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Old 20th June 2019, 09:34 AM   #121
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Originally Posted by Sideroxylon View Post
Hats, sizing etc.
"If the hat fits" usually means "I just labeled you something but I'm not going to bother supporting that accusation."
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Old 20th June 2019, 09:48 AM   #122
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Originally Posted by ahhell View Post
Kind of a non-sequitur but:

Personally, I think skepticism is just suffering the same problem as the rest of society, at least in the US. We are in a time of increased partisanship and folks that are somewhat on the skeptics spectrum are all backsliding a bit. We seem to be unable to engage the tools of skepticism quite as well these days on account of our tribal instincts. Either that or this and other "skeptics" forums and groups have attracted a lot of folks that never were that skeptical to begin with.
Interesting theory.

My take is a little different, though. I think skepticism is suffering from the same problem as vaccines: Too much luxury for too long.

There was a time when polio was a scourge. Smallpox was a scourge. There was a generation that lived its life in the deadly shadow of these afflictions. For that generation, for those who actually knew people dead from the scourge of polio, the vaccine was a welcome miracle. That generation believed in vaccines because they knew the horrible truth of life without the vaccine. They passed this belief on to the next generation, but the strength of it is diluted as each generation gets further away from the lived experience of those who survived the scourges.

Today, we have a generation so far removed from that time, so far ensconced in the luxury of a world without polio, that they don't really see any reason to believe. The scourges they fear are other, and they order their priorities accordingly.

Similarly with skepticism. We live in a luxurious world where skepticism can safely be treated as a hobby, a social pose you can don and doff at will. You don't have to worry about keeping it consistent, keeping it rational, keeping it at all. Maybe if you're a police detective, or sitting on a jury, it might cross your mind to not let yourself get ahead of the evidence, but so what if it doesn't?

Too much luxury.
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Old 20th June 2019, 10:47 AM   #123
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Originally Posted by theprestige View Post

Similarly with skepticism. We live in a luxurious world where skepticism can safely be treated as a hobby, a social pose you can don and doff at will. You don't have to worry about keeping it consistent, keeping it rational, keeping it at all. Maybe if you're a police detective, or sitting on a jury, it might cross your mind to not let yourself get ahead of the evidence, but so what if it doesn't?

Too much luxury.
Interesting point. I think I might agree in that, in general, it seems like a lot of people tend to take their skepticism for granted. That is, they think that because they understand some of the concepts and have used them before, that they're a skeptic that can consistently apply critical thinking to whatever else they encounter. And that (wrong) assumption leads to a lot of false confidence.

Take JoeMorgue and Belz in this thread for example. How about reframing what you guys are talking about in a completely different way:

Do you really think the points you're arguing for resulted from skepticism? By applying critical thinking and looking at the evidence, including things that disagree with what you already believe? The arguments you're presenting are all a mix of strawmanning, other logical fallacies, conspiratorial thinking, and 4chan-ish right wing talking points about the "far left" and things like the "oppression Olympics." Shrike asked you guys for evidence about where your arguments are coming from, and no one has provided anything yet, or even tried (almost like you didn't see a need). You still can't even define your terms. It might be worth evaluating your positions and considering whether or not there is actual evidence for your arguments and whether you go there through reasoning and not just parroting talking points.

And to be perfectly clear, I'm not trying to insult you guys, or do any of the things you might assume. I'm asking for serious self-reflection, because I find myself having to do it all the time, and I think it's worth thinking about. Critical thinking can be hard work.

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Old 20th June 2019, 11:29 AM   #124
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Originally Posted by ArchSas View Post
Interesting point hypothesis.
ftfy

A point suggests more than naval gazing.

[way too much over-generalizing snipped]
I think there might have been something of value in there, but it was hard to parse. Sorry.
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Old 20th June 2019, 11:36 AM   #125
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Originally Posted by theprestige View Post
Interesting theory.

My take is a little different, though. I think skepticism is suffering from the same problem as vaccines: Too much luxury for too long.
I think you bring up a good point, but I think you and ahhell are both right.
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Old 20th June 2019, 11:42 AM   #126
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Originally Posted by ArchSas View Post
Do you really think the points you're arguing for resulted from skepticism?
They result from observation.

Quote:
The arguments you're presenting are all a mix of strawmanning, other logical fallacies, conspiratorial thinking, and 4chan-ish right wing talking points about the "far left" and things like the "oppression Olympics."
What in the blue hell are you talking about? What strawman? What conspiracy? What right-wing talking point? Who talked about "oppression olympics"?

Here's a serious question: have you not seen any pushback against even legitimate criticism of Islam? Assuming you did, do you think that comes from the "right"?

Quote:
Shrike asked you guys for evidence about where your arguments are coming from, and no one has provided anything yet, or even tried (almost like you didn't see a need).
Perhaps you should apply a bit of critical thinking about this yourself: how would you go about providing evidence for this? At best I can muster some specific cases, but Shrike can always back up and ask for more because it isn't enough ad infinitum. Given that, I'm not sure it's worth the effort.

Quote:
You still can't even define your terms.
Again, what are you talking about? The only term I was indirectly asked to define, I did. I mean, do you really think his request to define "the left" was genuine, as if he doesn't know what it means? Sounds more like he was asking me to prove that water is wet.
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Old 20th June 2019, 12:02 PM   #127
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Any group of people with a shared quality has a tendency to coalesce into a, and yes we're back here, a tribe.

As much as a have and will continue to rail against it tribalism is not inherently useless or dangerous idea, it's just very easy to misuse intentionally or unintentionally.

But tribes by their vary nature start to take on qualities beyond what they initially lump together. You take 100 people who all like charcoal sketch drawings of tangerines and get them to meet on 2nd Thursday of every month to discuss that topic for 10 years and at the end of that 10 years the group "Charcoal Sketchings of Tangerine Aficionados" will not exactly be just the collected opinions of those 100 people. Oh that will be there, in most cases by far the biggest factor, but it won't be all.

Groups do start to take on a life of their own beyond the simple addition of all the qualities of the people in them.
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Old 20th June 2019, 12:23 PM   #128
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Originally Posted by Belz... View Post

What in the blue hell are you talking about? What strawman?
Basically everything you've said about the "far left" and it's love of authoritarianism and Islam. I'm not the only one that's called you out on this, do you seriously not see how it's a strawman? Again, you haven't provided a single piece of evidence that people of the "far left" actually hold the positions you assert they do.

Originally Posted by Belz... View Post
What conspiracy?
This was directed more at the several people in this thread who have talked about the left in fairly conspiratorial terms (especially tanabear). You haven't really done it.

Originally Posted by Belz... View Post
What right-wing talking point? Who talked about "oppression olympics"?
See the above. More specifically, JoeMorgue has hinted at this trope numerous times, most recently by talking about "victim ranking." As for right wing talking points in general, come on, you have to realize the kinds of things about "the left" that are being thrown around in this thread are exactly the kinds of things you'd hear from far-right media and talking heads.

Originally Posted by Belz... View Post
Here's a serious question: have you not seen any pushback against even legitimate criticism of Islam? Assuming you did, do you think that comes from the "right"?
I have a hard time answering this, because you still haven't really provided a specific argument or any specific terms. Are you implying that "the left" doesn't call out human rights abuses caused by Islamic states and terrorist groups? Because no, I've seen anyone defending that kind of thing. If you're trying to refer to things like speaking out against Islamaphobia in the west, I'd refer back to Shrikes's earlier posts (which you also ignored) because they sum up my feelings and experiences with that and the left fairly well, too.

No offense, but I didn't really feel the rest of your post was worth replying to, To paraphrase Sideroxylon on this (and to reflect my usual attitude when it comes to this kind of argument), I don't even know where to start and know it probably isn't going to be worth it. I also wasn't trying to start a debate about your political beliefs or outlook of the world. Again, I was just trying to remind people of the need to critically examine their beliefs from time to time. If you really think you've done that, then I accomplished what I was trying to.

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Old 20th June 2019, 12:57 PM   #129
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The issue I see with skepticism these days is that it is only applied to other people's ideas, but not our own. [ETA]Easier applied when directed at the more obvious(to me) issues, ie ufos, big foot, flat earth, religion. No/less nuance required. The more my opinion has to deviate on something with more layers, the more pushback to alter my initial view. Introspection helps, but guess humbling isn't mine or others forte.

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Old 20th June 2019, 02:51 PM   #130
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Originally Posted by rdwight View Post
The issue I see with skepticism these days is that it is only applied to other people's ideas, but not our own. [ETA]Easier applied when directed at the more obvious(to me) issues, ie ufos, big foot, flat earth, religion. No/less nuance required. The more my opinion has to deviate on something with more layers, the more pushback to alter my initial view. Introspection helps, but guess humbling isn't mine or others forte.
I agree, though this was probably always the case, its just more evident of late. I find the lack of humility among so called skeptics regarding social and political topics depressing. The anger and vitriol in most of the political threads being my primary evidence.
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Old 21st June 2019, 08:35 PM   #131
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Originally Posted by rdwight View Post
The issue I see with skepticism these days is that it is only applied to other people's ideas, but not our own. [ETA]Easier applied when directed at the more obvious(to me) issues, ie ufos, big foot, flat earth, religion. No/less nuance required. The more my opinion has to deviate on something with more layers, the more pushback to alter my initial view. Introspection helps, but guess humbling isn't mine or others forte.
THIS.
Particularly when it comes to politics.
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Old 22nd June 2019, 07:01 AM   #132
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Originally Posted by tanabear View Post
So how do you define skepticism? For my part I can't really distinguish people who call themselves "skeptics" from SJWs or NPCs. They all seem to just repeat the same platitudes over and over again with nary an original thought or insight in their heads. This forum is largely just like "rationalwiki"(i.e. intellectual garbage).
Yes, sceptics, like every other group, have a tendency to share many of the same opinions, talking points, expressions, and so on of their "tribe". I don't feel we're more predictable or mindless than anyone else, though. When I think of lack of original thought I think of Trump supporters, conspiracy theorists in general, and certain more... radical and edgy Palestine supporters. I can usually predict in advance what they're going to respond with, since it's largelly just YouTube video spam, whataboutisms, personal attacks, and unfounded accusations like fake news, libtardism, Christian fundamentalism, and Big Pharma shills.

Quote:
p.s. I believe these forums should be renamed International SJWs Forum.
p.s. How very edgy of you. You sure showed us.


Edit: I can admit that people who loathe Trump tend to do so pretty universally, though, but I think that's pretty much because the things he does and says are so terrible in the first place. The only rational thing to do is to condemn them.
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Old 22nd June 2019, 07:14 AM   #133
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It's funny, because some people always swear this place is chock-full of "SJW" militants while simultaneously, others froth that it has been overtaken by supporters of Nazis. Since it can't really be both, I'm pretty sure the problem is more like that "everything looks like a nail when you're a hammer" situation.

Personally, I've been deridingly dismissed as both a righty and a lefty at different times by people here. It's getting worse nowadays, since the political acridity in general seems to be amping up. People on the left think I'm a wicked, heartless capitalist, and people on the right think I'm a soft-hearted little idiot kitten with a ferocious hunger for gay pride parades. It's a really bad time to be a centrist, honestly, and since this forum allows all views, it's suffering from the same problem. Everyone sees it as a haven for offensive viewpoints.

I don't, though. I have looked into the inhuman, irritating abyss that is Reddit. This place is awesome. Having people here that I think are wrong is part of what makes it interesting.
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Old 22nd June 2019, 12:07 PM   #134
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Originally Posted by isissxn View Post
I don't, though. I have looked into the inhuman, irritating abyss that is Reddit. This place is awesome. Having people here that I think are wrong is part of what makes it interesting.
Yes, I never had much of a problem with this forum. I've never posted on Reddit, but I have my own horror stories with Twitter, which seems to be where people go to find someone to judge or be pissed at.
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Old 22nd June 2019, 01:17 PM   #135
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Reddit, like 4chan, covers a broad spectrum from wholesome to horrifying. You can't judge it as a single monolithic community with a single culture.

This forum is much closer to something like a single subreddit, with its own rules and mods, and its own community and culture.
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Old 22nd June 2019, 03:45 PM   #136
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Originally Posted by Belz... View Post
The only term I was indirectly asked to define, I did. I mean, do you really think his request to define "the left" was genuine, as if he doesn't know what it means?
It was absolutely genuine. The issue is not whether I have an idea of what "The Left" is but specifically what your definition is if you're going to ascribe some action or belief system to it. This is because left and right are moving targets in different societies, e.g., Finnish left would probably be quite a bit more left than United States' left.

You made some rather specific and absolutist claims about the far left, which you subsequently defined as left of center but vaguely more so. Okay, but I'm challenging those claims.

Using American Left as my benchmark (which I might define as people dissatisfied with the Democratic Party as being too conservative), I indeed see plenty of speaking out against Islamophobia in the United States. (This has, sadly, not been sufficient to curb violence against Muslims or, even more disturbingly, Sikhs in this country, but that's another conversation.) The extent to which this demographic has no criticism of Islam, however, is in my experience a fantasy and caricature created and perpetuated by conservative voices (i.e., strawman fallacy).

Let's say for the sake of argument that you were able to provide for me abundant evidence of some group, say MoveOn.org, issuing multiple condemnations of something like sex discrimination for some Christian group but specifically refusing to condemn similar discrimination for a Muslim group. In this case we might be able to agree that the organization is an important player on the Left and that the hypothetical evidence supported your claim.

My response then could be 1) Indeed you are correct and there are factions within the Left that refuse to criticize Islam, etc. This would be an example of me demonstrating good critical thinking by considering the weight of evidence and being willing to overturn my opinion on a topic in light of that new evidence.

Alternatively, I could reply 2) MoveOn.org doesn't count as the Left because #reasons, so your point is not supported by the evidence. This would be an example of poor critical thinking on my part, probably best characterized by the No True Scotsman fallacy (or perhaps special pleading or moving the goalposts).

This gets to the heart of what the ISF should be all about, and it's perhaps what the OP decries has having been diminished here. There are too many gotchas being sought and a profound lack of basic critical thinking on regular display in certain forums here.

Step 1 in getting back to that standard is that we need clarity in terms for these discussions. Unless we truly understand someone else's statement, we're precluded from engaging it from a standpoint of good critical thinking.
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Old 22nd June 2019, 04:38 PM   #137
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Originally Posted by theprestige View Post
Reddit, like 4chan, covers a broad spectrum from wholesome to horrifying. You can't judge it as a single monolithic community with a single culture.

This forum is much closer to something like a single subreddit, with its own rules and mods, and its own community and culture.
It's true. When comparing directly, I was referring more to the r/skeptic subreddit (and some of the news ones, I suppose). There can be some good stuff there, but the tone is much different from here. I don't enjoy reading it as much, and I never participate.
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Old 24th June 2019, 05:49 AM   #138
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I try (I said try, not always succeed) to never judge something; be it a meaningless hobby or a deep personal way of looking at the world, solely through the lens of its fandom.

One of the big issues is skepticism let itself get branded with the "meanie" label and it seems always the "proof" of this is internet atheist.

Newsflash. Everyone on the internet's a dick. "I went on r/atheist to save their souls and they were big meanie poopie heads to me" isn't proof of anything.

If the only place your oppressed or in which voicing your opinion is anonymous online communities dedicated to the opposing opinion... you're not oppressed.

But this is how we get crap like "Dawkins is an atheist extremist, he's just as bad as Fred Phelps!" and we all have to pretend like that's even a little bit true.
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Old 24th June 2019, 09:34 AM   #139
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Ah remember when we could talk about psychics and faith healers instead of if it is accurate to call detention camps for children where they are denied basic hygiene supplies concentration camps or not?
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Old 24th June 2019, 09:39 AM   #140
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Originally Posted by ponderingturtle View Post
Ah remember when we could talk about psychics and faith healers instead of if it is accurate to call detention camps for children where they are denied basic hygiene supplies concentration camps or not?
Yeah and the fact that that was met with so much "Oh what does it matter?" and "Oh just leave them alone they are just having a little fun" or "Why is it is important to you to be right all the time?" and a thousand other variations of a dozen core anti-intellectual nonsense is a large reason we are we are now.

Again I lay the corpse of our current intellectual discourse firmly at the feet of a long, long, long list of excuses and copouts slung at intellectual discourse for a long, long time.

What did people think all the B.S. apologetics thrown at skeptics for being meanies to the Figbooters and Conspiracy Theorists was gonna stay in that limited scope?

(G)You pitched a hissy fit when a skeptic took some Woo to task? Well know you've got people shooting up pizza parlors because they think the Dems are running a child sex dungeon in it. Hope you're happy.
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Old 25th June 2019, 11:09 AM   #141
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Problem is simple, trying to apply "skepticism" to something unapplicable, like ideology or culture, ends badly. You cannot objectively assess these things. At most, you could assess end result of realizing this or that in practice.
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Old 25th June 2019, 01:43 PM   #142
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Originally Posted by angrysoba View Post
Scientific Skepticism is a way of thinking; specifically, it is a method of evaluating claims. It is not a community. The fact that there are certain communities that claim to be skeptical is a separate, but related, issue.
Iím not so sure. George Box famously said, ďall models are wrong. Some are usefulĒ. He was referring to statistical models but the same principle can be applied to scientific theory.

The scientific method itself is actually an exercise in affirming the consequent, this is why we call the results theories not facts or truth. If raise the skeptical bar high enough all science ultimately falls short, and if you set the skeptical bar to low everything and anything clears it. What happens in practice is that when addressing things that donít match their pre-existing beliefs people tend to set a high bar, usually one they know cannot be met. On questions that do match their pre-existing beliefs they tend to set a bar low enough that it can be cleared. In general, rather than being central to the scientific process, skepticism is more likely to be abused to support personal belief.

If, however we accept that all science is wrong but some if it is useful we apply quite different tests. Skepticism may play a role in some of these tests, but the tests are more specific and usually have a requirement for positive evidence something typically absent from skepticism. So, what tests

1) Can it be replicated? A skeptic may insist on replication, but usually refuses to do the work himself or herself. A scientist who is skeptical of results will look to show they canít be replicated.
2) Is it more useful than ďI donít knowĒ many hypotheses fail this test and itís an important question to ask but again many self proclaimed skeptics just asks questions while providing no positive arguments themselves. Scientists on the other hand go the extra step to show the hypothesis isnít more useful than not having an answer at all.
3) Is it better than competing explanations. This is the real meat of most science. Havening some minimal amount of explanatory power is a bare minimum requirement. Real science almost always pits one theory against another to see which is most useful. There is no real skepticism here, each side is presenting positive evidence with the other disputing it.
4) Is there a flaw in an existing theory that suggests there is a better even more useful answer out there. Cutting edge science lives here. Being skeptical of new ideas is important, but again there should still be some positive foundation for this skepticism. All to often however, instead of questioning the new ideas (1 & 2) people question the established, useful theory instead. Both are skepticism, but the latter isnít science.
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Old 25th June 2019, 02:00 PM   #143
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Originally Posted by lomiller View Post
I’m not so sure. George Box famously said, “all models are wrong. Some are useful”. He was referring to statistical models but the same principle can be applied to scientific theory.

The scientific method itself is actually an exercise in affirming the consequent, this is why we call the results theories not facts or truth. If raise the skeptical bar high enough all science ultimately falls short, and if you set the skeptical bar to low everything and anything clears it. What happens in practice is that when addressing things that don’t match their pre-existing beliefs people tend to set a high bar, usually one they know cannot be met. On questions that do match their pre-existing beliefs they tend to set a bar low enough that it can be cleared. In general, rather than being central to the scientific process, skepticism is more likely to be abused to support personal belief.

If, however we accept that all science is wrong but some if it is useful we apply quite different tests. Skepticism may play a role in some of these tests, but the tests are more specific and usually have a requirement for positive evidence something typically absent from skepticism. So, what tests

1) Can it be replicated? A skeptic may insist on replication, but usually refuses to do the work himself or herself. A scientist who is skeptical of results will look to show they can’t be replicated.
2) Is it more useful than “I don’t know” many hypotheses fail this test and it’s an important question to ask but again many self proclaimed skeptics just asks questions while providing no positive arguments themselves. Scientists on the other hand go the extra step to show the hypothesis isn’t more useful than not having an answer at all.
3) Is it better than competing explanations. This is the real meat of most science. Havening some minimal amount of explanatory power is a bare minimum requirement. Real science almost always pits one theory against another to see which is most useful. There is no real skepticism here, each side is presenting positive evidence with the other disputing it.
4) Is there a flaw in an existing theory that suggests there is a better even more useful answer out there. Cutting edge science lives here. Being skeptical of new ideas is important, but again there should still be some positive foundation for this skepticism. All to often however, instead of questioning the new ideas (1 & 2) people question the established, useful theory instead. Both are skepticism, but the latter isn’t science.
A few nits to pick. I think the phrasing in the underlined sentences implies more intent than is typically there. Its true that most of tend to set the bar higher for stuff that discomfirms our pre-existing biases but I don't think we do it on purpose or consciously in any way. Your phrasing sort of implies we do it on purpose. I have similar nit with the phrase, "refuses to do the work", often we aren't aware such work needs doing. These are just nits. I largely agree with what you've said though.

Some what larger nit, you seem to imply that the phrase "Scientific Skepticism" is implying that skepticism is scientific. As I understand the term, its generally used to distinguish modern skepticism from philosophical skepticism. The former being the idea that the world is best understood via the scientific method and empirical evidence vs the latter, the idea that nothing can truly be known.
https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Skepti...fic_skepticism

Note, the spoiler was used to hide the bits I was not responding to but allow other to see the full context if they wish.

Last edited by ahhell; 25th June 2019 at 02:08 PM.
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Old 25th June 2019, 04:15 PM   #144
mgidm86
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Originally Posted by Archie Gemmill Goal View Post
Has it always been this way and I haven't seen it? Or has something changed?

'Skepticism' is a term that never sat easy with me and not one I self-described as but it was one that I used to think meant people were prepared to consider issues and take on board nuanced points of view.

Now it seems to have just become a haven for bigots, right-wing idiots and general ***** who want to be able to abuse and harass people under the banner of freedom of speech and selectively apply 'facts' to discriminate against people they don't like.

Richard Dawkins went down the rabbit hole pretty quickly, Sam Harris has followed him. But it seems to now be a hiding place for bigots to pretend that they just want 'freedom of speech' or an 'honest discussion' to abuse people that they disagree with.

We have the loathesome Sargon of Akkad campaigning for the awful UKIP now. Nobody who actually values analysis, thought and freedom would ever support UKIP. But there we have it.

So WTF is going on?

Has skepticism just become a haven for bigots, transphobes, racists, islamophobes, misogynists and general ne'erdowells under the freedom of 'just discussing facts'?

It's pathetic, really. When the woo-sters are more accepting of other people than those who value critical thinking. Where is the value in this community?

Yes, liberals are the only true skeptics.
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Old 25th June 2019, 10:00 PM   #145
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Originally Posted by Safe-Keeper View Post
When I think of lack of original thought I think of Trump supporters, conspiracy theorists in general, and certain more... radical and edgy Palestine supporters. I can usually predict in advance what they're going to respond with, since it's largelly just YouTube video spam, whataboutisms, personal attacks, and unfounded accusations like fake news, libtardism, Christian fundamentalism, and Big Pharma shills.
How can Trump supporters and "conspiracy theorists" lack independent thought when it goes against the grain of mainstream opinion and conventional wisdom? You can say that they are wrong or crazy, but you can't say they lack independent thought. Practically ever institution of power and influence was anti-Trump. It is much more likely that the crazed Hillary supporters lacked independent thought.


Originally Posted by Safe-Keeper View Post
Edit: I can admit that people who loathe Trump tend to do so pretty universally, though, but I think that's pretty much because the things he does and says are so terrible in the first place. The only rational thing to do is to condemn them.
Trump, in his outlook and in his political opinions, would have been classified as a Rockefeller Republican circa the 1970s and 80s. The fact that he is viewed as a "fascist" today is an indication of how far to the Left elite institutions have moved.
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Old 26th June 2019, 08:12 AM   #146
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Originally Posted by tanabear View Post
How can Trump supporters and "conspiracy theorists" lack independent thought when it goes against the grain of mainstream opinion and conventional wisdom?
You're not automatically an independent thinker just because you belong to some fringe sub-culture. Especially when said culture actively discourages free thought by banning those who disagree with them, deleting dissenting comments, closing their Facebook groups so outsiders can't participate, labelling those who leave as shills, and so on.

Either way, Independent thinkers don't become conspiracy theorists. We read claims like "why do vaccines contain mercury" or "why are there no stars in the sky in the photos from the Moon", and actually find answers to them rather than blindly diving into the rabbit hole. We discuss rationally rather than just throwing out evasions, whataboutisms, and soundbites about cucks, fake news, and Big Pharma shills.

Of course, everyone is prone to logical fallacies like confirmation bias, and to trusting and listening more to our own sources. Certain groups like CTers, though, seem to see them as go-to tactics, rather than pitfalls to be avoided.

Quote:
It is much more likely that the crazed Hillary supporters lacked independent thought.
Whew, that was close. If you'd forgotten the mandatory Clinton whataboutism for any longer, it wouldn't have made it into the post :O !

PS: hate to tell you, bacause we all know how much it sucks when the edgy things we love become mainstream, but Trump has a nearly 50% approval rate. Something that's supported by every second person around you is hardly "against mainstream opinion".
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Old 26th June 2019, 09:34 AM   #147
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Originally Posted by tanabear View Post
Trump, in his outlook and in his political opinions, would have been classified as a Rockefeller Republican circa the 1970s and 80s. The fact that he is viewed as a "fascist" today is an indication of how far to the Left elite institutions have moved.
Viewed as a fascist by ...the "elite institutions"? Doubt it.
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Old 26th June 2019, 09:58 PM   #148
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Originally Posted by Safe-Keeper View Post
You're not automatically an independent thinker just because you belong to some fringe sub-culture. Especially when said culture actively discourages free thought by banning those who disagree with them, deleting dissenting comments, closing their Facebook groups so outsiders can't participate, labelling those who leave as shills, and so on.
Correct. The high-tech commissars of Silicon Valley are not independent thinkers and neither do they support independent thought.

Originally Posted by Safe-Keeper View Post
Either way, Independent thinkers don't become conspiracy theorists. We read claims like "why do vaccines contain mercury" or "why are there no stars in the sky in the photos from the Moon", and actually find answers to them rather than blindly diving into the rabbit hole. We discuss rationally rather than just throwing out evasions, whataboutisms, and soundbites about cucks, fake news, and Big Pharma shills.
Ahh...There's that term again "conspiracy theorist." How do you define a conspiracy theorist or a conspiracy theory? From my experience, that term is used by members of the Skeptic Cult to denote who is a heretic and heretical beliefs. It is the Skeptics term for blasphemy. Calling someone a conspiracy theorist doesn't indicate where someone is wrong, it is just calling someone a name.

Now it is interesting to note what is called a conspiracy theory and what is not. During the run up to the Iraq War(circa 2001-2003) our government, our media and intelligence agencies were actively engaged in an elaborate hoax to deceive the American people. We were told that Iraq was producing and stockpiling massive amounts of chemical and biological weapons(WMD); that he was working on a nuclear program and sought tons of yellow-cake Uranium from Niger. We were also told that he was in league and working with Osama bin Laden and Al-Qaeda. He was working on these weapons to give to a terrorist outfit that could be used to kill millions of Americans and there could be mushroom clouds over American cities. The consequences of this conspiracy theory was disastrous. It led to the deaths of tens of thousands of people, billions upon billions of wasted dollars and turned Iraq into a cauldron of violence.

Yet when reading Skeptic sites and publications this huge conspiracy theory is never mentioned. It is just the same old stuff about JFK, the moon landings and 9/11. Why does this huge conspiracy theory that led to the Iraq war never register among the Skeptics? Because the term "conspiracy theory" is only applied to beliefs not given official sanction by western intelligence/media. If western intelligence/media are just as likely to promote false beliefs as Alex Jones then the whole basis for considering fringe beliefs uniquely conspiratorial would fall apart. In short, if you want to know what the conventional wisdom of our times are just read "Skeptics".


Originally Posted by Safe-Keeper View Post
PS: hate to tell you, bacause we all know how much it sucks when the edgy things we love become mainstream, but Trump has a nearly 50% approval rate. Something that's supported by every second person around you is hardly "against mainstream opinion".
Trump has a broad base of support(he won the 2016 election after all), but the media, which controls our national conversations, is almost uniformly opposed to Trump, along with every other elite institution in this country.
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Old 27th June 2019, 12:58 AM   #149
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Originally Posted by Safe-Keeper View Post
PS: hate to tell you, bacause we all know how much it sucks when the edgy things we love become mainstream, but Trump has a nearly 50% approval rate.
Bearing mind that the only reason for that 'nearly 50%' is the R next to his name. Trump has to be 'approved' by republicans because they have no choice, but his real supporters (the Deplorables) are probably less than 30%.

Originally Posted by Belz...
you do remember that the comment was "far left", right?
The original comment was 'the left' which you morphed into 'the far left'. But according to HarryHenderson, "what Islam wants and what the Left wants are the exact same thing". It's a ridiculous assertion, but by equating it to 'the far left' you tacitly support it. And since in his mind there is no difference, he can now claim victory ("Belz admits that the Left and the Islamic State are the exact same thing!").

The OP is right, 'skepticism' has become a haven for bigots, transphobes, racists, islamophobes, misogynists and general ne'erdowells. And actual skeptics are rolling over and letting them away with it.
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Old 27th June 2019, 04:13 AM   #150
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Originally Posted by ArchSas View Post

And to be perfectly clear, I'm not trying to insult you guys, or do any of the things you might assume. I'm asking for serious self-reflection, because I find myself having to do it all the time, and I think it's worth thinking about. Critical thinking can be hard work.
When I engage persons on one psi friendly particular forum for a bit of serious self-reflection two responses happen, either snide comments or crickets.

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Old 27th June 2019, 06:08 AM   #151
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Originally Posted by Steve001 View Post
When I engage persons on one psi friendly particular forum for a bit of serious self-reflection two responses happen, either snide comments or crickets.
One would hope that the response on a Skeptics forum would be somewhat different.

In other matters.

As to the terms Far Right, Right, Left, and Far Left. I find them unproductive. Not because they don't mean anything but because folks too often say things like "The left/right does/believes........" Whatever follows is almost always true of some fraction of the group in question but its almost always met with resistance from folks on that side of things who don't believe or do whatever. For obvious reasons. I have found that folks on the Left/Right always seem to understand this of the charges leveled in their generally direction but those same folks are almost always just as likely as to completely miss the issue when aimed elsewhere.

Semi related article from the Atlantic, the short version, Dems and Reps are basically totally wrong about what folks in the other party likely believe. I think this can be extrapolated to the left/right and that we skeptics are just as prone to fall into this. It doesn't help that there are some pretty far left/right extremists on this board that help us maintain our self delusions about the other side.

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Old 27th June 2019, 03:29 PM   #152
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Originally Posted by tanabear View Post
Ahh...There's that term again "conspiracy theorist." How do you define a conspiracy theorist or a conspiracy theory? From my experience, that term is used by members of the Skeptic Cult to denote who is a heretic and heretical beliefs. It is the Skeptics term for blasphemy. Calling someone a conspiracy theorist doesn't indicate where someone is wrong, it is just calling someone a name.
A conspiracy theory is not merely a theory that is wrong. It is a theory that flies in the face of things that either are known or at least are in our background knowledge. They are extraordinary claims (claims that would require the opposite of background or already confirmed knowledge) without the extraordinary evidence. They require the conspiracy hanging together in secret without leaking despite vast odds against it.

The WMD theory in the Iraq War is a pretty weak conspiracy theory, as it really didn't violate much background knowledge - it was just a scam perpetrated on the world.
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Old 27th June 2019, 03:33 PM   #153
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Q. What happened to skepticism?

A. The same thing that always happens. The movement becomes a racket. Sooner or later SJWs start wearing it like a skin suit and demanding respect.

Exhibit A: Atheism+
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Old 27th June 2019, 03:43 PM   #154
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Originally Posted by theprestige View Post
Interesting theory.

My take is a little different, though. I think skepticism is suffering from the same problem as vaccines: Too much luxury for too long.

There was a time when polio was a scourge ......... (and more irrelevant musings.)

Similarly with skepticism. We live in a luxurious world where skepticism can safely be treated as a hobby, a social pose you can don and doff at will. You don't have to worry about keeping it consistent, keeping it rational, keeping it at all. Maybe if you're a police detective, or sitting on a jury, it might cross your mind to not let yourself get ahead of the evidence, but so what if it doesn't?

Too much luxury.

Much ado about nothing I think.

That is the risk when you start with a nonsensical thread title, you get more nonsense spontaneously produced. Have a look at the paragraph highlighted .... what a doozy!
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Old 27th June 2019, 05:42 PM   #155
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Some of the people who I used to enjoy reading their great science and engineering explanations and debates with truthers and woos were exposed as reactionary ********* when the tide in this place turned to politics. The whole idea that being good at that translates into excellent insight into the humanities is an argument in authority - there is a current thread with a title based around the idea. These are subjects only partiality amenable to the attitudes and skill sets that scientific skepticism is based around.
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Old 27th June 2019, 06:11 PM   #156
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So people loved the skeptics until the skeptics started telling them they were wrong.

Sounds about right.
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Old 27th June 2019, 06:46 PM   #157
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Originally Posted by JoeMorgue View Post
So people loved the skeptics until the skeptics started telling them they were wrong.

Sounds about right.
The idea that scientific skepticism, which deals so well with the kind of fringe claims that were once the grain for the mill on these forums, can be redirected effectively to social and political issues is bunk. Appeals to skepticism on these subjects are appeals to unwarranted authority. That is what has happened to scepticism on these boards at least.
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Old 27th June 2019, 07:15 PM   #158
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Originally Posted by Sideroxylon View Post
Some of the people who I used to enjoy reading their great science and engineering explanations and debates with truthers and woos were exposed as reactionary ********* when the tide in this place turned to politics. The whole idea that being good at that translates into excellent insight into the humanities is an argument in authority
You don't have to be an expert on any subject to be a skeptic. You just need a logical mind, trust in actual authorities, and Google. There is no reason you can't use the same tools to provide great insight into the humanities as well as science and engineering.

If skeptics are falling down when discussing politics it's because they have a blind spot in that area, or because politics is more about personal feelings than 'insight into the humanities'. Or to be scientific about it, political views are wired into our brains.

You should also consider that being able to look up facts and apply them to an argument doesn't make you a skeptic. Some of the people you are talking about were reactionary ********* even in debates with truthers and woos - but you didn't notice because they were on your side.
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Old 27th June 2019, 07:33 PM   #159
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Originally Posted by Sideroxylon View Post
The idea that scientific skepticism, which deals so well with the kind of fringe claims that were once the grain for the mill on these forums, can be redirected effectively to social and political issues is bunk.
Really? So we can't apply scientific skepticism to any political claims? Does that mean windmills possibly do cause cancer? And perhaps AGW actually is a myth invented by the Chinese? There is plenty of woo in politics (and sociology) that is begging to be called out, and no reason we can't use scientific skepticism to deal with it.

Quote:
Appeals to skepticism on these subjects are appeals to unwarranted authority.
What are you saying here, that there are no authorities on social and political issues?
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Old 27th June 2019, 08:16 PM   #160
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Originally Posted by Roger Ramjets View Post
Really? So we can't apply scientific skepticism to any political claims? Does that mean windmills possibly do cause cancer? And perhaps AGW actually is a myth invented by the Chinese? There is plenty of woo in politics (and sociology) that is begging to be called out, and no reason we can't use scientific skepticism to deal with it.

What are you saying here, that there are no authorities on social and political issues?
Those are still scientific claims, even if they are elements of a wider political debate that hinges on disagreements over subjective value weightings.

There are experts on social issues but they are academics in the humanities - a field that attracts scorn from many of a scientism bent.
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