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Posted: 25 June 2015 04:39 PM   [ Ignore ]
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One of my cousins just posted on her FaceBook page that for her birthday she wants a ticket to a psychic on Aug. 19. After I pointed out there are no psychics and included a link to the Wikipedia page for the Randi $1 million Challenge, she replied:

I did not read the article, and please don’t try to convince me otherwise.

Sigh. She wonders why I come across as condescending at times.

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Posted: 27 June 2015 06:02 PM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 1 ]
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James “The Amusing” Randi’s $1,000,000 challenge is a joke. It’s never going to be paid out because he moves the goalposts and sets impossible conditions. The man is a fraud. He is also a crap researcher and has no scientific credentials whatsoever.

See http://michaelprescott.typepad.com/michael_prescotts_blog/2006/12/the_challenge.html
and http://www.debunkingskeptics.com/forum/viewtopic.php?f=7&t=71

TFS

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Posted: 27 June 2015 06:05 PM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 2 ]
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James Randi is a retired magician. He never claimed any scientific credentials and does no research. The links you provided contain outright fabrications and deluded spin on the Randi challenge.

[ Edited: 27 June 2015 06:07 PM by DarronS ]
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Posted: 27 June 2015 08:26 PM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 3 ]
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Theflyingsorcerer - 27 June 2015 06:02 PM

James “The Amusing” Randi’s $1,000,000 challenge is a joke. It’s never going to be paid out because he moves the goalposts and sets impossible conditions. The man is a fraud. He is also a crap researcher and has no scientific credentials whatsoever.

See http://michaelprescott.typepad.com/michael_prescotts_blog/2006/12/the_challenge.html
and http://www.debunkingskeptics.com/forum/viewtopic.php?f=7&t=71

TFS

I’ve read the rules and disagree with the comment made at the links you provide. read the rules yourself. They are pretty reasonable as far as I can see. I suspect that a lot of the paranormal claimants don’t like the negotiation process whereby they have to agree to a process that is designed to test their claims and eliminate any possibility of fraud.

Obviously each claim has to be assessed individually and a testing procedure must be custom designed as any scientifically designed study would. If you want to test the hypothesis that plants use photosynthesis to make sugar the details of that experiment are going to be very different than an experiment done to prove the existence of the Higgs Boson even though the underlying principals are the same.

If the Long Island Madam wants to be tested you can’t let her walk into a room and go through her usual hijinks and dictate the conditions of the test. Science dictates the conditions not the person being tested. You need to set up a test that is verifiable and reproducible and where other more sensible explanations can be ruled out.

You are right that the money will never be paid out but not because the program is at fault. It won’t be paid out because psychic powers and supernatural phenomena don’t exist

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Posted: 28 June 2015 11:17 AM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 4 ]
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Very well said, macgyver. Thank you.

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Posted: 30 June 2015 09:22 AM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 5 ]
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macgyver - 27 June 2015 08:26 PM

You are right that the money will never be paid out but not because the program is at fault. It won’t be paid out because psychic powers and supernatural phenomena don’t exist

DarronS - 28 June 2015 11:17 AM

Very well said, macgyver. Thank you.

ditto

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Posted: 30 June 2015 09:25 AM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 6 ]
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Back to the original question, Randi summed that up quite well:

“Humans NEED to believe”

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Posted: 04 July 2015 11:48 PM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 7 ]
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Randi “does no research”, you say. Presumably he did some “research”, slipshod as it was, to produce his book, “Flim-flam!”, which is regarded by many pseudoskeptics as the bible of skepticism - appropriately, since like the other bible it is full of lies, misunderstandings, half-truths and outright fabrication. For starters, it is one long sneer from beginning to end, which demonstrates Randi’s total lack of understanding of psychology; you don’t convert people to your point of view by calling them “delusional” and “gullible”, and calling their beliefs “preposterous claptrap.”

I could easily fill several pages of this forum with the mistakes in the book, but let’s just take one chapter, the oddly-titled “Into the Air, Junior Birdmen!” which is about astrology and UFOs - two subjects I happen to be familiar with. On page 57, Randi sets up a typical Randroid straw dog; he “demonstrates” that astrology can’t possibly work, because even if the sun, moon and all the planets lined up, the gravitational effect on a human body would be less than the difference between standing up and sitting down. I’m sure he’s right; except that not one astrologer, anywhere in the world, believes that astrological influences are caused by gravity. On pages 58 and 59, his “explanation” of the difference between tropical and sidereal astrology is completely wrong. Page 59; his diagram of the constellations of Leo and Cancer is (seemingly deliberately) misleading. Page 63: his account of the so-called “Mars effect” is completely untrue. Page 71: Randi says Kenneth Arnold reported “saucer-shaped” objects flying above Mount Rainier. He didn’t; the objects Arnold reported were crescent shaped. There’s more, much more; but the real howler comes on page 89 where Randi claims that the British Earl of Clancarty wrote books on UFOs under the “pen name” of Brinsley le Poer Trench (adding the coy little comment, “why, I cannot say”). Well, the “why” of it is very simple. Trench wrote his books using the name Brinsley le Poer Trench because THAT WAS HIS NAME. “Earl of Clancarty” is a TITLE, not a name; apparently Randi is so ignorant he doesn’t understand the difference between a name and a title. Also, Trench wrote his books between 1960 and 1972, when he wasn’t the Earl of Clancarty; he didn’t inherit the title until 1975. Randi then goes on to state that Trench co-authored George Adamski’s first book. He didn’t; that was Desmond Leslie. Randi also states that Trench was a cousin of Winston Churchill. He wasn’t; again, that was Desmond Leslie.

I could go through the book almost page for page, pointing out stupid little errors like these, but the above is probably enough to be getting on with. These are just a few things I know about; I’m sure there are other howlers in areas I’m not so familiar with - mistakes that could easily have been rectified by a bit of careful research. And this is all from the “corrected” 1982 edition; I hate to think what the “uncorrected” edition was like. The result of all this is, of course, that I can’t believe anything that Randi says, on any subject whatsoever. And he has the gall (page 92) to accuse UFO authors of “poor research”!!!

Understand I’m not defending either astrology or UFO research here; I’m simply pointing out that nothing Randi says can be relied on.

I think the sources I cited on the million dollar challenge are reasonably factual; but you lot, of course, don’t, because you believe that the Guru Randi can do no wrong. You’re welcome to him.
TFS

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Posted: 05 July 2015 12:07 AM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 8 ]
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Theflyingsorcerer - 04 July 2015 11:48 PM

Randi “does no research”, you say. Presumably he did some “research”, slipshod as it was, to produce his book, “Flim-flam!”, which is regarded by many pseudoskeptics as the bible of skepticism - appropriately, since like the other bible it is full of lies, misunderstandings, half-truths and outright fabrication. For starters, it is one long sneer from beginning to end, which demonstrates Randi’s total lack of understanding of psychology; you don’t convert people to your point of view by calling them “delusional” and “gullible”, and calling their beliefs “preposterous claptrap.”

I could easily fill several pages of this forum with the mistakes in the book, but let’s just take one chapter, the oddly-titled “Into the Air, Junior Birdmen!” which is about astrology and UFOs - two subjects I happen to be familiar with. On page 57, Randi sets up a typical Randroid straw dog; he “demonstrates” that astrology can’t possibly work, because even if the sun, moon and all the planets lined up, the gravitational effect on a human body would be less than the difference between standing up and sitting down. I’m sure he’s right; except that not one astrologer, anywhere in the world, believes that astrological influences are caused by gravity. On pages 58 and 59, his “explanation” of the difference between tropical and sidereal astrology is completely wrong. Page 59; his diagram of the constellations of Leo and Cancer is (seemingly deliberately) misleading. Page 63: his account of the so-called “Mars effect” is completely untrue. Page 71: Randi says Kenneth Arnold reported “saucer-shaped” objects flying above Mount Rainier. He didn’t; the objects Arnold reported were crescent shaped. There’s more, much more; but the real howler comes on page 89 where Randi claims that the British Earl of Clancarty wrote books on UFOs under the “pen name” of Brinsley le Poer Trench (adding the coy little comment, “why, I cannot say”). Well, the “why” of it is very simple. Trench wrote his books using the name Brinsley le Poer Trench because THAT WAS HIS NAME. “Earl of Clancarty” is a TITLE, not a name; apparently Randi is so ignorant he doesn’t understand the difference between a name and a title. Also, Trench wrote his books between 1960 and 1972, when he wasn’t the Earl of Clancarty; he didn’t inherit the title until 1975. Randi then goes on to state that Trench co-authored George Adamski’s first book. He didn’t; that was Desmond Leslie. Randi also states that Trench was a cousin of Winston Churchill. He wasn’t; again, that was Desmond Leslie.

I could go through the book almost page for page, pointing out stupid little errors like these, but the above is probably enough to be getting on with. These are just a few things I know about; I’m sure there are other howlers in areas I’m not so familiar with - mistakes that could easily have been rectified by a bit of careful research. And this is all from the “corrected” 1982 edition; I hate to think what the “uncorrected” edition was like. The result of all this is, of course, that I can’t believe anything that Randi says, on any subject whatsoever. And he has the gall (page 92) to accuse UFO authors of “poor research”!!!

Understand I’m not defending either astrology or UFO research here; I’m simply pointing out that nothing Randi says can be relied on.

I think the sources I cited on the million dollar challenge are reasonably factual; but you lot, of course, don’t, because you believe that the Guru Randi can do no wrong. You’re welcome to him.
TFS

Do you think astrology is real?

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Posted: 05 July 2015 04:25 AM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 9 ]
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Theflyingsorcerer - 04 July 2015 11:48 PM

Randi “does no research”, you say. Presumably he did some “research”, slipshod as it was, to produce his book, “Flim-flam!”, which is regarded by many pseudoskeptics as the bible of skepticism - appropriately, since like the other bible it is full of lies, misunderstandings, half-truths and outright fabrication. For starters, it is one long sneer from beginning to end, which demonstrates Randi’s total lack of understanding of psychology; you don’t convert people to your point of view by calling them “delusional” and “gullible”, and calling their beliefs “preposterous claptrap.”

I could easily fill several pages of this forum with the mistakes in the book, but let’s just take one chapter, the oddly-titled “Into the Air, Junior Birdmen!” which is about astrology and UFOs - two subjects I happen to be familiar with. On page 57, Randi sets up a typical Randroid straw dog; he “demonstrates” that astrology can’t possibly work, because even if the sun, moon and all the planets lined up, the gravitational effect on a human body would be less than the difference between standing up and sitting down. I’m sure he’s right; except that not one astrologer, anywhere in the world, believes that astrological influences are caused by gravity. On pages 58 and 59, his “explanation” of the difference between tropical and sidereal astrology is completely wrong. Page 59; his diagram of the constellations of Leo and Cancer is (seemingly deliberately) misleading. Page 63: his account of the so-called “Mars effect” is completely untrue. Page 71: Randi says Kenneth Arnold reported “saucer-shaped” objects flying above Mount Rainier. He didn’t; the objects Arnold reported were crescent shaped. There’s more, much more; but the real howler comes on page 89 where Randi claims that the British Earl of Clancarty wrote books on UFOs under the “pen name” of Brinsley le Poer Trench (adding the coy little comment, “why, I cannot say”). Well, the “why” of it is very simple. Trench wrote his books using the name Brinsley le Poer Trench because THAT WAS HIS NAME. “Earl of Clancarty” is a TITLE, not a name; apparently Randi is so ignorant he doesn’t understand the difference between a name and a title. Also, Trench wrote his books between 1960 and 1972, when he wasn’t the Earl of Clancarty; he didn’t inherit the title until 1975. Randi then goes on to state that Trench co-authored George Adamski’s first book. He didn’t; that was Desmond Leslie. Randi also states that Trench was a cousin of Winston Churchill. He wasn’t; again, that was Desmond Leslie.

I could go through the book almost page for page, pointing out stupid little errors like these, but the above is probably enough to be getting on with. These are just a few things I know about; I’m sure there are other howlers in areas I’m not so familiar with - mistakes that could easily have been rectified by a bit of careful research. And this is all from the “corrected” 1982 edition; I hate to think what the “uncorrected” edition was like. The result of all this is, of course, that I can’t believe anything that Randi says, on any subject whatsoever. And he has the gall (page 92) to accuse UFO authors of “poor research”!!!

Understand I’m not defending either astrology or UFO research here; I’m simply pointing out that nothing Randi says can be relied on.

I think the sources I cited on the million dollar challenge are reasonably factual; but you lot, of course, don’t, because you believe that the Guru Randi can do no wrong. You’re welcome to him.
TFS

I see. You have apparently sent something to Randi and had it rejected.

Lois

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Posted: 05 July 2015 04:55 AM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 10 ]
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I haven’t read the book to which you are referring so I won’t comment on it; my observations would be pointless. I have read his work on Nostradomus, The Mask of Nostradomus a topic I’m very familiar with and IMO his contentions are spot on. It is a well researched book with an ample appendix and bibliography. I also stand by his campaign to rid the World of the pseudoscience of Homeopathy, successfully exposing the charlatan psychics who prey on the credulous. I’ve watched and listened to countless videos and have found only one in which he may have been misinformed, his view on the existence of the Biblical town of Nazereth. Other than that, once again IMO I find Randi to be a competent campaigner against pseudoscience.


Cap’t Jack

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Posted: 05 July 2015 10:54 AM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 11 ]
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Theflyingsorcerer - 27 June 2015 06:02 PM

James “The Amusing” Randi’s $1,000,000 challenge is a joke. It’s never going to be paid out because he moves the goalposts and sets impossible conditions. The man is a fraud. He is also a crap researcher and has no scientific credentials whatsoever.

And the others?  Here are some excerpts from an interesting review of other offers made to “psychics” (whatever that’s supposed to be) and others claiming super-natural power.  There’s a bunch of fun stuff I’ve left out.

Randi $1,000,000 paranormal challenge
http://skepdic.com/randi.html

The offer of cash prizes as an incentive to so-called psychics to prove their claims is not new. In 1922, Scientific American offered two $2,500 awards, one for the first person who could produce an authentic spirit photograph under test conditions and the other for the first medium to produce an authentic “visible psychic manifestation” (Christopher 1975: 180). Houdini, the foremost magician of the period, was a member of the investigating committee. Nobody won the prizes. ... The honor of being the first medium tested by the Scientific American team went to George Valiantine. He didn’t know that the chair he sat in during his séance in a completely darkened room had been wired to light up a signal in an adjoining room every time he left his seat. Oddly, phenomena such as a voice speaking from a trumpet that floated about the room happened only at the exact moments the signal lit up. … (and so on and so forth)

The Australian Skeptics offer $100,000 (Australian), $80,000 for the psychic and $20,000 for anyone “who nominates a person who successfully completes the Australian Skeptics Challenge.” If you nominate yourself, and are successful, you get the whole hundred grand.

The Association for Skeptical Inquiry (ASKE), a U.K. skeptic organization, offers £12,000 for proof of psychic powers.

The Independent Investigations Group “offers a $50,000 prize to anyone who can show, under proper observing conditions, evidence of any paranormal, supernatural, or occult power or event.”

The North Texas Skeptics offer $12,000 to any person who can demonstrate any psychic or paranormal power or ability under scientifically valid observing conditions.

The Quebec Skeptics offer $10,000 to any astrologer who can demonstrate her craft according in a formal scientific experiment.

The Tampa Bay Skeptics offer $1,000 to anyone able to demonstrate any paranormal phenomenon under mutually agreed-upon observing conditions.

A group in New Zealand calling itself “Immortality” is offering a prize of $NZ2,000,000 to anyone “who can display an actual paranormal ability, under controlled conditions.” One million goes to the successful applicant and one million to the charity of his or her choice.

Finally, conjurer Chris Angel offered $1,000,000 of his own money to Uri Geller and Jim Callahan if they could psychically determine the contents of an envelope he held in his hand. The offer was in response to Callahan’s claim that his performance of a trick on a TV show called “Phenomenon” was aided by spirit guide.
(etc., etc.)

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Posted: 05 July 2015 11:05 AM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 12 ]
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Theflyingsorcerer - 27 June 2015 06:02 PM

See http://michaelprescott.typepad.com/michael_prescotts_blog/2006/12/the_challenge.html
TFS

OK See http://www.internationalskeptics.com/forums/showthread.php?t=52791

An aside regarding Prescott

http://michaelprescott.freeservers.com/flim-flam-flummery-a-skepti.html

Years ago, when I was a full-fledged skeptic, atheist, and rationalist, I read James Randi’s 1980 book Flim-Flam! Psychics, ESP, Unicorns and other Delusions. Randi is an accomplished magician and a professional skeptic, dedicating to disproving any and all claims of what he considers pseudoscience. In line with this agenda, and as its title suggests, Flim-Flam is a concerted attack on miscellaneous purported irrationalities – everything from the pop-culture writings of Erich von Daniken to the more serious investigations of professional parapsychologists. I enjoyed the book, which reinforced my belief system at the time.”

Sooo does that mean he’s not skeptical anymore?

Could you perhaps explain what “skeptical” means to him?  or you?
_____________________________________________________________________

Since the Amazing Randi seems to interest you, might I suggest the recent documentary

An Honest Liar
http://anhonestliar.com/wp/

May as well toss in a link to my review
http://citizenschallenge.blogspot.com/2014/11/an-honest-liar-considering-james-randi.html

[ Edited: 05 July 2015 11:17 AM by citizenschallenge.pm ]
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Posted: 08 July 2015 12:11 AM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 13 ]
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LoisL - 05 July 2015 04:25 AM
Theflyingsorcerer - 04 July 2015 11:48 PM

Randi “does no research”, you say. Presumably he did some “research”, slipshod as it was, to produce his book, “Flim-flam!”, which is regarded by many pseudoskeptics as the bible of skepticism - appropriately, since like the other bible it is full of lies, misunderstandings, half-truths and outright fabrication. For starters, it is one long sneer from beginning to end, which demonstrates Randi’s total lack of understanding of psychology; you don’t convert people to your point of view by calling them “delusional” and “gullible”, and calling their beliefs “preposterous claptrap.”

I could easily fill several pages of this forum with the mistakes in the book, but let’s just take one chapter, the oddly-titled “Into the Air, Junior Birdmen!” which is about astrology and UFOs - two subjects I happen to be familiar with. On page 57, Randi sets up a typical Randroid straw dog; he “demonstrates” that astrology can’t possibly work, because even if the sun, moon and all the planets lined up, the gravitational effect on a human body would be less than the difference between standing up and sitting down. I’m sure he’s right; except that not one astrologer, anywhere in the world, believes that astrological influences are caused by gravity. On pages 58 and 59, his “explanation” of the difference between tropical and sidereal astrology is completely wrong. Page 59; his diagram of the constellations of Leo and Cancer is (seemingly deliberately) misleading. Page 63: his account of the so-called “Mars effect” is completely untrue. Page 71: Randi says Kenneth Arnold reported “saucer-shaped” objects flying above Mount Rainier. He didn’t; the objects Arnold reported were crescent shaped. There’s more, much more; but the real howler comes on page 89 where Randi claims that the British Earl of Clancarty wrote books on UFOs under the “pen name” of Brinsley le Poer Trench (adding the coy little comment, “why, I cannot say”). Well, the “why” of it is very simple. Trench wrote his books using the name Brinsley le Poer Trench because THAT WAS HIS NAME. “Earl of Clancarty” is a TITLE, not a name; apparently Randi is so ignorant he doesn’t understand the difference between a name and a title. Also, Trench wrote his books between 1960 and 1972, when he wasn’t the Earl of Clancarty; he didn’t inherit the title until 1975. Randi then goes on to state that Trench co-authored George Adamski’s first book. He didn’t; that was Desmond Leslie. Randi also states that Trench was a cousin of Winston Churchill. He wasn’t; again, that was Desmond Leslie.

I could go through the book almost page for page, pointing out stupid little errors like these, but the above is probably enough to be getting on with. These are just a few things I know about; I’m sure there are other howlers in areas I’m not so familiar with - mistakes that could easily have been rectified by a bit of careful research. And this is all from the “corrected” 1982 edition; I hate to think what the “uncorrected” edition was like. The result of all this is, of course, that I can’t believe anything that Randi says, on any subject whatsoever. And he has the gall (page 92) to accuse UFO authors of “poor research”!!!

Understand I’m not defending either astrology or UFO research here; I’m simply pointing out that nothing Randi says can be relied on.

I think the sources I cited on the million dollar challenge are reasonably factual; but you lot, of course, don’t, because you believe that the Guru Randi can do no wrong. You’re welcome to him.
TFS

I see. You have apparently sent something to Randi and had it rejected.

Lois

Of all the fatuous, idiotic, pathetic, ludicrous comments you might have made, that one absolutely takes the gold medal. No, I have never sent “The Amusing” Randi anything, ever. Did you actually read my post, at all? You don’t reply to any of the points I made in it - because you can’t, since they are all factual. So you descend to personal innuendo with no basis in reality.

When I first joined this forum I thought I would be having intelligent conversations with genuine skeptics; it’s been a severe disappointment so far. I’ve had replies to my posts that ran all the way from irrelevant nonsense (such as the above) by way of what often seemed to be deliberate misrepresentation of what I said, to unscientific blather, to outright personal insults. Some kind of skepticism!

From what I’ve seen, none of you are genuine skeptics; pseudoskeptics at best. You all seem terrified of the idea that there might be phenomena out there that you don’t understand and can’t explain - and even more terrified of admitting to being terrified, so you take refuge in what I can only describe as a sort of mechanistic-materialist fundamentalism, rejecting out of hand anything that doesn’t fit your preconceived dogmas. You do exactly what pseudoskeptics accuse pseudoscientists of doing - begin with your conclusion, then cherry-pick the evidence to support it and ignore any evidence that seems to point in other directions, then dismiss anyone who disagrees with you with ridicule, innuendo, misrepresentation and taking comments out of context.

TFS

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Posted: 08 July 2015 05:17 AM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 14 ]
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Theflyingsorcerer - 08 July 2015 12:11 AM

From what I’ve seen, none of you are genuine skeptics; pseudoskeptics at best. You all seem terrified of the idea that there might be phenomena out there that you don’t understand and can’t explain - and even more terrified of admitting to being terrified, so you take refuge in what I can only describe as a sort of mechanistic-materialist fundamentalism, rejecting out of hand anything that doesn’t fit your preconceived dogmas. You do exactly what pseudoskeptics accuse pseudoscientists of doing - begin with your conclusion, then cherry-pick the evidence to support it and ignore any evidence that seems to point in other directions, then dismiss anyone who disagrees with you with ridicule, innuendo, misrepresentation and taking comments out of context.

TFS

Any good skeptic needs tools to determine what is true in the world and what is not. We rely on the scientific method. There is a lot that we don’t understand about the universe around us ( ie. what happens to matter that falls into a black hole) but that does not by default mean that there is some mysterious magical explanation. If you have a better method than science for discovering how the universe works we are all ears ( or eyeballs).

People like you are the real pseudoskeptics. You can not truly call yourself a skeptic if you are a believer, willing to believe in something without any evidence to support those beliefs. That is the true antithesis of skepticism.

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Posted: 08 July 2015 07:49 AM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 15 ]
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Theflyingsorcerer - 08 July 2015 12:11 AM

From what I’ve seen, none of you are genuine skeptics; pseudoskeptics at best. You all seem terrified of the idea that there might be phenomena out there that you don’t understand and can’t explain - and even more terrified of admitting to being terrified, so you take refuge in what I can only describe as a sort of mechanistic-materialist fundamentalism, rejecting out of hand anything that doesn’t fit your preconceived dogmas. You do exactly what pseudoskeptics accuse pseudoscientists of doing - begin with your conclusion, then cherry-pick the evidence to support it and ignore any evidence that seems to point in other directions, then dismiss anyone who disagrees with you with ridicule, innuendo, misrepresentation and taking comments out of context.

TFS

You don’t understand where science begins. It does not begin with a conclusion, it begins with a premise. The difference is, I’m admitting up front that I don’t know everything, therefore it’s the only thing I have as a starting point. You can correct me and find a better premise or show my premise is wrong, but that’s different than saying I’m wrong.
I explain in more detail here. It’s written in response to a religious argument, but the principles apply generally

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