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Is Skeptic a bad word?

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posted on Dec, 23 2007 @ 11:05 PM
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In many posts that I read I find that the word “skeptic” is used almost like a cuss word, and for many I get this mental image that they actually spit after saying the word.

I feel we are all skeptics and what actually separates everyone from each other is the actual amount of empirical evidence needed to convince. Most heated debates that seem to go on page after page of posts could be condense down to the simple statement of “I need more empirical evidence than you to be convinced” This is all that basically separates the true skeptic from the total believers.

Frustration starts when a person who has reached their threshold of evidence to be convinced cannot come up with further empirical data that would be needed to convince others with the same level of belief. I find myself many times stating that I would fully believe in a subject if I had the right data to convince me. Majority of the time this statement gets totally disregarded, and further labeling of ignorance or denier gets placed on my posts.

I ask everyone to look at ATS as a whole and ask themselves if they believe in EVERY conspiracy, paranormal, UFO, alien contact, religious event etc that has ever been posted. If your answer is no, then I need to ask why not? This is especially for those who seem to have a certain passion about a particular subject that they believe in hands down. What is it about a topic that you believe so much in that you lack with other topics where you need a lot more empirical data to have the same level of belief?

This is where the Skeptic as many like to say comes into the picture for they tend to spread the same level of requirements across many different subjects to convince them it is the truth. Most skeptics have very inquiring minds and want to find the truth. They are not deniers as much as truth seekers, and to critically analyze a subject only does that subject justice it deserves.

I suggest that the next time you do not like a denier’s post ask them what would it take for them to believe and you might find that you would need the same in other subjects that you do not feel so passionate about.




[edit on 23-12-2007 by Xtrozero]




posted on Dec, 23 2007 @ 11:13 PM
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Hmm, careful, or Overlord might start banning a few more words.
Flagged, good post.



posted on Dec, 23 2007 @ 11:27 PM
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I am by and large a skeptic.

Skeptics often bring (albiet sometimes unwelcome) balance to a particular thesis or subject. A different perspective as it were.

We all are guilty of it from time to time. A topic that becomes so engrosing and interesting we lock into one particular viewpoint etc. Skeptics often help remove those blinders.

Even if we are not convinced that our viewpoint is wrong, skeptics force us to research and seek even more information in order to better understand and better defend our thesis etc.

As with everything in life there will be those that no amount of logic and persuasive arguments will reach and that often will present the skeptic with an often unpleasant choice: That is to walk away and leave the debate. In that scenario, both lose.



posted on Dec, 23 2007 @ 11:27 PM
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Honestly, I think that a freaking UFO could land or bigfoot could take a # on some people's front yard and they still wouldn't believe. I am just being quite blunt about that...



posted on Dec, 23 2007 @ 11:37 PM
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reply to post by Xtrozero
 



I always enjoy your posts Xtrozero.

I have had many experiences, but i don't force them down anyone's throat.

I am also a skeptic, even though I have experienced things myself.

The key to proving ones theory is to set about to disprove it yourself, this is what scientists do.



posted on Dec, 23 2007 @ 11:40 PM
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Well, to me the correct skeptical attitude is " I don't see that there is enough evidence to support that." The word skeptic gets a bad name because certain types of fundamentalist-materialists, status-quo-curbhuggers, small-dog-guarding-an-uninteresting-corner types have wrapped themselves in skepticism's glorious bloody shirt. For example, a couple of years ago I heard some zoologist speaking on the radio saying " There are no large undiscovered mammals ". Now (quite aside from wiggle room on the definition of "large"), this seems to me a textbook example of a falsely-so-called skeptical statement, that actually requires big assumptions. Skepticism requires few assumptions, and more propositions testable by investigations. Et cetera, anyway, that's my take on how the good thing "skeptic" can become a bad word, by association with petty clever lovers who'd rather make self-important pronouncements than humbly say " I haven't seen any evidence for large undiscovered mammals lately since the last one that turned out to be the head of a monkey sewed onto a seal "...



posted on Dec, 23 2007 @ 11:45 PM
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reply to post by Xtrozero
 


The way I see it, on these boards people tend to equate scepticism with someone who goes around debunking stuff. You know, those who go around disagreeing every word just for the sake of it. This is misconception, in my opinion, is why it seems like a bad word here...



posted on Dec, 23 2007 @ 11:57 PM
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Originally posted by Stormdancer777
reply to post by Xtrozero
 



I always enjoy your posts Xtrozero.

I have had many experiences, but i don't force them down anyone's throat.

I am also a skeptic, even though I have experienced things myself.

The key to proving ones theory is to set about to disprove it yourself, this is what scientists do.

Thanks Stormdancer,

I have walked into quite a few debates with a rather closed mind and finally walked away with a much more open mind, but just lacking that one needed link.

In these cases I'm just waiting on the final link to given me enough data to unequivocally believe.

I find SpeakerofTruth posts funny with



Honestly, I think that a freaking UFO could land or bigfoot could take a # on some people's front yard and they still wouldn't believe. I am just being quite blunt about that...


I have made this statement a few times “plop a dead alien on my kitchen table and I'll believe” in jest. What I mean here is in the case of intelligent aliens running all over the place is we can never just quite get one in public, and that the odds of intelligent life other than ours in the universe is extremely bad unless it came about in some other way then just accidental evolution, and so I would need some serious evidence.

But I have just about the reverse feelings in I see people fully believing in a topic with really nothing to support than very questionable evidence.



posted on Dec, 23 2007 @ 11:57 PM
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I looked up skeptic just cause I learn things I didn't realise that way,

4. (initial capital letter) Philosophy. a. a member of a philosophical school of ancient Greece, the earliest group of which consisted of Pyrrho and his followers, who maintained that real knowledge of things is impossible.
b. any later thinker who doubts or questions the possibility of real knowledge of any kind.

Wow I understand this concept. For instance I still am a believer, yet I think it is impossible to fully understand Biblical truths.

I just question everything, I was involved in a couple cults, also involved deep into New Age, yet I never fell for it hook line and sinker, and eventually fell away, but I do hold onto the good i find.



Also, sceptic.


[Origin: 1565–75; < LL scepticus thoughtful, inquiring (in pl. Scepticī the Skeptics) < Gk skeptikós, equiv. to sképt(esthai) to consider, examine (akin to skopeǐn to look; see -scope) + -ikos -ic]

thoughtful, inquiring to consider, examine, hmmm

dictionary.reference.com...


[edit on 113131p://bSunday2007 by Stormdancer777]



posted on Dec, 24 2007 @ 12:04 AM
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reply to post by Xtrozero
 



Hi Xtro, I had an experience with UFO's, but I sure can't prove it to anyone.



posted on Dec, 24 2007 @ 12:13 AM
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But I have just about the reverse feelings in I see people fully believing in a topic with really nothing to support than very questionable evidence.


Yea I know that one bothers me too,

How could we examine this without naming someone's pet theory?

What is it about you humans?

www.rubinghscience.org...




meme: (pron. 'meem') A contagious information pattern that replicates by parasitically infecting human minds and altering their behavior, causing them to pass on the pattern. (Term coined by Dawkins, by analogy with "gene".) Individual slogans, catch-phrases, melodies, icons, inventions, and fashions are typical memes. An idea or information pattern is not a meme until it causes someone to replicate it, to repeat it to someone else. All transmitted knowledge is memetic.


It is dogma, whether it is religious, political or conspirital, or scientific theory, they resist evidence and reason

But why?

Walking on egg shells here.

[edit on 123131p://bMonday2007 by Stormdancer777]



posted on Dec, 24 2007 @ 01:01 AM
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I think it's a word that describes a certain view of the world; and is a word that has been used to incorrectly describe people who want to push their agendas more than look at things with as little bias as possible(read: pseudo-skeptics).


I don't think it's a bad word, so much as it's been 'corrupted' by those who spit venom, and who most likely would dismiss any evidence contrary to their opinion on the mere fact that it's contrary to their opinion(which, of course, can't be wrong).

To the skeptics(and, for that matter, believers) who are willing to put their egos at the door, look at things with an open mind(but not so open as to have their brains fall out; as the saying goes), and engage in polite debate: Good job!



posted on Dec, 24 2007 @ 01:23 AM
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isnt every1 a skeptic in a sense? I know I have some things that i am skeptical of and other things that i am not. skeptic isn't a bad word. its just a word people tend to look at without much consideration of what it really means.



posted on Dec, 24 2007 @ 01:24 AM
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Originally posted by SpeakerofTruth
Honestly, I think that a freaking UFO could land or bigfoot could take a # on some people's front yard and they still wouldn't believe. I am just being quite blunt about that...


Same here. Skepticism can be a loose-cannon that people wield against every topic under the sun. While most people are better of exercising healthy skepticism for any 'out there' topics, it's still important to keep an open mind. A skeptic often decides before any conversation whether a topic is going to be accepted into their paradigm of reality. If something stresses or even shatters that paradigm, the skeptic will never under any circumstance, barring personal experience, grant the possibility of legitimacy for a great many issues. Some call this scientific procedure. I call it inability to cope.

Any person with a 120 or higher I.Q. is probably capable of exercising judgement, but critical thinking is something we take for granted.

Skeptics use critical thinking in order to outline the reason why things PROBABLY don't exist, where-as in other cases people are presenting arguments for the existence of ______. In every case, the skeptic is incapable of evolving the investigation into existence of ______ because they refuse to belief that ______ is real. This can be a tricky thing for 'believers' to deal with, even if we don't genuinely believe something, we might find it impossible to convince the skeptic that _____ is actually plausible, if not definitely real.

This is why we have skeptics for UFO's, a photograph and filmed phenomena, skeptics for the existence of life after death, despite scientific investigation into the matter (a life force does leave the body at death, it's been observed.) We have skeptics for the existence of chem trails, despite investigations done on the matter proving that chemicals are being sprayed.

Open-mindedness allows critical thinking and the integration of new ideas, even if those ideas stretch belief systems etc. If something is logically sound, skeptics should not have a hard time accepting it, but the most logically sound explanations for 'paranormal' phenomena I have seen shot down again and again as 'impossible' - especially topics that have not been defined by a status quo.

Skeptic is not a curse word, but skepticism can be overtly overdone to the point of outright denial. That's how I feel, that's what I observe, and that's what will continue to model my interaction with skeptics.

[edit on 24-12-2007 by NewWorldOver]



posted on Dec, 24 2007 @ 01:45 AM
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Damn sceptic comes in the yard some nights, roots up everything. Makes a real mess.

Think I heard him up on the roof last night. Scared the children. I went for my anathema but he was too quick, hightailed it before I could fire.

I'm setting me out some snares tonight, couple of non sequiters and an argument from authority. That should do the job. So long as he ain't got one o' them Occam razors.

I'm gonna get that varmint.



posted on Dec, 24 2007 @ 08:17 AM
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Well, there are two kinds of skeptics out there.

1.) Healthy Skeptic- A person who has doubts as to somethings validity and truth, who properly and politely requests information or goes about seeking information in order to gain a better understanding of the subject at hand, so that he can, in his own mind, deem it true or false, depending on the reality of the subject.

2.) Hated Skeptic- A person who has already decided that something doesn't exist, or is not true, and considers everyone who believes otherwise to be either ignorant or a liar. His purpose is to convince other people that the subject at hand is completely ridiculous, and is not even worth being discussed.


This distinction needs to be made and kept in mind when talking about skepticism at all.

I am one of those people who whole heartedly believes in certain paranormal phenomena. You couldn't convince me otherwise because I have experienced it firsthand.
I am usually up for a discussion with a Healthy Skeptic, mostly because after the discussion, while they may not have been convinced, they don't act like I'm stupid or call me a fraud/liar.

Calling people things like that tends to eventually make people avoid you.

As far as believing in things without substantial evidence, some of us only have our firsthand accounts, and those don't really count for much on the internet. When someone talks about their story, I don't challenge them about its validity, I just accept the story for what it is.

A story that may or may not have happened.

I don't say it can't have happened, mostly because I've experienced things similar, and I don't say it did happen, because I wasn't there myself.

I am a believer in psychic and certain paranormal phenomena.

Will I always believe in said phenomena? Yes.

Will I always enjoy a discussion with a Healthy Skeptic? Yes.

Will I simply blow off and shun a 'discussion' with a Hated Skeptic? Yes.



posted on Dec, 24 2007 @ 08:59 AM
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Originally posted by watch_the_rocks
Hmm, careful, or Overlord might start banning a few more words.
Flagged, good post.


As far as I'm aware, no words are banned on ATS, other than unnecessary expletives. Not sure where you are coming from with that at all.

James Randi is the root of all skeptic image problems as far as I am concerned. Whilst I'm all for exposing frauds I personally find the guy to be arrogant, confrontational and unnecessarily dismissive. He may be right in alot of what he says, but he just seems to go about it the wrong way.



posted on Dec, 24 2007 @ 09:01 AM
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reply to post by Astyanax
 


That's pretty funny.


When I first joined ATS I got the distinct impression that skeptics were considered to be debunkers. I wrote a post in a thread explaining the difference between the two. At any rate, the word "skeptic" sounds like a bad word and sounds just as tasty as "debunker" does. Not tasty at all. That's probably one reason why many people use the two words interchangeably.

I am a skeptic, yet I am also a believer who searches for answers. This means that most of the time I'm analyzing and trying to get to a point where things make sense. There are no known answers to some beliefs and I have accepted that. However, when it comes to another person's or an organization's account of an event, if the story doesn't track, then I will definitely form questions that will need answers. Whenever my belief in something is requested, whenever my support or vote is requested, I need to know beforehand if I am investing in something that true and that stands up to scrutiny. In many cases supporting evidence is scarce or non-existent and a leap of faith is required in order to move forward. I have no problem with that so long as there isn't any evidence that would give me reason to pause. Intuition is also a factor, if something doesn't feel right, I have to find out why. On the other hand, if something does feel right or too good to be true, depending on the circumstances, I'll scrutinize the situation in those instances as well. It's very easy to be tricked, yet at the same time no one wants to spoil a good time, a good story, or good information. A healthy dose of skepticism is by definition a good thing. Too much skepticism can stop any investigation and search for truth dead in its tracks. Knowing when to scrutinize and knowing when to take a leap of faith are skills that have to be developed, though, I'd imagine that some people are talented in that respect. Also, there are people that I trust, people who would not intentionally lead me astray. I don't unnecessarily scrutinize them or what they present me with because they have earned my trust and are reliable.

A debunker to me is someone who seeks to disprove what they have already discerned as not being true. That is, a debunker is a skeptic that has already gone as far as they are going to go in trying to understand something. Because of that their mission then becomes not a search for truth, but a quest to limit the efforts of others in their search for truth. Efforts that entail persuading others that certain things are not true because the debunker has already done the work and has arrived at the conclusion that those things are not true. In my opinion, debunkers just as weak in motive as unquestioning believers are. To me, they are one in the same.

To get to a point where questions are no longer necessary is a sign of repression. Debunkers and unquestioning believers both share this trait. A skeptic remains open to possibilities that may even turn out to be undesirable truths. The mark of a good skeptic is one who is open to the truths that others have discovered. The skeptic will not get in the way of truths others have come to know. However, a skeptic will, as a skeptic should, seek out the truth for himself or herself. A skeptic searches for truth continually, and this is why some debunkers and unquestioning believers see skeptics and their eternal quest for truth the same as having been condemned to Hell. On this point I sometimes agree with the debunkers and unquestioning believers. For they have already found their truths. For the skeptic truths only lead to greater truths; truth is not an end unto itself. And that's why, to some, Heaven may not seem to be a possible destination for a skeptic. However, as a skeptic, I believe that it is.



posted on Dec, 24 2007 @ 11:09 AM
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Originally posted by Xtrozero
In many posts that I read I find that the word “skeptic” is used almost like a cuss word, and for many I get this mental image that they actually spit after saying the word.

Very thoughtful original post and follow-up comments….

I don't think we are going to see a dramatic negative shift in the meaning of the word "skeptic" -- at least the type of shift we have seen in the meaning of the word "liberal".

When I was growing up, "liberal" was synonymous with the word "generous" -- basically a very good thing. Now, the word "liberal" is more synonymous with the word "spend-thrift". Nobody wants to be liberal, including me!

I don’t see that happening with the word “skeptic”. It is important to be skeptical. Check out this thread from the 9/11 conspiracies forum. (I was reading that thread right before this one.) Is the photograph, at the start of that thread, real? Or are you skeptical?

If you are not skeptical enough, you become "gullible", which has such a negative connotation that most people will steer clear. If you had to choose, would you rather be gullible? Or close-minded? I think most people would opt for the latter IMO.

It all goes back to epistemology, which is such a dense subject that I hesitate to drag it into this discussion.



posted on Dec, 24 2007 @ 11:18 AM
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Originally posted by Voidmaster

2.) Hated Skeptic- A person who has already decided that something doesn't exist, or is not true, and considers everyone who believes otherwise to be either ignorant or a liar. His purpose is to convince other people that the subject at hand is completely ridiculous, and is not even worth being discussed.


Does this go the other way? Maybe skeptic- haters

I mean there are people on here that have accused me of being a disinformation agent (which pretty much means liar) because of my opinions. I have also recently been called a hardcore skeptic in the chemtrail thread sections because I come from a weather background and know more than the average ATS'er.

I try to keep an open mind here unless I have proof or knowledge that can debunk or prove something is unplausible




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