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what exactly drives the skeptical ??

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

Re: what exactly drives the skeptical ??

Postby NinjaPuppy » 31 Oct 2009, 04:12

I do!
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Re: what exactly drives the skeptical ??

Postby ProfWag » 31 Oct 2009, 04:16

NinjaPuppy wrote:I do!

Well Ninja, you seem to be a great person, so I haven't had to try to be nice to you as it just comes easy, but to be on the safe side, I'll just continue to be nice to you regardless...
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Re: what exactly drives the skeptical ??

Postby NinjaPuppy » 31 Oct 2009, 04:28

Don't you worry ProfWag, you're safe. :lol:
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Re: what exactly drives the skeptical ??

Postby accidentsinspace » 31 Oct 2009, 04:32

NinjaPuppy wrote:Don't you worry ProfWag, you're safe. :lol:


I wonder why?
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Re: what exactly drives the skeptical ??

Postby NinjaPuppy » 31 Oct 2009, 04:40

accidentsinspace wrote:
NinjaPuppy wrote:Don't you worry ProfWag, you're safe. :lol:


I wonder why?

No doubt.
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Re: what exactly drives the skeptical ??

Postby TheEvilUrge725 » 01 Nov 2009, 14:26

@profwag

I like you, you seem like a decent person.

As far as homeopathy goes i am actually somewhat outspoken against it. Now i think there may be cases where homeopathic "medicine" is indeed better than what Conglomodrug may be pushing (I am a proud medical marijuana advocate) but from personal experience i do not think it is legitimate medicine in the same sense as Therapeutic Chiropractic Medcine has become legitimate ( Don't get me wrong i am not saying spinal subluxations cause AIDS just that there is an acknowledged legitimacy too it). Myself i am a believer, i believe aliens are real, i believe in god, i believe in bigfoot and i even believe that maybe there was a 9/11 conspiracy plot. I even believe that Lee Harvey Oswald was a scapegoat for the JFK assassination. But i am very skeptical of the beliefs that i hold. I guess you could say i am a realist. Even though i believe in god it could just be stemmed purely out of social indoctrination and personal ignorance as well as mental malfunctions. The thing is that i guess i have been at the recieving end of the negative spectrum of religion and things of that nature. I was once kicked out of a youth group for defending Atheists, and i guess the thing that turned me against most atheists and other "non-believer" groups, if you will, was how they just kinda spat on me for defending them in the first place. I mean it really upset me that here i was defending their right to not believe, and even conceding some of their points, yet i was still being mocked and made fun of. It is maddening and no doubt has etched itself into my personality, i mean i feel as if i am on constant defense mode whenever i enter into ANY situation that concerns the Paranormal, god, conspiracies, what have you. It just seems rare to come across people who actually care about what is most sacred; and that sanctity is the general well being of people of all walks,genders, races ,faiths and preferences of human life. Too many "skeptics" are concerned with debunking as opposed to actually examining the validity of one side. Too many of them hide behind "science" when in reality science by its very nature is supposed to be neutral in all claims.

I guess what i am trying to say here is that it is good to see people on "your side" of things who display a genuine interest in protecting people rather than polarizing them for whatever purposes they claim to be noble.
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Re: what exactly drives the skeptical ??

Postby wjbeaty » 03 Nov 2009, 11:44

On "What drives the skeptical?"

First beware of assuming that "all skeptics are the same," or using the term "skeptic" with contempt. (Imagine a contemptuous scoffer asking "What drives the Believers?" ...with a sneering tone on the word 'believers.' Don't be like them.)

So, "The Skeptics" aren't a uniform group of identical subhumans! Some of us are raving woo-woos, some are thoughtless knee-jerk scoffers ...and everything in between. For example, in the local Seattle skeptic group, most of the members were there for one thing only: to put a stop to Creationist lobbyists trying to insert Christian religious material into science teaching in Washington public schools. So that's what drove "those skeptics." They weren't Randi's people or Csicop members (though there were a couple of those as well.) They were there as a lobby group, to protect their own children's science education from the ploys of a fanatical religious sect.

Perhaps it would be better to ask a less broad question. Is it this one intended? "What drives the minority of hostile, vocal, woowoo-haters found in any Skeptical org?" I half-agree with Dave Leiter's observation that many skeptic-activists had a bad childhood experience with religion, so they swung their personal pendulum to the opposite pole; becoming militant atheists on a crusade to stamp out all religious/paranormal/alt-sci belief systems. I only half-agree, because Leiter associates the problem with membership in Skeptical orgs. While Leiter's own PhACT group has the problem in spades, as does JREF, I see that Csicop has less of it, and Shermer's group far less. Skeptical orgs aren't the problem. (Perhaps the problem is that Skeptical orgs are too tolerant of emotion-driven extremists among their membership.)

Here's Dave's article:

The Pathology of Organized Skepticism D. Leiter 2002, JSE journal
http://www.scientificexploration.org/journal/jse_16_1_leiter.pdf

Organized Skepticism Revisited Leiter
http://www.scientificexploration.org/journal/jse_18_4_leiter.pdf

And don't forget:

Folklore and the rise of moderation among skeptic orgs S. Hall 2000
http://www.temple.edu/english/isllc/newfolk/skeptics.html
-----------------------------------------------
'Skeptic' does not mean scoffer
'Skeptic' does not mean debunker
'Skeptic' does not mean csicop member
'Skeptic' does not mean Atheist
'Skeptic' does not mean cynic
'Skeptic' does not mean woo-woo-hater
'Skeptic' does not mean anti-paranormalist
'Skeptic' does not even mean self-declared Skeptic
((((((((((((( ( (O) ) )))))))))))))
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Re: what exactly drives the skeptical ??

Postby wjbeaty » 03 Nov 2009, 11:58

Here's something else to add to the question: the WET/DRY skeptical spectrum.

For example, in the early days of CSICOP, Marcello Truzzi as a scientist was a "wet skeptic," and he resigned in protest because the group was far too "dry skeptical." And decades later it happened again, when Randi split off from CSICOP to form his own group, mostly because Randi's followers are far more "dry skeptical" even than CSICOP. See below for more about "wet" versus "dry."



FAQ of the usenet sci.skeptic newsgroup

0.6.1: Why are skeptics so keen to rubbish fringe ideas? http://skepticx.myweb.uga.edu/skep_0.html#06.1
--------------------------------------------------------

Skeptics vary on the attitude they take towards a new fringe idea,
varying from the "wet" to the "dry". The question of which attitude
is better is very much a live issue in the skeptical community. Here
is a brief summary of the two extremes:

DRY: There is no reason to treat these people seriously. Anyone with
half an ounce of sense can see that their ideas are completely
bogus. Time spent trying to "understand their ideas" and
"examine their evidence" beyond that necessary for debunking is
wasted time, and life is short. Furthermore, such behaviour
lends them respectability. If we take them seriously, so will
other people. We must ridicule their ideas so that others will
see how silly they are. "One belly laugh is worth a thousand
syllogisms" (H.L. Mencken, quoted by Martin Gardner).

WET: If we lay into these people without giving them a fair hearing
then we run two risks:
1: We might miss someone who is actually right. History contains
many examples.
2: We give them a weapon against us. Ad-hominem attacks and
sloppy logic bring us down to their level. If we are truly
the rational, scientific people we claim to be then we should
ask for their evidence, and then pronounce our considered
opinion of it.

The two extremes are perhaps personified by Martin Gardner (dry) and
Marcello Truzzi (wet). Note that no particular judgment is attached
to these terms. They are just handy labels.

People who read articles by dry skeptics often get the impression that
skeptics are as pig-headed as any fundamentalist or stage psychic. I
think that this is a valid criticism of some skeptics on the dry end.
However, an article which ridicules fringe beliefs may also contain
sound logic based on careful investigation. As always, you have to
read carefully, distinguish logic from rhetoric, and then make a
judgment.

Read more: http://www.faqs.org/faqs/skeptic-faq/#ixzz0VlTPFdo7
-----------------------------------------------
'Skeptic' does not mean scoffer
'Skeptic' does not mean debunker
'Skeptic' does not mean csicop member
'Skeptic' does not mean Atheist
'Skeptic' does not mean cynic
'Skeptic' does not mean woo-woo-hater
'Skeptic' does not mean anti-paranormalist
'Skeptic' does not even mean self-declared Skeptic
((((((((((((( ( (O) ) )))))))))))))
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Re: what exactly drives the skeptical ??

Postby brett » 03 Nov 2009, 14:30

thanks bill - wet and dry skeptics eh ?? - sounds like a brand of sand paper - both abrasive :lol: :lol: :lol:

but seriously , personally , i don't really worry too much if the skeptics wish to believe as they do , at the end of the day , like me they have the right to "believe " what they like , BUT my problem with them is this , where as the more sensible of us "believers" post our experiences for others interest and possible enlightenment , without trying to enforce our views one others ( something we sometimes get accused of ) - the skeptics seem to be on some sort of a mission to get every one "uniformly " thinking , and thinking that ANYTHING that is outside the realms of known science , perceived wisdom , their own dogma , etc is simply not possible and it is some how sinful to think in this way or believe in the "possibility "

now here i have to play "devils advocate " for a moment and say that in a LOT of what is trotted out as "paranormal " these days - i tend to agree with them - but by now those of you who have read ( and understood ) my posts , will know ,I am against BS - ALL FORMS - REGARDLESS WHICH SIDE IT COMES FROM !! , and lets be fair it does not take much of a perusal of the various sites on the net or the stuff purported as "paranormal investigation" on TV to see it in abundance - and in fact will go so far as to say that i believe that 90% of all reported phenomena IS BS ,misinterpretation , or down right fraud in some cases :o

yes you DID read that right - a woo did say that !!

BUT and here is the BIG but , that IMO leaves 10% or so that is GENUINE and that's the bit I am interested in and so should science AND the skeptics be so

I like many others , have had personal experiences of phenomena , unrepeatable ( probably ) one off ( likely ) phenomena that lead us to believe , based on our own senses ( which ultimately ) are the only ones ANY of us can rely on , in something , call it evidence of some form of continuance if you want , and what REALLY gets my back up is this practice of some skeptics always trotting out the old "you must be deluded , insane, gullible , ya de ya de ya de diatribe

think on this EACH of us in the world have had "unique" experiences in life - but do we all go round saying that each other of us is insane etc because WE did not experience them ?? - no of course we don't , we just accept that it is quite possible that these things have in fact happened , that the person concerned is truthfully relating the experience form their own perspective as interpreted by their own senses - and accept it

so WHY must the skeptics decide that whilst SOME experience are valid - that some more unusual ones are not ?? - after all DO they REALLY care if i believe in ghosts ???- or have they just got some pathological NEED to just dismiss everyone who believes differently from them ??

why cant they just accept that we are NOT all crazy and learn to let live ??

ho hum ......................
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Re: what exactly drives the skeptical ??

Postby wjbeaty » 03 Nov 2009, 15:30

brett wrote:- the skeptics seem to be on some sort of a mission to get every one "uniformly " thinking , and thinking that ANYTHING that is outside the realms of known science , perceived wisdom , their own dogma , etc is simply not possible and it is some how sinful to think in this way or believe in the "possibility."


That's the behavior. It's certainly not skeptical, and is the very opposite of scientific. And it's not displayed by skeptics in general, but only by a vocal minority.

But I think it's understandable in terms of human nature: most people have a need to be superior, and some take it further: embarking on a righteous crusade battling a dangerous enemy (dangerous, as well as disgusting and subhuman enemies.) It's the same psychology which drives wars, racial bigotry, religious violence, etc. It's hatred pure and simple, where a superior group of "us" gets together and goes looking for an inferior "them" to attack; same as it's always been for centuries. It's built in to the human race. And of course we Believers behave just as badly: use of fallacies and rhetoric, contempt for and stereotyping of the opponent, inventing derogatory names, etc.

Or said another way: it's getting hard to be a racial bigot, and if you sneer at someone because of their skin color, bystanders turn against you ...but in Skeptic groups, it's open season on "The Woo Woos," and in Believer groups, there's no enemy more disgusting than a mindless sneering scoffer.

And what drives it? Well, first you have to be so certain that your own side is righteous and superior, that you can freely employ ugly methods in attacking your inferior adversaries.

It also helps if you regard your adversaries as subhuman: e.g. "disgusting woo-woos are all alike." Once you're in that mindset it becomes obvious that woo-woos are dangerous because they run medical scams. It doesn't matter if the overwhelming majority of the Believer population finds medical scams reprehensible. After all, all woo-woos are alike, and if any one of them runs scams, that translates as "woo-woos run medical scams." Or on the opposite side, some members of Skeptic orgs really are mindless hateful bigots ...and that translates into "Skeptics are mindless bigots," since after all, skeptics as a group are all alike, ooooooo don't you hate 'em, they're dangerous to the creative side of science. If they all moved into your neighborhood you'd have to live elsewhere, and you'd certainly never let your daughter marry one.

:)
-----------------------------------------------
'Skeptic' does not mean scoffer
'Skeptic' does not mean debunker
'Skeptic' does not mean csicop member
'Skeptic' does not mean Atheist
'Skeptic' does not mean cynic
'Skeptic' does not mean woo-woo-hater
'Skeptic' does not mean anti-paranormalist
'Skeptic' does not even mean self-declared Skeptic
((((((((((((( ( (O) ) )))))))))))))
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Re: what exactly drives the skeptical ??

Postby WhiteTiger » 03 Nov 2009, 16:05

wjbeaty wrote:And what drives it? Well, first you have to be so certain that your own side is righteous and superior, that you can freely employ ugly methods in attacking your inferior adversaries.


Or so fearful that you aren't righteous and superior that you must prosecute a pogrom simply to present a self deceiving face of certainty. Such action generally will serve to attract a herd of acolytes whose presence and supporting activities then bolster the insecure self image.



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Re: what exactly drives the skeptical ??

Postby brett » 03 Nov 2009, 19:11

WhiteTiger wrote:
wjbeaty wrote:And what drives it? Well, first you have to be so certain that your own side is righteous and superior, that you can freely employ ugly methods in attacking your inferior adversaries.


Or so fearful that you aren't righteous and superior that you must prosecute a pogrom simply to present a self deceiving face of certainty. Such action generally will serve to attract a herd of acolytes whose presence and supporting activities then bolster the insecure self image.



Tiger


my herd of acolytes must be on strike then :lol: :lol: :lol: :lol: :lol: :lol: :lol:
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Re: what exactly drives the skeptical ??

Postby ProfWag » 03 Nov 2009, 20:07

TheEvilUrge725 wrote:@profwag

I like you, you seem like a decent person.

As far as homeopathy goes i am actually somewhat outspoken against it. Now i think there may be cases where homeopathic "medicine" is indeed better than what Conglomodrug may be pushing (I am a proud medical marijuana advocate) but from personal experience i do not think it is legitimate medicine in the same sense as Therapeutic Chiropractic Medcine has become legitimate ( Don't get me wrong i am not saying spinal subluxations cause AIDS just that there is an acknowledged legitimacy too it). Myself i am a believer, i believe aliens are real, i believe in god, i believe in bigfoot and i even believe that maybe there was a 9/11 conspiracy plot. I even believe that Lee Harvey Oswald was a scapegoat for the JFK assassination. But i am very skeptical of the beliefs that i hold. I guess you could say i am a realist. Even though i believe in god it could just be stemmed purely out of social indoctrination and personal ignorance as well as mental malfunctions. The thing is that i guess i have been at the recieving end of the negative spectrum of religion and things of that nature. I was once kicked out of a youth group for defending Atheists, and i guess the thing that turned me against most atheists and other "non-believer" groups, if you will, was how they just kinda spat on me for defending them in the first place. I mean it really upset me that here i was defending their right to not believe, and even conceding some of their points, yet i was still being mocked and made fun of. It is maddening and no doubt has etched itself into my personality, i mean i feel as if i am on constant defense mode whenever i enter into ANY situation that concerns the Paranormal, god, conspiracies, what have you. It just seems rare to come across people who actually care about what is most sacred; and that sanctity is the general well being of people of all walks,genders, races ,faiths and preferences of human life. Too many "skeptics" are concerned with debunking as opposed to actually examining the validity of one side. Too many of them hide behind "science" when in reality science by its very nature is supposed to be neutral in all claims.

I guess what i am trying to say here is that it is good to see people on "your side" of things who display a genuine interest in protecting people rather than polarizing them for whatever purposes they claim to be noble.

Thanks for you comments Evil. Just because one doesn't believe in a God doesn't mean they can't have respect for other peoples opinions and experiences. I post on the JREF forum for time to time, but I don't "live" there. I don't always like the way they treat people with differing opinions and I dispise their use of the word "woo." This would be a boring world if everyone believed the same thing and we all have had experiences that shape the way they believe in something. Regarding the paranormal, I'm more than happy to explore possibilities, but I go into those discussions extremely skeptical. With the 9/11 conspiracy theories, I have had experiences that have shaped the way I believe and that's resulted in my having little tolerance for people pushing unfounded ideas because they have an agenda against the government. But other than that, I enjoy hearing facts and personal experiences that may go against my personal dbeliefs.
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Re: what exactly drives the skeptical ??

Postby WhiteTiger » 03 Nov 2009, 23:37

brett wrote:my herd of acolytes must be on strike then


You must not be conducting a proper pogrom then. Try a couple of public lynchings, with press coverage if you can arrange it... those are always quite popular. Just make sure you can't be caught out fudging the evidence at the mock trial. Demanding the right to define what is and is not evidence seems to work nicely for the CYA aspect ;)



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Re: what exactly drives the skeptical ??

Postby brett » 03 Nov 2009, 23:44

WhiteTiger wrote:
brett wrote:my herd of acolytes must be on strike then


You must not be conducting a proper pogrom then. Try a couple of public lynchings, with press coverage if you can arrange it... those are always quite popular. Just make sure you can't be caught out fudging the evidence at the mock trial. Demanding the right to define what is and is not evidence seems to work nicely for the CYA aspect ;)



Tiger


want a job as my "spin doctor " then WT ?? - seems if you hope to get any sort of media "presence" these day one is essential , mind you its minimum wage + a bonus for results :lol: :lol: :lol: :lol: :lol: :lol:
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