it down too
why would i laugh? there´s many ways to react and express my cog. dissonance! it doesnt MEAN i have the idea of FAIRIES existing.. it means i feel discomfort in losing time in reading about something i know it doesnt exist, THAT´S COG. DISSONANCE"


Now this is where the heart of the debate actually lies. Essentially, what ciscop is saying is that Blackmore experiences her cognitive dissonance because she feels it's a "waist of time reading about something she knows doesn't exist." Let's explore this argument in detail, then we'll move on to his "fairies" analogy...

"it means i feel discomfort in losing time in reading about something i know it doesnt exist, THAT´S COG. DISSONANCE:"

If by "means" ciscop means that the definition of 'cognitive dissonance' is "discomfort in losing one's time in reading about something one knows doesn't exist," he's obviously incorrect. That's not what cognitive dissonance means, but I'm going to infer what he actually meant to say is the following: "Blackmore experiences cognitive dissonance because she feels discomfort in losing time in reading about something she knows doesn't exist, THAT´S COG. DISSONANCE"

"Blackmore experiences cognitive dissonance because she feels discomfort in losing time in reading about something she knows doesn't exist, THAT´S COG. DISSONANCE"

There are two logical problems with the preceding argument.

The first problem is that ciscop doesn't provide any evidence to backup his claim that Blackmore feels it would be a waist of time, and that that is the source of her discomfort. On the contrary, there is ample evidence Blackmore actually likes reviewing psi evidence, positive or negative. She's been doing it since the 1970's. Additionally, she's a parapsychologist. She's written and published many parapsychological papers. Here's a link to those publications: http://www.susanblackmore.co.uk/publicat.htm. Here's Blackmore's summary bio:
Blackmore wrote:Sue Blackmore is a freelance writer, lecturer and broadcaster, and a Visiting Professor at the University of Plymouth. She has a degree in psychology and physiology from Oxford University (1973) and a PhD in parapsychology from the University of Surrey (1980).
Whether or not she might believe in psi, Blackmore still takes the time to publish research papers about it. Therefore, how can ciscop logically deduce Blackmore would experience discomfort in the act of reviewing psi-positive evidence because "it's a waist of time for her?" Why would she spend all of those years researching phenomena she "knows doesn't exist" and "is a waist of time for her" if it indeed made her uncomfortable? That makes no logical sense.

The second problem is that ciscop presumes what it is Blackmore "knows." Does ciscop actually know himself that Blackmore "knows" "psi doesn't exist?" How could he? Has Blackmore ever stated she "knows psi doesn't exist?" I've seen no such evidence. If it exists, please post it here. I think Blackmore is smart enough not to be making logically false statements such as "I know psi doesn't exist." You can't prove a negative such as "psi doesn't exist," much like you can't prove, or know, God doesn't exist. On the contrary, there is some evidence she believes psi might be true, and that seems to be the source of her dissonance, but we'll get to that later.

Therefore, ciscop's claim that Blackmore experiences cognitive dissonance because "it's a waist of time for her to review something she 'knows doesn't exist'" it unavoidably false, for those two preceding reasons. In contrast, there's some evidence that Blackmore experiences her cognitive dissonance because she believes psi might be true. Moving forward....

"Mike says, 'There's some evidence that Blackmore experiences her cognitive dissonance because she believes psi might be true.':"

The clues to Blackmore believing psi might be real are in her own statements:

1) The first clue is in Blackmore's original statement:
Blackmore wrote:You may think I wouldn't refuse, but I have to admit that when the Journal of Parapsychology arrives with reports of Helmut Schmidt's positive findings I begin to feel uncomfortable and am quite apt to put it away "to read tomorrow." (Blackmore, 1987, p. 251)

Nowhere in that statement does Blackmore suggest she experiences dissonance because "it's a waist of time" or "she knows psi doesn't exist." What we can infer from it, however, is that the source of her dissonance is the "positive findings" in the reports. If she actually "knew psi did not exist," there should be no discomfort in her reviewing such evidence, as she would already "know it's untrue." Therefore, why would she become uncomfortable reviewing psi-positive evidence? ciscop doesn't seem to be able to find an explanation for this that makes any logical sense. ciscop presumes Blackmore feels uncomfortable because she "has" to review psi-positive evidence she "knows doesn't exist," but, again, he has no evidence to back this up, and I've provided evidence to the contrary.

2) And even more clues can be found in this statement:
Blackmore wrote:The other major challenge to the skeptic's position is, of course, the fact that opposing positive evidence exists in the parapsychological literature. I couldn't dismiss it all. This raises an interesting question: just how much weight can you or should you give the results of your own experiments over those of other people? On the one hand, your own should carry more weight, since you know exactly how they were done... On the other hand, science is necessarily a collective enterprise... So I couldn't use my own failures as justifiable evidence that psi does not exist. I had to consider everyone else's success.

I asked myself a thousand times, as I ask the reader now: is there a right conclusion?

The only answer I can give, after ten years of intensive research in parapsychology, is that I don't know. (Blackmore, 1989a, p.74)

In one sentence she writes that it's a "fact opposing positive evidence exists," of which she cannot "dismiss all of it," and in another " she doesn't know what the right conclusion about psi is." We can infer from her statements that she does not actually believe "psi doesn't exist." On the contrary, she's admitted it's a "fact" some "positive evidence exists" which she cannot dismiss. If she really felt no psi-positive evidence existed, why would she utter those statements otherwise? In addition to her former statements, the fact that she states "she doesn't know" implies she believes psi might be true; otherwise, she would have stated she believes the positive evidence is false, but she doesn't. Instead, she states she can't dismiss it all. In another, separate statement, she actually admits "psi might be true:"

3) And yet even more clues:
Blackmore wrote:My own conclusion is biased by my own personal experience. I tried my first ganzfeld experiment in 1978, when the procedure was new... Of course the new autoganzfeld results are even better. Why should I doubt them because of events in the past? The problem is that my personal experience conflicts with the successes I read about in the literature and I cannot ignore either side. The only honest reaction is to say "I don't know." (Blackmore, 1996a)

How can ciscop logically deduce from this statement that Blackmore believes "psi doesn't exist?" She clearly says she doesn't know. We can infer from her statement that she believes it might be true, and she later actually admits that. A good analogy to use here is one saying, "I don't know if God exists." That infers God might exist or might not exist. It doesn't mean God does not exist.

4) And here's where she actually admits "psi might be true:"
Blackmore wrote:At last I've done it. I've thrown in the towel...

Come to think of it, I feel slightly sad. I was just over thirty years ago that I had the dramatic out-of-body experience that convinced me of the reality of psychic phenomena... Just a few years of careful experiments changed all of that. I found no psychic phenomena... I became a skeptic.

So why didn't I give up then? There are lots of bad reasons. Admitting you are wrong is always hard, even though it's a skill every scientist needs to learn. And starting again as a baby in a new field is a daunting prospect. So is losing all of the status and power of being an expert. I have to confess I enjoyed my hard-won knowledge.

... None of it ever gets anywhere. That's a good enough reason for leaving.

But perhaps the real reason is that I am just too tired--and tired above all of working to maintain an open mind. I couldn't dismiss all those extraordinary claims out of hand. After all, they just might be true, and if they were then swathes of science would have to be written. (Blackmore, 2000)

The fact that Blackmore could not dismiss all of the psi claims "out of hand" implies she believes there is psi-positive evidence that is indeed possibly valid. This is where her dissonance kicks in: Her belief, or idea, that there actually exists psi-positive evidence that "just might be true" is in direct contradiction to her long-held (or once-held) belief that psi does not exist, and this brings her discomfort. As a result, she finds ways to accommodate that discomfort. In this specific case, she puts the report "away to read tomorrow," and in the case of her career, she simply "throws in the towel" altogether. At this point, she's given up, admitting that "psi claims might be true," and that would make sense, as there is plenty of strong, good evidence to support her reasoning for stating such a thing.

Therefore, I believe I've demonstrated via Blackmore's statements per se that she believes psi might be true, and that there is no other evidence to suggest she experiences her cognitive dissonance because of other factors, such as that "it's a waist of time" or that "psi doesn't exist." However, let's look at ciscop's other excuses and objections to my reasoning...

"If you brought me an article of why fairies exist, i will put it down too
why would i laugh? there´s many ways to react and express my cog. dissonance! it doesnt MEAN i have the idea of FAIRIES existing."


That is a very poor analogy if indeed ciscop is using it to compare how or why it is Blackmore experiences her cognitive dissonance in this specific case. Here's his reasoning:

1) If you brought me an article of why fairies exist,
2) i will put it down too
3) it doesnt MEAN i have the idea of FAIRIES existing.

The first problem with this analogy is that it's incomparable to that of Blackmore's case because in this analogy ciscop presumes that Blackmore doesn't have the idea that fairies exist. In Blackmore's case, I've demonstrated Blackmore indeed believes psi might be true. Rather, what ciscop has described here is a hypothetical case in which we can assume the person given the article doesn't believe in fairies. Therefore, there is no cognitive dissonance at all. Why would there be any discomfort in receiving an article that fairies exist if you don't actually believe in fairies? One reason, I suppose, would be if you were forced to read such an article. But in Blackmore's case, she's not forced to evaluate psi-positive evidence. She actually likes doing it. We can infer this is the case via her many published papers. A disbeliever in fairies, on the other hand, would most likely laugh at it, put it down, throw it away, or even read it, but none of these behaviors should indicate a discomfort is experienced unless the reviewer actually believes it's a possibility fairies exist. Even if the reviewer did feel discomfort in receiving or reviewing such an article, and it was not because he or she believed fairies might be real, it's not comparable to Blackmore's case. They are two different cases.

What it seems ciscop is getting at is that the act of Blackmore "having" to review psi-positive evidence is what causes her dissonance, not that she believes psi might be true. Well, I've certainly demonstrated that 1) Blackmore likes reviewing psi-positive evidence and 2) believes psi might be true, so ciscop's reasoning is flawed, consequently.

The second problem with this analogy is that, again, ciscop generalizes Blackmore's specific case. He says, "there´s many ways to react and express my cog. dissonance!" Well, yes, that's true, but I'm not referring to ciscop's dissonance or to the many ways one can experience cognitive dissonance. I'm referring to Blackmore's cognitive dissonance. Here's his reasoning:

1) Mike says, "Blackmore experiences cognitive dissonance because she believes psi might be true."
2) "there´s many ways to react and express my cog. dissonance"
3) Therefore, Mike's claim is incorrect.

Just because there are "many ways to express" cognitive dissonance does not mean I am incorrect. His logic is, again, flawed.

At this point, ciscop seems to be getting emotional over what I have to say, as it's apparent in what he continues to write after my initial posts.

"is getting really tiring this
the only thing we are doing is going in circles"


I sure ain't. My stance is clear and straightforward. What seems to be happening here is that ciscop is experiencing cognitive dissonance himself: He is receiving from me very convincing evidence and logical arguments that his claim that I am incorrect is false. The idea that I am right and he is right is a contradiction. This results in his emotional behavior.

"i dont think you understand what cog. dissonance is and how people react to it"

Perhaps ciscop beleives that if he keeps on repeating this statement, it will somehow make it true. I'm afraid it's still untrue. As I've demonstrated, I indeed know what 'cognitive dissonance' means.

"you think SHE HAS TO BELIEVE IN PSI which is not the case"

This shows ciscop's lack of careful reading. I don't think she "has to believe in psi." We can infer from her various statements and the lack of evidence to support other explanations that this is why she experiences her cognitive dissonance, but I never said 1) she "has to" or that she "believes" in psi, only that she believes psi might be true and that it's because of this belief that she experiences her dissonance.

"she built a career in debunking parapsychologist experiments"

And yet she ultimately "throws in the towel" and "gives up" on psi research, concluding "psi might be true." Go figure.

"and yes! she layed down the article to avoid cog. dissonance!"

ciscop is partly correct here. By putting down the psi-positive evidence until tomorrow, Blackmore is delaying her discomfort in "having" to review psi-positive evidence, not avoiding it altogether. She is avoiding discomfort for the time being, but her choice to delay her dissonance is based on her already present, or past, cognitive dissonance. In other words, she puts away the evidence to be reviewed tomorrow because she either 1) knows she will experience discomfort in the future and/or 2) she experiences it immediately and reacts to it accordingly. Either way, she is reacting to her cognitive dissonance, whether it's delayed or immediate. Her dissonance is still at the root of her behavior. She has not gotten rid of her cognitive dissonance altogether, as her beliefs or ideas about psi-positive evidence have still not changed. What she got gotten rid of, for the meantime, is her discomfort.

"she has done tons of studies and found no evidence for psi"

If that's the case, why would she state the following?
Blackmore wrote:The problem is that my personal experience conflicts with the successes I read about in the literature and I cannot ignore either side.

The other major challenge to the skeptic's position is, of course, the fact that opposing positive evidence exists in the parapsychological literature. I couldn't dismiss it all.

Admitting you are wrong is always hard, even though it's a skill every scientist needs to learn.

I couldn't dismiss all those extraordinary claims out of hand. After all, they just might be true, and if they were then swathes of science would have to be written.


She's stated several times that psi-positive evidence indeed exists. Therefore, how can ciscop logically deduce that "she has done tons of studies and found no evidence for psi?" Again, his logic is flawed.

"besides you are forgeting the article was from Helmid Schmidt who is a quack here is a link from diccionario para el esceptico"

It doesn't matter 1) where Blackmore's statements appear nor 2) who published them. The fact is that she actually uttered the words I've quoted above. There is no evidence to suggest that what I've quoted her as saying are not her own words. Here's ciscop's reasoning:

1) Mike says, "Blackmore experiences cognitive dissonance because she believes psi might be true."
2) "the article was from Helmid Schmidt who is a quack"
3) Therefore, Mike's claim is incorrect.

Again, ciscop's logic is flawed.

"and stop saying evidence for psi is overwhelming, you just sound like a radin puppet"

This is another tactic pseudo-skeptics employ. They think that by attacking the psi proponents' characters, their psi-positive evidence/data can be dismissed. Notice how he doesn't bother to discuss the evidence, the data involved. He merely calls the psi-supporting researchers "quacks" and other disparaging names. Here's his flawed reasoning:

1) Radin is a quack.
2) Radin believes psi is real.
3) Therefore, psi is not real.

Again, ciscop's logic is extremely flawed.

"go on and show that overwhelming psi evidence you keep mentioning that the CONSPIRACY OF EVIL SKEPTICS keep from the media and from getting mainstream in science."

There are two obvious problems with this sentence. I told ciscop to read Radin's book, 'Entanged Minds'. It holds a wealth of convincing psi-positive evidence. He hasn't yet read this book, so perhaps he'll never know. Does anyone here even believe ciscop would want to learn the truth about psi evidence? No. It would create too much cognitive dissonance on his part!

The second part of his sentence demonstrates other tactics pseudo-skeptics employ: exaggerations and deflections. The exaggeration is this: Where did I ever say there was some "conspiracy of evil skeptics keeping the psi evidence away from the media and from getting mainstream in science?" The deflection is this: What does any of this have to do with me being wrong about Blackmore's dissonance? Nothing!

"yep even radin states theres no[t] many scientists studying those topics, could it be for the same reason we arent hunting fairies?"

ciscop is implying that there are not many scientists studying psi becuase of the same reason why they aren't studying fairies: because psi and fairies "don't exist." This (about scientists) is far from the truth. Here's why, in part, not many scientists are studying psi:
Carter wrote:The skepticism of those who run the scientific establishment is surely one reason why, throughout its history, the resources devoted to psi research have been extremely meager. Psychologist Sybo Schouten compared the funding directed toward parapsychology over the one hundred years spanning 1882 to 1982 and found that it was approximately equal to the expenditures of two months of conventional psychological research in the United States in 1983. The other reason funding is difficult to come by is that many private and public funding agencies have no wish to be associated with what skeptics call "pseudo-science." Is it any wonder they feel this way? Not when scientific journals continue to publish hostile attacks on the scientific validity of parapsychology. For instance, the prominent journal Nature published the following in a commentary by skeptical psychologist David Marks:
Parascience has all the qualities of a magical system while wearing the mantle of science. Until any significant discoveries are made, science can justifiably ignore it, but it is important to say why: parascience is a pseudo-scientific system of untested beliefs steeped in illusion, error, and fraud.


Clearly then, many scientists find the claims of parapsychology disturbing. The existence of psi implies that the minds of people can sometimes communicate, perceive events, and influence objects without the use of the five ordinary senses or their limbs. Science in its present state cannot explain these phenomena. This in itself should not be a problem: There are plenty of other phenomena that science cannot currently explain, such as consciousness, the placebo effect, and the fact that the expansion of the universe appears to be accelerating. But is the existence of psi in conflict with well-established scientific principles? (Carter, 2007, pp. 90-91)


In other words, there simply isn't sufficient funding to justify a career in parapsychology. ciscop's logic that scientists don't study psi because of the same reason why they don't study fairies, which is fairies don't exist, is unavoidably incorrect. As a matter of fact, many believe that psi "is real:"
Although surveys consistently show that most people either accept the reality of ESP or have had psychic experiences themselves, remarks such as this in the skeptical literature can give one the impression that all such phenomena are "scientifically impossible."

But many mainstream scientists do not hold this position. Two surveys of over 500 scientists in one case and over 1,000 in another were made in the 1970's. Both surveys found the majority of respondents considered ESP "an established fact" or "a likely possibility:" 56% in one and 67% in the other. (Carter, 2007, p. 90)


However, none of this has to do with Blackmore's cognitive dissonance case. Just because not many scientists are conducting psi experiments, it doesn't mean I am incorrect in my statement about the source of her discomfort. Again, ciscop's logic is majorly flawed.

"GO ON ! and show us the overwhelming evidence for psi
are those the same that include uri geller or those that include the project alpha?"


Again, csicop uses the exaggeration and deflection tactic to get away from the root of the debate, which should be about Blackmore's dissonance, not Uri Geller. ciscop's logic is flawed in that he seems to believe I base my belief on psi at least in part on what Uri Geller has done. This is far from the truth. You will not find one source in which I state the basis of my psi beliefs are in part due to the doings of Uri Geller or "those that include the project alpha." ciscop should stick to the root of the debate, which is about Blackmore, not Geller or Randi.

"nah.. is better to diss about skeptics
like you try with wiseman and with blackmore"


Another tactic pseudo-skeptics employ is to avoid the details and to, rather, generalize. ciscop has clearly left out where or how "I dismiss skeptics like Wiseman and Blackmore." Regardless, what does this have to do with my assessment of Blackmore's source of dissonance? Here's his reasoning:

1) Mike says, "Blackmore experiences cognitive dissonance because she believes psi might be true."
2) "It's better for Mike to diss skeptics like Wiseman and Blackmore."
3) Therefore, Mike's claim is incorrect.

ciscop's illogical nature surely shines the more and more you read on, but there's more...

"you are gonna keep saying she shouldnt experience cog. dissonance and i am going to keep saying that yes she should
and that doesnt mean she believes psi is for real."


I'm assuming ciscop means I am going to keep on saying Blackmore should not experience cognitive dissonance if she indeed doesn't believe psi might be true. Well, what other reason is there for her experiencing dissonance when faced with psi-positive evidence? I can find no other reason other than she believes it might be true, and that belief, or idea, makes her feel uncomfortable. ciscop has failed to demonstrate, via evidence, what other reasons or factors there can be to justify her dissonance. In contrast, I have demonstrated, via evidence, why it is she would feel this dissonance in the face of psi-positive evidence. If ciscop can provide evidence that the reason Blackmore's feels dissonance is because she feels "it's a waist of time" and/or "psi doesn't exist," I'd like for him to post it here. If there's another reason why, either way, please post it here. Until the evidence is furnished, ciscop's assumptions are merely presumptions, not substantiated claims.

Notice how ciscop takes me out of context, or plain lies: I never said Blackmore believes "psi is for real." What I said was she believes psi might be true, or might be real. It seems ciscop's cognitive dissonance has resulted in his not thinking critically nor logically. This is a very common occurrence with ciscop.

"go on and dissect this comment ill be waiting for your overwhelming psi evidence :lol:"

There are two interesting aspects to this sentence. In the former part, he assumes my argument about Blackmore's dissonance stems from "overwhelming psi evidence." One does not need "overwhelming psi evidence" to demonstrate that Blackmore's dissonance is a result her contradictory belief that psi might be true. Blackmore provides the evidence to backup my claim herself, via her own statements.

The latter part of ciscop's statement shows he's getting emotional about this. His LOL is surely not a funny one, but he uses it to imply we are to believe he thinks it's funny. On the contrary, I believe what he really feels is discomfort in the fact that I'm making more sense about my arguments and claims than he is with his. He's essentially using "reverse psychology." LOLs never prove anything. They simply express one's emotional state. In this case, it's backwards--he should be using this emoticon: :oops:

Even if we were to entertain his argument, it would essentially say the following:

1) Mike says, "Blackmore experiences cognitive dissonance because she believes psi might be true."
2) If Mike doesn't produce this "overwhelming psi evidence,"
3) Mike's claim is incorrect.

Again, very flawed logic.

"go on :-D you are only showing yet AGAIN
and as i predicted (i must be PSYCHIC!)
that you cant show the overwhelming psi evidence"


From this point forward, well actually, from many points in the past as well, ciscop demonstrates he no longer has the ability to logically argue his claim that I am incorrect about Blackmore's source of dissonance. It's obvious he's become very emotional, and it's no wonder why: I make more logical sense than he does.

Has ciscop read Radin's book yet? He asked for the "overwhelming evidence." Well, it's in that book, besides many other places. As a matter of fact, the amount is so large that I couldn't just post a few studies here and do the psi evidence any justice. He'd literally need to read and entire book to get a summary of all of it, and Radin's is just one very good source of this information.

Here we go....

"and your resource is to attack skeptics"

Again, he actually believes that by him reiterating this statement over and over, it will somehow come true. Oh how wrong he is. Again, the source of my argument and belief regarding Blackmore stems from her own words, not from "attacking skeptics." If ciscop wants to call Blackmore's own words "overwhelming evidence," so be it.

"im glad to join the ranks of wiseman and blackmore in your book :oops:
im glad you are dedicating all those 3 pages posts nobody cares to read :lol:

and the cog. dissonance is so huge in your part is gotta be some sort of dissorder
i call it ¨Radintitis¨.. it means people with the head so much into radin´s ass they cant see anything else"


Need I say anymore? It's clear how emotional he's gotten. Again, he fails to discuss the data involved, the evidence, so he resorts to attacking people's characters.

"it doesnt matter how many times i repeat it
susan blackmore doesnt believe psi evidence is positive
you are forgeting where does the evidence came from... Schmidt is a guy that inspired Radin in his studies,
is the Father Quack if you wish."


Again, he actually believes that by him reiterating this statement over and over, it will somehow come true. Oh how wrong he is. And again, it doesn't matter where Blackmore's statements appear. The fact is that she actually uttered the words I've quoted above. There is no evidence to suggest what I've quoted her as saying are not her own words. Here's ciscop's reasoning:

1) Mike says, "Blackmore experiences cognitive dissonance because she believes psi might be true."
2) "the article was from Helmid Schmidt who is a quack"
3) Therefore, Mike's claim is incorrect.

Furthermore, ciscop is either in denial or just plain lying: Blackmore indeed believes some psi evidence is positive:
Blackmore wrote:The other major challenge to the skeptic's position is, of course, the fact that opposing positive evidence exists in the parapsychological literature. I couldn't dismiss it all.

The problem is that my personal experience conflicts with the successes I read about in the literature and I cannot ignore either side.

I couldn't dismiss all those extraordinary claims out of hand. After all, they just might be true...


How much more evidence than that does ciscop need for me to demonstrate Blackmore believes at least some psi evidence might be true?

"because if a skeptic is wrong, then woo is posible right?"

If by "woo" ciscop means "psi," then his logic is flawed. A skeptic being wrong about psi not existing does not make psi suddenly exist. How did he come up with such flawed logic? ciscop seems to think that if a skeptic is well-known and respected, that skeptic must be right about psi not being real. He doesn't bother to analyze the data for himself. Rather, what he does is base his beliefs on what skeptics believe, as what ciscop believes and skeptics believe is essentially the same, which is that psi doesn't exist. He chooses this route because it doesn't create any cognitive dissonance for him. This is more about psychology than it is about there existing empirical data supporting the notion that psi is real. In any event, his logic is, again, wrong. He needs to be more specific and detailed if he's to be taken seriously.

"oh by the way... in my book... you joined the ranks of Highflyer a mental patient, david mabus a christian nut and dave koenig a mediocre magician.. Well done!... hahahahahaha"

ciscop has pretty much abandoned all reasoning at this point. I am now ranked along with "mental patients" and "mediocre magicians." Here's his reasoning:

1) Mike says, "Blackmore experiences cognitive dissonance because she believes psi might be true."
2) "Mike is ranked along with 'mental patients' and 'mediocre magicians.'"
3) Therefore, Mike's claim is incorrect.

I'm trying not to laugh when I type this stuff.........

"no problem there
my slow learning disability friend
have fun!"


Now he's saying I have a "learning disability," despite the fact that he can't read what Blackmore says, in her own words. Here's his reasoning:

1) Mike says, "Blackmore experiences cognitive dissonance because she believes psi might be true."
2) "Mike has a "learning disability."
3) Therefore, Mike's claim is incorrect.

I'm going to post other comments he's made on a separate topic before concluding:

ciscop wrote:i always find it funny
that the guy that believes in x men powers thinks he is smarter than the guy requesting for proof
hahaha well done!
:lol: :lol: :lol: :lol: :lol: :lol: :lol:




Is ciscop referring to me when he says "the guy that believes in x men powers?" When or where have I ever stated, anywhere, I believe people can be injected with strong metal, allowing them to be able to fight using metallic "claws" (i.e., Wolverine), or people can create violent weather at will (i.e., Storm), or people can shoot out strong lasers from their eyes capable of melting matter (i.e., Cyclops)? Again, ciscop exaggerates. Here's his reasoning:

1) Mike says, "Blackmore experiences cognitive dissonance because she believes psi might be true."
2) "Mike believes in x men powers."
3) Therefore, Mike's claim is incorrect.

And notice how he leaves out the details. This is obvious, since it's apparent he's now emotional. Who is "the guy requesting for proof?" and how can ciscop logically deduce that a "guy requesting for proof" is not as smart as a guy beleiving in "X-men powers?" He just doesn't make any sense.

"hahahaha
i find it more embarassing if my hero was a quack that believes in enhaced chocolate and chamans sending healing thoughts thru space and time!
is that dumb or what?
nah.. his followers are even dumber for trusting anything he says"


ciscop has obviously become so emotional that he has completely thrown out his critical reasoning faculties. He can't attack the actual data or evidence involved, so he resorts to name-calling, attacking the psi-proponents' and researchers' characters, exaggerations, and deflections. ciscop is the true epitome of a pseudo-skeptic gone horribly "wrong."

So, in concluding this rather long demonstration of how a pseudo-skeptic such as ciscop thinks, argues, reasons, etc, I think we can all agree (with the exception of ciscop and/or his apologists, that is) what it is we're dealing with here on this forum, which is a few illogical, unreasonable, emotional pseudo-skeptics.

To read more on ciscop and his nonsensical ramblings, click here: http://www.debunkingskeptics.com/forum/viewtopic.php?f=13&t=378#p4801
Last edited by quantumparanormal on 24 Sep 2009, 09:54, edited 1 time in total.
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Re: Exposing a pseudo-skeptic's fallacies

Postby ciscop » 24 Sep 2009, 08:58

I am Ciscop
and i approved quantum´s post :lol: :lol: :lol:

if you spend all this time trying to show the OVERWHELMING PSI EVIDENCE
then we could have discussion.. but nah
quantum prefers attacking the big guys like Blackmore and Wiseman.. and now.. me .. I feel honored to join their rank in quantum´s black book.. hahahaha

Awesome!
well done Lil Mickey
I applaud your effort! althought my cog. dissonance made me skip pretty much all your rant.. (which doesnt mean i think you are right, just like susan blackmore)

on a last note about the Xmen Powers reference i was refering to Dr. Xavier.. who has mind controls+telepathy+pk powers.. but i guess althought you do know all the other characters of the xmen you forgot about him or chose to forget him to make your point (as always, you skip what you dont want to confirm your idea... )

Winston!! If you see quantum´s post PLEASE ADD IT TO your MANIFESTO
i would love to be in there
is quite FUNNY what Lil Mickey Wrote
Last edited by ciscop on 24 Sep 2009, 11:18, edited 1 time in total.
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Re: Exposing a pseudo-skeptic's fallacies

Postby quantumparanormal » 24 Sep 2009, 10:08

Notice ciscop's response above. He can't refute my arguments, logic, reasoning, or evidence. Instead, he provides an emotional response, not a logical, rational one. Furthermore, the following statement is pretty much what he does regarding all evidence and arguments that threaten his convictions, his worldview, his beliefs, his ideas:

ciscop wrote:I applaud your effort! althought my cog. dissonance made me skip pretty much all your rant..


In other words, he doesn't bother to analyze the arguments and evidence that are contradictory to his ideas and beliefs, as they would create much discomfort for him. Therefore, he reacts by skipping most of my "rant," much like Blackmore puts away the psi-positive evidence to evaluate tomorrow. They delay what is ultimately inevitable: more cognitive dissonance. However, in ciscop's case, he will most likely refuse to read any more of that post, period. In Blackmore's case, she is simply delaying her review until tomorrow. At least in Blackmore's case, she admits when she's wrong and that "psi might be true." I'm not holding my breath for ciscop to do the same.
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Re: Exposing a pseudo-skeptic's fallacies

Postby ciscop » 24 Sep 2009, 10:53

nope i chose not to read because
this is the crazy emotional rant of a woo promoter
:lol: i think an admirer.. theres only a step from love to hate, and you have a passion for me.. i feel honored :oops:

you also showed your cog. dissonance when you didnt aknowledge dr. xavier from xmen have the same powers you believe in
dont you get it? we both have cog. dissonance from each other
im the only one capable of understand it because... well lets just say i dont believe in guys melting memories in india.

by the way sweety
i think you are going to need to spam this thread on the forum
nobody is reading you
5 pages of emotional ranting and i am the only one that came to your dance

you know a person is crazy when they are talking to themselves
just like you :lol:
so sad
:lol:
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Re: Exposing a pseudo-skeptic's fallacies

Postby quantumparanormal » 24 Sep 2009, 12:35

Thank you, ciscop. :D
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Re: Exposing a pseudo-skeptic's fallacies

Postby ciscop » 24 Sep 2009, 13:09

quantumparanormal wrote:Thank you, ciscop. :D


no problem micky you know im here for you :lol:

do you care to share that overwhelming psi evidence?
no?
all right
keep writing me your love poems
i totally love them :oops:
For every person who reads this valuable book there are hundreds of naïve souls who would prefer to have their spines tingled by a sensational but worthless potboiler by some hack journalist of the paranormal. You who now read these sentences join a small but wiser minority. Martin Gaardner (Psychology of the Psychic)
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Re: Exposing a pseudo-skeptic's fallacies

Postby NinjaPuppy » 25 Sep 2009, 02:32

Ciscop - You are going to have to do better than that around here. You admit that you won't even read what QP wrote, yet you do nothing more than make fun of him. It seems that you are only here for your own personal entertainment. You seem to get a good laugh out of most everything you read here and what you either don't understand or don't care to understand, you simply make fun of the person commenting.

May I ask that if you have nothing informative to bring to a discussion, keep your name calling, demeaning, personal comments to yourself please.
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Re: Exposing a pseudo-skeptic's fallacies

Postby ciscop » 25 Sep 2009, 08:29

NinjaPuppy wrote:Ciscop - You are going to have to do better than that around here. You admit that you won't even read what QP wrote, yet you do nothing more than make fun of him. It seems that you are only here for your own personal entertainment. You seem to get a good laugh out of most everything you read here and what you either don't understand or don't care to understand, you simply make fun of the person commenting.

May I ask that if you have nothing informative to bring to a discussion, keep your name calling, demeaning, personal comments to yourself please.


if he posted normal posts i will read it..
You read what he wrote?, is 5 pages long!! whats my crime that fits this punishment ? i love reading, but real books not rants from micky.
and that is a love letter! and i get it ! he is passionated about me, and thats kind of flattering :oops:
you see
quantum likes me since i started questioning his attack threads on skeptics, since he cant come and show the OVERWHELMING PSI EVIDENCE his only resource, (just like highflyer, the mental patient, see the relation?) is to attack skeptics! what a pathetic joke! :lol:

And by the same token you should also advice him TO READ MY POSTS
i posted also that he FORGOT dr. xavier when he already showed that he knows the xmen universe telling about all the characters but failing to mention the ONE character that has the same powers dr. quack, i mean radin studies. how convenient uh?

And yes! im here because is fun
i have a fun time here, while quantum gets emotional and irrational because im trashing his fairy world beliefs.
i already ask him to present his overwhelming psi evidence
but a tactic of believers and blind faith followers like him, is to avoid the topic and do only ad hominem attacks, he cant do better than that :-).. thats the only way to battle a skeptic since there´s no proof for the dellusions of his psi-religion.
so expect more attack threads on skeptics :lol:

and about the name calling.. do a little research and see what quantum has called me.. Fair is fair.. i treat him like he treats me :D
For every person who reads this valuable book there are hundreds of naïve souls who would prefer to have their spines tingled by a sensational but worthless potboiler by some hack journalist of the paranormal. You who now read these sentences join a small but wiser minority. Martin Gaardner (Psychology of the Psychic)
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Re: Exposing a pseudo-skeptic's fallacies

Postby HurricaneHeidi » 25 Sep 2009, 09:00

ciscop wrote:
NinjaPuppy wrote:Ciscop - You are going to have to do better than that around here. You admit that you won't even read what QP wrote, yet you do nothing more than make fun of him. It seems that you are only here for your own personal entertainment. You seem to get a good laugh out of most everything you read here and what you either don't understand or don't care to understand, you simply make fun of the person commenting.

May I ask that if you have nothing informative to bring to a discussion, keep your name calling, demeaning, personal comments to yourself please.


if he posted normal posts i will read it..
You read what he wrote?, is 5 pages long!! whats my crime that fits this punishment ? i love reading, but real books not rants from micky.
and that is a love letter! and i get it ! he is passionated about me, and thats kind of flattering :oops:
you see
quantum likes me since i started questioning his attack threads on skeptics, since he cant come and show the OVERWHELMING PSI EVIDENCE his only resource, (just like highflyer, the mental patient, see the relation?) is to attack skeptics! what a pathetic joke! :lol:

And by the same token you should also advice him TO READ MY POSTS
i posted also that he FORGOT dr. xavier when he already showed that he knows the xmen universe telling about all the characters but failing to mention the ONE character that has the same powers dr. quack, i mean radin studies. how convenient uh?

And yes! im here because is fun
i have a fun time here, while quantum gets emotional and irrational because im trashing his fairy world beliefs.
i already ask him to present his overwhelming psi evidence
but a tactic of believers and blind faith followers like him, is to avoid the topic and do only ad hominem attacks, he cant do better than that :-).. thats the only way to battle a skeptic since there´s no proof for the dellusions of his psi-religion.
so expect more attack threads on skeptics :lol:

and about the name calling.. do a little research and see what quantum has called me.. Fair is fair.. i treat him like he treats me :D


The only thing you have "trashed" here, ciscop, is the English language. But perhaps I am being insensitive and politically incorrect. Is English a second language for you? If so, I will back off my criticism of your mutilation of grammar, spelling and sentence structure. It is challenging to read, because awkward grammar and clumsy sentence structure do compromise one's ability to convey rational thought... but if English is actually a second language for you, I will cut you some slack.

It's amusingly ironic that you criticize QP for supposedly utilizing ad hominem fallacies against you within the very same post in which you do nothing but utter ad hominem attacks against him. I found not one logical argument against any aspect of psi in your posts.
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Re: Exposing a pseudo-skeptic's fallacies

Postby ciscop » 25 Sep 2009, 09:17

HurricaneHeidi wrote:
ciscop wrote:
NinjaPuppy wrote:Ciscop - You are going to have to do better than that around here. You admit that you won't even read what QP wrote, yet you do nothing more than make fun of him. It seems that you are only here for your own personal entertainment. You seem to get a good laugh out of most everything you read here and what you either don't understand or don't care to understand, you simply make fun of the person commenting.

May I ask that if you have nothing informative to bring to a discussion, keep your name calling, demeaning, personal comments to yourself please.


if he posted normal posts i will read it..
You read what he wrote?, is 5 pages long!! whats my crime that fits this punishment ? i love reading, but real books not rants from micky.
and that is a love letter! and i get it ! he is passionated about me, and thats kind of flattering :oops:
you see
quantum likes me since i started questioning his attack threads on skeptics, since he cant come and show the OVERWHELMING PSI EVIDENCE his only resource, (just like highflyer, the mental patient, see the relation?) is to attack skeptics! what a pathetic joke! :lol:

And by the same token you should also advice him TO READ MY POSTS
i posted also that he FORGOT dr. xavier when he already showed that he knows the xmen universe telling about all the characters but failing to mention the ONE character that has the same powers dr. quack, i mean radin studies. how convenient uh?

And yes! im here because is fun
i have a fun time here, while quantum gets emotional and irrational because im trashing his fairy world beliefs.
i already ask him to present his overwhelming psi evidence
but a tactic of believers and blind faith followers like him, is to avoid the topic and do only ad hominem attacks, he cant do better than that :-).. thats the only way to battle a skeptic since there´s no proof for the dellusions of his psi-religion.
so expect more attack threads on skeptics :lol:

and about the name calling.. do a little research and see what quantum has called me.. Fair is fair.. i treat him like he treats me :D


The only thing you have "trashed" here, ciscop, is the English language. But perhaps I am being insensitive and politically incorrect. Is English a second language for you? If so, I will back off my criticism of your mutilation of grammar, spelling and sentence structure. It is challenging to read, because awkward grammar and clumsy sentence structure do compromise one's ability to convey rational thought... but if English is actually a second language for you, I will cut you some slack.

It's amusingly ironic that you criticize QP for supposedly utilizing ad hominem fallacies against you within the very same post in which you do nothing but utter ad hominem attacks against him. I found not one logical argument against any aspect of psi in your posts.


hahahaahaha sorry ! ill try harder to improve my english writing skills.
yes it is my 3rd language
still learning and a lot to go :lol:

oh man! i wanted to get an asian language now but i guess i should take english lessons again

and if i failed to say it.. He does the same think that he accuses me of doing, the difference is I do Aknowledge it, he doesnt.
For every person who reads this valuable book there are hundreds of naïve souls who would prefer to have their spines tingled by a sensational but worthless potboiler by some hack journalist of the paranormal. You who now read these sentences join a small but wiser minority. Martin Gaardner (Psychology of the Psychic)
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Re: Exposing a pseudo-skeptic's fallacies

Postby quantumparanormal » 25 Sep 2009, 10:26

ciscop wrote:He does the same think that he accuses me of doing, the difference is I do Aknowledge it, he doesnt.


Please elaborate.
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Re: Exposing a pseudo-skeptic's fallacies

Postby NinjaPuppy » 26 Sep 2009, 01:29

ciscop wrote:and about the name calling.. do a little research and see what quantum has called me.. Fair is fair.. i treat him like he treats me.


Ciscop- I would be glad to do a little research to justify your claim. However, may I just say that I have personally noticed that you tend to belittle the person and not necessarily the subject matter.

May I point out an example?

ciscop wrote:"oh by the way... in my book... you joined the ranks of Highflyer a mental patient, david mabus a christian nut and dave koenig a mediocre magician.. Well done!... hahahahahaha"


You have made many claims as to the psycological problems of any member who seems to have an opinion on any psi subject. You seem to enjoy calling them dummies, crazy, stupid, etc. then you apply some arm chair psycologist diagnosis to explain why their thinking is flawed rather than make an attempt to give at the very least, so much as your personal opinion on the topic at hand. Don't get me wrong, the 3 people you mentioned in that previous quote display some unusual characteristics but in most cases, it is you that encourages their rants by not ignoring them and using this forum to create a good laugh for yourself.

You ask for 'evidence' and when presented with that person's findings, you call it "love letters" and make comments about their information being too long to bother to even read. Then you come up with a personal moniker for them to belittle this person even more. Meanwhile, I have to sift through all your crap to get to a discussion where I might actually learn something other than how NOT to treat people on the internet.

On public forums I expect trolls and spammers and the occasional 'off beat' enthusiast with too much time on his or her hands. In a perfect world, I would enjoy reading good, witty exchanges between forum members but it is becoming less and less frequent around here due to the typical problems associated with open forums. You sir, do not need to add to this problem.
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Re: Exposing a pseudo-skeptic's fallacies

Postby ciscop » 26 Sep 2009, 04:43

it is you that encourages their rants by not ignoring them and using this forum to create a good laugh for yourself.
you got that right, im the one laughing here.. but according to quantum ¨im emotional¨ hahahaha

and how should i call this thread?
a hate letter?
nope.. i much rather prefer a positive language
after all is quantum´s immature cry for attention
this is his only resource to sustain his personal beliefs
i actually like it :lol:
i expect more to come :lol:

and what comes and goes from quantum and me, is ping pong man, he questions my intelligence just like i question his. he questions my mental health just like i questions his. he attacks skeptics just like i attack his religious leaders. fair is fair.
and by the way, it wasnt me who started a thread based on him right?.. :lol:
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