Pseudoskeptics and Disinformants on ATS

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posted on Jan, 24 2009 @ 06:21 PM
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Originally posted by Mintwithahole.
I'll bet I'm on that disinformant list as well. If someone makes a bizarre claim or says something out of the ordinary is going to happen I think I have the right to question it and see if it has any basis in reality. What I see time and time again here on the hallowed pages of ATS is people making ridiculous claims and then attacking those who ask for proof. Wasn't it Carl Sagan who said extraordinary claims require extraordinary proof?


I'm thinking that you and a few others on here are misunderstanding the intent of the post. You guys are twisting it and turning it into something other that what it was intended to do. Sky was never saying that people making 'bizarre' claims with no proof and labeling those that oppose as disinfo agents were legit posters and threads. IF the post is bizarre then it deserves to be scrutinized by all.

What Sky is stating is that when people don't just question but do so without even trying to discuss the topic fairly. They attack and belittle with the sole intent to destroy a thread.




posted on Jan, 24 2009 @ 06:22 PM
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Related Thread:
US-Psyops Teams posting on the Internet

Other threads of interest relate to how during the election phase, a lot of site traffic to ATS happened to come from the rep and dem convention centers.



posted on Jan, 24 2009 @ 06:50 PM
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Fair enough... except I don't much like the term "laws". They're much more like rules of thumb which work in most of the places we live in.

Are you saying that Newton's "laws" are the be-all and end-all? They work in our immediate environment well enough until you start making very sensitive measurements. Then you have to get Einsteinian about stuff to make the numbers come out.

As a first approximation, Newton's laws worked fine for a couple of centuries. Calling them "laws" is a stretch though. How people love rules.

Einstein's theory of gravitation attempts to tell us much more about why gravitation works, and I think like any other theory, it'll last for a while and be superseded.

All we can ever do is tell ourselves stories about the world. As long as those stories are useful (provide a basis for prediction), they're fine. Except people fall in love with them and then say "that can't happen".

And of course, there's all kinds of pseudoscience that gets the thumbs up from the scientific establishment. If you call yourself an "evolutionary psychologist" you can just make stuff up and as long as it sounds vaguely scientific, people will swallow it.

What gets me is the whole idea that science is done by incorruptible people in lab coats striving constantly for truth and going wherever the evidence takes them.

The reality is that scientists are fallible human beings living in a political world. Certain ways of thinking are rewarded. There have been plenty of instances where evidence has been manipulated either for economic or personal gain.

Because it's you, Phage, I'll post a couple of links to illustrate my point.

cura.free.fr...
www.sheldrake.org...&C/controversies/Dawkins.html

I wanted to find a particular article about Spallanzani, who discovered that bats navigate using their ears. No-one at the time understood the idea of ultrasound, so the French Academicians trashed his results and put scientific enquiry into the subject back 200 years. It wasn't until sonar was invented in the early part of the 20th century that his experiments and results were unearthed and re-evaluated.

What particularly interests me is that some people find the whole idea of investigating certain things threatening. It's a peculiar and mildly worrying reaction. James Randi actually had the audacity to call Brian Josephson a scoundrel for hypothesising along those lines. Dawkins is similarly suspect. He thinks he proved the theory of evolution because you can write a computer program called EVOLUTION (his captials), in which collections of bits or pixels cluster together, assume various forms, and mutate into other forms.

He's happy to attack what he sees as other people's assumptions while at the same time assuming that this proves anything beyond success with a simple computer program.

And he doesn't want to examine evidence that might challenge his entrenched beliefs:


The previous week I had sent Richard copies of some of my papers, published in peer-reviewed journals, so that he could look at the data.

Richard seemed uneasy and said, “I don’t want to discuss evidence”. “Why not?” I asked. “There isn’t time. It’s too complicated. And that’s not what this programme is about.”


Ultimately, sceptics like Truzzi are useful, because they at least take an honest approach to the data: sceptics like Dawkins and the Appallying Randy aren't, because they hinder the development of new paradigms, usually by suppressing or "debunking" evidence without properly examining it, and often by resorting to poisonous ad hominem attacks. Thomas Kuhn, who as a physicist had a passing acquaintance with the scientific method, noted that scientists tend to be quite reactionary and slow to recognise that a particular theory is coming to the end of its useful life. Most scientists are happy to work with a little corner of current theory, whereas the truly ground-breaking work tends to come out of left field as a complete surprise.



posted on Jan, 24 2009 @ 07:13 PM
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AAhh what the hell...

One of the best-known "skeptics" (although I think "professonal debunker" is a more honest term) was Philip Klass. My favourite historian, Richard Dolan, shows Klass to be the unscrupulous disinformant he undoubtedly is, here:

keyholepublishing.com...

And I think I've already mentioned on this thread that The Appalling Randy is suspiciously well-funded. I wonder why? Well, if these videos are anything to go by, there might be good reason for discouraging research into areas that have already been used for nefarious purposes.

uk.youtube.com...

The second video is particularly interesting because a corroborative witness shows up.

uk.youtube.com...

And, yes, I know I'll take some abuse for posting this. Personally, I'm in a "don't know/interesting" frame of mind with respect to these guys. But it is at least an internally consistent argument.

[edit on 24-1-2009 by rich23]



posted on Jan, 24 2009 @ 07:34 PM
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Oh yeah..It's absolutely true, thank you Skyfloating for this thread, because I've definitely come across disinfo agents many times on ATS. It's always the pattern that exposes their little operation.

I'm glad to find out that ATS is open about this. I see them in all threads, especially the UFO, technology, and research boards. Truth is.. ATS is a haven for NSA, DoD, and CIA agents. I think that they mainly come here to see where the public mindset is.



posted on Jan, 24 2009 @ 07:35 PM
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reply to post by rich23
 

Newton's theories continue to work fine after more than three hundred years and they will continue to work. There are cases where relativity must be accounted for (e.g. the GPS system) but within our physical realm his theories have become so well established and reliable that they are considered scientific laws. Consider them approximations if you must but in science the term law has a specific meaning, as does the term theory.

It isn't fair to link physical science to things involving the human psyche. If you can't, at some point, say "under these conditions, this will always happen" it isn't science. I don't believe it will ever be possible to do this (prove me wrong
). I'm not saying psychology (or even parapsychology) has no value, just that there is no way to nail down human behavior (or that other stuff) to the rigors of physical science. It's a venture doomed to failure by either side. I don't understand why some (on either side) feel deception is required except for the obvious reasons of profit and prestige. But when deception and deceit (on either side) is found it is important that it be exposed. You'll notice I don't often, if ever, get involved with this sort of discussion because in the end it is usual only a matter of personal perception and opinion. There is nothing to discuss.

At the risk of being oxymoronic, I have faith in physical science. New, ground breaking concepts have always been subject to close scrutiny. As I said, that is the way science works. The concepts with value do rise to the surface if they can survive the scrutiny. While I'm not a "trained" scientist (too lazy), I've had a fascination with science ever since I can remember and I've been fortunate to have close relationships with some highly trained scientists. I have not met one who does not have some ground breaking concept that they are working on; one that their peers consider "out there". I have not met one who, kicking and screaming, is not delighted to have some off the wall idea demonstrated to be valid. The trouble is that to those who hold those concepts dear, the kicking and screaming (valid or not) is tough to work through. But without it...



posted on Jan, 24 2009 @ 08:51 PM
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Gosh. I'm honoured. You're usually quite terse.


Originally posted by Phage
reply to post by rich23
 

Newton's theories continue to work fine after more than three hundred years and they will continue to work. There are cases where relativity must be accounted for (e.g. the GPS system)


Which is, pardon me, exactly the point I was making. However, to say that they will continue to work is, like it or not, an act of faith. There could be all sorts of strangeness in the universe that we don't know about yet that might, over millennia, erode the cosy mathematical certainty afforded us by Newtonian mechanics.

I note that, perhaps out of politeness to me, you've gone from calling them "laws" to "theories". Now at school, I was taught Newton's Laws of Motion. Nowadays my position is that laws are prescriptive in character, and hence have no place in science. I carefully didn't refer to Newton's theories because they seemed like just a short set of descriptive rules without an underlying theory. This isn't intended as a criticism of Newton: he was, as are we all, a man of his time.


Consider them approximations if you must but in science the term law has a specific meaning, as does the term theory.


I do consider them approximations: and you very thoughtfully provided the GPS example to show that they are such.

If you can go into the meanings you allude to above in greater detail, I'll be very interested.


It isn't fair to link physical science to things involving the human psyche.


Phage, I'm surprised at you. Don't you see how petulant that looks?

And actually, it is not only fair to link the two, there is a school of quantum physics that believes it is impossible to do otherwise.


If you can't, at some point, say "under these conditions, this will always happen" it isn't science.


That's your opinion, and a rather dogmatic one if you'll forgive me for saying so. People love rules, they love certainty, and one of the reasons I disdain the term "law" when it comes to science is that people are apt to confuse the descriptive function of something like Newton's Third Law of Motion with the prescriptive function of the laws which constrain our society.

The major problems I have with your statement above are, one, use of the word always: and two, the phrase "under these conditions", which requires a list of conditions. How exhaustive must this list be? Presumably, the longer the list, the less useful the law. How long is a long enough list of conditions? This long? This long? I hope you don't misinterpret my having a bit of fun with this as any kind of personal dig. I just don't think things are as cut-and-dried as you'd like them to be.


I don't believe it will ever be possible to do this (prove me wrong
).


If you developed a machine to alter the weather, how would you do controlled experiments? Where and what would be the control? How would you evaluate the results? Tricky, isn't it? I don't know. I'm just throwing stuff out there.


I'm not saying psychology (or even parapsychology) has no value, just that there is no way to nail down human behavior (or that other stuff) to the rigors of physical science.


I think it's important to distinguish between the vagaries of human behaviour and the science of what actually constitutes a human being. I've been doing t'ai chi long enough to be certain in my own mind that the current scientific paradigm has to change. My personal experiences tell me that the science I've been taught is not enough. Not by a long chalk. I want scientists to start looking into it properly, because I experience unpleasant cognitive dissonance between my universe and the description I get of it from those who would call themselves authorities.

For further details, have a look at this thread: funny how stuff comes around again on here, isn't it?

I said earlier on we tell ourselves stories. Part of that is using the current hot technology as a metaphor to explain the world around us. Descartes compared the yelps of a dog in pain to the grinding of gears. We've had a long time thinking of ourselves and the universe as machines, and this metaphor has been overtaken by the new hot technology, the computer. We're currently pushing this as far as it will take us, and gradually moving into metaphors of pure information, where the universe is actually represented as data. i've noticed this as an emerging trend (please don't ask for references!) and I find it a somewhat hopeful sign.

Whatever, we will soon have to move away from materialism. It's running out of road as a useful way to represent the universe, and it's an absolute hindrance when it comes to trying to figure out what human beings are.

Now one aspect of scientific history that I find fascinating is the tendency of anyone who posits the idea of a "life force" to be attacked, quite viciously, by their colleagues. Wilhelm Reich was the last well-known guy to get this treatment. Denounced as a charlatan, imprisoned and jailed. I suspect he'll be seen as a figure akin to Galileo in a couple of hundred years' time.

But the viciousness of the attacks and a consistent refusal to look at the data - it's not rational. Sheldrake's on the end of it at the moment, and I don't necessary agree with his theories, but I'd say he's gathering useful data and certainly chipping away at the foundations of materialism, which, make no mistake, is going to have to go if we're to move to a new and more inclusive paradigm. To say that this stuff is not susceptible to scientific inquiry shows a startling lack of faith, considering your willingness to grant scientific descriptive rules the same power as prescriptive laws.


You'll notice I don't often, if ever, get involved with this sort of discussion


Indeed, as noted at the top of this post. I'm honoured.


because in the end it is usual only a matter of personal perception and opinion. There is nothing to discuss.


I've been lucky enough to study briefly with the only Westerner to become a lineage Master in various Taoist arts. For someone unfamiliar with the culture, it's hard to put across how extraordinary that is: but he's the first one in about 4,000 years. He can produce, reliably, truly extraordinary effects, and part of his teaching is done through direct mind-to-mind transmission. More accurately, it's body-to-body transmission, because he's able to produce unmistakable sensations inside one's body from a considerable distance.

i get fed up with being told I'm lying or deluded when I simply try to describe his teaching methods. Don't go there.

My point is that he can produce these effects quite reliably. As far as suggestion goes... He was transmitting chi in such a way as to open a pathway along the spine. To me, it felt like a metal rod was being pushed down the inside of my spinal cord. There was no pain, but a sensation of pressure and an unmistakably metallic feel. He didn't say anything about what we were supposed to feel. It was only about five years later that I found out that there's a tradition of five elements in chi gung, and metal is the element associated with the energies of the brain and spine. No-one mentioned the word "metal", no-one discussed it at the time - yet apparent corroboration showed up in unrelated reading years later.

Can you give me a solid reason why scientists aren't investigating this?

(Edit: not my personal experience - I mean this whole field. Traditional Chinese Medicine uses the same model, some of their doctors use similar methods, but we in our infinite Western arrogance, whoops, wisdom, write it off as superstitious mumbo jumbo.)


At the risk of being oxymoronic, I have faith in physical science.


That is charmingly and touchingly clear. I have faith in almost nothing. I'm more inclined to listen to what Bruce Frantzis (www.energyarts.com) has to say about things because he has demonstrated abilities that others don't have, and because the stories he tells me make my world more comprehensible and even predictable - to the extent that, if you do the practice, results follow.


New, ground breaking concepts have always been subject to close scrutiny.


And often unwarranted derision. Check my other thread, I think there may be a link to the article about how bats echolocate.


As I said, that is the way science works. The concepts with value do rise to the surface if they can survive the scrutiny.


Or they can be buried for 200 years.

Look at some of my posts. with any luck you'll reach the conclusion that I'm all for rigour. for reasons of my own I'm impatient for a new paradigm that copes with both physics and the mysteries of consciousness and I think it may not be too far away. But ignoring data and treating descriptive rules as prescriptive laws is not going to get us anywhere.

And while I am glad you know and like a lot of scientists (I'm too lazy too, and too useless at maths, even though I'm a musician and they're supposed to go together) are they really all involved in groundbreaking work?

I hope you check out that thread. There's some stuff on there you might find interesting.

[edit on 24-1-2009 by rich23]



posted on Jan, 24 2009 @ 09:02 PM
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100% agree, and never was it more apparent that during this months esculation in the gaza conlict, where pro isreal people were using various propeganda fom places like this www.honestreporting.com...



posted on Jan, 25 2009 @ 12:18 AM
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IF the post is bizarre then it deserves to be scrutinized by all.

What Sky is stating is that when people don't just question but do so without even trying to discuss the topic fairly. They attack and belittle with the sole intent to destroy a thread.


I got exactly what he was saying. As I am questioning...who decides what is bizarre and what isn't? Someone saying nuclear weapons aren't real is quite bizarre. Regardless, he has the freedom to beliebe and speak. I spoke against. I discussed my very own workings with the weapons (was a 2W2 at Minot for 6 years). Shortly after, I was dubbed an agent and there was no changing their mind. That's what I am saying. You said if something is bizarre then by all means we can question it. I disagree...we have the right and should question anything regardless of it being bizarre or not. What complicates this further is that the second one determines somehting bizare doesn't make it so. We all have our opinions. I just find it ridiculous that when I disagree with something, I am a disinfo agent.

-Kyo



posted on Jan, 27 2009 @ 09:55 PM
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reply to post by KyoZero
 


Unfortunately there are a lot of dumb people, on both sides of the fence if you like, posting on this board. Look at the "something strange in Catlett Va" thread. People are lining up to attack someone who's not making any outrageous claims.

It's possible - perhaps even probable - that one or more of them are agents of some agency or other. I suspect that if you looked at how each individual posts, you'd find that some seem like rounded human beings and some just come out to post vitriol against a hapless victim. It's possible that these are online personae created for disinfo purposes.

That's the way I'd do it, and I consider myself no more than averagely devious.

Don't worry about being accused of being an agent. People smart enugh to actually work out who the agents are, are not likely to accuse them directly.

As someone else remarked, disinfo agents have a pattern, and some distinguish themselves with unflagging energy and resources when it comes to "debunking" an idea, a post, or a person.



posted on Jan, 27 2009 @ 10:28 PM
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reply to post by rich23
 



some distinguish themselves with unflagging energy and resources when it comes to "debunking" an idea, a post, or a person.


I concur

Such was the pattern I was referring to



posted on Jan, 28 2009 @ 05:34 AM
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Honestly, I think a lot of people who do nothing but attack others just think it's fun. You see that on all kinds of websites. I have my doubts that the government is running a secret disinformation campaign on sites like deviantart, gamefaqs, 4chan, and furaffinity.

Yet you get the same kind of behavior. The internet's full of drama like that. Generally it doesn't get too personal around here, which is to the place's credit, in my opinion.

I again ask: why would anyone bother to try to suppress threads on ATS? The only people who visit ATS are either suspicious of government activity or outright anti-government, or they're the kind of hardcore (America F- yeah) conservative that won't be swayed by anything on here (some might be trolls, others might be here for discussions on religion and the paranormal, and branch out in to the general threads from time to time.). So much stuff on here is mutually contradictory that only a small fraction of it can be true, and, since so much of everything on here is discussed at length, it's a fair approximation that the truth doesn't stand out.

If anyone even has it. I certainly don't claim to.

I don't think it would matter to nebulous nefarious conspirators if all their secrets were laid out plain as day on here; ATS is where information goes to die. A bunch of people respond to any given novel thread, some believe every word, some deny it, with or without valid reasons, the discussion goes nowhere, and 50 pages later, people lose interest. Then, years later an identical thread appears and the cycle repeats. And that's just when we get some real new content. A big part of ATS's traffic is just alarmist fads. If it isn't LHC about to blow up the world, it's 2012, timewave theory, or the latest high-profile prediction. The site's already lost interest in all that but 2012, and I suspect that, provided the world doesn't end during 2012, we'll find some other doomsday prediction to harp endlessly on about.

This may be the world's largest site of it's type, but it's still small-time in the big scheme of things, and represents a largely unmotivated body of unrelated individuals sharing only a common interest instead of an organized body populace capable of real action.

A better (and well documented!) use of a disinformant's time is to hand fully compiled articles and news reports to media providers, who, for various reasons not least of which is laziness, release it as news instead of a government announcement.



posted on Jan, 28 2009 @ 07:27 AM
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Originally posted by rich23
As someone else remarked, disinfo agents have a pattern, and some distinguish themselves with unflagging energy and resources when it comes to "debunking" an idea, a post, or a person.


So in other words, if someone is a passionate skeptic who constructs well-thought out, well researched posts, they should be considered a disinfo agent? Why not attach the label to believers who distinguish themselves the same way, such as MikeSingh or Internos? Why are not skeptics allowed to be just as passionate as believers?



posted on Jan, 28 2009 @ 08:43 AM
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Originally posted by rich23
reply to post by KyoZero
 

Don't worry about being accused of being an agent. People smart enugh to actually work out who the agents are, are not likely to accuse them directly.


Yet, some people
have taken this indirect implication; as a personal direct accusation. I wonder why



posted on Jan, 28 2009 @ 09:14 AM
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Originally posted by SaviorComplex
Why not attach the label to believers who distinguish themselves the same way, such as MikeSingh or Internos?


Firstly, I'm not about to name any names. I don't know enough, and frankly, it's unlikely that any one ATS poster will ever be reavealed as a disinfo agent.

Secondly, as has already been remarked in this thread, there are disinfo agents who deliberately espouse ridiculous beliefs in order to expose the greater part of the field - be it JFK assassination theories or 9/11 truthers - to obloquy and ridicule.


Why are not skeptics allowed to be just as passionate as believers?


Of course they are. Look at James Randi. He's so passionate about exposing what he thinks of as charlatanry that he won't care how low he has to stoop to do so. And he's very well financed. Is he a witting or unwitting tool? Does it matter?

But I think the kernel of what I'm driving at is to do with the Right Wing Authoritarian personality.

Now the traits associated with this personality type indicate dogmatism, absolutism, and a tendency to be supine towards authority. The outcome of that is a passionate need to attack outgroups and those who don't toe the party line.

Of course, this is only a tendency among some people, and it's a varying continuum. I've encountered several exemplars of this type here and had a rather entertaining time with one in particular.

See, ultimately, RWAs are not that bright. They are unable to see internal contradictions in their position, they cannot modify their position to take account of new data, and they are unable to see flaws in themselves or their arguments. In a word, sheeple.

So if someone is particularly bright and energetic and nonetheless enthusiastically pushes the party line, my judgment is that the probability of them being a disinfo agent rises.

I'm not accusing anyone. As I've said, I don't know about anyone in particular. I do have suspicions about particular posters, but I keep them to myself.

[edit on 28-1-2009 by rich23]



posted on Jan, 28 2009 @ 09:19 AM
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Originally posted by Skyfloating
In 4 years of reading ATS I have become convinced that a troop of paid-disinformants is operating on ATS to stifle research, derail threads, make the good work of ATS members look stupid to the reader who only superficially browses a subject. These disinformants are often cloaked as skeptics but do not behave like real skeptics but rather like pseudoskeptics.


... Marcello Truzzi: pseudoskeptics ... take "the negative rather than an agnostic position but still call themselves 'skeptics'"[1] [2].



For all those ...researchers ... it is high time to re-instate some confidence in researching views that deviate from the mainstream.

(emphasis added)


Truzzi: ... the burden of proof falls upon the claimant; and the more extraordinary a claim, the heavier is the burden of proof demanded. The true skeptic takes an agnostic position, one that says the claim is not proved rather than disproved. He asserts that the claimant has not borne the burden of proof ... .



So much for the hysterical "show me evidence ..." crowd.

(emphasis added)

First, skepticism is the foundation of true learning and exploration. Finding the answer(s) to: “Why did that happen;” or, “What is that?” begins with defining the issue and exploring alternative hypotheses (educated guesses) that can be tested, reproduced, and independently evaluated-sometimes with alternative methods of analysis. Attacking a problem from two or more sides sometimes reveals the truth or exposes flaws in the (purportedly) “proven” hypothesis.

Second, those members who are “discouraged,” or “disappointed,” or otherwise hurt by responses to their threads have usually reported an idea/observation/ and jumped to an unfounded conclusion. Not the fault of the responder, that. Rather, the member’s faulty conclusion. (Isn’t that why ATS permits “Anonymous” replies?)

“I saw a strange light,” or “I saw empty boxcars” do not lead conclusively to FEMA camps and flying saucers/ET. (Personally, I firmly believe in ETI and the possibility of visitation. I disbelieve in TPTB rounding up innocent people for eradication. Criminals, the unproductive, undocumented aliens, may be possible in the future, though extremely unlikely.)

The use of questionable sources and poorly- or un-founded conclusions invites critics and true skeptics to point out flawed logic rather than alternative solutions. It also invites “pseudo-skeptics” to offer the alternative answers. This term ignores the fact that sometimes the alternative is obvious, and, used derogatorily, implies an ulterior motive other than truth.

Example: “Eight and four are ten.”
Skeptic: “Not in base-10 mathematics. How did you come to that conclusion?”
‘Pseudo-skeptic:’ “No, they are twelve.”

One of the greatest flaws in controversial ATS threads is the use of questionable sources.
Wikipedia and “Coast to Coast” are NOT sources. They are media; voices and forums for others’ opinions or conclusions.
“I believe …,” “I think …,” and “Everyone knows that …,” are NOT sources or premises; they are opinions.

Logical thought is a progression from one premise to another and an exclusive conclusion. It does not float from surmise to conclusion to conclusion. It allows for one alternative/answer, and (usually) no others. (Quantum theory is an example of several answers competing for exclusivity. String theory attempts to tie-up the competitors.)

Finally, you seem to have misunderstood Truzzi’s statement or his definition in your proposition.

Proponents DO have the “burden of proof.”
Skeptics DO ask for, and deserve, evidence.
Pseudo-skeptics tell you why you, your thinking, and your credibility are full of it.

I think everyone on ATS enjoys and seeks enlightenment and true research.

Perhaps the quality of threads and replies would improve if members took a look at Truzzi’s “signs of a pseudo-skeptic” before starting a thread as well as a reply!



posted on Jan, 28 2009 @ 09:35 AM
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I've read lots of well thought out responses here but there still seems to be this problem of what actually is a ridiculous thread. . . I heard mikesingh's name mentioned earlier and some of his theories are, at first glance, bizarre in the extreme but he always presents them with heaps loads of data and well thought out arguments to back up his claims. He will also debate you calmly and politely. I'm more concerned with those threads which start out borderline psychotic and then quickly descend into madness, posters throwing insults at each other without moving the debate forward. I particularly see this kind of nonsense on threads discussing freemasonry.



posted on Jan, 28 2009 @ 10:01 AM
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reply to post by rich23
 


Truzzi founded the Committee for the Scientific Investigation of Claims of the Paranormal (CSICOP), Randi's home. They are two sides of the same coin.

Healthy inquiry and incredulity are what move us forward rather than gullibility. That does not imply or invoke "ad hominem" attacks.

Your credulousness would be better served if you avoided ad hominem in your criticism, as well. (e.g., "Appallying Randi")

Has anyone collected CSICOP's and Randi's $1M "psi prize" yet?

I am no fan of Randi; I believe in things he wants to debunk. But, there's hope yet-just look at what happened to J. A. Hynek!

Nevertheless, you should avoid name calling if you wish to appear objective. Every time you resort to it, you are hurting yourself, although your "fans" (short for fanatic, you know?) I'm sure enjoy and are bouyed by it.

Smart criticism never hurt anyone and lifts us all a step higher.

[edit on 28-1-2009 by jdub297]

[edit on 28-1-2009 by jdub297]



posted on Jan, 28 2009 @ 06:50 PM
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Nice post, jdub, I particularly liked:


Originally posted by jdub297
Example: “Eight and four are ten.”
Skeptic: “Not in base-10 mathematics. How did you come to that conclusion?”
‘Pseudo-skeptic:’ “No, they are twelve.”


I think this is a really good point to introduce the concept of "E-prime", which is a form of English that eschews the "is of identity". The above example is classic: "No, they are twelve." As you note, that works in base 10, and base 10 only.

rawilson.com...

This is, for me, a pretty good introduction to the concept. You may note that it enables an escape from binary "is/is not" logic.


Clearly, written in Standard English, "The photon is a wave," and "The photon is a particle" contradict each other, just like the sentences "Robin is a boy" and "Robin is a girl." Nonetheless, all through the nineteenth century physicists found themselves debating about this and, by the early 1920s, it became obvious that the experimental evidence depended on the instruments or the instrumental set-up (design) of the total experiment. One type of experiment always showed light traveling in waves, and another type always showed light traveling as discrete particles.

This contradiction created considerable consternation. As noted earlier, some quantum theorists joked about "wavicles." Others proclaimed in despair that "the universe is not rational" (by which they meant to indicate that the universe does not follow Aristotelian logic. ) Still others looked hopefully for the definitive experiment (not yet attained in 1990) which would clearly prove whether photons "are" waves or particles.

If we look, again, at the translations into English Prime, [which I have inserted here for those ATS readers too busy or lazy to click the link - rich23]

1. The photon behaves as a wave when constrained by certain instruments.
2. The photon appears as a particle when constrained by other instruments

...we see that no contradiction now exists at all, no "paradox," no "irrationality" in the universe. We also find that we have constrained ourselves to talk about what actually happened in spacetime, whereas in Standard English we allowed ourselves to talk about something that has never been observed in spacetime at all -- the "isness" or "whatness" or Aristotelian "essence" of the photon. (Niels Bohr's Complementarity Principle and Copenhagen Interpretation, the technical resolutions of the wave/particle duality within physics, amount to telling physicists to adopt "the spirit of E-Prime" without quite articulating E-Prime itself.)


I think we may find this a useful concept later.

Back to your post... I agree to some extent with the following:


One of the greatest flaws in controversial ATS threads is the use of questionable sources.
Wikipedia and “Coast to Coast” are NOT sources. They are media; voices and forums for others’ opinions or conclusions.


Although I agree with you, I would ask: is that a fact, or is it your opinion? What "is" a source? I really wish I'd written the whole of this post in E-prime... sorry, it's too late now. Or to translate that last phrase, "I've written too much in standard English to go through my whole post and translate it... I just couldn't face it."

What, therefore, are sources that you would regard as reliable? I know what you mean abut "Coast to Coast", but Wikipedia is much maligned. It has its flaws, of course (particularly when it comes to contemporary biography) but there is a review process, at least.

Personally, I think all sources are questionable. But that's just my anti-authoritarian streak coming out, combined with a smattering of historical knowledge. One century's dogma is another's old hat.


“I believe …,” “I think …,” and “Everyone knows that …,” are NOT sources or premises; they are opinions.


I agree that there are far too many people, on this forum and in life generally, who don't understand how much opinion is confused with fact tn the world. The older I get, the fewer facts I'm absolutely sure of. Proof, in a court of law, is simply a matter of persuading enough people of your case. I'm not sure that scientific proof is that different, except that the jury is bigger and more specialist. So to some extent, "proof" is opinion writ large. For around 200 years it was "proved" that bats weren't using their ears to navigate. It's only my opinion, of course, but I think it's reasonable to assume that there's a great deal more that we regard as "proved" that in 200 years' time (if anyone's still here) we'll regard as being as quaint as phlogiston.


Logical thought is a progression from one premise to another and an exclusive conclusion.


Ah. Aristotelian logic rears its ugly head. Would you like to try and re-write that sentence in E-prime? Tricky, isn't it?

It's also only as good as the premises on which it's founded. In the real world, logic has to connect to something that enough of us agree upon, which we can call a "fact". Problems arise when people disagree about facts. That happens.


Proponents DO have the “burden of proof.”
Skeptics DO ask for, and deserve, evidence.


What does that make Richard Dawkins? As I referenced in a previous post, when he was speaking to Rupert Sheldrake, he was happy to press ahead with his debunking without examining any evidence. Yet this man "is" a pillar of the scientific community.

As Thomas Kuhn has noted, it's difficult to switch from one paradigm to another because most people trained within the old paradigm are resistant to abandoning it: evidence is dismissed as experimental error, protocols are attacked, and so on. If people were genuinely rational, things would be much easier... but many people, even scientists, are apt to rationalise irrational behaviour and exclude modes of thinking and evidence that points to the new paradigm. They may even find it threatening.

I think it's also the case that people in postitons of "authority" can get away with all sorts of nonsense.


I think everyone on ATS enjoys and seeks enlightenment and true research.


I wish I could agree. I think there are too few of those people, although I'm happy for you that you have that perception, which must make your experience of ATS more pleasant and reassuring than mine!

Ultimately, I'm not even trying to "argue with you" in the conventional sense. I'm just trying to throw some ideas your way that you might find interesting and useful, and might ultimately make you less certain about things.



posted on Jan, 28 2009 @ 07:34 PM
link   

Originally posted by jdub297
Truzzi founded the Committee for the Scientific Investigation of Claims of the Paranormal (CSICOP), Randi's home.


I know. He also left CSICOP because of the pseudoskeptical attitude of Randi and his ilk. As far as I'm concerned, that means they're not


two sides of the same coin.



Healthy inquiry and incredulity are what move us forward rather than gullibility. That does not imply or invoke "ad hominem" attacks.


I couldn't agree more.


Your credulousness would be better served if you avoided ad hominem in your criticism, as well. (e.g., "Appallying Randi")


Ok, there are two issues in that sentence. Firstly, I'm going to ask you to give an example ofd what you consider my credulousness. Then we can discuss the extent to which I "am" credulous, or agnostic, or skeptical.

As far as the ad hominems go, I'd say that I try to steer clear of them as far as posters go. Randi, however, gets my goat. He had the gall to insult Brian Josephson, a Nobel prize-winner, for thinking that perhaps quantum physics and consciousness might have some sort of connection. I find him a deeply unpleasant and unscrupulous person.


Has anyone collected CSICOP's and Randi's $1M "psi prize" yet?


No. But I would argue that people who want to do serious research would rather do without the million dollars than have to deal with Randi's scorn and his inability to agree on experimental protocols. He sees fraud where others see honest inquiry, and it's possible that genuine effects are obliterated by what he sees as "robustness" and others see as "viciousness".


...just look at what happened to J. A. Hynek!


Here you've lost me. All I can remember about him is that he did a pretty good job at Soccorro but that Jacques Vallee was rather suspicious of him in his work for Blue Book - something about one of a pair of stereo photographs (which would have given a good estimate of distance and size of an apparently solid-object UFO) disappearing and Hynek being rather evasive about it.


...your "fans" (short for fanatic, you know?) I'm sure enjoy and are bouyed by it.


Fans? I rather think you flatter me. And please, I write for myself, and for the person I'm replying to. As for the ad homs... you're right, of course. But, you know, I don't make any claims to be superhuman, and some people, like James Randi, really get my goat. There's a smugness there that I find deeply repugnant.


Smart criticism never hurt anyone and lifts us all a step higher.


Couldn't agree more. That's why I like Truzzi and loathe Randi.





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