Deconstructing "Pseudoskepticism"

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posted on Jul, 3 2014 @ 03:37 AM
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What’s pseudoskepticism?! Good question, I didn’t know myself until this website (www.theepochtimes.com...) informed me! I frequently use the tactics supplied within the article itself, and don’t deny it. What I find funny is the apparent conflict of interest between the site and the content of the article. It appears to me that using the term implies pseudoskepticism on the part of the speaker itself. I will be going into why this is in more detail, and more things I don’t like about the article, like the title. I could write a whole paper on the problems with this article, and indeed I did, only to discover I couldn’t paste the entire thing (five pages). One funny little aspect of the truth is that it is often more complicated than it first appears, and requires more analysis than a twelve point article can possibly give it.

Assumptions, assumptions, assumptions… What does it mean to say that there is an “unhealthy” level of skepticism? Does it mean that you don’t think what you are told every day on the street is necessarily true? Does it mean that you doubt what the actual motives of an individual are when he tells you he is just trying to help you? What are the damaging health effects brought on by having this “pathological” level of skepticism? Specific health effects are not mentioned, unfortunately.

The first trait of pseudoskepticists is that they are not seeking to find the truth, but only to debunk something they believe to be an untruth. It could be said that the scientific process, overwhelmingly, is a process of debunking false hypotheses. For every one thing you discover about the universe, you debunk an infinite number of alternative hypotheses that could conceivably explain the same phenomenon. It is said that Albert Einstein tried to make a light bulb in ten thousand different ways before figuring out the best way to do so. There are disputes as to the actual number, and I myself doubt such a level of persistence in any individual human being. However many times it was tried, it is an example of the scientific process at its finest.

Manipulating language, the second judgment laid against the pseudoskeptic, refers to the capacity of the pseudoskeptic to “use emotion-laden and ridiculing terms” according to the article. The word pseudoskepticism speaks of a “one true Scotsman”, in that what they are using is “true” skepticism and anyone who doubts their claims to the truth are “merely” pseudoskeptical.

The third claim laid against them is that they dismiss scientific research. I can’t really say anything about this, as I haven’t seen any compelling research suggesting it. What I CAN do, however, is point a person to a community college class on what makes a particular piece of evidence reliable or unreliable.

Their fourth trait is just “unequal requirements”. While they aren’t explicit about what they mean, their anecdotes are sufficient enough. Their first anecdote:

“I’ve never trusted skeptics, for the very reason that they are willing to accept the official version of things without a shred of proof but require unrealistic amounts of evidence to accept any other possibility.”

I can’t really say anything to this other than that disbelief in one topic does not imply belief in another. I can’t help but notice that this person is framing it as “Us vs. them”. There are apparently only two sides to any position, which is simply not true. My skepticism in the validity of the idea of a particular deity existing does not imply my actual position on the matter, as every religion other than the religion supporting that deity is also skeptical of the deity in question.

Anyway, that is all for this post. I hope I have done the topic justice, which I have little doubt that I have. Feel free to tell me all about how "science isn't the way, man!" or something along those lines. If you guys want me to post the rest as individual posts I can, assuming there is any fruitful discussion that comes of this thread.

PS: First thread other than an introduction. Go me!@




posted on Jul, 3 2014 @ 03:51 AM
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a reply to: zackli

That's a serious breach of protocol zackli, maybe this should be deleted,


Only kidding, sounds interesting and I'm looking forward to reading the source when I get the time. Welcome to ATS.

Kind Regards
Myselfaswell



posted on Jul, 3 2014 @ 04:00 AM
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a reply to: zackli

The post that originally pointed me to the link in the first place, also located here in Deconstructing Disinformation, is here: www.abovetopsecret.com...



posted on Jul, 3 2014 @ 04:19 AM
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a reply to: zackli

Refer my first post, first sentence. Serious breach of protocol indeed, demonstrated lack of understanding of this site. Try searching ATS...anything first zackli.

NO go you apparently.

Kind Regards
Myselfaswell



posted on Jul, 3 2014 @ 04:22 AM
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Mind you, there have been times when i reckon i have detected pesudoskepticism on this website to but I have neither the inclination, the time or the interest in proving it so ............



posted on Jul, 3 2014 @ 04:40 AM
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a reply to: myselfaswell

Not sure if serious, or trolling... Poe's Law and all that jazz. If this is serious, please point me to a link in which I can read that whatever it is I have done is wrong. Regardless, the impression you give off is definitely authoritative.


"If your going to deny ignorance please do not encourage stupidity."


The ironic typo is what makes this quote so awesome.



posted on Jul, 3 2014 @ 04:43 AM
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a reply to: learnatic

If you had read the post, there is no condemnation of pseudoskepticism whatsoever. Indeed, criticism of ideas is what strengthens them. So long as the criticism has merit, there is no reason to question the motives of the individual criticizing.



posted on Jul, 3 2014 @ 06:24 AM
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a reply to: zackli

Thank you for your kind compliment, and I will say you are the first to notice, or at least mention that. I'd like to say there's a prize, but well no there isn't, other than S&F.

No trolling here. Your error is your administration.

Firstly you put up your thread WITHOUT referring to the ATS post that drew you to the subject in the first place. For future reference, threads are for new topics not regurgitation of existing topics or extension thereof without reference in the first instance.

Secondly, firstly, you questioned my second post in your third post without referencing the post you were commenting on which, presumably, was my second post, once again without significant reference. Secondly, and I mean secondly with some significance, beyond the first point I have made in the first instance of this paragraph, I see no connection between Poe's Law and Jazz, WT......


Kind Regards
Myselfaswell



posted on Jul, 3 2014 @ 06:45 AM
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a reply to: myselfaswell


Thank you for your kind compliment, and I will say you are the first to notice, or at least mention that. I'd like to say there's a prize, but well no there isn't, other than S&F.


Yes, one of my most-prized assets in this most perfectly contradictory game of Life has been my ability to A) see things that are ironic and B) point them out in the most highly flattering way possible correlating positively only to the receiver's perceived ability to dole out consequences that are particularly unsavory to me. Indeed, as a person's perceived power goes down, the positivity associated with the way in which the irony is pointed out goes sharply down to only a quarter of what their perceived power is.


Firstly you put up your thread WITHOUT referring to the ATS post that drew you to the subject in the first place. For future reference, threads are for new topics not regurgitation of existing topics or extension thereof without reference in the first instance.


Duly noted, I will be sure that I write on my computer's monitor, in sharpie, what it is that you have explicitly stated is against forum policy which I have also noted in my computer's hard-drive space that it is simultaneously not to ever be done and other things that appear to make sense when you do not think about them soldered into the existential breadboard of reality over the "Do not solder here; it is a breadboard, just strip the wires and stick them in the little holes" sign.

Lastly, my other most-prized asset is my ability to creatively and logically create strings of ideas that appear to make sense until you consider the total worth of the idea(s) as a whole, at which point the reader of the string of ideas becomes visibly shaken and stirred, simultaneously. PS: TL;DR

PPS: What if my ideas are too lengthy, as in this case, to be made into one post? Do I, as done earlier, proceed to write a five page paper on the ideas presented and then write "based on some of the ideas contained in X thread", while at the same time letting X thread know that I have written a thread based on the ideas contained within it? Your speedy response is requested, as I have many more five page papers to write.



posted on Jul, 3 2014 @ 06:56 AM
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a reply to: zackli

Yes there are skeptics and then there are pissers. At any rate folks need to understand that alternative idea folks are often skeptics themselves or started out as skeptics. So it really comes down to what someone is skeptisizing as to whether or not they are considered skeptics by skeptics.

edit on 3-7-2014 by Logarock because: n



posted on Jul, 3 2014 @ 07:08 AM
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a reply to: Logarock


Yes there are skeptics and then there are pissers.


I'm not seeing the significance of separating people out by their motive. If there is a fruitful reason for distinguishing people by their motive for questioning your ideas, I would like to know it; I understand it can be useful for dismissing people. That is, thus far, the only reason I've found for doing so. If there is a more beneficial reason, such as the ideas of genuine skeptics being inherently of more worth, for instance, it would be good for me to know. I'm not looking to dismiss people, nor to explain them and their particular problems with my (or another's) reasoning. I'm looking for a practical reason to consider their motives in my consideration of their criticism.



posted on Jul, 3 2014 @ 07:19 AM
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a reply to: zackli

Considering your apparent trite response to some harmless banter, lets go, no Poe.



PPS: What if my ideas are too lengthy, as in this case, to be made into one post? Do I, as done earlier, proceed to write a five page paper on the ideas presented and then write "based on some of the ideas contained in X thread", while at the same time letting X thread know that I have written a thread based on the ideas contained within it? Your speedy response is requested, as I have many more five page papers to write.


Either you respond to the existing thread, or, based on the highly presumptuous possibility that you've got an original idea related to the original thread, or born thereof, YOU CREDIT THAT THREAD IN YOUR OPENING POST.

Personally I didn't think it would be so complicated for someone capable of such ego stroking.



posted on Jul, 3 2014 @ 07:21 AM
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a reply to: zackli

Well its clear to see here on ATS several examples of motives. One being protection of "orthodoxy" which is a word here with many definitions and a purely contrary, for any number of reasons, mindset to ideas that prove or expand an idea that a critic or "skeptic" finds objectionable. In the latter case it looks more often to be cognitive dissonance rather than honest skepticism.



posted on Jul, 3 2014 @ 07:55 AM
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a reply to: myselfaswell


Either you respond to the existing thread, or, based on the highly presumptuous possibility that you've got an original idea related to the original thread, or born thereof, YOU CREDIT THAT THREAD IN YOUR OPENING POST.


Okay, thank you.


Personally I didn't think it would be so complicated for someone capable of such ego stroking.


Well, you know what they say about... Never mind. I would prefer it to be about something neutral or positive than the alternative. Nothing like a derogatory remark you only understand after having read three times.
edit on 3/7/2014 by zackli because: typo



posted on Jul, 3 2014 @ 10:15 AM
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a reply to: zackli

Hi Zacli. As an average joe who has experienced veridical psi many times over the years, I've taken an interest in parapsychology. I've advocated the psi hypothesis on many forums. And I've run into more than my fair share of pseudo-skeptics, much to my disappointment.

So, I have a couple of things I would like to contribute to your thread. First, a paper.

The Two-Edged Sword of Skepticism: Occam's Razor and Occam's Lobotomy (www.scientificexploration.org...)

Abstract

"Skepticism views the probability of a proposition as always less than 1, whereas belief or disbelief are absolute, asserting that the probability equals 1 or 0. The proper spirit of skepticism is constructive: it seeks to improve knowledge by stimulating better estimates of probability. That means micro-skepticism, questioning the soundness of every detail of fact, method, logic; it is empirical. By contrast, macro-skepticism is deductive; it relies on current scientific knowledge, which makes it backward-looking and destructively critical rather than constructively critical. It appeals commonly to Occam's Razor: it is always "simplest" to explain things in the way we are used to doing.

But knowledge advances through change; so the Razor becomes a Lobotomy as people forget Einstein's insistence that theories should be as simple as possible, but no simpler. Strong skepticism about new claims safeguards science against error. But the failure to maintain skepticism after a theory has been incorporated fosters dogmatism. There are a mounting number of contemporary examples where the native conservatism and dogmatism of science have become tyrannies - knowledge monopolies and research cartels-because science has become so much governed by official bureaucracies."

[...]

Second, a thread I made about skepticism.

www.abovetopsecret.com...








posted on Jul, 3 2014 @ 12:34 PM
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a reply to: BlueMule

Hey, BlueMule!


veridical psi
This may sound like a stupid question, but what does that mean, both literally and to you, personally? How did you experience it? What did it feel like?

I can understand how the over-application of Occam's razor can lead to an over-emphasis on rejection over acceptance of new ideas. This may sound like I'm rejecting your proposition outright, but I'm not. Hear me out: first off, do you think that the scientific process, on its own merits, without regard to its past abuse, is a good thing?

If you do, you're in the same position as me. I, in fact, highly detest the misuse of science. What I don't detest, however, is the ability of a double-blinded, well-controlled, randomized study of a group of subjects to convince me about the matter in question. Not "universal truths" in question, but about the specific population that it is studying. If the population being studied is pulled from a high school in Dallas, TX or the population of Anchorage, Alaska, that is what the study is... Studying.

What Kauffman was studying in the paper were not "universal" abuses of science. None of those, for example, call into question the Big Bang theory, Evolution, geology, or the more fundamental sciences. What he called into question were various medical myths. Does that make it okay? Definitely not. It doesn't call into question the scientific process, as properly laid out in any fifth grade classroom, however.


But knowledge advances through change; so the Razor becomes a Lobotomy as people forget Einstein's insistence that theories should be as simple as possible, but no simpler.


Knowledge advances through change, so long as that knowledge is based on scientific principles. I'm not sure if its Einstein's implicit authority or the claim itself, but I'm going to have to call BS on the simplicity of current scientific theories. Unless you have a specific theory in mind, I can't say that any theory is simple. They can all be expressed simply, but that is not encompassing all of the discoveries made in line with them that make the scientific process so reliable. Sure, it's one thing to say that the universe "became something from nothing", but it is another to explain the specific kinds of evidence that go into such a theory. To explain how the universe got from that rather chaotic state to the present one is even more convoluted.

If the scientific process, which looks for evidence in a highly systematized way, is a reliable method of finding the truth out, over time it is going to change less and less over time. Indeed, the more specific information will only get more "reductionist" as more and more of the big things are figured out. It will be the nuances that need to be hammered out, rather than the big ideas. I'm not saying it's impossible for there to be another revolution, only that the odds will one day reach the level of the probability of Roman mythology being the correct religion to follow.



posted on Jul, 3 2014 @ 01:36 PM
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originally posted by: zackli
a reply to: BlueMule

Hey, BlueMule!


veridical psi
This may sound like a stupid question, but what does that mean, both literally and to you, personally? How did you experience it? What did it feel like?


Thanks for asking. A veridical psychic experience is one that verifies itself to the experiencer. As opposed to one that leaves the experiencer guessing. For example, lets say you have a strong gut feeling that you should avoid the freeway today on your morning commute to work. So you do.

Is that a psychic premonition? There is no way to know for sure, because there is no way to know what would have happened had you taken the freeway. Maybe you would have been in a car accident. Maybe not. So, maybe your gut feeling was psychic, maybe not. If indeed it was psychic, it was not veridical.

Maybe your experience has enabled you to tell the difference. But even so, the experience did not contain within itself its own verification.

But a veridical psychic experience, on the otherhand, is such that it leaves you with little or no doubt. For example, I'll share with you one of my experiences.

I was driving to the store to do some shopping. I turned off the main road to a side road that led to the parking lot of the store. As I entered the side road, I saw a man walking down the sidewalk. There was nothing unusual about him that I could see on the surface, but as I looked at him, my visual field was overlayed with a stark vision.

In my vision, I saw him on getting dragged off of a bus by police. It was very vivid. As I was having the vision, Jimi Hendrix was singing on the radio, 'Hey Joe where you going with that gun in your hand'. The synchronicity was virtually palpable. I was flooded by a feeling of extraordinary knowing.

So, I drove on. I entered the parking lot, went inside the store, and did my shopping. About 10-15 minutes later, I was driving home. A ways down the road, I saw a bus pulled over to the side, surrounded by police cars. As I drove past it, I slowed down and looked inside. I saw that same guy being restrained by police, forcing him toward the front of the bus. It was the exact same scene as my vision. I was stunned and exhilarated.

That was a veridical psychic experience. It contained within itself its own verification.

I have had many, many vivid dreams that come true. Sometimes such dreams will be of a scene from a TV show or a movie or a newscast that I see a few days later, and I get the 'Aha!' feeling of understanding what the dream was about. Sometimes such dreams are of an important circumstance that arises in my life, and when it happens I get the 'Aha!' feeling again. Or sometimes the dream will be shared by my wife, and her dream and mine will show a common dreamscape and theme. Sometimes such dreams will guide me on a pilgrimage, coming true as I journey.

The dream state is highly psi-conducive, as my experiences show me and the dream study carried out at the Maimonides Dream Laboratory shows. So to is the Ganzfeld state of consciousness, as the Ganzfeld experiments show. Altered states of consciousness are psi-conducive.

What these mean to me personally, is that there is an aspect of human nature that transcends time and space. That is non-local. Parapsychology is the branch of science that tackles this aspect, as best it can given the difficult subject matter, given a lack of funding, and given the taboo against it.

It's a subject that people on both sides of the issue can feel very strongly about. On my side, I feel strongly about it because my experiences leave me with no doubt that it is very real and very important for science to address.

On the other side of the issue, are people who feel very strongly that such things smack of superstition, gullibilty, and snake-oil, and science ought not to bother with it, except in so far as it can debunk it. If such people are not very careful, their skepticism can warp into pseudo-skepticism.


first off, do you think that the scientific process, on its own merits, without regard to its past abuse, is a good thing?


I think that the process as I understand it (my understanding may be deficient) is a good thing.


If you do, you're in the same position as me. I, in fact, highly detest the misuse of science.


I admire that, and I share your dislike.


I'm not saying it's impossible for there to be another revolution, only that the odds will one day reach the level of the probability of Roman mythology being the correct religion to follow.


When the vast amount of parapsychological evidence, which has been accumulating for over a century, is disseminated, I feel that it will indeed trigger a revolution. At the moment, taboo prevents that.

edit on 853ThursdayuAmerica/ChicagoJuluThursdayAmerica/Chicago by BlueMule because: (no reason given)



posted on Jul, 3 2014 @ 11:48 PM
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originally posted by: BlueMule

originally posted by: zackli
a reply to: BlueMule

Hey, BlueMule!


veridical psi
This may sound like a stupid question, but what does that mean, both literally and to you, personally? How did you experience it? What did it feel like?


Thanks for asking. A veridical psychic experience is one that verifies itself to the experiencer. As opposed to one that leaves the experiencer guessing. For example, lets say you have a strong gut feeling that you should avoid the freeway today on your morning commute to work. So you do.

Is that a psychic premonition? There is no way to know for sure, because there is no way to know what would have happened had you taken the freeway. Maybe you would have been in a car accident. Maybe not. So, maybe your gut feeling was psychic, maybe not. If indeed it was psychic, it was not veridical.

Maybe your experience has enabled you to tell the difference. But even so, the experience did not contain within itself its own verification.

But a veridical psychic experience, on the otherhand, is such that it leaves you with little or no doubt. For example, I'll share with you one of my experiences.

I was driving to the store to do some shopping. I turned off the main road to a side road that led to the parking lot of the store. As I entered the side road, I saw a man walking down the sidewalk. There was nothing unusual about him that I could see on the surface, but as I looked at him, my visual field was overlayed with a stark vision.

In my vision, I saw him on getting dragged off of a bus by police. It was very vivid. As I was having the vision, Jimi Hendrix was singing on the radio, 'Hey Joe where you going with that gun in your hand'. The synchronicity was virtually palpable. I was flooded by a feeling of extraordinary knowing.

So, I drove on. I entered the parking lot, went inside the store, and did my shopping. About 10-15 minutes later, I was driving home. A ways down the road, I saw a bus pulled over to the side, surrounded by police cars. As I drove past it, I slowed down and looked inside. I saw that same guy being restrained by police, forcing him toward the front of the bus. It was the exact same scene as my vision. I was stunned and exhilarated.

That was a veridical psychic experience. It contained within itself its own verification.



What strikes me here, is that this information was of no use or consequence to you personally. Its as though you passed into, close enough proximity, an information field....if you will and simply had the gear....again if you will... to pick it up.

Another thing....lets say for some reason you would have turned in the direction away from the bus. The events still would have unfolded even though you would have had no verification.



posted on Jul, 4 2014 @ 05:02 AM
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a reply to: Logarock


What strikes me here, is that this information was of no use or consequence to you personally. Its as though you passed into, close enough proximity, an information field....if you will and simply had the gear....again if you will... to pick it up.


I wouldn't go quite that far... No consequence... Yes... Information field... No.


Another thing....lets say for some reason you would have turned in the direction away from the bus. The events still would have unfolded even though you would have had no verification.


Yes, but then he wouldn't have had a wonderful story to tell.



posted on Jul, 4 2014 @ 05:10 AM
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a reply to: BlueMule

Thanks for the explanation! Interesting story, too.


It's a subject that people on both sides of the issue can feel very strongly about. On my side, I feel strongly about it because my experiences leave me with no doubt that it is very real and very important for science to address.


Well, I'm looking forward to the day that we're all blown away by the science behind it. I, personally, don't find it academically enriching, so I'll most likely hear about it here or on the news. Actually, I probably would even be hesitant about reading it here just because of the lack of interest. I'll be watching for it on the News.



On the other side of the issue, are people who feel very strongly that such things smack of superstition, gullibilty, and snake-oil, and science ought not to bother with it, except in so far as it can debunk it. If such people are not very careful, their skepticism can warp into pseudo-skepticism.


I don't even care about debunking it anymore. I doubt any kind of serious disproof would be read by people anyway. More than anything else, I've learned that human superstition is here to stay (in the world, not just on ATS).





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