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The Skeptic FAQ

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posted on Feb, 21 2011 @ 06:27 AM
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Originally posted by MarrsAttax
However, once we start hypothesising that the phenomena may be the result of an intelligence at least on par with our own then you must make allowance for the fact that any 'evidence' you find may have been manipulated by the very phenomenon you are trying to study.


I understand what you are saying but that is also special pleading.


Originally posted by MarrsAttax
How do you prove the existence of something that doesn't want it's existence proved and is much smarter than you?


That presupposes that such beings are infallible.




posted on Feb, 21 2011 @ 07:14 AM
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What would you call someone who is/was very skeptical of fantastical things who started experiencing some of these things for themselves? That's plural events, btw. And in some instances similar events were experienced by others around you, at or near the same time.

Scientifically, you have no real evidence. But when one has multiple experiences, they are faced with deciding that either they (and those around them who have experienced the same) cannot trust their senses and are therefore crazy, irrational, etc... or they accept those experiences, in which case they can no longer turn back to a platform of denial. What would you call the later group? They are neither blind faith believers nor scientifically minded skeptical purests.

In my opinion this whole concept of grouping people into 'skeptics' -vs- 'believers' is really nothing but a false dichotomy anyway. There are too many variables to pidgeon-hole like that. I think 'skeptics' can 'believe' based on their own experiences. It is the scientist who explores 'how this could be'.
edit on 21-2-2011 by Flux8 because: (no reason given)



posted on Feb, 21 2011 @ 07:25 AM
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Originally posted by EsSeeEye
Since I joined these forums (and over the time before when I simply lurked them) there has been a very obvious and exceptional stance taken toward the skeptical point of view of the ET Hypothesis. Namely that we, as skeptics, are an adversary to thwart in the grand scheme of bringing the reality of extraterrestrial visitation to light for the rest of the world. It’s become something of a war


Is it any wonder, when skeptics have acted like they do, calling an abductee (yelling at him, actually) "You are a God-damn liar!!" on Larry King's show, all the ad homenim attacks, the logical fallcies (appeal to authority, dismissal out of hand, etc)? How do skeptics expect people to react? Is derisive giggling part of the scientific method? Is the snap diagnosis of mental illness part of the scientific method?
Skeptics made this bed, and everybody sees it, and not just on the UFO issue. So they are going to have to lie in it. The masses of people resent scientists when they see people present photos and accounts and scientists make fun of them, like some teacher that everyone hated.
What does an "extraordinary" claim mean? To my way of thinking, an extraordinary claim is that when every indication is that something extraordinary exists, one should dismiss that and accept a mundane explanation. And why does it require extraordinary evidence. If it walks, acts and quacks like a duck, scientists tell us it's a cow. Or a cow dressed up like a duck.



posted on Feb, 21 2011 @ 07:50 AM
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reply to post by Flux8
 


You're absolutely right. The only reason I used the term "skeptic" at all in this post was because it is the most immediately identifiable definition of myself that I was able to come up with, so I didn't need to explain everything.

There's a very wide gamut that runs between pure eyes-closed-forever ignorant unhealthy "skepticism" and mind open for anything regardless belief. I'd bet that a good 98% of us are somewhere smack dab in the middle, and only differ in slight degrees on either side.

Like I mentioned in the post, though: If I were to garner sufficient evidence, I would change my stance immediately. Being abducted by aliens could very likely change my viewpoint.



posted on Feb, 21 2011 @ 08:20 AM
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Originally posted by grizzle2
Is it any wonder, when skeptics have acted like they do, calling an abductee (yelling at him, actually) "You are a God-damn liar!!" on Larry King's show


One person on one show is hardly indicative of an entire mindset or profession.


Originally posted by grizzle2
What does an "extraordinary" claim mean?


Speaking in terms of science, it is any claim.


Originally posted by grizzle2 And why does it require extraordinary evidence


All claims require extraordinary evidence, it does not matter if the claim is in regards to mainstream science or UFOs. The reason claims require extraordinary evidence but also explain all the extraordinary evidence that is counter to the claim. For example, if you created a new theory about how the sun works, you would need not only evidence to explain your theory but to explain how all the evidence that supports the current model fits into your theory.

Sagan's Dragon in the Garage parable eloquently explains this much better than I could hope to.


Originally posted by grizzle2 it walks, acts and quacks like a duck, scientists tell us it's a cow. Or a cow dressed up like a duck.


Spoken by someone with absolutely no understanding of science, only spite because it does not support his beliefs.
edit on 21-2-2011 by WingedBull because: (no reason given)



posted on Feb, 21 2011 @ 08:45 AM
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Originally posted by WingedBull

Sagan's Dragon in the Garage parable eloquently explains this much better than I could hope to.


Great storry



posted on Feb, 21 2011 @ 09:19 AM
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Originally posted by EsSeeEye
reply to post by Flux8
 


You're absolutely right. The only reason I used the term "skeptic" at all in this post was because it is the most immediately identifiable definition of myself that I was able to come up with, so I didn't need to explain everything.

There's a very wide gamut that runs between pure eyes-closed-forever ignorant unhealthy "skepticism" and mind open for anything regardless belief. I'd bet that a good 98% of us are somewhere smack dab in the middle, and only differ in slight degrees on either side.

Like I mentioned in the post, though: If I were to garner sufficient evidence, I would change my stance immediately. Being abducted by aliens could very likely change my viewpoint.


I think you hit it correctly right here.

For me, when I see a post about this topic, I am hoping to see something extraordinary, but first I have to ask myself. Is there a rational explanation for this? If I see a shaky video of a blinking light, I'm going to call it just that. Especially when it turns out that the video was taken at night in the landing path at Newark International airport.

I have seen some videos out there that I certainly can't explain. But then again, just because I can't explain them doesn't mean I have to jump immediately to the conclusion that it's extraterrestrials.

There are some hard core debunkers and they can be rude, but on the other hand too, when a skeptic steps in with his or her thoughts, some radical believers will step up the game with nothing more than, It Blinked!! Therefore, it's absolute proof of ETs!!

I personally believe we have been visited, I just haven't seen anything I consider hard core proof, just some pictures and videos that are unexplainable to my mind and eye.
edit on 21-2-2011 by tsawyer2 because: spelling correction



posted on Feb, 21 2011 @ 09:29 AM
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Originally posted by tsawyer2
There are some hard core debunkers and they can be rude...


Too often, the argument against a skeptic's explanation is not about the strength of the skeptic's argument but the skeptic himself. They rely on dismissing the skeptic as a debunker; for instance, see Budd Hopkins ridiculous response to ex-wife Carol Rainey's article about his investigative methods. What those using such arguments forget is that it does not matter if someone is a "debunker" (or for that matter gullible believer...) such labels do not make someone automatically wrong.
edit on 21-2-2011 by WingedBull because: (no reason given)



posted on Feb, 21 2011 @ 10:14 AM
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Originally posted by EsSeeEye

But how will we ever get that kind of evidence when the Government/Military/Illuminati/insert-your-favorite-flavor-of-cover-up-conspiracy-here is hoarding all the real evidence?

I don’t believe there is a mass cover-up of evidence (for the same reason I don’t yet accept that there are aliens visiting the Earth, lack of real evidence and an overabundance of fabricated stories). However, if I were wrong and there were a mass cover-up by people who are so powerful that they could silence the literally thousands upon thousands of people that would have to be knowledgeable of the truth, then what could we do? We’d be at their whim.



This would seem to indicate that you are not aware of information such as:

- The Disclosure Project
- The Information in this ATS thread
- This information

This causes me to wonder how much how much personal time and research your opinion on the topic is based on. The fact is that many of the involved people HAVE come forward and spoken on the record. Research will also reveal other historical instances of projects and events which were considered government secrets at the time and kept by large numbers of people.



posted on Feb, 21 2011 @ 10:27 AM
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reply to post by WingedBull
 


Thanks for the link.

After reading that I see I shouldn't have used the word debunker there.



posted on Feb, 21 2011 @ 10:43 AM
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reply to post by grizzle2
 


"Believers" have made this bed too. Before we start talking about abductions ad contactees (not saying this doesnt happen), we have to establish proof that ET is here. If we can't establish that then those accounts only make the mainstream push it further away.



posted on Feb, 21 2011 @ 10:44 AM
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reply to post by TheFlash
 




your stanton friedman video isnt working. Disclosure project was a bunch of people telling stories. That other link about a judge not releasing information becuase of national security- so what? nowhere does he say its anything related to ET in spaceships or that the gvt said it was related to ET in spaceships.



posted on Feb, 21 2011 @ 11:03 AM
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Thanks for posting this OP, I feel it's needed and you worded it very well.

As a believer with no anecdotal experiences myself, I feel kinda sad when other believers dismiss sceptics as trying to rain on their parade.

In everything we do, we need both sides of the coin to have a more balanced and realistic view of things. The only sceptics I dislike are those who are aggressive for the sake of it instead of posting their well thought analysis or opinions.



posted on Feb, 21 2011 @ 12:25 PM
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Originally posted by yeti101
reply to post by TheFlash
 


your stanton friedman video isnt working. Disclosure project was a bunch of people telling stories. That other link about a judge not releasing information becuase of national security- so what? nowhere does he say its anything related to ET in spaceships or that the gvt said it was related to ET in spaceships.


Sorry about the Friedman video not working. If you believe that the US government is not covering up then I would like to hear how you would answer the questions on this Web page.

Regarding the Disclosure Project - to mind you - the original assertion was reason to disbelieve based on the "silence the literally thousands upon thousands of people that would have to be knowledgeable of the truth". Is it difficult for you to see how the Disclosure Project clearly shows that 'knowledgeable people' are NOT in fact silent on the matter?



posted on Feb, 21 2011 @ 04:13 PM
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Originally posted by Kali74
"Believers" have made this bed too. Before we start talking about abductions ad contactees (not saying this doesnt happen), we have to establish proof that ET is here. If we can't establish that then those accounts only make the mainstream push it further away.


Not necessarily. We can discuss abductions and contactee experiences as a phenomenon but we cannot ascribe causes to them without evidence.



posted on Feb, 21 2011 @ 05:37 PM
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Originally posted by TheFlash

Originally posted by EsSeeEye

But how will we ever get that kind of evidence when the Government/Military/Illuminati/insert-your-favorite-flavor-of-cover-up-conspiracy-here is hoarding all the real evidence?

I don’t believe there is a mass cover-up of evidence (for the same reason I don’t yet accept that there are aliens visiting the Earth, lack of real evidence and an overabundance of fabricated stories). However, if I were wrong and there were a mass cover-up by people who are so powerful that they could silence the literally thousands upon thousands of people that would have to be knowledgeable of the truth, then what could we do? We’d be at their whim.



This would seem to indicate that you are not aware of information such as:

- The Disclosure Project
- The Information in this ATS thread
- This information

This causes me to wonder how much how much personal time and research your opinion on the topic is based on. The fact is that many of the involved people HAVE come forward and spoken on the record. Research will also reveal other historical instances of projects and events which were considered government secrets at the time and kept by large numbers of people.


No real response to that. Which really does indicate there is probably some truth in what I said in my post earlier. Oh yes, that post was also ignored.


Originally posted by Pimander
The other thing that I would like to point out is that there has been an incredible amount of testimony that there are aliens visiting Earth, including testimony that people have met them and seen them in association with flying craft. Testimony that people have seen bodies. Testimony that 'saucers have been captured. Lots of related material too.

Yes, testimony is never going to amount to scientific proof. You are correct to say that. But it is stretching the imagination to say that every bit of that testimony is either hallucination, fabrication etc. If only one of those testimonies are true, then there has to be some scientific explanation for it.

My bone of contention with some (not all) so called sceptics is this: If you are so interested in this topic then why not look for that scientific explanation yourself instead of just hanging around debunking? In other words do a bit of original research.


Of course when some interesting data is produced it should be scrutinised by those of us who are truly sceptical of new ideas. But there is something going on and it demands an explanation. The answer might be complicated (it isn't all aliens that's for sure) or it may be simple (there are, perhaps, aliens in all this muddy water somewhere). But surely more of your sceptical enquiry should be directed to finding new evidence and not just debunking.

I hope I am not going to get slammed for that, but I think I have a point. Anyone agree?


You cannot just ignore testimony - which is actually a type of evidence. The only way to confirm or debunk it is to do some real research

I have offered to bring some scientific training and experience to the table before in a few threads. I have mentioned the research forum on a number of occasions. I haven't actually had any serious response. I'll ask again. Are any of you really interested in bringing some skeptical enquiry to bear on some research? Has it occurred to you guys how pathetically inactive the research forum really is?

I know some of you are well read. I know most of you, like me, genuinely want to understand the world. I do think though that you could contribute so much more than simple debunking - even though debunking does have its place.

True skepticism should be a tool of research - not simply an alternative to it.
edit on 21/2/11 by Pimander because: (no reason given)



posted on Feb, 21 2011 @ 05:44 PM
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Originally posted by tsawyer2
For me, when I see a post about this topic, I am hoping to see something extraordinary, but first I have to ask myself. Is there a rational explanation for this? If I see a shaky video of a blinking light, I'm going to call it just that. Especially when it turns out that the video was taken at night in the landing path at Newark International airport.

I have seen some videos out there that I certainly can't explain. But then again, just because I can't explain them doesn't mean I have to jump immediately to the conclusion that it's extraterrestrials.


Whole heartedly agree


I don't feel happy about 'labels' full stop I tend to err on the side of caution and 99% (im guessing there) of the threads Ive read present shaky to ridiculous evidence and on those threads I will speak up and try to help clear the matter up.

I think the label 'sceptic' is being too closely aligned to the term debunker.

There is a BIG difference between a sceptic and a debunker.

edit on 21-2-2011 by Versa because: (no reason given)



posted on Feb, 21 2011 @ 08:17 PM
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reply to post by Dr Cosma
 


Not to belabor a point, but I noticed this article about ancient jewelry and costumes...

What Neanderthal Fashion Looked Like 40,000 Years Ago



posted on Feb, 21 2011 @ 08:46 PM
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reply to post by Pimander
 


My apologies. The thread's been moving in many directions and I must have missed your first post. I'll respond now.


Originally posted by Pimander
reply to post by EsSeeEye
 

Good post. S&F.


Originally posted by EsSeeEyeWords.


This is the only part where I differ from you in any major way. We know there has been a cover up of some description. However, that doesn't mean that it has all been a cover up about aliens. Some of it may be but there is so much garbage out there it is a nightmare to separate all the different strands of evidence.


There have been coverups. I'm prior military, and I understand how the ladder of secret information works. However, I've also seen how well those secrets last over time. The answer is: They don't. A secret is usually only hoped to remain secret long enough for it to be effective, and afterwards isn't important.

If you're really curious, I held a Top Secret S.C.I. clearance while I was in the military.


Originally posted by Pimander
The other thing that I would like to point out is that there has been an incredible amount of testimony that there are aliens visiting Earth, including testimony that people have met them and seen them in association with flying craft. Testimony that people have seen bodies. Testimony that 'saucers have been captured. Lots of related material too.

Yes, testimony is never going to amount to scientific proof. You are correct to say that. But it is stretching the imagination to say that every bit of that testimony is either hallucination, fabrication etc. If only one of those testimonies are true, then there has to be some scientific explanation for it.


There has been a lot of testimony, and none of it is going to prove anything. You said both of these in your own words, and you're absolutely right. If (or when) it's proven that extraterrestrials are visiting Earth, these testimonies will be invaluable. Until then, they're stories.

Also, it's foolish to say that every bit of testimony is due to hallucination or hoax. Misidentification plays a much larger role than either of those (though if you really want to get intricate, many misidentifications play out in the viewer's mind as something else through very common delusion, like pareidolia. I used the word "delusion" very specifically here to point out that it isn't a bad word, it's a human condition, and we all experience it very often, such as while dreaming.) If only one of those stories are true, then it would mean the whole thing is true, you're right, but how do we know one of those are true? We do not, not without proof.

That may sound hardheaded and a bit close-minded, but it's reality. Until we know, we don't know, and stories are simply that.


Originally posted by Pimander
My bone of contention with some (not all) so called sceptics is this: If you are so interested in this topic then why not look for that scientific explanation yourself instead of just hanging around debunking? In other words do a bit of original research.


Of course when some interesting data is produced it should be scrutinised by those of us who are truly sceptical of new ideas. But there is something going on and it demands an explanation. The answer might be complicated (it isn't all aliens that's for sure) or it may be simple (there are, perhaps, aliens in all this muddy water somewhere). But surely more of your sceptical enquiry should be directed to finding new evidence and not just debunking.


I'm not sure I fully understand the previous quote. It may be because my understanding of the process of "debunking" involves exploring the mystery, finding what may be a reasonable explanation, and testing it against the mystery. It may just be that I don't see debunking as the four-letter-word that most around these forums do. (I could do a whole other topic on how terms such as "skeptic" and "debunker" have been twisted into awful forms in order to scapegoat these particular practices within the UFO community, but I digress)

If you're referring to the one-line "It's swamp gas lol" comments, then you're right. It's generally unnecessary, and there's no real point in giving that sort of presentation any real thought. It's unfortunate that so many of the great skeptical minds have been pushed out of these forums already, because all it leaves are those types, which only inflames the divide between the more and less skeptical people.

As for me, I've been researching this subject since I was old enough to read and understand what an "alien" was. I was a die-hard believer up until around the time I started getting online, and especially after I started reading these forums (I lurked here off and on for a few years before actually joining, and it was a long, slow process to get to where I am now).

If you're curious why these forums, and the internet in general, has turned me nearly 180 degrees from my previous stance, I would hazard it's because before I was only able to do research through filtered media, such as books about UFOs, documentaries, and so on. Here, and on the internet as a whole, we get to see the phenomenon happen in real time, and we get to see how people react to it, and what means they use to explain it. Overall, I didn't like that, and I realized that the things I've been looking at and researching all these years isn't really much different than any of the myriad youtube videos of fuzzy lights in the sky. Neither do much to prove anything, regardless of how much there is.

Sorry it took so long to respond.



posted on Feb, 22 2011 @ 12:36 AM
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How do you prove that something doesn't exist?



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