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The Pro's, The Semi-Pro's, and the end of the Universe.

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posted on Jul, 23 2010 @ 02:53 PM
Evening all,

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 longer rant?

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 experiences.

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" reply.

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 debunkers.

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 reinforces it.

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 interesting distraction?

Edited to add extra pretentiousness.

[edit on 23-7-2010 by eightfold]

posted on Aug, 2 2010 @ 09:12 AM
reply to post by eightfold

I'll bite...

I'm not a debunker, but I think that I've a healthy Skepticism - I interpret that to mean that I won't blindly believe. Most of us here I think have a fairly large interest in UFOlogy and personally I do believe in aliens - I just don't believe the majority of the stuff presented - not only on ATS, but in general is much more than mistaken identity that given time and thought will rationally be explained.

To a degree we're probably all basement-dwelling nerds
, but it is fairly easy to clock up a decent amount of time in a subject, I've never studied photoshop, but I've much more knowledge than I did by reading through a lot of threads and seeing people point out what to look for in a "shoop".

Some fields may require more learning than others you know... and I'd like to point out, especially from a couple of threads I've seen you participate in recently (since this was posted?), that people lazily reposting old stuff that's clearly low quality photography etc is pretty infuriating sometimes, especially when it comes with a sensationalist headline that declares "ABSOLUTE UNDENIABLE PROOF" only to be some balloons etc.

Anyway, I'd like to say your latest thread was nicely presented and interesting - and an example of a good post by a new member, you didn't say it was an alien base or junk like that, you just presented an anomaly for discussion.

That kind of thread attracts some of us that might "debunk" - just not with our debunking heads on, because you're not trying to hammer home a tenuous point.

posted on Aug, 2 2010 @ 09:46 AM
reply to post by jokei

Hi Jokei, thanks for your reply. I figured this thread was doomed to die, but apparently not...
I was gently concerned I was rambling, but reading back I think what I said was valid even if I didn't make my point very well.

The debunkers concern me simply because some members views seem to be readily accepted based on their often extensive previous posts, but in reality we have no idea who these people are and what their skills are. Some members seem to have an implausibly large skill set, and I suspect google is responsible rather than piles of University degrees. I suppose that's just the nature of a place like this tho, and nobody is forcing anyone to believe anyone else. I suspect I should've shut up rather than start this thread.

As to me and this place.... you'll often find me getting involved in the alien threads, I enjoy the speculation. The jury is out of me on the visitation front, but I'm convinced there's other life 'out there' - statistically there must be? The thought of us being the sum-total of all creation is ridiculous, in my mind anyway.

As to my own involvement in debunking... I'll happily rule out possibilities if it's obvious (like in that 'SUPER ALIEN PROOF' thread - there's no way it's a bird), but you'll likely never see me saying 'that's definitely extra-terrestrial' anywhere in ATS, ever. I'm slowly learning how this place works, and hopefully I'll become a more useful member with time.

In the case of my new thread, I thought it was amazing and highly unlikely to have happened by chance and I knew many ATSers would have the same initial reaction as me - "er, that's a bit odd."

posted on Aug, 2 2010 @ 09:51 AM
When I try debunk something, I start with common sense. The I make my inquiries. Then I post my findings. it's not about pro or contra for me, I just want to know how it is real - the truth. Sometimes debunk sometimes go with it..

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