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Arguments with believers.
Posted: 07 July 2013 11:48 AM   [ Ignore ]
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Hey everyone! Lately I have been reading debates and exchanges on online forums between skeptics and believers, I have also been engaging in some debates myself. After reading through these arguments it boils down to both side accusing each other of being biased and the conflict is never resolved. I have been wondering how do we become skeptics who can evaluate the situation without bias so that the believers don’t just say “You skeptics won’t listen I know its true, because myself and others say it is”. This is what every argument turns into, so how do we stop these partisan ways of evaluating evidence?

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Posted: 07 July 2013 02:17 PM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 1 ]
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TheUltimateBlitz1 - 07 July 2013 11:48 AM

Hey everyone! Lately I have been reading debates and exchanges on online forums between skeptics and believers, I have also been engaging in some debates myself. After reading through these arguments it boils down to both side accusing each other of being biased and the conflict is never resolved. I have been wondering how do we become skeptics who can evaluate the situation without bias so that the believers don’t just say “You skeptics won’t listen I know its true, because myself and others say it is”. This is what every argument turns into, so how do we stop these partisan ways of evaluating evidence?

You can lead a fool to water but you can’t make him drink.  You will have to continue to beat the drum of objective evidence.  You won’t get anywhere without it. 

Lois

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Posted: 08 July 2013 11:05 AM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 2 ]
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You can choose to be like me and be overly persistent. The only problem with that, is you certainly won’t make friends even if, and especially if, you convince someone else to alter their minds. They despise you even more. I would recommend that if you have better personality than I do, try convincing them by enabling others to find the discovery themselves without taking credit for your influence. The only problem with this is that it takes a lot more insight and patience…a lot.

If you still value how others see you, I wouldn’t recommend my methods. I’m at the point I don’t care what others think of me personally. It doesn’t mean that I’m callous or have any mean intentions towards others. It’s a personal dysfunction that I’ve chosen to just let be because I find that I must either play dumb to be liked in the least, or have any opinion and be condemned for it in my personal social environment. Let’s just say, I have nothing to lose now.

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Posted: 08 July 2013 01:11 PM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 3 ]
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If you still value how others see you, I wouldn’t recommend my methods. I’m at the point I don’t care what others think of me personally. It doesn’t mean that I’m callous or have any mean intentions towards others. It’s a personal dysfunction that I’ve chosen to just let be because I find that I must either play dumb to be liked in the least, or have any opinion and be condemned for it in my personal social environment. Let’s just say, I have nothing to lose now.

Copy that, literally. And no it’s not callous, it’s survival in your own culture. Who wants to be a pariah? While I don’t chest thump my personal philosophy I will answer THEIR questions if asked. My mother condemned me to hell for telling her the virgin birth was a mistranslation and a catholic friend and colleague told me she would pray for me when I revealed that I don’t believe in god so there you have it. I told here that I would THINK for her if she liked but people who have been bombarded with a mindset from childhood will find it a hard web to untangle from if they try it at all. My hope is that the nones will pass down the skepticism that allowed themselves out of the trap of faith and reason and will replace religion,  but until then some of us live in a virtual sea of belief and we are the “black sheep” (no pun intended) of the flock so to speak.

 

Cap’t Jack

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Posted: 08 July 2013 02:17 PM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 4 ]
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It seems there’s also this new group that call themselves “real skeptics” and the call us “pseudo-skeptics”. I find this very annoying because all it is is saying since there are multiple options we are going to chose the paranormal one even without evidence. It also seems on their forums that they only debunk really obvious cases, but ones that get complicated they just say its supernatural. I think this is a response from more skeptical believers that dislike most skeptics immediate mundane explanations of things. The problem is they aren’t skeptics though because they go to the paranormal side without any evidence on their side so its equally as good as saying we have no idea. It also seems as though they just discredit skeptics like us because we disagree with them even if they don’t have evidence or we have more plausible explanations. When will people see they need evidence and good reasoning to say something is true.

For example look at this supposed evidence: http://humansarefree.com/2011/02/two-most-important-alien-messages.html
Note this is either fake and you have to wonder why wasn’t this reported any where else.
and this forum claiming to be real skeptics: http://www.debunkingskeptics.com/forum/index.php
Note 2: seems like believers that are skeptical only on obvious claims.

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Posted: 08 July 2013 07:46 PM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 5 ]
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TheUltimateBlitz1 - 08 July 2013 02:17 PM

It seems there’s also this new group that call themselves “real skeptics” and the call us “pseudo-skeptics”. I find this very annoying because all it is is saying since there are multiple options we are going to chose the paranormal one even without evidence. It also seems on their forums that they only debunk really obvious cases, but ones that get complicated they just say its supernatural. I think this is a response from more skeptical believers that dislike most skeptics immediate mundane explanations of things. The problem is they aren’t skeptics though because they go to the paranormal side without any evidence on their side so its equally as good as saying we have no idea. It also seems as though they just discredit skeptics like us because we disagree with them even if they don’t have evidence or we have more plausible explanations. When will people see they need evidence and good reasoning to say something is true.

For example look at this supposed evidence: http://humansarefree.com/2011/02/two-most-important-alien-messages.html
Note this is either fake and you have to wonder why wasn’t this reported any where else.
and this forum claiming to be real skeptics: http://www.debunkingskeptics.com/forum/index.php
Note 2: seems like believers that are skeptical only on obvious claims.

You know what? I’m betting that it is because of the new television series on ABC, called “Zero Hour” See http://beta.abc.go.com/shows/zero-hour/about-the-show to learn about it. I saw the first episode and thought that something like this might actually occur.

As the publisher of Modern Skeptic Magazine, Hank Galliston has spent his career following clues, debunking myths and cracking conspiracies. But when his beautiful wife, Laila (Jacinda Barrett), is abducted from her antique clock shop, Hank gets pulled into one of the most compelling mysteries in human history, stretching around the world and back centuries.


What bothered me was how they linked themselves off-handedly to Skeptical Inquirer’s CFI as investigators and Skeptic Magazine. The show obviously has an internal goal of ‘opening’ these skeptics minds with more than obvious ‘real’ phenomena that they keep doubting even with the evidence! It stereotypes all of us as intentionally unable to alter our views upon actual evidence. I’m not sure if ABC intended this or not. The CSICOP term has been used before in various series before. I didn’t think they present harm and are sometimes good light entertainment. But perhaps this is a means to hi-jack the sincerity of skeptics. Now we can be ridiculed as just another type of conspiracy organization!

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Posted: 10 July 2013 09:36 AM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 6 ]
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If you watch old episodes of The Austin Atheist Experience (on YouTube), you can see them arguing all sorts of theist points. They pretty quickly refined this to “tells us what you believe first”. They have improved their ability to get down to basic premises and it is almost always some sort of prime mover or argument from design. Any paranormal explanation of an experience is met with “why?”. Of course they have a button that can cut the caller off and give them a chance to make speeches, but that’s the idea, get to the premise and don’t accept it if it is not valid.

For me, the fundamental premise is; we don’t know, we only have sensory data and logic, so let’s assume the laws of nature are consistent throughout space and time and experiment against it and see what we get. That has got us to the moon and stopped the Polio epidemic. A lot of people have a problem with “I don’t know”, since it’s not an answer. Those same people will tell me that science takes the wonder and mystery out of life, but anyway.

There are lots more tips and tricks. Knowing some basic cosmology and evolutionary biology as well as being able to spot a logical fallacy is helpful, not to mention the history of Western Philosophy. If you can be more specific, I might be able to help.

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Posted: 10 July 2013 09:50 AM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 7 ]
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I can’t spend too much time with these because a) I am almost certain it would be a waste, based on prior experience, b) if I get too far in, I’ll waste my summer arguing with someone who turns out to be some guy in his mother’s basement just doing it for fun.

http://humansarefree.com/2011/02/two-most-important-alien-messages.html
With that many 1s and 0s, you could stack them in a variety of ways and eventually create some sort of pattern, then assign meaning to the pattern, then go make a crop circle. These people should try reading a book instead.

http://www.debunkingskeptics.com/forum/index.php
Hitting a few highlights like “What will skeptics accept as evidence” “should an objectivity test be required”, it appears there are a lot of people on this forum that don’t understand the scientific method. They confuse a mass of unsubstantiated anecdotes with evidence. The words “peer review” would probably cause them to cock their heads like a dog that had just been shown a card trick. I wouldn’t waste my time there.

John Loftus has what he calls the “Outsider Test for faith”. That is, apply your rules for evaluating data to some other faith, then apply them equally to yours and see how your faith stacks up. It really is just a restatement of a rule of science. If you apply the same type of analysis these guys do to just about anything, you could “prove” that the Luck Charms leprechaun lives on the dark of the moon.

[ Edited: 10 July 2013 09:54 AM by Lausten ]
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Posted: 10 July 2013 10:12 AM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 8 ]
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Lausten - 10 July 2013 09:50 AM

http://www.debunkingskeptics.com/forum/index.php
Hitting a few highlights like “What will skeptics accept as evidence” “should an objectivity test be required”, it appears there are a lot of people on this forum that don’t understand the scientific method. They confuse a mass of unsubstantiated anecdotes with evidence. The words “peer review” would probably cause them to cock their heads like a dog that had just been shown a card trick. I wouldn’t waste my time there.

I just took a look at this site. One part of me wants to sign up and jump in the fray and the other half realizes how useless it would be. As you said you could waste your whole summer talking to these people and most likely change nothing. I read a couple of posts by the owner of the site and even those are fairly incoherent rants. It doesn’t seem like a place worthy of anyones time unless you get a kick out of pissing people off and just want to stir things up. I have better things to do.

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Posted: 10 July 2013 12:12 PM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 9 ]
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unless you get a kick out of pissing people off

I do get a kick out of that, but there is a shield of self-righteousness around them. Here is a list of topics they will use to test you.
Are you a sheeple?
I worked through the vaccine conspiracy with someone, they had little to say about the studies I sent, or the retraction of the bad study from 1997, but she did eventually accept my ideas about consistently applying rules of evidence. Then she immediately followed up with, “so that’s why we have to keep on these big corporations”. She understands what science is, but does not believe that it is being applied fairly. And once or twice in her life, she’s been right. But now every statement from a corporation or government is not just suspect, it considered a lie. The only thing between complete annihilation of the planet by the moneyed elite and what’s left of this world is her. Anything that appears legitimate coming from anywhere other than a YouTube documentary is just more proof that “they” are able to fool us.

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Posted: 10 July 2013 12:38 PM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 10 ]
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Lausten - 10 July 2013 12:12 PM

unless you get a kick out of pissing people off

I do get a kick out of that, but there is a shield of self-righteousness around them. Here is a list of topics they will use to test you.
Are you a sheeple?
I worked through the vaccine conspiracy with someone, they had little to say about the studies I sent, or the retraction of the bad study from 1997, but she did eventually accept my ideas about consistently applying rules of evidence. Then she immediately followed up with, “so that’s why we have to keep on these big corporations”. She understands what science is, but does not believe that it is being applied fairly. And once or twice in her life, she’s been right. But now every statement from a corporation or government is not just suspect, it considered a lie. The only thing between complete annihilation of the planet by the moneyed elite and what’s left of this world is her. Anything that appears legitimate coming from anywhere other than a YouTube documentary is just more proof that “they” are able to fool us.

Oh yeah.  Oh yeah…
This is all a product of the internet and the new information age. The implication of which are hopefully being studied by someone.
Maybe it’s too early to recognize it as a problem.  Or maybe it won’t be a “problem”.
In any event, I don’t see it panning out to become some new mega forum of transparency and accountability per se like some tout it.
I think the old maxim applies: garbage in-garbage out.
The fact that we are sitting in a Forum right now thinking we are the “correct ones” is only more proof.

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Posted: 10 July 2013 05:38 PM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 11 ]
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The fact that we are sitting in a Forum right now thinking we are the “correct ones” is only more proof.

Funny, but if you say it, and are sincere then it’s the best you can do.
Another important aspect of being reasonable, that you recognize that you might be wrong. I have to stifle laughter when these types tell me that I must question the mainstream media and the scientific community, but then when I question them, they take that as evidence that I have been hypnotized by my culture. I try to tell them that I would rather trust the person who shows all of their work, asks for feedback and admits they might be wrong. Even if a dozen people confirm the data, there is still the chance that future discoveries may change today’s consensus.  I trust that person more than I trust someone who is adamant about their belief.

The difficulty is explaining why I’m adamant about my trust in the system. You have to apply the system back onto to itself to prove that it works. It sounds circular, but it is not circular logic.

Aron Ra handles it pretty well here Truth is what is true, if you can handle such things.

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Posted: 11 July 2013 07:29 AM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 12 ]
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Hope these anecdotes have been useful UltimateBlitz. Let us know if we are off track.
I’ve been trying to come up with the “elevator version” of how to put this. How does this work for you?

I would prefer talking with people who accept and even applaud those who question existing knowledge, based on evidence, rather than those who claim knowledge with no evidence or bad evidence and attack those who question them.  The 13th century Roman Catholic version of this is to burn people at the stake for questioning dogma, the 21st century version is to accuse someone of supporting the status quo because they want evidence.

[ Edited: 11 July 2013 10:12 AM by Lausten ]
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Posted: 11 July 2013 10:15 AM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 13 ]
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OP - I wouldn’t waste my time debating them. I realized long ago they’re just not interested in debate, even though they may be engaging in it. Plus their belief is really a psychological/emotional crutch, not something amenable to discussion and evidence.  But if you want to have a little fun, ask them if their god is a boy or girl. If they say neither, respond “you mean transgender, like some of the folks in the LGBT community? Wow that’s great, your god probably approves of gay marriage then!”.  Or this one: How much did Jesus charge to cure the sick? Answer: Nothing. Response “Wow, so he was a socialist? Great, will you help me fight for universal free healthcare, so we can be like Jesus?”  You know, fun stuff like that. wink

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Posted: 11 July 2013 10:30 AM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 14 ]
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I checked out that site that Lausten referred to (debunkingskeptics). It appears that Wu, the site author, seems to be deliberately using the forum deceptively. It doesn’t make sense that the guy is selectively logical. He appears to be someone normally skeptical in things like religion or Amway scams. How can your brain just turn off on other similar things?

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Posted: 13 July 2013 11:39 AM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 15 ]
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I think that this whole debunking skeptics thing is just a way to discredit skeptics in a way were they can’t get any flak because if we debate them they just use the excuse that we’re close minded. All it is is a way for believers to discredit skeptics without being seen as believers.

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