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What is objectivity and skepticism? Logic and Reason - a Reminder

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posted on Oct, 17 2010 @ 12:10 PM
The NYC Oct. 13th balloon sighting and the Oct. 15th skydiver sighting have had HUGE responses and energy put into them. This is showing me that ATSers are excitable at the moment and eager to further their individual views, be they debunkers or believers, but have perhaps lost sight of what it means to be an investigator and seeker of truth.

Skepticism is essential for living one's life without being mentally enslaved, but I feel as though many on ATS, especially recently, are preaching skepticism but practicing a subjective perspective. I also think that some people misconstrue what skepticism actually is for scientific investigations.

Skepticism means thinking objectively and questioning established/mainstream/somebody else's ideas. If you believe UFOs are real, you can still be a skeptic just as if you believe they are not real. Skepticism is just considering whatever the situation may be with logical thought processes, and questioning any beliefs or views one might have.

When you approach the UFO phenomenon with *healthy* skepticism, that means you do not look at any UFO sighting/video/photo/report with ANY intent of showing that it was a "real" or fake UFO. You would approach the incident without any attachment to the result of your investigation, that is to say you would deny yourself any and all biases, hopes, and fears. If you approach the UFO phenomenon with a bias towards UFOs being legitimate ET craft, then you will be searching for that explanation in every video or photo. If you approach UFOs with a debunking attitude, then you will be searching for a non-ET explanation for every sighting. Neither of these perspectives are worth anything when it comes to *proof*! Doubting the validity of a UFO report is very different from doubting the existence of ET/UFOs.

It's just as bad to shout "ET!" for every video of a light in the sky as it is to shout "SWAMP GAS!" for every video. Debunkers and Believers both have agendas (disproving or proving that the UFO phenomenon is real and/or ET in nature) and both groups are often unfortunately fanatical, disregarding the real evidence in favor of exploiting others' ignorance to push their agenda. Since Oct 13th, one partition of ATS is going crazy with claims of ET or RC kites while the other claims the NORAD guy's predictions were accurate. Both seem to choose to support their agenda (proving or disproving ET/UFOs) regardless of the evidence.

I'd like to post the definitions of a few words and ideas here so we all might be able to better understand what it is to be rational and a true skeptic.

- informal ( tr ) to expose the pretensions or falseness of, esp by ridicule
- to expose or excoriate (a claim, assertion, sentiment, etc.) as being pretentious, false, or exaggerated
- Synonyms of debunk: disparage, ridicule, lampoon

To debunk is to show something to be false REGARDLESS OF ITS ACTUAL TRUTHFULNESS.

- to have confidence in the truth, the existence, or the reliability of something, although without absolute proof that one is right in doing so

To believe in something is to hold the view that something is true/reliable/existing without proof and REGARDLESS OF ITS ACTUAL TRUTHFULNESS.

- (in classical oratory) the art of influencing the thought and conduct of an audience
- (in writing or speech) the undue use of exaggeration or display; bombast

Rhetoric is the art of persuading somebody that a certain position/viewpoint/mindset is better or worse than other positions regardless of the truthfulness of said positions.

- not influenced by personal feelings, interpretations, or prejudice; based on facts; unbiased: an objective opinion

- belonging to, proceeding from, or relating to the mind of the thinking subject and not the nature of the object being considered
- of, relating to, or emanating from a person's emotions, prejudices, etc

- a person who questions the validity or authenticity of something purporting to be factual
- a person who mistrusts people, ideas, etc, in general

Notice that skepticism can be objective, or subjective. A skeptic might mistrust every single bit of information which he/she encounters, regardless of the apparent support for that information. This is subjective thinking. It is not rational or logically sound to be a skeptic in this sense. An objectively oriented skeptic would question anything which is supposed to be factual in nature, they would seek valid support/evidence for any claim regarding matters of fact. Matters of fact/factual data are things which can be definitively said to be true or false according to epistemological methods. So a healthy skepticism is basically objective thinking. Not baseless doubt.

Many people here are in the Debunker or Believer category. Neither of these types of views are good for the logical investigator as they involve faith in something without necessarily having any evidence for it. Hope we can get this forum back on track soon.

DENY IGNORANCE does NOT mean one should deny that you are ignorant, that doesn't get anybody anywhere, especially themselves! DENY IGNORANCE means to fight the lack of knowledge in this world using objective thinking, logic, and our collective resources to improve our reality.

and some comments for a couple notable individuals:
Maybe...Maybe Not, and Phage seem to do their best to maintain sanity around here, often without avail. Regardless, I am very appreciative for the large amount of time they dedicate to keeping ATS's collective head level.

Phage - Despite having a skilled and perceptive eye for UFO video analysis, you're a huge ass most of the time and that makes it really hard for your average ATSer to understand skepticism. They see you as a condescending douchebag debunking everything left and right and think you're not actually being objective, they see you as thinking you're better than everybody else and your word is final and nothing else matters. The information and logical progression in your posts is certainly very sound, but nobody wants to listen to a douchebag, and people have a hard time filtering the personal attacks in your posts from the actual info. I have a hard time myself reading your posts and getting anything useful out of them because you are very demeaning. I know that many question your motives here because of the attitude you have in your posts. I hope you can make progress in this area and become more personable, it would really help the insanity level here. Trying to offer you some constructive criticism from a non-fanatical perspective so that your knowledge might be better spread.
edit on 17-10-2010 by tetsuo because: corrected date of skydiver sighting to oct 15th

posted on Oct, 17 2010 @ 12:27 PM
I think this is completely true. And very much needed to be said, after participating in a few of the recent "UFO" sighting boards I feel like some people were disregarding facts that others were posting. People are getting too excited just because this is the first time the media is starting to regularly cover weird happenings in the sky. Look with your eyes, think with your brain. I feel that the media wants us to think aliens are coming, I'm sure there is going to be another "weird UFO" like sighting again tonight.


posted on Oct, 17 2010 @ 12:29 PM
I agree with you wholeheartedly. The last few days have been a madhouse that descended into trench warfare. Neither side seems willing to give an inch, which seems ludicrous. I may not be a skeptic but I am objective. If it is balloons and the GK, then it's a logical conclusion. However the amount of coincidences seem suspect, and the amount of people involved that were fooled seems more suspect. But if it is ET's they're being very mysterious for having mass sightings...still no contact or disclosure.
"I may not like what your saying, but I'll defend unto death your right to say it" a very smart person said that and it hasn't been truer then on this site.

posted on Oct, 17 2010 @ 12:53 PM
I agree with most of what you say .However the last part about Phage and Maybe... Maybe Not spoils what would have otherwise been a perfect post (in my subjective view). I believe that both are very keen UFO enthusiasts and are justified in having the views they hold.

You do however forget one thing. A lot of people do not care what others think about UFOs. They have had their own experience and are happy with their conclusions. Discussions very often lead to nowhere.

UFOs have become like a religion, with believers and non-believers. Just like one group saying God exists; the other group says no he does't. At the end of the day is there anyone, reading this thread, whose life has been impacted by ETs ? I doubt it.

My personal approach is to observe any unusual activity in the sky as a reminder that we understand very little of our world and universe. It is a case of saying : "oh, there goes another one". My life is not affected (unless I spend too much time UFO hunting and neglect work).

As for logic, skeptism , etc, who is to say that logic and skeptism cannot embrace a little bit of the abstract. After all , many scientific theories are intuited. If man used more of the right side of the brain we would probably be taking our wives and kids around the galaxy every week-end by now.

edit on 17-10-2010 by crowdedskies because: (no reason given)

edit on 17-10-2010 by crowdedskies because: (no reason given)

posted on Oct, 17 2010 @ 02:32 PM
reply to post by tetsuo

S & F. Great thread.

There really has been a large amount of douchebaggery coming from the so called "skeptics." Phage is definitely not the worst. There are many members that just troll the UFO threads endlessly without submitting any kind of objectivity. They are just fueling the problem with the flame wars that ensue. It really prevents any kind of civil or objective debate.

I haven't been here for long, but when I see old threads it seems like ATS used to be a nice place where intelligent people discussed alternative topics. Now its starting to look more like 4chan.

edit on 10/17/2010 by BobbinHood because: (no reason given)

posted on Oct, 17 2010 @ 05:02 PM
reply to post by tetsuo

Well I agree with your first part and I must admit I was baited into argueing the person and not the subject,
though I hope to learn from that and the many points it cost me.

But to focus on two members is a bit extreme. I was in the GK thread for a while and Phage posted only in the first part and didn't seem rude.He simply added his thoughts. I cant remember the other guy posting at all..

posted on Oct, 18 2010 @ 08:42 AM
Yeah, I know its not necessarily civil to call out a member. I did that because I see a great knowledge and understanding in Phage and Maybe...Maybe Not, and they are doing really good things for this board. But their effectiveness is greatly hindered by personal attacks. I tried to explain I'm not attacking anybody, I support those two members in particular as the forums are full of evidence of their intelligence and perceptiveness. I know that if the post is by one of those two, it's likely to be well-thought out and logical, but perhaps a little too condescending as well. Douchebaggery reduces the subject to personal arguments and debases the whole UFO researcher thing we have going on. Of course I risk being seen as a huge douchebag for mentioning members in a post like that, but it needs to be said. Again, I will stress that I think those two members are great assets to this forum and I posted with only intent to help them be a bit more agreeable.

EX: Phage posts about magnesium flares and sky divers in the El Paso thread, most people don't read his post and realize that it IS sky divers w/ flares because his post has a personal jibe/attack within it and nobody wants to read that.

Personal attack/insult = SUBJECTIVE, it cannot be objective as attack/insults are based on personal bias.
That is very different from constructive criticism with a goal of uplifting, versus the goal of destruction of credibility with a personal attack.

Thank you for your comments, critical and non-critical, we really need to band together with nothing but sound reason in order to separate the wheat from the chaff of UFO sightings, so to speak. Many potentially groundbreaking sightings are ruined because we argue about things completely unrelated to the issue at hand. I hate to see a great sighting with credible witnesses and such be demolished because of personal disagreements, subjective disagreements.
edit on 18-10-2010 by tetsuo because: (no reason given)

posted on Oct, 18 2010 @ 08:48 AM
Oh yeah, I didn't mention innumerable douchebag posters who have demonstrated they have nothing to add to the discussion. The two members I mentioned, I mentioned because they are so important to the forum and I hate to see their extremely valuable commentary derailed.

posted on Oct, 27 2010 @ 04:24 AM
I think you need to separate Phage himself from others' perception of him.

A lot of the time Phage presents well researched posts and it's undeniable he has cleared up a lot of mysteries on this board. Because of this he has gained a reputation as 'knowing his stuff' but in my opinion this reputation has developed almost into a cult worship thing among some other members who feel unable to express an opinion without reading Phage's opinion first.

This has lead to a situation where Phage can post any opinion and it's seen by some as the final word, even if he is just guessing.

None of this is Phage's fault.

He has done nothing to court this situation apart from get things right most of the time , although I also think he is canny enough to not comment when he doesn't know the answer, so that it seems to others he is 'all-knowing' because when he does post he is right more often than not (rare indeed is the post by Phage where he says 'I don't know what that is
) I've also observed that he rarely responds to a successful counter argument, you won't hear him say 'You were right, I was wrong' although that applies to 99% of the people here

MMN I don't think is condescending, he's usually willing to hear alternative views and I've never know him to verbally attack anyone. Even if he doesn't agree with you he won't try and shut you down. Sometimes I think he may let his twisted sense of humour run away with him but I'm sure it's never malicious. 'I don't know' is something you DO hear from MMN and is why I respect him a lot and consider him a proper skeptic of the type defined in the OP.

As an adjunct, don't forget that the vast majority of posts in the Aliens & UFO forums are easily explainable just like most UFO reports. So any fair-minded skeptic will find that the bulk of their posts point to mundane explanations so it's easy for others to then characterise them as debunkers.

Whatever your point of view I think respect for others' opinions is the key. It's that lack of respect which is causing the problems on this board more than the lack of logical thought (although they do sometimes go hand in hand).

edit on 27/10/2010 by MarrsAttax because: meaning

posted on Oct, 27 2010 @ 05:38 AM

Originally posted by tetsuo
Many people here are in the Debunker or Believer category. Neither of these types of views are good for the logical investigator as they involve faith in something without necessarily having any evidence for it. Hope we can get this forum back on track soon.

Thankyou very much for this great thread! I myself just tried to find the reason for the often very furious conflicts between skeptics and believers. If you like, take a look into the following:
edit on 27/10/10 by Peloquin because: (no reason given)

posted on Oct, 27 2010 @ 06:54 AM
reply to post by MarrsAttax

Thanks for the comments! I'm glad you see that those two members are doing good things for this forum - I wanted to honor their diligence and also give some constructive feedback that their efforts may be better received. It is the duty of each person on this forum to use their faculty of reason without influence of their biases. If everybody could/would think critically as those two do, we would all be that much more knowledgable. However, if all the objective thinkers include demeaning comments in their posts, the meaning and gravity of their response is lessened significantly. Phage and M,MN have a huge influence on this site and I used them as an example of good reasoning negatively affected by personal attacks - and as you said, it's not necessarily their fault. We all must take the blame for the state of the forum - we are the forum.

Peloquin, thanks for the heads up, I am reading now

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