reply to post by sled735
Food for thought...
The Pseudo-Skeptic is not a true Skeptic!
Truzzi attributed the following characteristics to pseudoskeptics:
1. Denying, when only doubt has been established
2. Double standards in the application of criticism
3. The tendency to discredit rather than investigate
4. Presenting insufficient evidence or proof
5. Assuming criticism requires no burden of proof
6. Making unsubstantiated counter-claims
7. Counter-claims based on plausibility rather than empirical evidence
8. Suggesting that unconvincing evidence provides grounds for completely dismissing a claim
He characterized "true" skepticism as:
1. Acceptance of doubt when neither assertion nor denial has been established
2. No burden of proof to take an agnostic position
3. Agreement that the corpus of established knowledge must be based on what is proved, but recognising its incompleteness
4. Even-handedness in requirement for proofs, whatever their implication
5. Accepting that a failure of a proof in itself proves nothing
6. Continuing examination of the results of experiments even when flaws are found Psychiatrist Richard Kluft noted that pseudoskepticism can inhibit
".. today genuine skepticism of the benign sort that looks evenly in all directions and encourages the advancement of knowledge seems vanishingly
rare. Instead, we find a prevalence of pseudo-skepticism consisting of harsh and invidious skepticism toward one's opponents' points of view and
observations, and egregious self-congratulatory confirmatory bias toward one's own stances and findings misrepresented as the earnest and
dispassionate pursuit of clinical, scholarly, and scientific truth."
David Leiter, a member of the Society for Scientific Exploration, uses the terms 'pseudo-skepticism' and 'pathological skepticism' to refer to the
"organized skepticism" he found in one group he had encountered. Leiter claimed that many of its members had an "unfortunate experience with a
faith-based philosophy" at an earlier period in their lives, and that they had sought an organized skeptical group as a reaction to this. "Instead
of becoming scientifically minded, they become adherents of scientism, the belief system in which science and only science has all the answers to
everything" and that even many of these members are unwilling to spend the time to "read significantly into the literature on the subjects about
which they are most skeptical". He goes on to characterize members of skeptical organizations as "scientifically inclined, but psychologically
Susan Blackmore, who lost her initial belief in parapsychology and in 1991 became a CSICOP fellow, later described what she termed the "worst kind of
There are some members of the skeptics’ groups who clearly believe they know the right answer prior to inquiry. They appear not to be interested in
weighing alternatives, investigating strange claims, or trying out psychic experiences or altered states for themselves (heaven forbid!), but only in
promoting their own particular belief structure and cohesion.
Hugo Anthony Meynell from Department of Religious Studies at the University of Calgary, labels the "extreme position that all significant evidence
supporting paranormal phenomena is a result of deception or lies" as pseudoskepticism.
While Truzzi's characterisation was aimed at the holders of majority views who he considered were excessively impatient of minority opinions, the
term has been used to describe advocates of minority intellectual positions who engage in pseudoskeptical behavior when they characterize themselves
as "skeptics" despite cherry picking evidence that conforms to a preexisting belief.
Thus according to Richard Cameron Wilson, some advocates of AIDS denial are indulging in "bogus scepticism" when they argue in this way. Wilson
argues that the characteristic feature of false skepticism is that it "centres not on an impartial search for the truth, but on the defence of a
preconceived ideological position".