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What will skeptics accept as "evidence"?

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

Re: What will skeptics accept as "evidence"?

Postby Jackal » 09 Dec 2010, 06:32

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Re: What will skeptics accept as "evidence"?

Postby Scepcop » 15 Dec 2010, 01:33

Skeptics,
Do you realize that you are guilty of confirmation bias and double standards regarding evidence? I mean you accept evidence that supports your belief or position, but deny evidence that doesn't and consider it to be "no evidence".

We are all guilty of such confirmation bias, but skeptics seem more rigid about it than the average person is, for some reason. Why? Do skeptics have an axe to grind? Are they nonhuman sentinels or artificial intelligence?

I don't get them or what makes them tick. Truth is not what makes them tick. That is obvious. They do not live in a world of possibilities, but of rigidity. So what makes them tick? Fear?
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Hypothetical question for skeptics

Postby Scepcop » 15 Dec 2010, 01:41

Skeptics,
I have a hypothetical question for you.

Suppose you saw Bigfoot in the forest at point blank range. And you were sober and had no history of hallucination. And you knew what you saw. It was close in front of you, and looked like a real creature, not a man in a costume. Then, before, you could take out your camera and take a photo, it darts away at amazing speed, out of sight.

Then, when you return to civilization, and tell your skeptic friends about your experience, they all tell you that without hard physical proof, your experience is not evidence. Hence there is no evidence for Bigfoot still, despite what you claim. As they say "anecdotal evidence is invalid".

What would your position on your experience be then?

1) Would you agree with your skeptic friends that your experience does not count as evidence, and that therefore, no evidence for Bigfoot exists, even though you saw one at point blank range and knew you were not hallucinating?
2) Or would you count your direct experience as evidence for the existence of Bigfoot?
3) Or would you say that it was evidence to you only but not to science and third parties?

Which one and why?

I'd like to hear this one.
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Re: Hypothetical question for skeptics

Postby Arouet » 15 Dec 2010, 02:12

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Re: What will skeptics accept as "evidence"?

Postby caniswalensis » 15 Dec 2010, 02:16

Great question Skepcop. plus, I loves me some bigfoots. :)

I would go with #3 for sure.

If I was really sure that I had seen a bigfoot, I suppose that I would have no choice to believe the evidence of my eyes. I am not sure that anyone can ever be 100% positive about seeing something like that, but in your scenario it looks like it is pretty ironclad. Still, I wonder how I could be so sure? It doesn't sound like I saw it for very long. Like most people, I don't have a very good idea of what a bigfoot really looks like. How do you identify something you have never seen before? In a moment of startled surprise, is it possible to take in enough detail to say for sure that I wasn't seeing a costume or a bear? Just wondering. Chances are also good that the more time that passes, the more my memory of the event will degrade, allowing for further errors.

That said, I wouldn't expect anyone else to take my story as factual evidence. There is no reason for others to take my word for it. My story would justly become one of thousands of incredible and not to convincing tales told around the campfire. It would have been a golden opportunity lost forever. Curse my overly complicated camera bag! :)

However, I don't think your scenario covers every option. If I ran into a giant hairy biped, There is a good chance that he would leave some physical evidence. Rather than just leaving the area empty handed, I would look for something tangible I could take with me. Hair, a peice of gnawed on bark, or something like that to back up my claims.

That's my take.

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Re: What will skeptics accept as "evidence"?

Postby ProfWag » 15 Dec 2010, 21:47

Since I'm rather busy today, can I just say that I am in 100% agreement with caniswalenis. #3 for me as well and I couldn't say it better myself with what he had to say.
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Re: What will skeptics accept as "evidence"?

Postby Scepcop » 16 Dec 2010, 03:04

Arouet and caniswalensis,

Thanks for your response to the hypothetical question. Now for some follow up questions:

1. Usually skeptics say "I'll believe it when I see it". Even in movies, the skeptic usually changes his mind when he sees the "out of this world thing" that's going on. Doesn't that simple rule apply to you?

2. If you saw Bigfoot, wouldn't you consider it more likely that it exists, since you've seen it and know what you saw?

3. Suppose that scenario applied to ghosts. Obviously you know you can't capture a ghost in a test tube or find remains of it. And photos/videos can be faked. So if you saw a ghost, what would you conclude? Wouldn't you say that it's possible that they exist, now that you've seen one?

4. One more scenario. What if you were in a scene like in the movie The Exorcist, and some demon possessed kid in the room started levitating objects that fly around and hit you? And you even experience an invisible force hit you and knock you across the room. And the bed shaking by itself too? With all that happening, would you still insist that there can only be a mundane explanation for objects flying across the room at you without any physical cause, even though no mundane explanation could explain such things? How would you resolve such a crisis between your beliefs and what is happening?

Skeptics in paranormal films usually become believers once they experience it for themselves. So doesn't that apply to you?
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Re: What will skeptics accept as "evidence"?

Postby ProfWag » 16 Dec 2010, 03:37

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Re: What will skeptics accept as "evidence"?

Postby Arouet » 16 Dec 2010, 04:31

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Re: What will skeptics accept as "evidence"?

Postby Scepcop » 21 Dec 2010, 23:48

“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: What will skeptics accept as "evidence"?

Postby Arouet » 22 Dec 2010, 00:42

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Re: What will skeptics accept as "evidence"?

Postby derrida » 22 Dec 2010, 00:52

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Re: What will skeptics accept as "evidence"?

Postby Paradox » 31 Jan 2011, 14:07

Directly responding to the OP here this is why I don't consider myself a 'sceptic' or even a 'true open-minded sceptic' such as this site implies because the term 'sceptic' itself to me implies a faith in any orthodox veiwpoint. To me you've already choosen a side when you classify yourself as a 'sceptic' of any kind. I've debated enough of these sceptics on other forms and from what they even directly have told me: "It's our job to debunk the paranormal and the evidence for it, that's why we're called sceptics to begin with moron". Yes that was the typical types of response I would get when debating sceptics.

There is a difference between being a sceptical person and being a sceptic (correct me if I'm wrong here). There is also a difference between being open-minded and guillable. I do personally believe it's impossible for ANY person to NOT have some bias regardless of a position. The key is to use common sense here in dealing with a certain bias. This is why I don't consider myself a 'sceptic' or even an 'open-minded sceptic' anymore but prefer to describe myself as a freethinker who is very sceptical. The term sceptic by itself stains of a rigid belief system within itself. In fact how many skeptical websites support ANY possibilty of psi to be a potentially real phenomenon? I will add another one here: How many skeptics on skeptical websites even have an attitude where they may say "well it's possible and science doesn't know everything yet but let's not jump to conclusions at this time" type of mentality? If these few types of skeptics do exist than I haven't seen too many of them because their attitudes are generally (paranormal=bunk end of story).

That above is my answer to the OP. Paranormal sceptics will never accept any paranormal evidence because like so many have told me it's their jobs as sceptics to reject all paranormal concepts to begin with hence sceptism is a religion within itself. I think the self proclaimed 'open minded sceptics' on this site should really be calling themselves 'sceptical freethinkers' and not 'sceptics'. Unfortunately even the term freethinker has been hijacked by the religion of scepticism as well.
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Re: What will skeptics accept as "evidence"?

Postby ProfWag » 31 Jan 2011, 21:44

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Re: What will skeptics accept as "evidence"?

Postby Arouet » 31 Jan 2011, 23:12

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