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What are best ways to educate a skeptic?

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posted on Feb, 1 2012 @ 04:01 PM
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greeneyedleo said it, and said it well on several points.
Typically, it's the skeptic that is doing the educating.

Because of this, skeptics get labeled as disinformation agents, government shills, and all sorts of other things.

The believers dislike we skeptics, because we come along and serve as party-poopers. We set a higher standard for 'truth' than simply believing something on face value and appearance.

How often have you see stage magicians, and illusionists do really rather remarkable stunts?
Do you honestly believe these entertainers are practicing some real live Harry Potter magic for your entertainment?
Don't you think that if they really could wield magical powers, without stage props and contraptions, they'd likely be in some other line of work that pays much much more outside the public eye?

My point; don't believe everything you see. Your eyes and desire for something to be true will lie to you.

Show me a jolly fat man dressed in red with a sleigh full of toys pulled by reindeer, and as nice a staged visual it might be, I'm going to need some proof that those reindeer will and do indeed fly.

Most skeptics, that I know at least, including myself, want to believe, and perhaps at one time did, but, after finding out Santa Claus isn't real, time and time and time again, you get tired of being fooled, and start asking the hard questions.

Sure, it's be really rather nice if the aliens and UFOs were here. Evidence-wise, something is happening, but, what that 'something' is, has yet to be confirmed.
All the hoaxes, charlatans, and misidentification flooding the evidence market doesn't help to make matters any easier.

Keep watching. Hold your favorite teddy-bear evidence and 'proof' close, and when you find, one after another, the things you believed in the most aren't happening and were only a fake, you may become a skeptic too.

How many here fervently believed the Alien Autopsy film was real? It's nothing to be ashamed of if you did. After finding out it was a hoax, how did you feel? Were you just as quick to believe and put your money into the next big thing?
A sucker is born every minute, and if you're happy getting lumped into that group, then, have fun with that.

I'll be asking questions and testing the kool aide before drinking it.

edit on 1-2-2012 by nineix because: (no reason given)




posted on Feb, 1 2012 @ 06:44 PM
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reply to post by The Shrike
 

Why do you need to localize unusual experiences? What you describe would have had validity anywhere on the planet. Experiencing it on the West Coast would have had the same scare value as it did in Central America. When I had my first experience on the West Coast I didn't give the experience any wow value that I would have given it on the East Coast. It was unusual and that was it.

I guess I was trying to make a point to the person that sometimes sightings in a populated area may be explainable on many fronts, potentially as government craft or other explainable events. Sightings in the remote jungle most likely is attributed to different circumstances. My logic tells me whatever they are they have been seen for hundreds of years, as described by the villagers and they tended to be inconspicuous and secretive in their operation. Again, this does not rule out man-made devices but logic tells me otherwise.



posted on Feb, 1 2012 @ 06:53 PM
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great thread but I agree with some of you. This was aimed at attempting to "educate" the skeptic who may be looking for more evidence.

So, in essence, we are dealing with two levels of thinking:
1) blind skeptics and blind believers - almost impossible to educate
2) skeptics who are open for solid evidence and believers who tend to be skeptical - category with more promise

Question for some skeptics: You say you need empirical and hand-delivered evidence before believing. Do you believe the earth is round? If so, where is your hand-delivered evidence? Don't tell me the scientists told you so because that would follow your logic that you cannot believe what people just say as evidence.



posted on Feb, 1 2012 @ 08:49 PM
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Originally posted by Jaellma
...Question for some skeptics: You say you need empirical and hand-delivered evidence before believing. Do you believe the earth is round? If so, where is your hand-delivered evidence? Don't tell me the scientists told you so because that would follow your logic that you cannot believe what people just say as evidence...


The same way Eratosthenes knew around 240 BC. The Sun casts longer shadows in some areas at the same time of day as compared to other areas. This is due to a round Earth.

Any person (such as Eratosthenes did) could get a relatively accurate measurement of the circumference of the Earth using this technique.


edit on 2/1/2012 by Soylent Green Is People because: (no reason given)



posted on Feb, 1 2012 @ 10:58 PM
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Originally posted by Titen-Sxull

Don't get me wrong I fully believe in UFOs, in the sense of UNIDENTIFIED flying objects, I've even seen one, but I have no idea what it was and won't pretend to. I have serious doubts that any of the objects people see are actually alien craft mainly because there's no good evidence that that's what people are seeing.

No one is going to argue that people aren't seeing unidentified objects in the sky, the issue is WHAT ARE THOSE OBJECTS. Is alien spacecraft really the BEST explanation in most cases, in even a good percentage of cases?

Want to sway a skeptic you need solid evidence, and I'm not talking about anecdotes or eye witness testimony, I mean physical scientific evidence. The sort of evidence that would convince an actual scientist would work just as well for me.


Would an "actual scientist" deny that inference is a big part of science? Of course not! Where do people derive such a narrow view of of the fundamental concepts of scientific thinking? Observe, form hypotheses, test, re-observe, revise hypothesis, etc.. that's what science is. Evidence-based rational thought. Except... here is a phenomenon we have no control over; we can't do experiments to confirm or refute hypotheses. Many people calling themselves 'skeptics' seem to think that, since there is no piece of a saucer, all other forms of evidence must therefore be ignored, until that piece of saucer is in hand? People must simply look away? To say there is basically no probative value in anything less than a piece of a saucer is actually 180 degrees from rational, scientific thinking.

Have you read about the Minot B-52 case? Suppose we quarantine a dozen scientists and a dozen everyday joe's, then present all of the evidence that Tom Tulien and the Sign Oral History Project have compiled as to that case. (The dozens of corroborating statements and interviews, from multiple people who witnessed the event from multiple locations, both air and ground, plus the radar images, the Bluebook forms filled out by witnesses only a day or two after, etc....) There is quite a bit of compelling, corroborated evidence there. Yet everyone admits that all of this is not "hard evidence". So, after seeing all of that, you say that the scientists, since they are scientists and thus presumably 'extra' skeptical, can give no weight to any of this other evidence? Radar data which shows clearly that a solid object was "painted" right where the witnesses said they saw the huge, strange UFO... proper scientific protocol dictates that this must be ignored? Really?!? Science means we ignore the shades of gray and probability? Does that actually sound rational or scientific? It's neither! Yet it's a view that many seem to brag about... as if they want recognition for such highly refined (yet completely illogical) evidentiary standards. (??)

Your argument re: why must the strong and strange unidentified cases be attributed to aliens is technically correct. However, I think it misses the point that, whether it's 'aliens' or not, it is necessarily something equally amazing and/or bizarre, which will change our view of reality. So yes, maybe it's not aliens; maybe it's time-travelers, extra-dimensional manifestations, or whatever. All equally worthy of headlines!

I think people are simply trying to point out that a skeptic who must deny, deny, deny anything short of a piece of a saucer is actually not a skeptic at all. He's a rigid denier or debunker, seeking cover under the 'skeptic' label.



posted on Feb, 1 2012 @ 11:00 PM
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Originally posted by Jaellma
Usually when discussing the topic of UFOs and aliens, most people are open to the idea of life outside of our planet earth and the possibility of us being visited by beings from other places, whether extraterrestrial or inter/extra dimensional. In other cases, some people find it hard to believe any of these things.

This has probably been discussed here before but I would like to know the best way to deal with a person who is a skeptic but appears to have some level of interest in knowing what's out there. What some or evidence or articles are available for the hard core skeptic to help sway their thinking? There are many points of reference out there but unfortunately many are not credible enough or are tainted.

Thoughts please?



You can educate me by providing irrefutable evidence that they have been here, not grainy pictures and videos. Eyewitness testimony is also not viable. I guess the only way I will say yes is if I personally see it.



posted on Feb, 1 2012 @ 11:43 PM
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Originally posted by nineix
And now we get into the Panspermia debate.
I don't dispute the possibility or probability of panspermia, that we and all life on Earth are aliens.


My post re: the Fermi paradox has little to do with panspermia. Sorry if I wasn't clear. Fermi spoke of intelligent ET life, evolving in one place, then slowly expanding outwards from a few central nodes. With hundreds or even thousands of years between one star system migration to the next. Even at that snail's pace... it "should" be here by now, he said. What does this say about the reasonability of the "it's too far" argument?



Originally posted by nineix
I won't even dispute the fractional speculative possibility that somewhere in the well of time, due to the overwhelmingly huge spans involved that there might even be a sliver of meat that Australopithecus or some other ancestor got their DNA tinkered with by some chance discovery of a drive-by space faring intelligent culture.
It's improbable, but, I'll grant that 'improbable' does not mean 'impossible'.


I don't buy into or concern myself with those kinds of theories, mostly because I don't see how it could ever be known to a sufficient level of certainty, but I think it's important to point out... do either of us have any basis to point out how probable or improbable this is?



Originally posted by nineix
There's plenty fantastic strange wonderful stuff that goes on overhead in the sky, but, it's nothing to get all crazy haired about.
I've watched the skies all my life; seen all the things described and have never, not once, seen anything that could be classified as a UFO.


I think you already know this... :-) ... but that's a pretty weak argument in refutation of the phenomenon. Have you read Bluebook? Condon? McDonald? Even just the Sign Oral History Project's Minot B-52 evidence? The point is, billions of people have looked up and never seen anything. Of the ~20% world-wide who've claimed to see a UFO (depending on source / estimate), if even only 1% of those are considered strong or compelling cases, then there are 14 million 'pretty good' cases out there. And I think most of us *vastly* underestimate the number of otherwise highly-credible sightings that we never hear of. I know people who've seen things, along with others, that would knock the average skeptic's socks off. But what is the chance that a University Professor, several grad students, and a Catholic Priest are going to put it all on the line and report it? Better nowadays, but no chance back then... not in the U.S. All of which is to say that I give these things more weight than the billions who've seen nothing!



posted on Feb, 2 2012 @ 12:18 AM
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Originally posted by DarthOej
You can educate me by providing irrefutable evidence that they have been here, not grainy pictures and videos. Eyewitness testimony is also not viable.


You can educate me as to why "irrefutable evidence" is the only class of evidence that is relevant or persuasive? What percentage of evidence in science do you think is irrefutable?

How has this idea of science being so black and white spread through the supposedly rational 'skeptic' ranks so thoroughly? It's scary... but also funny! Truth, and yes even scientific truth, actually DOES come in shades of gray! Go read Discover or Scientific American, if Science and Nature aren't to your liking. A 4-sigma threshold isn't enough for some types of 'proof' in science, but that does not mean that scientists must ignore studies where a 3-sigma significance was obtained. Nor 'even' 2- (98%), nor 1-sigma (84%)... The results still mean something, shift research focus, influence working hypotheses, etc... All of this just shows that, unlike the binary, on/off, yes/no, true/false thinking of many UFO 'skeptics', the truly rational are able to think of evidence in shades of gray....


Originally posted by DarthOej
Eyewitness testimony is also not viable.


And eyewitness testimony is not viable because....? So, NO eyewitness testimony is worth anything? Really? Even when there are multiple eyewitnesses? Unrelated strangers? Seeing the same strange thing, from different locations? With a little radar data thrown in? That's worth zero?

The problem is that you're jumping the gun in asking for "irrefutable evidence." No one is claiming they have that, right?

Again, some people can think in shades of probability, and for others it must be all or nothing....


Originally posted by DarthOej
I guess the only way I will say yes is if I personally see it.


You do realize that's basically an admission of narrow-mindedness?



posted on Feb, 2 2012 @ 07:31 AM
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reply to post by TeaAndStrumpets
 




All equally worthy of headlines!


While it's true that some UFOs might be aliens, time travelers, etc the vast majority of them are obviously not and have plausible explanations outside of the extraordinary claims made about UFOs. I may be a skeptic, but I would love to see solid evidence of any of those possibilities you listed. Even in cases with a great deal of documentation it's hard to pin down an explanation.

Take, for instance, the Rendlesham forest case. There's a case with audio tapes, notes, supposed "indentations" of the "craft" in question, etc, and yet none of it conclusively answers the question of what those men saw that night. I'd like to believe it's aliens, or something fantastic and paradigm shifting, but I'm not convinced.

Being a skeptic doesn't mean being closed-minded and dogmatic but when it comes to things I'd actually WANT to believe I prefer to be EXTRA skeptical.



can give no weight to any of this other evidence?


Not NO weight whatsoever but very little weight is generally given to eye witness testimony in science. As for the radar I'm not sure of the specifics of the case, nor am I myself a scientist.



Many people calling themselves 'skeptics' seem to think that, since there is no piece of a saucer, all other forms of evidence must therefore be ignored, until that piece of saucer is in hand?


Not just a piece of the saucer, there are other things we could find that would prove alien visitation:

- Alien body, bones, blood, anything identifiable as a macroscopic form of alien biology

- Any piece of alien technology, it doesn't have to be a piece of the craft just something they brought with them that is clearly not made of material found on Earth.

That being said the claim of alien visitation is extraordinary and you know what they say about extraordinary claims in regards to evidence. If aliens are visiting us it really SO MUCH to ask for something solid? For something more than eye witnesses and anecdotes many of which border on the absurd (aliens took my baby type stuff)? Yes there are a few cases with excellent documentation that remain unexplained, but is aliens, or time travelers the best explanation, or beings from another dimension the best explanation? Aren't those just place-holder explanations pending better more in-depth ones?



posted on Feb, 2 2012 @ 07:40 AM
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I've always been interested, but seeing is believing to me.
We've heard from skeptics here before, they they didn't believe until seeing something they couldn't explain.
The mistake most people make is they assume that any UFO claim automatically means from outer space.

In my feeble mind, 95% of UFO's can be explained, it's the other 5% that I'm interested in.

Too bad for me, that I don't personally know anyone that shares my interest in the UFO field.



posted on Feb, 2 2012 @ 08:20 AM
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reply to post by Jaellma
 


You can lead a horse to water but you can't make them drink.

Advice unasked for is advice unheeded.

Most people think they know it all and while most want to believe they have a open mind, they pretty much are closed minded when it comes to core beliefs or ideas that might upset their sense of "reality".

Just my own observation.

Until a skeptic sees a UFO for themself or has a OBE, etc............they will keep on being a skeptic for the most part.

Coupled with the fact that whoever said "You can't handle the truth" said it all. Most people don't really want to escape the Matrix, they sleep and sleep deeply.
edit on 2-2-2012 by ofhumandescent because: (no reason given)



posted on Feb, 2 2012 @ 08:44 AM
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Originally posted by saturnsrings
I've always been interested, but seeing is believing to me.
We've heard from skeptics here before, they they didn't believe until seeing something they couldn't explain.
The mistake most people make is they assume that any UFO claim automatically means from outer space.

In my feeble mind, 95% of UFO's can be explained, it's the other 5% that I'm interested in.

Too bad for me, that I don't personally know anyone that shares my interest in the UFO field.


Right.

There are certainly sightings that are unexplained. However, some skeptics have a problem with other people making the logical leap from "Unexplained Sighting" to "Alien Craft".

The whole idea of "we can't explain what it was -- therefore it must be an alien craft" bothers skeptics, and rightfully so. I suppose an unexplained sighting could be aliens, but too many believers go by the notion that if a sighting in unexplained, that means it is in fact an alien craft.



posted on Feb, 2 2012 @ 12:28 PM
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Originally posted by Titen-Sxull
While it's true that some UFOs might be aliens, time travelers, etc the vast majority of them are obviously not and have plausible explanations outside of the extraordinary claims made about UFOs.


Great! We definitely agree about the "vast majority" of UFO cases: they're mis-identifications or hoaxes. But it's those cases NOT in that "vast majority" that we should be discussing, right? The very best cases, the "Top 100", say. These usually involve some combination of multiple independent witnesses / radar confirmation / ground traces. And there's simply not enough acknowledgement of these by 'skeptics', in my opinion.

We'd probably also agree that:
(1) the UFO field is filled with charlatans, frauds and those who let their wish to believe corrupt their evidentiary standards.
(2) worst of all, the seriousness with which the educated mainstream can take the phenomenon is very negatively impacted by the reality listed in (1). It happens in this forum: strong threads swallowed up by those containing endless debate over bunk.... There are fantastic threads by Karl12, IsaacKoi and others which fit into this category only because skeptics never or rarely comment on them. (They become a series of "Wow, neat case, thanks!" types of responses, and fall off.)


Titen-Sxull:
I may be a skeptic, but I would love to see solid evidence of any of those possibilities....


If you're a 'true skeptic', with an appropriately calibrated B.S. meter, and a correspondingly appropriate willingness to judge the strength of any evidence rationally, then I sincerely applaud you! We need more of that around.


Titen-Sxull:
Take, for instance, the Rendlesham forest case. There's a case with audio tapes, notes, supposed "indentations" of the "craft" in question, etc, and yet none of it conclusively answers the question of what those men saw that night. I'd like to believe it's aliens, or something fantastic and paradigm shifting, but I'm not convinced.


Yes... many strong cases become polluted over time by 'witnesses' entering late in the game, hoping to gain profit or notoriety. But do note: Halt's story has changed very little over the years, and the memo and tape date back to the incident. They're strong primary evidence of something very strange. In a U.S. court, much of Halt's 'testimony' on that tape would actually be strong enough to trump the typical hearsay exclusions. But yeah, the notebook, LWarren's 'evolving' stories, Penniston's apparent decline into self-importance-induced madness.... easy to lose focus!

There DO exist cases, however, not yet 'tainted' in such a way by the opportunists and late-comers. See the Minot B-52 case, for instance. Still not 'conclusive'... but that doesn't mean inconclusive or useless. We CAN judge evidence in shades of gray, right? We must!



Titen-Sxull:
Being a skeptic doesn't mean being closed-minded and dogmatic but when it comes to things I'd actually WANT to believe I prefer to be EXTRA skeptical....


I agree with you. But this higher standard does not mean anything short of hard evidence becomes mostly worthless. (Not that it means that for you, either... only that it apparently means exactly that for many who label themselves 'skeptics'. And casual dismissal of anything not meeting the 99% (or whatever) threshold is NOT skepticism.)


Titen-Sxull:
Not NO weight whatsoever but very little weight is generally given to eye witness testimony in science. As for the radar I'm not sure of the specifics of the case, nor am I myself a scientist.


People are here because they want to know if there are actually any strong UFO cases, no? So why wouldn't examination of those cases where, for example, multiple eyeballs and multiple radars 'see' the same thing in the same place at the same time be among the first cases any true skeptic would WANT to discuss? Yet they're the cases and threads that languish, as skeptics avoid or disappear from them. It was these types of cases which changed my thinking on UFOs. Isn't there a middle ground where one can acknowledge the lack of "proof" yet also say, with justification, "there's high probability that a tiny % of cases actually are 'real' UFO's"? I think so.


Originally posted by Titen-Sxull
That being said the claim of alien visitation is extraordinary and you know what they say about extraordinary claims in regards to evidence.


Yes, that standard applies when you're a scientist submitting THE article to 'Science' or 'Nature'. It is NOT the standard that applies when people are still debating whether the subject is or is not worthy of ridicule. As it stands, this circularity (evidence must be 'extraordinary' before U.S. scientists can even seriously CONSIDER it!) is the perfect barrier to real study. It's rather absurd.



posted on Feb, 2 2012 @ 09:55 PM
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Originally posted by Jaellma
great thread but I agree with some of you. This was aimed at attempting to "educate" the skeptic who may be looking for more evidence.

So, in essence, we are dealing with two levels of thinking:
1) blind skeptics and blind believers - almost impossible to educate
2) skeptics who are open for solid evidence and believers who tend to be skeptical - category with more promise

Question for some skeptics: You say you need empirical and hand-delivered evidence before believing. Do you believe the earth is round? If so, where is your hand-delivered evidence? Don't tell me the scientists told you so because that would follow your logic that you cannot believe what people just say as evidence.


You say "...and believers who tend to be skeptical..." An impossibility.

By their nature, believers are not open to skepticism 'cause if they were then they would not be believers. Evidence trumps belief and should change a believer into an accepter. But belief is so ingrained that believers will deny the evidence. One of the best examples that prove this is the "Phoenix 'Lights'" that the evidence shows were flares but don't tell that to a believer!



posted on Feb, 2 2012 @ 10:37 PM
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Speaking as a skeptic, and for about the thousandth (rhetorically, as I've not counted) time since joining ATS years ago:

A skeptic is not a person who says, "________ isn't true" or "______ doesn't/can't exist/be true" unless they have proof. If someone is doing that, then they are a pseudo-skeptic, just as someone making wild, unsubstantiated claims with no published methodology or peer review but using scientific sounding jargon is a pseudo-scientist rather than a scientist.

Skepticism is a philosophy and a critical thinking tool. It is an approach. It simply means to refrain from accepting claims and from making assertions without proof. A true skeptic cannot say, "Extraterrestrial visitation is impossible," or "Extraterrestrial contact has never happened for a fact." We can only say, "As of this time, I have yet to see any compelling proof that extraterrestrial contact has occurred." That is a skeptical statement, and it leaves open the possibility.

Skepticism is not a close-minded stance, but an open-minded one. It requires equal consideration of all possibilities in the absence of falsifying proof, or confirmatory proof. It requires doubt, but doubt is not the same as "refusal or inability to believe." Skeptics are not closed-minded if they are truly skeptical, and they are not an adversary of believers that needs to be swayed. A skeptic is, however, always looking to be educated and to obtain knowledge, so if there is conclusive proof of something, you should feel free to do so.

But when a skeptic proposes alternative possibilities, or points out reasons why something does not constitute proof and that they must therefore remain skeptical, it does make them somehow unenlightened or close-minded. It simply makes them what they are: a skeptic.

My two cents. Peace.



posted on Feb, 3 2012 @ 05:01 AM
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It's amazing. This thread is asking for advice on how to share basic information but it has turned into a debate of what a real skeptic is vs a believer. The skeptics are spending sooooo much time explaining their philosophy and not enough on answering the original question.



posted on Feb, 3 2012 @ 06:23 AM
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reply to post by Jaellma
 


Well, in my opinion the question of what skepticism is lies at the heart of any answer to that question. Because a skeptic must be equally skeptical of all possibilities in the absence of confirmatory or falsifying evidence to the contrary or some other inequality, the answer to the question, "What is the best way to educate is a skeptic?" is precisely that: "To educate the skeptic."

If one has compelling evidence or proof of something, they should readily provide it to the skeptic. If it actually is compelling evidence or proof, the skeptic is bound by logic to accept it. If, however, there remain alternative possibilities which are equally valid and which could explain the phenomenon in question, if the evidence in question does not actually constitute compelling proof or evidence, or if the skeptic has a robust basis for doubting that evidence, then the skeptic pointing those out should likewise not in turn be labeled as rigid or close-minded in my view... Something that happens all too often on ATS in my personal experience.

The latter point is why so many skeptics, myself included, are discussing the definition and basis of skepticism. There is a prevalent perception among many that skeptics are close-minded, inflexible Scrooges who simply reject possibilities out of hand because they can't or won't believe. Defining what skepticism actually is and making that delineation in this topic is critical to answering OP's pertinent question, because depending on his or her own beliefs and perceptions, what they mean by skeptic could be very different than what we mean when we call ourselves skeptics.

There is the logical philosophical skeptic, and the perceived TV movie skeptic who is always the antagonist working to foil the stalwart believer. It seems reasonable that we should clarify ourselves in order to be free of the latter connotation of the word, especially on ATS where for many, skeptic is practically a dirty word at times.

Just my additional two cents. Peace.



posted on Feb, 3 2012 @ 07:20 AM
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Originally posted by greeneyedleo
Skeptics are not bad. They are needed to weed out all the crap. They are not disbelievers (though some may be, overall not all are). They are seeking truth just like everyone else and are so sick of and concerned for all the phony baloney crap and misidentifications and absolute refusal by some to finally except that, that shiny light in the sky is simply Venus (for example)....

Skeptics do not need to be educated. In fact, it tends to be the skeptics that are doing the educating.....



GEL, you make some fair points there about the difference between pathological debunkers and genuine sceptics - perhaps 'UFO cynics' and people who believe 'everything' is a UFO have got far more in common with each other than they like to think.

Kevin Randle makes some good points in the video below (along with a relevant statement from NASA's Bernard Haisch) and I do find it intriguing that many people who spend so much time pouring scorn and derision onto the UFO subject never actualy address some of the more puzzling and unexplained incidents.







"I propose that true skepticism is called for today: neither the gullible acceptance of true belief nor the closed-minded rejection of the scoffer masquerading as the skeptic.
One should be skeptical of both the believers and the scoffers. The negative claims of pseudo-skeptics who offer facile explanations must themselves be subject to criticism. If a competent witness reports having seen something tens of degrees of arc in size (as happens) and the scoffer -- who of course was not there -- offers Venus or a high altitude weather balloon as an explanation, the requirement of extraordinary proof for an extraordinary claim falls on the proffered negative claim as well. That kind of approach is also pseudo-science. Moreover just being a scientist confers neither necessary expertise nor sufficient knowledge.
Any scientist who has not read a few serious books and articles presenting actual UFO evidence should out of intellectual honesty refrain from making scientific pronouncements. To look at the evidence and go away unconvinced is one thing. To not look at the evidence and be convinced against it nonetheless is another. That is not science."

Dr. Bernard Haisch
Director for the California Institute for Physics and Astrophysics


UFO Sceptic



I wonder if you think a person needs to sceptical of 'official' government UFO explanations espoused (and mindlessly accepted) by many UFO debunkers out there -there are some good examples at the thread below and I would be interested to hear your opinions on them:


USAF "force fit" debunks


Cheers.



posted on Feb, 3 2012 @ 08:00 AM
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Originally posted by The Shrike
You say "...and believers who tend to be skeptical..." An impossibility.

By their nature, believers are not open to skepticism 'cause if they were then they would not be believers. Evidence trumps belief and should change a believer into an accepter. But belief is so ingrained that believers will deny the evidence. One of the best examples that prove this is the "Phoenix 'Lights'" that the evidence shows were flares but don't tell that to a believer!


This is rich!! A 'skeptic' uneducated about the very basics of one of the most discussed cases of the last 15 years, and who gets mad about others' analysis of the evidence. THIS is the problem. Shrike, my friend, you are not 'a skeptic' with respect to the UFO topic. A person still unaware of the distinction between 10pm flares and hours-earlier sightings of an object, or multiple objects, is not 'a skeptic.' He may be skeptical, but he is also ignorant of the facts to a rather alarming extent....

Doesn't the word 'skeptic' imply a certain level of intellectual rigor? Doesn't it imply the absence of ignorance with respect to the topic to which 'the skeptic' is applying his philosophy? Yes, of course it does. One cannot not be a micro-skeptic. One cannot pitch a tent in the forums discussing SubjectX and refer to himself as 'a skeptic' there unless he has a certain level of knowledge of SubjectX....

One who has not read the primary historical materials on the UFO topic -- like the Bluebook and Condon files, etc. -- cannot still call himself 'a skeptic'! He can be "skeptical" of individual cases, but he's not 'a skeptic' with respect to the UFO topic; he's ignorant of it.

Here's an example of why the distinction is important: is there anyone who believes that Michael Shermer's status as 'a skeptic' was not affected by his pitiful and embarrassing SciAm article from ten months ago? ("UFOs, UAPs and CRAP's")

Read the article. Note that Shermer compares De Brouwer's textual description of the FIRST NIGHT of the Belgian wave with Kean's description and summary of the ENTIRE, months-long Belgian wave. Shermer does this in order to show that Kean has exaggerated the claims. (He says: "Note how a 120-foot craft becomes 'huge,' how 'moving very slowly' changes to 'can hover motionless'... . This language transmutation is common in UFO narratives, making it harder for scientists to provide natural explanations.") Unfortunately for Shermer, Kean's descriptions match De Brouwer's own summary of the ENTIRE Belgian wave, less than 10 pages away in Kean's book, very accurately. De Brouwer actually does describe huge UFOs and hovering craft, in his later summary (pp.34-35) of the ENTIRE Belgian wave... which is what Kean was describing.

Are there any 'true skeptics' here willing to admit that they see a big problem with this? If you're truly 'a skeptic', and not just skeptical, then you should be absolutely horrified that such intellectual laziness and/or willingness to mislead has appeared in an article, written by the king of 'skeptics', and appearing in one of the most popular SCIENCE magazines in the world. (Shermer is a Ph.D.'d scientist, founding publisher of "Skeptic" magazine, and Executive Director of the Skeptics Society. Hmmm.... ) Does the word SCIENCE not imply intellectual honesty above all else?

(And yes, we all KNOW the true believers are guilty of intellectual crimes, too. But they're not doing it under a label or banner which reads "look how intellectually honest and rigorous and discriminating we are!")

So I'm sorry, but one cannot be ignorant of the history of the topic, or be such a lazy reader and/or so willing to mis-lead, and still call himself 'a skeptic' as to that topic. A skeptic would admit his ignorance of a given topic.

And this all goes precisely to the OP's original point. Look at the thread title. Does Michael Shermer -- scientist, founding publisher of "Skeptic" magazine, and Executive Director of the Skeptics Society -- appear open to being educated? How do you educate THAT type of skeptic, the Ph.D. who can't or won't read, or is apparently willing to lie in print? (Shermer has not offered a correction, 10 months later. And it's been pointed out to him....) Has his self-identity as 'a skeptic' forced him to toe the (skeptic) party line, even if it means committing such atrocious intellectual crimes? Does this bother any true skeptics?



posted on Feb, 3 2012 @ 08:01 AM
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Present the sceptic with real objective evidence and facts. I'm waiting


FYI: "Someone" who saw a "light" in the sky isn't considered proof or evidence because that's SUBJECTIVE evidence and pretty much worthless.
edit on 3-2-2012 by MrXYZ because: (no reason given)



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