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Carl Sagan - Kook

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

Carl Sagan - Kook

Postby Kevin Kane » 08 Mar 2010, 23:32

I like Carl Sagan, but at the same time, I have to recognize that Carl Sagan was a starry-eyed science guru who spent way too much time looking for space aliens.

Seriously. Not just looking for them, but trying to talk to them, listen to them, make Contact with them. He even sent Teh Space Peepl a golden record full of New Age music. And he made an audio tape message for future martians, spacemen .. who live in the future .. on Mars.


Do you know what we call people who talk to space creatures and send them gifts?


No, not critical thinkers.



Kooks.

Carl Sagan was a kook.

If Carl lived in a trailer park, we'd expect this:

------

Carl Sagan's thoughts about getting high on cannabis:

http://boingboing.net/2009/10/07/carl-s ... ed-ou.html

"There is a myth about such highs; the user has an illusion of great insight, but it does not survive scrutiny in the morning. I am convinced that this is an error, and that the devastating insights achieved when high are real insights"

.....

Carl Sagan was fond of loopy, infinte regress type arguments. Fantasy-based, pie-in-the-sky ideas like time travel and other stoner thinking such as this segment from Cosmos:



Of course, Carl Sagan will be forever associated with cheesy Vangelis music.

And when was the last time you played a Vangelis album?

Right.

----

And how many of us have ever recorded a message to future martian people? Sure, we've all done that from time to time.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=syVD6blTXN8

"I don't know why you're on Mars"

"The gates of the wonderworld are opening in our time" (!!!!!!!! ... Needs more Vangelis music)

-------

Ever wonder what was on the Voyager Spacecraft Golden Album that NASA sent into space in 1977? Carl Sagan recorded the brainwaves of his wife, Ann Druyan, thinking all sorts of happy cosmic thoughts. An hour's worth of her brainwaves were sent into space .. for future alien beings to decipher and feel groovy for themselves.

Self indulgent, new-age pseudo-science .. Courtesy of Carl and Ann .. paid for by american taxpayers.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=jhGQE0D_6KM

-------

SETI

A project championed by Carl Sagan to find intelligent life in the universe ... which failed.

This is not a message from the distant future, or from outer space, .. but a sign of intelligent life from the distant past of the internet. An early netizen laughing at nutball skeptics:


http://dev.null.org/psychoceramics/arch ... 00048.html


>Now I think I was wrong. Letting people bash science and spew nonsense as
>fact degrades us all and over time gives creedence to the next loonie that
>takes one step further out of reality. Read the Skeptical Inquirer,

"I do. I learn a lot of useful material from it. And I often laugh at it as well. Frankly, I think several of the more prominent skeptics rank almost as highly as our Plutonium-oriented friend in kookery, if in a fashion which is much more subtle (and, at least, scientifically accurate for the most part).

For a perfect, subtle example: read _The Demon-Haunted World_ and look up Sagan's "baloney detection kit" (a kit introduced to me in high school by a teacher as a "bullshit detection kit"...).

Now apply Sagan's own baloney detection kit to SETI, one of Sagan's pet projects.

Count the failures. In a quick pass I found:

1) Arguments from authority. Most SETI fans, if you challenge their ideas, will reverentially speak of the Great Carl Sagan and how he supports SETI, ironically unaware that Carl Sagan Himself (sic) disapproves of this very argument form.

2) Falsifiability. SETI has no negative condition. If, after an exhaustive search of the sky using existing SETI facilities we don't find anything, there is SETI II and METI (I think those are the names -- I'll hunt further if needed) lurking in the wings for even more comprehensive sweep of the sky. At no point can anyone say "this experiment has failed -- there is no extra-terrestrial 'radio civilization' in our galaxy". Why? Because the instant response will be "we just need more sensitive equipment -- they're out there".

Other failures include the following (which I won't expand upon unless askedto): lacking multiple hypotheses, attachment to personal hypotheses, argument from adverse consequences (in extreme cases of SETI-philes), special pleading, begging the question.

Given that one of the most prominent (former) skeptics features a toolkit which overturns his own pet project (obsession?), just how different are skeptics from our kooks here? "


YES x INFINITY!
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Re: Carl Sagan - Kook

Postby ProfWag » 08 Mar 2010, 23:46

But if Carl Sagan DIDN'T activily pursue extraterrestrial life, he would have been labled by you as a pseudo-skeptic. Does the saying "damned if you do and damned if you don't" mean anything to you?
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Re: Carl Sagan - Kook

Postby Kevin Kane » 08 Mar 2010, 23:57

ProfWag wrote:But if Carl Sagan DIDN'T activily pursue extraterrestrial life, he would have been labled by you as a pseudo-skeptic. Does the saying "damned if you do and damned if you don't" mean anything to you?


Sounds like an infinte regress argument. Is Time circular? Am I my own grandfather? Which came first, the Chicken ... or the Cosmic Egg? *Vangelis chord*
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Re: Carl Sagan - Kook

Postby Nostradamus » 09 Mar 2010, 00:21

Sounds like an infinte[sic] regress argument.

None of your examples use regression. Nor is the concept of infinite employed.

Another personal attack by Kevin.
1. He doesn't like someone else's music.
2. He thinks Carl Sagan ET search too up too much of his time
3. He apparently disparages people living in trailer parks
4. Thinks that SETI was a failure

Then comes a few so-called conclusions not based on the so-called evidence presented.

What is clear from this and other threads is that kevin lacks a basic understanding of the scientific process. Also, he needs to understand the difference between what kevin claims is failure and what the scientists consider failure.

Just as in the homeopathy thread you need to actually read and understand the information you link to.
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Re: Carl Sagan - Kook

Postby Kevin Kane » 09 Mar 2010, 00:58

Nostradamus is a rhetoritian and not much else. The deployment of rhetoric is well known and uses lots of wind, windbaggery, hot air, but ultimately requires some substance to it to be considered true. And Nostradamus isn't true. Far from it. Most of his critiques and arguements are dishonest. And that's not a personal attack, just a statement of fact. And usually, heavy rhetoricians are plain boring.

Nostradamus Dude .. you bore me. Seriously.

Being succinct and to the point also is a skill.
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Re: Carl Sagan - Kook

Postby ProfWag » 09 Mar 2010, 01:07

Kevin Kane wrote: Most of his critiques and arguements are dishonest.

No they aren't. ;-)
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Re: Carl Sagan - Kook

Postby Nostradamus » 09 Mar 2010, 01:17

If this is so boring why don't you go back to your homeopathy thread and post studies supporting the efficacy of homeopathy?

Instead you post demagogic content without substance.

I posted a number of issues which you could have talked about but failed to. How about these issues:
1. Why do you think SETI is a failure?
2. Why do you think Sagan should have spent less time on his interests?

ProfWag I am always surprised when people find out that others do look at and read other information.
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Re: Carl Sagan - Kook

Postby ProfWag » 09 Mar 2010, 02:55

Nostradamus wrote:If this is so boring why don't you go back to your homeopathy thread and post studies supporting the efficacy of homeopathy?

Instead you post demagogic content without substance.

I posted a number of issues which you could have talked about but failed to. How about these issues:
1. Why do you think SETI is a failure?
2. Why do you think Sagan should have spent less time on his interests?

ProfWag I am always surprised when people find out that others do look at and read other information.

Yes, but that is surprising me less and less.
When I'm grading research papers, many, many students think they cite some fancy reference on their reference page and don't need to understand what that reference really means or don't post it correctly in the body of the paper. Most instructors really do check them for accuracy and references are one of my most marked down item. I learned that early on that references really are important.
And not only is the reference important, but the source of the reference is equally so. For example, people who support astrology typically reference successful studies of astrology, but they are always from an astrologer! Same with homeopaths. The studies presented that support it are all from people who stand to gain from successful homeopathic research. Independent, unbiased, sources and studies are what should be considered as strong references and, unfortunately, in the case of homeopathy (and astrology), it just isn't there.
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Re: Carl Sagan - Kook

Postby Nostradamus » 09 Mar 2010, 03:25

It cracks me when people think that others will gloss over the reference and accept it without a thought. There are studies that support homeopathy and are published, but the studies are like the Norwegian study. The studies aren't blinded. I'm surprised the claim that blinded studies are not possible in homeopathy has not popped up. Anyone doing even a cursory inspection of the homeopathic literature should have bumped into that flawed claim.

There's an old story of the homeopathy salesman trying to sell a farmer on some meds. The farmer listens to all of the talk of likes and how old the method is and how many people believe in and so forth. Then the salesman picks up his pace and shows how dilution and succussion and all of the rest of it work. At the end of the sales pitch the farmer is asked, "Any questions?"

The farmer thinks long and hard and says, "Are you trying to tell me I could fertilize my entire farm with a fart?"
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Re: Carl Sagan - Kook

Postby ProfWag » 09 Mar 2010, 03:38

Nostradamus wrote:It cracks me when people think that others will gloss over the reference and accept it without a thought. There are studies that support homeopathy and are published, but the studies are like the Norwegian study. The studies aren't blinded. I'm surprised the claim that blinded studies are not possible in homeopathy has not popped up. Anyone doing even a cursory inspection of the homeopathic literature should have bumped into that flawed claim.

There's an old story of the homeopathy salesman trying to sell a farmer on some meds. The farmer listens to all of the talk of likes and how old the method is and how many people believe in and so forth. Then the salesman picks up his pace and shows how dilution and succussion and all of the rest of it work. At the end of the sales pitch the farmer is asked, "Any questions?"

The farmer thinks long and hard and says, "Are you trying to tell me I could fertilize my entire farm with a fart?"

Hysterical!!!
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Re: Carl Sagan - Kook

Postby ProfWag » 09 Mar 2010, 03:52

Nostradamus wrote:It cracks me when people think that others will gloss over the reference and accept it without a thought. There are studies that support homeopathy and are published, but the studies are like the Norwegian study. The studies aren't blinded. I'm surprised the claim that blinded studies are not possible in homeopathy has not popped up. Anyone doing even a cursory inspection of the homeopathic literature should have bumped into that flawed claim.


I just did a quick search on successful, double blind tests involving homeopathy. I found them! Here you go:

http://rationalwiki.com/wiki/List_of_sc ... homeopathy
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Re: Carl Sagan - Kook

Postby NinjaPuppy » 09 Mar 2010, 03:56

Those people over at RationalWiki have a great sense of humor.
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Re: Carl Sagan - Kook

Postby Kevin Kane » 09 Mar 2010, 07:16

Nostradamus wrote:
Instead you post demagogic content without substance.


You mean, like this:

viewtopic.php?f=14&t=980
viewtopic.php?f=2&t=978
viewtopic.php?f=23&t=974
viewtopic.php?f=10&t=973

borderline spambot
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Re: Carl Sagan - Kook

Postby Nostradamus » 09 Mar 2010, 09:19

So Kevin you think that divination in temples is demagogic?
So Kevin you think that people blaming interest in astral projection as the cause of trouble is demagogic?
So Kevin you think that pointing out that astrology has been applied to rocket identification is demagogic?
So Kevin you think that showing people that I learned about a new lake monster is demagogic?

I think you need to look up the word and learn what the word means. This time do a better job of learning than you did when you were pretending to use the correct meaning of efficacious.

There are lots of interesting things to investigate. I may not believe that throwing divination blocks results in good fortune. I may not believe in astral projection. (I certainly do not believe this was the cause of the arson) I may not believe in astrology. I may not believe in lake monsters. But what I will do is take a look at statements other people make and see if there is any substance to it.

Your statements concerning Sagan sound like a frustrated teenager that is attempting to mock success. I believe they are demagogic in nature, except for the fact that you have no one giving heed to your failed claims.
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Re: Carl Sagan - Kook

Postby Kevin Kane » 09 Mar 2010, 12:17

Here's Nostradamus making a post about Carl Sagan:


Hai, wot u tink bout Sagan, sux0r, r0xor?


(end discussion/thread/interest)
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