That Damn Skepticism Thing
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08-12-2014, 08:06 PM
That Damn Skepticism Thing
Don't ... even .. TRY to make this about Big-Foot or UFOs, bitches.

Define "skepticism" and give examples of what you have accepted it to mean, and to what lengths it is considered valid and what lengths it goes too far.

Go!

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09-12-2014, 06:28 AM
RE: That Damn Skepticism Thing
Skepticism as I try to practice it is to consider the propositions put to me sincerely and critically, as well as to hold my own beliefs tentatively and critically. If new information comes in that shows my beliefs to be false I want to be able to let go of them and incorporate that new information into my beliefs. If new information comes in that aligns to my prejudices and yet does not pass critical analysis I want to be able to reject it.

It is, in short, maintaining a constructively critical stance on my own beliefs and on the beliefs of others.

Skepticism as a movement (e.g. Big foot, UFOs, and bitches) is dominated by an ethos of consumer protection, whereby the movement gains a level of expertise in false things in order to effectively debunk them and protect people who might otherwise be taken in by Charlatans.

Then of course there are denialists who uncritically accept their own ideas and uncritically reject the ideas of others... they call themselves skeptics but to my mind are well divorced from both the principles and the culture of the "skeptical movement".

Give me your argument in the form of a published paper, and then we can start to talk.
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09-12-2014, 06:34 AM
RE: That Damn Skepticism Thing
[Image: skepticism+is+not+the+enemy+of+belief.png]

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09-12-2014, 07:41 AM
RE: That Damn Skepticism Thing
Skepticism for me is an approach to claims that involves evaluating the evidence for them with as little bias as possible. Claims are accepted provisionally as the evidence mounts.

The core issue for me is that the evidence must provide an explanation of the claim, not disprove any part of the claim, and not support competing claims. That last is a way to segregate evidence that doesn't disprove a claim but also doesn't offer direct support for it and is where I see a lot of people going wrong in claims. They use as "evidence" things that would be expected to be true not only if their claim is true but also if various competing claims were true. There can be evidence that doesn't discount a claim but also doesn't directly support it and while that evidence can be considered, it isn't compelling and doesn't add to the credibility of the claim.

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09-12-2014, 02:16 PM
RE: That Damn Skepticism Thing
(08-12-2014 08:06 PM)Free Wrote:  Don't ... even .. TRY to make this about Big-Foot or UFOs, bitches.

Define "skepticism" and give examples of what you have accepted it to mean, and to what lengths it is considered valid and what lengths it goes too far.

Go!

Skepticism

Skepticism (or scepticism) is the art of constantly questioning and doubting claims and assertions, and holding that the accumulation of evidence is of fundamental importance. It forms part of the scientific method, which requires relentless testing and reviewing of claimed facts and theories. The "Skeptic" spelling is generally preferred on this website (but not in the liberal UK), in case people might infer that the "c" is silent, as in "science".

Skepticism should not be confused with pseudoskepticism which is really a form of denialism.

http://rationalwiki.org/wiki/Skepticism


Pseudoskepticism

Pseudoskepticism is used in two different ways. One of these is correct and another is used by woo promoters in an attempt to dismiss skepticism that steps on their personal toe.

Legitimate use

The correct, though less common, use of the term refers to those who declare themselves merely "skeptical" of a concept, but in reality would not be convinced by any evidence. Common targets of this kind of pseudoskepticism are global warming, evolution, AIDS, and GMOs. This essentially is cloaked denialism, as there is a vast amount of real evidence which is willfully ignored by these pseudoskeptics. Saying "I am skeptical of X" seems more reasonable than saying "I don't accept X and never will regardless of the evidence", even if the latter is more accurate.

Real skeptics are always prepared to change their positions based on new evidence, consistent with the scientific method. An example is Einstein's Cosmological Constant, which has gone through numerous revisions as to whether it applies or not - thus making them immune to the accusation of pseudoskepticism. Clearly if an individual has changed their mind on a topic, that is a positive defense against an accusation that they will not change their mind.

Usage by woo promoters

"Pseudoskepticism" is most often used as a loaded term by woo-promoters to dismiss skeptical criticism of their beliefs as unfounded. Some promoters of woo maintain that demanding evidence before accepting an idea is an extreme position, and they feel that we should all be agnostic about, well, everything. Given the difficulty of absolutely disproving even the most absurd hypothesis they then go on to maintain that all those who ask for evidence are "pseudoskeptics".
Consequently, these woo-promoters try to claim the high ground by calling themselves "open-minded." The intent is to draw a contrast with the scientific establishment as "closed-minded" for demanding actual evidence.

As an example, SCEPCOP maintains that pseudoskeptics "will never accept a paranormal [explanation] that includes metaphysical dimensions because they believe it's impossible." It would be interesting to see what they think of the scientific method and methodological naturalism, as these don't necessarily "not believe" in paranormal explanations. Instead, once you've explained something paranormal or metaphysical, it ceases to be paranormal or metaphysical, and becomes part of normal naturalistic reality!

A testable hypothesis' mere implausibility is not enough to utterly reject it — but many such hypotheses, such as homeopathy or dowsing, have, nonetheless, been scientifically tested and rejected. Apart from its contradiction of established science, there is no logical reason to declare that, for example, homeopathy wouldn't "work", since worlds where water has a "memory" and homeopathy works are logically possible. But double-blind tests show the chemical argument against homeopathy to be valid. In this sense, the questions of "skepticism" or "pseudoskepticism" are moot.

Skepticism and agnosticism

In any case, skepticism and agnosticism are not necessarily exclusive positions. If somebody maintains that there are invisible, undetectable fairies at the bottom of their garden, there is no way to prove that this is not the case - though equally there is no supporting evidence and they are essentially non-existent by nature of their being "undetectable". There is a possibility that these beings do exist (by some definitions of the word "exist"), and accordingly it can be argued that "agnosticism" towards the claim is the appropriate position. However, being agnostic about a belief does not mean that there is a 50/50 possibility of its being correct - it merely means there is a possibility. In this case, the improbability of the assertion coupled with the lack of evidence justifies our being extremely agnostic about the assertion; in fact a position of such extreme agnosticism that it is, for all intents and purposes, indistinguishable from disbelief. In this particular case we could equally easily call ourselves highly skeptical - there is no practical difference.

http://rationalwiki.org/wiki/Pseudoskepticism



But if this is too limiting for you Free, have I ever found the website for you!

http://www.skepticalaboutskeptics.org/

We Are Skeptical about Skeptics

Skeptical About Skeptics is dedicated to countering dogmatic, ill-informed attacks leveled by self-styled skeptics on pioneering scientific research, researchers, and their subjects.

Healthy skepticism is an important part of science, and indeed of common sense. But dogmatic skepticism uses skepticism as a weapon to defend an ideology or belief system, and inhibits the spirit of inquiry.

Most self-proclaimed skeptics are believers in a materialist worldview, and dismiss any evidence for phenomena that do not agree with their assumption that minds are nothing but brain activity confined to the inside of heads.

Members of militant skeptical organizations often think of themselves as defending science and reason against superstition and credulity.

These are worthy aims, but we at Skeptical About Skeptics think that science and reason are best served by considering the evidence for unexplained phenomena scientifically rather than assuming that
these phenomena do not exist because they do not fit in with materialist assumptions.

We support science, not scientific fundamentalism.

The Skeptical about Skeptics website:

-Investigates popular media pseudoskeptics.

-Explores the pseudoskeptical mindset, motivation, and
method.

-Looks at ways in which scientific objectivity is compromised
by vested interests, fraud, experimenter effects, and merchants
of doubt who use skepticism as a weapon to further corporate
interests.

-Discusses current controversies.



Sounds good, right? Then check out the rest of their site!

They have articles on "THE CORNERSTONE OF DARWINIAN NATURAL SELECTION IS CRUMBLING" and "MICHAEL SHERMER’S UNSCIENTIFIC STATEMENT ON THE NON-EXISTENCE OF TELEPATHY" and "JAMES “THE AMAZING” RANDI AND DOGS WHO KNOW MORE THAN HE DOES".

Once you're done with that, check out their assosicates and advisors!

Dean Radin, Ph.D.
Senior Scientist
Institute of Noetic Sciences

Rupert Sheldrake, Ph.D.
Fellow
Institute of Noetic Sciences

Nancy L. Zingrone, Ph.D.
Parapsychology Online
New York

Facepalm

[Image: skeptical-cat-is-fraught-with-skepticism_w800.jpg]

[Image: E3WvRwZ.gif]
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09-12-2014, 06:35 PM (This post was last modified: 09-12-2014 06:38 PM by Free.)
RE: That Damn Skepticism Thing
(09-12-2014 02:16 PM)EvolutionKills Wrote:  
(08-12-2014 08:06 PM)Free Wrote:  Don't ... even .. TRY to make this about Big-Foot or UFOs, bitches.

Define "skepticism" and give examples of what you have accepted it to mean, and to what lengths it is considered valid and what lengths it goes too far.

Go!

Skepticism

Skepticism (or scepticism) is the art of constantly questioning and doubting claims and assertions, and holding that the accumulation of evidence is of fundamental importance. It forms part of the scientific method, which requires relentless testing and reviewing of claimed facts and theories. The "Skeptic" spelling is generally preferred on this website (but not in the liberal UK), in case people might infer that the "c" is silent, as in "science".

Skepticism should not be confused with pseudoskepticism which is really a form of denialism.

http://rationalwiki.org/wiki/Skepticism


Pseudoskepticism

Pseudoskepticism is used in two different ways. One of these is correct and another is used by woo promoters in an attempt to dismiss skepticism that steps on their personal toe.

Legitimate use

The correct, though less common, use of the term refers to those who declare themselves merely "skeptical" of a concept, but in reality would not be convinced by any evidence. Common targets of this kind of pseudoskepticism are global warming, evolution, AIDS, and GMOs. This essentially is cloaked denialism, as there is a vast amount of real evidence which is willfully ignored by these pseudoskeptics. Saying "I am skeptical of X" seems more reasonable than saying "I don't accept X and never will regardless of the evidence", even if the latter is more accurate.

Real skeptics are always prepared to change their positions based on new evidence, consistent with the scientific method. An example is Einstein's Cosmological Constant, which has gone through numerous revisions as to whether it applies or not - thus making them immune to the accusation of pseudoskepticism. Clearly if an individual has changed their mind on a topic, that is a positive defense against an accusation that they will not change their mind.

Usage by woo promoters

"Pseudoskepticism" is most often used as a loaded term by woo-promoters to dismiss skeptical criticism of their beliefs as unfounded. Some promoters of woo maintain that demanding evidence before accepting an idea is an extreme position, and they feel that we should all be agnostic about, well, everything. Given the difficulty of absolutely disproving even the most absurd hypothesis they then go on to maintain that all those who ask for evidence are "pseudoskeptics".
Consequently, these woo-promoters try to claim the high ground by calling themselves "open-minded." The intent is to draw a contrast with the scientific establishment as "closed-minded" for demanding actual evidence.

As an example, SCEPCOP maintains that pseudoskeptics "will never accept a paranormal [explanation] that includes metaphysical dimensions because they believe it's impossible." It would be interesting to see what they think of the scientific method and methodological naturalism, as these don't necessarily "not believe" in paranormal explanations. Instead, once you've explained something paranormal or metaphysical, it ceases to be paranormal or metaphysical, and becomes part of normal naturalistic reality!

A testable hypothesis' mere implausibility is not enough to utterly reject it — but many such hypotheses, such as homeopathy or dowsing, have, nonetheless, been scientifically tested and rejected. Apart from its contradiction of established science, there is no logical reason to declare that, for example, homeopathy wouldn't "work", since worlds where water has a "memory" and homeopathy works are logically possible. But double-blind tests show the chemical argument against homeopathy to be valid. In this sense, the questions of "skepticism" or "pseudoskepticism" are moot.

Skepticism and agnosticism

In any case, skepticism and agnosticism are not necessarily exclusive positions. If somebody maintains that there are invisible, undetectable fairies at the bottom of their garden, there is no way to prove that this is not the case - though equally there is no supporting evidence and they are essentially non-existent by nature of their being "undetectable". There is a possibility that these beings do exist (by some definitions of the word "exist"), and accordingly it can be argued that "agnosticism" towards the claim is the appropriate position. However, being agnostic about a belief does not mean that there is a 50/50 possibility of its being correct - it merely means there is a possibility. In this case, the improbability of the assertion coupled with the lack of evidence justifies our being extremely agnostic about the assertion; in fact a position of such extreme agnosticism that it is, for all intents and purposes, indistinguishable from disbelief. In this particular case we could equally easily call ourselves highly skeptical - there is no practical difference.

http://rationalwiki.org/wiki/Pseudoskepticism



But if this is too limiting for you Free, have I ever found the website for you!

http://www.skepticalaboutskeptics.org/

We Are Skeptical about Skeptics

Skeptical About Skeptics is dedicated to countering dogmatic, ill-informed attacks leveled by self-styled skeptics on pioneering scientific research, researchers, and their subjects.

Healthy skepticism is an important part of science, and indeed of common sense. But dogmatic skepticism uses skepticism as a weapon to defend an ideology or belief system, and inhibits the spirit of inquiry.

Most self-proclaimed skeptics are believers in a materialist worldview, and dismiss any evidence for phenomena that do not agree with their assumption that minds are nothing but brain activity confined to the inside of heads.

Members of militant skeptical organizations often think of themselves as defending science and reason against superstition and credulity.

These are worthy aims, but we at Skeptical About Skeptics think that science and reason are best served by considering the evidence for unexplained phenomena scientifically rather than assuming that
these phenomena do not exist because they do not fit in with materialist assumptions.

We support science, not scientific fundamentalism.

The Skeptical about Skeptics website:

-Investigates popular media pseudoskeptics.

-Explores the pseudoskeptical mindset, motivation, and
method.

-Looks at ways in which scientific objectivity is compromised
by vested interests, fraud, experimenter effects, and merchants
of doubt who use skepticism as a weapon to further corporate
interests.

-Discusses current controversies.



Sounds good, right? Then check out the rest of their site!

They have articles on "THE CORNERSTONE OF DARWINIAN NATURAL SELECTION IS CRUMBLING" and "MICHAEL SHERMER’S UNSCIENTIFIC STATEMENT ON THE NON-EXISTENCE OF TELEPATHY" and "JAMES “THE AMAZING” RANDI AND DOGS WHO KNOW MORE THAN HE DOES".

Once you're done with that, check out their assosicates and advisors!

Dean Radin, Ph.D.
Senior Scientist
Institute of Noetic Sciences

Rupert Sheldrake, Ph.D.
Fellow
Institute of Noetic Sciences

Nancy L. Zingrone, Ph.D.
Parapsychology Online
New York

Facepalm

[Image: skeptical-cat-is-fraught-with-skepticism_w800.jpg]

I actually agree with most of this, except of course all the fucking woo from the Noetic Sciences and parapsychology crap. The only thing worth any credulity at all from them is:

"Healthy skepticism is an important part of science, and indeed of common sense. But dogmatic skepticism uses skepticism as a weapon to defend an ideology or belief system, and inhibits the spirit of inquiry."

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09-12-2014, 09:17 PM (This post was last modified: 09-12-2014 10:20 PM by EvolutionKills.)
RE: That Damn Skepticism Thing
(09-12-2014 06:35 PM)Free Wrote:  I actually agree with most of this, except of course all the fucking woo from the Noetic Sciences and parapsychology crap. The only thing worth any credulity at all from them is:

"Healthy skepticism is an important part of science, and indeed of common sense. But dogmatic skepticism uses skepticism as a weapon to defend an ideology or belief system, and inhibits the spirit of inquiry."

Except that while it sounds good, they use it as nothing more than a cloak to protect their desire to believe in the paranormal.

Sort of like how some other people we know of might attempt to do the same with supposedly nearly extant ancient bipedal primates, paleofauna living in lakes in the Scottish highlands, or seemingly unexplained lights in the sky.

Being skeptical is great. Thumbsup

Being skeptical of the scientific consensus solely because it disagrees with your own personal biases makes you an ass.

If you are skeptical of the skeptics because they are skeptical because of the lack of evidence, you're doing it wrong.

[Image: E3WvRwZ.gif]
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09-12-2014, 10:32 PM
RE: That Damn Skepticism Thing
(09-12-2014 09:17 PM)EvolutionKills Wrote:  
(09-12-2014 06:35 PM)Free Wrote:  I actually agree with most of this, except of course all the fucking woo from the Noetic Sciences and parapsychology crap. The only thing worth any credulity at all from them is:

"Healthy skepticism is an important part of science, and indeed of common sense. But dogmatic skepticism uses skepticism as a weapon to defend an ideology or belief system, and inhibits the spirit of inquiry."

Except that while it sounds good, they use it as nothing more than a cloak to protect their desire to believe in the paranormal.

Sort of like how some other people we know of might attempt to do the same with supposedly nearly extant ancient bipedal primates, paleofauna living in lakes in the Scottish highlands, or seemingly unexplained lights in the sky.

Being skeptical is great. Thumbsup

Being skeptical of the scientific consensus solely because it disagrees with your own personal biases makes you an ass.

If you are skeptical of the skeptics because they are skeptical because of the lack of evidence, you're doing it wrong.

At the end of the day any institutions like that all have their hand out looking for your god damn credit card.

Buncha fucking scammers.

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09-12-2014, 10:35 PM (This post was last modified: 10-12-2014 03:40 AM by EvolutionKills.)
RE: That Damn Skepticism Thing
(09-12-2014 10:32 PM)Free Wrote:  
(09-12-2014 09:17 PM)EvolutionKills Wrote:  Except that while it sounds good, they use it as nothing more than a cloak to protect their desire to believe in the paranormal.

Sort of like how some other people we know of might attempt to do the same with supposedly nearly extant ancient bipedal primates, paleofauna living in lakes in the Scottish highlands, or seemingly unexplained lights in the sky.

Being skeptical is great. Thumbsup

Being skeptical of the scientific consensus solely because it disagrees with your own personal biases makes you an ass.

If you are skeptical of the skeptics because they are skeptical because of the lack of evidence, you're doing it wrong.

At the end of the day any institutions like that all have their hand out looking for your god damn credit card.

Buncha fucking scammers.

LOL CONSPIRACY. Excellent rebuttal good sir.

[Image: conspiracy.jpg]

EDIT:

Unless of course your scammers are the Skeptical of Skeptics people, then I agree completely; fuck them and their noetic bullshit.

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10-12-2014, 09:56 AM
RE: That Damn Skepticism Thing
(09-12-2014 10:35 PM)EvolutionKills Wrote:  Unless of course your scammers are the Skeptical of Skeptics people, then I agree completely; fuck them and their noetic bullshit.

That's exactly what I mean.

Here's the Skeptical About Skeptical "donate" page.

Here's where you Sign Up for Noetic Sciences. Break out the credit card, everybody!

You can contact Nancy What's-Her-Face HERE and pay her to teach you all about her woo.

Come on ... I know ya wanna!

Tongue

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