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Old 30th January 2007, 10:13 AM   #1
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Skepticism and The Normal

i recently had a very long, funny, and interesting discussion over at badscience.com's forums regarding truth values, skepticism, Randi, qi, and a plethora of side topics that extended over a few threads.

The main point of my arguments was the 'third' value of truth, which could be defined as 'niether true and niether false', mystery, possibility, or what have you. I was amazed that so many 'critical' thinkers are not nearly as skeptical to the claims of reductionists or thier own claims as they are of the paranormal, and many of their arguments crumble into nothingness when confronted with this third value.

Many were offended when I mentioned we should be equally skeptical of James Randi as we are of any paranormal claim. For one, I dont trust magicians, especially one's who have an air of 'I can fool you but you can't fool me' about them. Secondly, james randi seems to suggest that we can't trust scientists to verify claims, that only a magician can properly determine these things.

So, should we trust a magician to guide our philosophy? James Randi made his career honestly tricking people, who is to say he is not still doing so? Why should james randi be held in the highest of standards for determining what is true, false or mystery?

For the record, I whole heartedly support james randi when he exposes frauds, and appreciate his work for doing so. I think he is perfect for exposing frauds, but I just dont think he is relevant for discovery the mystery.

Thoughts?
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Old 30th January 2007, 10:43 AM   #2
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Originally Posted by Bubblefish View Post
I was amazed that so many 'critical' thinkers are not nearly as skeptical to the claims of reductionists or thier own claims as they are of the paranormal, and many of their arguments crumble into nothingness when confronted with this third value.
Really? Which ones?

Originally Posted by Bubblefish View Post
So, should we trust a magician to guide our philosophy? James Randi made his career honestly tricking people, who is to say he is not still doing so? Why should james randi be held in the highest of standards for determining what is true, false or mystery?
I think I can speak for most of us on this board when I say that Randi doesn't "guide our philosophy." That's kind of the point of being a free thinker -- that your point of view is not unduly influenced by a charismatic personality or dogma. Many of us gravitate towards Randi because he thinks like us, not because we want to think like him. See the difference?
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Old 30th January 2007, 10:49 AM   #3
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Plus, he's got a kick-assed beard.
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Old 30th January 2007, 10:56 AM   #4
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Originally Posted by kmortis View Post
Plus, he's got a kick-assed beard.
And he's a master of the Art of the Stink Eye. I wish I could do that.
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Old 30th January 2007, 11:11 AM   #5
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Originally Posted by Buckaroo View Post
Really? Which ones?
many of the ones I have encountered on this forum and the badscience forum. I'm not going to name names, that's not polite.


Quote:
I think I can speak for most of us on this board when I say that Randi doesn't "guide our philosophy." That's kind of the point of being a free thinker -- that your point of view is not unduly influenced by a charismatic personality or dogma. Many of us gravitate towards Randi because he thinks like us, not because we want to think like him. See the difference?
Well of course I see the difference when you frame yourself that way, sure, but just because you frame yourself inside such a healthy sounding and self congradulatory perspective doesnt mean that it's true, for you or anyone else. Now, please dont think that I am personally accusing you of not being what you say, you very well may be, I'm just saying that just because you say you are, doesnt mean I believe you are, I'm highly skeptical about those who claim to be critical thinkers!

I'm sure most self proclaimed critical thinkers would like to think they represent the highest exaltation of rationality, I just don't encounter many of them actually being so when in the crux of the actual argument, I find they resort to intutition, magickal thinking, ad hom and delusion just as much as any 'woo' out there.
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Old 30th January 2007, 11:16 AM   #6
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Originally Posted by kmortis View Post
Plus, he's got a kick-assed beard.
Quote:
And he's a master of the Art of the Stink Eye. I wish I could do that.
yes, magic is all about presentation;-)

he certainly knows how to put on a show and work it!
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Old 30th January 2007, 11:22 AM   #7
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Originally Posted by Bubblefish View Post
many of the ones I have encountered on this forum and the badscience forum. I'm not going to name names, that's not polite.
It may be, but, fortunately, no one asked you to. Just provide some examples of the arguments that "crumbled into nothingness" upon facing the third value.

Originally Posted by Bubblfish
Well of course I see the difference when you frame yourself that way, sure, but just because you frame yourself inside such a healthy sounding and self congradulatory perspective doesnt mean that it's true, for you or anyone else. Now, please dont think that I am personally accusing you of not being what you say, you very well may be, I'm just saying that just because you say you are, doesnt mean I believe you are, I'm highly skeptical about those who claim to be critical thinkers!
However, accusing someone of being "self-congratulatory" when he is simply trying to correct your misconceptions about how most forum members view Randi is impolite.

Originally Posted by Bubblfish
I'm sure most self proclaimed critical thinkers would like to think they represent the highest exaltation of rationality, I just don't encounter many of them actually being so when in the crux of the actual argument, I find they resort to intutition, magickal thinking, ad hom and delusion just as much as any 'woo' out there.
Given your conclusions about "self-proclaimed critical thinkers," I can only assume that you are not one (or would not describe yourself that way).

How do you see yourself then?
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Old 30th January 2007, 11:39 AM   #8
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Originally Posted by Katana View Post
It may be, but, fortunately, no one asked you to.
Katana, please dont feel I am picking on you, but I am going to use you as an example, if you dont mind, to explain what it is exactly that I mean here.

Take your response - "no one asked you" as an example. You're not reading my posts, you just had a knee jerk reaction (intutition) when you read this thread. Someone did ask me, Buckaroo I believe, and his exact words were

Quote:
Really? Which ones?
now, let's be honest with ourselves, was that a reaction or critical thinking that you applied here?

Quote:
Just provide some examples of the arguments that "crumbled into nothingness" upon facing the third value.
well let's begin with you then, if you dont mind. My 'meaning' to my post is in the third value to you, you cannot yet properly discern my meaning yet. Now let's take your opening line here "who asked you?", this is you not including the third value in your consideration, rather, you jumped to a conclusion that was made in error, right?

Quote:
However, accusing someone of being "self-congratulatory" when he is simply trying to correct your misconceptions about how most forum members view Randi is impolite.
I try to write and explain very objectivly, and if anyone speaks of themselves in words that 'self reflec't a higher value, that is 'self congradulatory' in the objective sense of the word. My post didnt signify that in a derogatory way, so again, try to discern my meaning from your interpretation of my text, dont let words and your reactions to them decieve you, it's not critical thinking when you do!




Quote:
Given your conclusions about "self-proclaimed critical thinkers," I can only assume that you are not one (or would not describe yourself that way).
Again, same error your making here, and no disrespect meant, or taken, or assumed. Naturally I value critical thinking very highly in the purest sense of the word. However, I have found that many, but not all, self proclaimed critical thinkers are far from it. It seems more like a belief system around an ideal value than an actual performance. This is only my opinion of course, I'm not presenting research on the subject matter!


Quote:
How do you see yourself then?
As an honest, rational intuitive whose sole purpose is to seek truth and expose my own delusions preventing me from seeing it.

How do you see yourself?
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Old 30th January 2007, 11:52 AM   #9
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Originally Posted by Bubblefish View Post
Katana, please dont feel I am picking on you, but I am going to use you as an example, if you dont mind, to explain what it is exactly that I mean here.

Take your response - "no one asked you" as an example. You're not reading my posts, you just had a knee jerk reaction (intutition) when you read this thread. Someone did ask me, Buckaroo I believe, and his exact words were
You are the one who is mistaken. Read the entirety of his post and you will see that it is quite plain he was asking you about the arguments that crumble into nothingness, not about specific arguers.

Careful of those knees of yours, Bubble. They jerk mightily.


Originally Posted by Bubblefish
]now, let's be honest with ourselves, was that a reaction or critical thinking that you applied here?
It was a question regarding a specific comment which you misinterpreted.


Originally Posted by Bubblefish
well let's begin with you then, if you dont mind. My 'meaning' to my post is in the third value to you,
Please tell me what the third value is, both in general and specifically pertaining to this comment. I have no idea what you mean, and based on the rest of your post, I suspect you do not, either, but I will happily retract if you demonstrate otherwise.


Originally Posted by Bubblefish
you cannot yet properly discern my meaning yet.
One should not have to discern the meaning of a clear thinker. The clear thinker should be able to communicate it clearly. Your communications so far are muddled.


Originally Posted by Bubblefish
Now let's take your opening line here "who asked you?", this is you not including the third value in your consideration, rather, you jumped to a conclusion that was made in error, right?
No. The error was and remains yours.


Originally Posted by Bubblefish
I try to write and explain very objectivly,
Very admirable goal. Few achieve it. You are not among them. At least not in this thread.

Originally Posted by Bubblefish
and if anyone speaks of themselves in words that 'self reflec't a higher value, that is 'self congradulatory' in the objective sense of the word.
If you spelled it with a "t" instead of a "d" you might be closer to having a point, but your sentence would still be a poor guide.


Originally Posted by Bubblefish
My post didnt signify that in a derogatory way,
Nonsense. You have cloaked your derision in prose meant to diffuse it, but it is derogatory nonetheless. There's nothing inherently wrong with that, but denying what you're doing is deceitful, and there is everything wrong with that.

If you think we (or most of us here) on these forums aren't really clear/critical thinkers, then have the guts not only to say it forthrightly, but the guts to defend your position with substance instead of a an unwitting imitation of Sokal.

Originally Posted by Bubblefish
so again, try to discern my meaning from your interpretation of my text,
Better yet, just tell us your meaning. Tell us what the third value is.


Originally Posted by Bubblefish
Again, same error your making here, and no disrespect meant, or taken, or assumed. Naturally I value critical thinking very highly in the purest sense of the word. However, I have found that many, but not all, self proclaimed critical thinkers are far from it. It seems more like a belief system around an ideal value than an actual performance. This is only my opinion of course, I'm not presenting research on the subject matter!
And how do you know that you are not among those many instead of the few?


Originally Posted by Bubblefish
As an honest, rational intuitive whose sole purpose is to seek truth and expose my own delusions preventing me from seeing it.
Sole purpose? Wow.

If so, then I humbly suggest you're making a poor go of it.
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Old 30th January 2007, 12:15 PM   #10
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Originally Posted by Bubblefish View Post
Katana, please dont feel I am picking on you, but I am going to use you as an example, if you dont mind, to explain what it is exactly that I mean here.

Take your response - "no one asked you" as an example. You're not reading my posts, you just had a knee jerk reaction (intutition) when you read this thread. Someone did ask me, Buckaroo I believe, and his exact words were
Quote:
Really? Which ones?
now, let's be honest with ourselves, was that a reaction or critical thinking that you applied here?
Perhaps a bit of both? It is a mischaracterization to quote me as saying "no one asked you". What I said was no one asked you to name anyone in particular. He was asking you to specify which arguments you were referring to, which you haven't provided yet. That is more germaine to the topic than the specific people making those arguments.

Originally Posted by Bubblefish
Quote:
Just provide some examples of the arguments that "crumbled into nothingness" upon facing the third value.
well let's begin with you then, if you dont mind. My 'meaning' to my post is in the third value to you, you cannot yet properly discern my meaning yet. Now let's take your opening line here "who asked you?", this is you not including the third value in your consideration, rather, you jumped to a conclusion that was made in error, right?
Again, please don't misquote me. I never said, "Who asked you?"

What conclusion did I make in error or otherwise? I requested that you provide examples of the arguments that "crumbled into nothingness". While you chastise me for not discerning your meaning, you appear to be reading into my words more than are there.

Originally Posted by Bubblefish
I try to write and explain very objectivly, and if anyone speaks of themselves in words that 'self reflec't a higher value, that is 'self congradulatory' in the objective sense of the word. My post didnt signify that in a derogatory way, so again, try to discern my meaning from your interpretation of my text, dont let words and your reactions to them decieve you, it's not critical thinking when you do!
If you write objectively, then I shouldn't have to "try to discern [your] meaning from [my] interpretation of [your] text", should I?

Originally Posted by Bubblefish
Quote:
Given your conclusions about "self-proclaimed critical thinkers," I can only assume that you are not one (or would not describe yourself that way).
Again, same error your making here, and no disrespect meant, or taken, or assumed. Naturally I value critical thinking very highly in the purest sense of the word. However, I have found that many, but not all, self proclaimed critical thinkers are far from it. It seems more like a belief system around an ideal value than an actual performance. This is only my opinion of course, I'm not presenting research on the subject matter!
What error did I make? You profess skepticism about anyone proclaiming oneself as a critical thinker.

Originally Posted by Bubblefish
As an honest, rational intuitive whose sole purpose is to seek truth and expose my own delusions preventing me from seeing it.

How do you see yourself?
Someone who values (in myself and others) honesty, rational thought, self-reflection, and intellectual challenge, and I try to live my life accordingly.

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Old 30th January 2007, 12:19 PM   #11
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Originally Posted by Garrette View Post
You are the one who is mistaken. Read the entirety of his post and you will see that it is quite plain he was asking you about the arguments that crumble into nothingness, not about specific arguers.
So your saying the phrase "which ones" was specifically stated to mean "which arguments?" and not "which arguers?".

Would not my answer "i'm not going to name names" be inclusive of both questions regardless?


Quote:
Careful of those knees of yours, Bubble. They jerk mightily.
Indeed, we all need to become aware of our knee jerk reactions, let's all help each other in this regard.

Quote:
It was a question regarding a specific comment which you misinterpreted.
yet my answer mysteriously applies to both interpretations regardless.

Quote:
Please tell me what the third value is, both in general and specifically pertaining to this comment.
The third value is any value which is neither true and niether false. And by which comment are you referring as 'this'? I cant discern, which by the way answers directly your question, eh?

Quote:
I have no idea what you mean, and based on the rest of your post, I suspect you do not, either, but I will happily retract if you demonstrate otherwise.
A nice example of a critical thinker applying the third value. Respect.

Quote:
One should not have to discern the meaning of a clear thinker. The clear thinker should be able to communicate it clearly. Your communications so far are muddled.
Are they muddled or is your understanding of them?

An old hebrew saying "to tell the truth to someone who is unable to comprehend it is the same thing as lying to them"

Quote:
No. The error was and remains yours.
Please address which error specifically so i wont make the same mistake twice.



Quote:
Very admirable goal. Few achieve it. You are not among them. At least not in this thread.
Well I dont think your personal reactions to one or two posts counts as a psychological questionaire with any efficacy that critical thinking would accept as valid, plus, I just honestly answered someone's question, I'm not here to be evaluated and verified by strangers.

Quote:

If you spelled it with a "t" instead of a "d" you might be closer to having a point, but your sentence would still be a poor guide.
Thank you for pointing out my misspells and clerical errors, I find here is where i need much work, and appreciate those who bring such errors to my attention, please stick around!

Quote:
Nonsense. You have cloaked your derision in prose meant to diffuse it, but it is derogatory nonetheless. There's nothing inherently wrong with that, but denying what you're doing is deceitful, and there is everything wrong with that.
well here you are mistaken. self congradulatory means self congradulatory. I self congradulate myself all the time. As Huckleberry Finn would say "Aint braggin' if ya done it!".

Why so the defensivness of the term? Wouldn't you rather make an inquery of my meaning through futher dialouge and exchange rather than reaction, suspicion, or judgemet?

Quote:

If you think we (or most of us here) on these forums aren't really clear/critical thinkers, then have the guts not only to say it forthrightly, but the guts to defend your position with substance instead of a an unwitting imitation of Sokal.
My words meant 'most' that i have encountered, not 'most' in the world or on these forums.

Quote:

Better yet, just tell us your meaning. Tell us what the third value is.
Good question! the third value is niether true and niether false.



Quote:
And how do you know that you are not among those many instead of the few?
again, good question! I can only know the best I can, and I can only know by consciously be willing to 'see' where I react and distinguish that from 'thinking'.

"critical thinking" is a practice, no? I dont look at it as something one has 'achieved' like a title or something, but rather a practice that one develops through holding it as an ideal.

I could

Quote:
Sole purpose? Wow.

If so, then I humbly suggest you're making a poor go of it.
well, it may be 'poor' but it's certainly a 'go' and an honest one at that.

From our exchange and the value of your questions, I would distinguish you as a critical thinker
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Old 30th January 2007, 12:37 PM   #12
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Originally Posted by Bubblefish View Post
So your saying the phrase "which ones" was specifically stated to mean "which arguments?" and not "which arguers?".
Yes.


Originally Posted by Bubblefish
Would not my answer "i'm not going to name names" be inclusive of both questions regardless?
No. Arguments are independent of the arguer. When they cease to be independent, they cease to be valid arguments.


Originally Posted by Bubblefish
Indeed, we all need to become aware of our knee jerk reactions, let's all help each other in this regard.
Fair enough.


Originally Posted by Bubblefish
yet my answer mysteriously applies to both interpretations regardless.
No. It only applied to the misinterpretation about arguers.


Originally Posted by Bubblefish
The third value is any value which is neither true and niether false.
Okay. I find that a meaningless label then. Give me an example of something which is neither true nor false as opposed to something which we simply do not know if it is true or false.

And since the topic relates to critical thinking and not physics, let's avoid, shall we, the Schrodinger's Cat thingie which is likely to be misrepresented by at least one, and probably both, of us.


Originally Posted by Bubblefish
And by which comment are you referring as 'this'? I cant discern, which by the way answers directly your question, eh?
This one, by katana, which was the original reference. Sorry for not making it more clear:

Just provide some examples of the arguments that "crumbled into nothingness" upon facing the third value.



Originally Posted by Bubblefish
Are they muddled or is your understanding of them?
Or both? We should always be asking that question, no? But one need not start from a presumption of equal validity.


Originally Posted by Bubblefish
An old hebrew saying "to tell the truth to someone who is unable to comprehend it is the same thing as lying to them"
Interesting thought. Not sure I agree.


Originally Posted by Bubblefish
Please address which error specifically so i wont make the same mistake twice.
Confusing the arguer and the argument.
But thanks for taking this attitude about it.


Originally Posted by Bubblefish
Well I dont think your personal reactions to one or two posts counts as a psychological questionaire with any efficacy that critical thinking would accept as valid,
Agreed, but I never implied it did.


Originally Posted by Bubblefish
plus, I just honestly answered someone's question,
You answered a misinterpretation of the question in a manner which, when taken with the tone of your opening post, indicated an arrogance not supported by the content.

Originally Posted by Bubblefish
I'm not here to be evaluated and verified by strangers.
Evaluations happen all the time, whether we intend them or not. You have done so yourself in this very thread.


Originally Posted by Bubblefish
Thank you for pointing out my misspells and clerical errors, I find here is where i need much work, and appreciate those who bring such errors to my attention, please stick around!
I will as time allows.


Originally Posted by Bubblefish
Well here you are mistaken. self congradulatory means self congradulatory. I self congradulate myself all the time. As Huckleberry Finn would say "Aint braggin' if ya done it!".
I've got nothing against confidence, arrogance, or even braggadocio. I've got everything against all three when the one exhibiting them pretends he's not.


Originally Posted by Bubblefish
Why so the defensivness of the term? Wouldn't you rather make an inquery of my meaning through futher dialouge and exchange rather than reaction, suspicion, or judgemet?
I did.


Originally Posted by Bubblefish
My words meant 'most' that i have encountered, not 'most' in the world or on these forums.
Thanks for the clarification.


Originally Posted by Bubblefish
Good question! the third value is niether true and niether false.
Again, please provide an example.


Originally Posted by Bubblefish
again, good question! I can only know the best I can, and I can only know by consciously be willing to 'see' where I react and distinguish that from 'thinking'.
Good stance to take. It wasn't apparent from your opening post that this was your stance.


Originally Posted by Bubblefish
"critical thinking" is a practice, no? I dont look at it as something one has 'achieved' like a title or something, but rather a practice that one develops through holding it as an ideal.
I think I agree.


Originally Posted by Bubblefish
well, it may be 'poor' but it's certainly a 'go' and an honest one at that.
Then I can't ask for more.


Originally Posted by Bubblefish
From our exchange and the value of your questions, I would distinguish you as a critical thinker
I submit it's far too early for you to tell that about me.

For what it's worth, I sometimes am and I'm sometimes not a critical thinker. Sometimes I can tell the difference, sometimes not.
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Old 30th January 2007, 12:53 PM   #13
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Originally Posted by Bubblefish View Post
many of the ones I have encountered on this forum and the badscience forum. I'm not going to name names, that's not polite.
As others have noted, I was asking which arguments, not which people. I did accidentally leave some potential ambiguity here, and it's interesting that you took the other interpretation. Says a lot about the differing filters through which people view the world.

Originally Posted by Bubblefish View Post
Well of course I see the difference when you frame yourself that way, sure, but just because you frame yourself inside such a healthy sounding and self congradulatory perspective doesnt mean that it's true, for you or anyone else.
Isn't this an awfully presumptuous statement? And "self-congratulatory?" I don't see it. Confident in our assertions, perhaps, but that's because the evidence is usually on our side, and we don't find appeals to mystery to be especially useful.


Originally Posted by Bubblefish View Post
I'm sure most self proclaimed critical thinkers would like to think they represent the highest exaltation of rationality, I just don't encounter many of them actually being so when in the crux of the actual argument, I find they resort to intutition, magickal thinking, ad hom and delusion just as much as any 'woo' out there.
I can't speak to your personal experience, but this has certainly not been mine.

And not speak for Katana, but:

Originally Posted by Bubblefish View Post
well let's begin with you then, if you dont mind. My 'meaning' to my post is in the third value to you, you cannot yet properly discern my meaning yet. Now let's take your opening line here "who asked you?", this is you not including the third value in your consideration, rather, you jumped to a conclusion that was made in error, right?
Huh? Can you clarify this?

I'm actually really interested in the arguments you describing as crumbling. Can you tell us which ones? No need to drag any names into it...
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Old 30th January 2007, 12:56 PM   #14
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Originally Posted by Garrette View Post
Yes.


No. Arguments are independent of the arguer. When they cease to be independent, they cease to be valid arguments.
Well, naturally I whole heartedly agree here, conflicting ideas are not conflicting people nor are they people at all. If his question included soley "which ones", I would assume that he would require a link to the discussions, and that is what i meant by revealing the posters to the arguments.

Also, to be fair to both of you, i dont want to go over old arguments and discussions! I would rather start fresh and that is how I introduced my opening post here, which of course I would rather enjoy reading your commentary on.

Quote:
It only applied to the misinterpretation about arguers.
I hope I have cleared that up.....


Quote:
I find that a meaningless label then. Give me an example of something which is neither true nor false as opposed to something which we simply do not know if it is true or false.
That's the same thing. Supranatural is currently neither true nor false. And I assosciate the third value to 'ideas' and not 'objects'. It's a conceptual construct. Although who is to say there is no purely mysterious physical object in the universe? But I dont go into it that deep for my meaning to hold value.

Quote:

And since the topic relates to critical thinking and not physics, let's avoid, shall we, the Schrodinger's Cat thingie which is likely to be misrepresented by at least one, and probably both, of us.
surely critical thinking should be applied to physics as well as existence, no? The third value just doenst stop becoming a neccesity because we are not discussing QM.

Also, for the sake of clarity, let me distinguish clearly how I am defining critical thinking. I am defining it simply as honest and rational thinking as distinguished from intuitive or creative thinking.

Quote:
Just provide some examples of the arguments that "crumbled into nothingness" upon facing the third value.
Well, for example, there are many arguments on this forum regarding 'qi', and one or two on badscience.net. Those arguments are a bit long and I dont want to rehash old arguments, but rather new and fresh ones.


Quote:
Or both? We should always be asking that question, no?
Yes, and this is how I determine you to be a critical thinker.

Quote:
Confusing the arguer and the argument.
a horrible and common error made by all of us, some more than others.



Quote:
You answered a misinterpretation of the question in a manner which, when taken with the tone of your opening post, indicated an arrogance not supported by the content.
Well I could easily see how it could be interpreted that way, but I assume critical thinkers would engage me a bit further before making a judgement.


Quote:
Evaluations happen all the time, whether we intend them or not. You have done so yourself in this very thread.
Yes, I evaluate you to be a critical thinker, and I use your own language as proof.



Quote:
I've got nothing against confidence, arrogance, or even braggadocio. I've got everything against all three when the one exhibiting them pretends he's not.
I am truly the most humble person in the world, so I know that you can't possibly be referring to me;-)



Quote:
I submit it's far too early for you to tell that about me.

For what it's worth, I sometimes am and I'm sometimes not a critical thinker. Sometimes I can tell the difference, sometimes not.
the best tell all sign of a rational and thoughtful human being. It's not about being 'right', critical thinking, it's about being honest and willing to arrive at the truth from thinking and engaging in reasonable discussion with other rational human beings.

So therefore we disagree, it is not too early for me to tell you are a critical thinker, unless your a sociopath! Sometimes sociopaths fool me, but I hardly think you're one of them!


Best,
BF
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Old 30th January 2007, 01:09 PM   #15
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Originally Posted by Buckaroo View Post
As others have noted, I was asking which arguments, not which people. I did accidentally leave some potential ambiguity here, and it's interesting that you took the other interpretation. Says a lot about the differing filters through which people view the world.
Well, like I said to the other poster, my answer was for both, and also, forgive me, but I am also a creative thinker AND a critical thinker, and sometimes, I can't help it, sometimes I play with words and language, although I am always honest when people ask my meaning and intention, so my answer was also a bit playful.

To whit, i would prefer not to link to those arguments because A.) There are allot of people upset about those arguments and I can't link the arguments without linking the individuals by default and B.) I would like to start fresh, I think we could get something interesting going in this thread if we continue.


Quote:
Isn't this an awfully presumptuous statement?
Not when you consider that I said I wasnt saying that you personally are not, so in this light, no, it's just what I hold to be possible before I consider someone to be a critical thinker, by my standards that is.

Quote:


And "self-congratulatory?" I don't see it.
"Congratulation, especially self-satisfied congratulation, of oneself for one's achievements or good fortune."

Surely you can see it now, no? It wasnt meant as an snide remark, nor was it intentionally ambigous, but like you said "it's interesting that you took the other interpretation. Says a lot about the differing filters through which people view the world"


Quote:
Confident in our assertions, perhaps, but that's because the evidence is usually on our side, and we don't find appeals to mystery to be especially useful.
How are you defining mystery? There is more evidence of mystery, as I define it, than there is evidence of what we know.






Quote:
I'm actually really interested in the arguments you describing as crumbling. Can you tell us which ones? No need to drag any names into it...
Rats! I would really rather not, trust me, it might blow into something here and I dont wish that....plus, they are long long long reads.

But if you wait awhile, you might find someone coming here that may refresh them anyway.


Best,

BF

EDIT: sorry, I didnt address your question "can you clarify this??"

Hope this example is suffice. Below is true from your point of view, not mine, upon first glance of my posts. please note, but also the reverse is true for me and all of you.

Third value = my meaning
First value(t) = text
second value(f)=your interpretation

make sense?
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Old 30th January 2007, 01:11 PM   #16
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Oh great, JUST what we needed around here. Yet another self-important "Defender of Rationalism".
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Old 30th January 2007, 01:12 PM   #17
Garrette
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Originally Posted by Bubblefish View Post
Also, to be fair to both of you, i dont want to go over old arguments and discussions! I would rather start fresh and that is how I introduced my opening post here, which of course I would rather enjoy reading your commentary on.
Okay, but then I don't know what else to say about your OP other than "Yes. Sometimes we don't know things."


Originally Posted by Bubblefish
I hope I have cleared that up.....
Yes.


Originally Posted by Bubblefish
That's the same thing. [Neither true nor false = Lack of knowledge about being true or false]
That was my suspicion, hence my calling it a meaningless label.

It's not a value at all. The item in question to which you assign the third value either is or isn't true regardless of our knowledge of which.


Originally Posted by Bubblefish
Supranatural is currently neither true nor false.
Only if you are also willing to say that the Flying Spaghetti Monster is neither true nor false.


Originally Posted by Bubblefish
And I assosciate the third value to 'ideas' and not 'objects'.
But you just associated it with "supranatural" which is not merely an idea, is it?


Originally Posted by Bubblefish
It's a conceptual construct.
Without wanting to get into a battle of semantics, I don't think you are correct. It is a claim, i.e., that entities and/or abilities exist which either contravene all that is known about nature or which act in such a way as to be indetectible and therefore indistinguishable from nonexistence.

Or can you lay out the precepts of this construct for me?


Originally Posted by Bubblefish
Although who is to say there is no purely mysterious physical object in the universe?
Anyone who has not been presented credible evidence, even admitting that there is a spectrum from incredible to credible without a clear dividing line. i.e., me.

Just as I can say there are no invisible, undetectable rhinoceri in my desk drawer.


Originally Posted by Bubblefish
But I dont go into it that deep for my meaning to hold value.
Then I suggest that simply saying there are times when admitting we do not know is the most honest, logical, defensible stance. Few here would disagree.


Originally Posted by Bubblefish
surely critical thinking should be applied to physics as well as existence, no?
Absolutely, but those whose expertise does not extend to certain realms should not pretend it does. Hence, let's leave out Schrodinger's Cat unless you are claiming expertise in QM.


Originally Posted by Bubblefish
The third value just doenst stop becoming a neccesity because we are not discussing QM.
Saying "I don't know" is fine in every field.


Originally Posted by Bubblefish
Also, for the sake of clarity, let me distinguish clearly how I am defining critical thinking. I am defining it simply as honest and rational thinking as distinguished from intuitive or creative thinking.
Now we could get into a never-ending list of definitions. There is nothing wrong with either intuition or creative thinking so long as they are not the endpoints in research or discovery.


Originally Posted by Bubblefish
Well, for example, there are many arguments on this forum regarding 'qi', and one or two on badscience.net.
Pro or con?

Originally Posted by Bubblefish
Those arguments are a bit long and I dont want to rehash old arguments, but rather new and fresh ones.
Which ones?


Originally Posted by Bubblefish
I am truly the most humble person in the world, so I know that you can't possibly be referring to me;-)
Impossible. I am.


Originally Posted by Bubblefish
the best tell all sign of a rational and thoughtful human being. It's not about being 'right', critical thinking, it's about being honest and willing to arrive at the truth from thinking and engaging in reasonable discussion with other rational human beings.
No objections here.


Originally Posted by Bubblefish
So therefore we disagree, it is not too early for me to tell you are a critical thinker, unless your a sociopath! Sometimes sociopaths fool me, but I hardly think you're one of them!
No one ever suspects the sociopath until the police arrive one sunny day...


Best,
BF[/quote]
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Old 30th January 2007, 01:21 PM   #18
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So your proposed "third value for truth" is the indeterminate("we don't know")? Is that correct? If not, please clarify.

Also, please provide examples of the arguments that "crumble[d] into nothingness when confronted with this third value." I'm not sure how linking to an example thread on a public forum would be impolite, but if you're uncomfortable doing it, just give us the gist of it with names altered or removed.
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Old 30th January 2007, 01:22 PM   #19
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Originally Posted by kmortis View Post
Oh great, JUST what we needed around here. Yet another self-important "Defender of Rationalism". :rollseye:
quite right, one would think James Randi would be enough, eh? Hence my skepticism....why should James Randi, a magician, be the sole defender of rationalism? Don't you think that he may be pre-determined to see hoaxes everywhere since he himself is a honest and admitted culprit?

I'm just exploring this theme here, I am curious about all points of view here, I may be wrong.
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Old 30th January 2007, 01:22 PM   #20
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Bubblefish,

The reason why I (I won't speak for others) would like examples of the arguments to which you refer in the OP is not to "out" anyone.

When you make a statement like...
Quote:
The main point of my arguments was the 'third' value of truth, which could be defined as 'niether true and niether false', mystery, possibility, or what have you. I was amazed that so many 'critical' thinkers are not nearly as skeptical to the claims of reductionists or thier own claims as they are of the paranormal, and many of their arguments crumble into nothingness when confronted with this third value.
...I become interested in seeing how that happened. Clearly, your experiences in these arguments have had an impact on you, and you have made observations based on them that inspired you to begin a thread.

It would be helpful to me in trying to understand your incredulity if you could elaborate about your experiences in some fashion.

I have to suspect that the interest in the specific arguments expressed by other posters stems from a similar desire to understand what you're talking about. Can you come up with arguments analogous to those you do not wish to mention? That would be preferable to what we have now.
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Old 30th January 2007, 01:27 PM   #21
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Originally Posted by Bubblefish View Post
Hope this example is suffice. Below is true from your point of view, not mine, upon first glance of my posts. please note, but also the reverse is true for me and all of you.

Third value = my meaning
First value(t) = text
second value(f)=your interpretation

make sense?
What? That makes no sense, unless you're talking about some kind of hazy definition of the word "truth." Usually when I refer to the word, I mean objective truth. Certainly there are things that don't have objective truth (I think peanut butter is good, but that isn't strictly true), but those things are usually pretty easy to figure out, hence the term "subjective".

I suppose in the strictest sense there is no objective truth and all that jazz. It is possible, however unlikely, that I am really a fish floating through space dreaming all this up, and hence I cannot say that I am 100% certain that my reality represents the true, reality.

But usually skeptics' discussions are concerned with the more pragmatic definition of truth. Either the person has psychic powers, they don't, or we don't have enough data to make a decision yet and hence we don't know. That third choice isn't really a value, it's more the absence of a value.

Again, it would be nice if you had some examples to clarify your position, as it seems like its kind of vague right now.
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Old 30th January 2007, 01:37 PM   #22
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Why do so many threads devolve into pointless verbal sparring? What were you talking about? Oh yeah if we should be skeptical of James Randi. I think skepticism is a way of looking at things and at it's best use should never be switched off. So we should be skeptical of James Randi. I think that perhaps the observations that some are not is due to respect for Randi and not having all the data so taking Randi at his word. This is a temporary situation for me. Once I acquire more data I rely on that and not Randi. The idea that scientists are easy to fool is not a new idea. Throughout history scientists have been temporarily fooled. Sometimes a person with a different perspective can solve a problem better than a scientist (because they are more used to looking for trickery). Why worry about it? Also Randi has a drive to reveal fakes so why not? And why not give him credit where credit is due?
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Old 30th January 2007, 01:41 PM   #23
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Originally Posted by Bubblefish View Post
To whit, i would prefer not to link to those arguments because A.) There are allot of people upset about those arguments and I can't link the arguments without linking the individuals by default and B.) I would like to start fresh, I think we could get something interesting going in this thread if we continue.
Fair enough. Too, bad, though, could've been fun!

Originally Posted by Bubblefish View Post
Not when you consider that I said I wasnt saying that you personally are not, so in this light, no, it's just what I hold to be possible before I consider someone to be a critical thinker, by my standards that is.
I understand that you weren't talking about me personally -- but it seemed by your statement that your default stance is to doubt that people's motivations for holding certain positions are what they say they are. Unless there is good reason to believe that these people are deluded, this position strikes me as presumptuous.


Originally Posted by Bubblefish View Post
"Congratulation, especially self-satisfied congratulation, of oneself for one's achievements or good fortune."

Surely you can see it now, no? It wasnt meant as an snide remark, nor was it intentionally ambigous, but like you said "it's interesting that you took the other interpretation. Says a lot about the differing filters through which people view the world"
Except that it's most frequently used in the pejorative sense. I'll take you at your word, though.

Originally Posted by Bubblefish View Post
How are you defining mystery? There is more evidence of mystery, as I define it, than there is evidence of what we know.
In this context I mean it in the same way that most woos and religious types mean it -- as some phenomena so far outside our analytical abilty that we will never, even in principle, be able to understand it. Personally, I have never come across any aspect of reality which satisfies this criterion. Correct me if I'm wrong, but isn't your definition just, "something which we don't know is true or false?" Isn't this the trivial definition, or am I missing something?

Originally Posted by Bubblefish View Post
Rats! I would really rather not, trust me, it might blow into something here and I dont wish that....plus, they are long long long reads.
Understood.


Originally Posted by Bubblefish View Post
Third value = my meaning
First value(t) = text
second value(f)=your interpretation

make sense?
Hmmm... not really. 1) I dont understand how your meaning, by your definition, is neither true nor false. Do you mean it, or not? 2) Text qua text can not be ascribed a value, as it could say anything. You are making the assumption that what is written is true.

You are correct, though, that my interpretation may not have been what you meant.
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Old 30th January 2007, 01:44 PM   #24
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Originally Posted by Bubblefish View Post
quite right, one would think James Randi would be enough, eh? Hence my skepticism....why should James Randi, a magician, be the sole defender of rationalism?
How is James Randi the "sole defender of rationalism?" There have been many before him, there are many (including a number of us) now, and there will be many after he is gone.

Originally Posted by Bubblefish View Post
Don't you think that he may be pre-determined to see hoaxes everywhere since he himself is a honest and admitted culprit?
Not pre-determined, but qualified.
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Old 30th January 2007, 01:48 PM   #25
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Originally Posted by Bubblefish View Post
quite right, one would think James Randi would be enough, eh? Hence my skepticism....why should James Randi, a magician, be the sole defender of rationalism? Don't you think that he may be pre-determined to see hoaxes everywhere since he himself is a honest and admitted culprit?

I'm just exploring this theme here, I am curious about all points of view here, I may be wrong.
Quote:
Don't you think that he may be pre-determined to see hoaxes everywhere since he himself is a honest and admitted culprit?
WTF are you saying here?

He is a magician, not a culprit.

I have an idea, if James Randi is so certain about the absence of paranormal powers, maybe he should offer up a reward ..for anyone who can... prove the existance of paranormal powers...

(Thinks - that's a really great idea, maybe he will do that, and it will all be down to my time-travelling influence, "will you meet me yestrday for dinner?")


I look where the money is.

Who is (conciously or unconciously) benefiting from the ignorance of the punter?

Or to put it another way:

Motive.


Jim
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Old 30th January 2007, 02:10 PM   #26
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Originally Posted by Katana View Post
Perhaps a bit of both?
yes, perhaps a little bit of both


Quote:
Again, please don't misquote me. I never said, "Who asked you?"
yet you did say 'no one asked you', and I believe I stated the question in refrence to someone asking me as opposed to 'no one' asking me

Quote:

What conclusion did I make in error or otherwise? I requested that you provide examples of the arguments that "crumbled into nothingness". While you chastise me for not discerning your meaning, you appear to be reading into my words more than are there.
perhaps a little bit of both, eh?

Quote:


If you write objectively, then I shouldn't have to "try to discern [your] meaning from [my] interpretation of [your] text", should I?
well, the intention to write objectivly is what is most important, as all text and words, and I am sure you agree, have both a subjective and objective interpretation. Take for example the confusion over my meaning of 'self congradulate', the actual definition of the word is what I am using, yet my meaning could be interpretted as distinct if i am viewed as an arrogant person, and even if so, the objective meaning of the word does not disappear.

Quote:
What error did I make? You profess skepticism about anyone proclaiming oneself as a critical thinker.
You made the assumption that I would not hold the value of critical thinking, that was an error, no? Clearly I do hold that value, the best I honestly can. And is not skepticism about all things a sign of critical thinking?


Quote:
Someone who values (in myself and others) honesty, rational thought, self-reflection, and intellectual challenge, and I try to live my life accordingly.
Same here, let's help each other out along the way, eh?
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Old 30th January 2007, 02:45 PM   #27
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Question

Originally Posted by Garrette View Post
Okay, but then I don't know what else to say about your OP other than "Yes. Sometimes we don't know things."
well, always, not sometimes, we dont know things! And 'things' we don't know, we do need to dress with 'ideas' that signify that which we dont know, so please consider, a third value is a neccesity when considering the value of truth in the objective sense of the word.


Quote:
That was my suspicion, hence my calling it a meaningless label.
yes, and this is my critique, if you dont mind me addressing it directly. I find that calling the third value 'meaningless' isnt rational, we dont know what meaning it could or could not have to determine that, and thus I find many critical thinkers making an error here, and dismissing a huge chunk of information as 'irrelevant' since it is natural that 'irrelevance' would follow from something that is 'meaningless'.

Make sense?


Quote:
It's not a value at all. The item in question to which you assign the third value either is or isn't true regardless of our knowledge of which.
when you say the third value is not a value, from which point of view do you address that from? In logic there are three values, I can provide you with a link to a ternary logic paper which shows the functionality of the third value in selfrefrential logic here. http://www.aymara.org/ternary/ternary.pdf

So in logic your statement is not true. Perhaps you mean philosophically? Again, well, this is certainly not true as in the whole of philosophy, although one could argue that aristolian logic guides much of western thought and many forms of reasoning or hueristics, and there certainly is no third value there, but it certainly exists in philosophy.

Quote:
Only if you are also willing to say that the Flying Spaghetti Monster is neither true nor false.
Well, from this point of view that I address things from, it [flying spag. monster] is clearly false, it is a imaginary construct and parody constructed by Bobby Henderson, there is no mystery there.

Quote:
But you just associated it with "supranatural" which is not merely an idea, is it?
Of course supranatural is merely an idea, if it wasnt, then it would be supranatural, right? Just in case, I am using supranatural, not supernatural.

Supranatural is a mysterious idea that serves as a placeholder/signifier for unknown phenomena in universe, no?

Quote:


Without wanting to get into a battle of semantics, I don't think you are correct. It is a claim, i.e., that entities and/or abilities exist which either contravene all that is known about nature or which act in such a way as to be indetectible and therefore indistinguishable from nonexistence.

Or can you lay out the precepts of this construct for me?
again, my exact term is 'supranatural' not 'supernatural'. supranatural phenomena is phenomena that is currently unobserved. For example, dark matter i would imagine would perfectly qualify as supranatural phenomena. It's currently very very mysterious, no? We cant seem to directly observe the majority of our universe, and we are not quite sure how to yet account for it, so we come up with a term 'dark matter' and 'dark energy', although we havent determined yet what it is composed of for any objective certainty.

Quote:
Anyone who has not been presented credible evidence, even admitting that there is a spectrum from incredible to credible without a clear dividing line. i.e., me.
question then. What do you do if direct experience contradicts either evidence or the conclusions of lack of evidence?

Quote:

Just as I can say there are no invisible, undetectable rhinoceri in my desk drawer.
yet, you cannot say if there is or not dark matter in your desk drawer!

Quote:
Then I suggest that simply saying there are times when admitting we do not know is the most honest, logical, defensible stance. Few here would disagree.
yes, but this forum is a collection of people interested in claims regarding the 'super-natural', and I find from experience that many preclude that no such phenomena could exist, yet I find that what they are really saying is that no phenomena as they understand the term 'supernatural' to mean could exist, and they are unable to distinguish between three truth values we all use naturally to understand.

for example, supernatural phenomena could simply be a phantasm of subjective experience, meaning that it is 'real' as an experience internally, with an effect on the objective world, involving simply a psychological mechanism or possibly involving a mechanism which is supra-natural phenomena that we currently do not observe.

make sense?


Quote:
Saying "I don't know" is fine in every field.
including and most importantly philosophy, no?

Quote:
Now we could get into a never-ending list of definitions. There is nothing wrong with either intuition or creative thinking so long as they are not the endpoints in research or discovery.
well here we most certainly agree 100%. Intutition is the inspiration, it is not the result.


Quote:
Pro or con? (edit:regarding qi discussions on badscience)
They were 'con', me, I am skeptical about both pro and con, and there you see my point I hope.


So what does one do when their personal experience provides one set of truth value, and critiques of the experience another?

I have been a practioner of internal arts, relating to tai ji chuan, qi kung, nei kung, for over 10 years. I have had numerous personal experiences within the practice where using the terminology of 'moving energy' seems appropiate. Yet I dont know if it really exists objectivly or not, qi, I only know I have one set of value on one side, experience, and critical thinking and rational thought on the other, and surely one must include experience when determining the truth, no?
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Old 30th January 2007, 02:54 PM   #28
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Originally Posted by Bubblefish View Post
<snip>
The main point of my arguments was the 'third' value of truth, which could be defined as 'niether true and niether false', mystery, possibility, or what have you.
Please define clearly what you mean by "truth". Please include all three values to which you elude and explain: what each value represents, how each value is "used", and why those three values are the superset of all "values" of truth.

Originally Posted by Bubblefish View Post
I was amazed that so many 'critical' thinkers are not nearly as skeptical to the claims of reductionists
Please define what you mean by a "reductionist".

Originally Posted by Bubblefish View Post
or thier own claims as they are of the paranormal, and many of their arguments crumble into nothingness when confronted with this third value.
Please provide a description, or examples, of what a reductionist's argument would be. Please then show how your above defined third value of truth shows the reductionist's argument to be faulty.

Originally Posted by Bubblefish View Post
Many were offended when I mentioned we should be equally skeptical of James Randi as we are of any paranormal claim.
Perfectly reasonable advice. If resources permit, it is a good idea to independently confirm the claims of others.

Originally Posted by Bubblefish View Post
<snip>
Secondly, james randi seems to suggest that we can't trust scientists to verify claims, that only a magician can properly determine these things.
Please cite some examples of actions/quotes/etc that lead you to believe he is suggesting "we can't trust scientists to verify claims, that only a magician can properly determine these things."

Originally Posted by Bubblefish View Post
So, should we trust a magician to guide our philosophy? James Randi made his career honestly tricking people, who is to say he is not still doing so? Why should james randi be held in the highest of standards for determining what is true, false or mystery?
If he is attempting to trick people, scientific methodology will uncover his trickery.

Originally Posted by Bubblefish View Post
For the record, I whole heartedly support james randi when he exposes frauds, and appreciate his work for doing so. I think he is perfect for exposing frauds, but I just dont think he is relevant for discovery the mystery.
Please define what you mean by "the mystery" and what you are talking about with regards to "discover[ing]" it.
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Old 30th January 2007, 03:00 PM   #29
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Out of time for now, so will rejoin some time tomorrow.
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Old 30th January 2007, 03:33 PM   #30
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Originally Posted by Arkan_Wolfshade View Post
Please define clearly what you mean by "truth". Please include all three values to which you elude and explain: what each value represents, how each value is "used", and why those three values are the superset of all "values" of truth.
The three values for truth, as I define and understand and use them in this discussion are as follows.

1.)Objective truth. Verifiable and mutually observable in potentiality to all points of view
2.)Subjective truth. False relative to the first value, and incorrect when inappropiatly determined to be an objective truth. Individually experienced.
3.)Mysterious Truth. A truth that we cannot determine it's true or false nature for any objective certainty as defined in value 1. It is 'true' that it is 'mystery', it is true that it is currently niether true, and niether false.

I usually signify these three values as 0 (mystery), 1 (true), and 2 (false)


Quote:
Please define what you mean by a "reductionist".
an individual whose guiding philosophy is reductionism. By reductionism I mean what wikipedia means.

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Reductionism

Quote:
Please provide a description, or examples, of what a reductionist's argument would be. Please then show how your above defined third value of truth shows the reductionist's argument to be faulty.
I'm sorry, please dont be offended, but I dont have that sort of time right now, rather, if they come up in this thread directly , I will address. I'm writing in between time at work and that is too abstract right now for me to properly focus on whilst working!


Quote:
Please cite some examples of actions/quotes/etc that lead you to believe he is suggesting "we can't trust scientists to verify claims, that only a magician can properly determine these things."
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Project_Alpha



Quote:
If he is attempting to trick people, scientific methodology will uncover his trickery.
not according to james randi! He doesn't appear to trust the people who define the laws of the universe as being able to verify them!

Quote:
Please define what you mean by "the mystery" and what you are talking about with regards to "discover[ing]" it.

Hmm, that could be a very long post, and I often have the critique of being verbose, but to sum it up simply, the pure mystery of being.

if you call me a woo I'm gonna cry foul;-)



Good questions, by the way, refreshing!


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Old 30th January 2007, 03:35 PM   #31
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same here, garrett, others. have to get to work, great discussion so far, and thank you all for completly distracting me from my day's events! will return to more later or tommorow.
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Old 30th January 2007, 03:45 PM   #32
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before I go...

Originally Posted by jimbob View Post
WTF are you saying here?

He is a magician, not a culprit.
he is an admitted hoaxter

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Project_Alpha

by the way, nice to see you again. Great discussion here, eh? What rational minded participants have joined in thus far.

Refreshing to say the least.

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Old 30th January 2007, 03:54 PM   #33
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Bubblefish:

I often hear criticisms of Rand and/or skepticism in general. Of course no one is above criticism, especially skeptics. But in my experience, usually when I ask critics of skepticism and/or Randi to be specific and elaborate, they usually reply with something vague, hedging in one way or another.

With all due respect, it appears that you may be doing this too.

Many here have questioned you about your statement in the OP:

Quote:
I was amazed that so many 'critical' thinkers are not nearly as skeptical to the claims of reductionists or thier own claims as they are of the paranormal, and many of their arguments crumble into nothingness when confronted with this third value.
It's provocative to post something like this on a skeptics forum, which is something I encourage. But to make a claim that many of the arguments of critical thinkers "crumble into nothingness..." without citing a single example is dubious; your argument seems to crumble to nothingness. I've noticed that proponents of paranormal stuff often make claims (about dowsing, psychic phenomena, chi, etc.) without defining things or being specific or providing evidence. As a skeptic I'm open to anything, all I ask is for specifics and evidence.

Quote:
Why should james randi be held in the highest of standards for determining what is true, false or mystery?
Of course Randi is not an infallible authority who should be blindly followed. He does have a lot of experience exposing frauds and con men though (Geller, faith healers, fake psychics, etc.). He has offered a million dollars to anyone who would like to apply and demonstrate their paranormal ability. That does not mean that he is the lone arbiter of distinguishing between real and fake or between science and psuedoscience, etc. and I doubt that he has ever made any such claim.

Quote:
So, should we trust a magician to guide our philosophy? James Randi made his career honestly tricking people, who is to say he is not still doing so?
From what I know he seems to be sincere and trustworthy. If you have any evidence to the contrary, please share it. Again, I don't think you'll find anyone here who believes Randi to be above criticism or scrutiny (including Randi himself, I'm guessing).

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Old 30th January 2007, 04:10 PM   #34
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Originally Posted by Bubblefish View Post
Quote:
What error did I make? You profess skepticism about anyone proclaiming oneself as a critical thinker.
You made the assumption that I would not hold the value of critical thinking, that was an error, no? Clearly I do hold that value, the best I honestly can. And is not skepticism about all things a sign of critical thinking?
No. I did not make that assumption. I assumed that you would not label yourself a critical thinker since you were so skeptical of people's abilities to do so accurately - unless you made an exception for yourself. I said nothing about whether you value critical thinking.

It's not a terribly pithy point, but I just wanted to clarify.

Originally Posted by Bubblefish View Post
Same here, let's help each other out along the way, eh?
I have no objections to that.
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Old 30th January 2007, 05:29 PM   #35
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I have just read this thread .

I confess I have no idea what it is about.

Can someone give me a <100word precis?
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Old 30th January 2007, 05:54 PM   #36
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Originally Posted by Bubblefish View Post
before I go...



he is an admitted hoaxter

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Project_Alpha

by the way, nice to see you again. Great discussion here, eh? What rational minded participants have joined in thus far.

Refreshing to say the least.

BF
LOL well this project probably did not result in a toll charge hotline or other money making schemes.

In addition he did this hoax with the intention of revealing it to everyone serving the function of education rather than fleecing the flock.
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Old 30th January 2007, 11:27 PM   #37
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Originally Posted by JonnyFive View Post
What? That makes no sense, unless you're talking about some kind of hazy definition of the word "truth." Usually when I refer to the word, I mean objective truth. Certainly there are things that don't have objective truth (I think peanut butter is good, but that isn't strictly true), but those things are usually pretty easy to figure out, hence the term "subjective".

It makes perfect sense, forgive my model, let me explain it more intuitivly.

This sentence is composed of text. It exists in objective reality, it's existence is therefore true, it has a value we all can observe (t). This text is embedded into FORTRAN so we all can view it on our computers.


Now look at my last sentence. We agree that sentence exists. Yet that sentence is a false value, this text is not embedded into FORTRAN, but what I 'meant' was this text was imbedded into a programming language so it can be viewed on your desktop, perhaps in HTML, I dont know, I'm not a programmer so what i wrote clouded what I meant. My meaning would have been hidden to you (third value) unless I revealed my meaning through Q and A or something similar. Until my meaning is revealed, you interpreted that I was misleading others into thinking something about FORTRAN that wasnt true, or perhaps that I wished you all to believe I am a computer programmer. You interpretation in this example would be false.

Hence

third value= my meaning
First value = text
second value =your interpretation of my meaning of the text.

then, after discussion and exchange, we come to agree on OUR meaning of the actual text.

Make sense now? I'm a little tired, and if this is god awful and too complex, please forgive.
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Old 31st January 2007, 12:14 AM   #38
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Originally Posted by jimtron View Post
But in my experience, usually when I ask critics of skepticism and/or Randi to be specific and elaborate, they usually reply with something vague, hedging in one way or another.

With all due respect, it appears that you may be doing this too.
That is a fair comment, and perhaps I should have given more of an example, I was just speaking from experience, didnt mean to say that most arguments crumble, just most of the one's that I encounter, as in, there is no argument many can find against the third value.


Quote:
Of course Randi is not an infallible authority who should be blindly followed. He does have a lot of experience exposing frauds and con men though (Geller, faith healers, fake psychics, etc.). He has offered a million dollars to anyone who would like to apply and demonstrate their paranormal ability. That does not mean that he is the lone arbiter of distinguishing between real and fake or between science and psuedoscience, etc. and I doubt that he has ever made any such claim.
Well, I think Randi does suggest that magicians are better for this task than scientists, and sure, a magician is better at magic than a scientist. But dont you think Randi excedes that? I mean, proving frauds is one thing, but, for example, suggesting that certain laws of physics are infallible, which may be true, is not a claim Randi can make in the same way a scientist can.

Are you famiar with Steorn? Very interesting story here. Randi immediatly assumed it was a hoax or con. Read "Yet another Free Energy Farce"

http://www.randi.org/jr/2006-08/082506yet.html#i1

actually, this is a perfect example. This is james randi excluding the third value, and when he does so, he assumes intent of Steorn and makes an assertion he cant possibly verify, at least not currently. There is absolutly no proof that Steorn is a hoax or fraud, they appear to be a reputable company that went about something in an unorthodox way because no one would take them seriously any other way.

Here is james Randi's two value argument as I see it.

"The laws of thermodynamics are true in all environments, therefore, any claim which refutes them must be false. Steorn made a claim about a over unity device, therefore, Steorn is performing a hoax or fraud. Steorn is therefore fraudulent"

This two value system he used to judge the system led him to some pretty awful conclusions, in my honest opinion. For example, he says; "What possible reason could there be for any scientist or organization to shy away from a public endorsement?"

And a simple reason would be shame or fear of redicule if the scientist was mistaken in his verification, yet randi assumes that "For those unfamiliar with the terminology and the phrasing used by these flakes, such questions would naturally arise, but investors adore"

I would be willing to use this as an example of an inability to include the third value into an argument, so if your willing, let's explore this argument a bit. What I mean is i think Randi's argument about Steorn being a hoax or fraud would crumble inside of a third value discussion. Care to argue for Randi for the sake of our mutual understanding?

Quote:
From what I know he seems to be sincere and trustworthy. If you have any evidence to the contrary, please share it. Again, I don't think you'll find anyone here who believes Randi to be above criticism or scrutiny (including Randi himself, I'm guessing).
Magicians by default I dont think are trustworthy. Think about it, they play tricks on people, that's their bag. How do we know Randi isnt up to some tricks himself since no one has ever even taken the challenge nor even passed through the verification? Magicians are master psychologists themselves to a certain degree, and since Randi doesnt even trust researchers or academics to verify claims, it's odd the he needs them to provide him with the arguments to assume Steorn is a fraud.

actually, one of the funniest 'critiques' I read about Randi on wiki.

"A professor from the State University of New York at Buffalo shouted out that Randi was a fraud. Randi said "Yes indeed, I'm a trickster, I'm a cheat, I'm a charlatan, that's what I do for a living. Everything I've done here was by trickery." The professor shouted back: "That's not what I mean. You're a fraud because you're pretending to do these things through trickery, but you're actually using psychic powers and misleading us by not admitting it."

no, I dont think Randi is a real psychic, but you never really know with magicians, they are a tricky bunch;-)


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Old 31st January 2007, 01:16 AM   #39
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Originally Posted by Soapy Sam View Post
I have just read this thread .

I confess I have no idea what it is about.

Can someone give me a <100word precis?
Bubblefish is a puppy trying to mix it with the big dogs.



Seems I have =< 88 words left after that!
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Old 31st January 2007, 01:39 AM   #40
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Originally Posted by Bubblefish View Post
It makes perfect sense, forgive my model, let me explain it more intuitivly.

This sentence is composed of text. It exists in objective reality, it's existence is therefore true, it has a value we all can observe (t). This text is embedded into FORTRAN so we all can view it on our computers.


Now look at my last sentence. We agree that sentence exists. Yet that sentence is a false value, this text is not embedded into FORTRAN, but what I 'meant' was this text was imbedded into a programming language so it can be viewed on your desktop, perhaps in HTML, I dont know, I'm not a programmer so what i wrote clouded what I meant.
If you didn't intend to say that the text is "embedded in FORTRAN" in the first statement, wouldn't it have been better not to mention it? If, as you claim, you don't necessarily mean what you say in any given statement, how are we to know what you mean by your second statement, that the text is "not embedded in FORTRAN"? Perhaps you mean that it actually is.

Why not try to express yourself clearly in your first statement?
Quote:
My meaning would have been hidden to you (third value) unless I revealed my meaning through Q and A or something similar.
It would be better if you expressed yourself clearly and said what you meant without the need for "clarification" in later statements. It would save a lot of time, and reduce the likelyhood of your being misunderstood.
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