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The 'WHY' of PseudoSkepticism

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The 'WHY' of PseudoSkepticism

Postby Somerandomguy » 14 Aug 2010, 10:04

Looking at this site I'm sure we'll all agree there's a hell of a lot of information defining the 'how' of pseudoskepticism so that after reading it all I feel prepared to take on arch-skeptic Richard Dawkins himself. But what do we have about in terms of 'why', the question of motivation which so many skeptics have abused in attempts to discredit those with religious or spiritual beliefs? Of course I by no means am advocating using something as complex and irrelivant as motivation as apparrent evidence against the views of pseudoskeptics, but I nontheless think it's very important to discuss it purely for the reason that this apparrent 'lack of motivation' in my view is one of the major things convincing people to embrace the movement in the first place. My first encounter with skepticism was little over a year ago, taking the form of an article in The Big Issue of all things (for those outside the UK that's a usually-optimism-orientated magazine sold by homeless people who get to keep 50% of the profits). Before then I'd considered myself an agnostic, not really caring that much whether or not it turned out there was a God but beleiving that anything was possible and that until then I should enjoy my life. I can't remember who the article was by (it was advertising what I now know to be a typical new-atheist bestseller, its subject matter along the lines of Dawkins' religion-virus idea), but immediately my usually-open mind became convinced in its bleak certainty, largely on account of the fact that I assumed no one would hurreiedly jump to such a conclusion and then insist on sharing it with the world unless they had 100% evidence and were driven by their truth-based principles to do so. For me (despite the fact that I'd previously not spent time worrying about the existance of life outside the material world, being okay so long as anthing was a possibility), it was as though all elements of spirituality had effectively been disproven by that one article and those who still beleived just hadn't read this strange new book yet (ah, for those blissful times in which I was completely unaware of the extent to which the hornets' nest actually stretched). Basically I was ready to doubt and give up making my own decisions because while everything else had some sort of positive element to it in my eyes and thus could be seen as wishful thinking on the paert of everyone, this skeptical view seemed at the time to have no merit whatsoever and thus no reason other than 'it was the truth' for it to be right.
Since then I've realised that motivation doesn't neccessarily relate to truth and that, for the most part, try as one might, it's downright as difficult as hell to actually explain someone's actions and properly understand their motivations. Of course, there are many analogies which I now understand can be attributed to these pseudoskeptics who hurriedly dismiss claims that do not fit into their understanding of the world, sometimes in the attempt to do so resorting to refusal to acknowledge evidence, bizarre alterior explanations, and occasionally even apparrent fabrication. Analogies which range from the very specific outlining of possible reasons related to their behaviour, to the short but paranoid and somewhat-submissive "some people are dicks", a statement which I'm sure at least on SOME level is questionable in it's accuracy. :)
Basically, as well as the fact that I think it's important to try to gain an insight into what makes a pseudoskeptic do what a pseudoskeptic does, I admit I'm somewhat personally intrigued as to just WHY they perform all the evident fallacies that they do. Thus it seemed appropriate that a discussion be opened up on this topic in which people may debate over the reasons behind this movement, or indeed over whether we should be wasting time discussing such things at all.
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Re: The 'WHY' of PseudoSkepticism

Postby Craig Browning » 14 Aug 2010, 20:20

Suggestion... pre-type your posts, wait an hour or two, read them and edit them and then post them.

It's difficult to following your rambling, partly due to improper sentence structure, partly because you are trying to speak beyond your "education" level so as to project some kind of faux authority with things, etc.

We are very simple, down to earth types here, not a MENSA gathering. We tend to communicate in very simple terms so everyone can digest things.

Don't feel singled out... I do this with a lot of people, encouraging them to just relax and not work so hard at impressing us with words but rather, their communication skills... there's a huge difference there and sadly, the internet makes it quite difficult at times, when it comes to expressing things the "right" way (hence all of my little side notes and strange punctuations such as "..." and of course, the use of Smiley dudes). But the effective use of something resembling proper grammar will go much further when it comes to getting your points across.

I've waded through two of your strangely structured posts and found myself having to go back through and take notes in order to pull it together as something coherent. Admittedly, I have medical issues that could be affecting my own ability to understand things, but I have reason to doubt that's the case, here.

Take a look at how I've practically employed bullet points in this reply to you... short and reasonably concise sentences complete with spell-check... This is the best method for communicating on the web/in forums (one that took me a long time to get used to... I once typed excessively long paragraphs and posts... :oops: well, my posts can still be a bit tedious... but at least I am able to generally get to the point with each stanza, as it were. So maybe you could try it? See for your self how much better (or worse) the interaction and understanding results come to be?

Thanks! ;)
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Re: The 'WHY' of PseudoSkepticism

Postby Ellie » 17 Aug 2010, 00:33

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Re: The 'WHY' of PseudoSkepticism

Postby Arouet » 17 Aug 2010, 04:43

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Re: The 'WHY' of PseudoSkepticism

Postby Ellie » 17 Aug 2010, 05:05

I've never met a theist who became an atheist. I'd like to. I've met people who were brought up in a religion and then rejected it, but that is something different.

And i'm pretty sure he's popular with people who already consider themselves atheists or who are looking for something to believe. There is no logical argument against theism as such. There are plenty of logical arguments against various church dogma etc. But absolutely none for Atheism i'm afraid. You would have to accept the corrupted tenets of various organised religions as premises in order to form the argument. You accept the premise to deny the religion, not the principle of god.

And yes about the last bit, but I wasn't really thinking about public policy being affected by theism, as this is an neccesary element of organised religion rather than belief. And probably because i'm in the UK where there is not so much interference by religion into state.

But this is about motivation. What do you think is his motivation? (honest question, not trying to be cheeky :P)

P.s. this is a very fun philosophical game which tests your understanding and the logic of your own belief (or lack of it) about god - try it :)

http://www.philosophersnet.com/games/god.php
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Re: The 'WHY' of PseudoSkepticism

Postby Arouet » 17 Aug 2010, 07:01

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Re: The 'WHY' of PseudoSkepticism

Postby Ellie » 17 Aug 2010, 20:28

Passed? I'm very impressed - what medal did you get? :P

Is it possible that your belief was enmeshed in a church doctrine? And that what made you change your mind was that the church doctrine (or all church doctrines) began to seem illogical to you?

But what I was mainly saying in that other bit was that there is no logical argument against 'theism'. There is against particular beliefs about it - for instance, god prevents all suffering, etc. But it does not logically follow from any of those that there cannot be a god.

And i'm dropping the motivation thing here - if you want to settle for thinking that it's all about him 'enjoying bringing his views to the public' that's your call :P Personally, I wouldn't even call him an educator, as he seems unable to understand that the 'evidence' he puts forward for there not being a god doesn't actually logically lead to that conclusion in any way. But he's determined to grind his axe anyway. I and many other scientists I know find him an embarrassment to science.
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Re: The 'WHY' of PseudoSkepticism

Postby Craig Browning » 17 Aug 2010, 22:09

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Re: The 'WHY' of PseudoSkepticism

Postby Arouet » 18 Aug 2010, 06:34

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Re: The 'WHY' of PseudoSkepticism

Postby really? » 18 Aug 2010, 19:30

Simply put skepticism is the default position until reliable evidence compels one to think otherwise. It really is that simple.
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Re: The 'WHY' of PseudoSkepticism

Postby Ellie » 18 Aug 2010, 19:46

This thread is massively off topic.
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Re: The 'WHY' of PseudoSkepticism

Postby wjbeaty » 26 Aug 2010, 18:36

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Re: The 'WHY' of PseudoSkepticism

Postby really? » 26 Aug 2010, 22:19

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Re: The 'WHY' of PseudoSkepticism

Postby Craig Browning » 28 Aug 2010, 00:15

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Re: The 'WHY' of PseudoSkepticism

Postby Scepcop » 12 Oct 2010, 00:15

“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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