Pseudoskepticism and YOU.

page: 1
21
<<   2 >>

log in

join
+4 more 
posted on Apr, 10 2014 @ 04:44 PM
link   
I have seen pseudoskepticism running rampant on ATS lately. While I am not a long standing member and I admittedly have no idea if this is a newer phenomenon around ATS or if it's been present from the start (I suspect the latter), I have noticed that pseudoskepticism pervades every single topic of this site. It doesn't matter if it's UFOs, religion, or government conspiracies, pseudoskepticism seems to pop up in most threads.

Lets start by defining what pseudoskepticism is:


In 1987 Marcello Truzzi revived the term specifically for arguments which use scientific-sounding language to disparage or refute given beliefs, theories, or claims, but which in fact fail to follow the precepts of conventional scientific skepticism. He argued that scientific skepticism is agnostic to new ideas, making no claims about them but waiting for them to satisfy a burden of proof before granting them validity. Pseudoskepticism, by contrast, involves "negative hypotheses"—theoretical assertions that some belief, theory, or claim is factually wrong—without satisfying the burden of proof that such negative theoretical assertions would require.



Truzzi attributed the following characteristics to pseudoskeptics:

1: Denying, when only doubt has been established

2: Double standards in the application of criticism

3: The tendency to discredit rather than investigate

4: Presenting insufficient evidence or proof

5: Assuming criticism requires no burden of proof

6: Making unsubstantiated counter-claims

7: Counter-claims based on plausibility rather than empirical evidence

8: Suggesting that unconvincing evidence provides grounds for completely dismissing a claim




Now admittedly, I have been guilty of a few of these over the course of my time here in various arguments on various subjects. But what does Truzzi identify as the traits of a "true" skeptic? They are as follows:



1: Acceptance of doubt when neither assertion nor denial has been established

2: No burden of proof to take an agnostic position

3: Agreement that the corpus of established knowledge must be based on what is proved, but recognising its incompleteness

4: Even-handedness in requirement for proofs, whatever their implication

5: Accepting that a failure of a proof in itself proves nothing

6: Continuing examination of the results of experiments even when flaws are found


What we can see by reading the two lists is that in general, a pseudoskeptic will approach a subject with their mind already made up, and will often not even bother to review the body of evidence before declaring the subject to be a load of bunk. I see this ALL THE TIME on ATS.

Earlier today, I was reading one of my favorite news sites when I came across this article:

What is unhealthy skepticism?

I would urge ALL ATS members to read the article in full, and see if you can point out how many times you have seen these tactics used here. But not only that, how many times have you used them? Are you or were you aware of the term "pseudo skepticism" and if so, are you aware that you might be one, or frequently use the tactics of one?

This isn't necessarily a thread intended to point fingers. I've been thinking about writing a thread on pseudoskepticism for some time now, and it just so happens the link posted from one of my favorite sites was the catalyst.

What can we as a community do when we see pseudoskepticism? Point it out, call it out, and refer to this thread and the resources linked in it. Similarly, as individuals we can identify these traits and habits within ourselves and work harder to eliminate them from our debates. Pseudoskepticism does absolutely nothing to enrich the discussions we have on ATS and is counter-productive to the quality of the site overall.

What pseudoskepticism does is cheapen every topic it touches, and it is often used as a method for gaining "stars" here on ATS, and for collecting brownie points with other members, and some ATS'ers have made a "career" of it here. This is pointed out in the article linked above:


10. Self-Elevation
It is easier to gain esteem or seem rational and clever through debunking efforts than to risk credibility by seriously investigating a controversial finding. Beaty wrote of “elevating skepticism to a lofty position, yet … opening the way to pathological thinking by refusing to ever cast a critical, skeptical eye upon the irrational behavior of scoffers.”


How often have we seen this tactic used on ATS? A member will post the most "skeptical" reply possible, masquerading as the voice of rational thought, and always on the first page of the subject. Once they collect their stars, you usually do not hear from them any further in the thread.

We have probably all been guilty of pseudoskepticism to some degree or another, but it would appear that there are those among us who are pathological skeptics.

Don't be that guy/gal! Rational thought and skepticism are perfectly healthy and admirable. Pseudoskepticism is completely counterproductive and only serves to obscure potentially important issues.
edit on 10-4-2014 by DeadSeraph because: (no reason given)




posted on Apr, 10 2014 @ 04:50 PM
link   
reply to post by DeadSeraph
 


Unfortunately, this is a common problem that will never be entirely eradicated. All we can do is draw attention to it and hope that the average member will do their part in calling out pseudoskeptics wherever they may be found. And that is exactly what you're doing with this thread! So thank you, and let's hope that the word gets out.



posted on Apr, 10 2014 @ 04:52 PM
link   
I agree with you, but why you put a picture of a guy taking a dump in your post





posted on Apr, 10 2014 @ 04:54 PM
link   

Indigent
I agree with you, but why you put a picture of a guy taking a dump in your post




You do realize that's the "Thinking Man" statue, right? Go ahead and Google it.



posted on Apr, 10 2014 @ 05:03 PM
link   
This thread is needed on ATS, thank you.
Most are not aware of their pseudoskepticism, which makes it mere ignorance - more or less in good faith.

Those who deliberately act as the pseudoskeptic seem to be either cynical or dangerous.
Dangerous, because they influence the ignorant with falsitudes. And by doing so, block the growth of knowledge, discussion and understanding.

Your Rodin fits your thread very well.



posted on Apr, 10 2014 @ 05:12 PM
link   
reply to post by AfterInfinity
 


you people are not fun
so i changed my mind now because of your lack of fun




What pseudoskepticism does is cheapen every topic it touches, and it is often used as a method for gaining "stars" here on ATS, and for collecting brownie points with other members, and some ATS'ers have made a "career" of it here.


Are you not being pseudoskeptic by stating this? you make a statement without evidence of what you say, do you have evidence of the motivations of others to post something?



posted on Apr, 10 2014 @ 05:18 PM
link   
reply to post by Indigent
 


Did you read the OP? This is part of the problem on ATS:

"Pics or it didn't happen"

pseudoskepticism is a form of ignorance (as another member pointed out). ATS's motto is "Deny ignorance". It's rational to take the position that you will not personally invest belief in a subject without sufficient proof. It's irrational to suggest that proof you personally deem acceptable is required to make it true.

Something can be true whether you believe in it or not.
edit on 10-4-2014 by DeadSeraph because: (no reason given)



posted on Apr, 10 2014 @ 05:29 PM
link   
reply to post by DeadSeraph
 


Its sad you dont see your hypocrisy,


Truzzi attributed the following characteristics to pseudoskeptics:

Denying, when only doubt has been established
Double standards in the application of criticism
The tendency to discredit rather than investigate
Presenting insufficient evidence or proof
Assuming criticism requires no burden of proof
Making unsubstantiated counter-claims
Counter-claims based on plausibility rather than empirical evidence
Suggesting that unconvincing evidence provides grounds for completely dismissing a claim


Proof is necessary to the skeptic, baseless assumptions is pseudo, I guess i'm pseudo because i saw your baseless claim and you are not because you say i require evidence making me ignorant

Deny ignorance you say?
start giving the example and dont make baseless claims, but hey its ok enjoy life be happy



posted on Apr, 10 2014 @ 05:51 PM
link   
reply to post by Indigent
 



6. Pseudoskeptics Will Deny They’re Pseudoskeptics
Dr. Schwartz said pseudoskeptics will claim they are open to new information, but they will often react strongly and with hostility when their assumptions are challenged by new ideas.

SCEPCOP states: “All pseudoskeptics will claim to be true skeptics, just like all high pressured salesmen claim to not be high pressure, all liars and con artists claim to be sincere, and all politicians claim to be honest. But as you know, actions speak louder than words.”


Edit to add:

As for your accusations that I am a hypocrite, unfortunately I have to admit that it is partially true. I have been guilty of pseudoskepticism in the past (especially here on ATS). Where it really became apparent to me is when I could spot it from others easily on issues I felt passionately about, and I found it incredibly irritating. But that made me think about the topic and I realized that I have displayed the same behavior in other threads. So in that sense, yes, I am a hypocrite. But I at least would like to work on that, and attempt to be more even handed in my approach to skeptical discourse here.
edit on 10-4-2014 by DeadSeraph because: (no reason given)



posted on Apr, 10 2014 @ 05:52 PM
link   
reply to post by DeadSeraph
 


Let's flag this thing to the top.

Damned well done OP.

I'm a pseudo-sociopath some say...

Who cares, they are just skeptics



posted on Apr, 10 2014 @ 05:54 PM
link   

AfterInfinity

Indigent
I agree with you, but why you put a picture of a guy taking a dump in your post




You do realize that's the "Thinking Man" statue, right? Go ahead and Google it.


The other side of the coin?



No poo flinging please.

ETA:

I like the 3rd monkey the best (Chimp maybe instead?)
edit on 4/10/2014 by Corruption Exposed because: (no reason given)



posted on Apr, 10 2014 @ 08:04 PM
link   
reply to post by DeadSeraph
 


Don't complain, just "whip they #ss!"



posted on Apr, 10 2014 @ 09:04 PM
link   
I have a theory that the rise of pseudoskepticism has to do with something that has come about in popular culture over the last decade or two: the understanding that the fear of being wrong, or being ridiculed, is every bit as profitable as the fear of not knowing. This is why deconstructionist tv shows (eg: mythbusters) have gained at least as much if not more popularity than speculative shows (eg: ancient aliens).
One relies on extrapolations of "what ifs" while the other is essentially a destructive analysis of "what ifs"

PS: of course, those shows are great examples of what I think is the root emotional drive for "believers" and "skeptics" because they highlight the irrational high end of these views. Also, both shows absolutely value revenue and popular appeal over anything remotely to do with the truth, but that's neither here nor there.


Anyway, might go some way to explain the powerfully antagonistic culture here and elsewhere regarding ATS-style topics and the general rise of pseudoskepticism.



posted on Apr, 10 2014 @ 11:16 PM
link   
reply to post by DeadSeraph
 


Going by the definition of pseudoskepticism given in your OP I have to agree that I've seen some of it here. I'm a new member so maybe I'm not in a position to comment yet, or maybe I'm in the perfect position to comment. I've seen some of what you're talking about but not a lot and when I do see it it's usually contained in an OP, not in a response to an OP. An OP will take exception to the conventional story they happen to be posting about and will call it bunk without offering anything in the way of proof. People should expect to be called out when they do that.

Much of the subject matter discussed on this site doesn't lend itself to proof so right off the bat the participants are limited to opinion. Sometimes an OP is so eager to discuss their take on a subject (nothing wrong with that) that they will present an opinion as fact (something wrong with that) and then if someone disagrees with the idea that the opinion is not a fact they're accused of being a shill or a disinfo agent.

As for the stars, I don't know, maybe some people do try to hoard them. I don't really care either way but it seems to me that if a post does get a lot of stars then maybe the post wasn't that far off the mark for a lot of people and dismissing it as pseudoskeptics covering for each other might be a mistake.

Fortunately from what I've seen so far what you're talking about doesn't seem to be prevalent and most threads I read on here are very interesting with many different and well thought out takes on the topics at hand.



posted on Apr, 13 2014 @ 09:51 PM
link   
Congratulations on bringing in Truzzi!

S&F; I'll be watching the thread and my p's and q's in our future interactions.



posted on Apr, 13 2014 @ 10:34 PM
link   
That epoch times article was nothing more than a pseudosceptical attack on science
edit on Sun, 13 Apr 2014 22:35:18 -0500 by TKDRL because: (no reason given)



posted on Apr, 13 2014 @ 10:50 PM
link   

Gryphon66
Congratulations on bringing in Truzzi!

S&F; I'll be watching the thread and my p's and q's in our future interactions.


lol I hope so! Despite our differences you are one of my favorite posters here, largely due to the fact I have noticed your willingness to engage in a more open form of debate with people whom you disagree with completely



posted on Apr, 18 2014 @ 01:41 PM
link   
My friend and I once had a discussion about this, and concluded that at least in our culture and generation, this was worsened by -- bear with me now -- Scooby Doo. When we were growing up, we watched that show, and every. single. episode. was about something "mysterious" which in every. single. case. turned out to be OLD MISTER HOTCHKISS IN A MASK ("those darned interfering kids! And I could have made millions!").

It's like we were culturally indoctrinated en masse as kids to believe anything mysterious was fraud. And of course, the only people "stupid enough to believe it" were the idiots of the show, Shaggy and Scooby.

In our current culture, "critical" opinion is wrongly equated with intellectualism. Most people are secretly terrified of being thought stupid it appears (this is probably a side effect of the fact that most of us, at some point during our youth which we hopefully grow out of, harbor the secret fear that we might be that or worse. Maybe some people never grow out of it). It makes them feel "smart" to imply that other people are stupid for even being willing to consider (never mind believe) something.

As a more political issue, it is also like children who only accept what their authority figures give them permission for. Science, school, have become the authority of our culture. So if the mainstream doesn't accept it, many people will automatically "side with the bigger guy" (mom/dad/authority) and attack others who have dared something unapproved. This fairly predictable psychological trait is why it really only requires the occasional bad-science media article on anything TPTB don't seem to want the culture accepting too much. If any seeming source of authority states something publicly, tons of people can be trusted to pick up that ball and run with it on their own -- secure in the belief that they are smart and supported, and hence they can attack others who by default are hence not smart and not supported.

Since most of my personal interests end up being fringe (even the seemingly perfectly normal ones, like astronomy and anthropology and molecular biology), the pseudo-skeptic issue is one that is a constant in my life for 20 years now (since I shifted from official medical-model skeptic to someone with a reluctantly-open-mind). And you're right, most of us are prone to do a little of it sometimes, in our own areas, but it's not until you're in some topic you have study or experience with and someone is acting badly (PS) that it really comes home that it's essentially troll behavior.



posted on Apr, 18 2014 @ 04:30 PM
link   
a reply to: DeadSeraph

Pathologically skeptical?

You mean "requiring some level of basic scientific proof before believing."

Or a claim at least not violating common sense.

People post the msot bizarre claims here, then insist all the scientific work that contradicts it is faked as a cover up. That's a mental health issue.

Skepticism is a healthy starting point for all knowledge.



posted on Apr, 18 2014 @ 05:01 PM
link   

originally posted by: Antigod
a reply to: DeadSeraph

Pathologically skeptical?

You mean "requiring some level of basic scientific proof before believing."

Or a claim at least not violating common sense.

People post the msot bizarre claims here, then insist all the scientific work that contradicts it is faked as a cover up. That's a mental health issue.

Skepticism is a healthy starting point for all knowledge.


It would seem you need to acquaint yourself with the definition of pseudoskepticism and how it differs from healthy skepticism. I thought I had outlined it well enough in my OP, but maybe not.





top topics
 
21
<<   2 >>

log in

join