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Old 16th September 2018, 02:25 PM   #1
Venom
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How to spot a rookie skeptic

What are some of the habits of a rookie skeptic?

Does he call out every logical fallacy he sees?

Is he reflexively anti-government and does he frequently spit uncompelling truisms about government corruption?

Does he think nobody can say for sure if a falling tree in some remote island makes a sound?
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Old 16th September 2018, 02:29 PM   #2
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The last is most telling: he thinks throwing shade on even the blatantly obvious counts as critical thinking.
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Old 16th September 2018, 02:30 PM   #3
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I think they make sweeping assumptions about individuals.
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Old 16th September 2018, 04:54 PM   #4
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What is a "rookie sceptic"?


Norm
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Old 16th September 2018, 04:59 PM   #5
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Originally Posted by fromdownunder View Post
What is a "rookie sceptic"?


Norm
Don't you remember your first post here - only joking.

I suppose a Rookie skeptic is around 5 years old, and if intelligent, asks "But what happenend before God?"

That's how I started.

ETA: As are most children. It is only when their parents and society lie that the Rookiness is removed and it later again, in many cases, becomes another version of the unskeptical same.
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Old 16th September 2018, 05:11 PM   #6
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Originally Posted by fagin View Post
I think they make sweeping assumptions about individuals.

^this
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Old 16th September 2018, 05:29 PM   #7
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They have no firm grasp on the limits of science or the actual potential weaknesses in whatever the current consensus on anything is.

They have a hard time grasping concepts like "While snopes is generally right, they can get things wrong sometimes, too."

They're often obsessed with religion.
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Old 16th September 2018, 05:31 PM   #8
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Originally Posted by fromdownunder View Post
What is a "rookie sceptic"?


Norm
I was assuming he was meaning people who were recently serious True Believers in some religion or other sort of woo, who came to realize that "all that" is a bunch of crap and became skeptics.
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Old 16th September 2018, 05:57 PM   #9
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Originally Posted by kellyb View Post
I was assuming he was meaning people who were recently serious True Believers in some religion or other sort of woo, who came to realize that "all that" is a bunch of crap and became skeptics.

Possible, but I would like to see the OP's definition. My thoughts are that most people who disavow religion or other woo are not necessarily sceptics, but mainly pissed off theists, and that this can possibly lead to a complete meltdown of rationality. Which is not scepticism at all.


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Old 16th September 2018, 06:02 PM   #10
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Somebody that doesn't understand "skepticism" is a skill and a standard, not a club you've joined is probably a strong candidate.
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Old 16th September 2018, 06:17 PM   #11
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Originally Posted by kellyb View Post
I was assuming he was meaning people who were recently serious True Believers in some religion or other sort of woo, who came to realize that "all that" is a bunch of crap and became skeptics.


Many arrogant anarchists and conspiracy theorists fit that description.
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Old 16th September 2018, 08:41 PM   #12
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Anybody who says that God does not exist.
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Old 16th September 2018, 09:15 PM   #13
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you can usually spot the most recent convert to anything because they will be the most zealous.
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Old 16th September 2018, 11:21 PM   #14
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Originally Posted by Brainster View Post
Anybody who says that God does not exist.

I think that you are confusing atheism with skepticism. We have a couple of brilliant skeptics who are Christians. They are usually the first to criticize creationists or faith healers whenever they rear their ugly heads. Randi is an atheist, but he was adamant that the JREF was a skeptics organization, not an atheist one.
But I agree if what you are saying is that rookies may confuse atheism with skepticism.

Originally Posted by The Great Zaganza View Post
you can usually spot the most recent convert to anything because they will be the most zealous.

If you're saying that zeal isn't skepticism but may be confused with skepticism, I agree. (So what does a zealous rookie think skepticism is?)

Originally Posted by Venom View Post
What are some of the habits of a rookie skeptic?

Does he call out every logical fallacy he sees?

No, mostly only when it's relevant to do so. And he (or she) also doesn't call out every spelling mistake ... I think you can be a skeptic without calling anything out at all - but not a practicing one, of course.

Quote:
Is he reflexively anti-government and does he frequently spit uncompelling truisms about government corruption?

If it's a reflex, it's anything but skeptical, be it anti- or pro-government. But I don't know if a rookie would be aware of that.

Quote:
Does he think nobody can say for sure if a falling tree in some remote island makes a sound?

They know that falling trees make sound waves (unless they are falling in a vaccuum, which would be weird since trees wouldn't be able to grow in one). They are able to distinguish between these audible waves and human perception of them:

Quote:
In physics, sound is a vibration that typically propagates as an audible wave of pressure, through a transmission medium such as a gas, liquid or solid.
In human physiology and psychology, sound is the reception of such waves and their perception by the brain.
Sound (Wikipedia)

- But does a tree make a sound if nobody is around to hear it?
- Yes, of course it bloody does!
- But nobody hears it?
- Hears what? Do you notice what's implied with your "it"?

(I think that there are major differences between rookie philosophers, rookie one-hand-clapping Buddhists and rookie skeptics)

I would say that (maybe not yet a rookie skeptic but) a pre-skeptic usually doesn't accept answers unless they make some kind of sense. I remember asking my mother why we don't fly off into space, what makes us stick to the surface of the Earth. Her answer, "Because the Earth spins so fast," was contradicted my experience with carousels. But I knew better than to openly question her nonsensical answer and later got a satisfactory answer from a physics teacher.

One essential thing makes skepticism different - and difficult, probably: The willing suspension of disbelief that is required in many other groups, i.e. trying to find out what are the right things to say or do in order to belong, learning the phrases that go with the territory. In a Marxist group I once belonged to, we called it Stalinism, the willingness to adapt, even when it had nothing to do with the stuff Stalin had said: It was a way of describing an attitude that you can find in political organizations of all persuasions. Unfortunately children often learn it in school: to comply with rules and regulations and teachers who grade you! 'What do I have to do in order to please the teacher and get higher grades?'
That is probably an obstacle that rookies, some more than others, have to learn to overcome - or maybe even learn to enjoy overcoming!
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Old 17th September 2018, 04:08 AM   #15
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Originally Posted by fromdownunder View Post
What is a "rookie sceptic"?


Norm
That's what I thought. I guess there are levels to this. Level 10 is a neckbeard, a fedora hat and an almost endless shelf full of books on Bill Hicks and quantum mechanics.
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Old 17th September 2018, 04:22 AM   #16
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Never heard of him till now.
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"Stupidity renders itself invisible by assuming very large proportions. Completely unreasonable claims are irrefutable. Ni-en-leh pointed out that a philosopher might get into trouble by claiming that two times two makes five, but he does not risk much by claiming that two times two makes shoe polish." B. Brecht
"The abolition of religion as the illusory happiness of the people is required for their real happiness. The demand to give up the illusion about its condition is the demand to give up a condition which needs illusions." K. Marx
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Old 17th September 2018, 05:20 AM   #17
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All I know is if you somehow have a mint condition James Randi rookie card, it must be worth a fortune these days.
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Old 17th September 2018, 11:23 AM   #18
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Originally Posted by dann View Post
I think that you are confusing atheism with skepticism. We have a couple of brilliant skeptics who are Christians. They are usually the first to criticize creationists or faith healers whenever they rear their ugly heads. Randi is an atheist, but he was adamant that the JREF was a skeptics organization, not an atheist one.
But I agree if what you are saying is that rookies may confuse atheism with skepticism.
Just saying that it's fine to be skeptical about God's existence, but the minute you express certainty about his existence or non-existence you are not being skeptical, you are expressing faith in something that is unknowable.
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Old 17th September 2018, 11:32 AM   #19
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Originally Posted by Brainster View Post
Just saying that it's fine to be skeptical about God's existence, but the minute you express certainty about his existence or non-existence you are not being skeptical, you are expressing faith in something that is unknowable.
Oh not this again.
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Old 17th September 2018, 11:32 AM   #20
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Originally Posted by Brainster View Post
Just saying that it's fine to be skeptical about God's existence, but the minute you express certainty about his existence or non-existence you are not being skeptical, you are expressing faith in something that is unknowable.
It is reasonable for a person who is not making a positive statement about the existence of something, to refuse to believe. I don't believe in a God any more than I believe in Santa Claus. If anyone thinks I'm being too certain in my non belief, let that person provide me with evidentiary reasons to change it. Saying that it is unknowable is like saying the existence or non existence of the Tooth Fairy is unknowable.
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Old 17th September 2018, 02:04 PM   #21
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Originally Posted by Brainster View Post
Just saying that it's fine to be skeptical about God's existence, but the minute you express certainty about his existence or non-existence you are not being skeptical, you are expressing faith in something that is unknowable.
The god that the majority of people in the world claim to believe in does not exist.

Your claim only makes sense if the word "god" is defined as "anything that could exist".

People do not say they believe in a god that is "anything" they believe in god or gods that have specific definitions and claims made about them.
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Old 17th September 2018, 03:03 PM   #22
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Originally Posted by Darat View Post
The god that the majority of people in the world claim to believe in does not exist.
I believe that it is highly, highly unlikely that the god that any particular creed on Earth believes in exists. But it is unknown and unknowable. I mean, suppose some dude came down on a cloud wearing a white robe and claimed to be God and had incredible magical talents--could cause a plague of locusts where none existed moments before, or something similarly biblical, would you suddenly believe in him? I wouldn't, I'd just wonder how incredible the technology must be to make that happen. But I'd also admit that this certainly made the possibility that he was God a little higher.
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Old 17th September 2018, 03:25 PM   #23
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Originally Posted by JoeMorgue View Post
Oh not this again.
Yes, this again.

lol
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Old 17th September 2018, 04:17 PM   #24
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Originally Posted by JoeMorgue View Post
Oh not this again.
https://futuramaworldsoftomorrow.gam...here_we_go.wav
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Old 17th September 2018, 11:11 PM   #25
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Originally Posted by Brainster View Post
I believe that it is highly, highly unlikely that the god that any particular creed on Earth believes in exists. But it is unknown and unknowable. I mean, suppose some dude came down on a cloud wearing a white robe and claimed to be God and had incredible magical talents--could cause a plague of locusts where none existed moments before, or something similarly biblical, would you suddenly believe in him? I wouldn't, I'd just wonder how incredible the technology must be to make that happen. But I'd also admit that this certainly made the possibility that he was God a little higher.
Of course I would believe in him, my skepticism means I'm happy to change my mind when presented with new evidence.
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Old 17th September 2018, 11:49 PM   #26
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Originally Posted by Darat View Post
Of course I would believe in him, my skepticism means I'm happy to change my mind when presented with new evidence.
I was thinking this just the other day.
You die and end up facing the Pearly Gates.

Do you get in?
I say yes, as the evidence is unarguable now that god exists, so an atheist is now a bleever, repents (based on the new evidence) and enters heaven (as god is all forgiving for the genuinely repentant).

Literally best of both worlds, being an atheist.
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Old 17th September 2018, 11:56 PM   #27
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Originally Posted by Brainster View Post
I believe that it is highly, highly unlikely that the god that any particular creed on Earth believes in exists. But it is unknown and unknowable. I mean, suppose some dude came down on a cloud wearing a white robe and claimed to be God and had incredible magical talents--could cause a plague of locusts where none existed moments before, or something similarly biblical, would you suddenly believe in him? I wouldn't, I'd just wonder how incredible the technology must be to make that happen. But I'd also admit that this certainly made the possibility that he was God a little higher.
As I have said before, if a real god does genuinely exist, then they already know exactly what kind of evidence that they need to present to me in order to convince me that they are real. Their evidence will be perfect and indisputable.
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Old 18th September 2018, 12:50 AM   #28
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Originally Posted by EHocking View Post
I was thinking this just the other day.
You die and end up facing the Pearly Gates.

Do you get in?
I say yes, as the evidence is unarguable now that god exists, so an atheist is now a bleever, repents (based on the new evidence) and enters heaven (as god is all forgiving for the genuinely repentant).

Literally best of both worlds, being an atheist.

Reverse Pascal Wager?


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Old 18th September 2018, 01:28 AM   #29
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Originally Posted by arthwollipot View Post
As I have said before, if a real god does genuinely exist, then they already know exactly what kind of evidence that they need to present to me in order to convince me that they are real. Their evidence will be perfect and indisputable.
Depends on the religion. Not all god definitions that people actually believe in have an all powerful, all knowing god.

It is actually one of the reasons we can discount the existence of the god the RCs or CofEs believe in - we are meant to have all the evidence we need to believe in god. Since many of us don't then their god as they define it doesn't exist.
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Old 18th September 2018, 01:38 AM   #30
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Originally Posted by Darat View Post
Depends on the religion. Not all god definitions that people actually believe in have an all powerful, all knowing god.

It is actually one of the reasons we can discount the existence of the god the RCs or CofEs believe in - we are meant to have all the evidence we need to believe in god. Since many of us don't then their god as they define it doesn't exist.
True.

And I note here that the topic has now drifted almost completely from skepticism to atheism.
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Old 18th September 2018, 01:47 AM   #31
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Another rookie move is to assume that debunking one idea cannot be done without promoting a different one.
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Old 18th September 2018, 01:57 AM   #32
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Originally Posted by arthwollipot View Post
True.

And I note here that the topic has now drifted almost completely from skepticism to atheism.

That seems to be more a USA thing, the two are entwined in perceptions in the USA, which is why I think we often see "skeptic" used in a personally negative manner from the USA folk. In the UK we've had a long tradition of even CofE Bishops being public about their skepticism of the bible and church so we don't have quite the same strong association that skeptic = atheist.
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Old 18th September 2018, 02:51 AM   #33
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Originally Posted by Venom View Post
What are some of the habits of a rookie skeptic?

Does he call out every logical fallacy he sees?

Is he reflexively anti-government and does he frequently spit uncompelling truisms about government corruption?

Does he think nobody can say for sure if a falling tree in some remote island makes a sound?
Rookies tend to think skeptics are all male.
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Old 18th September 2018, 10:27 AM   #34
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Originally Posted by Lothian View Post
Rookies tend to think skeptics are all male.
Oh, wow, I used to think that, come to think of it. I spent a few years as a skeptic before I joined this board, but I didn't know I was one, because in my mind, skeptics were basically all old, bearded men. Either that, or the type of people who drift around the internet mindlessly hurling insults at "believers".

The only exception to those stereotypes I knew of was this one German astrophysicist dude I was a co-moderator with on a forum, and his day job was working on Cassini, and on the forum he debunked all of the antigravity, perpetual motion, and infinite energy woo. I saw him as so, well, astronomically out of my intellectual league, it never occurred to me that I was "like him" in any way, shape or form.
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Old 18th September 2018, 10:51 AM   #35
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How would you tell if someone is a rookie or not? Speaking of making assumptions about individuals, and all that.
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Old 18th September 2018, 01:05 PM   #36
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Originally Posted by HansMustermann View Post
How would you tell if someone is a rookie or not? Speaking of making assumptions about individuals, and all that.
Sometimes they give clues; "Hey guys I just deconverted from [insert woo here] and look at this crazy stuff", and often they think they've come across something profound or some other overzealous behavior.

Maybe repeating truisms that add little to the discussion. "Goverment is corrup!"

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Old 18th September 2018, 02:03 PM   #37
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First of all, the government bashing, and especially claiming (*) to want less government, has nothing to do with being a sceptic or not. It's a pretty USA-specific right-wing trope. And given that it's more associated with bible-thumpers and some freeman-on-the-land/prepper/whatever wooists than anyone else, I'm curious what confusion of mind leads you to think it's a sceptic trait or trope.

(*) And I say "claim", because a lot of the same people who claim to want less government, are ok with high miltary spending (which, surprise, is government too), or with using taxpayer money to enforce who can marry whom, or to police abortions, or to crack on drugs, or with increasing border guards or even building a great wall, or making sure what genitals go with what gender. (Presumably having to show them to some toilet guard too, to make sure nobody the wrong biological sex goes into the wrong toilet booth, where nobody else would see it anyway.)

At any rate, it seems to me like it's orthogonal to being a sceptic or not. You can arrive to it just as well, if not better, by believing some conspiracy theory or other woo, as via some kind of convoluted sceptic-like rationale.


Second, deconverting too is rather orthogonal to being a sceptic or not.

For a start, a lot of people deconvert from, say, Xianity only to join an even more woo cult. Like, start wearing a pentagram and droning about how Wicca is an ancient religion, never mind that it's less than a century "ancient". Or join the Kemet Orthodoxy (Kemet=ancient Egyptian name of Egypt), presumably so named because it bears no resemblance whatsoever with what we know from all those scrolls and inscriptions about what the ancient Egyptians actually believed. Or some pseudo-Eastern guru.

Also, you can deconvert from Xianity and jolly well keep other pre-existing woo. Just stopping believing in one woo, doesn't mean one suddenly drops all of them. E.g., I know one guy who's totally not into religion any more, but still believes that the world is run by some cabal of people so rich, that they're not even on the Top X lists of the richest people. Apparently they slid right off the list UPWARDS. Or a couple of otherwise fine gals who totally aren't into religion any more, but still believe in clairvoyance and whatnot.


Third, and actually the root of the above, virtually EVERYONE is a sceptic to some extent. If I told even the most woowoo-ridden nutter that by decree of the galactic Emperor they should pay their taxes to me, they'd ask for evidence. They suspend that scepticism for a couple of things they really WANT to believe (such as that Jesus is their kid's personal crossing guard) or to disbelieve (e.g., that their doctor really means it when he says stop smoking), but will jolly well ask for evidence for almost anything else.

Becoming a full time sceptic, so to speak, is nothing more than trying to avoid your own blind spots. Usually via applying a more rigorous logical framework, but it's not the only way.


Fourth, and actually I think the root of the confusion that spawns threads like this, is that most people don't really understand what scepticism is when others do it. They expect it to play out like the Sceptic archetype in novels and movies, which is really just a narrative trope. If you need to explain something, you don't explain it to the audience, you explain it to a character. And if it's hard to swallow or needs a lot more explaining, you use the Sceptic, which is a sockpuppet that raises some weak-sauce objections, but is immediately convinced when the hero explains it. Or will be proven wrong in the end.

So some people seem to expect that "sceptic" IRL means the same thing: someone who just asks some questions, and then is totally convinced by their hare-brained woowoo when they explain it.

And when sceptics are, surprise, sceptical and don't swallow the BS, or worse yet, call fallacies, here come the threads complaining about what's wrong with sceptics. Or why the guy who just called BS isn't a REAL sceptic, but some pseudo or rookie sceptic.

It's a coping mechanism, really
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Old 19th September 2018, 05:06 AM   #38
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Originally Posted by HansMustermann View Post
How would you tell if someone is a rookie or not? Speaking of making assumptions about individuals, and all that.
They're wearing a bowler hat as opposed to a fedora, their neckbeard is still only fuzz-growth, and they have only one book on Bill Hicks.
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Old 19th September 2018, 01:38 PM   #39
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Originally Posted by The Great Zaganza View Post
Another rookie move is to assume that debunking one idea cannot be done without promoting a different one.
It has been called The Perry Mason syndrome.
From the TV seresi where every week Mason proved his client was innocent by discovering who the real murderer was..generally in court.
Needless to say, that does not happen often in real life. Most acquittal in murder cases are gained by simply proving your client could not have done it; unmasking the real killer seldom happens in a murder defense.
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Old 19th September 2018, 01:41 PM   #40
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Originally Posted by The Great Zaganza View Post
you can usually spot the most recent convert to anything because they will be the most zealous.
This.
Although in the case of religion, I have seen some long timers here still foam at the mough at the mere mention of religion.
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