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Conspiracies And Skeptics

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posted on Sep, 8 2005 @ 11:54 PM

PODcast: Conspiracies And Skeptics
Majic examines the symbiotic relationship between conspiracy theory and skepticism.

length: 06:57
file: atspodcast_112.mp3
size: 2041k
feed: ats

posted on Sep, 9 2005 @ 12:10 AM
Ha! Success!

There were three unsuccessful upload attempts before this one. Sorry for the confusion on the feed.

This attempt succeeded, bringing you all 6:57 of Majic goodliness.

Of course, opinions from those skeptical of this podcast are always welcome.

posted on Sep, 9 2005 @ 12:50 AM
The World Of Majic: Conspiracies And Skeptics

(JEJ: It's Majic time)

(The World Of Majic® theme intro)

Welcome to The World Of Majic®. I'm your host, Majic. That's M-A-J-I-C, coming to you via the Member PODcast network.

Secrets, schemes, plots, cover-ups, lies, deception, power plays, the mysterious Hidden Hand. These are the bread and butter of conspiracy theory, and a passion for conspiracy theory is the one thing above all else which defines the online community.

On ATS, we have it all, from shadow governments to the New World Order, from UFOs to alien autopsies, from secret military bases to secret military spacecraft, technology to terrorism, Martians to Masons, chupacabras to CHUDs, psychics to psychos, almost nothing is outside the reach of our many forums.

While we can marvel at the wide range of amazing theories that are put forward by our members, there is no one among us who can honestly claim that they are all factual. Heck, a lot of them contradict themselves, let alone other theories.

Consequently, where there are conspiracy theories, there will naturally be skeptics. I consider myself to be a skeptic, as do many other ATSers who've been around the block a few times. It's inevitable really.

As I like to say: “Skeptics are born of experience.” And indeed we are. The fact that one of our website administrators is named “SkepticOverlord” is probably not a coincidence, either.

So what is a skeptic? There are many different connotations for the word, but the American Heritage® Dictionary of the English Language defines a skeptic as “One who instinctively or habitually doubts, questions, or disagrees with assertions or generally accepted conclusions.”

That definition holds skepticism to be an instinct or habit, and certainly a skeptic does well to make skepticism a habit. The more intriguing aspect of the definition is the notion that skeptics typically question generally accepted conclusions. In other words, a skeptic is not one to adopt an opinion or belief simply because others have done so.

In fact, in my opinion anyway, a good skeptic becomes suspicious in the face of widespread agreement. Why? Because when enough people agree on something, there's a very good chance that most of them are only doing so to conform to a social norm.

Anyone who studies human behavior is aware of such phenomena as herd behavior and groupthink. The skeptic, by simply challenging the acceptance of popular opinion, also challenges these behaviors. Because they are instinctive, however, doing this exposes the skeptic to hostility.

Not all groups are tolerant of dissent, and history is rife with cautionary tales of what can happen when skepticism is not combined with discretion.

Fortunately, with the rise of democratic ideals, the Scientific Method, the veneration of free thought as a consequence of the Enlightenment and the forces of social evolution, skepticism has come into its own as an accepted and often welcome component of intellectual discussion.

Some skeptics go further than being observers and commentators, and pursue careers as “debunkers”. A debunker is a skeptic who doesn't just express doubt when claims are made, but actively seeks to prove the falsehood of them.

On ATS, debunkers inspire a wide variety of reactions, from resentment to grudging respect to admiration to outright anger. The very nature of a debunker's work tends to bring an air of controversy to their endeavors, but dedicated debunkers seem to thrive on it.

While it can be upsetting to have a well-known debunker come into a thread and make mincemeat of your theories, it's important to bear in mind that when debunkers succeed, it's because the theories could not stand up to scrutiny. It's easy to blame the debunker for that, but let's face it, it's not their fault that your theories didn't add up.

The other side of the debunker coin which is often overlooked is the fact that debunkers can also lend credence to theories which are rooted in truth. If a debunker takes on your theory and fails to debunk it, that may not prove it's true, but it certainly gives some weight to the possibility that it is. In cases like that, a so-called “debunker attack” may actually be reinforcements coming to the aid of your theory.

Thus, despite the scorn they often receive as their reward, debunkers perform a service vital to denying ignorance, and all you debunkers out there should know that I respect that. My only caveat is that I urge debunkers to do their best to be nice when they cut a theory to shreds. But as I like to say: “Brutal honesty is better than gentle deception.”

Newer members often complain about skeptics and debunkers, and claim that they may drive away people who may bring truth to the forums. The reasonable rebuttal is that those who bring truth to the forums need not fear skeptics and debunkers, but welcome them.

After all, if a claim is true, it is impossible to prove false -- unless the proof itself is a falsehood. The remedy, of course, is to be skeptical of all things, including so-called proofs.

Thus a skeptic is, in the end, a person who can never really be sure of anything. For some people, the idea of living with so much uncertainty is terrifying. For others, like myself, the idea is liberating. Why? Because I'm always free to change my mind, and to the extent I maintain skepticism, I will never become a slave to my own prejudices.

Skepticism is not for everyone, that much is clear. But for those who understand its importance and recognize its benefits, no other path is possible.

I encourage all my fellow ATSers to be skeptics.

Each of us will do so in our own way, but when you get down to it, the essence of being a skeptic lies in realizing that, just like everyone else, you can be wrong.

For more information on Conspiracies and Skepticism, visit any forum on, because both are what ATS is all about.

This has been another edition of The World Of Majic® brought to you by the Member PODcast network.

Until next time, remember this:

The great rock star, philosopher and on-stage gourmet Ozzy Osbourne gave the world what I call Ozzy's Uncertainty Principle, and here it is:

If you think you're right, you're wrong, and if you think you're wrong, you're right.

Be well, friends.

( The World Of Majic® theme outro)

posted on Sep, 9 2005 @ 12:16 PM
Well, seeing as the most generally accepted conclusions are not conspiracy theories, I'd be inclined to say that it is the conspiracy theorists who are largely the skeptics. Seeing as they are skeptical of the mainstream assertions regarding certain events, aren't they skeptical as well? I don't think there is a difference between conspiracy theorists and skeptics. Skepticism applies to everything, not just as a response to conspiracy theories.

posted on Sep, 9 2005 @ 12:27 PM
Skepticism In All Things, Including Skepticism

Originally posted by Jamuhn
Skepticism applies to everything, not just as a response to conspiracy theories.

I'm skeptical of that.*

* In this context, that means I agree.

posted on Sep, 9 2005 @ 03:31 PM
Ack! I loved that, Majic! The freedom of skepticism! I am well aware of the feeling of liberation, not being tied to any one belief, but I've never consciously thought of it in such terms and don't think I could have said it as well, even if I tried!

Thus a skeptic is, in the end, a person who can never really be sure of anything. For some people, the idea of living with so much uncertainty is terrifying. For others, like myself, the idea is liberating. Why? Because I'm always free to change my mind, and to the extent I maintain skepticism, I will never become a slave to my own prejudices.

Thanks for posting the text here as well.

posted on Sep, 9 2005 @ 05:37 PM
Another excellent podcast!

You really do come up wuth some good stuff mate keep it up

posted on Sep, 11 2005 @ 01:40 AM
Well done and worth the time to say so.

I would have given it a perfect 10 except that Ozzy Osborne gives me the jerks.

Although I credit you with the discovery of "fuzzy" philosophy, I deduct 9 points for Ozzy.

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