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Misconceptions About Skeptics - Part I

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posted on Aug, 27 2008 @ 04:36 PM
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I think the problem arises with the evidence. When ufos started gettin attention the witnesses were asked to prove it, show the world a picture. so they did. then they were told, not good enough, show me a video. so they did. still this wasn't good enough, show me credible people, not country bumpkins who've seen these things, so they did. again still not good enough, show me the government documents saying these things exist and that they are researching them, so they showed them again. again not good enough, show me a body or the craft. so far there are none...that we know of. Does this mean that an et explanation of ufos is invalid? hardly, just currently unproven. Then there's the sarcastic mocking. Not really conducive to reasoned debate.

I've seen entire threads derailed by a single poster. How did this happen? The poster, a self proclaimed skeptic, starts goin off about how ufos are not et craft, when nobody in the entire thread said anything of the kind. It's these things that should be worked on to further the debate and research. Yeah there are some crazies out there, like the gfl people, they have a right to believe what they do. Meanwhile serious researchers continue researching, lumpin the crazies in with the rest of us is in itself ignorant.(not sayin op is)




posted on Aug, 27 2008 @ 04:50 PM
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[edit on 8/27/2008 by chapter29]



posted on Aug, 27 2008 @ 04:56 PM
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Howdy,

I don't think anyone here really understands what a true skeptic is. It isn't vehemently and passionately denying or discrediting evidence, circumstantial or otherwise (first hand witness testimony IS evidence in the circumstantial category); it is dispassionately "suspending judgment, by confining oneself to phenomena or objects as they appear, and by asserting nothing definite as to how they really are". source

None of the posters here, and others who call themselves skeptics, are true skeptics adhering to the philosophy of Pyrrho - the founder of what we can call skeptic philosophy.


The proper course of the sage, said Pyrrho, is to ask himself three questions.

Firstly we must ask what things are and how they are constituted.

Secondly, we ask how we are related to these things.

Thirdly, we ask what ought to be our attitude towards them.

Pyrrho's answer was that things are indistinguishable, unmeasurable, undecidable, and no more this than that, or both this and that and neither this nor that.

The impossibility of knowledge, even in regard to our own ignorance or doubt, should induce the wise man to withdraw into himself, avoiding the stress and emotion which belong to the contest of vain imaginings. This theory of the impossibility of knowledge is the first and the most thorough exposition of agnosticism in the history of thought. Its ethical implications may be compared with the ideal tranquility of the Stoics and the Epicureans.


Thus, my disdain for most of the self proclaimed skeptics here.

Am I guilty of getting carried away? Sometimes my stoicism fails me in the face of inane absurdity profferd as skepticism and the blind irrational fanaticism of "believers".

-Euclid


[edit on 27-8-2008 by euclid]

[edit on 27-8-2008 by euclid]



posted on Aug, 27 2008 @ 05:35 PM
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reply to post by thrashee
 


I truely do appreciate your thoughtfulness

i noticed your previous posts in that god awefully long thread about the questions skeptics cant anwser, going back and forth with mr. polomontana, i have a keen feeling that that was something you went through with AWARENESS because your coming out the other end creating this post and its damn good.

I tried in that other thread to stress the fact that one can live a happy and full life regardless of the belief or non belief in aliens.

its wise to imagine that a believer was once a skeptic but made a subtle transition to "believerdom" so its funny that a believer can predominantly relate and understand where a skeptic may be coming from but at the same time, its difficult for the skeptic to see the same "UFO case" through the eyes of the believer.

no biggie though,

final thought, if you would be willing to make a bullet presentation of all the categories of possible ufo positions example, skeptic believer, debunker, hardcore skeptic etc then we can set up our profiles (under our avatar picture) under the MOOD section to correlate with how we feel about the phenomena instead of things like "addicted" like mine says, this would get a lot of the MO on the table before getting hooked into evidence debates which only cause foes instead of friends.

maholo

[edit on 8/27/2008 by LordThumbs]



posted on Aug, 27 2008 @ 06:36 PM
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reply to post by ArMaP
 





I don't feel superior to any creature, why should I?


You don't feel superior to a cat, bug, lizard, dog, horse? What is your honest answer? There are some things those creatures can do better than you. But on a whole don't you feel being human is more enriching/satisfying than being any of those other creatures (due to our intelligence)?




if we some day get real proof of the presence of Aliens on Earth it will be just one more interesting fact about this planet


Hmm well that gets into what constitutes real proof. Let's say (for the sake of argument) the phenomenon represents aliens who are 1,000,000 years ahead of us. If this is the case, I would guess that we will to venture "x" number of years down the river before we even begin to understand what it means for a civilization to be 1,000,000 years old. By that time it's very possible our definition of 'proof' will have changed too.




Some may find this approach too cold, but that is how I am, there are very few (I don't remember any at the moment) things that can make me go



Yes I've noticed you're a pretty mellow person ArMaP. It's great to have your calm and logical approaches to these difficult questions.



posted on Aug, 27 2008 @ 07:37 PM
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reply to post by euclid
 


The problem with your argument is that pyrrhonism is not the only form of skepticism. Pyrrhonism is primarily concerned with philosophical skepticism. The basic premise being that (as your quote says) everything is ultimately unknowable. Seems like kind of a dead end, but that's just me. In any case, we see very little of it on ATS from either "side".

What we usually encounter is rational skepticism.

What does it mean to be a skeptic? Some people believe that skepticism is rejection of new ideas, or worse...This is wrong. Skepticism is a provisional approach to claims. It is the application of reason to any and all ideas—no sacred cows allowed. In other words, skepticism is a method, not a position. Ideally, skeptics do not go into an investigation closed to the possibility that a phenomenon might be real or that a claim might be true. When we say we are skeptical, we mean that we must see compelling evidence before we believe...A claim becomes factual when it is confirmed to such an extent it would be reasonable to offer temporary agreement. But all facts in science are provisional and subject to challenge, and therefore skepticism is a method leading to provisional conclusions.

Source

When someone makes a claim, "Ancient Ruins Found on Mars!" it does not sound exactly pyrrhonistic. With a claim like this, a scientific skeptic must respond. The skeptic must ask for evidence, evidence that is verifiable, evidence that is falsifiable, evidence that is not ambiquous.

When the topic is the physical world, the world of things that can be seen, heard, touched. In this world scientific skepticism is a valid philosophy. In any other world I would agree that pyrrhonism is appropriate. Unless you consider aliens & UFO's part of that world you must allow scientific skepticism to have its say.






[edit on 27-8-2008 by Phage]



posted on Aug, 27 2008 @ 07:38 PM
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Originally posted by Scramjet76
You don't feel superior to a cat, bug, lizard, dog, horse? What is your honest answer?
No.



There are some things those creatures can do better than you. But on a whole don't you feel being human is more enriching/satisfying than being any of those other creatures (due to our intelligence)?
No, I have no way of comparing me (which I know) with the other creatures (which I never was, or if I was I don't remember a thing about it).

Is it more enriching to be human because of our intelligence? Maybe, but why should intelligence made our existence more enriching? Could it be that a lizard, without human intelligence, has a less enriching life than a person that does nothing special, just goes to work everyday and gets back home, and does the same things everyday like the lizard does?

I don't really know, I am not a lizard (and as a PS for the Portuguese, I am a fan of Benfica, not Sporting
).


Yes I've noticed you're a pretty mellow person ArMaP. It's great to have your calm and logical approaches to these difficult questions.
Thanks.



posted on Aug, 27 2008 @ 07:50 PM
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Originally posted by euclid
None of the posters here, and others who call themselves skeptics, are true skeptics adhering to the philosophy of Pyrrho - the founder of what we can call skeptic philosophy.
Philosophy is not my strong point, so it is natural that I don't follow something I never learnt about.

Does it denies me the possibility of being a sceptic?


Thus, my disdain for most of the self proclaimed skeptics here.
Why do you disdain someone just because they do not use the label as you think they should? Why don't you just use your knowledge about philosophical movements to explain to your fellow ATS members what they should call themselves? Why don't you help us denying our ignorance about it and instead you prefer to disdain some of us?

That is not nice.
(Is there any philosophical "label" for people like that?)


Am I guilty of getting carried away? Sometimes my stoicism fails me in the face of inane absurdity profferd as skepticism and the blind irrational fanaticism of "believers".
I have a dictionary, but it would be too much trouble looking all those words in it.



posted on Aug, 27 2008 @ 08:33 PM
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Originally posted by Phage
reply to post by euclid
 


The problem with your argument is that pyrrhonism is not the only form of skepticism. Pyrrhonism is primarily concerned with philosophical skepticism. The basic premise being that (as your quote says) everything is ultimately unknowable. Seems like kind of a dead end, but that's just me. In any case, we see very little of it on ATS from either "side".

What we usually encounter is rational skepticism.

What does it mean to be a skeptic? Some people believe that skepticism is rejection of new ideas, or worse...This is wrong. Skepticism is a provisional approach to claims. It is the application of reason to any and all ideas—no sacred cows allowed. In other words, skepticism is a method, not a position. Ideally, skeptics do not go into an investigation closed to the possibility that a phenomenon might be real or that a claim might be true. When we say we are skeptical, we mean that we must see compelling evidence before we believe...A claim becomes factual when it is confirmed to such an extent it would be reasonable to offer temporary agreement. But all facts in science are provisional and subject to challenge, and therefore skepticism is a method leading to provisional conclusions.

Source

When someone makes a claim, "Ancient Ruins Found on Mars!" it does not sound exactly pyrrhonistic. With a claim like this, a scientific skeptic must respond. The skeptic must ask for evidence, evidence that is verifiable, evidence that is falsifiable, evidence that is not ambiquous.

When the topic is the physical world, the world of things that can be seen, heard, touched. In this world scientific skepticism is a valid philosophy. In any other world I would agree that pyrrhonism is appropriate. Unless you consider aliens & UFO's part of that world you must allow scientific skepticism to have its say.
[edit on 27-8-2008 by Phage]


Well firstly a skeptic should should seek truth rather than stating, with no basis of truth, something is a rock with out knowing what it is. Thus, the Pyrrhonistic criteria has been met in this case that the "thing" is unknowable. Pyrrhonism is not a dead end unless one does not know what it means to be truly skeptical. When I see some "thing" like the thing you noted in the Ancient Ruins Found on Mars! thread I did not state what I thought that "thing" might be. I haven't said it is a bunch of rocks and I haven't stated that it is an eroded structure. Both are plausible and because I cannot know either way I can only imagine what it could be. I am a true a skeptic, possibly the only one on this board.

Additionally the "headline" of the thread is just that a headline. It is meant to capture the attention of someone so that they will be compelled to begin reading that particular thread. It is the exact same mechanism used by printed newspapers.... hence the name headline. And once reading the very first line of the post that is the subject of the headline we see:


What could this be?
Is this all that is left of ancient martian life?
or is there still life on mars after all...

What else other than a intelligent being could have constructed this?


which is to point out that the headline was an attention grabber. While the real intent of the post was to ask a question.... a series of questions.

Addressing the scientific skepticism - I doubt very much that you understand that as well. It is:


a scientific or practical, epistemological position in which one questions the veracity of claims lacking empirical evidence..

source

Note that it uses empirical evidence. It is:


Empirical research is any research that bases its findings on direct or indirect observation

source

This leads to the question of what is "empirical":


A central concept in science and the scientific method is that all evidence must be empirical, or empirically based, that is, dependent on evidence or consequences that are observable by the senses.


As any one of reasonable intelligence should be able to plainly surmise; gawking at photos taken from millions of miles away does not meet the criteria of empirical evidence for the scientific skeptic, i.e. "senses" mean more than one modality of senses must be a determining factor in whether or not some criteria meets the prerequisites necessary to be considered "empirical evidence"; therefore the photos DO NOT MEET THAT REQUISITE CRITERIA AS THEY ARE BASED ON ONLY ONE MODALITY which is "visual" and therefore its true nature is "unknowable". And the skeptic cannot presume to attempt to use scientific skepticism as a point of reference.... it means the analysis of the data is squarely in the realm of philosophic skepticism.

As I said no one here knows what it is to be a true skeptic.


But, now any skeptic who reads this post has no excuse.... they know and if they continue with their out-of-hand dismissives then they are just guilty as the fanatical believers.

-Euclid

[edit on 27-8-2008 by euclid]



posted on Aug, 27 2008 @ 09:12 PM
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Originally posted by euclid
Well firstly a skeptic should should seek truth rather than stating, with no basis of truth, something is a rock with out knowing what it is.


I don't think you'll find much of a disagreement here; in fact, before you get too far, I'll mention that Part III of this "series" is going to address the very issue of claims (both positive and negative) and the burden of proof. I completely agree with your break out of skepticism and welcome the explication, and would like to note that many of us actually try as much as we can to avoid making any claims either way.



I haven't said it is a bunch of rocks and I haven't stated that it is an eroded structure. Both are plausible and because I cannot know either way I can only imagine what it could be. I am a true a skeptic, possibly the only one on this board.


Again, dead on. But I don't think you're the only true skeptic here




therefore the photos DO NOT MEET THAT REQUISITE CRITERIA AS THEY ARE BASED ON ONLY ONE MODALITY which is "visual" and therefore its true nature is "unknowable". And the skeptic cannot presume to attempt to use scientific skepticism as a point of reference.... it means the analysis of the data is squarely in the realm of philosophic skepticism.


Though I agree with your overall assessment, I think your reliance on the plural of "senses" in the definition of empirical is somewhat pedantic in this context. There are many phenomena that are observed via only one sense ("visual", or the electromagnetic spectrum) and yet still empirically proven. It is also by this one sense that things can be empirically disproven (discrepancies or alterations in photographs, for example).

Furthermore, why can't a skeptic presume to use scientific skepticism as a point of reference? By its own definition, that skepticism results from a lack of empirical evidence. That is EXACTLY why us skeptics remain skeptics.



posted on Aug, 27 2008 @ 09:45 PM
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reply to post by euclid
 


Mea Culpa. I did say "It's a rock." I leaped to a conclusion based on a photograph containing other rocks. But I guess I really have no reason to believe those other things were rocks either. Or even that there was anything there at all. The only thing I know is that there were patterns of varying shades of gray on my monitor.

Am I getting the hang of it?

Tell me, if you are a true skeptic, believing nothing is knowable, why are you a member of ATS? Is is just so you can keep the rest of us in line? I'm not being snide. I just can't grasp how believing nothing is knowable can lead to knowing anything. And if we know nothing what's the point of even talking about anything?



[edit on 27-8-2008 by Phage]



posted on Aug, 27 2008 @ 10:49 PM
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Originally posted by Phage
reply to post by euclid
 


Mea Culpa. I did say "It's a rock." I leaped to a conclusion based on a photograph containing other rocks. But I guess I really have no reason to believe those other things were rocks either. Or even that there was anything there at all. The only thing I know is that there were patterns of varying shades of gray on my monitor.

Am I getting the hang of it?

Tell me, if you are a true skeptic, believing nothing is knowable, why are you a member of ATS? Is is just so you can keep the rest of us in line? I'm not being snide. I just can't grasp how believing nothing is knowable can lead to knowing anything. And if we know nothing what's the point of even talking about anything?

[edit on 27-8-2008 by Phage]


Simple answer = context. Context is everything. By constraining the analysis to the context of the thing under investigation one can discover if something is knowable or unknowable.... unfortunately wiki's are somewhat notorious for little tidbits of info like that being left out - and it was the only thing that had a good representation of what I was trying to get across. But the overall generalization is correct. Nothing that is outside of our direct experience is truly "knowable"... do we really know if the sun is a thermo-nuclear reactive mass or some thing else, do we really know what electricty is, do we really know the nature/essence of consciousness, do we really know how trees came into existence, do we really know there was a big bang, do we really know what causes quantum deviations within large gravitaional fields? (I could go on forever) The point is we take much of our understanding based on 2nd, 3rd, & 4th (and more) hand data without direct experential evidence and treat it like the word of god.... and it isn't.

The reason I'm here is because it's funny to see people argue, maybe I'm sick that way but I like to see people go back and forth arguing about some thing that neither can prove or disprove (and sometimes I enter the fray)...
and there are some people here who have excellent info like internos, zorgon, mike and a few others who post things I enjoy reading....

ohh. and no... you're not getting the hang of it.

-Euclid

[edit on 27-8-2008 by euclid]

[edit on 27-8-2008 by euclid]



posted on Aug, 27 2008 @ 11:11 PM
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Originally posted by euclid

ohh. and no... you're not getting the hang of it.




Dang!


I'd say 80% (empirical) of the reason I'm here is also as sort of a study in human nature.



posted on Aug, 27 2008 @ 11:12 PM
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reply to post by euclid
 


We're slipping now into the territory of epistemology. Here, one can just as easily begin arguing that direct experience itself does not guarantee true knowledge.

The point is that we work with what tools and methods we have available to us, and generally speaking, when it comes to empirical truths, that tool is science. True enough, science is not the end all, be all, and what once was scientific fact can easily be rewritten and revised multiple times as our technology and knowledge grows.

This should not discourage us from attempting to define and observe empirical truths, of course. Even if our theories are eventually proven to be incorrect, by defining things to the best of our abilities, we can at least usually gain enough of an understanding to make some correct conclusions. Newton was never able to define what precisely gravity was, but he could observe its effects enough to formulate laws that still serve us today in the most mundane of fashions.



posted on Aug, 27 2008 @ 11:16 PM
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reply to post by thrashee
 


I would just like to applaud you for spelling Skeptic right. Now if I could just rember where I put my antisceptic.



posted on Aug, 27 2008 @ 11:24 PM
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Originally posted by thrashee
reply to post by euclid
 


We're slipping now into the territory of epistemology. Here, one can just as easily begin arguing that direct experience itself does not guarantee true knowledge.

The point is that we work with what tools and methods we have available to us, and generally speaking, when it comes to empirical truths, that tool is science. True enough, science is not the end all, be all, and what once was scientific fact can easily be rewritten and revised multiple times as our technology and knowledge grows.

This should not discourage us from attempting to define and observe empirical truths, of course. Even if our theories are eventually proven to be incorrect, by defining things to the best of our abilities, we can at least usually gain enough of an understanding to make some correct conclusions. Newton was never able to define what precisely gravity was, but he could observe its effects enough to formulate laws that still serve us today in the most mundane of fashions.


That is correct so why insist/dismiss some "thing" as a rock or swamp gas or a lava flow when there is no basis of evidence to support that conclusion. And that is what annoys me about the skeptics here (and skeptics generally)... they are dismissive immediately concerning any thing that does not fit neatly into their preconceived notions of reality, which is not the scientific method; they are typically dismissive without cause.

-Euclid



posted on Aug, 28 2008 @ 12:50 AM
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Originally posted by euclid
And that is what annoys me about the skeptics here (and skeptics generally)... they are dismissive immediately concerning any thing that does not fit neatly into their preconceived notions of reality, which is not the scientific method; they are typically dismissive without cause.


Careful, there. While many are quick to dismiss, we can't honestly go any further in postulating their motives for doing so without entering the same realm of belief and "pre-conceived notions".

Let's take the aforementioned pictures of Mars thread: many have dismissed the photos as nothing more than rocks, and while there is no definitive proof for this claim, it doesn't take even a small leap in reasoning to understand this ready explanation. Now we're concerned with reasonable plausibility. There is no empirical evidence that artificial structures exist on Mars, but there is plenty of empirical evidence that rocks do. The photos are either rocks that look like artificial structures, or artificial structures that look like rocks. Considering the known facts, which is more plausible?

I don't mean to circumvent your point, however. Plausibility is not proof, and I firmly agree with what you've stated: the only "safe", honest stance a skeptic can truly take is one of neutrality. Avoid making any of your own claims, only deal with what is presented to you, and you should be on the right path.



posted on Aug, 28 2008 @ 01:39 PM
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reply to post by thrashee
 


That's right.... so the next time I see a SPS (self proclaimed skeptic) saying that a rectangluar "thing" in the sky is a "definitively" a bird, insect, swamp-gas, lens flare, JPEG artifact, et cetera I don't expect any one will be upset when I cuss them out.

-Euclid



posted on Aug, 28 2008 @ 02:00 PM
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Originally posted by euclid
As I said no one here knows what it is to be a true skeptic.


But, now any skeptic who reads this post has no excuse.... they know and if they continue with their out-of-hand dismissives then they are just guilty as the fanatical believers.


I thought you wrote earlier that you were "probably the only true skeptic on these boards," -- I'm paraphrasing here -- skilled in the practice of "philosophic skepticism"...

So....given your previous breakdown of an image from Mars as being "unknowable" due to the exclusion of any other senses but "'visual".....doesn't the lack of other senses also come into play here? On the Intarnets? This is a "visual" only media....right? Wouldn't that, by your measure, discredit your above assertions and conclusions as incorrect?

Finally....I like how you do that "talking out of both sides of your mouth thing".....that's a skill.



posted on Aug, 28 2008 @ 03:09 PM
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reply to post by ArMaP
 





(and as a PS for the Portuguese, I am a fan of Benfica, not Sporting
).


Haha. Ok well if anyone else would have posted that I might raise an eyebrow but something tells me you are sincere.
Generally speaking though... I think most people have an emotional investment in the UFO/alien phenomenon.

I actually have a mon-fri job and a lizard. Although I feel my existence to be a bit mundane at times I think its better than my lizard (although I do my best to entertain him).



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