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Old 26th December 2015, 04:50 PM   #41
caveman1917
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Originally Posted by psionl0 View Post
Libertarianism (the no government kind)
You should be even more skeptical of it and realize that what you (the US) understand as "libertarianism" isn't libertarianism at all but a form of fascism.



Quote:
Nope, that is definitely a minority view point here (GOP excepted).
I'm with JihadJane on this one.
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Old 26th December 2015, 05:47 PM   #42
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"Not a true skeptic" is the most pathetic way to exclude someone from your community imaginable. It's also a paraphrase of a common logical fallacy.
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Old 28th December 2015, 08:18 AM   #43
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Originally Posted by The Atheist View Post
In what way does ISF aid or support skepticism, or even act skeptically?...On other boards with skeptic or skepticism in their name, at least lip-service is paid to skepticism, but I'm not seeing a lot of evidence in action here. Given that this is named International Skeptics Forum, is there a responsibility that the forum is seen to act skeptically itself?...
I'm not clear on this. When you say the "the forum" should act skeptically are you referring to the members or to the administrators? To the design of the forum or to the discussions themselves?

Other skeptic boards at least pay lip service to skepticism. How do they do that? What are they doing that ISF isn't doing.
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Old 28th December 2015, 01:56 PM   #44
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Originally Posted by newyorkguy View Post
I'm not clear on this. When you say the "the forum" should act skeptically are you referring to the members or to the administrators? To the design of the forum or to the discussions themselves?
I'm trying to look at it from a non-skeptical perspective, and it appears the forum - neither in content nor administration - seems to show that purpose at anything more than a casual level. Like the name.

There is a sub-current of skepticism, but if you look even more closely, a lot of skepticism is actually cynicism disguised as skepticism. Note: I see no problem with cynicism, but call it cynicism. An example is a thread I was reading a while back where some bloke posted his hugely impressive credentials on the topic. Internationally credible and verifiable information which enabled the person to give a unique, authoritative view of the subject.

And what happens? It turns into a squabble because several dicks start questioning everything while being unable to present an actual argument espousing any reason to think differently to what had been said. Argument for the sake of it, destroying what should have been a glittering example of what a thread should be.

Originally Posted by newyorkguy View Post
Other skeptic boards at least pay lip service to skepticism. How do they do that? What are they doing that ISF isn't doing.
The few others - aside from Skeptical Community, which isn't even slightly skeptical - dedicate resources to protect the worthy and dump the unworthy. They don't allow trolling, which is a good start.

That said, those boards have few members.
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Old 28th December 2015, 03:31 PM   #45
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As it was said, unlike chess or literature, scepticism is not a hobby, not subject to study and/or to have discussion about.

Forum is multi-player notepad so competitiveness shows necessarily, unless there is common goal, common interests, like in case of chess or literature.

Trolling is dialogue. There is no trolling without someone feeding trolls. That is another aspect some people seem to either enjoy or are not aware of. Without feeding, there is spamming, and I tend to agree that spamming does not contribute to anything.
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Old 28th December 2015, 04:12 PM   #46
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Originally Posted by tuco View Post
As it was said, unlike chess or literature, scepticism is not a hobby, not subject to study and/or to have discussion about.
On with the complete nonsense.

The best thing a skeptic can do is be skeptical about his/her own beliefs.

Here are a couple of handy pieces on the subject to help you out:

http://www.skeptic.com/about_us/manifesto/

http://www.csicop.org/si/show/skepti...e_investigate/
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Old 28th December 2015, 04:17 PM   #47
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I do not care about that so I am not gonna waste time and energy reading it. I am trying to be sceptical. I know what it means.

On literature forum people debate literature. On sceptical forum people do not debate scepticism.
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Old 28th December 2015, 05:34 PM   #48
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Originally Posted by The Atheist View Post
I'm trying to look at it from a non-skeptical perspective, and it appears the forum - neither in content nor administration - seems to show that purpose at anything more than a casual level. Like the name...
Okay thanks, I understand what you're saying and I pretty much agree.
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Old 28th December 2015, 07:37 PM   #49
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Originally Posted by The Atheist View Post

There is a sub-current of skepticism, but if you look even more closely, a lot of skepticism is actually cynicism disguised as skepticism. Note: I see no problem with cynicism, but call it cynicism. An example is a thread I was reading a while back where some bloke posted his hugely impressive credentials on the topic. Internationally credible and verifiable information which enabled the person to give a unique, authoritative view of the subject.

.
I don't mean to seem cynical, but typically when one gives an example, they usually give the example instead of concluding that, in this case, he had "hugely impressive credentials."

Link to the thread, and I promise to give it a gander
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Old 29th December 2015, 03:34 AM   #50
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@OP. Gosh, not sure how to begin. As a Skepticoi, I can assert nothing, but here goes a tentative provisional approach, doubtful from the beginning, as per what I think I might hesitantly take as a request.

Philosophically, I doubt absolutely certain knowledge is possible. Although not quite a post-empiricist, I observe that science all takes place in the mind, verifying models against other mental constructs, not against a pure, unchanging and known standard. Yet there is sympathy for the old-time realists, as while their insistence on the reliability of the senses as truth givers was mistaken, the senses can act in that way at times (not much to interpret from a pin prick).

About all we have to save us from drowning in doubt is the arrow of time, which fixes all potential outcomes into an indelible, yet ambiguous, historical track record in the physical world.

Don't worry, as a Pyrrhonist, I suspended all judgment when reading the OP. However, I never did understand how skepticism would or could be exercised in the way you seek, since it should result in highly variable responses on the board. But I am left to wonder, are there really other readers of this thread, or am I in a solipsistic nightmare?... Phew, just checked the mirror; no way I'd let reality have me look like that, it must indeed be someone else's creation.
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Old 1st January 2016, 01:37 PM   #51
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I got the impression fairly early on that around here skepticism can be carried just so far. A poster once wrote that he abhors Muslims, hates Jews, reviles Catholics and can not stand Protestants. Further, Arab men disgust him and he would be very happy see them wiped from the face of the earth.

I responded that, quite frankly, I considered the poster to be an absolute raving maniac and was quickly yellow carded for being uncivil and attacking the arguer not the argument.

Only...

What was the argument? The poster was expressing a personal belief, weren't they? They didn't include any evidence showing, I don't know, why Arab men -- or at least the average Arab man -- were objectively disgusting. Why Muslims were abhorrent or Jews deserved to be hated. He just stated it. I guess I could have just stated I didn't agree, but that's not much of an counter-argument. Wasn't I really arguing that the level of hate expressed in the post -- reviling, hating and being disgusted by perfect strangers based on their ethnicity or religious beliefs -- wasn't a rational argument? That the argument was one that, by most standards, would be considered unhinged?

How would I have gone about attacking his "argument," anyway. Cite studies showing Arab men are not disgusting? That Jews, Catholics and Protestants as a group are quite likable? It seemed more honest -- and a lot more on point -- to dismiss the argument as maniacal.

If someone states a personal belief does questioning it become off-limits? (You can attack an argument but never an arguer.) But how could that be on a so-called skeptics forum? What if the personal belief was to just state that the person believes the Earth is flat. Would it be permissible to say, "No it's not flat," and possibly link to photos of the Earth taken from the Space Station? Aren't you still attacking their personal belief? What if they responded by writing, "I don't care what those (probably doctored) photos show; I believe the Earth is flat." Could you just respond, "Then you're an idiot?" Wouldn't someone who sincerely thinks the Earth is flat, thinks NASA photos are fraudulent, fall within the broadly accepted definition of the word, "idiot?" In the same way someone who hates, reviles, can't stand and is disgusted by nearly half the Earth's population fits the broadly accepted definition of the phrase, "raving maniac?" What if thinking that is my personal belief?

Could I have gotten away with it if I had been careful to write, "That's an argument only a raving maniac would make?"

As a great man once said, "So many questions, so little time."
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Old 1st January 2016, 01:56 PM   #52
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Interaction leads to organization or order*. It was noted before that we, the community here, are collection of individuals being responsible for the state of the community.

To me then it boils down to this: What is my responsibility?, and How to interact with regards to such responsibility? Now I do not want to be in community which does not respect human rights or denies facts for example.

What to do when encountered by poster posting material not respecting human rights? I call them idiots with hope it will not be pleasant to them. That is my responsibility. Unlike trying to convince them of my cause. They have right to not respect human rights and I have right too, just its against rules here.

What to do when encountered by poster posting material denying facts? Depends. AGW concerns me so maybe idiot too but maybe just education. Bigfoot? Does not concern me, deny all you want. etc

And this is what I know of. There is stuff I do not know of in my head.

---

edit: *or chaos?

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Old 1st January 2016, 02:54 PM   #53
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I agree but I am trying to address the topic which is, or so I guess, what makes this a skeptic's site? Obviously some are doubtful this really is a skeptic's site. That the name comes from the original association with JREF and is just that: a name.

What sets this site apart from others in my mind isn't the level of skepticism encountered but the moderation which prevents (or at least greatly reduces) the really bad behavior you usually see on message boards. But if by skeptic we mean questioning things, I see less of it here than on some other sites. The only thing many ISF posters seem to be skeptical about is whether anyone besides themselves knows what they're talking about!
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Old 1st January 2016, 09:28 PM   #54
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Even if you sincerely believe that a member is an idiot, the forum rules require that you bit your tongue and keep your opinion to yourself. No-one is forcing you to reply to that person. If you can't find anything to say that isn't about the poster, then just don't say anything at all.
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Old 1st January 2016, 09:56 PM   #55
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I know that. I rather get banned than stick around people like that.
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Old 2nd January 2016, 07:51 AM   #56
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I don't want to take this thread off-topic, or get into matters that probably should be in FMF. The point I was trying to make was the forum's orientation.

I think the original context for "skeptic" was James Randi's vetting of the paranormal, occult and supernatural. To follow in his footsteps so to speak. The forum was begun by the Randi organization, was it not?

Has the forum morphed into something else? I would say so, but that's the way the forum was originally set up.
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Old 2nd January 2016, 08:01 AM   #57
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Its not off topic. Interaction leads to evolution, be it order or chaos. 'Forum orientation' is derivative of what kind of content members post here.

So for example, if member(s) post(s) here material suggesting that infringement of basic human rights is OK, and others join in to debate it (giving it legitimacy), then that will be (part) 'forum orientation'.

As for Mr Randi legacy. I know so little I should probably stfu, however, makes me wonder how much time and energy would Mr Randi devote to 'nonsenses' like Bigfoot, 9/11 or shroud.

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Old 2nd January 2016, 01:52 PM   #58
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Originally Posted by newyorkguy View Post
The point I was trying to make was the forum's orientation.
As JREF, clearly male homosexual. Nowadays, who knows?
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Old 2nd January 2016, 04:03 PM   #59
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On What Basis Does "Skeptics" Appear in the Forum Name?


The basis that it can!!!
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Old 4th January 2016, 11:04 AM   #60
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Originally Posted by fuelair View Post
On What Basis Does "Skeptics" Appear in the Forum Name?


The basis that it can!!!

But certainly not on any bases that it is by any warping of the term.

If anything, the better than a thousand words picture below depicts precisely what in fact is done to skepticism on this site.

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Old 4th January 2016, 06:42 PM   #61
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Originally Posted by tuco View Post
As for Mr Randi legacy. I know so little I should probably stfu, however, makes me wonder how much time and energy would Mr Randi devote to 'nonsenses' like Bigfoot, 9/11 or shroud.
I think strictly speaking the Shroud or even Big Foot is more in line with what Randi is all about rather than 9/11 which was, like it or not, essentially a political act. One that involved terrorism to be sure, but essentially political. Randi is not a politician. This is how he's described on Randi.org:
Quote:
James Randi has an international reputation as a magician and escape artist, but today he is best known as the world’s most tireless investigator and demystifier of paranormal and pseudoscientific claims. Randi has pursued “psychic” spoonbenders, exposed the dirty tricks of faith healers, investigated homeopathic water “with a memory,” and generally been a thorn in the sides of those who try to pull the wool over the public’s eyes in the name of the supernatural. Link
Where it's gotten skewed here is, people arguing a political viewpoint sometimes, usually it seems after they've run out of arguments, claim that anyone that doesn't agree with them is not "a skeptic." In fact there are a small group of people here who routinely do that and regular users know who they are. (I always imagine them saying this to someone in front of James Randi and Randi giving them a blank look.)

Again, I think the word 'Skeptic' in the title is really a holdover from the forum's earliest days. It's become kind of a trademark. One that has pretty much lost its relevance to today's message board but still honors the board's roots. Thus my answer to the question, "On What Basis Does "Skeptics" Appear in the Forum Name?" would be:

An historic basis.
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Old 4th January 2016, 07:01 PM   #62
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Originally Posted by newyorkguy View Post
...... Thus my answer to the question, "On What Basis Does "Skeptics" Appear in the Forum Name?" would be:

An historic basis.

By the very same illogic monotheists ought to be justified to have the word "skeptic" inserted somewhere in the names of their religions... perhaps Catholic Skeptics United Church or Universal Skeptics Presbyterian Synagogue... after all they were historically skeptical of Baal and Zeus and Thor... no?

Numerous theists were historically and are still presently skeptical of science and evolution and rational reality... maybe they also can be justified to call themselves skeptics too.

Wouldn't that be a very ironic skeptics' fallacy!!!
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Old 4th January 2016, 07:02 PM   #63
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Pretty much by refusing to deal with trolls
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Old 5th January 2016, 05:15 AM   #64
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Originally Posted by truethat View Post
Pretty much by refusing to deal with trolls
So we are all Billy Goat One or Billy Goat Two but not Billy Goat Three?
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Old 5th January 2016, 06:22 PM   #65
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Originally Posted by newyorkguy View Post
Thus my answer to the question, "On What Basis Does "Skeptics" Appear in the Forum Name?" would be:

An historic basis.
Every now and then a noob will get something like the following in response to a post they made:

"This is a skeptics forum. We expect you to be able to back up what you say and not just expect us to take your word for it."

Regardless of what JR might have originally intended, this is the basis for which "skeptic" appears in the forum name. There is an expectation that any POV will be backed up with sound non-fallacious arguments and evidence where it exists. Anybody who does not meet this standard can expect their arguments to be torn to shreds.
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Old 5th January 2016, 07:39 PM   #66
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This is more what I had in mind (actually posted in a thread today):

Quote:
Stop making sense! What do you think this is, a skeptics forum?
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Old 6th January 2016, 05:30 PM   #67
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Originally Posted by Leumas View Post
By the very same illogic monotheists ought to be justified to have the word "skeptic" inserted somewhere in the names of their religions... perhaps Catholic Skeptics United Church or Universal Skeptics Presbyterian Synagogue... after all they were historically skeptical of Baal and Zeus and Thor... no?

Numerous theists were historically and are still presently skeptical of science and evolution and rational reality... maybe they also can be justified to call themselves skeptics too.

Wouldn't that be a very ironic skeptics' fallacy!!!

But surely that's a "lay" definition of the word "sceptic" (allow me the UK spelling ), as a synonym for "one who has doubts about a certain belief". By that definition, it would certainly be correct to posit that, for example, 9/11 Truthers were "sceptics", in that they were "sceptical" that the Government's official version of events was anywhere near the truth.....

But aren't we talking here about a more fundamental modern* definition of "sceptic": a person who only reaches conclusions after a rational, reasonable, logical and disinterested examination of all the available evidence, and who remains open to modifying or even abandoning a conclusion if new evidence materialises?

By that definition, it's easy to conclude that such groups as (say) 9/11 Truthers, Bigfoot believers, believers in the pharmacological efficacy of homeopathy, and indeed dedicated followers of pretty much every religion in the World, are NOT sceptics.


* "Modern", since the original Sceptics of Ancient Greece took a metaphysical position that it is impossible to have real (let alone absolute) knowledge of anything.......
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Old 6th January 2016, 05:32 PM   #68
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Originally Posted by psionl0 View Post
Every now and then a noob will get something like the following in response to a post they made:

"This is a skeptics forum. We expect you to be able to back up what you say and not just expect us to take your word for it."

Regardless of what JR might have originally intended, this is the basis for which "skeptic" appears in the forum name. There is an expectation that any POV will be backed up with sound non-fallacious arguments and evidence where it exists. Anybody who does not meet this standard can expect their arguments to be torn to shreds.

If I got that response, I'd reply with something like: "you missed an apostrophe after the final "s" in "skeptics""

And then I'd be torn to shreds
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Old 6th January 2016, 05:37 PM   #69
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Originally Posted by arthwollipot View Post
"Not a true skeptic" is the most pathetic way to exclude someone from your community imaginable. It's also a paraphrase of a common logical fallacy.

Yes and no.

Imagine if someone posted something on this forum along the following lines: "I believe Uri Geller used nothing but the power of his mind to bend cutlery and move objects. And yes, I consider myself to be a sceptic". I think the "no true sceptic" form of response (with a fuller explanation of why) would be both appropriate and true in that instance.

But yes, it appears far from uncommon for people on this forum and elsewhere to throw around the "no true sceptic" weapon against their debating opponents when it's neither appropriate nor accurate.
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Old 7th January 2016, 07:33 AM   #70
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What is ironic is that on a forum purportedly for skeptics debating the justification for claiming that the forum is for skeptics, not a single so called skeptic so far has bothered to actually hazard a definition for the term that can be agreed upon by the supposed skeptics before they can start even justifying its usage.

Can someone who claims to be an atheist but yet claims that Jesus saves souls be called a skeptic?

Can someone be called a skeptic who thinks that the onus of proof is on the person who rejects Jesus' resurrection claims?

Can someone still be called a skeptic while believing that Newton's laws are only useful for making horse shoes and are different on the moon?

Can someone who believes that lies are not lies unless someone believes them be called a skeptic?

Can one be called a skeptic who asserts that fabricated lies and myths are evidence for the claimed lies?

Can someone be called a skeptic who claims that considering psychics and astrologers to be hoaxers is a matter of faith?

Can one be called a skeptic who believes that maybe one day supernatural claims will be proven to have been right all along and people who reject the supernatural are just as fundamentalist in their faith as fundamentalist theists?

Can one be called a skeptic while maintaining that not believing in sky daddies is as much a matter of faith as it is to believe in them?

Can someone be called a skeptic who labels people as demented abused as children frothing at the mouth fundamentalist anti-theists because they use the Buybull as evidence against itself and the religions it espouses?

Can one be called a skeptic while claiming that someone who quotes the Buybull to show its fallacies and falsities is a fundamentalist fanatic?

Can someone who historically used to be a skeptic but now believes Jesus is his god be called a skeptic?

Can someone legitimately claim to be a skeptic because he just can do so?

Is one a skeptic who believes that rocks and trees are atheists and thus atheism is a mindless gut feeling just as much a matter of faith as being a theist?

Can someone who derides people for not conforming to his tribe's standards be called a skeptic?

Can someone who lies and makes false claims to further an agenda be called a skeptic?

Can one be called a skeptic who punishes someone for exposing the lies and false claims?

Can one be called a skeptic who abuses and bullies someone who points out the fallacies and false claims and assertions?


Can one be a skeptic while refusing to read books that disprove his held opinions and only reads books in support of his opinions?

Can someone be called a skeptic who when people oppose his opinions he claims that they are doing so because when they were children they were abused by people with that opinion?

Can someone be called a skeptic if he strives by any means in his power to silence any opposition to his opinions?

Can someone be called a skeptic when he applies subjectively and arbitrarily different and contradictory standards of judgement to the exact same words used in exactly the same situation with the only difference being the person who made the words?

Can someone be called a skeptic if he thinks he can read minds and accordingly decide what one really meant to say and then insist upon it as the truth despite the fact that the person whose mind was purportedly divined rejecting the mind reading claims?

Can one be a skeptic who claims to be an atheist but yet believes that Jesus' prophecies are all slowly coming to fruition?

Can someone be a skeptic while deriding someone for pointing out that the above persons are not really atheists?

Can one be a skeptic who claims to be an atheist but yet believes that the Buybull's "scientific facts" are being discovered and confirmed by science on a regular bases?

Can someone be a skeptic while bullying people who point out that the above persons are not really atheists?

Can one be called a skeptic who claims that it is an insanity to debates against theists on an internet forum and that doing so only goes to prove a mental disorder and religious fundamentalism?

Is it skepticism to malign and abhor someone who points out that the claims of the above persons are not in accordance with skepticism?

Is someone a skeptic who maligns and bullies and abuses people who say truths in a way that shocks and prefer that these people be silent than say the truths in a shocking manner?

Is one a skeptic who thinks people who state facts in a unique and novel way are mentally damaged who need a lobotomy?

Is one a skeptic who hates the person who tells the truth and uses all means in his power to extricate them out of his tribal club?
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Last edited by Leumas; 7th January 2016 at 09:27 AM.
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Old 7th January 2016, 08:04 AM   #71
Dr. Keith
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I'm skeptical that a wall of text is an effective form of argument.
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Old 7th January 2016, 08:14 AM   #72
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Originally Posted by LondonJohn View Post
If I got that response, I'd reply with something like: "you missed an apostrophe after the final "s" in "skeptics""

And then I'd be torn to shreds
No true skeptic would take a correction like that so badly.
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Old 7th January 2016, 08:23 AM   #73
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Originally Posted by Dr. Keith View Post
I'm skeptical that a wall of text is an effective form of argument.
I am not even skeptical. Cool story bro after first sentence.
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Old 7th January 2016, 08:27 AM   #74
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Originally Posted by tuco View Post
I am not even skeptical.
I am oddly skeptical.

Skeptic like so many words takes on different meaning depending on who is using it and in what context. I have seen it used as a badge of honour, an expression of derision, a logical process and its result. And that was just by one person!
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Old 7th January 2016, 08:44 AM   #75
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So what? Who cares? What does it matter? Why should I bother with it?

OP asked several questions:

Quote:
In what way does ISF aid or support skepticism, or even act skeptically?
Quote:
Given that this is named International Skeptics Forum, is there a responsibility that the forum is seen to act skeptically itself?
Quote:
Is it harming or aiding skepticism in the process by not being visibly skeptical in style?
and this is one of responses:

Quote:
What is ironic is that on a forum purportedly for skeptics debating the justification for claiming that the forum is for skeptics, not a single so called skeptic so far has bothered to actually hazard a definition for the term that can be agreed upon by the supposed skeptics before they can start even justifying its usage.
Now what? I've learned what Leumas finds ironic. That is nice.

I tell you what would happen, I am psychic like that, if what Lemuas found ironic would happen. If anyone would attempt to define "skepticism" there would me endless debate as what it means to everyone. From here I can safely skip the rest. Time and energy is limited.
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Old 7th January 2016, 08:50 AM   #76
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Is one a skeptic who calls 840 words a "wall of text"?

Is one a skeptic who thinks that 840 words, which he refuses to read, are not an argument?

Is one a skeptic who thinks that an argument is only an argument if it can be written down in a few words?
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Old 7th January 2016, 09:03 AM   #77
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Is one a skeptic who thinks that it is wrong to require one to understand the meaning of the words one applies as a label to oneself?

Is one a skeptic who is not even interested to know what exactly the term means and just accepts that anyone ought to be able to call himself one just because he joined a club with the word as part of the name?

Is one a skeptic who ridicules people for even questioning what the term means?
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Last edited by Leumas; 7th January 2016 at 09:32 AM.
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Old 7th January 2016, 09:31 AM   #78
tuco
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I am not saying those are not good questions, I am asking how is it in my interest even reading them, let alone answering.

Ultimately the forum is what we make it to be whatever its called. I do not find it particular sceptical to debate definitions. There are tons of real world issues to investigate and be skeptical about. To each her own still, show me the importance of definition. Or rather not
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Old 7th January 2016, 09:44 AM   #79
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Originally Posted by Leumas View Post
Is one a skeptic who calls 840 words a "wall of text"?
No.

One is just expecting a person to get to a point. Make the point. And make the point clearly.

I didn't have time to write a short letter, so I wrote a long one instead. - Mark Twain
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Old 7th January 2016, 10:02 AM   #80
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Originally Posted by Dr. Keith View Post
No.

One is just expecting a person to get to a point. Make the point. And make the point clearly.

I didn't have time to write a short letter, so I wrote a long one instead. - Mark Twain

One is also expected to read the point that is made not refuse to read it because it is a few words longer than he'd like and then call it not an argument and bare assert that the point was not made well without having actually read the point.

Is it skeptical to judge a text without having read it?

Is it skeptical to consider a few questions not a point well made without having actually read the questions?
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