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The Psychology of the Skeptic : PseudoSkeptic Fallacies • SCEPCOP Forum








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The Psychology of the Skeptic

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

The Psychology of the Skeptic

Postby craig weiler » 02 Oct 2011, 00:08

A ship in harbor is safe, but that's not what ships are for.
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Re: The Psychology of the Skeptic

Postby ProfWag » 02 Oct 2011, 02:49

The primary reason I don't hang out much on the JREF board is the insults and the "woo" comments directed towards those that take parapsychology seriously. There's no place for it in serious inquiries and research. On the other hand, there are some...no many...that deserve it. Just not everyone and it definitely shouldn't be a stereotypical response.
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Re: The Psychology of the Skeptic

Postby NinjaPuppy » 02 Oct 2011, 03:00

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Re: The Psychology of the Skeptic

Postby craig weiler » 02 Oct 2011, 03:15

PofWag,
I applaud you from staying away from the JREF board and in particular, "woo" insults. They do no good.

During the New Age Movement I plied my trade as a psychic healer for a short time before I realized that I was in way over my head. At any rate, I worked psychic fairs for a number of years and got to know quite a few professional psychics during that time. I also took classes from a psychic who lived in my area and was exposed to still more very psychic people. In other words, I have known the people that you're talking about.

As a general rule, psychic people are not drawn to the sciences except a few who get into medicine. Many are artists and extremely talented at it. I never ran into a single one that was a fraud or intentionally deceived anyone. Certainly, some people suck at being psychic, but that is just a matter of skill and talent, not a character defect. You wouldn't call a carpenter a fraud if he was bad at his job. There are also believers who cannot distinguish between chance and real psychic ability; but there are also skeptics in the same boat and they are about equal in proportion. The actual frauds are few and far between and they're not really psychic are they? They're frauds.

So I disagree that there are many that "deserve it." If you looked closely, I think you would find the nearly all of these people deserve some understanding for simply being different.
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Re: The Psychology of the Skeptic

Postby Twain Shakespeare » 02 Oct 2011, 10:29

Thanx for an enjoyable read, Craig, and a comprehensive review of the factors that make for dogmatism, and of the subjective experience of paradigm shifts.

The following is not really on thread, but I had read it right before reading your comment, "You wouldn't call a carpenter a fraud if he was bad at his job" Yes, I would call the carpenter a fraud.

http://www.apenotmonkey.com/2011/09/23/ ... fraudster/
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Re: The Psychology of the Skeptic

Postby craig weiler » 02 Oct 2011, 10:39

Twain Shakespeare, (out of respect for both)
Fraud requires intent to deceive. If there is no intent, there is no fraud. If your carpenter was mentally disabled and incapable of framing a wall correctly even though they thought they could do it you would not call this person a fraud.

However if the carpenter misrepresents his skill level or decides to do fast and incompetent work with the intention of collecting the money when he knows that he is going to produce inferior work, then that's fraud.
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Re: The Psychology of the Skeptic

Postby Craig Browning » 02 Oct 2011, 23:34

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Re: The Psychology of the Skeptic

Postby craig weiler » 02 Oct 2011, 23:43

One thing that I particularly liked about the article was that it demonstrates the incredibly emotional nature of cognitive dissonance. It showed how strong skepticism can warp a person's reality to the point that they cannot distinguish what is real what is fiction.
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Re: The Psychology of the Skeptic

Postby Craig Browning » 02 Oct 2011, 23:56

Since we're on the topic of defining Skeptics let's look at a recent interview with one of Randi's chums

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=id3IjrxpBPg

This is a guy (Jamie Swiss) that bashes Readers for being immoral and yet uses "Cold Reading" to get laid, alluding to his being genuine; but look at the "mans" assholiness on the air, how he tries to twist the direction of things and avoid key-points. Look at the intelligence.
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Re: The Psychology of the Skeptic

Postby craig weiler » 03 Oct 2011, 00:01

Craig,
Your link took me to Doug Henning, Kermit the Frog and a dancing Kerchief. While it was very entertaining, it didn't match your description.
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Re: The Psychology of the Skeptic

Postby Twain Shakespeare » 03 Oct 2011, 05:32

"What's so Funny about Peace, Love, and Understanding?"
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Re: The Psychology of the Skeptic

Postby ProfWag » 03 Oct 2011, 21:35

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Re: The Psychology of the Skeptic

Postby Craig Browning » 03 Oct 2011, 21:54

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Re: The Psychology of the Skeptic

Postby craig weiler » 03 Oct 2011, 23:11

Profwag,
Have you tossed your brains out the window? Every single one of the examples you cited are con artists posing as psychics.

Con artists pretend to be all sorts of things that they're not. If they pretended to be chemists would you then conclude that all chemists were frauds?

Making illogical leaps like this tends to reinforce the point of the article I linked to.

Craig,
It took me all of five seconds of listening to that guy to size him up. I cannot distinguish his tone of voice from a Teabagger.
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Re: The Psychology of the Skeptic

Postby ProfWag » 04 Oct 2011, 18:22

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