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Originally posted by petrus4
I personally find it very difficult to believe that intelligence agencies have large numbers of paid shills on forums. They might have a few, but they are not going to have many, and those they do have, are generally only going to be targetting people who they've identified as a real cause for concern. The government simply doesn't have that much manpower, relative to the number of what they consider to be potential threats.
The real problem, as I wrote in a previous thread, is arbitrary skeptics. These are people who basically do the government's job for it, without needing to be paid or given orders. They do it because they tell themselves that they are more "rational," than other people who are "crackpots," or "tinfoil hat wearing paranoids," etc. A lot of the time with their attempted debunking, they believe that they are performing a genuine public service.
To me the real threat to meaningful discourse on these forums, isn't paid agents from the Central Intelligence Agency or FBI. It's devotees of the church of Richard Dawkins, who are arrogant, hostile, and have an extremely misguided view of both logic, and real science.
Originally posted by EarthEvolves
Yes. I've noticed that "Skeptic-Intelpro" authors like Krause and Shermer luimp in conspiracy with New Age or Biblical Literalist forms of irrationalism. Note how a lot of conspiracy sites then go and play in to that equation, almost making the skeptics' case for them. Note how closely how both fit with cognitive dissonance.
Genuine skeptics question government. Genuine skeptics don't consider what government sources say as the
"null hypothesis." I think we can push that one further and also say that genuine skeptics part from academic rationalists in that the former do not consider the received intellectual climate as the "null hypothesis" starting point also. Genuine rationalism is not shill rationalism that simply takes the received wisdom and makes it a starting point.