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Misconceptions About Skeptics - Part I

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posted on Aug, 28 2008 @ 07:13 PM
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Originally posted by MrPenny

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.


It isn't visual only and your feeble attempt at analogy fails because it is out of context to the question; it is a validation of the flawed logic that most people display here (and that isn't an insult - it is observation).

The domain of the question under investigation MUST be in context and constrained to the object of the question; which is true not only in scientific inquiry it is also true in philosophic inquiry. Cross domain metaphores must have a one-to-one correlation of data.

The phenomenological experience on the internet is not the subject of inquiry. The deflection/misdirection of your inquiry, however unintentional, is nonetheless a "tactic" skeptics on this board use ceaselessly and incorrectly in their "alleged" search for truth; more than likely it is executed via complete ignorance on the part of the alledged skeptic.... in some cases it is deliberate - in both cases it is unknowable what constitutes the impetus for the deflection/misdirection, ignorance or deliberation. In you're case I would surmise a little of both.

But I will address your question:

"Firstly we must ask what things are and how they are constituted."
The internet is a medium of transferring intangible data from one point to another point in space and time. The mediums transfers sight - in the forms of images, words; sounds - in the forms of voice and musical tones and human language & thoughts/concepts - in the form of written symbols which includes words, musical notation, mathematic equations and all forms of script extant within the civilization's networked technological infrastructure. The medium does not transmit smell, taste, density, physical materials or other tangible objects/constructs.

"Secondly, we ask how we are related to these things."
We can collate, collect, analyze data from various 2nd, 3rd, 4th n-th party-sources. We can verify some of this data by direct experential efforts if the source of the data is terrestrial in origin. Some information is outside direct phenomenological experience and therefore cannot be knowingly adjudicated.

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



-Euclid

[edit on 28-8-2008 by euclid]




posted on Aug, 28 2008 @ 08:13 PM
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Originally posted by euclid
It isn't visual only


Despite your marvelous explanation of the Internet as a communication medium, with the inclusion of sounds, musical notation, tones, etc....I think you may have introduced the "cross domains" yourself; given that I don't think your obtuse enough not to recognize that my focus is on what we are doing right now...typing and reading words, grammar, punctuation, and spacing, intended to convey some meaning. The only phenomenological and/or empirical evidence you have right now....are the words you are seeing and interpreting. Which makes me wonder about your following quotes....


copied/pasted from euclid's posts in this thread

Some information is outside direct phenomenological experience and therefore cannot be knowingly adjudicated. [...]

Nothing that is outside of our direct experience is truly "knowable" [...]

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"


Those concepts appear to starkly conflict with what appears to be a comment of yours that, at least to me, read as "knowing" and final; while having only the words read on your monitor as the "modality".


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.


"they know"???? How does your philosophical skepticism and it's rules of modality, criteria, direct experience....justify your assertion that anyone "knows"? Can you help me clear up this seeming dichotomy? And, can you do it with less than $5.00 words?



posted on Aug, 29 2008 @ 01:40 PM
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reply to post by MrPenny
 


You are very confused. You introduced the cross domain metaphores. I suggest you read a little more so that we have a common frame of reference. This discussion is like trying to explain platonic solids to chimps.

I suggest the book: Where Mathematics Comes From: How the Embodied Mind Brings Mathematics into Being. It will provide a common point of reference.

We can't have a meaningful discussion of philosophy, science, and the metaphorical nature/essence of philosophy until people, like you, understand the fundamentals of logic. The book above explains it and is intimately related to the basic principals of logic that are the foundations of philosophic metaphore.

-Euclid

[edit on 29-8-2008 by euclid]



posted on Aug, 29 2008 @ 02:38 PM
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reply to post by euclid
 


I'll just assume then that you're either unwilling or unable to clear that up for me. Odd that....I've asked the same question twice now, in very simple terms, yet your awesome intellect and literary skills appear to not be up to the task.

I remain, respectfully...

Unimpressed.

MrPenny

P.S. Thank you for the book reference; I will look it up. So, in order to increase the commonality of our frame of reference, might I suggest;

Godel, Escher, Bach: An Eternal Golden Braid Hofstadter, Douglas.
The Mind's I: Fantasies and Reflections on Self and Soul Hofstadter, Douglas R.; Dennett, Daniel C.
The Universe Within: A New Science Explores the Human Mind Hunt, Morton






[edit on 29-8-2008 by MrPenny]



posted on Aug, 30 2008 @ 01:23 AM
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reply to post by MrPenny
 


I did answer your question... you're just not smart enough to see/read/understand it or are ignoring it.

It's unwillingness.... I just don't want to waste that much effort on you.

-Euclid






 

Mod Edit: Full quote of preceding post removed. 'Reply To' function used. Please see ABOUT ATS: Warnings for excessive quoting, and how to quote. Thank you - Jak

[edit on 1/9/08 by JAK]



posted on Sep, 1 2008 @ 02:32 AM
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reply to post by euclid
 


The 'true skepticism' you have proclaimed in this thread bears no resemblance to some of the stances you have taken in previous ones. This pedestal you have knowingly put yourself on is shaky at best.

May I direct your attention to my GFL Rebuttal Thread. Though I don't necessarily disagree with your stance in that thread you don't really appear to be practicing what you preach. I just can't see the consistency in your posts which should be evident if your the only "True Skeptic" on the board.

Link: www.abovetopsecret.com...


Originally posted by euclid
I really think the only fair alternative is the Comic Relief section.... It doesn't censor the post or delete information or quell the free exchange of ideas.... it just moves the data to the most appropriate bucket. In this case the BS bucket and then once in there the normal rules of decorum should not apply so that people can vent their frustrations at the posters who "contribute" garbage. It's fair. There is nothing wrong with telling some one their idea is total BS.... it's only politically correct not too. And I think that ATS is over-doing it a bit in the politically correct decorum rules. This would provide a place where we can MOCK those posts that are obviously nonsense and completely worthy of being mocked.

-Euclid


You go on to say:


Originally posted by euclid

Well.... I don't know about us being the only intelligent life in the multiverse. In fact I believe a lot of stuff that most of ya'll would think was BS. And I would too if I didn'y have first-hand experience of certain things. I experienced strange events throughout my life. I don't post them here because I don't have pictures - just my experiences. On the other hand because I had, and in some instances continue to have, strange experiences it did provide the impetus to look into many different paranormal phenomena, religions, philosophies, science.

Truth is really stranger than fiction.... I believe that almost 95% of REAL paranormal phenomena can be explained by quantum mechanics. Do I believe that there are aliens out "there"... yes. Do I think there is GFL as described in "those" posts.... hell no.

I'm actually a skeptic.... who has had some very strange experiences.... but I can smell BS a mile away - so when people post BS we should have a bucket for it. I think that bucket should be comic relief so that we can all have a good laugh and take pot shots at goofy posts.


Yet.. here you say:


Originally posted by euclid
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.


Hmmm, I do believe you've displayed the very attitude towards the GFL subject matter that you claim you are going to "cuss people out" over in the future. To MOCK without unfalsifiable proof of otherwise. Which you didn't clearly have in the stated case above. In fact, you say many things in the GFL thread that are diabolically opposed to what your claiming in this thread.

To take it to the other extreme, you then sight a belief in a multiverse, in quantum mechanics and in other esoterical subject matters. All of which have no proof other than theory... but must be true (obviously) because you experienced them?

I'm sure if I dug harder into other threads, I would find even more inconsistencies... but I shan't. In short, I don't believe you are one of the only - if not, the only true skeptic at ATS. Perhaps you should stop trying to convince both yourself and others of such a title? ... just a suggestion


It kinda reeks of insecurity. I guess that if you didn't tell us as much, you might of had a fear that we wouldn't recognize you as being such? It begs the question.


Sure, I am fallible - I make the occasional mistake too - I am human but I don't claim to be anywhere as 'perfect' as you claim to be.

IRM


[edit on 1/9/08 by InfaRedMan]



posted on Sep, 1 2008 @ 04:26 AM
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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.


This is fine for me, but I have a different approach for philosophy anyway. I don't regard old philosophers being right about something whenever a newer version of a philosophy is better, or approaching closer to perfection of an axiom, than the older one.

Surely, there are indeed a great number of intelligent and respectful phislosophers, scientists and writers who have contributed to pool of knowledge and understanding. What also comes is development, where most of old folks are proven imperfect, replaced by an even better axiom.

(I love Aristotle, for example, but he was also wrong about a lot of things.)



posted on Sep, 1 2008 @ 04:45 AM
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Originally posted by euclid
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.


You do realize that most of us (me, at least) are utilists as well? Thus, if something works good enough to build a car with, it is all fine and true. If we are talking about essence of things, well, then we are going to have a long, long journey ahead. We are propably also not alive at that point of realizing essences of things anymore, either.

I did once measure Newton's laws, just for fun. I noticed they do work, so they are true. I also believe that people who have tested relativity know what they are doing, so I take knowledge from them and inherit it as well as I can. Those Newton's laws still work, though, but they are not practical for every purpose. Thus, utility of a law determines its truthfulnes, at least for me. This is not always the case, whenever I just want to debate because it is a good way to spend time and to learn.

To be more exact, Newton's laws are a rule of thumb, because empirical observations reveal all three of them not always working as expected in context of 19th century physics.


(edit: furthermore, I see labelling oneself under a single label instead of combining several working ideals as things that very young people do. They may have found something that nobody seems to be able to deny, and believe it to be some sort of everlasting mantra of truth, that they will later find out to be incomplete and finally realize to combine several together, and use that.

Students are usually in this cathegory as well. They find some idea that they want to follow perfectly, later realizing how it has been impossible to follow perfectly in the first place.

Another case are people who are simply blind instead of ignorant. Fourth would be people who just refuse to acknowledge what they are themselves.

I call myself a skeptic, which I am, but I am also a lot of other things, depending on what I see as best approach in a given situation. That's called adaptation, which is usually a reasonable thing to do. I know how to use formal logic but I don't really want to use it with people who don't. Its intelligent, fair and reasonable. People who truly understand how things work can always explain those with words, if they wish to.

There are a million things in the world I know nothing about. Same applies to all those people who believe they are geniuses. A few and rare are, but most are just self-centered people with a low esteem. I don't know who is what, nor do I care to state my own beliefs, but it can be clearly seen from whatever whoever writes.)

[edit on 1/9/08 by rawsom]



posted on Sep, 1 2008 @ 05:17 AM
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It all comes down to if you want to know, or just have a guess. Skeptics (which all scientists are - skepticism is their bread and butter) strive to know. Believers just want to have their ideas left alone so they can have fun with them. That's the difference. That's why some believers don't like skeptics so much - because they shine a light on the irrational beliefs the believers hold.



posted on Sep, 1 2008 @ 09:12 AM
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Originally posted by euclid
you're just not smart enough to see/read/understand it or are ignoring it.


Again, you have stated a position with what appears to be a high level of certainty, that contradicts your position that phenomenological/empirical evidence is the "only" way to "know."

I'll risk the chance and propose that you're introducing a paradox as a method of illustrating some concept that you'll later reveal. I say "risk" because I fear you'll simply jump at the chance to extricate yourself from a condition Native Americans refer to as, "speaking with a forked tongue." And then claim it as the result of your superior intellectual rigor.

I've read the comments in your profile.....I'll bet you're wishing even more to have greater than 10 chances to "ignore" members...huh? Ignoring that which confounds you is damning evidence that your intellect could stand some maturing. But, that isn't your fault, nor do I think less of you for it. It will come with time.....you may possibly expand your library, thus, your mind.

I offered the choices of unwilling or unable. You chose unwilling. I will opt for unable. I suspect a crushing ego inhibits your ability to be introspective.

I'll offer a short parable, possibly you could look it up; "Physician, heal thyself."



posted on Sep, 2 2008 @ 03:18 PM
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Well, most of you are proving my point. You're deflecting and misdirecting the intent of my posts in this thread which is what most of the skeptics do.

My point is and has been that most skeptics here dismiss things out-of-hand just as much as "believers" in any particular oddity believe some things.

This thread is a prime example: www.abovetopsecret.com...

There are skeptics posting there saying it is a rock, there are others saying that it is a coin. NO ONE KNOWS WHAT IT IS AND THEREFORE ARGUING WHETHER IT IS ONE THING OR ANOTHER THING IS POINTLESS!!!!! AND THAT HAS BEEN MY POINT!!!!!!

You skeptics don't know what it is any more that the person who says that it is proof that martians use currency.

The correct position for a skeptic is indifference due to the fact that this is an unknowable enigma and therefore it is pointless and useless to argue whether it is one thing or another!!!!!!
Without direct interaction with the "thing" it is impossible to garner what it is. The photo supports neither pro/con position.

My original points still stand.

-Euclid



posted on Sep, 2 2008 @ 03:47 PM
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reply to post by euclid
 


I'm just wondering whether you realize or not that they are actually just having some fun. Nobody really thinks it is a coin.



posted on Sep, 2 2008 @ 04:36 PM
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Originally posted by rawsom
reply to post by euclid
 


I'm just wondering whether you realize or not that they are actually just having some fun. Nobody really thinks it is a coin.


It doesn't really matter. No one knows what it is or could be.

-Euclid



posted on Sep, 2 2008 @ 04:36 PM
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Originally posted by euclid
The correct position for a skeptic is indifference due to the fact that this is an unknowable enigma and therefore it is pointless and useless to argue whether it is one thing or another!!!!!!


Pointless and useless? You mean, like your position?

I beg to differ. It is not an unknowable enigma; there is the capacity for it to be known. Maybe not in our lifetimes -- but eventually. Plus there is a particular level of probability one way or the other. The probability of it being an actual coin? Very slim by most folks reckoning. The flip-side of that? There's a pretty darn good chance it's simply a rock.

You don't have to walk away from or ignore difficult questions by claiming them to be "unknowable." For many reasoning people, a high level of certainty is often enough to form opinions with.

I usually find the best intellect seeks out questions, ideas, and concepts much like the one described. They ponder them. Roll them around in their head. Try it sometime.

And your comment;

most skeptics here dismiss things out-of-hand just as much as "believers"

Is completely unsupported by empirical/phenomenological evidence. You've said it..."most skeptics"...now support it. Prove it.

Again, you've shown an opinion that is completely contrary to what you hold as your intellectual values.

'Pffft'....on your values.



posted on Sep, 2 2008 @ 04:46 PM
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reply to post by MrPenny
 


More useless drivel from a mind with no cents.




posted on Sep, 9 2008 @ 03:56 AM
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Originally posted by euclid
reply to post by MrPenny
 


More useless drivel from a mind with no cents.



Well.. Do you know what propabilities are supposed to give us? Those calculations are in our day used to tell exactly what will happen in a given case. We can tell just about all outcomes that involve physics with propability alone. It is empirical allright.

When it comes to big questions we are usually given a propability of 99%, which is based on earlier observations. We have not studied all of those big questions nor do I believe we have studied what is big in which culture. That 1% is there just to satisfy the need to not to be sure, and you proapbly know that already.

It does not even matter if we encounter a one observation that proves our theories are incorrect. It really doesn't if we have 10 000 observations showing otherwise. I would be extremely glad to take a 1/10 000 chance of being wrong if I am right about all those 9999 cases. That would make me a billionare and you know that.

We do now come to a question of whether my intent is to survive or not. I don't know what I am supposed to survive, nor do I care that much. I have a certain degree of affirminity that my own picture of our world is close enough to be a real one. Most people have it, I have no problem acknowledging it. Most have a problem, and that is one of the reasons why they just cannot realize what good would come if they realize being wrong about mostly everything. It doesn't matter, either, because I can tell when and what to do. It is another thing whether my values are with such a decision, that may not happen.

But.. Your points.

Yes, of course we are *forever* bound into the fact that our empirical knowledge can show us our laws being wrong. Now we come to ulititism. If something works most of the time, it is then true and when not, it is forgiven.

Live a little, and you'll learn. I don't care to explain myself why it really doesn't matter if we are not always right. That cannot be. Now, if you believe we should always retain from knowing anything, I am certain that you are a young person who hasn't realized what bad it causes.
[edit on 9/9/08 by rawsom]

[edit on 9/9/08 by rawsom]



posted on Sep, 9 2008 @ 04:11 AM
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I'm not sure.. You must see by now that some of us think the whole of things, not just one single aspect that you call skepticism. There is more to human behaviour that you yourself are also doing, it is not possible for you to do anything else. It is also the case that if you admit even some of our points, you have already lost.

Do you realize that we do know what skepticism means but that we do not intent to make our lifes impossible because of it? By your standards, I cannot know whether I can get a toasted bread out of my bread toaster. You know what? I don't, but I trust I get it because there is a high propability that I do.

We, here, and everywhere else for that matter, are humans. We cannot possibly live by only one single standard of living that you expect us to live by. We call ourselves skeptics, and we are all that, because we CAN question everything whatsoever that we want to question. We cannot, however, trust that what just doesn't happen, happens, because there is a possibility. Our lifetimes our 60-80 years or something, we don't live by standards of billions of years.

We still can understand geology and astrophysics.



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