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James Randi is an idiot!!

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posted on Oct, 20 2009 @ 07:01 PM
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Originally posted by bsbray11

The bottom line is this: "skepticism" is a psychological defense mechanism.


I think "cynicism" is a psychological defense mechanism. Skepticism, if people would use the word correctly, is what propelled science forward.


Defensive against what? A skeptic would probably say, in their usual sarcastic fashion, "bullcrap" or "frauds" or etc. But really they are simply defensive against new ideas. They don't like new ideas, that conflict with already-held beliefs about the world, so they take offense and defend themselves against new ideas the same way an animal defends physical territory.


I agree to a point, if you change "skeptic" to "some self-identified skeptics" I would be right there with you.


These skeptics just see themselves as waging a mental battle against ideas that they don't like. And they really are engaged in mental conflict, and suffer from cognitive dissonance. This is reflected in habitually negative attitudes, sarcasm, vitriol, ad hominem, pessimism, and a lot of other behaviors that are definitive of JREF and JREF, for example, is widely known by many people to be such a place as far as web forums go.





A classic historical example of these kinds of people can be found debating Copernicus or Galileo regarding their new theories on the Earth and the universe. Copernicus died thought a fool because nearly all of his colleagues were unprepared to accept the idea that the Earth revolved around the Sun, which seemed to belittle the importance of their own planet. It is one thing to have simply disagreed with Copernicus, but like I said, these people hounded him, mocked him, and thought of him as a stupid person, because they became defensive at what he said, because they were frightened by it. Because deep down, they knew it was true.

Those "scientists" and "experts" arguing with Copernicus and Galileo served one function only: to reinforce the status-quo of accepted opinions of their day. Not to challenge anything or entertain new ideas. Only to support the status-quo. And that is exactly what "skeptics" still do today, on all number of issues they are not psychologically prepared to accept new information from.

As we enter technological ages where we constantly learn more and more marvelous things about our universe, and more and more becomes possible, we also need to be more and more open-minded, calm, and rational. We can still be skeptical, but there is no need to particularly identify ourselves as "skeptics," just as there is no need to call ourselves "believers" simply because we all DO happen to believe things. We really need to be more mature about all of this, or else we won't be able to keep up with the new rate of information as human beings.


Very well put. Thank you.

My biggest issue with this new breed of skeptic is that they are blind to scientific history. Most great discoveries started as hypothesis that were unable to be proven at the time of their conception for lack of the proper tools.

They seek to squelch using ridicule and unproven hypothesis of their own. An absence of evidence is not evidence of absence, therefore they need not start with the supposition that there are not ghosts, no aliens, etc. A real skeptic would ask questions, be open, but not accepting without evidence and/or proof.

I feel that there is just not enough observational data to prove or negate any of these stranger topics..yet, so why not leave the door open?




posted on Oct, 20 2009 @ 07:10 PM
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reply to post by bsbray11
 


bsbray11, you need to take a step away from the computer and unclench your fists. Your anger is a bit too much to deal with. Once you're calm:

1. What is traditional science to you? I can already pick up on it, but I'd like you to define it just to be 100% sure.

2.The people arguing with Copernicus and Galileo were arguing the religious viewpoint of the day and using pseudo-science to back up such claims. Hmm, where have we seen that sort of behaviour before?


3. Cognitive dissonance is what helps you continue your accusations and attacks. You cannot fathom the idea of what true skeptical thinking is about and only resort to your usual straw man attack based on pseudo-skeptics.

4. About the emoticons, please lighten up. Really.

5. I want to subscribe to your newsletter so I can know more about removing the evil cancer that is infecting society i.e the skeptics, rational thinkers, etc Please tell me where to sign up



posted on Oct, 20 2009 @ 07:22 PM
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Originally posted by 1llum1n471
bsbray11, you need to take a step away from the computer and unclench your fists. Your anger is a bit too much to deal with.


Show me where in my statements you are sensing that I am angry, because it feels very much to me as though I am very calm. Do you have a quote you would like to use to illustrate, so as to offer me the chance to elaborate?



Once you're calm:

1. What is traditional science to you? I can already pick up on it, but I'd like you to define it just to be 100% sure.


"Traditional science" is simply whatever is perceived to be the status-quo or most popular current scientific theory, whether it be quantum physics, Newtonian physics, or that the Earth revolves around the Sun, or the Sun around the Earth.

I'm not sure what you mean by "I can already pick up on it," except that you must have some pre-conception for "people like me" and you are trying to categorize me with a known "type" of person to you. Once again, you are scrambling for psychological defense mechanisms to avoid legitimately considering anything I am saying. Instead you are once again demonstrating that you are simply trying to fit me into a pre-created box and put me away and out of thought. Maybe after demonstrating this behavior several more times you will begin to see it yourself and avoid it even as you are responding to me!


2.The people arguing with Copernicus and Galileo were arguing the religious viewpoint of the day and using pseudo-science to back up such claims. Hmm, where have we seen that sort of behaviour before?


Exactly, which is why I originally said people that call themselves "skeptics" are really just another brand of "believer," because everyone is naturally skeptical. To feel the need to brand yourself a "skeptic" demonstrates that you have a need for an additional psychological crutch, in this case a psychological defense mechanism against new ideas that frighten you. It is no different than religion, except for the non-religious. It is still a crutch. I have no needs to label myself anything; I simply "am" and I am perfectly comfortable being me.


3. Cognitive dissonance is what helps you continue your accusations and attacks. You cannot fathom the idea of what true skeptical thinking is about and only resort to your usual straw man attack based on pseudo-skeptics.


So far I have not seen anyone even try to explain what "true skeptical thinking is." But I have seen you become plenty defensive towards my statements, sarcastic, all the typical behaviors of people that call themselves "skeptical."


4. About the emoticons, please lighten up. Really.


I am light, but surely you don't think your posting of emoticons is beyond interpretation? You don't think there is absolutely no rhyme or reason for you to feel the need to post them, do you? There was definitely a reason you posted them, and I explained it in my last post. You are defensive and take a negative attitude because you are scared.


5. I want to subscribe to your newsletter so I can know more about removing the evil cancer that is infecting society i.e the skeptics, rational thinkers, etc Please tell me where to sign up


I don't have a newsletter, nor do I sell books or require money in other way, or anything else that would allow you to conveniently sweep me under the carpet with everyone else you'd like to cover your ears to. This is the mechanism of your "religion," btw. You have a set list of ways to discredit or otherwise push painful ideas away and you are a master at it. No different than a religious zealot.

[edit on 20-10-2009 by bsbray11]



posted on Oct, 20 2009 @ 07:27 PM
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reply to post by A Fortiori
 


I would not say that skeptics are attempting to squelch these things rather provide a more rational foundation to begin examining the subject at hand, but I think you and I have argued for pages about this already. Perhaps it might be worthwhile looking at the section on Pyrrhonism in the Sextus Empiricus to understand one of the original meanings of skepticism. I'd also point to out the quote in my signature:


"What skeptical thinking boils down to is the means to construct, and to understand, a reasoned argument and--especially important--to recognize a fallacious or fraudulent argument. The question is not whether we like the conclusion that emerges out of a train of reasoning, but whether the conclusions follows from the premise or starting point and whether that premise is true."
- Carl Sagan



posted on Oct, 20 2009 @ 07:55 PM
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reply to post by bsbray11
 



Show me where in my statements you are sensing that I am angry, because it feels very much to me as though I am very calm. Do you have a quote you would like to use to illustrate, so as to offer me the chance to elaborate?


I'm judging from the style of your replies as a whole. You're very confrontational and comments or emoticons meant to lighten the mood only seem to make you explode. It could just be your style and I apologize for assuming you're an angry individual, but the passive-aggressive behaviour does need to be examined as it could push others away.


"Traditional science" is simply whatever is perceived to be the status-quo or most popular current scientific theory, whether it be quantum physics, Newtonian physics, or that the Earth revolves around the Sun, or the Sun around the Earth.


This is what I assumed your definition would be but it fails to take into account what makes science, as a whole, so amazing. Science builds upon itself and is continually exploring new areas and evolving. There is no status-quo in science. Anyone thinking like that is very quickly left in the trails. If you even new one scientist you would understood how fast science, as whole, is moving.

About the whole psychological defense mechanism. Rocks and glass houses don't really mix do they? I'd like you to explain exactly why you think I need to have a defense mechanism up. Please educate the sheeple.


Exactly, which is why I originally said people that call themselves "skeptics" are really just another brand of "believer," because everyone is naturally skeptical. To feel the need to brand yourself a "skeptic" demonstrates that you have a need for an additional psychological crutch, in this case a psychological defense mechanism against new ideas that frighten you. It is no different than religion, except for the non-religious. It is still a crutch. I have no needs to label myself anything; I simply "am" and I am perfectly comfortable being me.


I'm not sure if this was addressing me in particular. I consider myself a skeptical thinker, you can look at my previous explanations to understand the definition if you choose to. You're falling back to your argument that is really just based on one fallacy after another.


So far I have not seen anyone even try to explain what "true skeptical thinking is." But I have seen you become plenty defensive towards my statements, sarcastic, all the typical behaviors of people that call themselves "skeptical."


It's been discussed in previous pages and if that did not meet your needs then by all means do some research yourself and present your findings. It's not going to hurt you to examine the definitions of skeptic/skepticism and learn of it's long history. So my responding to you is becoming defensive? Well now, I guess everyone on ATS should stop responding to any other post or comment out there. Apparently it makes one defensive if they try to have a discussion
I'll ask you again to stop comparing me to the straw man skeptic you've created, it really does nothing to aid in your argument.

I think I've given you more than a fair share of chances to really get to the gist of what you are saying or present some factual information to back up your claims but it's not forthcoming is it? Now back to your regularly scheduled tirade.



posted on Oct, 20 2009 @ 08:32 PM
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Originally posted by 1llum1n471
reply to post by A Fortiori
 


I would not say that skeptics are attempting to squelch these things rather provide a more rational foundation to begin examining the subject at hand, but I think you and I have argued for pages about this already. Perhaps it might be worthwhile looking at the section on Pyrrhonism in the Sextus Empiricus to understand one of the original meanings of skepticism. I'd also point to out the quote in my signature:


"What skeptical thinking boils down to is the means to construct, and to understand, a reasoned argument and--especially important--to recognize a fallacious or fraudulent argument. The question is not whether we like the conclusion that emerges out of a train of reasoning, but whether the conclusions follows from the premise or starting point and whether that premise is true."
- Carl Sagan


With all due respect to Carl Sagan... Skepsis means to examine, and it has for four thousand years prior to his birth, so he may be a rather bright lad but he didn't invent the term.

Just saying...




posted on Oct, 21 2009 @ 12:01 AM
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Originally posted by A Fortiori
With all due respect to Carl Sagan... Skepsis means to examine, and it has for four thousand years prior to his birth, so he may be a rather bright lad but he didn't invent the term.

Just saying...



Yes, but he did provide a rather beautiful explanation of it



posted on Oct, 21 2009 @ 05:40 AM
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Originally posted by 1llum1n471
I would not say that skeptics are attempting to squelch these things rather provide a more rational foundation ...
Marcello Truzzi, co-founder of SCICOP, once wrote:

“You asked me if CSICOP really does block inquiry. I very much think it has and still does. This to me is the main objection I have to so much CSICOP does and the way they do it, by acting not as mere attorneys for the orthodox but also pretending to be judge and jury for science".



posted on Oct, 21 2009 @ 06:01 AM
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James Randi...a Canadian idiot, by the way...



posted on Oct, 21 2009 @ 06:12 AM
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His style of attack is best suited to taking on...say, Benny Himmm..evangelical healer & also Canadian raised! Randi is a "sting" skeptic, creating situations, inserting himself into them...& then debunking with a specific prepared "exposure" scene ... to get a staged & planned result....typical 20th century, old school skeptic.



posted on Oct, 21 2009 @ 01:51 PM
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Originally posted by 1llum1n471

Originally posted by A Fortiori
With all due respect to Carl Sagan... Skepsis means to examine, and it has for four thousand years prior to his birth, so he may be a rather bright lad but he didn't invent the term.

Just saying...



Yes, but he did provide a rather beautiful explanation of it


It is a lovely explanation as long as you do not dismiss what you do not have the tools to evaluate....



posted on Oct, 21 2009 @ 05:43 PM
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Originally posted by jclmavg

Originally posted by 1llum1n471
I would not say that skeptics are attempting to squelch these things rather provide a more rational foundation ...
Marcello Truzzi, co-founder of SCICOP, once wrote:

“You asked me if CSICOP really does block inquiry. I very much think it has and still does. This to me is the main objection I have to so much CSICOP does and the way they do it, by acting not as mere attorneys for the orthodox but also pretending to be judge and jury for science".


I'm familiar with Truzzi and his works. He left CSICOP because he wanted to change it's charter and include pro-paranormal research which when voted on by the board, was not accepted. This idea was much suited to another organization and Truzzi went on to found the Zetetic Scholar journal. It boils down to a difference in philosophy which addresses your quote.



posted on Oct, 21 2009 @ 05:46 PM
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Originally posted by A Fortiori

Originally posted by 1llum1n471

Originally posted by A Fortiori
With all due respect to Carl Sagan... Skepsis means to examine, and it has for four thousand years prior to his birth, so he may be a rather bright lad but he didn't invent the term.

Just saying...



Yes, but he did provide a rather beautiful explanation of it


It is a lovely explanation as long as you do not dismiss what you do not have the tools to evaluate....


Agreed to a point, as we would only dive back into genetic fallacy if we continued on this track



posted on Oct, 21 2009 @ 06:17 PM
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Originally posted by secretnasaman
His style of attack is best suited to taking on...say, Benny Himmm..evangelical healer & also Canadian raised! Randi is a "sting" skeptic, creating situations, inserting himself into them...& then debunking with a specific prepared "exposure" scene ... to get a staged & planned result....typical 20th century, old school skeptic.


Yes, he is a more comedian skeptic, reminding me of Michael Moore or Bill Maher. They are, ironically, observational in their skepticism and not in depth as they take on easy hits using humor to belabor their point. Randi is not a SME in any of the fields he "debunks" and most of the people he speaks to have no idea if what he is saying is entirely true or just mostly true. This is where I take issue because he is receiving the same sort of trust and adoration received by the people he is debunking. It is quite ironic, actually.

James Randi could regurgitate a WIKI article on particle physics and people would think he really gets it, but does he? It is yet another slight of hand. People spend years of near constant study for their field of expertise, and it is those people that ought to be the mouthpiece in a skeptical analysis, IMO.



posted on Oct, 21 2009 @ 06:24 PM
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Originally posted by 1llum1n471
I'm familiar with Truzzi and his works. He left CSICOP because he wanted to change it's charter and include pro-paranormal research which when voted on by the board, was not accepted. This idea was much suited to another organization and Truzzi went on to found the Zetetic Scholar journal. It boils down to a difference in philosophy which addresses your quote.
Difference in philosophy? Gimme a break!

In Truzzi's own words (from Wiki) why he left:

Some criticism has also come from within the scientific community and at times from within CSI itself. Marcello Truzzi, one of CSICOP's co-founders, left the organization after only a short time, arguing that many of those involved "tend to block honest inquiry, in my opinion. Most of them are not agnostic toward claims of the paranormal; they are out to knock them. [...] When an experiment of the paranormal meets their requirements, then they move the goal posts."


CSICOP's Ray Hyman wrote re Truzzi's leaving:


"Complicating matters, Truzzi wanted to make the [CSICOP] publication an academic journal, giving all sides an equal chance to speak their mind on any given issue, but others in the [CSICOP] group were afraid that this could lead to the journal being taken over by the other side. The controversy over the purpose and goals of the magazine, plus personal differences with Paul Kurtz, resulted in Truzzi's resigning as editor and leaving CSICOP."


In short, Truzzi left CSICOP because there was no chance in hell that the "paranormal" was going to get an honest scientific evaluation. It was a debunking exercise. In fact, you almost admit to the problem by saying they were not going to allow "pro-paranormal research" which underscores Truzzi's point completely. It also shows the shallowness of your own convictions in this thread. Apparently you agree that research which is pro-paranormal should be shunned. But how can one be an honest skeptic when one refuses to look at all the evidence, both sides of the story? You seem to be saying that a "difference in philosophy" can serve as an excuse here. I don't think so.

CSICOP is hardly an example of good, honest scientific skepticism, Truzzi:

"Originally I was invited to be a co-chairman of CSICOP by Paul Kurtz. I helped to write the bylaws and edited their journal. I found myself attacked by the Committee members and board, who considered me to be too soft on the paranormalists. My position was not to treat protoscientists as adversaries, but to look to the best of them and ask them for their best scientific evidence. I found that the Committee was much more interested in attacking the most publicly visible claimants.... The major interest of the Committee was not inquiry but to serve as an advocacy body, a public relations group for scientific orthodoxy. The Committee has made many mistakes. My main objection to the Committee, and the reason I chose to leave it, was that it was taking the public position that it represented the scientific community, serving as gatekeepers on maverick claims, whereas I felt they were simply unqualified to act as judge and jury when they were simply lawyers."


Truzzi was right. They're a bunch of organised, bigoted pricks and their sole interest is defending their worldview.

[edit on 21-10-2009 by jclmavg]



posted on Oct, 21 2009 @ 06:58 PM
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reply to post by jclmavg
 


Hopefully you are finished editing your comment as it already has been updated several times while I was trying to formulate a response.

Is it time to play the Wiki card already?

How is this then?


Truzzi founded the skeptical journal Explorations and was invited to be a founding member of the skeptic organization CSICOP as its co-chairman with Paul Kurtz. Truzzi's journal became the official journal of CSICOP and was renamed The Zetetic, still under his editorship. About a year later, he left CSICOP after receiving a vote of no confidence from the group's Executive Council. Truzzi wanted to include pro-paranormal people in the organization and pro-paranormal research in the journal, but CSICOP felt that there were already enough organizations and journals dedicated to the paranormal. Kendrick Frazier became the editor of CSICOP's journal and the name was changed to Skeptical Inquirer.

Source: en.wikipedia.org...

What I said was correct. There was a difference in philosophy and there are different schools of skepticism.


Apparently you agree that research which is pro-paranormal should be shunned.


Please point me to exactly where I say that. I have said numerous times that I believe paranormal phenomenon deserves to be investigated. I'm sure you'll continue the usual straw man attack though.

CSICOP, like any organization has a charter. I'm not a member of CSICOP and would not be the correct person to defend their charter. However, your claim that they refuse to look at all evidence is quite misleading, but then again you've probably never opened a page of it's journal or viewed archives on the site. You also fail to to acknowledge the massive growth that CSICOP has gone through from it's embryonic state, but as always it is better it ignore such facts when building your sort of argument.



posted on Oct, 21 2009 @ 07:08 PM
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reply to post by A Fortiori
 


You keep falling back on that same argument even though we've already discussed that it is based on fallacy. You're also being quite hypocritical by playing the "only trust field experts" card which is a common complaint of paranormal investigators when they cannot have access to the scientific resources or expertise they need.



posted on Oct, 21 2009 @ 07:19 PM
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What I said was correct. There was a difference in philosophy and there are different schools of skepticism.
"Different schools of scepticism" is pretty much a non-sequitur. And keep the quotes coming, you keep underscoring Truzzi's point. CSICOP and their magazine were going to only be doing one-sided opinion pieces. An yep, that's what the public got.

Now tell me, how you can justify this in the name of "skepticism" when in fact skepsis means "enquiry"? How can there be any enquiry when all you want to do is publish a one-sided debunking story while refusing to look at the whole issue? Their magazine even has "enquirer" in its name!


Your "different schools of thought" explanation does not cut it. There does not exist a school of philosophical skepticism or scientific skepticism which says that a skeptic can ignore evidence whenever he pleases, close ears and eyes to opposing views and evidence, write one-sided articles while carefully picking and choosing evidence to arrive at the predetermined conclusion, and be a bigoted ass in the process.

If the above applies, you're a pathological disbeliever. And according to Truzzi, there were apparently plenty of those inside the CSICOP circles!


Please point me to exactly where I say that. I have said numerous times that I believe paranormal phenomenon deserves to be investigated. I'm sure you'll continue the usual straw man attack though.
There is no straw man since you seem to have no problem defending CSICOP's modus operandi, even arguing that their pseudo-skepticism is defensible in light of "different schools of skepticism".



However, your claim that they refuse to look at all evidence is quite misleading, but then again you've probably never opened a page of it's journal or viewed archives on the site.
Heh, I was subscribed for a year or so back in 1998. Needless to say, it was not worth the paper it was printed on.

When Truzzi says that many within CSICOP were "not agnostic toward claims of the paranormal; they are out to knock them", are we supposed to believe this is skepticism at its finest? To me, it seems no more than promotion of their own belief system.

[edit on 21-10-2009 by jclmavg]

[edit on 21-10-2009 by jclmavg]



posted on Oct, 21 2009 @ 07:34 PM
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reply to post by jclmavg
 


I wonder what use it is to reply to you if you cannot even read my responses properly
I'm glad you've researched the meaning of skeptic so here is another link to Wiki, your preferred source of information: en.wikipedia.org...


Now tell me, how you can justify this in the name of "skepticism" when in fact skepsis means "enquiry"? How can there be any enquiry when all you want to do is publish a one-sided debunking story while refusing to look at the whole issue?


First and foremost, I did not agree with your claim that CSICOP is "one-sided" so to ask me how I could justify it is being ridiculous. I'm not an expert on CSICOP but you can clearly see that they do examine both sides of the story which even your 1998 subscription, had you read it, should have shown. In the case of Truzzi as I mentioned they just voted not to promote pro-paranormal pieces. I wonder wh?. Could it be that they wanted to examine the claims thoroughly first? There are many studies that are considered pro-paranormal such as the SRI studies mentioned previously. Should CSICOP just take those findings at face value or perhaps wait and perform a proper analysis and investigation.



posted on Oct, 21 2009 @ 08:28 PM
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Originally posted by 1llum1n471
I'm judging from the style of your replies as a whole. You're very confrontational and comments or emoticons meant to lighten the mood only seem to make you explode.


Explode? The sensational language is coming from you. I already explained that those emoticons just reinforced a point I was making, which they did.


This is what I assumed your definition would be but it fails to take into account what makes science, as a whole, so amazing. Science builds upon itself and is continually exploring new areas and evolving. There is no status-quo in science. Anyone thinking like that is very quickly left in the trails. If you even new one scientist you would understood how fast science, as whole, is moving.


I am aware how fast science is moving, and it is beginning to quantify and validate the very things JREF is "skeptical" of, which just goes back to what I was saying about having preconceptions and being biased against CERTAIN ideas only.


I think I've given you more than a fair share of chances to really get to the gist of what you are saying or present some factual information to back up your claims but it's not forthcoming is it?


What are you talking about?




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