a reply to: gortex
I agree that "belief" and "confirmation bias" are very much like seeds that grow and root and multiply until everything one sees is fed into that
forest of "belief."
Skepticism, in its true form, is simply an unwillingness to believe without proof or concrete evidence. Now, who defines what "proof" is, what
evidence is acceptable, and how high that bar is, becomes another discussion entirely!
But skepticism can also mask "belief" as well, and I think there is great danger in not seeing this side of it. On this side, "belief" is that
everything UFO is a load of crap - or 99.99% crap - or everything put up as evidence by a certain individual is crap, and maybe even that ET is a
figment of psychologically damaged or predatory minds. (Perhaps I'm framing that too grimly, but its for illustration purposes...)
As I have said before - "believers" and "debunkers" are two sides of the same "belief" oriented coin.
What happens then is an argumentative dichotomy of "believers" (pro and con) go at each other, and it does come off like two fanatically religious
folks snarkily attacking each other, and those that lean most closely to the poles of this dichotomy get caught up in the ensuing battles or labeled
as if they are somehow on one side or another. It gets turned into the "believers v debunkers" death-match, without the majority of posters wanting
it to, in my opinion. This doesn't always happen in a wholly destructive way to a thread, but there is some truth to this on a majority of UFO forum
We are so used to "picking sides" and creating "teams" of "for versus against" that we may not even see this happening, or how our own participation
gets framed into the battle, and how we may unconsciously choose sides.
So I would caution you on your second point, then, gortex. While there is truth in it, there is also the danger of taking it too far in the other
direction, and then the truth might just slide away, unrecognized.
See, from my perspective, while some of the "high priests" may make bone-headed mistakes or have bad data to fuel their own confirmation bias and
"belief" - if one throws the entire individual into the Hoax Bin of our minds, we start to miss some of the dots they might provide that can lead to
connection to other dots from more respected sources. If we trash them, we won't see these connections. They may not be worthy of "High Priest
status" by any stretch of the imagination, and they may put out some laugh-worthy "proofs," but to toss it all aside then into the midden heap may
mean you junk a few pearls...
If one is a "believer" of the High Priest, ultimately their humanity will disappoint and disaffect. So the tendency to react violently to being
"misled" and hoodwinked taints the entirety of the experience to the point of total rejection of everything that High Priest brought to the table.
This is understandable.
If one examines each bit of evidence on its own, trashing some, keeping others that have elements (or potential elements) of the unexplained, it is my
experience that more dots will connect. That is my position, anyway. I can always be wrong.
I've learned, however, that it is a dangerous thing to NOT simply trash certain personalities out of hand here at ATS, because you will in turn be
trashed, labeled, defined, tagged and bagged. I end up keeping a few pearls/potential pearls to myself.
In sum - confirmation bias on either side of the dichotomy inhibits the search for truth. For myself, I open each thread with fresh eyes and, as I
learn more, I'm able to discern possible mundane solutions or hoaxing more efficiently. I am always willing to learn, especially from others here
with greater experience and who have skills I don't have that they bring to the table. I too get jaded with the plethora of Youtube videos that are
"bugs, blurds, balloons, lanterns, planes, reflections, etc." Yet each one I look at, I make sure I'm starting at "undecided" before I click the
link, just in case...
I also hold my own UFO experience in the balance of whatever I look at, knowing that there IS "truth out there," somewhere, that waits to be
edit on 6-11-2014 by AboveBoard because: grammar