Need advices, I'm starting to have doubts in my atheist convinction
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05-09-2016, 03:02 PM
RE: Need advices, I'm starting to have doubts in my atheist convinction
(05-09-2016 11:26 AM)RocketSurgeon76 Wrote:  I don't mean to get too aggressive in a support thread, but as a former scientist I have a few points I think will really help you.

Sorry, pal, but that's a pile of bullshit. That's why I recommended The Demon-Haunted World: Science as a Candle in the Dark, as he goes into how we do study such claims, and why we know they're bunkum.

If you're interested in seeing scientists looking into the claims that the woo-woo promoters say are "just being ignored", check out CSICOP, the Committee for the Scientific Investigation of Claims of the Paranormal, which is composed of scientists interested in donating their time to proving or disproving claims based on actual experimentation. They are quite open about their methods and results.

http://www.csicop.org/

In other words, your woo-woo friends are lying. Either to themselves, or to others, in order to justify their mysticism. It's not based on science but on pseudoscience, and it's easy to demonstrate that such is the case. As I once heard someone quip, "You know what we call alternative medicine that works? Medicine."

This is "The God Helmet", which demonstrates why/how people feel a sense of presence, or oneness with the universe, during prayer or intense meditation.

CSICOP did an excellent job covering the (neutral) experiments which demonstrate that there is no afterlife, as described in so many varied claims. They not only look at the results, but they openly question the ethics of doing such experiments, on several grounds of respect for the subjects involved. I don't think you could ask for a more neutral approach.

Your other points aside, it is an outright lie (which for obvious reasons gained rapid popularity among psychedelic drug-using circles) that Dr. Crick was using LSD, circulated by none other than the British conservative tabloid The Daily Mail, which invented the story about a week after his death in 2004. Scumbaggery. And it's worse to promote this lie. Crick was a brilliant and honorable man.

http://realitysandwich.com/314873/franci...k-dna-lsd/

The word you're looking for is pseudoscience. It's designed to sound reasonable, even when using methods (which you have already identified) which are completely biased, disingenuous, and unscientific.

You should question. You should ask if science is really doing an objective job of describing our universe/world/lives. You should never stop questioning.

But that's not what these people are doing. At. All.

first of all, a big thanks for your reply, because this is exactly the kind of information I was looking for.

And I don't find your answer aggressive in any way, even if it did, if I need to be shaken out of irrationality, that's why I'm asking advices, so go ahead !

About the experiment on NDE, the article mention all the ethical issues about it, but the article is from 2009, was the experience conducted ? Were the results, as the article presumes, unable to confirm the existence of OBE ?

I didn't know that the DNA discovery story was a lie, I'm glad that it was...I heard some videos (with again that serious sounding voice) stating the "benefits" of LSD and mentioning it as an example. It's incredible how they can use a lie to add a point to their belief and culture.

The problem with pseudoscience, is that only a real scientist in this subjects can detect all the mistakes into it that makes it pseudoscience. Even though I come from a scientific formation, somebody explaining me something using quantum physics vocabulary will have an easy task persuading me of something : I only know some basis in that subject, I would not be able to read a book and decide if it is serious or not. But, what pushes people who are supposedly scientists (I mean, they have PHD in physics, mathematics, etc) to write pseudoscientic articles ? are they aware of their errors, but ignoring them to push their ideas, or don't they even realize their errors because they are blinded by their faith in the supernatural ?

Anyway, thanks again for your comment, it was really comforting to me because it put light in some lies and doubts that I had.

(05-09-2016 11:21 AM)SYZ Wrote:  G'day Sturm, and welcome from Downunder. Smile

Most of the others here have covered a tonne of good options, so I'd just like to add one small point.

It's very difficult—if not impossible—to account for or disprove "irrational" claims. Then again it's really the task of the proponent of those ideas to provide viable supporting evidence. It's not your job to disprove them, as—broadly speaking—one cannot prove a negative.

As an exercise in logic, ask your partner to prove that leprechauns do not exist. She won't be able to—despite hundreds of c8th-century Irish church journals describing eye-witness accounts.
Thanks for the welcoming Smile

That's why I hate being in this state of weakness, because I don't seem to be rational enough at the moment to decide if a bunch of coincidences can be some kind of evidence, and I can be destabilized by pseudoscientific claims. I think being cut from rational people for so many years, and hearing weird stuff all the time has really taken a toll on my rationality. I'm glad I came here, since I created this topic, I have been feeling a bit better and more rational.
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05-09-2016, 05:39 PM
RE: Need advices, I'm starting to have doubts in my atheist convinction
No problem. I'm glad you took it the right way. I mean well, but pseudoscience "gets my goat" in a way that makes it hard to tell how harsh I'm being, in replying to it. Your ability to listen without taking umbrage will help you a great deal; you've already got one power tool, it seems, in your mental toolbox. Smile

You might also avail yourself of the Skeptic's Dictionary, which covers the basic issues of evaluating this subject rationally, and what the claims and rebuttals really are:

http://www.skepdic.com/nde.html

And, with respect, you're wrong about not being able to detect pseudoscience on your own unless you're an expert in that field. It's about the methodology employed in arriving at the conclusions.

Here's a brief summary-version, which Sagan called "The Baloney Detection Kit", and which he expounds upon quite a bit in The Demon-Haunted World. I'll link a .pdf of the chapter, below.

You've already shown that your instincts for rationality are telling you what the errors are, in the methods and myths you're hearing. You just need to train yourself to spot them more easily and recognize how the psychology of pseudoscientific claims are trying to warp your perception.

http://www.inf.fu-berlin.de/lehre/pmo/en...aloney.pdf

"Theology made no provision for evolution. The biblical authors had missed the most important revelation of all! Could it be that they were not really privy to the thoughts of God?" - E. O. Wilson
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06-09-2016, 12:38 PM
RE: Need advices, I'm starting to have doubts in my atheist convinction
(05-09-2016 05:39 PM)RocketSurgeon76 Wrote:  No problem. I'm glad you took it the right way. I mean well, but pseudoscience "gets my goat" in a way that makes it hard to tell how harsh I'm being, in replying to it. Your ability to listen without taking umbrage will help you a great deal; you've already got one power tool, it seems, in your mental toolbox. Smile

You might also avail yourself of the Skeptic's Dictionary, which covers the basic issues of evaluating this subject rationally, and what the claims and rebuttals really are:

http://www.skepdic.com/nde.html

And, with respect, you're wrong about not being able to detect pseudoscience on your own unless you're an expert in that field. It's about the methodology employed in arriving at the conclusions.

Here's a brief summary-version, which Sagan called "The Baloney Detection Kit", and which he expounds upon quite a bit in The Demon-Haunted World. I'll link a .pdf of the chapter, below.

You've already shown that your instincts for rationality are telling you what the errors are, in the methods and myths you're hearing. You just need to train yourself to spot them more easily and recognize how the psychology of pseudoscientific claims are trying to warp your perception.

http://www.inf.fu-berlin.de/lehre/pmo/en...aloney.pdf
I understand why it "gets your goat", it gets mine too, especially as I can be lured into believing they can be true, so it makes me quite angry. Also, pseudoscience is spreading like a disease on people knowledge through social medias. I can't even count the number of posts I see in my Facebook feeds of pseudoscience articles or from pseudoscience pages. I usually ignore them, the title making it obvious that we are dealing with pseudoscience (ufology, ancient aliens and stuff), but some people share them and they spread...and even when I try to be careful, some of those can affect when they don't look like pseudoscience at first.

Thank you for the links ! I used a lot the skeptic's dictionary in the past, it comforted my position when I had doubts in the past, but I must admit that my lonely brain had a hard time defending itself against all those supernatural ideas, and I feel a bit more confident now I have found support from you guys at the TTA forum Smile

I'm about to read the Baloney Detection article that you shared, and prepare myself to resist supernatural ideas wrapped in pseudoscience.
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06-09-2016, 02:47 PM
RE: Need advices, I'm starting to have doubts in my atheist convinction
(06-09-2016 12:38 PM)Sturm Wrote:  Also, pseudoscience is spreading like a disease on people knowledge through social medias. I can't even count the number of posts I see in my Facebook feeds of pseudoscience articles or from pseudoscience pages.

Small quibble from the Grammar Nazi in me: "media" is already plural. The singular is "medium". Facebook is a medium; Facebook and Twitter are two examples of media. Okay, now that's out of my system.

And yes, Facebook drives me batshit with that pseudoscientific stuff, and I have become "the Snopes guy", commenting a debunking of both scientific and political misinformation posted by my family (mainly), usually from the snopes.com website. I just had to do one this morning after a family member posted about the Democrats' dastardly plan to get illegal immigrants voting in California. Rolleyes

It's not quite as useful for pseudoscientific claims, but I can definitely recommend Snopes for accuracy and the truth of matters being posted on a social medium.

http://www.snopes.com/

"Theology made no provision for evolution. The biblical authors had missed the most important revelation of all! Could it be that they were not really privy to the thoughts of God?" - E. O. Wilson
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08-09-2016, 03:31 PM
RE: Need advices, I'm starting to have doubts in my atheist convinction
(06-09-2016 02:47 PM)RocketSurgeon76 Wrote:  Small quibble from the Grammar Nazi in me: "media" is already plural. The singular is "medium". Facebook is a medium; Facebook and Twitter are two examples of media. Okay, now that's out of my system.

Now I read it, I see the latin root that I had never noticed, thanks for the correction ! I know you're right, but I can't promise I won't make the mistake again, even in french, the word is use as a singular, it's hard not to make the mistake when you hear it all the time !

(06-09-2016 02:47 PM)RocketSurgeon76 Wrote:  And yes, Facebook drives me batshit with that pseudoscientific stuff, and I have become "the Snopes guy", commenting a debunking of both scientific and political misinformation posted by my family (mainly), usually from the snopes.com website. I just had to do one this morning after a family member posted about the Democrats' dastardly plan to get illegal immigrants voting in California. Rolleyes

It's not quite as useful for pseudoscientific claims, but I can definitely recommend Snopes for accuracy and the truth of matters being posted on a social medium.

http://www.snopes.com/

Thanks for the link Smile
That's great that you find the patience and courage to debunk everything, I personally have lost a lot my interest in Facebook because of all the bullshit (not that I have been using it a lot, but instead of a few minutes a day, it's barely a few minutes a week).
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