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Should Skeptics Be Certified? : PseudoSkeptic Fallacies • SCEPCOP Forum








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Should Skeptics Be Certified?

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

Should Skeptics Be Certified?

Postby Kevin Kane » 13 Feb 2010, 21:51

Should professional or semi-professional skeptics (people who are paid for their opinions, or appear in the public eye as authorities) be licensed, registered or certified?

Should they be required to pass a test of scientific aptitude to show they understand the scientific method and have a good working knowledge of science?

Should they be required to pledge an oath of moral conduct? Of honesty and integrity? Of impartiality and non-corruption? Should they be responsible and mindful of the laws of the land?



The question arises from unethical practices from skeptics. For instance, global warming skeptic Steven Malloy, who runs 'junkscience.com' and a column on Foxnews, while speaking as a climate authority .. has openly acknowledged recieving funding from Oil and Tobacco companies. In fact, he defends the practice.

The practice of defamation of character is another unethical practice that skeptics engage in. And the practice of making claims not supported by scientific evidence. All of these things, the public should be aware of.

Should skeptics be certified?

Are skeptics certifiable?
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Re: Should Skeptics Be Certified?

Postby NinjaPuppy » 13 Feb 2010, 22:15

IMO anyone who gets the attention of the media should disclose their so called 'expertise' in the field. Being the brother-in-law of a network honcho is not what I would consider to be a qualification for a media position or merit your personal opinion on any subject to be aired as if it were gospel truth.

As far as skeptics on this forum, they have every right to speak their mind and debate their POV. It's a public forum. It does not give them the right to question the mental health of a believer or to debate or debunk a topic based on lack of scientific evidence. Especially if that skeptic does not have the education and credentials to intelligently debate the topic without doing a 'copy and paste' from some self proclaimed 'expert'. Just because some Joe Blow says it's bull, doesn't make it so.

A good example is when a believer says they saw a ghost. A skeptic will tell them that they didn't because ghosts don't exist. That skeptic has a ton of published material (by other skeptics) to back up that claim. It still doesn't prove that the believer making the claim didn't see a ghost. It only means that the published material that the skeptic is quoting from has proven that the particular situation from that other experience has been explained.

Anyone who believes that they have seen a ghost obviously has seen something to make them feel that way. Unless skeptics approach each claim individually to either debunk each claim or consider the information with an open mind, it's always going to be the same song and dance.... Ghosts don't exist. Period! No need to waste time on that subject. I just don't get the mentality.
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Re: Should Skeptics Be Certified?

Postby ciscop » 14 Feb 2010, 01:50

ideally
any expert should be certified..

but the media would take the word for granted that anybody is an expert
you just need to call youself one

i was just hearing on the radio a woman
prasing NPL while knowing nothing about the topic
it was just a bunch of new age modern mumbojumbo
and she called herself an expert...


now.. skeptics need certification?
i think the check list is kind of small
know how to think rationally and logically..YES Or NO? .. YES
ok thats it.. you are certified!
For every person who reads this valuable book there are hundreds of naïve souls who would prefer to have their spines tingled by a sensational but worthless potboiler by some hack journalist of the paranormal. You who now read these sentences join a small but wiser minority. Martin Gaardner (Psychology of the Psychic)
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Re: Should Skeptics Be Certified?

Postby Kevin Kane » 14 Feb 2010, 15:37

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Re: Should Skeptics Be Certified?

Postby ProfWag » 14 Feb 2010, 21:46

I don't want to sound mean with this answer, so I apologize if it comes across as arrogant or whatever, but personally, I think this is the most ridiculous question ever. Should I be certified because I want to see proof of something before I believe in it? I mean, c'mon. Let's say for a moment that the answer is yes, one should be certified to be a skeptic. Okay, I'm not certified to be a skeptic, so that means I'm supposed to believe than John Edward talks to the dead? It makes no sense to me whatsoever.

EVERYONE should be skeptical of claims and not take things at face value unless they've done their own research enough to be satisfied in formulating their opinion.

Should one be certified to be a "ghost hunter?" I think there should be, yet, I know of no certification institute for ghost hunting (though I could be wrong.) Essentially, you're saying that one should believe everything they read or see unless you have a Ph.D in that subject. THAT, my friendly anti-skeptics, is dangerous as hell. I am a professor of management, but that doesn't mean I know everything about management and that also doesn't mean that those of you who aren't professors can't have an opinion in a management style.
For those of you who are "anti-skeptic," I can understand if you have done your own research and had your own experiences and formulated a belief in something paranormal (whatever it is.) I think that the way some skeptics (especially in other forums) come across is that they ridicule those that have those beliefs and I loath that. Personally, I would like to think that myself and most other skeptics have no issue with you believing what you do, as long as you are not fraudulent in presenting those beliefs. Sure, we like to ensure you have as much accurate information as possible. I'm not in the business to tell you that if you saw a ghost, it doesn't exist, just that if you saw a ghost, are you aware that it COULD have been something else...

I'll say this again for the umpteenth time, skepticism is a method, it's NOT a belief system.
Now, if you're saying that one should be certified to conduct experiments attempting to repeat published experiments from others, then yes, they should be. I wouldn't want an architect conducting experiments verifying the validity of an experiment in the movement of planets and astrology, I'd want an astronomer. But I don't need to be a certified astronomer to have an opinion on the published results of said experiments.

I think believers get defensive and don't understand skepticism. If you tell me you saw a ghost and I ask you if you considered that it could have been a shadow, believers get defensive right away and retort by saying that we're calling you a liar. No, we're not. We're saying that are you aware it could have been something else. Did you think about that before formulating your conclusion that you saw a ghost? That's all skepticism is, at least, the way I view what skepticism should be about, but again, I can't speak for all skeptics as there are some rude ones out there (just as there are rude anti-skeptics as well.)
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Re: Should Skeptics Be Certified?

Postby Craig Browning » 15 Feb 2010, 01:51

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Re: Should Skeptics Be Certified?

Postby Kevin Kane » 15 Feb 2010, 02:04

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Re: Should Skeptics Be Certified?

Postby Craig Browning » 15 Feb 2010, 02:22

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Re: Should Skeptics Be Certified?

Postby Kevin Kane » 15 Feb 2010, 02:44

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Re: Should Skeptics Be Certified?

Postby ProfWag » 15 Feb 2010, 05:31

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Re: Should Skeptics Be Certified?

Postby Kevin Kane » 15 Feb 2010, 13:57

Science is a method, it does use questioning, exploring both the possibilities and limits of an unbiased question. That's not to imply that science doesn't have an agenda. But the method strives towards objectivity and balance.

Skepticism isn't a method. Method implies organization, a system; standards, practices, proofs, results ... and that leads to the proper use of the method, checks and balances, ethics, expertize, certification, regulation.

Skepticism is just a way of controverting, disputing, debating, arguing, opposing, or just tossing monkey scat.

Skepticism is opinion making .. politics .. social engineering .. propaganda. It's designed to do one thing .. change people's minds. Proselytize, evangelize, convert, convince, persuade.



PS: People often accuse me of sounding like a thesaurus. It's unintentional.
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Re: Should Skeptics Be Certified?

Postby ProfWag » 15 Feb 2010, 19:19

Sorry, you're still wrong, but people who have a bad experience with something often times can't see where they have become misguided.
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Re: Should Skeptics Be Certified?

Postby Kevin Kane » 15 Feb 2010, 19:59

If you believe skepticism is a method .. it should be methodically documented and registered. Skeptics should be licensed and certified.

What sort of business model do you see for skeptics?

To Do List:
Go to Grocers .. get bananas.
Go to Dry Cleaners .. pick up shirts.
Go to Skeptic .. get superstitious beliefs debunked.
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Re: Should Skeptics Be Certified?

Postby Kevin Kane » 15 Feb 2010, 21:15

Skeptic #1 To Do List:
Go on Letterman show
Debunk all religions
Do magic tricks


Skeptic #2 To Do List:
Go to Harry Potter movie
Debunk it
Dodge popcorn


Skeptic #3 To Do List:
Debunk homeopathy
Post Youtube video of it
Reply to assman666


Skeptic #4 To Do List:
Watch Uri Geller video
Laugh
Get a job
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Re: Should Skeptics Be Certified?

Postby ProfWag » 15 Feb 2010, 21:42

Yes, emotional responses based on your experiences. I, like you, wish that those skeptics who are so confrontational and deameaning would change their tune.
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