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A brief guide to scepticism

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posted on Aug, 18 2010 @ 02:33 AM
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Hello and thanks for coming into this thread.

I have seen differing opinions here on the Aliens & UFOs boards upon what being a 'sceptic' or 'skeptic' is and would like to educate those who do not fully know with some of the finer points of scepticism, and how to practise it, through some very short and simple to follow videos which, for me at least, sum up the definition nicely.

The first video entitled 'Critical Thinking' (5:13) explains how and why a critical thinking mind is useful and helps us to understand it's importance to everyone whether they consider themselves sceptical or not.



The second video is entitled 'Open-mindedness' (9:40) and explores the concepts of not dismissing far-fetched claims or extraordinary stories out of hand and using scientific methods to investigate the claims to see if they stand up to scrutiny.



The final video in this opening post is entitled 'The problem with anecdotes' (9:03) and this displays how our memories of our perceptions of events can sometimes be flawed and why questioning narratives, as well as examining more solid evidence, is important when searching for answers.



I am sure that those who wish to spend 23 minutes and 56 seconds of their lives watching these videos will save themselves much time when dealing with people who appear to be sceptical in the future and will be able to present information in such a way so that the sceptic can understand it easily.

If you enjoyed these short videos you may wish to look over their author's YouTube page as he has many more. He can be found at his landing page on QualiaSoup.

I hope that from these simple presentations the Aliens and UFO forum of ATS members will better understand that sceptical people and those who already know through belief are on the same side regarding uncovering the nature of who, what, when, where and why elements of this fascinating subject which we all map out together through friendly and informative discussion.

I look forward to hearing your thoughts upon the videos and the subjects brought up within them.

-m0r




posted on Aug, 18 2010 @ 02:38 AM
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reply to post by m0r1arty
 


I prefer true skepticism, in the classic sense. The kind that's even skeptical about the Scientific Method as a device for gauging the reality of any and all claims.

In classical philosophy, skepticism (or scepticism) is the teachings and the traits of the 'Skeptikoi', a school of philosophers of whom it was said that they 'asserted nothing but only opined.' (Liddell and Scott) In this sense, philosophical skepticism, or Pyrrhonism, is the philosophical position that one should suspend judgment in investigations.

SOURCE

IMHO if you're being selective about what you're skeptical about you aren't being a "true" skeptic.

[edit on 18-8-2010 by Watcher-In-The-Shadows]



posted on Aug, 18 2010 @ 02:48 AM
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reply to post by Watcher-In-The-Shadows
 


As do I Watcher!!

However this is meant to be a brief and easy guide to understanding the mindset of academic (or modern age) scepticism.

However an Epicurean era sense of scepticism means that you'd do nothing at all and since that is impossible (And of no use with investigations) I thought it best to not mention it.

If anyone does decide to follow scepticism all the way down the rabbit hole than I'd certainly recommend them to look into a lot of the ancient Greeks philosophies.

Thanks for the reply!

-m0r



posted on Aug, 18 2010 @ 02:52 AM
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reply to post by m0r1arty
 


Respectfully, this is an opinion sir, not fact:

However an Epicurean era sense of scepticism means that you'd do nothing at all and since that is impossible (And of no use with investigations) I thought it best to not mention it.


If anything modern science may be helped with a large dose of classical skepticism.




[edit on 18-8-2010 by Watcher-In-The-Shadows]



posted on Aug, 18 2010 @ 02:57 AM
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Good videos.

I see one flaw though.

The type of person who should watch these videos, won't.



posted on Aug, 18 2010 @ 03:00 AM
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Originally posted by Watcher-In-The-Shadows
If anything modern science may be helped with a large dose of classical skepticism.


Respectfully in reply, science is the act of labelling things.

Pyrrho styled scepticism is the exact opposite of that (even so far as not to commit to being labelled that) and has no place in day-to-day science as it is better suited as a philosophy than a teaching.

I've no issue with you being sceptical of my scepticism, in fact I welcome it, but it would have played out a touch better had the time taken for these videos to be watched had at least passed.

As is we're mincing arguments based on nothing but the subject of scepticism and far from the concept of educating people about what scepticism is.

If you are up for more let's start a thread at the specially designed philosophy section just for that


-m0r



posted on Aug, 18 2010 @ 03:18 AM
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reply to post by m0r1arty
 


M0r1arty.....

OMG.....that narrator is Nefermore "moonlighting" on his ATS Live job!

Cheers
Maybe...maybe not



posted on Aug, 18 2010 @ 03:37 AM
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reply to post by m0r1arty
 


Really now? The points I bring up are perfectly pertentant as to the subject at hand. Those videos are after all about a rather narrow and self serving view as to what skepticism entails after all. What can be best called selective skepticism.

Science is, in a sense, the act of labeling things, that is true. But true skepticism is not against the act of labeling merely against making truth claims. You know, suspending belief or disbelief. And this is not damaging to science anymore than admitting that one could be wrong is proof of being wrong. Though, of course, mankind being as he is it is viewed as a sign of weakness and thusly construed as such.

[edit on 18-8-2010 by Watcher-In-The-Shadows]



posted on Aug, 18 2010 @ 03:54 AM
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Originally posted by Watcher-In-The-Shadows
But true skepticism is not against the act of labeling merely against making truth claims.


True scepticism?

I guess you could explain that bit to me from Star Wars: Revenge of the Sith then when Obi Wan states to Anakin that only a Sith deals in absolutes.

...is not against the act of labelling merely against making truth claims?

Again - I'm stumped. Is this like the chicken and the egg Will, the chicken and the egg!?!

I'm usually pretty good at holding two opposing views in my mind at the one time - but I guess I'm trumped here on paradoxes.

Care to explain your thoughts about scepticism further for me please?

I think I'd really appreciate it and I'm sure people who came here to find out more about a brief guide to scepticism will be thoroughly enlightened by it.

Thanks in advance!!

-m0r



posted on Aug, 18 2010 @ 04:07 AM
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reply to post by m0r1arty
 


I spent a long time believing things without the evidence to back them up. Whether it was the Creationist religion I'd been raised in or the return of the Annunaki and the rise of the NWO.

Then I found myself applying my natural skepticism to those things and suddenly a whole new world opened up. Default skepticism really should be the way everyone thinks about things.

A lot of times skeptics here on ATS are belittled as closed minded sheep. This, I think, is because people are desperate for things to believe in. It is just like the X-Files said, we want to believe. We want to believe that there is more than the mundane normal boring physical world (despite the fact I personally think the normal physical world is anything but mundane and boring)...

Great videos and great post. ATS needs more people willing to apply skepticism to each other and themselves



posted on Aug, 18 2010 @ 04:11 AM
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reply to post by m0r1arty
 


How exactly is what I typed a paradox? Am I correct in thinking that you are assuming that once something is label it is inherently a claim of absolute truth?



posted on Aug, 18 2010 @ 04:31 AM
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Originally posted by Watcher-In-The-Shadows
How exactly is what I typed a paradox? Am I correct in thinking that you are assuming that once something is label it is inherently a claim of absolute truth?


I'll keep this short as I feel it's derailing this thread and I've already offered to have a discussion regarding scepticism within the philosophy section of these forums already.

You cannot add the word 'absolute' into my reply - you never had it in yours.

Speaking of favouring classical scepticism and then labelling it as 'True scepticism' shows that your understanding of the topic may not be as eloquent as perhaps someone else's.

Yes classical scepticism from the school of Pyrrho meant considering that even the perception of existence to be possibly false (or true) was believing too much without proof. Similar to the Platonic ideal it is unachievable by man as there is no way to study it without using labels created by man.

Your preferred method of scepticism, by your own admission, means that doing nothing is the only way to know that you are doing something - but you can't even label it as that because that steals away from it's perfection as a philosophy.

Wow - trippy stuff.

Now onto modern, and useful, scepticism. Questioning things, looking at evidence and adjusting your mindset - these are qualities which benefit groups of people. Actually doing stuff.

I'd recommend that to counter me aptly here you either create or find a nice and easy to digest video on 'True scepticism' and let everyone know what you are talking about - as titbits of trolling don't equate to teaching or (aptly due to your sceptical allegiances) anything of use.

I hope I explained myself clearly and that any further conversations you wish to 'explore' regarding philosophy or paradoxes happen in the forum designed specifically for it (It will require creating your own thread though).

As is, scepticism 101 is still in session.

-m0r



posted on Aug, 18 2010 @ 04:57 AM
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reply to post by m0r1arty
 



I'll keep this short as I feel it's derailing this thread and I've already offered to have a discussion regarding scepticism within the philosophy section of these forums already.


That's good. You posted one here. Skepticism is after a philosophy is it not? The videos you posted deal with you believe to be the basics of skepticism is it not?


You cannot add the word 'absolute' into my reply - you never had it in yours.


I added nothing to your reply. You seemed to be infering that a label was something absolute. So I asked you. Way to not answer a question though.



Speaking of favouring classical scepticism and then labelling it as 'True scepticism' shows that your understanding of the topic may not be as eloquent as perhaps someone else's


And I am trolling?
But thank you for the small amount of amusement in your rather clumsy attack on my intelligence has garnered.

In the truest sense of the word classical skepticism is true skepticism. You are not being selective as to what you are being skeptical about.


Yes classical scepticism from the school of Pyrrho meant considering that even the perception of existence to be possibly false (or true) was believing too much without proof. Similar to the Platonic ideal it is unachievable by man as there is no way to study it without using labels created by man.


Thank you for your agreement.


Your preferred method of scepticism, by your own admission, means that doing nothing is the only way to know that you are doing something - but you can't even label it as that because that steals away from it's perfection as a philosophy.

Wow - trippy stuff.


Perhaps, if that is what you wish to believe. But, where exactly did I say that? I will correct you if I can.

But, withholding judgement is simply that. Whatever your feeling on that is. And in many cases is the best route to take.


Now onto modern, and useful, scepticism. Questioning things, looking at evidence and adjusting your mindset - these are qualities which benefit groups of people. Actually doing stuff.


You mean selective bastardized skepticism. And like I said and you selectively ignored.

You know, suspending belief or disbelief. And this is not damaging to science anymore than admitting that one could be wrong is proof of being wrong.



I'd recommend that to counter me aptly here you either create or find a nice and easy to digest video on 'True scepticism' and let everyone know what you are talking about - as titbits of trolling don't equate to teaching or (aptly due to your sceptical allegiances) anything of use.


It's not my fault if you are not listening.



I hope I explained myself clearly and that any further conversations you wish to 'explore' regarding philosophy or paradoxes happen in the forum designed specifically for it (It will require creating your own thread though).


You still have yet to provide any proof as to these paradoxes you speak of my friend.



As is, scepticism 101 is still in session.


You mean your trolling thread in the continuing silly conflict between those that believe in UFOs and those that do not?






[edit on 18-8-2010 by Watcher-In-The-Shadows]



posted on Aug, 18 2010 @ 05:14 AM
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Labelling something as silly eh?

How very sceptical!

I've taken our conversation over to a thread of yours. I'd appreciate it if the mods could move most of our conversation from here to there and leave a note for those willing to follow our conversation.

-m0r



posted on Aug, 18 2010 @ 05:17 AM
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Originally posted by Chadwickus
Good videos.

I see one flaw though.

The type of person who should watch these videos, won't.


They wont be interested in the trivium either.

gnosticmedia.podomatic.com...



posted on Aug, 18 2010 @ 05:19 AM
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Originally posted by Watcher-In-The-Shadows
If anything modern science may be helped with a large dose of classical skepticism.


Science is skepticism, the two are inseparable. Such an attitude as the above quote is not born from a true understanding of either science or skepticism, but rather a frustration science does not support their beliefs. These individuals assume it is not their beliefs or thinking that is wrong but science that is flawed. This is the epitome of arrogance and closed-mindedness.

[edit on 18-8-2010 by DoomsdayRex]



posted on Aug, 19 2010 @ 12:54 AM
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Originally posted by m0r1arty
will better understand that sceptical people and those who already know through belief are on the same side regarding uncovering the nature of
-m0r


Sorry but I disagree.

There are sceptics and then there are believers and believers come in two different sizes, those who believe whatever and those who disbelieve whatever.

Neither of those are particularly helpful in the majority of cases where discussion of evidence takes place.

A true sceptic may have a particular underlying belief but would not let that affect each individual case.

I was actually in the process of starting up a thread about the 3 most common fallacies in this forum when a couple of threads recently seemed to have covered some of the same ground. The lumping together of debunkers with sceptics and only categorising sceptics and believers (instead of also including disbelievers and making the distinction between them and sceptics) being one of them.



posted on Aug, 19 2010 @ 01:41 AM
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Originally posted by DoomsdayRex
Science is skepticism, the two are inseparable.


I'm not sure that's exactly accurate. I tend to think of science, or the application of scientific method, to be more of an activity that works toward defining the relationships between things. For instance, "E=mc2" is not about skepticism, but more about trying to more accurately define the relationship between certain concepts. There may be some skepticism expressed about a particular relationship that is accepted by the public or the scientific community as the status quo, but the work done by science is not inherently skeptical.

Occasionally, during the course of conducting science, something new is discovered. And in that case, sciences serves to define and quantify that new thing within an existing context.

The best thing about science is that it never (or should never) sit on its laurels and blindly accept any of its truths as "true." Everything is conditional, and if somebody comes along with a new way of defining and categorizing something that works better than the existing paradigm, the existing paradigm gets tossed out. After lengthy study and peer review, of course.

I like that much more than religion, which bases its truths on belief, and therefore has no reason to change regardless how much (or little) evidence appears to contradict those beliefs. I like my understanding to be flexible.



posted on Aug, 19 2010 @ 03:52 AM
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reply to post by m0r1arty
 


how are you not on my friends list, yet?

must have been a computer glitch. it has been fixed.

Star & Flag for this thread.

i have 2 videos i would like to watch again.

Keep ATS fun!

and keep on ATSing m0r1arty,
et

[edit on 19-8-2010 by Esoteric Teacher]



posted on Aug, 19 2010 @ 04:02 AM
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Originally posted by Blue Shift

Originally posted by DoomsdayRex
Science is skepticism, the two are inseparable.


I'm not sure that's exactly accurate. I tend to think of science, or the application of scientific method, to be more of an activity that works toward defining the relationships between things. For instance, "E=mc2" is not about skepticism, but more about trying to more accurately define the relationship between certain concepts.


that was a great post. star for that, although our views may slightly differ.

i say science and skepticism are more related, and walk hand in hand.

science, in my opinion, is usually preceded by however brief a moment by science fiction. not until someone asks the question that has never been asked or simply thought "what if".

take Sir Isaac Newton's gravity formulas for example.

Sure, he was a brilliant mind, and was bound to be famous for something, but...

he was not famous for being the first person to notice a piece of fruit falling from a tree.

he saw the apple fall. looked up at the moon. and he asked himself:
"Then why isn't the moon falling?"

and then got to work figuring out why the moon wasn't falling.

which, it is of course (sorta) in orbit, although i think it has been discovered that it is moving away from us about 4 inches a year.

so, skepticism and asking "what if" or "why" or applying imagination as a piece of the critical thinking arsenal does coincide with science.

most science facts i consider science facts were first percieved as science fiction.

not disagreeing with your entire post, mind you.

just that i think the relationship between skepticism and science may be closer together than further apart.

but, i reserve the right to admit i may be wrong, pending future information i encounter, or experiences i have not had, yet.

keep ATS fun,
et




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