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Debunking Pseudoskepticism: Common fallacies

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posted on Mar, 26 2009 @ 10:38 PM
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reply to post by RiotComing
 


I absolutely agree. There are some skeptics on here that I think are fine - polite people who don't go down the ad hom route, and who are valuable in coming up with credible explanations. And I think those people are needed, because the flipside of the dreary pseudoskeptics is the OMG OMG crowd who will believe anything and ruin threads with hopeless, ill-informed drivel. I mean, you can't say those people aren't out there.

But there's a rather obvious gang mentality in certain quarters that's become visible on this thread, and it's good that it's been made plain for all to see.




posted on Mar, 26 2009 @ 10:51 PM
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Originally posted by Indigo_Child
The fallacy begins when one does not accept any data that falsifies the null hypothesis, with demands like "extraordinary claims require extraordinary evidence"


"Extraordinary claims require extraordinary evidence" is also a thinly-disguised version of the argument from incredulity.

Excellent work on the thread. btw.



posted on Mar, 26 2009 @ 11:18 PM
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Originally posted by RiotComing
Keeping it short, the thing I don't like about psuedoskeptics getting involved in threads, is that they speak the loudest. They're the ones with the most posts. They dominate a thread until it's basically slammed into submission. They hammer and pepper the threads with links to UFO Watchdog, a disinformation website in itself. Many good threads have been ruined by one or two people coming in and acting like some authority on the subject with a mindset to slam the door shut on the discussion. It's pointless to even discuss 'possibilities' with such members as they aren't interested in discussing potentiality, they want to kill all possibility of an ET inception, that's their goal.

And if you begin to provide credible rebuttals, then they resort to ad hominem attacks and accuse you of 'shaming ufology' or label you a drooling doe-eyed fool or words to that effect. For those reasons, I prefer to sit back and lurk these days.

[edit on 26-3-2009 by RiotComing]


Great post.

Like, you said people are just trying to debate something and the pseudoskeptic will say first you have to prove extra-terrestrials or first you have to prove extra-dimensional beings exist.

This is nonsense, what do they think this folder is for? It's about Aliens and UFO's and if we have to prove these things exist before we can debate these things then you might as well shut down ATS. They might as well close down the forum on physics because we couldn't debate parallel universes, holographic principle, string theory and more because these things havn't been proven first.



posted on Mar, 26 2009 @ 11:19 PM
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reply to post by Indigo_Child
 


Pay no attention to those who will wear you down and waste your time. Arguing with fools is always foolish or a fools errand.

The pseudoskeptics will never have enough proof to change their minds or their way of thinking.

Sad but true. Our journey is internal and arduous. Only by changing yourself within can you truly make a Universal change.

We are all connected. Remember that.

Great article and I am glad you took the time to write it



posted on Mar, 27 2009 @ 09:04 AM
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reply to post by xman_in_blackx
 


Yeah I think this thread was well worth creating and Indigo has done an excellent job. I had thought of creating a similar thread but I'm glad I was beaten to it as I feel Indigo has done much better than I could have done and has coped fantastically with the usual underhand attempts to shut down all exposure of pseudo-skepticism at ATS.

it's important that the vast difference between legitimate skepticism and "pseudo (or 'bogus') skepticism" be clearly understood at ATS and I think it's obvious that there is no such general understanding at present. That is why pseudo-skeptics are able to spin challenges to pseudo-skepticism as if they were an "attack on skeptics", because they rely on the confusion of members regarding the differences between the two and hope to rally legitimate skeptics to their cause by falsely screaming that skeptics are being "attacked" (an "emotion inflaming" tactic, as mentioned in my signature).

As Indigo pointed out, the hallmarks of pseudo-skepticism are fallacious arguments and other illegitimate debating tactics used in denial (see my signature and click the links for more info). These are used extensively at ATS by a number of hardcore debunkers posing as skeptics. Skepticism is, of course, perfectly legitimate but pseudo-skeptics simply pretend to be skeptics while using fallacies which have absolutely nothing to do with legitimate skepticism.

I think it's vital that these hallamarks of pseudo-skepticism be clearly identified and become well understood by all at ATS. Why? So that time and effort is no longer constantly wasted having to respond again and again to the same old spurious and completely illegitimate criticisms when discussing the evidence for UFO's and the ETH, while those who use them hide behind the skirts of legitimate skepticism.

If pseudo-skepticism came to be clearly understood at ATS then, as soon as it's fallacies were used, the members could identify them and expose and dismiss them, rather than constantly being made to jump through the hoops raised by pseudo-skeptics in their rigged and illogical game. You cannot defeat pseudo-skepticism with evidence or logic, because it is interested in neither. It's purpose is to deny at all costs no matter what evidence you present. But pseudo-skeptics are quite happy to make you run yourself ragged trying to satisfy their illogical and unreasonable demands which, in fact, are designed never to be met. But unless you understand it's bogus mothods you cannot identify and dismiss them and simply say "That's a fallacy (and here's how). It's pseudo-skepticism and logic does not demand that I satisfy your illogical reasoning, or accept your unreasonable debunking". And then move on. At the moment we tolerate it - often because we don't clearly understand it - and allow the game to be played by their skewed rules.

Another problem is that the tactics used by pseudo-skeptics here are so common that many have come to actually associate them with "skepticism" and call those who use them "skeptics" (because pseudo-skeptics lyingly call themselves "skeptics"). Thus, pseudo-skepticism gives legitimate skeptics a bad name at ATS and sows conflict. This confusion is understandable but is actually rather insulting to legitimate skeptics whose position couldn't be more different to pseudo-skepticism. This isn't anyones opinion. It's a fact. Both skepticism and pseudo-skepticism have clear and very different definitions and by understanding them you can easily differentiate between them. That is the purpose of this thread and others like them.

So, you may find threads like these a bit wordy at times and they do become the target of all out attacks and slander by pseudo-skeptics who are intent on shutting them down and ending the challenge to pseudo-skepticism at ATS. However, I think they are very necessary and all members, skeptic and believer alike, would do well to inform themselves about the difference between pseudo and legitimate skepticism and learn to identify the fallacies and underhand tactics which separate them. But, if that's "not your bag" baby, fine, focus on the other threads but at least understand why threads like these are useful and necessary.

Legitimate skepticism keeps believers honest and with a focus on the evidence. Pseudo-skepticism muddies the waters and derails and stalls the debate which is bad for everyone.

[edit on 27-3-2009 by Malcram]



posted on Mar, 27 2009 @ 05:52 PM
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reply to post by rich23
 

Well I in turn, absolutely agree with you. I believe some of the finest members we have on this board, are skeptics. Internos and Armap, to name a few!
Without them, we would be forever numbing our eyes with pixelated YouTube lights-in-the-sky, totally rudderless. They always contribute to the discussion by adding background information to steer us on the right track.

The pseudoskeptic on the other hand, directly interferes with the discussion. Statements such as "We don't even know if aliens actually exist, let alone visit here" become 'roadblocks' in the debate. A fine way to kill threads.



posted on Mar, 27 2009 @ 06:24 PM
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Like I've always said, there's nothing wrong with believing that UFOs are alien craft. I have no real scruples with belief.

To deny someone belief would be little different than, say, religious intolerance and things of that nature. People should be free to believe whatever it is they want (as long as it doesn't interfere with the human rights of others, anyway.)

I just think that belief and fact need to be clearly separated. And often one side or the other will often make a concerted effort to blur the lines between the two.

To say that UFOs are some kind of alien vehicle would be the farthest thing from a fact that I can think of. What's more is that various ideas about conspiracies, shady operations, and questionable "evidence" is often stacked on top of eachother in an effort to substantiate these assumptions. Why is that, exactly? If there was such an abundance of evidence why would all of these overcomplicated schemes and plots be necessary to reinforce ET claims?

What would it take for me to believe that UFOs were ET vehicles? Certainly a lot more than what's currently available, that's for sure.

For starters, I would love to have a case that couldn't be reasonably be debunked by a common scientific explanation. And that's just the beginning...

Perhaps a thread entitled "Debunking Pseudo-intellectualism: Common fallacies" is in order to set the record straight? I think so.

...or just a really good case!

[edit on 27-3-2009 by LogicalResponse]



posted on Mar, 28 2009 @ 01:25 AM
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reply to post by Indigo_Child
 


tricky, maybe impossible, both powered flight and breaking the sound barrier. But because of engineering problems, not because of physical problems.

actually a pretty good example crossed my mind the other day:

Do you think we will ever be able to make objects fall faster than terminal velocity?
Now, the obvious "increase gravity" and "reduce drag" dont work: they increase terminal velocity. Pulling/pushing it down isnt falling.

traveling faster than sound: engineering problem, not impossible. whips do it.
falling faster than terminal velocity: Physic says its impossible. Engineering can do what it wants and go home.



posted on Mar, 28 2009 @ 06:34 AM
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Originally posted by LogicalResponse
Like I've always said, there's nothing wrong with believing that UFOs are alien craft. I have no real scruples with belief.

To deny someone belief would be little different than, say, religious intolerance and things of that nature. People should be free to believe whatever it is they want (as long as it doesn't interfere with the human rights of others, anyway.)


I have a lot of respect for you LogicalResponse. I think you are the only poster in this thread from the "skeptical" camp that is not a "pseudoskeptic" who actually shows genuine and sincere interest in the arguments of the "believer" camp, does not misrepresent what they say, engages them, but is honest enough to withold judgement. There is nothing wrong with your general attitude, "Yeah I have seen the evidence, but i'm still not convinced" I really hope your attitude remains the same, and you can be a model for others who are pretending to be skeptics.


To say that UFOs are some kind of alien vehicle would be the farthest thing from a fact that I can think of. What's more is that various ideas about conspiracies, shady operations, and questionable "evidence" is often stacked on top of eachother in an effort to substantiate these assumptions. Why is that, exactly? If there was such an abundance of evidence why would all of these overcomplicated schemes and plots be necessary to reinforce ET claims?


I agree, nothing derived from inference is ever fact. There are many schools of Philosophy all around the world that did not accept inference as a valid means of knowledge, such as Hume. An inference only says, "based on this premise, this is true" - "I have always seen smoke come from fire, therefore wherever there is smoke there is fire" We have to make inferences to live a practical life, a doctor has to make inferences by seeing common symptoms and diagnose, if he did not do that we would have no health care systems.

Science is a system of inferences, nobody has seen an atom, but the inference that atoms exist is made from evidence. The inference there is gravity on Jupiter is made from evidence. So it depends if you accept scientific logic or not, if you don't, you have a right to because inference is not a proven means of knowledge. But if you accept it, and then dismiss other valid inferences using scientific logic, then there is a problem of inconsistency.


For starters, I would love to have a case that couldn't be reasonably be debunked by a common scientific explanation. And that's just the beginning...


But you see this is the whole crux of Ufology. There are cases that cannot be explained with 'common scientific explanations" The cases that can be explained are not problems for ufology, it's the cases that cannot be explained. That are genuine UFO's.



posted on Mar, 28 2009 @ 08:52 AM
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reply to post by Indigo_Child
 





Science is a system of inferences, nobody has seen an atom, but the inference that atoms exist is made from evidence. The inference there is gravity on Jupiter is made from evidence. So it depends if you accept scientific logic or not, if you don't, you have a right to because inference is not a proven means of knowledge. But if you accept it, and then dismiss other valid inferences using scientific logic, then there is a problem of inconsistency.


Absolutely. Crucial point.

Often at ATS such inconsistency is glaringly obvious in the posts of many critics of the ETH. Not only do they show broad, unhesitating and unquestioning acceptance of a whole range of other "facts" derived from inference but they will often use them in an attempt to explain away ET/UFO's. LOL.

Such 'skepticism' is applied with partiality. It is prejudice based and hence is not legitimate skepticism. A true skeptic consistently applies the same attitude and approach to all phenomena and all subjects.

And as I noted in another thread today, there is also a real double standard with regard to the evidence that is deemed acceptable in support of the ETH and that which is deemed sufficient to "prove" alternative explanations to it. Almost nothing is ever accepted as valid "evidence' for the ETH, and yet the flimsiest non-evidence or obvious hearsay accompanied by brash proclamation is usually enough to have an alternative explanation immediately accepted as "fact" (and repeated as such, if ever the case is raised again): "It's an X. Sorry. Case closed. Debunked. Deny ignorance." or "Nothing to see here. This was already debunked in another thread. The fact is, it's an X".

With regard to this tendency:

On Pseudo-Skepticism, a commentary by Marcello Truzzi:

"Since the true skeptic does not assert a claim, he has no burden to prove anything. He just goes on using the established theories of "conventional science" as usual. But if a critic asserts that there is evidence for disproof, that he has a negative hypothesis --saying, for instance, that a [UFO] was actually due to an artifact--he is making a claim and therefore also has to bear a burden of proof...Sometimes, such negative claims by critics are also quite extraordinary--for example, that a UFO was actually a giant plasma. In such cases the negative claimant also may have to bear a heavier burden of proof than might normally be expected.

Critics who assert negative claims, but who mistakenly call themselves "skeptics," often act as though they have no burden of proof placed on them at all, though such a stance would be appropriate only for the agnostic or true skeptic. A result of this is that many critics seem to feel it is only necessary to present a case for their counter-claims based upon plausibility rather than empirical evidence.
"

[edit on 28-3-2009 by Malcram]



posted on Mar, 28 2009 @ 09:35 AM
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I was going to go this thread and clear up the logical argumentation -- or lack of same -- but it has given me a huge migraine. I'm considering it tagged and will return later.

In the meantime, read this here.

I think at least one person here is committing an egregious logical error of argumentum ad ignorantiam (if it hasn't been disproved then it must be true). This seems to be a common error in UFO world, and the flip side of "If there's no evidence, it can't be true." Ironic, eh?

[edit on 28-3-2009 by bitch is the new black]



posted on Mar, 28 2009 @ 10:20 AM
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reply to post by bitch is the new black
 


But before I go, I think the basic problem here is conflating what MUST be true and what COULD be true. This is a very serious error in constructing Formal Logic argumentation problems, as the seeking of Absolute Truth is the foundation.

When you use what could be true -- but may be false -- as a premise of your argument, you CANNOT have a logically valid conclusion that absolutely MUST be true in all cases at all times.

ETs may use faster than light methods of travel, but it cannot be ABSOLUTELY TRUE because they could be using a Willy Wonka-type Mike Teevee TV transmission device. Hey, it's just as plausible, since there is no known faster-than-light-speed method of travel possible at this time. So it is not a MUST be TRUE that aliens are visiting us from other galaxies on that basis, it just COULD be true. Also, it could be true that monkeys fly out of my ass.

ugh, i've been up all night so I will have to come back to clean this up so I make sense.



posted on Mar, 28 2009 @ 10:42 AM
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I've been out of highschool for over 10 years now, and I really didn't think I would still encounter the same highschool mentality that I keep seeing with these silly "Skeptics vs Pseudo-Skeptics vs Anti-Skeptics vs Believers vs True Believers vs Neutrals". Can this thread just die? We get it.

All you're doing is trying to put a label on people, and causing a sense of discrimination just like back in Highschool. "If you wear nice clothes, then you're a prep, so go stand by the preps. If you wear black shirts and listen to metal, then you're a metal head, and you stay over there. If you play sports, then you're a jock, you stay over there. If you're on the chess team, then you're a nerd, you stay over there".

Listen, most of you in here are all really smart, and thats a good thing. We need people who are smart to cover this tough subject. So lets start getting down to the actual discussion at hand(UFOs), and not worry about trying to define yourself, and belong to some certain community, all while pointing your finger at someone else and discriminating. We need this thread, just as much as you needed your letter-men jacket to fit in with the jocks back in the day. This is such a tribal way of thinking, that I'm amazed humans have come this far. And this is the last post in all these silly threads. I'm out.......

[edit on 28-3-2009 by TravisT]



posted on Mar, 28 2009 @ 11:30 AM
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Travis, your assessment of the thread has no merit and no basis in reality. It's about identifying and refuting fallacious arguments, not "tribalism" or "labeling". If the value of such a thread escapes you, then there are countless other threads that might interest you. Forums have a very democratic way of determining which threads stay active or not. People post in them if they are interested in the subject. As you can see this thread has eight pages of material. It will "die" when people lose interest, not because you or anyone else "complains" it into inactivity.



[edit on 28-3-2009 by Malcram]



posted on Mar, 28 2009 @ 11:48 AM
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Having explored the UFO and alien debate for a long time, I have looked not only at the evidence but the quality and cumulative weight of of it.

Tangible validation is always elusive, and the proponents just keep getting more defensive. I listen to the the claims of how there are tons of evidence, but somehow fully convincing documented proof isn't quite there yet, due to government cover-ups, flak from naysayers, and on and on.

I don't dismiss the possibility of other intelligences, but the visitation phenomena and the arguments by the UFO community increasingly resemble the Catholic Church's validation of True Miracles and Creationism dismissals of Evolution.

I apply personal experience and common sense to a litany of supplied explanations why information or validation isn't immediately apparent or available. I apply the same to when critics are classified into categories, debunkers, skeptics, pseudoskeptics, etc.

Excuses and more excuses.


Mike



posted on Mar, 28 2009 @ 12:02 PM
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I have to agree with Macram. Travis, not only was it made clear in the OP, it has also been clarified by myself, by Malcram, Platosallegory and others several times to different people that this is not an attack on skepticism. It is an exposure of common fallacious arguments and tactics which are pseudoskeptical. I do not believe this point requires any more clarification. I am just going to treat anyone else who brings this objection up again as a troll and ignore them.

8 pages in, and there is not a single valid reftuation of any of my arguments. There is only one person, LogicalResponse who has put an honest debate with my arguments. While others, don't even care about the arguments, are not bothered to engage them, and are making personal emotional accusations against the thread itself - "It's against us, poor us, were being persecuted" Again I repeat, this thread is not about any person or group of people, it is against fallacious arguments.

If you want to participate in this thread, engage my arguments at the start of this thread and the arguments of Malcram, Platoallegory or don't post here at all. I am confident 100%, because I think the logic of my arguments is impeccable, that there cannot be a single valid refutation of them. Prove me wrong or go away.

[edit on 28-3-2009 by Indigo_Child]



posted on Mar, 28 2009 @ 09:16 PM
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Without wanting to show disrespect for the argument set forward -

I neither have the time nor inclination to compose and type tens of thousands of words on points on semantics and logic. Fiction and imagination can have their own internal logic. It doesn't necessarily mean an immediate reconciliation with the outside world or universe.

After decades of seeing hundreds of blurry photographs, conflicting accounts, embarrassingly evidence like faked alien autopsy videos, along with categorizations of alien races and even categorizing of those asking questions - for me, at least, a fairly clear picture is formed.

I would very much like to have it demonstrated there is an alien intelligence interfacing with us. Arguments of probability and dot connecting the thousands of collected anecdotal pieces of evidence haven't done the trick for me, so far.

Show me - please.


Mike



posted on Mar, 28 2009 @ 09:32 PM
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reply to post by mmiichael
 


I don't think what you said was disrespectful, just written in the wrong thread. This particular thread isn't about the evidence for the ETH, as such, as the thread title indicates.

I share your distaste for hoaxes and blurry videos and photos. If I thought the ETH relied on them I'd be rather disappointed. I find the easiest way to deal with such evidence is to give it very little time. I try to focus on only the very high quality evidence of which there is a great deal - more than enough. Much of it has been referred to in threads here at ATS. And a certain amount of effort and 'dot connecting' is always necessary with every new discovery. Those for whom this is intolerable are probably best suited to waiting until the PTB and their MSM are willing to process and package the truth for them. It means a longer wait but it involves less effort. There is no dishonour in that.

[edit on 28-3-2009 by Malcram]



posted on Mar, 28 2009 @ 09:34 PM
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But this is not a use of fictional logic. I am using scientific logic.


After decades of seeing hundreds of blurry photographs, conflicting accounts, embarrassingly evidence like faked alien autopsy videos, along with categorizations of alien races and even categorizing of those asking questions - for me, at least, a fairly clear picture is formed.


Right, but I don't think I have appealed to any blurry photographs in this thread. I am using logic alone.


I would very much like to have it demonstrated there is an alien intelligence interfacing with us. Arguments of probability and dot connecting the thousands of collected anecdotal pieces of evidence haven't done the trick for me, so far.

Show me - please.


Nope, I have not even used arguments from probability. Again I have used logical arguments to show why we must accept ET exists and is visiting us.

You can prove ET is visiting Earth right now if you want by using reason logic. Google: "Battle of LA" UFO case from 1941. Read about it, listen to the radio transcript, see the press photographs, review the official explantion. Then use your reasoning.

They have been visiting Earth for thousands of years now, and they have been in contact with worlds governments for decades. The government is keeping this suppressed, you can fight back by using your intelligence.
I don't need anymore proof, proof by reason is enough for me.

[edit on 28-3-2009 by Indigo_Child]



posted on Mar, 28 2009 @ 11:21 PM
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Wow , my eye hurts , but what a nice thread!

Thank you very much indigo child , you have actually sparkled my interest in Philosophy up , although I always had a similar way of thinking.

I do not know If I consider myself a full skeptic or a full believer , I do have many assumptions , I am aware of them , but I try my best not to take them as a truth , unless I can convince myself with evidence.

I also see that a few of rebuttal tries to you seemed a bit like disinformations tatics.

By the way , have you ever read "25 Ways To Suppress Truth - The Rules of Disinformation" by Michael Sweeney?

If my memory recalls well , most would fall into trying to change the focus of the subject , so that people forget the main subject at hand.

One that tries to look like he is an expert trying to diminish your credibility , while making your credibility the main subject.

A few that try to insult you (and each other apparently!) , yet have nothing to add to the main subject!

Forgive me for not giving the proper name of the categories they fall into , I cannot remember , and my eyes hurt too much to do any more reading now!


Not that these people are agents or anything , that would be an assumption :x , just something that caught my eye.


Again , thumbs up



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