Critical Thinking and the UFO Hypothesis III: Ad Hominem Arguments

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posted on May, 19 2013 @ 10:42 AM
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Originally posted by Brighter
reply to post by ForteanOrg
 



Originally posted by ForteanOrg
I have stated, and will state this again, right now, that there are people - many - that are not working towards disclosure at all but are just mining money

I understand what you’re trying to say.


Appreciated, thank you.



But here’s the problem with your argument – you’re making the assumption that you can’t both accept money and work towards disclosure at the same time.

If it read that way, I apologize for making the wrong impression. I have no problem with people making the proverbial 'honest buck'. I have to live myself, and that requires earning money. It's the way society works.


I gave a clear counterexample to this in my original post. It’s tantamount to saying that a doctor can’t both accept large sums of money and work towards healing people at the same time.

I agree and disagree. I agree that a doctor can earn money and work towards healing people. A doctor, after all, has to live too.

However, say that that 'doctor' has not had any medical training. Say, he is an educated man, has a degree in mathematics. Does that qualify him to cure patients? Also, say he then took money from people that trusted him to cure them, but in effect he simply did nothing to help them, would you still say he has the right to ask for money? I don't think so.

But it is exactly what Basset and Greer do.

See for example the "research" they do (or accept as such). You saw the video of that old guy that said he had been witness of an interview with an alien, and of course you read the comments that generated. In short; this gentleman is about as credible as any guy, tells a story like many guys, and there is no proof whatsoever he tells the truth. There is, on the other hand, solid proof that he tells lies, for example when he tells us that he used badges with magnetic stripes attached to them in 1958. They were invented in 1960. It took me about 2 minutes to figure that one out. Why can't Basset, why can't Dolan? Because that would not draw the streams of gullible believers to their events, I say.

Now, maybe the old guy simply has mixed up some facts - it happened over 50 years ago after all. But even then, say he DOES tell the truth (or as he recalls it) - that still requires evidence, because his claims are so extraordinary. Had he said "I ate icecream in 1960", I would have given him the benefit of the doubt, as it is plausible that he did. But he said some pretty amazing things and such extra-ordinary claims require evidence. None was given.

Basset promises to bring disclosure a step closer, yet offers nothing of substance to do so, offers no proof, just stories. And the old guy now is supposed to be dead. How convenient!

So, they offer nothing, are clowning around, not doing even the simplest of research. But they do ask for money. Lots of it. Hence my disgust.



The other, equally important problem is that, as an ad hominem attack, it moves the conversation away from the actual, relevant issue. The relevant issue in the Disclosure Project involves the witness testimony accounts for the reality of UFOs.


On the other hand, if the facts show that somebody is pulling off a trick, it is a trick and if you say so, it is not an 'ad hominem attack'. It is a fact.


For those reasons I would also take issue with your arguments against Basset’s Citizen Hearing on Disclosure. It’s confusing two separate issues. Witness testimony stands independently of the organizers’ having received money to fund the event.

If the organiser states that he will bring disclosure a step closer but fails to do so, but still takes money for it, he is a cheap fraud. Basset has not produced anything that was not known already. He did not bring disclosure nearer. He is in it for the money. A cheap fraud.

About the witnesses: there may be a number of them that tell the truth. However, as they fail to produce any evidence of their stories, its unusable to bring disclosure any nearer. Also, most of them re-tell other folks stories, hearsay. And, may I add, what gives Basset the right to withhold their testimony, which SHOULD be public, given the so-called importance - unless you pay to see it? It is not even HIS testimony, it is THEIRS. We may even see the day that Basset will sue these poor bastards because they dare to produce their testimony without his consent.. and that consent will have to be payed for, mark my words.

Anyway, we DO agree that a pure 'ad hominem' attack, without evidence to support you, is low and should be fought against. We seem to differ about the usefulness of what Basset did. I think it hurt our community, you seem to think it may still benefit us. I hope you will be proven right.




posted on May, 19 2013 @ 02:23 PM
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reply to post by Brighter
 





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.)


No, I have seen people dismiss claims of knowing what they are seeing is an alien craft or whatever.

I might dismiss their interpretation as being wrong however what a person sees is what they see, maybe a few would judge however any intelligent poster knows people see UFOs its what these witnesses determine their sightings to be is whats debatable.



posted on May, 19 2013 @ 02:51 PM
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reply to post by Brighter
 


People attack others character?!?!?! No way? Did you really write 10 paragraphs to explain that? Its a like a strange arguing manual. I think most people reading this have had this down...probably shortly after they started talking.....bad thread



posted on May, 19 2013 @ 02:59 PM
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reply to post by ForteanOrg
 



Originally posted by Brighter
I gave a clear counterexample to this in my original post. It’s tantamount to saying that a doctor can’t both accept large sums of money and work towards healing people at the same time.



Originally posted by ForteanOrg
I agree and disagree. I agree that a doctor can earn money and work towards healing people. A doctor, after all, has to live too.

However, say that that 'doctor' has not had any medical training. Say, he is an educated man, has a degree in mathematics. Does that qualify him to cure patients? Also, say he then took money from people that trusted him to cure them, but in effect he simply did nothing to help them, would you still say he has the right to ask for money? I don't think so.

But it is exactly what Basset and Greer do.


I think saying that Greer and Bassett are doing “nothing” to help people is inaccurate. Just because they haven’t helped you doesn’t mean they aren’t helping others. With these public forums, they’re helping to disseminate important information aimed at the law- and decision-makers whose opinions and attitudes on the subject need to change if any progress is to be made. And they’re presenting it in a current, easily accessible format, which is what helps to garner current public interest, especially among those who may not have had the initial motivation to do historical research.


Originally posted by ForteanOrg
See for example the "research" they do (or accept as such). You saw the video of that old guy that said he had been witness of an interview with an alien, and of course you read the comments that generated. In short; this gentleman is about as credible as any guy, tells a story like many guys, and there is no proof whatsoever he tells the truth. There is, on the other hand, solid proof that he tells lies, for example when he tells us that he used badges with magnetic stripes attached to them in 1958. They were invented in 1960. It took me about 2 minutes to figure that one out. Why can't Basset, why can't Dolan? Because that would not draw the streams of gullible believers to their events, I say.


I’m not so sure there exists any such “solid proof”. In any case, isn’t military technology generally thought to be many years ahead of that of the general public? Do you have insider military security industry knowledge of the verification techniques used by these agencies in the late 50s? I’m not committing to one side or the other here, as I haven’t really studied this case.


Originally posted by ForteanOrg
Basset promises to bring disclosure a step closer, yet offers nothing of substance to do so, offers no proof, just stories.


You can see my comments above on how I think he is in fact helping to bring about disclosure.
And regarding your comment on his offering “no proof, just stories”, I’d say this. Anecdotal evidence can range from extremely unreliable to extremely reliable. I think you’ll find that the evidentiary body as a whole is quite compelling. And it doesn’t just contain anecdotal evidence. It involves instrumental and physical trace evidence as well. There are thousands upon thousands of reports from all around the world involving UFOs, many of them by people who appear to be highly reliable witnesses, and many with a lot to lose by simply making up stories. Now whether or not what they are reporting is what they say it is is another story. Careful investigation needs to be performed in each case. But it is difficult to facilitate careful scientific investigation when the a priori summary dismissal of the subject as a whole is ingrained in the scientific ‘culture’. This attitude needs to be reversed in order to apply best scientific practices by the best minds – both conceptual and investigative. And these public UFO forums are aimed at reversing just this dismissive and unscientific attitude.

continued ...



posted on May, 19 2013 @ 02:59 PM
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reply to post by ForteanOrg
 



Originally posted by ForteanOrg
If the organiser states that he will bring disclosure a step closer but fails to do so, but still takes money for it, he is a cheap fraud. Basset has not produced anything that was not known already. He did not bring disclosure nearer.He is in it for the money. A cheap fraud.


But you could argue that they are bringing disclosure a step closer for the reasons I stated above – that they’re presenting information in a current, easy to understand forum and aimed at the law and decision-makers whose opinions and attitudes on the subject need to change if any progress is to be made.

And is he just “in it for the money”? Have you noticed that The Citizen Hearing on Disclosure has their own YouTube website and that they offer roughly 67 videos from the hearings – completely for free, at no charge, for anyone to watch? That seems to directly contradict the idea that he’s only “in it for the money”.

I think it’s important to take a step back for a second and put this all into perspective. The evidence for UFOs and the field as a whole is much larger than Greer and Bassett. Whatever you think of Greer and Bassett’s character is one thing and a subjective opinion that you’re entitled to. But what is undeniable is that there are and have been a number of honest, reliable, scientific and dispassionate UFO researchers. And if we want to cultivate a better understanding of the subject as a whole, shouldn’t we be focusing on their research? And isn’t this a good principle to follow in any pursuit for understanding? I’m referring to the works of Dr. J. Allen Hynek, Dr. James E. McDonald, Dr. Peter Sturrock, Dr. Jacques Vallee, Dr. David Jacobs, Dr. Michael Swords, etc. karl12 even has a thread with plenty of free e-books here.



posted on May, 19 2013 @ 03:16 PM
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I agree about the Ad Hominem Arguments. Take, say, Bassett for example. He writes a book, sells a DVD and charges for a lecture. Someone then says, "Don't trust Bassett. He only does this for the money and fame." I see this all the time in these forums. How then is Bassett supposed to fund his research? Why can't he sell a DVD? Why shouldn't he charge for a lecture? None of that is relevant to the argument. If he has good information in said book, which incidentally can be gotten for free at any library and the DVD probably viewed on youtube for free, why not discuss the information?



posted on May, 19 2013 @ 07:38 PM
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Originally posted by karl 12

Originally posted by WilliamOckham

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.


Can't speak for anyone else but I'd say there's definitely a distinction between genuine open minded skeptics and cynical closed minded pseudo-skeptics - this list below has done the rounds on ATS before (and I suppose it could apply to true beleivers as well) but I do think it makes some important differences.




True skeptics / open-minded skeptics


*Has honest doubt and questions all beliefs, including their own

*Seeks the truth, considers it the highest aim

*Seeks open inquiry and investigation of both sides

*Is nonjudgmental, doesn't jump to rash conclusions

*Weighs evidence on all sides

*Asks exploratory questions about new things to try to understand them

*Acknowledges valid convincing evidence

*Possesses solid sharp common sense

*Is able to adapt and update their paradigms to new evidence





Pseudo-skeptics / closed-minded skeptics


*Automatically dismisses and denies all claims that contradict materialism and orthodoxy

*Is not interested in truth, evidence or facts, only in defending orthodoxy and the status quo

*Ignores anything that doesn't fit their a priori beliefs and assumptions

*Scoffs and ridicules their targets instead of providing solid arguments and giving honest consideration

*Has a know-it-all-attitude, never asks questions about things they don't understand, never admits that they don't know something

*Insists that everything unknown and unexplained must have a conventional materialistic explanation

*Is judgmental and quick to draw conclusions about things they know little or nothing about

*Uses semantics and word games with their own rules of logic to try to win arguments

*Is unable to adapt and update their paradigms to new evidence


Link


Cheers.


I think this could work as a guide for everyone. The problem I have with this type of thing is that it still can be and is used as a method to label and dismiss someone's actual legitimate point of view. I have seen it many times here. My personal feeling is that it is up to each individual to grow and develop their own point of view without being labeled and judged to be a "pseudo skeptic" or whatever. What I do notice is that the ones quick to assign some negative trait onto someone else are the ones displaying the actual trait they are complaining about. It's classic psychological projection.
edit on 19-5-2013 by ZetaRediculian because: (no reason given)



posted on May, 19 2013 @ 08:24 PM
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Originally posted by Brighter

I think saying that Greer and Bassett are doing “nothing” to help people is inaccurate. Just because they haven’t helped you doesn’t mean they aren’t helping others. With these public forums, they’re helping to disseminate important information aimed at the law- and decision-makers whose opinions and attitudes on the subject need to change if any progress is to be made. And they’re presenting it in a current, easily accessible format, which is what helps to garner current public interest, especially among those who may not have had the initial motivation to do historical research.


I would add to that, by saying these types of events also encourage other credible witnesses to come forward to share their stories and collaborate on what others have already said.
If in fact these stories are true then it's really just a matter of time before the media and government will have to start addressing this matter. Either come out and disprove what these people are saying or admit something is going on behind closed doors.



posted on May, 20 2013 @ 08:13 AM
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Originally posted by Brighter
reply to post by ForteanOrg
 

But you could argue that they are bringing disclosure a step closer for the reasons I stated above – that they’re presenting information in a current, easy to understand forum and aimed at the law and decision-makers whose opinions and attitudes on the subject need to change if any progress is to be made.


As I have been in this field for many years I can relate to what you say. Yes, maybe I am a bit 'overqualified' - it's like I am a dentist who gives his opinion on a guy that organises a congress for laymen to convince them they should floss. Point taken.

However, it puzzles me then why Basset would target the same people that hide the information: law and decision-makers. Are we assuming a shadow government - and if they exist, do we really think they can be forced by the 'good guys' to stop their malpractice? Ridiculous.

But let's say it is not and that we really think we can get 'disclosure' by convincing the members of Congress (and so law-makers etc.). Even then Basset's approach does not make much sense, unless they have a hidden agenda. Had I something I wanted members of Congress to look into, I would be a frequent visitor of Capitol Hill, where I would be talking to members of congress all day long. Say, I have the 80 K$ Basset payed to these 4 former congresspeople, that would allow me to spent a FULL YEAR on Capitol Hill. Say I would talk to 2 members of congress each day, and given there are roughly 200 days in a year, I would have spoken to 400 (!) members of congress. That would have made an impact. Anybody that thinks about this for a few minutes comes up with this, as it is the common and proven method to get you message across in Washington.

If I did not have the time myself, I might indeed employ payed for registered lobbyists - and yes, these are often former members of congress - but I would not have payed them 20K to sit in a bench for a few days, heck no! They would have been expected to lobby for me, so they would need to be on Capitol Hill frequently to talk to congressfolk.

Basset and Greer don't do it that way. That's because they are not after the most effective nor the most efficient way to achieve 'disclosure' (if that is possible at all, I stil maintain there isn't anything to 'disclose'). The only reason I can think of they choose this ridiculous format is that they require a format that allows them to promote themselves and their merchandise.

And then the nature of what they show.. presenting a case that can be shown to be unreliable at best (the CIA guy) will not really help convince anybody but the gullible (whom WILL buy their stuff). Yes, it happens that the military obtains the right to use certain types of technology before the general public, but the CIA and Army used (sometimes coloured) metal badges in those days, which is generally known to people that were around then. And the story of the guy whose wife invented the method to glue a thin magnetic stripe to a plastic card is well-known. Because it IS such an amusing story, it has been told and retold again and again, and has been documented too. It was in 1960. Not 1958. BTW: yes, it was the CIA that asked IBM to think out some method to trace their people when they were in buildings that contained classified materials. I can not imagine they would have asked IBM to invent something they already had been using for 2 years



And is he just “in it for the money”? Have you noticed that The Citizen Hearing on Disclosure has their own YouTube website and that they offer roughly 67 videos from the hearings – completely for free, at no charge, for anyone to watch? That seems to directly contradict the idea that he’s only “in it for the money”.


No, it does not. You need to advertise your stuff and so you throw out bait. You will not find any NEW information in these video's. This leaves the interested party with the distinct feeling he should buy the rights to view the rest of the materials. Which some people do. They report back in here too and though some feel what they got was worth their money, nobody had seen anything that is not well known for years. In short: Basset is reselling old stuff.


I think it’s important to take a step back for a second and put this all into perspective. The evidence for UFOs and the field as a whole is much larger than Greer and Bassett. Whatever you think of Greer and Bassett’s character is one thing and a subjective opinion that you’re entitled to. But what is undeniable is that there are and have been a number of honest, reliable, scientific and dispassionate UFO researchers. And if we want to cultivate a better understanding of the subject as a whole, shouldn’t we be focusing on their research?


I agree, wholeheartedly.



posted on May, 21 2013 @ 06:15 PM
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Originally posted by WilliamOckham


Anyway, nice try. Still no real proof of alien visitations to earth. When you find it, please do post it.


Thank you for ending your post like you did. It's a pretty clear "case and point" example of how you strayed off course of what the OP was originally about (Ad Hominem Arguments) and decided "hey, I'm gonna end this post by ridiculing him on believing that aliens are here!" Stick to the topic, don't end your post with the equivalent of muttering under your breath.
edit on 21-5-2013 by Tenacious8 because: (no #s given)



posted on May, 21 2013 @ 07:45 PM
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Originally posted by Tenacious8

Originally posted by WilliamOckham


Anyway, nice try. Still no real proof of alien visitations to earth. When you find it, please do post it.


Thank you for ending your post like you did. It's a pretty clear "case and point" example of how you strayed off course of what the OP was originally about (Ad Hominem Arguments) and decided "hey, I'm gonna end this post by ridiculing him on believing that aliens are here!" Stick to the topic, don't end your post with the equivalent of muttering under your breath.
edit on 21-5-2013 by Tenacious8 because: (no #s given)


Wait a second. I thought the OP was about how the dumb "pseudo sceptics" that dont know how to think or reason correctly resort to ad hominem arguments. Whoever "they" are. Anyway, I think "they" should be pointed out so we can show everyone how really dumb they are. Dumb "muttering under their breath" pseudo sceptics. They dont even know when they use ad hominem arguments. How hypocritical! Silly pseudo sceptics.

So essentially you pointed out how he used an ad hominem by using an ad hominem. Well I guess you ARE on topic.
edit on 21-5-2013 by ZetaRediculian because: (no reason given)



posted on May, 21 2013 @ 09:37 PM
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reply to post by ZetaRediculian
 


Exactly. That's why I termed his closing statement as "case and point."



posted on May, 21 2013 @ 10:01 PM
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Originally posted by Tenacious8
reply to post by ZetaRediculian
 


Exactly. That's why I termed his closing statement as "case and point."
how do you term your closing statement "muttering under your breath."? Or was that meant to be a compliment? Or do the rules only apply if you are labeled a "pseudo sceptic"? I'm really confused on how this works.



posted on May, 21 2013 @ 10:38 PM
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Originally posted by ZetaRediculian

Originally posted by Tenacious8
reply to post by ZetaRediculian
 


Exactly. That's why I termed his closing statement as "case and point."
how do you term your closing statement "muttering under your breath."? Or was that meant to be a compliment? Or do the rules only apply if you are labeled a "pseudo sceptic"? I'm really confused on how this works.


I term my closing statement as a physical analogy of how he ended his post, using your imagination. Pseudo skeptic does not apply here because his response to the OP was ended by him ridiculing him for his belief in aliens, although the OP never stated that he believed or didn't believe in aliens. He ended his post by deflecting from the actual topic of ad hominem arguments. My quote of "muttering under your breath" was merely a representation of how he appeared to be closing his post.



posted on May, 21 2013 @ 10:51 PM
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Originally posted by Tenacious8

Originally posted by ZetaRediculian

Originally posted by Tenacious8
reply to post by ZetaRediculian
 


Exactly. That's why I termed his closing statement as "case and point."
how do you term your closing statement "muttering under your breath."? Or was that meant to be a compliment? Or do the rules only apply if you are labeled a "pseudo sceptic"? I'm really confused on how this works.


I term my closing statement as a physical analogy of how he ended his post, using your imagination. Pseudo skeptic does not apply here because his response to the OP was ended by him ridiculing him for his belief in aliens, although the OP never stated that he believed or didn't believe in aliens. He ended his post by deflecting from the actual topic of ad hominem arguments. My quote of "muttering under your breath" was merely a representation of how he appeared to be closing his post.


Oh, I see. So mere representations of how people appear are not ad hominem arguments. I get it. So you appear to be a hypocritical poopy pants.



posted on May, 21 2013 @ 11:21 PM
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Originally posted by ZetaRediculian

Originally posted by Tenacious8

Originally posted by ZetaRediculian

Originally posted by Tenacious8
reply to post by ZetaRediculian
 


Exactly. That's why I termed his closing statement as "case and point."
how do you term your closing statement "muttering under your breath."? Or was that meant to be a compliment? Or do the rules only apply if you are labeled a "pseudo sceptic"? I'm really confused on how this works.


I term my closing statement as a physical analogy of how he ended his post, using your imagination. Pseudo skeptic does not apply here because his response to the OP was ended by him ridiculing him for his belief in aliens, although the OP never stated that he believed or didn't believe in aliens. He ended his post by deflecting from the actual topic of ad hominem arguments. My quote of "muttering under your breath" was merely a representation of how he appeared to be closing his post.


Oh, I see. So mere representations of how people appear are not ad hominem arguments. I get it. So you appear to be a hypocritical poopy pants.


Haha, interesting choice of words. You forgot to add "/sarcasm" after "I get it."

It seems that you have taken all of my explanations of my posts as attacks against whoever I initially replied to when I was actually showing how his post was a perfect example of what the OP had created this thread, as well as the ones preceding it, to converse about. Sorry you got butthurt from it



posted on May, 21 2013 @ 11:50 PM
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Originally posted by Tenacious8

Originally posted by ZetaRediculian

Originally posted by Tenacious8

Originally posted by ZetaRediculian

Originally posted by Tenacious8
reply to post by ZetaRediculian
 


Exactly. That's why I termed his closing statement as "case and point."
how do you term your closing statement "muttering under your breath."? Or was that meant to be a compliment? Or do the rules only apply if you are labeled a "pseudo sceptic"? I'm really confused on how this works.


I term my closing statement as a physical analogy of how he ended his post, using your imagination. Pseudo skeptic does not apply here because his response to the OP was ended by him ridiculing him for his belief in aliens, although the OP never stated that he believed or didn't believe in aliens. He ended his post by deflecting from the actual topic of ad hominem arguments. My quote of "muttering under your breath" was merely a representation of how he appeared to be closing his post.


Oh, I see. So mere representations of how people appear are not ad hominem arguments. I get it. So you appear to be a hypocritical poopy pants.


Haha, interesting choice of words. You forgot to add "/sarcasm" after "I get it."

It seems that you have taken all of my explanations of my posts as attacks against whoever I initially replied to when I was actually showing how his post was a perfect example of what the OP had created this thread, as well as the ones preceding it, to converse about. Sorry you got butthurt from it

No butthurt here. My personal opinion about the this thread topic is that it's a total contradiction.

This is how it starts.


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


Might as well say something like "It's wrong when those idiotic morons resort to name calling". I'm just pointing out the logical contradiction. It doesn't matter how you dress it up.
edit on 22-5-2013 by ZetaRediculian because: (no reason given)





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