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Should Skeptics Be Certified?

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

Re: Should Skeptics Be Certified?

Postby Craig Browning » 15 Feb 2010, 22:59

I don't have scientific studies to prove this, but let's take John Edward's show. If you look at the people in the audience, I can almost guarantee you that very few of them will have any knowledge whatsoever of how cold/hot readings work. I'm saying, if you want to believe John Edward is a true medium, fine. But if you're going to believe he speaks to the dead, you should also be well aware of what cold reading is and how it works.

Truth of the matter is the term “Cold Reading” gets tossed around so much these days that I don’t think most people know what they’re talking about let alone confusing them with the fairly recent addition of terms like “Hot” or “Warm” Readings which, as someone that has done Readings for well over 30 years both, one-no-one and from the stage, I can assure you it’s hype more than fact – buzz terms someone stated in a talk or essay somewhere that stuck.

Regardless, there is a misconception stemming from the skeptic’s arena when it comes to what Readers do and while anyone can find correlation that supports the Cold Reading/Barnum type techniques, few (practically none) can explain how those very same “charlatans” are able to deliver pin-point information without the aid of any pre-event cheats.

You bring up John Edward… long ago I had contacted his office in regards to Randi’s planned attack on him. In this initial call JE didn’t hesitate to feed information to me that fit this latter side of things, information about me that is not published nor readily found, including details tied to family.

Another experience of this sort places me in the drivers seat as the Reader; one who is well aware and quite versed in all the “scientific methods” but in more than one occasion found information coming out either through the cards or personal “sensations” (it was more than a gut feeling but included smells, tastes, etc.) and though these situations I was able to give uncanny details to sitters not only tied to their concerns but likewise issues they were far removed from, that were unfolding at the moment and yet, they had no recollection of said facts. Case in point, a lady who’s fiancé died in Vietnam and left an insurance policy in her name; he’d been listed MIA for years but the government decided to pay off the policy… 30 some years later.There was no way for me or her to know about this and yet the cards stated quite specifically that “Three” would be the key… I didn’t know if it was 3 days, 3 weeks or 3 months, or even the 3rd of a month… a very common happenstance. Nonetheless, the lady got back to me within a week and she did get the letter I told her she’d be seeing about this policy.

This is just a glimpse into things from the Psychic/Believer’s side of the issue and more importantly, some of the reality skeptics tend to ignore or try to explain away. But such things are the reason people do believe and how belief is solidified.

It has never failed, something along these lines will happen in my life as I found myself loosing faith at times; at least one a year a “minor miracle” along these lines happens and I understand why I can’t give in 100% when it comes to being a pure “skeptic” or “cynic” as it were.

Technically, science is doubtful thinking if you think about it. When conducting an experiment, a scientist goes in with a null hypothesis and they test if that hypothesis could be true.

That sounds rather strange to me. I can see science being more akin to cats & curiosity vs. doubtful. In fact, most of the legit professional science types that I know in life have a uniquely enthusiastic sense of optimism vs. the pessimism you describe here; they’re pretty much certain how a test should come out because they are typically striving towards specific goals, even in the case of double-blind studies.
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Re: Should Skeptics Be Certified?

Postby Kevin Kane » 15 Feb 2010, 23:05

I don't think skeptics are thinking critically.

What sort of employment possibilities exist in the field of skepticism?
Corporate Shill ... Stage Magician ... Fluffer.

What sort of social possibilities can result from skepticism?
Same as Klingon speakers .. but less interesting.

Why would anyone persue a hobby such as skepticism?
Because Quilting was taken.

When will skepticism be taught in College?
When public masturbation is legal.
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Re: Should Skeptics Be Certified?

Postby ProfWag » 16 Feb 2010, 00:01

Kevin Kane wrote:I don't think skeptics are thinking critically.

What sort of employment possibilities exist in the field of skepticism?
Corporate Shill ... Stage Magician ... Fluffer.

What sort of social possibilities can result from skepticism?
Same as Klingon speakers .. but less interesting.

Why would anyone persue a hobby such as skepticism?
Because Quilting was taken.

When will skepticism be taught in College?
When public masturbation is legal.

Skepticism, i.e. critical thinking, has been taught in college for years. Also, Skepticism is not a hobby.
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Re: Should Skeptics Be Certified?

Postby ProfWag » 16 Feb 2010, 00:09

Craig Browning wrote:
I don't have scientific studies to prove this, but let's take John Edward's show. If you look at the people in the audience, I can almost guarantee you that very few of them will have any knowledge whatsoever of how cold/hot readings work. I'm saying, if you want to believe John Edward is a true medium, fine. But if you're going to believe he speaks to the dead, you should also be well aware of what cold reading is and how it works.

Truth of the matter is the term “Cold Reading” gets tossed around so much these days that I don’t think most people know what they’re talking about let alone confusing them with the fairly recent addition of terms like “Hot” or “Warm” Readings which, as someone that has done Readings for well over 30 years both, one-no-one and from the stage, I can assure you it’s hype more than fact – buzz terms someone stated in a talk or essay somewhere that stuck.

Regardless, there is a misconception stemming from the skeptic’s arena when it comes to what Readers do and while anyone can find correlation that supports the Cold Reading/Barnum type techniques, few (practically none) can explain how those very same “charlatans” are able to deliver pin-point information without the aid of any pre-event cheats.

You bring up John Edward… long ago I had contacted his office in regards to Randi’s planned attack on him. In this initial call JE didn’t hesitate to feed information to me that fit this latter side of things, information about me that is not published nor readily found, including details tied to family.

Another experience of this sort places me in the drivers seat as the Reader; one who is well aware and quite versed in all the “scientific methods” but in more than one occasion found information coming out either through the cards or personal “sensations” (it was more than a gut feeling but included smells, tastes, etc.) and though these situations I was able to give uncanny details to sitters not only tied to their concerns but likewise issues they were far removed from, that were unfolding at the moment and yet, they had no recollection of said facts. Case in point, a lady who’s fiancé died in Vietnam and left an insurance policy in her name; he’d been listed MIA for years but the government decided to pay off the policy… 30 some years later.There was no way for me or her to know about this and yet the cards stated quite specifically that “Three” would be the key… I didn’t know if it was 3 days, 3 weeks or 3 months, or even the 3rd of a month… a very common happenstance. Nonetheless, the lady got back to me within a week and she did get the letter I told her she’d be seeing about this policy.

This is just a glimpse into things from the Psychic/Believer’s side of the issue and more importantly, some of the reality skeptics tend to ignore or try to explain away. But such things are the reason people do believe and how belief is solidified.

It has never failed, something along these lines will happen in my life as I found myself loosing faith at times; at least one a year a “minor miracle” along these lines happens and I understand why I can’t give in 100% when it comes to being a pure “skeptic” or “cynic” as it were.

Technically, science is doubtful thinking if you think about it. When conducting an experiment, a scientist goes in with a null hypothesis and they test if that hypothesis could be true.

That sounds rather strange to me. I can see science being more akin to cats & curiosity vs. doubtful. In fact, most of the legit professional science types that I know in life have a uniquely enthusiastic sense of optimism vs. the pessimism you describe here; they’re pretty much certain how a test should come out because they are typically striving towards specific goals, even in the case of double-blind studies.

People have claimed similar successes with mediums for a long time, yet, when the circumanstance is critically reviewed, there always appears to be a hole in the story. I'm not saying that what you've experienced and the other stories you've written isn't spot on, but as you've alluded to with the black/white/gray comment, there is almost always 2 sides to every story.
If you would like to believe in John Edward's abilities, then more power to you. But there is a reason you downplay "cold reading" as it most certainly is used quite extensively and very often it is combined with hot reading. But, I'm sure you already know that Craig.
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Re: Should Skeptics Be Certified?

Postby Kevin Kane » 16 Feb 2010, 00:51

'Corporate Shill' is probably not a high paying job for skeptics. Why pay for a shill when you can get a dupe, an unwitting stooge for free?

But skeptics can always write books about how skeptical they are. :lol:
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Re: Should Skeptics Be Certified?

Postby ProfWag » 16 Feb 2010, 01:11

Kevin Kane wrote:'Corporate Shill' is probably not a high paying job for skeptics. Why pay for a shill when you can get a dupe, an unwitting stooge for free?

But skeptics can always write books about how skeptical they are. :lol:

I'm not really sure what point you are trying to make Kevin. Are you saying that frauds such as Sylvia Browne can write books all day long but if a book on critical thinking comes along, it should be banned?
Sorry, just not getting the point you are trying to make. I think you are just trying to ridicule skeptics and if so, it would sure make more sense if you would just point out which skeptics you are referring to.
I mean, most of us, yes even you Kevin, are skeptics because if you are not, then let me know as I've got some wonderful swampland available for sale to you. Outstanding investment opportunity! Really, I mean it!
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Re: Should Skeptics Be Certified?

Postby Kevin Kane » 16 Feb 2010, 02:11

Exclusive - IHOP interviews Michael Shermer - 2/15/2010

Image

IHOP: Good morning Michael, and welcome to the International House of Pancakes.

MS: Thank you, I'll have the blueberry waffles.

IHOP: Michael, you call yourself a skeptic, just how skeptical are you?

MS: I think I'm very skeptical!

IHOP: Would you say you're more skeptical than say, Richard Dawkins?

MS: I'd say we're both very skeptical but Richard is religiously skeptical.

IHOP: How about James Randi, are you more skeptical than him?

MS: I like James, but I think I'm more skeptical than he is. Don't get me wrong, Randi is very, very skeptical. But he's an old skool skeptic, and I'm a modern skeptic.

IHOP: What about the new age skeptics, the new online guys?

MS: I dunno, name some.

IHOP: Like Steven Novella of ScienceBasedMedicine?

MS: Sorry, never heard of him. Anyone else?

IHOP: Alex Tsakiris of Skeptiko?

MS: Oh, you mean the guy who talks to psychics? I'm skeptikal about him.

IHOP: It sounds like you're very skeptical.

MS: I am!

IHOP: Just one more question. Can you prove that you're skeptical?

MS: What?

IHOP: Can you scientically prove that you're a skeptic?

MS: What!?

IHOP: That's what I thought. Michael Shermer is not really a skeptic, he's just a fraud.

MS: What!!!???

IHOP: Enjoy your blueberry waffles.


.
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Re: Should Skeptics Be Certified?

Postby ciscop » 16 Feb 2010, 02:44

wow...
another joke that fell flat

really dude.. retire from comedy
that was really bad..
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: Should Skeptics Be Certified?

Postby Kevin Kane » 16 Feb 2010, 02:46

Haha skeptic defender doesn't understand point of anything.
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Re: Should Skeptics Be Certified?

Postby ProfWag » 16 Feb 2010, 03:28

Cute Kevin. Now, since you're not a skeptic, I thought I'd brag about how I spent last weekend with Elvis hanging out in a shack next to Graceland. Pretty cool huh! What? You need proof? Sorry, don't have any but you should just believe me. Really. I wouldn't lie to you... :roll:
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Re: Should Skeptics Be Certified?

Postby Kevin Kane » 16 Feb 2010, 04:01

Hey ... I took these OKcupid tests for so-called "skeptic powers", but they depend entirely upon rote learning and can easily be fooled.

http://www.okcupid.com/tests/take?testi ... 9423402995
http://www.okcupid.com/tests/the-are-you-a-skeptic-test


We need to find some way of testing skeptics. Real tests that show skeptics are capable of intelligent thinking.
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Re: Should Skeptics Be Certified?

Postby ProfWag » 16 Feb 2010, 04:06

Kevin Kane wrote:We need to find some way of testing skeptics. Real tests that show skeptics are capable of intelligent thinking.

Now THAT's funny! People think a man has psychic abilities because he can bend a spoon in his hands and it's the skeptics who are being questioned for intelligent thinking? Just too, too, funny.
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Re: Should Skeptics Be Certified?

Postby Kevin Kane » 16 Feb 2010, 04:33

ProfWag wrote:
Kevin Kane wrote:We need to find some way of testing skeptics. Real tests that show skeptics are capable of intelligent thinking.

Now THAT's funny! People think a man has psychic abilities because he can bend a spoon in his hands and it's the skeptics who are being questioned for intelligent thinking? Just too, too, funny.


Do you honestly think I can't invent a test that ciscop wouldn't pass? Oh ye of little faith.
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Re: Should Skeptics Be Certified?

Postby ProfWag » 16 Feb 2010, 04:45

Kevin Kane wrote:
Do you honestly think I can't invent a test that ciscop wouldn't pass? Oh ye of little faith.

If this is between you and ciscop, then I'll pass on additional comments.
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Re: Should Skeptics Be Certified?

Postby Kevin Kane » 16 Feb 2010, 05:14

The test would have to differentiate from a standard IQ test, and focus on the elements that skeptics claim about themselves, critical thinking, non-superstitious, not gullible, etc. Eliminate the rote memorization tasks, including standard word association tests and those that use basic math skills. Nor should it be a smarter-than-standard IQ test, because that wouldn't be fair, nor is it the point of the test.

The point is to test whether skeptics have some reasoning skill, fraud detection or perception beyond the average person. Or if those claims are merely based on a belief. Alledged or magical thinking skills that only skeptics possess.
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