ISF Logo   IS Forum
Forum Index Register Members List Events Mark Forums Read Help

Go Back   International Skeptics Forum » General Topics » General Skepticism and The Paranormal
 


Welcome to the International Skeptics Forum, where we discuss skepticism, critical thinking, the paranormal and science in a friendly but lively way. You are currently viewing the forum as a guest, which means you are missing out on discussing matters that are of interest to you. Please consider registering so you can gain full use of the forum features and interact with other Members. Registration is simple, fast and free! Click here to register today.
Tags SCEPCOP

Reply
Old 26th February 2004, 10:34 PM   #1
WWu777
Banned
 
Join Date: Feb 2004
Posts: 163
My article debunking 30 skeptical arguments against the paranormal

Dear all,
I was wondering if you've all read my article debunking 30 common skeptical arguments against paranormal phenomena. It has been widely passed around in parapsychology circles, and considered the most extensive critique of the tactics of organized pseudo-skepticism. Here is the link.

http://www.victorzammit.com/skeptics/winston.html

Regards,
Winston
WWu777 is offline   Quote this post in a PM   Nominate this post for this month's language award Copy a direct link to this post Reply With Quote Back to Top
Old 26th February 2004, 10:53 PM   #2
charley_bigtime
Guest
 
Join Date: Sep 2002
Posts: 479
Just a quickie as I'm flying to the US in 5 hours for a vacation/hol.

1) First of all, just because something hasn't been proven and established in mainstream science doesn't mean it doesn't exist or isn't true.

Correct. This is how genuine Skeptics should view most claims. All we ask for is conclusive and tested proof/evidence. Then we'll believe. Can't put it any simpler than that.

I'll leave the rest to everybody else.

Have a nice weekend.
charley_bigtime is offline   Quote this post in a PM   Nominate this post for this month's language award Copy a direct link to this post Reply With Quote Back to Top
Old 26th February 2004, 10:56 PM   #3
wert
Critical Thinker
 
Join Date: May 2002
Posts: 371
This again?

It's been extensively responded to.

It's crap.
wert is offline   Quote this post in a PM   Nominate this post for this month's language award Copy a direct link to this post Reply With Quote Back to Top
Old 26th February 2004, 11:09 PM   #4
Toastrider
Scholar
 
Join Date: Feb 2004
Posts: 79
Strawman arguments all over the place.

Yuck.

--Toasty
__________________
"You now have a plunger stuck to your head..."
Toastrider is offline   Quote this post in a PM   Nominate this post for this month's language award Copy a direct link to this post Reply With Quote Back to Top
Old 26th February 2004, 11:12 PM   #5
LFTKBS
Muse
 
Join Date: Aug 2003
Posts: 968
"If by hard evidence they mean something solid and tangible, then it would not be possible to obtain this from certain things like UFO’s, ghosts, spirits, or ESP. since they are intangible in nature and possibly involve other dimensions we don’t fully understand yet (could also be the case with UFO’s). By this standard, we have no tangible evidence for stars, galaxies, black holes, or nebulas that are light years away either, although we can observe them."

Congratulations; you're an idiot.
LFTKBS is offline   Quote this post in a PM   Nominate this post for this month's language award Copy a direct link to this post Reply With Quote Back to Top
Old 26th February 2004, 11:16 PM   #6
Zep
Banned
 
Join Date: Sep 2002
Posts: 26,699
Yes, Winston, we have. And if you recall, you were given the rounds of the kitchen about it a few years ago when it was solidly and thoroughly debunked. Here you go, read it yourself. And the final comments sum it up neatly:
Quote:
In this article, in all cases, Mr. Wu failed to support his conclusions with valid arguments. He failed to adequately define terms and he consistently resorted to numerous logical fallacies, particularly that of Argument from Ignorance. The arguments he claimed to have been advanced by skeptics remain valid, such as they are stated. Mr. Wu has not established any veracity to his claims regarding "paranormal" phenomena.

Overall, Mr. Wu's article is a grand Appeal to Authority, ad hominem, and Argument from Ignorance. Skeptical viewpoints have never been safer.
Also, can we suggest that you quietly disassociate yourself from Victor Zammit at the earliest opportunity. The guy is a laughing-stock around these parts.
Zep is offline   Quote this post in a PM   Nominate this post for this month's language award Copy a direct link to this post Reply With Quote Back to Top
Old 26th February 2004, 11:22 PM   #7
WWu777
Banned
 
Join Date: Feb 2004
Posts: 163
You must have very low lame standards or be extremely closed minded if you think Sandoval's rebuttal to my article means anything. All he did was play semantics with me. He didn't address the crux of any of my arguments. He played a game of philosophical skepticism, by using labels to try to refute my points. It didn't work, not to intelligent people looking for the truth. But if it's enough for you to guys to consider my points debunks, then you guys are definitely not intellectuals or truth-seekers.

Any reasonable person who looked at his rebuttal could tell it was inadequate.

But anyway, I'm glad you guys knew about the existence of my article.

Regards,
Winston
WWu777 is offline   Quote this post in a PM   Nominate this post for this month's language award Copy a direct link to this post Reply With Quote Back to Top
Old 26th February 2004, 11:27 PM   #8
Zep
Banned
 
Join Date: Sep 2002
Posts: 26,699
Quote:
Originally posted by WWu777
You must have very low lame standards or be extremely closed minded if you think Sandoval's rebuttal to my article means anything. All he did was play semantics with me. He didn't address the crux of any of my arguments. He played a game of philosophical skepticism, by using labels to try to refute my points. It didn't work, not to intelligent people looking for the truth. But if it's enough for you to guys to consider my points debunks, then you guys are definitely not intellectuals or truth-seekers.

Any reasonable person who looked at his rebuttal could tell it was inadequate.

But anyway, I'm glad you guys knew about the existence of my article.

Regards,
Winston
Actually, he did an excellent job, and I guess you are just angry that he did. ALL your points were addressed - thoroughly and completely.

However, if you have to resort to name-calling yourself (see above) then it shows what a paucity of argument you have. Because if your arguments are simply more of the "Nyah nyah ni nyah nyah, I'm right and you're wrong, so THERE!" then as a "scientifically supportable thesis", that is certainly going to be impressive here, isn't it!

NOT.

Wake up to yourself.
Zep is offline   Quote this post in a PM   Nominate this post for this month's language award Copy a direct link to this post Reply With Quote Back to Top
Old 27th February 2004, 12:59 AM   #9
wert
Critical Thinker
 
Join Date: May 2002
Posts: 371
Quote:
Originally posted by WWu777

Any reasonable person who looked at his rebuttal could tell it was inadequate.[/b]
Whatever gets you through the night I suppose....
wert is offline   Quote this post in a PM   Nominate this post for this month's language award Copy a direct link to this post Reply With Quote Back to Top
Old 27th February 2004, 01:00 AM   #10
mstricky
Master Poster
 
Join Date: Feb 2002
Posts: 2,533
Welcome to the forum WWu777, the other posters seem to have lost their manners.
I found the article to be fascinating and I shall have a good read at it later when I have more time.
mstricky is offline   Quote this post in a PM   Nominate this post for this month's language award Copy a direct link to this post Reply With Quote Back to Top
Old 27th February 2004, 01:24 AM   #11
Zep
Banned
 
Join Date: Sep 2002
Posts: 26,699
Quote:
Originally posted by max
Welcome to the forum WWu777, the other posters seem to have lost their manners.
I found the article to be fascinating and I shall have a good read at it later when I have more time.
And having read it myself more than one years ago, I suggest you use your time for something more productive: wash your hair, sort the sock drawer, comb the cat, something like that.
Zep is offline   Quote this post in a PM   Nominate this post for this month's language award Copy a direct link to this post Reply With Quote Back to Top
Old 27th February 2004, 01:33 AM   #12
Quasi
Critical Thinker
 
Join Date: Oct 2002
Posts: 424
Argument 2: Wrong, aircraft have lots of evidence, for example, airports, used parts, and people who maintain and fly them. Also, elecromagnetic phenomena, such as UV light leaves sunburns on bathers in the summer. There is no place on earth devoid of these phenomena where people live, so the example here is just stupid.
A lot of these arguments appears to be that anecdotal evidence is the pillar of paranormal beliefs. OK, fair enough, ever heard of a bald faced lie? How do paranormal folks deal with this if it is the very support for paranormal claims? Is John Edwards really psychic? I guess the television folks dont think so as his show is no longer being recorded. Is Uri Gellar or any other of those 1970s phoneys real? How about Ganzfield? Four vague pictures, known beforehand by the sitters, subjectively interpreted by the recorder. Not too impressive. Why not a thousand pictures not known? Because it totally utterly failed. It is fine to say that there is some low quality evidence of what is conventionally called paranormal phenomena, but no repeatable evidence. Paranormalists rely on the silly belief that no one lies or misremembers things. Just look at either Clinton or Bush, and I have just deystroyed this illusion, Bill did cum on Monicas dress, and embryos are not deystroyed in stem cell research.
The descent of american culture into the paranormal is disturbing at best, extremely dangerous at worst. This kind of rubbish is unfortunately how many people think. I am glad to be out of the country for a while.
Quasi is offline   Quote this post in a PM   Nominate this post for this month's language award Copy a direct link to this post Reply With Quote Back to Top
Old 27th February 2004, 01:41 AM   #13
apoger
Muse
 
Join Date: Oct 2001
Posts: 561
>He didn't address the crux of any of my arguments.


I'm stunned that you have the courage to admit association with that article after the legendary debunking it received. Your connection to reality must be tenuous at best.
apoger is offline   Quote this post in a PM   Nominate this post for this month's language award Copy a direct link to this post Reply With Quote Back to Top
Old 27th February 2004, 01:43 AM   #14
MRC_Hans
Penultimate Amazing
 
MRC_Hans's Avatar
 
Join Date: Aug 2002
Posts: 20,164
W Wu:
This is the "snow them under" tactics. You present a big load of arguments, then when some people have waded through them and start to respond, you can pick and choose which arguments among many you want to address. I'm willing to assume you do not do this on purpose, that you just want to make as convincing a case as you can.

However, I for one won't partake in such a debate. I suggest you choose one argument and present it, then we can discuss that.

This takes much longer, but makes ofr a constructive debate.

Hans
__________________
If you love life, you must accept the traces it leaves.
MRC_Hans is online now   Quote this post in a PM   Nominate this post for this month's language award Copy a direct link to this post Reply With Quote Back to Top
Old 27th February 2004, 02:24 AM   #15
WWu777
Banned
 
Join Date: Feb 2004
Posts: 163
You guys are still missing the point. Sandoval did not show in ANY way that my arguments conflicted with REALITY. All he did was show that they were incompatible with philosophical skepticism, which is often not reality. I, on the other hand, showed defects about how philosophical skepticism and pseudo skeptics contradict reality. That's the bottom line. I'm about reality here, while you guys and Sandoval are about pseudo philosophy and semantics.

Real life examples are all over my articles. But I won't play any pissing contests with you closed minded folks.

Oh and FYI, anecdotal evidence, even if it's all there is, IS EVIDENCE, regardless of what you think. You guys can sit there and yell "anecdotal evidence and testimonies are invalid" and repeat that all you want, but denying reality like that doesn't help you learn anything, and it doesn't change reality either. It's just you playing games in your mind.

I never claimed that people don't lie or that anecdotes are infallible. NO ONE claims such things. But anecdotal evidence is not zero evidence. See my section in the article about anecdotal evidence. Most things I hear tend to check out, anyway. It all depends on many factors.

Finally, you guys constantly use double standards when you accept anecdotal evidence that debunks. How very selective. Fortunately, people can point it out.

See Drasdin's Zen and the Art of Debunkery, here at this link:

http://www.eskimo.com/~billb/pathskep.html

It describes perfectly the kind of tactics you people use.

Winston
WWu777 is offline   Quote this post in a PM   Nominate this post for this month's language award Copy a direct link to this post Reply With Quote Back to Top
Old 27th February 2004, 02:31 AM   #16
geni
Anti-homeopathy illuminati member
 
geni's Avatar
 
Join Date: Oct 2003
Posts: 28,185
Quote:
Originally posted by WWu777
Oh and FYI, anecdotal evidence, even if it's all there is, IS EVIDENCE, regardless of what you think. You guys can sit there and yell "anecdotal evidence and testimonies are invalid" and repeat that all you want, but denying reality like that doesn't help you learn anything, and it doesn't change reality either. It's just you playing games in your mind.
But in the case of homeopathy I have evidence that is far better than anicdotal that it does not work.
geni is offline   Quote this post in a PM   Nominate this post for this month's language award Copy a direct link to this post Reply With Quote Back to Top
Old 27th February 2004, 02:39 AM   #17
mstricky
Master Poster
 
Join Date: Feb 2002
Posts: 2,533
wow you've sure got the tic-tics angry now, just as it describes in your article. or is it just anecdotal that they get angry. Zep mind your own business I washed my socks hours ago. Now go and do something useful yourself instead of living on here.
mstricky is offline   Quote this post in a PM   Nominate this post for this month's language award Copy a direct link to this post Reply With Quote Back to Top
Old 27th February 2004, 02:55 AM   #18
geni
Anti-homeopathy illuminati member
 
geni's Avatar
 
Join Date: Oct 2003
Posts: 28,185
Quote:
Remember that you can easily appear to refute anyone's
claims by building "straw men" to demolish. One way to do this is to misquote them while preserving that convincing grain of truth; for example, by acting as if they have intended the extreme of any position they've taken. Another effective strategy with a long
history of success is simply to misreplicate their experiments--or
to avoid replicating them at all on grounds that to do so would be
ridiculous or fruitless. To make the whole process even easier,
respond not to their actual claims but to their claims as reported by the media, or as propagated in popular myth.
Funny I keep running to these debating tatics. From belivers.

Now have you finished building your strawman or not?
geni is offline   Quote this post in a PM   Nominate this post for this month's language award Copy a direct link to this post Reply With Quote Back to Top
Old 27th February 2004, 03:26 AM   #19
MRC_Hans
Penultimate Amazing
 
MRC_Hans's Avatar
 
Join Date: Aug 2002
Posts: 20,164
OK; I see you picked your weapon:


Quote:
Originally posted by WWu777
*snip*

Oh and FYI, anecdotal evidence, even if it's all there is, IS EVIDENCE, regardless of what you think. You guys can sit there and yell "anecdotal evidence and testimonies are invalid" and repeat that all you want, but denying reality like that doesn't help you learn anything, and it doesn't change reality either. It's just you playing games in your mind.

I never claimed that people don't lie or that anecdotes are infallible. NO ONE claims such things. But anecdotal evidence is not zero evidence. See my section in the article about anecdotal evidence. Most things I hear tend to check out, anyway. It all depends on many factors.

*snip*
Winston
OK, I have seen some skeptics summarily write off anecdotical evidence, and I agree that this is not fair. Anecdoticals are not entirely worthless, but there are some problems with them, most importantly (of course assuming they are true):

1) They are simply observations. Therefore they cannot be used to conclude about causative connections. All they can do is show that a certain observation was made.

2) They are never representative. Anecdotes are incidences that somehow stuck in the mind of people, there could be any number of cases contradicting them that were not remembered.

Hans
__________________
If you love life, you must accept the traces it leaves.
MRC_Hans is online now   Quote this post in a PM   Nominate this post for this month's language award Copy a direct link to this post Reply With Quote Back to Top
Old 27th February 2004, 03:41 AM   #20
athon
Guest
 
Join Date: Aug 2001
Posts: 9,259
It is interesting how the same sticking points always surface -
*what constitutes evidence
*labels and definitions
*philosophies

These three things are like the residue that can be boiled out of any skeptic vs. believer argument, and rarely can these be further broken down to mutual agreement.

Anecdotes are a great place to start in science. An observation made by one or more people can be a flag that says 'look closer'. Like a blip on a graph, it highlights a possible phenomena. Note possible ! It is not proof, it is not evidence. It is merely a light in the distance that draws our attention.

Good science then looks at the most appropriate rationalization given the current knowledge. If this rationalization can be used to interpret other phenomena, it becomes elevated in terms of being a useful theory. Believers in speculative theories don't grasp this - they continue to use the same old arguments, appealing to authority, using ignorance of the unknown as their main support.

WWu, most people here are not grumpy old men who have a grudge against the world and snort derisively at any unusual hypothesis. However, we are people who understand the minor points of science, and know the difference between speculation and robust theories.

If you hang around here, sort the chaff from the wheat, you'll get a feel for what I mean.

Athon
athon is offline   Quote this post in a PM   Nominate this post for this month's language award Copy a direct link to this post Reply With Quote Back to Top
Old 27th February 2004, 04:31 AM   #21
!Xx+-Rational-+xX!
Guest
 
Join Date: Aug 2003
Posts: 872
These are just a few prerequisites for being a believer!:
1. A low degree of intelligence!
2. A hatred of science and truth!
3. Gullibility!
4. The ability put faith in clear illogical delusions!
5. In many cases an extremely malleable memory!
6. Being able to deny proven facts!
7. Irrationality!
8. Wishful thinking that replaces common sense and logic!
9. Willing to waste large sums of money on nonsense!
10. A severe chemical imbalance and mental disorder!
11. False notions of being intellectually similar to materialists!
12. The tendency to always be defeated in debate by critical thinkers!
13. Very open to false memories!



Skeptics have infallible logic!
!Xx+-Rational-+xX! is offline   Quote this post in a PM   Nominate this post for this month's language award Copy a direct link to this post Reply With Quote Back to Top
Old 27th February 2004, 04:43 AM   #22
Ed
Philosopher
 
Join Date: Aug 2001
Posts: 8,658
Re: My article debunking 30 skeptical arguments against the paranormal

Quote:
Originally posted by WWu777
Dear all,
I was wondering if you've all read my article debunking 30 common skeptical arguments against paranormal phenomena. It has been widely passed around in parapsychology circles, and considered the most extensive critique of the tactics of organized pseudo-skepticism. Here is the link.

http://www.victorzammit.com/skeptics/winston.html

Regards,
Winston
All you need is one example of a paranormal effect that is clear and repeatable then the need for all of these words vanishes.

Do you have one?
Ed is offline   Quote this post in a PM   Nominate this post for this month's language award Copy a direct link to this post Reply With Quote Back to Top
Old 27th February 2004, 04:58 AM   #23
Kevin_Lowe
Guest
 
Kevin_Lowe's Avatar
 
Join Date: Feb 2003
Posts: 12,221
Quote:
Originally posted by WWu777
You must have very low lame standards or be extremely closed minded if you think Sandoval's rebuttal to my article means anything. All he did was play semantics with me. He didn't address the crux of any of my arguments.
Hi, Winston.

I think that you are suffering from a misunderstanding about what Sandoval was doing. You see he wasn't just playing semantics, and his rebuttal was indeed meaningful. I'll explain why in detail as we go along.

Quote:
He played a game of philosophical skepticism, by using labels to try to refute my points.
Those labels have been developed for a purpose, to give philosophers and logicians a shorthand for describing arguments both good and bad.

Because those labels exist I don't need to explain what modus ponens is each time I refer to it, for example. I can just say "modus ponens" and people know what I'm on about. Modus ponens works - it's a good argument. If I describe an argument as an example of modus ponens, and my description is accurate, then as far as that goes the argument is a good one.

It goes the other way, too. If I correctly identify an argument as being an Appeal To Ignorance, say, then that argument has been shown to be fallacious. I need do no more, since all Appeals To Ignorance are fallacious. If someone correctly identifies one of your arguments as a fallacious mode of argument, it's game over.

So the question is, was Sandoval correctly or incorrectly labeling your arguments? The bad news for you is that Sandoval was posting the right labels where they belonged, and that does indeed refute your points.

Quote:
It didn't work, not to intelligent people looking for the truth. But if it's enough for you to guys to consider my points debunks, then you guys are definitely not intellectuals or truth-seekers.
I think the problem here is that you don't know enough about logic, to figure out that you don't know enough about logic. If you are learning to ride a horse, for example, you know when you do something wrong because you fall off or something. There's immediate feedback. When we make an illogical argument, however, there is no immediate feedback to tell us we are wrong.

In this case you are wrong and you have been shown to be wrong, but you haven't developed the philosophical skills to realise either that you are wrong or that you have been shown to be wrong.

The solution is to get a good book on logic and educate yourself. There's no shame in ignorance, only in persistent ignorance.

Quote:
Any reasonable person who looked at his rebuttal could tell it was inadequate.
I'm a reasonable guy and I didn't think the rebuttal was inadequate. He correctly identified and labeled your use of arguments that do not prove anything, and not much was left. That's an adequate job in anyone's language.

The problem is not that you have not been rebutted. It's that you do not yet have the mental skills to know that you have been rebutted, or to know how and why you have been rebutted.
Kevin_Lowe is offline   Quote this post in a PM   Nominate this post for this month's language award Copy a direct link to this post Reply With Quote Back to Top
Old 27th February 2004, 05:11 AM   #24
BillHoyt
Guest
 
Join Date: Mar 2003
Posts: 5,755
Quote:
Originally posted by max
Welcome to the forum WWu777, the other posters seem to have lost their manners.
I found the article to be fascinating and I shall have a good read at it later when I have more time.
Solid critique, max! "I skimmed it. It is woo. It is good. I'll read it later." Solid!
BillHoyt is offline   Quote this post in a PM   Nominate this post for this month's language award Copy a direct link to this post Reply With Quote Back to Top
Old 27th February 2004, 05:15 AM   #25
thaiboxerken
Penultimate Amazing
 
thaiboxerken's Avatar
 
Join Date: Sep 2001
Posts: 28,065
Debunking skepticism here? Good luck to you. Please post an announcement if your plan succeeds. The day skepticism is debunked is the day I start selling snake oil.
__________________
All national institutions of churches, whether Jewish, Christian or Turkish, appear to me no other than human inventions, set up to terrify and enslave mankind, and monopolize power & profit - Thomas Paine
thaiboxerken is offline   Quote this post in a PM   Nominate this post for this month's language award Copy a direct link to this post Reply With Quote Back to Top
Old 27th February 2004, 05:31 AM   #26
BillHoyt
Guest
 
Join Date: Mar 2003
Posts: 5,755
Mr. Wu,

") It is possible for something to exist without leaving behind collectable evidence as a souvenir to us. For example, planes, radio waves, electromagnetism, and light move around without leaving "hard evidence" yet they exist. Therefore, extraordinary phenomena can easily exist without leaving behind extraordinary evidence."

This one is simply bizarre. You list four phenomena, each of which leaves evidence behind as examples of phenomena which leave no evidence behind. Bizarre.

"2) Second, what someone sincerely believes is NOT the same as what someone knowingly makes up. Since the skeptic who uses this argument don’t believe in invisible pink unicorns himself, it is pointless as well as inconsiderate to compare that to what people genuinely believe and experience, such as God, spirits, or ESP. Of course, just because someone genuinely believes something doesn’t make it true, but to compare an honest person to a deliberate fraud is not a valid comparison."

Uh-huh. And with this stroke of the pen do you seriously propose to negate arguments by analogy? BTW, please fix the grammar in your article.

"If skeptics want some proof for something, they have to go find it themselves. "

So we should busy ourselves running after every fanciful notion dreamt up by credophiles? You seem to forget that skeptics are not seeking this information. The claimants wish to share or spread their delusions. They come to the world wanting money or belief or validation. They come with extraordinary claims that are up against a mountain of contrary evidence called science. If they want the world's attention, they must proffer proof. Decrying this basic logic is simply an acknowledgement that you've nothing to marshall in defense of your claims. It is a whine.

If you want more, just ask.
BillHoyt is offline   Quote this post in a PM   Nominate this post for this month's language award Copy a direct link to this post Reply With Quote Back to Top
Old 27th February 2004, 05:33 AM   #27
BillHoyt
Guest
 
Join Date: Mar 2003
Posts: 5,755
Quote:
Originally posted by thaiboxerken
Debunking skepticism here? Good luck to you. Please post an announcement if your plan succeeds. The day skepticism is debunked is the day I start selling snake oil.
You have to read it closely, TBK. Then look over the woo assaults here from the past months. Wu's work, as tragically flawed as it is, is the wu playbook here. Right down the line. The "pink unicorn" lament and the "burden of proof" nonsense. The inner logic here is the inner logic of the paranoid deluison and the psychotic break.
BillHoyt is offline   Quote this post in a PM   Nominate this post for this month's language award Copy a direct link to this post Reply With Quote Back to Top
Old 27th February 2004, 05:49 AM   #28
chillzero
Penultimate Amazing
 
chillzero's Avatar
 
Join Date: Dec 2002
Posts: 15,539
My tuppence worth

I agree with Max that people have jumped at being rude, which doesn’t accomplish anything, other than to give you the illusion that you are in the right, as people are more aggressive when on the defensive, in my experience.

From your article:
“Before I begin, I want to clarify that I have nothing against honest skepticism. It is good to have a healthy dose of skepticism to protect one from scams, con artists, misleading advertising, misleading claims, jumping to conclusions, etc. It's when that skepticism turns to cynicism (without them realizing it even) and closes one's mind so that anything that doesn't fit into their world view is dismissed automatically as misperception, delusion, or fraud, that it's taken too far.”

I agree with this comment, but there are extremes in every field. Personally, I’d rather deal with an extreme skeptic, cynicism and all, then some extreme believers who, for example, are willing to die for a planet ‘hidden’ behind a comet, or kill hundreds in a cramped subway.

From your article:
“The true skeptic though, should be skeptical of his own beliefs and positions as well of others.”

I think this shows up quite an interesting misconception. There is a difference between belief and evidence, and it seems to me that this is where you trip yourself up, frequently. I hold some beliefs to be true, and I cannot be sceptical of my beliefs, because –obviously - I believe them. I am aware of other beliefs, and presented evidences, and anecdotes, and these I can be sceptical of, until the point where they are either disproven, or I believe them.

I call myself a skeptic. I used to be a real believer: in telepathy, ghosts, paranormal events, aliens – all sorts of things. I read (past tense) Tarot cards, gained qualifications in massage and reflexology, and made (still make) regular use of aromatherapy oils and herbs. When I began to question my belief system, I did not convert over and become a ‘born-again’ skeptic, so I think I am still rational and reasonable in querying the world. I am not particularly scientifically minded, and like to give people the benefit of the doubt.

With all this in mind, I still find flaws in your presentation of this argument, and wonder why you would even attempt to prove that having an open and querying mind is a bad thing – to be ‘debunked’.
chillzero is offline   Quote this post in a PM   Nominate this post for this month's language award Copy a direct link to this post Reply With Quote Back to Top
Old 27th February 2004, 06:13 AM   #29
Wrath of the Swarm
Graduate Poster
 
Join Date: Feb 2004
Posts: 1,854
It may be the case that the world doesn't correspond with the categories we've developed, but asserting that an "invisible pink unicorn" exists is always wrong. 'Invisible' and 'pink' are mutually exclusive concepts; each has a definition that rules out the other property.

Perhaps we don't have the right concepts to describe the unicorns running around everywhere, but then the fault is with the person who tries to use existing concepts inappropriately.

The Argument by Linguistic Analysis is not a fallacy. It's simply very easy to abuse by people who don't understand basic reasoning.
Wrath of the Swarm is offline   Quote this post in a PM   Nominate this post for this month's language award Copy a direct link to this post Reply With Quote Back to Top
Old 27th February 2004, 06:17 AM   #30
shemp
a flimsy character...perfidious and despised
 
shemp's Avatar
 
Join Date: Nov 2002
Location: People's Democratic Republic of Planet X
Posts: 25,268
Quote:
Originally posted by WWu777
You must have very low lame standards or be extremely closed minded if you think Sandoval's rebuttal to my article means anything. All he did was play semantics with me. He didn't address the crux of any of my arguments. He played a game of philosophical skepticism, by using labels to try to refute my points. It didn't work, not to intelligent people looking for the truth. But if it's enough for you to guys to consider my points debunks, then you guys are definitely not intellectuals or truth-seekers.

Any reasonable person who looked at his rebuttal could tell it was inadequate.

But anyway, I'm glad you guys knew about the existence of my article.

Regards,
Winston
Yes, we're pretty sure about the existence of your dick too. It's also inadequate. But we don't want to see it any more than we want to see your crap.
__________________
"Shemp, you are the one fixed point in an ever-changing universe." - Beady

"I don't want to live in a world without shemp." - Quarky

"I'll teach your grandmother to suck eggs!"
shemp is offline   Quote this post in a PM   Nominate this post for this month's language award Copy a direct link to this post Reply With Quote Back to Top
Old 27th February 2004, 06:30 AM   #31
mstricky
Master Poster
 
Join Date: Feb 2002
Posts: 2,533
hey Shemp....he could be a girl
mstricky is offline   Quote this post in a PM   Nominate this post for this month's language award Copy a direct link to this post Reply With Quote Back to Top
Old 27th February 2004, 06:33 AM   #32
Lothian
should be banned
 
Lothian's Avatar
 
Join Date: Apr 2002
Location: No no he's not dead, he's, he's restin'
Posts: 13,249
Are you the famous woo Wu who is famous for:-

Trying to force paranormal explanations to explain an event regardless of whether they fit the facts. In essence, silly woo Wu tends to prefer inventing false explanations rather than accepting any normal ones. For example, using “psychic reading” to explain the amazing accuracy of a cold reading when known cold reading techniques could account for the facts and circumstances.
Lothian is offline   Quote this post in a PM   Nominate this post for this month's language award Copy a direct link to this post Reply With Quote Back to Top
Old 27th February 2004, 06:45 AM   #33
Crossbow
Seeking Honesty and Sanity
 
Crossbow's Avatar
 
Join Date: Oct 2001
Location: Charleston, WV
Posts: 11,171
Re: My article debunking 30 skeptical arguments against the paranormal

Quote:
Originally posted by WWu777
Dear all,
I was wondering if you've all read my article debunking 30 common skeptical arguments against paranormal phenomena. It has been widely passed around in parapsychology circles, and considered the most extensive critique of the tactics of organized pseudo-skepticism. Here is the link.

http://www.victorzammit.com/skeptics/winston.html

Regards,
Winston
Well Winston, I am a bit busy today to study the whole article, but I did study the first argument and I must say that it is of rather poor quality (you did ask for opinions!).

Specifically:

Quote:
Section I: General Skeptical Arguments Against The Paranormal

Argument # 1: "It is irrational to believe in anything that hasn't been proven."
That is not a valid Skeptical position; instead, a real Skeptical argument would be:

It is irrational to believe in anything that there is not objective evidence for.

For example, I believe in the Theory of Gravity because there is abundant objective evidence to support it even though the theory has not been explicitly proven (no one has ever seen a Graviton, Gravity Wave, etc.).

Further, after reading your other points in this argument it appears to me that what you often do is setup a false Skeptic premise, then proceed to refute that premise, and thereby conclude that something is wrong with Skepticism. But your conclusion is incorrect since it was based on incorrect data.
__________________
On 16 MAY 2017 Paul Bethke discussed some of the sexual prohibitions of his god regarding man-to-man sex acts and woman-to-woman sex acts: "So not only lesbian acts but also anal sex.."
http://www.internationalskeptics.com...0#post11840580

A man's best friend is his dogma.
Crossbow is offline   Quote this post in a PM   Nominate this post for this month's language award Copy a direct link to this post Reply With Quote Back to Top
Old 27th February 2004, 06:52 AM   #34
Interesting Ian
Banned
 
Join Date: Feb 2004
Posts: 7,675
Quote:
Originally posted by Zep
Yes, Winston, we have. And if you recall, you were given the rounds of the kitchen about it a few years ago when it was solidly and thoroughly debunked. Here you go, read it yourself. And the final comments sum it up neatly:Also, can we suggest that you quietly disassociate yourself from Victor Zammit at the earliest opportunity. The guy is a laughing-stock around these parts.
Hmmm, I haven't read either of the 2 articles. Too much stuff to read. I'm wanting to read Irwin's textbook on parapsychology and this other book on the philosophy of science and other stuff. I'll probably get round to reading the 2 articles eventually though.

Just one thing. Mr Wu, did the author get permission from you to quote you extensively? Or is it allowed? I'm just wondering for when I give a critique of Keith Augustine's "the case against immortality" on my forthcoming web site.

A serious question people because it's possible Augustine won't give me permission since what I say is highly critical of his arguments.
Interesting Ian is offline   Quote this post in a PM   Nominate this post for this month's language award Copy a direct link to this post Reply With Quote Back to Top
Old 27th February 2004, 06:52 AM   #35
Lothian
should be banned
 
Lothian's Avatar
 
Join Date: Apr 2002
Location: No no he's not dead, he's, he's restin'
Posts: 13,249
Quote:
Originally posted by wert
This again?

It's been extensively responded to.

It's crap.
would this be one of the responses A Logical Analysis of Winston Wu's Anti-Skeptic Article

Edited to add. I note that zep just beat me to posting the link by a matter of seconds. About 27360 seconds to be precise.
Lothian is offline   Quote this post in a PM   Nominate this post for this month's language award Copy a direct link to this post Reply With Quote Back to Top
Old 27th February 2004, 07:03 AM   #36
Interesting Ian
Banned
 
Join Date: Feb 2004
Posts: 7,675
Quote:
Originally posted by athon


WWu, most people here are not grumpy old men who have a grudge against the world and snort derisively at any unusual hypothesis. However, we are people who understand the minor points of science, and know the difference between speculation and robust theories.

[/b]
Hmmmm, I've been here almost 2 years and made over 7000 posts, and I would say most skeptics on here (although certainly not all) have an unreasoning emotional response to the suggestion of the existence of any paranormal phenomena. You'll find that these people can't argue, tell flat out falsehoods, will never admit to being wrong etc.
Interesting Ian is offline   Quote this post in a PM   Nominate this post for this month's language award Copy a direct link to this post Reply With Quote Back to Top
Old 27th February 2004, 07:04 AM   #37
mstricky
Master Poster
 
Join Date: Feb 2002
Posts: 2,533
To Wert
There's nothing new under the sun so the same subjects will be discussed and discussed and discussed. Don't try to deflate newbies.
mstricky is offline   Quote this post in a PM   Nominate this post for this month's language award Copy a direct link to this post Reply With Quote Back to Top
Old 27th February 2004, 07:11 AM   #38
FutileJester
Critical Thinker
 
Join Date: Nov 2002
Posts: 274
Quote:
Originally posted by MRC_Hans
I suggest you choose one argument and present it, then we can discuss that.
I second that. Is there one point that you find particularly compelling, Wu? I'm willing to have a (calm) discussion here but I know that discusing 30 points at once is guaranteed to accomplish nothing.
__________________

Many an ancient lord's last words had been, "You can't kill me because I've got magic aaargh."

--Terry Pratchett, Interesting Times
FutileJester is offline   Quote this post in a PM   Nominate this post for this month's language award Copy a direct link to this post Reply With Quote Back to Top
Old 27th February 2004, 07:12 AM   #39
Kerberos
Illuminator
 
Join Date: Aug 2003
Posts: 4,577
Quote:
Originally posted by Wrath of the Swarm
It may be the case that the world doesn't correspond with the categories we've developed, but asserting that an "invisible pink unicorn" exists is always wrong. 'Invisible' and 'pink' are mutually exclusive concepts; each has a definition that rules out the other property.

Perhaps we don't have the right concepts to describe the unicorns running around everywhere, but then the fault is with the person who tries to use existing concepts inappropriately.

The Argument by Linguistic Analysis is not a fallacy. It's simply very easy to abuse by people who don't understand basic reasoning.
The Invisible pink unicorns can be seen by the especially enlightened.
Kerberos is offline   Quote this post in a PM   Nominate this post for this month's language award Copy a direct link to this post Reply With Quote Back to Top
Old 27th February 2004, 07:13 AM   #40
Interesting Ian
Banned
 
Join Date: Feb 2004
Posts: 7,675
Re: My tuppence worth

Quote:
Originally posted by cabby
From your article:
“The true skeptic though, should be skeptical of his own beliefs and positions as well of others.”

I think this shows up quite an interesting misconception. There is a difference between belief and evidence, and it seems to me that this is where you trip yourself up, frequently. I hold some beliefs to be true, and I cannot be sceptical of my beliefs, because –obviously - I believe them. I am aware of other beliefs, and presented evidences, and anecdotes, and these I can be sceptical of, until the point where they are either disproven, or I believe them.
If you do not exercise skepticism towards your own beliefs than you are not a skeptic in the original meaning of this term. You are a pseudo-skeptic or cynic. Your position is no better than the most starry eyed believer.
Interesting Ian is offline   Quote this post in a PM   Nominate this post for this month's language award Copy a direct link to this post Reply With Quote Back to Top
Reply

International Skeptics Forum » General Topics » General Skepticism and The Paranormal

Bookmarks

Thread Tools

Posting Rules
You may not post new threads
You may not post replies
You may not post attachments
You may not edit your posts

BB code is On
Smilies are On
[IMG] code is On
HTML code is Off
Forum Jump


All times are GMT -7. The time now is 01:26 AM.
Powered by vBulletin. Copyright ©2000 - 2017, Jelsoft Enterprises Ltd.
© 2014, TribeTech AB. All Rights Reserved.
This forum began as part of the James Randi Education Foundation (JREF). However, the forum now exists as
an independent entity with no affiliation with or endorsement by the JREF, including the section in reference to "JREF" topics.

Disclaimer: Messages posted in the Forum are solely the opinion of their authors.