I've just had a gentle rant on another thread about this, and I thought it might be worth a bit of a thread in it's own right (or maybe just a
From where I'm sitting, ATS is a forum for people to exchange views and ideas on things that are a wee bit odd. I love the place, I find it
fascinating to read some of the crazy stories and ideas that people have about the world around us, as well as hearing about their often bizarre
Members seem to be split into many different categories - the mental case (a particular favourite of mine is the time travelling alien type), the
teenager that's just found out about insert conspiracy here
(often 9/11 - I love a bit of 'OH MY GOD HAVE YOU HEARD ABOUT THIS?!?!!!) the
intellectuals, the idiots, the naive, the physicists, the engineers, the philosophers, the humourless, the sarcastic but hilarious b@%*$ds, and on and
on. Then there are the ones that are the subject of this post.... the pro and semi-pro debunkers.
Obviously given the size of this place people often post stuff that's been covered before, and this post might well be a good example. Often, in
those threads (or even threads covering stuff that's vaguely similar) *someone* (the semi-pro debunker
) will post a "This has already been
debunked, see this thread, move along, nothing to see here"
What I want to discuss is the very idea of 'debunking' on a site like this, and how foolish it is to accept the ideas of a few hardcore
Firstly, we have NO IDEA who the people doing the debunking are in real life. I suspect that most of the 'professional debunkers' here merely have
degrees in google rather than true expert knowledge. They use their superior command of the google search box and their seemingly endless free time to
form plausible theories about the thread topic.
The semi-pro debunkers then appear to accept the views of these pro-debunkers without any question. Despite plausible & often ingenious suggestions
from other members, threads are seemingly considered 'debunked' by these semi-pro's after a single (often charmless and blunt) reply from one of
the pro's. These semi-pro's seem to exist in clusters, often giving the impression a posters theory has been debunked when really nothing of the
sort has happened. The consensus of a few doesn't equal fact.
Any further threads started on a similar topic are then subject to the 'this has been debunked, see this thread....nothing to see here, move along'
treatment, which often causes the death of the thread. The subject isn't re-explored by new faces with new ideas, and instead the apparent gospel of
one of the pro's is accepted as fact.
The thing is, I'd bet good money (obviously not dollars :p ) that almost none of us here are qualified to debunk anything. I could offer my opinion
on various subjects, I can talk intelligently about a number of things, but I don't consider myself an expert in anything other than my core
interest. Even that'd be a bit of a stretch.
It supposedly take 10,000+ hours to truly understand a subject or to truly master a skill, so where do the apparent polymaths on ATS find the time?
How can one man be an expert in geology, climatolgy, advanced physical engineering, particle physics, cosmology, rocket science, biology and
interpretation of aerial photography?
I've come to the conclusion that it's highly highly unlikely that ATS is home to some of the most advanced polymaths the world has ever known.
Instead I'd suggest they're far more likely to be socially inept googlers with a knack for sounding vaguely like they know what they're on about.
It's potentially an expert skill in itself. The humourless replies give away a lack of social skills, the silence when their views are challenged
If you're one of the people that accepts the idea that this place is somewhere you can find definitive answers on a given subject, please please
please rethink what this place is really about. It's for postulating, theorising, creating and discussing the confusing and interesting things we
come across while our hearts are still beating. It's not the place to find the answers to how the Universe will end.
I take almost everything that's said in this place with an extra-large-supersize pinch of salt... do you do the same? Or do you think I'm talking
out my @%se? Surely the whole concept of debunking is null and void in a place like this? Peer review and the scientific method exist for a reason,
and the anonymous, bastardised version of it that this site represents isn't an adequate replacement, surely it's just an entertaining and
Edited to add extra pretentiousness.
[edit on 23-7-2010 by eightfold]