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Old 28th March 2009, 12:28 AM   #11
Join Date: Dec 2007
Posts: 5,211
Originally Posted by HansMustermann View Post
Well, let's just look at the tone of the discussion. It seems to me like Scott:

0. needs to invent a term like "pseudo-skeptic" as a sort of an insult, instead of sticking to addressing the point. What's a "pseudo-skeptic" anyway? Someone who sticks to which way the evidence points? Because that's really all that happens there to warrant the "pseudo-skeptic" title.

In effect, it's a thinly veiled accusation of being not really a skeptic, but some kind of an irrational cultist. Oh, gee, like we've never had that accusation thrown at scientists before.

1. "They speak down to their audience using 'arguments from authority'."

Really? It seemed to me like quoting a peer-reviewed paper had a bit more merit than a mere "argument from authority." It points at an existing body of evidence and maths that you can check for yourself, rather than starting over from scratch again.

Also, another jab, the accusation of "speaking down" to their audience.

2. "They refuse to consider any electrical causation for anything in space."

Yes, I should hope that any scientist worth his salt will refuse to believe something yet unsupported by sufficient evidence.

3. "When confronted with =in your face evidence' such as the image of a high redshifted QSO in front of a more distant, low redshifted galaxy, they resort to arguments (usually involving math or statistics) to disprove – or at least make you doubt – what your eyes are telling you. The old Groucho Marx line comes to mind: “Who you gonna believe? Me? Or your lying eyes?”"

Well, gee, silly scientists insisting on using maths

The fact is that "your eyes" are a piss-poor instrument for understanding the universe.

As a trivial example: the light of a distant star, passing through the right gravity well can appear to you as four different stars. E.g., that's just one star:

As another trivial example: ejected matter from stars can often appear to move at speeds higher than the speed of light. But when you actually do the maths using relativity, and realizing that it's not ejected perpendicular to your viewing direction (as would mistakenly appear to your lying eyes) it's not above c at all.

Who are you going to trust? Maths or your eyes? If his answer is the second, that disqualifies him right there and then.

4. "They put forward their assumptions as if they were universal truths. The fact that they have been voted upon and accepted by a self-involved, insular group of 'experts' does not make them true. Winning a hand vote is not the same thing as scientific validation."

Ah, right, the old argument that the science establisment is just some self-appointed clique.

5. "It is clear that they have never been exposed to the basic properties of plasma nor the fundamental inter-relationships between magnetic fields and electric currents. But they feel free to lecture those who have."

Any physicist has learned about plasma _and_ about the relationships between magnetic fields and electric currents extensively in university.

6. "If the pseudo-skeptic has a monetary interest (such as maintaining a funding stream or a salary) his criticisms often become vituperative."

Ah, the good ol' appeal to motive. If you can't make your own case, I guess an ad-hominem is almost traditional.


Basically that tells me all I need to know, righ there. It's the language of quacks, charlatan and conspiracy-theorists.

You should see bridmans accusations, far worse. Accused him of being a creationist, put his work alongside some of the woo-est new earth creationist idiots out there on his website, accused him of being an outright crackpot, and various other extremely disparaging things. I think that Scott calling him a pseudoscientist in return is a rather meagre and polite way of ruturning the favor.

I do notice howvere that you have not once mentioned any of the science underlying this whole fiasco, and have instead chosen to just comment on scotts closing summary about what he has noticed about Bridmans debunking techniques. Addressing the science being discussed would be more appropriate I feel, this is the sciecne and technology section afterall.

Last edited by Zeuzzz; 28th March 2009 at 12:37 AM.
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