Every few days on ATS there is a thread addressed to "you skeptics" (or "pseudoskeptics") or to "you believers".
There are many issues in relation to the actual words themselves, e.g. many "believers" object to the implicit characterisation of their position as
based on faith and in fact consider themselves the true skepticss, claiming that their position is based upon a proper and detailed examination of the
evidence whereas many "skeptics" are alleged to be biased and/or ignorant of the data rather than someone that has adopted a proper skeptical
approach to the evidence.
Many "believers" claim that they fall within the definitions of skepticism put forward by "skeptics", e.g. “… a skeptic is one who questions
the validity of a particular claim by calling for evidence to prove or disprove it” by Michael Shermer (in his “Why People Believe Weird Things”
(1997) at pages 16-17 (in Chapter 1) of the Freeman softcover edition).
The terms "skeptics" and "believer" are probably too prevalent to make it worthwhile to refer to other potentially more useful or accurate
The one point that I really want to stress is that the terms "skeptics" and "believer" are used as if there is a firm line between the two
camps and that all the individuals within one camp (e.g. all "believers" share the same views.
This is, of course, nonsense. Not all "skeptics" or all "believers" share the same opinions.
Addressing a thread to "you believers" or "you skeptics" ignores the enormous variation in opinions within each camp.
The "skeptic"/"believer" divide is far from the only schism within ufology (but these terms are a shorthand to refer to the main divide).
Some of the "believers" that contend that it is necessary to resort to an exotic theory to explain some UFO reports do not subscribe to the
ExtraTerrestrial Hypothesis ("ETH" - i.e. that aliens are visiting us). The main ones that spring to mind are that some reports are caused by:
(1) time travellers hypothesis (the "TTH"),
(2) inter-dimensional travellers / Ultraterrestrials,
(3) psychic projections / tulpas,
(4) intelligent beings (whether humans, dinosaurs or others) returning
(5) a civilisation within a hollow earth
(6) a civilisation evolved underwater / based underwater
(7) atmospheric creatures
(8) Nazis operating from a secret base on Earth, the Moon or Mars
(9) Secret mind control research
(10) Angels / demons,
etc etc etc.
Those that support the ETH (i.e. that aliens are visiting us) have many schisms, e.g. whether the aliens are friendly, hostile or indifferent to
humanity; whether the Disclosure Project is a movement that will save humanity from itself or an example of insufficient filtering of potential
evidence; whether Exopolitics is a fresh new approach or a pile of excrement.
Skeptics have almost as many internal schisms, e.g. as to which explanation to support for specific cases or the relative importance of certain
factors (e.g. stressing mirages, plasmas or mere misperception - query where to draw the line between some "skeptical" theories and some of the
Probably more significantly, there are fundamental differences of approaches between some skeptics e.g. CSICOP vs Truzzi : CSICOP ‘came to be
dominated by anti-paranormal hardliners’ and adopted a ‘crusading, inquisitional approach’ (Carter, 2007, p. 10). According to Northcote, it is
the ‘hard-line scepticism’ that ‘tends to dominate the Skeptic organizations’ (Northcote, 2007, p. 73).
By the way, these numerous schisms are not new - there were numerous schisms in ufology in earlier decades e.g. the hatred that existed between the
large UFO groups (e.g. NICAP vs APRO and APRO vs MUFON...)
In short, I think that threads addressed to "you skeptics" or "you believers" indicate that the author either has a rather over-simplified view
of the UFO debate, or is simply a troll attempting to provoke a reaction.
All the best,
Carter, Chris (2007). “Parapsychology and the Skeptics”. Pittsburgh,
Northcote, Jeremy (2007) “The Paranormal and the Politics of Truth”,
Exeter, Imprint Academic.
[edit on 18-10-2009 by IsaacKoi]