Critical Thinking and the UFO Hypothesis III: Ad Hominem Arguments

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posted on May, 17 2013 @ 04:21 AM
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Originally posted by karl 12
Brighter great thread mate and it looks that way to me too - perhaps these debunkers, UFO cynics, pseudo-sceptics or whatever you want to call them have far more in common with people who believe everything is a UFO than they like to think (far more dogmatic than pragmatic and all that).


Thanks for your post, karl.

I'm sure you've seen some of the serial debunkers on these forums claim that they can form reliable opinions on this subject without ever opening a single book on it. And I often wonder at just how much mental energy they must expend on a daily basis to maintain such a tenaciously willful ignorance. To my mind, it's the same exact psychological block involved in a religious fundamentalist who refuses to open a science textbook for fear it will upset their beliefs.


Originally posted by karl 12
Thought Dr Bernard Haisch also made an interesting point below about many of them not being practicing scientists and there are plenty of other tactics employed here if you've not seen the list already.



That's a great list. Here are a few interesting debunker tactics from that list that seem mildly appropriate:



Since the public tends to be unclear about the distinction between evidence and proof, do your best to help maintain this murkiness. If absolute proof is lacking, state categorically that there is no evidence.
...
In any case, imply that proof “precedes” evidence. This will eliminate the possibility of initiating any meaningful process of investigation particularly if no criteria of proof have yet been established for the phenomenon in question.
...
Practice debunkery-by-association. Lump together all phenomena popularly deemed paranormal and suggest that their proponents and researchers speak with a single voice. In this way you can indiscriminately drag material across disciplinary lines or from one case to another to support your views as needed. For example, if a claim having some superficial similarity to the one at hand has been (or is popularly “assumed” to have been) exposed as fraudulent, cite it as if it were an appropriate example. Then put on a gloating smile, lean back in your armchair and simply say, "I rest my case."
...
Ridicule, ridicule, ridicule. It is far and away the single most chillingly effective weapon in the war against discovery and innovation. Ridicule has the unique power to make people of virtually any persuasion go completely unconscious in a twinkling. It fails to sway only those few who are of sufficiently independent mind not to buy into the kind of emotional consensus that ridicule provides.

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"Their critiques virtually all consist of scoffing, ridicule, ad hominem attacks, and the amazing claim that their dogmatic beliefs that certain things are impossible necessarily constitute laws of nature. It is a modern replay of the cardinals refusing to look through Galileo's telescope because truth has already been revealed to them. Interestingly many of the vocal skeptics are not themselves practicing scientists."

Astrophysicist Dr Bernard Haisch, Ph.D.


UFO Sceptic

Cheers.


That's a good article. I like how he starts off by giving the proper definition of skepticism. It's basically a version of Pyrrhonian Skepticism, the version of skepticism practiced by proper scientists.

edit on 17-5-2013 by Brighter because: (no reason given)




posted on May, 17 2013 @ 04:30 AM
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^ Yup, have a piece in my signature.

Let me also add - you cannot say 'Let's believe in flying spaghetti monster or pink dog under my bed' because there is no evidence of its inexistence because unlike the magical fairy, there is lots and lots of accounts and never ending.

And to say that the whole phenomenon is one coverup also seems a bit off because you can't possibly say that every single person from the worker at the corn field to high military person is paid to talk lies, especially when there are people who have complained or sued as a result of damage from such phenomena.

Saying that aliens are demons is double-ridiculous - firstly because we aren't sure there are other beings around, even though my position - it is likely that there are, as in more than 50% like 55% or even 60% they are here. But in addition to that religion as well as history has taught there is common misinterpretation of things you could not describe 'Iron Horses' were what American natives called the first trains, aborigens in New Zealand have claimed they've seen a God when they saw airplanes.... technology and such is often misinterpreted, that is the Demons, Angels and such... So this is either someone's agenda to defend Religion that is losing its position or ignorance to think logically.

You have to think logically but you need to have some understanding of special effects, I can see in lots of cases when YouTube videos are pure fakes,so of course one should not beleve them or various other nonsense claims frm type 'Aliens will land in 2012' when you don't even have any clues

However, even if some here claim 'No we do not deny the possibility of aliens or that aliens have visited' - I've seen a lot exactly who deny the current clues and evidence of something like that (like other civilization and technology) going on - why - because you haven't seen it in plane sight?

Rest assured, if any alien civilization is flying around THEY DO NOT WANT to disclose their presence, at the same time GOVS (OR MILITARY COMPLEX) DO NOT want to disclose their presence if not directly pushed by them or by an agreement.



posted on May, 17 2013 @ 07:24 AM
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So isn't this thread just an ad hominem argument against those pesky debunkers?



posted on May, 17 2013 @ 07:26 AM
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Originally posted by Brighter
It’s become common practice for the serial debunkers to employ ad hominem arguments on these forums.

An ad hominem argument is just a logical fallacy in which you attempt to discredit someone’s position by attacking their character instead of addressing the relevant claim being made.

An example would be: “So-and-so is lying about having seen a U.F.O. because they receive money from writing books, giving talks, producing documentaries, etc.” (I’m sure you’ve seen this one before.)

Why are such arguments weak? It’s because they’re drawing your attention away from the important, relevant, issue at hand (creating a red herring) and trying to get you to focus on something else. In the case above, they’re trying to get you to focus – typically without any adequate evidence – on a potential character flaw, in the hopes that you then make a couple of further false inferences – that (1) they probably do have that flaw (even if no sufficient evidence was presented for this) and (2) that you then make the further mistake of assuming that if they have that character flaw, then they must be unreliable in most everything else they say.

Another way of seeing how these arguments fail is to look for counterexamples. For example, medical doctors typically make well over six figures a year. And not only that, I’m pretty sure they wouldn’t be doing what they do if they were receiving $10 and hour. Yet even so, does this make them unreliable sources of information? Of course not! It’s simply human nature to prefer actions that are incentive-based. Yet that doesn’t at all mean that anyone who demands compensation for their work is automatically dishonest.

So it’s pretty clear that this kind of argument rests on shaky reasoning to say the least. It’s basically the kind of rhetoric employed every day by politicians, used car salesmen and those who simply don’t know how to reason correctly, or those who do and simply want to take advantage of your tendency to not carefully scrutinize what they’re saying.

Now if they’re such bad arguments, then why do people keep making them? Well, I think it’s because they’re effective at shifting your attention away from the actual issue. They tend to easily fool people, because they strike a chord with one’s emotions. And the people who make these arguments realize that, at least subconsciously. They’re hoping that you don’t see what they’re doing (basically leading you down a separate, irrelevant trail of reasoning). It typically also has to do with a lack of proper education, or in some cases a lack of morals.

One more thing – after you call someone out for simply making ad hominem arguments, ask them to provide undeniable, documented evidence of said character flaw (you’ll often see that the ‘evidence’ they present at this point is simply hearsay, their own subjective interpretation, or that it assumes what they’re trying to prove). And even if they can provide such evidence, further ask them if that necessarily means that this person is being dishonest with the other claims they are making. Then ask them to directly address the issue at hand. At this point, whatever they offer you, scrutinize it carefully for other errors in reasoning.

If they’re sloppy enough thinkers to employ ad hominem attacks in the first place, it’s often a safe bet they’re making some pretty egregious errors in their other arguments.



Originally posted by draknoir2

Originally posted by Brighter


And it's hilarious how the "burden of proof" never applies to you, but as the actual laws of logic don't apply to you, I suppose that somewhat makes sense (?)


What is hilarious is your persistent failure to understand why it is that the burden of proof does not apply to me when I am not the one making the wild claims.

I am confident this will continue to be a challenge for you and look forward to many more, overly verbose posts on the evils of skepticism.



I totally called it.



I wonder - does referring to those who happen to disagree with your beliefs and assertions of fact as "serial debunkers", "pseudo skeptics" and "disinfo agents" qualify as ad hominems as well?

That was rhetorical, BTW.



posted on May, 17 2013 @ 08:27 AM
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Originally posted by AthlonSavage
reply to post by Eustace1
 





I think it usually stems from people having blind-faith in anything. Whether its with Jesus, Allah or Aliens it solely based on blind subjective faith.


So person walks out one night and encounters a Ufo in close promity and goes home and tells their experience on Ats. Ats says thats because it was your blind subjective faith. I hear your basic argument and yeh people can turn their Ufo belief into a religous faith. There are however people seeing ufos who dont have a faith bone in their bodies.



You and like many others just made the classic mistake. Why conjoin UFO's with imaginary aliens? This is why you and others(that you assume don't have a faith bone in their bodies) actually do have blind subjective faith. My comment never included the word UFO ,just jesus,allah and aliens and you in return gave a hypothetical story involving the average joe seeing a UFO. To have blind faith all you need is well constructed material or propaganda given to the masses and viola= you have an artificial cult solely based on the belief that ufo's and aliens are the same thing .



posted on May, 17 2013 @ 11:42 AM
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Originally posted by ZetaRediculian
So isn't this thread just an ad hominem argument against those pesky debunkers?


No, it's not.

You need to understand a couple of basic things to see why this isn't true.

First, this is a meta-commentary on the debate in general, so addressing rational tendencies is relevant as an issue at hand.

Second, an ad hominem argument is one that attacks one's character in an irrelevant way in the hopes of diverting attention away from the main issue.

And not only is this character flaw that I'm pointing out relevant, it's the very issue at hand, so I'm not diverting attention away from anything; on the contrary, I'm directly addressing the issue.

I realize your statement would have been clever if it were true, but not this time, Zeta


I should point out an important point. I am not equating a "debunker" with a true Pyrrhonian skeptic. I am using "debunker" to refer to those who have little understanding of the process of science and skepticism, and are largely interested in pushing dogmatically held beliefs, while at the same time pretending to practice both science and skepticism.



posted on May, 17 2013 @ 11:49 AM
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Don't forget to link this in your siggy.



posted on May, 17 2013 @ 11:51 AM
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Originally posted by WilliamOckham
Opening post is inaccurate and pretty darn funny.

First off, anyone who refers to people who use critical thinking and approach claims with logical skepticism as "debunkers", is showing their obvious bias & disdain for truth. You don't get to the truth by simply believing something. Credible and verifiable evidence is needed. Anything other than that is just hearsay and requires faith. It is in the same vein as religion and is not grounded or based in reality or truth.

To be clear, most people who question the laughable UFO claims on here, do not discount the possibility of life on other planets or that aliens can/will visit Earth. In fact, most welcome it and are genuinely interested in the topic. However, these same people choose to apply common sense and refuse to accept unreliable witness testimony or second or third person accounts of what someone thinks they saw, as proof. And why on earth should they?

What the opening post failed at realizing or tackling, is how erroneous it is to accept witness account as proof. How most UFO sighting/story threads here lack any kind of skepticism or honest attempt at getting to the truth (However boring or mundane that actual truth may be - e.g ...You saw a plane, not a UFO).

Humans are beings of bad perception who will experience and understand events differently than everyone else. This has been proven over and over and over again. People are NOT reliable witnesses when it comes to things they do not understand. The mind and the imagination heavily influences their perceived experience.

Anyway, nice try. Still no real proof of alien visitations to earth. When you find it, please do post it. [/quote
edit on 17-5-2013 by jimmyx because: (no reason given)


"how erroneous it is to accept witness account as proof"?....doesn't this pretty much invalidate human history before audio & video recording devices?
edit on 17-5-2013 by jimmyx because: (no reason given)



posted on May, 17 2013 @ 12:41 PM
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Originally posted by Eustace1

Originally posted by mr10k
To the contrary, Most ad hominem attacks I have seen in UFO debates usually stem from the believer. Usually due to the fact that it is often the believer who is passionate about their belief and ends up getting emotionally charged, whereas the majority of the time, humorously, the 'skeptic' isn't really professional or anything as such, just someone who doesn't believe the other person.


I think it usually stems from people having blind-faith in anything. Whether its with Jesus, Allah or Aliens it solely based on blind subjective faith.


It's a 2 way street there if you hadn't realised.
There are just as many people who have blind faith in their own beliefs regardless of what it is.
Even the belief to disbelieve is a belief, and often based on blind faith.



posted on May, 17 2013 @ 01:03 PM
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Great thread Brighter

I have never seen a UFO, and not even sure if I believe in them. I don't have an official view point.
I come here to learn all I can on the subject, yet the threads are constantly derailed by people who seem to take great pleasure in ridiculing people based on their own opinion without evidence. Total hypocrisy.



posted on May, 17 2013 @ 01:12 PM
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Originally posted by Brighter
It’s become common practice for the serial debunkers to employ ad hominem arguments on these forums.

An ad hominem argument is just a logical fallacy in which you attempt to discredit someone’s position by attacking their character instead of addressing the relevant claim being made.

An example would be: “So-and-so is lying about having seen a U.F.O. because they receive money from writing books, giving talks, producing documentaries, etc.” (I’m sure you’ve seen this one before.)


The example should be... "They receive money from writing books, giving talks, producing documentaries BECAUSE they are claiming to having seen a U.F.O."

Let's be serious here. These people are entertainers, nothing more.



posted on May, 17 2013 @ 01:22 PM
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That is a new one: Scientists are entertainers.
You need to talk with my son, he reckons scientists are boring.
LOL
edit on 17-5-2013 by BullwinkleKicksButt because: (no reason given)



posted on May, 17 2013 @ 01:23 PM
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Originally posted by BullwinkleKicksButt
That is a new one: Scientists are entertainers.
You need to talk with my son, he reckons scientists are boring.
LOL
edit on 17-5-2013 by BullwinkleKicksButt because: (no reason given)


Scientists can be quite entertaining, actually. You need to introduce your son to more entertaining scientists.



posted on May, 17 2013 @ 01:28 PM
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Nah he is right, most of them are boring.
I know, I am a scientist and am surrounded by over 1000 scientists where I work. Might be 10 worth talking to. A bit under 1%. LMAO



posted on May, 17 2013 @ 01:29 PM
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Originally posted by MichaelPMaccabee

Originally posted by Brighter
It’s become common practice for the serial debunkers to employ ad hominem arguments on these forums.

An ad hominem argument is just a logical fallacy in which you attempt to discredit someone’s position by attacking their character instead of addressing the relevant claim being made.

An example would be: “So-and-so is lying about having seen a U.F.O. because they receive money from writing books, giving talks, producing documentaries, etc.” (I’m sure you’ve seen this one before.)


The example should be... "They receive money from writing books, giving talks, producing documentaries BECAUSE they are claiming to having seen a U.F.O."

Let's be serious here. These people are entertainers, nothing more.


I don't know if you realise it, but you just proved what the OP has said as being correct



posted on May, 17 2013 @ 01:34 PM
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Originally posted by BullwinkleKicksButt

Originally posted by MichaelPMaccabee

Originally posted by Brighter
It’s become common practice for the serial debunkers to employ ad hominem arguments on these forums.

An ad hominem argument is just a logical fallacy in which you attempt to discredit someone’s position by attacking their character instead of addressing the relevant claim being made.

An example would be: “So-and-so is lying about having seen a U.F.O. because they receive money from writing books, giving talks, producing documentaries, etc.” (I’m sure you’ve seen this one before.)


The example should be... "They receive money from writing books, giving talks, producing documentaries BECAUSE they are claiming to having seen a U.F.O."

Let's be serious here. These people are entertainers, nothing more.


I don't know if you realise it, but you just proved what the OP has said as being correct


I did no such thing, as an opinion is just that, an opinion. These men do not have anything to show for themselves other than the money that they have made from their endeavors. None of them can show me a little green man or a soul collector on the moon. None of them can show me a reptile.

Not one of them.

These are not 'scientists' because they don't follow the Scientific Method. They are people that want to sell you books with stories in them. Do they believe their stories? Maybe, and that isn't the point. The point is, they are entertainers at best, hucksters at worst, and if the money dried up, the majority would be trying to sell the gullible another story.

Don't get it yet?

Why is Ancient Aliens on History Channel? Because the History channel wants to sell your eyes to advertisers.



posted on May, 17 2013 @ 01:39 PM
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It is ironic that the op uses Galileo and the refusal of the cardinals to look through his telescope as an example to support his argument.

In that historic instance the cardinals were the Believers and Galileo was attempting to scientifically debunk there erroneous belief. Their narrow mindedness and blind faith resulted in them subjecting Galileo to the ultimate ad hominem attack - they put him to death.

We see similar mind sets here. Once a sceptic has shown, with adequate evidence, that a claimed ET incident was nothing of the sort - the alleged ET was a moth, for example - the Believers can't accept the embarrassing revelation and attack. As they can't apply science or logic or rationality to support their argument, ad hominem is their only effective recourse. The rational thinker is then disparaged with accusations of being a "paid government shill." or a "serial debunker" or a "nasty noisy negativist" (© Stan Friedman). Thankfully, the Believers are no longer allowed to burn people alive.

No matter how loud the Believers shout, or how many sentences they type in all caps, or how many insults they throw out, it doesn't alter the fact that a moth is just a moth and the Earth really does revolve around the Sun.



posted on May, 17 2013 @ 01:40 PM
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You just further proved what the OP has said as correct.



posted on May, 17 2013 @ 01:44 PM
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Originally posted by mr10k
To the contrary, Most ad hominem attacks I have seen in UFO debates usually stem from the believer. Usually due to the fact that it is often the believer who is passionate about their belief and ends up getting emotionally charged, whereas the majority of the time, humorously, the 'skeptic' isn't really professional or anything as such, just someone who doesn't believe the other person.


It probably does go both ways to a fair extent. Being a believer, I've noticed a great deal of dishonesty from non-believers and skeptics, yet I've seen skeptics point out the dishonesty of the other side as well. Largely, those who want to believe will believe and those who don't won't. Skeptics like to place themselves in the middle, but this isn't entirely true. The very definition of skeptic means to doubt something. A skeptic of the paranormal doesn't necessarily doubt (or outright discard) something without thinking it through first, but there are those who do.

There are however open-minded skeptics who examine both sides and have no emotional stake on either side. Whether a certain yellow flare in the sky was an actual UFO or not, all they care about is the truth. Such people have not witnessed this phenomenon for themselves (and therefore are not believers,) nor do they discount it. They have a genuine interest in the subject and are merely examining it fairly (but from their own perspective.) These people are intellectually honest and their observations (when expressed) tend to add something to the discussion. I’ve seen them be outright attacked and labelled as non-believers merely for expressing honest opinions, and this is something which believers really need to be cautious of. Not only is this unfair but it also imprints a negative impression of believers (those with experiences) in them.

I am a believer because I have experienced the paranormal. I never expect everyone to believe in me. All I expect is an open mind. A closed mind, or being written off, is offensive to me and dishonest. Not believing is fine and I always try to be respectful of intellectually honest opinions.

I think that we need a new term for this type of examiner, because there are two kinds of skeptics: non-believers and the intellectually honest and curious. People will use the word “skeptic” to refer to either one, assuming that everyone else understands which one they are referring to. Believers tend to mean “skeptic” as non-believer while skeptics mean it as intellectually honest and curious, and yet often the skeptic in question does not fit the category assigned to them.

In a debate, everyone should be honest. If you are a non-believer, why even comment on a subject that you do not believe in? To poke fun at someone who’s had a dramatic experience (or may be mentally ill) is childish and disrespectful. And if you are a believer, why assume that everyone else does, or should, believe as you do? The truth will only be revealed through mature, honest discussion and examining of evidence.



posted on May, 17 2013 @ 01:59 PM
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Originally posted by BullwinkleKicksButt
You just further proved what the OP has said as correct.


I don't really think you understand what 'proof' means...





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