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Robert Anton Wilson spot on about pseudo-skeptics

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Robert Anton Wilson spot on about pseudo-skeptics

Postby Scepcop » August 9th, 2009, 11:51 am

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The great author Robert Anton Wilson called the pseudo-skeptics “fundamentalist materialists” and “irrational rationalists” in this interview. His points are spot on.

http://www.nii.net/~obie/1988_interview.htm

“DAB: One of your recent books is The New Inquisition: Irrational Rationalism and the Citadel of Science. Maybe you could tell us a little bit about this book.

RAW: I coined the term irrational rationalism because those people claim to be rationalists, but they're governed by such a heavy body of taboos. They're so fearful, and so hostile, and so narrow, and frightened, and uptight and dogmatic. I thought it was a fascinating paradox: irrational rationalists. Later on I found out I didn't invent that. Somebody else who wrote an article on CSICOP, that's the group they all belong to: Committee for Scientific Investigation of Claims of the Paranormal. Somebody else who wrote about them also used the term irrational rationalism. It's a hard term to resist when you think about those people.

I wrote this book because I got tired satirizing fundamentalist Christianity, I had done enough of that in my other books. I decided to satirize fundamentalist materialism for a change, because the two are equally comical. All fundamentalism is comical, unless you believe in it, in which case you'd become a fanatic yourself, and want everybody else to share your fundamentalism. But if you're not a fundamentalist yourself, fundamentalists are the funniest people on the planet. The materialist fundamentalists are funnier than the Christian fundamentalists, because they think they're rational!

DAB: They call themselves skeptical.

RAW: Yes, but they're not skeptical! They're never skeptical about anything except the things they have a prejudice against. None of them ever says anything skeptical about the AMA, or about anything in establishment science or any entrenched dogma. They're only skeptical about new ideas that frighten them. They're actually dogmatically committed to what they were taught when they were in college, which was about 1948-53, somewhere in that period. If you go back and study what was being taught in college in those days as the latest scientific theories, you find out that's what these people still believe. They haven't had a new idea in 30 years, that's all that happened to them. They just rigidified, they crystallized around 1960.”
“Devotion to the truth is the hallmark of morality; there is no greater, nobler, more heroic form of devotion than the act of a man who assumes the responsibility of thinking.” - Ayn Rand, Atlas Shrugged






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Re: Robert Anton Wilson spot on about pseudo-skeptics

Postby Twain Shakespeare » July 31st, 2010, 10:45 pm


If anyone is interested in Robert Anton Wilson, I find I have mentioned him about 9 times already. Jacksteele has tried to start on thread were those who were influenced by him can share there accounts and discuss his philosopies. I've added my bead. If you consider yourself RAW meat, come join. Seekers and skeptics welcome.

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Re: Robert Anton Wilson spot on about pseudo-skeptics

Postby Twain Shakespeare » July 31st, 2010, 10:47 pm


Sheesh, I really need to run these through spell-check before I send them. I haven't known what time it is since I got a watch either
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Re: Robert Anton Wilson spot on about pseudo-skeptics

Postby jakesteele » August 7th, 2010, 2:17 pm


Thanks for starting a similar thread about RAW. This forum's whole premise is based on the things that RAW and others wrote about a long time ago (New Inquisition was published in 1986). If Shermer, Plait, and, of course, Randi, are the embodiment of pseudo skepticism, then RAW, along with people like Mario Truzzi, are the embodiment of agnostic skepticism. I'm really surprised RAW and Truzzi aren't spoken of much more on this site, especially by the guys that started it.

I don't know if it ever happened, but I would have loved to have seen a debate between Randi and RAW. Both are very smart guys, but after seeing RAW I think he would have clubbed Randi to death like he was a baby fur seal.
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Re: Robert Anton Wilson spot on about pseudo-skeptics

Postby The_Grand_Illusion » October 16th, 2010, 2:45 am


jakesteele wrote:Thanks for starting a similar thread about RAW. This forum's whole premise is based on the things that RAW and others wrote about a long time ago (New Inquisition was published in 1986). If Shermer, Plait, and, of course, Randi, are the embodiment of pseudo skepticism, then RAW, along with people like Mario Truzzi, are the embodiment of agnostic skepticism. I'm really surprised RAW and Truzzi aren't spoken of much more on this site, especially by the guys that started it.

I don't know if it ever happened, but I would have loved to have seen a debate between Randi and RAW. Both are very smart guys, but after seeing RAW I think he would have clubbed Randi to death like he was a baby fur seal.


Haha have to agree with you, Jake. No contest. RAW wasn't imprisoned in a narrow dogma like JR, so his mind was freer, more eclectic and agile. More intelligent in other words. No contest. Would probably have been pretty funny though. I think RAW could have had Randi squirming like... something that squirms a lot...! Truzzi's got a lot of insight too. He tried to distance himself from the organised "scepticism" because he saw how funda-materialists had hijacked the concept of scepticism and used it as a shield for their rigidified beliefs which they were unprepared to legitimately question. The New Inquisition rolls on! Shame we don't have the lucid humour of RAW's poking fun at it anymore!
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Re: Robert Anton Wilson spot on about pseudo-skeptics

Postby Arouet » October 16th, 2010, 2:49 am


Isn't "agnostic skepticism" a bit of an oxy-moron?

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Re: Robert Anton Wilson spot on about pseudo-skeptics

Postby Twain Shakespeare » October 16th, 2010, 10:28 am


More of a tautology. Now, dogmatic skepticism is an oxymoron.
I know I am not picking up more than a couple of pabbles compared to the boulder he rolled up the mountain, but his absense helped me get started talking on the net.
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Re: Robert Anton Wilson spot on about pseudo-skeptics

Postby Arouet » October 16th, 2010, 10:36 am


Twain Shakespeare wrote:More of a tautology. Now, dogmatic skepticism is an oxymoron.
I know I am not picking up more than a couple of pabbles compared to the boulder he rolled up the mountain, but his absense helped me get started talking on the net.


Agnosticism is the view that certain claims are unknowable, and skepticism is a process by which claims are made known.

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Re: Robert Anton Wilson spot on about pseudo-skeptics

Postby The_Grand_Illusion » October 16th, 2010, 3:20 pm


Arouet wrote:
Twain Shakespeare wrote:More of a tautology. Now, dogmatic skepticism is an oxymoron.
I know I am not picking up more than a couple of pabbles compared to the boulder he rolled up the mountain, but his absense helped me get started talking on the net.


Agnosticism is the view that certain claims are unknowable, and skepticism is a process by which claims are made known.


Agnostic sceptic is more tautology than oxymoron.

Free Dictionary:

Agnostic: One who believes that it is impossible to know whether there is a God.
b. One who is skeptical about the existence of God but does not profess true atheism.
2. One who is doubtful or noncommittal about something.

Re: sceptic: I haven't been able to find a definition so far that refers to it as being a process through which things become known; it's always defined more as a habitual mental state of doubt. Nothing mentioned so far about research/discovery.

Wilson also referred to himself as an agnostic mystic. A "true" mystic would never preface "mystic" with "agnostic" but Wilson seemed to be determined to never believe he had stumbled upon any "ultimate" truth/s so as to keep his mind free and flexible.

I found this great little quote at freedictionary.com: "I am too much of a sceptic to deny the possibility of anything" - T.H. Huxley

Wilson might have used "agnosic sceptic" in awareness of the sense of dogmatism the term "sceptic" had become imbued with...
:geek:
Brendan D. Murphy is the author of the forthcoming book series on the nature of reality and consciousness, The Grand Illusion: A Synthesis of Science, Mysticism and the Occult. Facebook page: http://www.facebook.com/#!/pages/The-Grand-Illusion-TGI/151764238172173?ref=ts

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Re: Robert Anton Wilson spot on about pseudo-skeptics

Postby Arouet » October 16th, 2010, 5:07 pm


While one definition of skepticism is basically just a state of doubt, that's not the definition most of us mean when we call ourselves skeptics. Wiki has a pretty good definition here:

The word skepticism can characterise a position on a single claim, but in scholastic circles more frequently describes a lasting mind-set. Skepticism is an approach to accepting, rejecting, or suspending judgment on new information that requires the new information to be well supported by evidence.[3]

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