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A Beginner's Guide to Skeptical Dickery

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A Beginner's Guide to Skeptical Dickery

Postby wjbeaty » 07 Sep 2010, 15:37

Skeptic D.Burnett's blog "Science Digestive" has this recent post (obviously inspired by Phil Plait's)

A Beginner's Guide to Skeptical Dickery


Just how far has the illness spread in Skepticism? When any group becomes infected with Groupthink, then self-criticism from within the group becomes a major taboo (witness Phil Plait's emotional response after daring to 'out' the continuing dickery problem during TAM.) To be healthy, Skepticism needs way more traitors like Plait and Burnett, insiders who decide to ignore the taboo and actually try to shift Skeptics en mass away from their slow downward spiral into twisted self-serving "reasoning."

But perhaps Skepticism has improved over the years though. In the past, talk like this was censored, as when D. Rawlins had to publish his CSICOP-rejected 'Starbaby' whistleblowing article in Fate magazine.

I often wonder what CSICOP and JREF would be like if their current boards had a majority of working scientists. Or, what would skepticism itself have been like if, decades ago, Carl Sagan had pulled rank and really thrown his weight around to put a stop to all the flagrant 'dick' behavior. Or ...what if Marcello Truzzi, rather than resigning in a huff, had stayed and fought? Imagine if skeptic groups today were such that any scientist would be proud to join one? (rather than staying away in droves?)

Ah, also from that blog:

Skeptic now too disgusted to call himself "skeptic"
http://ratherfriendlyskeptic.wordpress. ... mmunity-i/

'A critique of skepticism' podcast
http://poddelusion.co.uk/blog/2010/08/0 ... ence-punk/

Opposite of "dick" ...Socratic Questioning
http://arkadychenko-theblog.blogspot.co ... oblem.html
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Re: A Beginner's Guide to Skeptical Dickery

Postby Craig Browning » 07 Sep 2010, 20:07

I've always found it peculiar, how the CSICOP group distanced themselves from Randi because he was such a prick back in those early years "too brazen" for the times. The "Problem" is that Randi's "dis-ease" like most low emotions and sensations, is what took route... given the option human beings seem to always choose the more base mode of expression... we're still innately stuck in our caves around the campfire beating our drums or, as with most primates, proving by battle who the alpha is... who has the right to rule the roost... and so we find ourselves in a world filled with worshipers of St. James the self-invented patriarch of modern cynics and certain odd elements of the atheist sect.

But yes, every organization requires its devil's advocates. Unfortunately history has proven that such whistle blowers end up being seen as hieratics or worse; they have literally been drawn & quartered, burnt at the stake and demonized by the less honorable "ruling class"... those good ole boys that think themselves superior to all others and who of course, detest any form of "authority" that can place them under thumb... under scrutiny. Spoilt children after all, hate it when they get caught doing things they know they shouldn't be doing, especially (these days at least) being a bully.
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Re: A Beginner's Guide to Skeptical Dickery

Postby Arouet » 07 Sep 2010, 23:16

It's not just Phil Plait, there's a pretty healthy debate going on with plenty of people on both sides. Some proponents like to lump all skeptics together, but this clearly shows that one shouldn't do that.

Also, I'll repeat again, it's not just skeptics! There are dicks all over the place! Do you really think proponents are immune? C'mon. Why is the debate around here aleays so personal and generalizing. We should be talking about ideas and arguments!

Also, while people are disagreeing with Plaitt, is anyone saying that they want him silenced? Not that I've seen (though it could be out there). This discussion is a health one in the skeptical community. Others should follow this excellent example of self-reflection!
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Re: A Beginner's Guide to Skeptical Dickery

Postby wjbeaty » 08 Sep 2010, 01:27

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Re: A Beginner's Guide to Skeptical Dickery

Postby Arouet » 08 Sep 2010, 02:00

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Re: A Beginner's Guide to Skeptical Dickery

Postby Craig Browning » 08 Sep 2010, 18:10

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Re: A Beginner's Guide to Skeptical Dickery

Postby wjbeaty » 23 Sep 2010, 10:08

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Re: A Beginner's Guide to Skeptical Dickery

Postby Arouet » 23 Sep 2010, 10:31

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Re: A Beginner's Guide to Skeptical Dickery

Postby wjbeaty » 23 Sep 2010, 17:16

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Re: A Beginner's Guide to Skeptical Dickery

Postby Arouet » 23 Sep 2010, 18:25

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