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Why is the skeptics OPINION given any weight?

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posted on Aug, 25 2012 @ 04:18 AM
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Originally posted by Phage
Why should your opinion be given any more weight than that of a skeptic?


I only clicked on this thread to say this.

Ever feel like you're banging your head against a wall of zealots?




posted on Aug, 25 2012 @ 04:55 AM
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I proposed a two tier thread model for ATS, where the OP can post whatever he/she wants without fear of attacks, along with all of their supporters. Skeptics can also post, but if they have a challenging or opposing view, their post must be checked appropriately (moderator-enforced). The reader will have the choice to read the thread on only the level of the OP, or mixed with all of the skeptic's 'contributions'....
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edit on 25/8/2012 by MarkJS because: (no reason given)



posted on Aug, 25 2012 @ 05:37 AM
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Originally posted by neoholographic
I can accept that some evidence and witnesses are so strong, that they experienced extraterrestrial visitation.

You have accused others of intellectual dishonesty but you're showing that dishonesty right now.

How can you, or anyone else, know what extraterrestrial visitation looks like to be able to determine that someone else "experienced extraterrestrial visitation"? And just by their testimony?

You can imagine and theorize what it might look like but objectively you don't know.


The skeptic will not entertain this as a possibility. They have to have an explanation that conforms to their belief system or it will have to remain unidentified ad infinitum.

I am a skeptic and I can entertain the possibility of alien visitation as an explanation for some UFOs. I can also entertain other possibilities for something that, presently, is unknown. And since we lack solid evidence to reach a conclusion I will not call it one way or the other. This is what true skepticism is about.

What's the problem with saying "we lack the evidence and right now we don't know what it was. Let's keep looking for data and evidence to hopefully, eventually, find an answer"?

You are the one who is taking a leap of faith and saying "this person saw a UFO and we have ruled out all known explanations, therefore it must be aliens." You are the one who is reaching a conclusion that conforms to your belief system.

I am highly suspicious of anyone who claims to know an answer to this mystery, whether they are claiming it's aliens or claiming it can't be aliens.

You are demonstrating that your position is just as bad as the (pseudo) skeptics' you rant about.



posted on Aug, 25 2012 @ 05:41 AM
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Originally posted by Phage
reply to post by neoholographic
 


You said I assume that the eyewitness testimony is true. No, I just don't assume that the eyewitness testimony has to be false or that there has to be another explanation.
BTW. I did not say that you assume the eyewitness testimony is true. I said you assume it is accurate. There is a difference. People's observations are often inaccurate. Saying "the testimony is true" only means that the witness is relating what they believed they observed



Originally posted by neoholographic
Of course you don't believe it's accurate. This is the closed minded attitude I was talking about.
It's not closed-minded to recognize that some parts of the testimony aren't necessarily accurate. It's realistic.

Dr. Hynek addressed this issue, and he was a skeptic-turned-believer who came to believe that some UFOs have a non-earthly origin. This isn't as much a case of bias toward beliefs as it is in recognizing some well known limits in human observation:
www.burlingtonnews.net...

Even the astronomer turned Pro-UFO supporter, Dr. J. Allen Hynek wrote:

...it is obvious that it would usually be impossible for observers to make reliable estimates of the speed, distance, or size of such stimulus objects. It is not possible to estimate accurately the distance of small bright objects viewed against a clear sky, unless the object is identified first...It must be concluded, therefore, that most of the statements of speed, distance, altitude, and size are entirely unreliable and should be disregarded. This is doubly true of observations made at night. (Steiger 228)
Note Hynek took witness statements very seriously which is why he came to believe that some UFOs have a non-earthly origin. But he recognized that people have limits in their accuracy as eyewitnesses. I would hope that we can all come to this realization, as it's well documented. So if someone sees a bright light in the sky we can believe that's true. If they say the distance was 400 meters and it was 10 meters across, we would have to disregard everything we know about human observation to presume that's accurate. Hynek was smart enough to recognize this.

Even estimates of angular size may be unreliable as seen in the Moon Illusion.

The Moon illusion is an optical illusion in which the Moon appears larger near the horizon than it does while higher up in the sky.

edit on 25-8-2012 by Arbitrageur because: clarification



posted on Aug, 25 2012 @ 05:42 AM
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Originally posted by Beavers
[Reply to Originally posted by Phage
Why should your opinion be given any more weight than that of a skeptic?]


I only clicked on this thread to say this.

Ever feel like you're banging your head against a wall of zealots?


One has to recognize that to have a productive conversation, both sides must give due consideration to the other's statements. We must always ask ourselves: "What am I being told? Have I missed something and might gain from the knowledge of the other? Is there something in that position that I don't understand and need to have clarified?"

If the other does not properly engage in the conversation (or worse doesn't understand the art of conversation) and pointedly ignores established facts and evidence, then defending your own position is a rather pointless exercise in casting pearls before swine -- the other is uneducable and has no interest in either communicating or learning. In such a case, it is far better to quietly enjoy watching the other strut their ignorance upon their own private stage, to the adoring adulation of the equally ignorant.

Few today understand the difference between fact and belief, evidence and casual observation, reason and reactive passion, hypothesis and idle conjecture, accomplishment and false ego.

IMO it is sufficient in this case for Phage to say what should be said once and then, if evidence arises that the other(s) are not interested in conversation and furthering mutual knowledge, to allow the merely passionate to beat their heads against the hard reality of the universe itself. The entire structure of the universe defends the truth far more adequately than we can (as any good skeptic knows).



posted on Aug, 25 2012 @ 05:52 AM
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reply to post by MarkJS
 
ATS isn't founded on the principles of preaching to the choir. It's largely adversarial and usually works well at rooting out the nitty-gritty. If ATS tried to protect closed communities in their own small forums/threads, it'd be a bad day.

There are other forums where the members all agree with each other and they aren't much fun. Essentially, people come out of those sites as informed as they went in. Here on ATS, it isn't always perfect, but for those paying attention, it's very easy to learn new things.

I'm not saying this as a Mod or presenting ATS policy - it's my personal opinion and experience.

Let's say someone brings a video that is 100% landing lights and they say it's aliens? Would 3 pages of people goshing about the aliens serve any purpose? It'd be great if we could keep derailers and eejits out of our threads, but we have to have them as part of the price of free discussion.



posted on Aug, 25 2012 @ 07:14 AM
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reply to post by Kandinsky
 


Yes.... three pages of 'gosh' might be a welcome change of pace. I am not saying censor the skeptics... they have a right to express their opinion... But on on the same token, the readers should have the option to read the posts.... it shouldn't be a mandatory price to pay when the reader is not interested in 'an opposing view' at all. It should be optional, IMO.

See link in my signature for thread in question.



posted on Aug, 25 2012 @ 07:54 AM
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reply to post by MarkJS
 


I'm sure there are plenty of blogs and youtube channels that do exactly what you propose.

Can I ask, what would be the benefit of doing such a thing?

The purpose here is to learn and increase our knowledge, or at least try to.

Shutting out skeptic responses is the epitome of close mindedness.

Wouldn't you rather know that what you saw was landing lights (to borrow from Kandinsky)?

So if it happens again next time, you will remember it and know it.

Wouldn't cutting out all the chaff so that all that remains is wheat be much more beneficial?



posted on Aug, 25 2012 @ 08:23 AM
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Shutting out skeptic responses is the epitome of close mindedness.
reply to post by AlphaHawk
 
Knowing what is the deal, is what all of us are striving for... The problem is that different ppl come from different points in life, which are not all compatible.

The system proposed would give room for the skeptic's viewpoint, but would also give an unopposed venue for the OPs and supporters of the person who posted the OP (original post) as well. This would give the reader a way to read 'two sides of a coin', so to speak (if they chose to). I bet that the person who posted the OP to start a thread was not looking for a flurry of opposing views as a response. Thus they might not be inclined to read them. It should be choice of the reader, IMO if they want to read the OPs side; the opposing view's side; or both.
edit on 25/8/2012 by MarkJS because: (no reason given)



posted on Aug, 25 2012 @ 08:35 AM
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Originally posted by MarkJS it shouldn't be a mandatory price to pay when the reader is not interested in 'an opposing view' at all.


If you are not interested in an "opposing view" then the last place you should be is in an internet discussion forum. A book or YouTube account may be more to your speed.

By wanting a way to block out dissenting opinions, you show how uninterested you are in the truth. It is not the truth behind a subject matter that is compelling you, rather the confirmation and affirmation of your beliefs. You are more concerned about being right than learning.

You, like the OP, are just another in a long line of people on ATS who want to shut down any sort of contradictory opinion. I hope another anti-skeptic forum gang is not forming...
edit on 25-8-2012 by WingedBull because: (no reason given)



posted on Aug, 25 2012 @ 09:08 AM
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Originally posted by neoholographic
reply to post by eriktheawful
 


Your post really makes skeptics look bad.

You said:


Could they be aliens? Well sure. They could also be time travelers, dimensional travelers, some very strange natural phenomenon, or even pink unicorns.


Classic nonsense. How many people have said they see pink unicorns? This is what you call intellectual dishonesty. You say this to try and belittle those who have come to a conclusion different than yours. This is the problem with most skeptics. There so insecure in their belief, they can't even accept others "think" differently than they do.


I'm afraid that you have demonstrated that people like you, have a chip on their shoulder, and will snatch at anything to act "offended".

Again, you are ASSUMING that I'm trying to belittle people who have a different conclusion than me. You are also ASSUMING that his is what most skeptics do. You are also attempting to take a skeptic's scientific method and turn it into a belief system.

Do we have proof of alien life? No. We have theories and probabilities.
Do we know what alien life looks like? No. Again, we have theories and speculation.
Could there be aliens that look like pink unicorns? With the universe being as large as it is, with as many stars as there are with planets, making the probability of intelligent life out there so high, it also holds that it's possible that one set of aliens evolved to look like pink unicorns to us.

Prove me wrong. (or my daughter, she's a fanatic when it comes to unicorns).



So do UFOs exist? Oh yes. This skeptic right here will tell you that they exist, and people do see them.

So that means that UFOs are aliens, right?

No.

Insisting that UFOs = Aliens is just as bad as your TV skeptics saying "over active imagination".


This is just silly. You have to convince yourself that anyone that has come to the conclusion that some U.F.O.'s are extraterrestrial, have to reach this conclusion in a vacuum. It just shows how insecure some skeptics are in their own belief.

People don't come to this conclusion in a vacuum. There's tons of evidence out there. From the latest scientific discovers to articles published in peer reviewed Journals on the subject. There trace evidence, close encounters, abduction cases, accounts from pilots, police officers and more, pictures and video.


You can't sit there and say all UFOs = Aliens, and that anyone who says that is not true is a "bad" skeptic.

There is not "tons of evidence" out there that prove UFOs = Aliens. Your statement above shows how you are willing to take anything that can be found to fit your conclusion.

That is not only bad science. It's bad investigative work.
You don't make an assumption and say that it MUST be the answer, then go out and find evidence to support it, while ignoring evidence that detracts it.

You can form a theory, then gather evidence and see whether or not it supports your conclusion. If the evidence doesn't support it, you follow it to see where it takes you and what it does support.



Sadly, most people claiming to be skeptics are so insecure that they can't accept that a person looked at and studied the EVIDENCE and came to a different conclusion. They have to act like a person just woke up one morning and equated U.F.O.'s to Aliens.


You are again assuming something. That most skeptics act this way. This is a good example of you coming to a conclusion, based upon assumption rather than evidence: PROVE that most skeptics are this way.



But neither can prove beyond a shadow of a doubt that they ARE or ARE NOT aliens.


Who said anything about a shadow of a doubt? Again, this is just silly. You can't prove that you exist beyond a shadow of a doubt. Are you a hologram, a simulation, a feedback loop of a universe replaying itself? Most skeptics have this ridiculous standard when it comes to things like Ufology or Psi.


You did, by saying that all UFOs must be aliens. If you want to sit there and say that they MIGHT be aliens, there is nothing wrong with that, and does not require proving beyond doubt. Claiming that they ARE aliens requires you to prove it.
Skeptics do not have "ridiculous standards". A good skeptic has good investigative skills, which means taking nothing at face value, and researching the claims. Following the evidence to see where it leads them.

You've claimed that skeptics become hostile or belittle people when they come to a different conclusion than others.

Yet you have demonstrated several times in this thread
that you are doing exactly that where skeptics are concerned.



posted on Aug, 25 2012 @ 09:17 AM
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reply to post by greeneyedleo
 


I'm not meaning to step on any toes and please accept my apologies if I am crossing the line...but why has this been allowed to go on for five pages? I thought ATS put an end to the "I hate skeptics!" threads a long time ago.

We've heard all of this before and it does nothing to contribute to our understanding of the phenomenon. It is done for no other reason than to build a case for dismissing dissenting opinion without thought. It amounts to thinly veiled personal attacks rather than any real back up or support the claim of alien existence. The true intentions here have been made quite clear time and again.



posted on Aug, 25 2012 @ 09:18 AM
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reply to post by WingedBull
 



If you are not interested in an "opposing view" then the last place you should be is in an internet discussion forum

and...

By wanting a way to block out dissenting opinions, you show how uninterested you are in the truth.

You're right.... sometimes, its nice just to (sounds a little gay, but you know what I mean...) curl up and read just the viewpoints of other people that agree with you.

You may be jumping a little ahead when you say I'm not interested in the truth. That's a little bit assuming, isn't it?

Why does every ATS thread have to be subject to opposing views? The way it's set up now, the foundation and premise makes the OPs vulnerable.... not protected or even overtly valued. 1. every OPs post is open to be attack. 2. Every OP can devolve into a debate (read: off-tangent discussion). Many times, instead of the ideas of the OP being built on, with new viewpoints to support and enhance it, the skeptic's posts tear down the thread. This is productive? This is a positive thing?

As stated in my previous post I think that the skeptic's voice can be expressed.... and if the reader wants to read them, then fine. But the posts shouldn't be forced to be read by ppl who are not interested in them.
edit on 25/8/2012 by MarkJS because: (no reason given)



posted on Aug, 25 2012 @ 09:28 AM
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Originally posted by MarkJS
Why does every ATS thread have to be subject to opposing views?


Because in all aspects of life we are surrounded by the hideous consequences of like-minded people fortifying themselves into intellectual ghettoes, consecrating themselves as smarter or saner or more ehtical than everybody else, hyping each other into self-righteous frenzy, and then sallying forth to inflict THEIR truth upon the rest of us. .

How many thousands of examples of this, from the personal to the international, do you want, to make the point that THIS forum is not like that?

Please stick around and keep expressing your views. and allow the same courtesy to others.

You might benefit from it. Heck, let me make a wild guess -- you in particular WOULD benefit from it.



posted on Aug, 25 2012 @ 09:30 AM
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Originally posted by MarkJS
As stated in my previous post I think that the skeptic's voice can be expressed.... and if the reader wants to read them, then fine. But the posts shouldn't be forced to be read by ppl who are not interested in them.

First I think you have to define exactly what you mean by skeptic. If you mean the pseudo-skeptics, the denialists, then I think most of us here agree it's burdensome having to deal with them and even read what they say.

If you mean skeptics in the true sense of skepticism then I completely disagree. In fact, if anything, the forum and the UFO subject would benefit from the opposite of what you suggest: the posts by true believers should be limited, not the skeptics'.

Of course I don't think any views should be limited. That's the price of freedom: you eventually will be exposed to people and their views that disagree with you or even offend you.



posted on Aug, 25 2012 @ 09:43 AM
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Originally posted by JimOberg

Originally posted by MarkJS
Why does every ATS thread have to be subject to opposing views?


Because in all aspects of life we are surrounded by the hideous consequences of like-minded people fortifying themselves into intellectual ghettoes, consecrating themselves as smarter or saner or more ehtical than everybody else, hyping each other into self-righteous frenzy, and then sallying forth to inflict THEIR truth upon the rest of us. .

How many thousands of examples of this, from the personal to the international, do you want, to make the point that THIS forum is not like that?

Please stick around and keep expressing your views. and allow the same courtesy to others.

You might benefit from it. Heck, let me make a wild guess -- you in particular WOULD benefit from it.


I know that it's not a popular notion these days... but I don't think that having opposing views is instinctly a good thing... That taken to the extreme is chaos. Chaos is never a good thing.

And I didn't say that we should outright censor anybody... please read my proposal about the two-tiered thread idea. It gives room- for both the viewpoints of the people who post OPs, and also to the skeptics.



posted on Aug, 25 2012 @ 09:50 AM
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Originally posted by Quaesitor

Originally posted by MarkJS
As stated in my previous post I think that the skeptic's voice can be expressed.... and if the reader wants to read them, then fine. But the posts shouldn't be forced to be read by ppl who are not interested in them.

First I think you have to define exactly what you mean by skeptic. If you mean the pseudo-skeptics, the denialists, then I think most of us here agree it's burdensome having to deal with them and even read what they say.

If you mean skeptics in the true sense of skepticism then I completely disagree. In fact, if anything, the forum and the UFO subject would benefit from the opposite of what you suggest: the posts by true believers should be limited, not the skeptics'.

Of course I don't think any views should be limited. That's the price of freedom: you eventually will be exposed to people and their views that disagree with you or even offend you.


We may be on the same wavelength here. Yes, I guess I mean the pseudo-skeptics and the (professional? paid?) denialists. They need their own level of a thread... as they are their own level. Not censored,....just read as an option.

So the table turns... can you explain further what you mean by 'skeptics in the true sense of skepticism'?



would benefit from the opposite of what you suggest: the posts by true believers should be limited, not the skeptics'.

That's an advantage of the two-tiered thread system that would work for skeptics: If you want to just read their viewpoints/posts... you can just focus on those.
edit on 25/8/2012 by MarkJS because: (no reason given)

edit on 25/8/2012 by MarkJS because: (no reason given)



posted on Aug, 25 2012 @ 10:09 AM
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Originally posted by MarkJS
So the table turns... can you explain further what you mean by 'skeptics in the true sense of skepticism'?

Certainly.

My definition of a true skeptic is someone who doesn't automatically reject unusual claims, but doesn't accept them on faith. Someone who is willing to look at the evidence, be receptive to new theories and new arguments, but remains impartial by not letting his beliefs interfere with his position or conclusion, particularly when there isn't enough evidence to reach one.

True skeptics, in my opinion, believe the best way to deal with unusual or unknown phenomena is to subject them to scientific investigation.

A true skeptic will never say there aren't any aliens visiting us, nor will he say he knows UFOs are alien in origin when there isn't any scientifically verifiable evidence to support such a position.



posted on Aug, 25 2012 @ 10:14 AM
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reply to post by neoholographic
 



What's "mundane" is based on ones personal belief. Actually, there's no difference between the two. The only difference is how people weigh the eyewitness testimony. Rather he's talking about a mob crime or a U.F.O., he or she is still a credible witness and their eyewitness account has to be given weight.

These people don't become unreliable idiots because the subject matter switches from mob crimes to U.F.O.'s. So it's more about the personal belief of the skeptic over objective, eyewitness testimony that you would accept in just about any other situation.


It is not a question of whether something is "mundane," or especially whether it is a question of belief; it is a question of whether the witness has sufficient experience to interpret their observations correctly. The comparison between a witness to a UFO and the witness to a mob crime is particularly useful.

Someone with no knowledge of astronomy, aeronautics or human physiology might see a light in the sky seemingly behaving erratically, and jump to the conclusion it was an extra-terrestrial spacecraft. This conclusion would then color his or her recollection of the actual experience, and details would be re-written in the witness' memory. Rather than describing the object as being a brilliant white point of light 40 degrees above the horizon, dancing erratically in an area one or two seconds of arc wide, information useful for its identification, it becomes a "metallic object a thousand feet in the air, looping around at a thousand miles per hour."

Law enforcement officers have exactly the same problem when it comes to "mob crime." Someone sees a couple of men exchange money on the street. Is this a drug deal? A payoff? Someone placing a bet with a bookie? Or maybe someone is just paying his share of yesterday's lunch tab. But surely the two young men beating another man is mob crime. Not necessarily. It may be a non-gang related mugging or the unpleasant result of discussing sports while drunk. An inexperienced witness' descriptions will be colored by their assumptions about the situation. Law enforcement officers are trained to observe a situation more objectively, and they have a greater range of experience from which to draw a conclusion.

Why, then, should a skeptic's opinion be given any weight? Clearly, that would depend upon the skeptic's objectivity and knowledge of the question at hand. It's true that some people reflexively reject anything that falls outside their "comfort zone," just as there are those who will embrace anything, however improbable, that affirms their personal beliefs. Nevertheless, critical thinking is far more likely to result in useful knowledge than wishful thinking.



posted on Aug, 25 2012 @ 10:19 AM
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The skeptic exists because man is deceitful. There are too many dishonest humans who seek to provide themselves with such things as fame, notoriety, riches etc. even if that means outright lying. It is the job of the skeptic to cast doubt on things that are highly improbable, whether they are true or not, to weed out the huge amount of deceitful liars perpetuating nonsense in human culture.

Yes the skeptic isn't always right, but everyone should pay attention where there is doubt. That doubt needs to be considered.

Here's some James Randi exposing charlatans. Without him, these people would still be getting rich off the gullible:








edit on 25-8-2012 by TheSubversiveOne because: (no reason given)




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