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Posted: 10 July 2015 07:14 AM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 16 ]
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Theflyingsorcerer - 04 July 2015 11:48 PM

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.

Okay then, I’ll bite.  I dusted off my old and battered copy of “Flim-Flam” last night and compared the chapter “Into the Air, Junior Birdmen!” with your criticism of it.  Let’s see what we got…

Theflyingsorcerer - 04 July 2015 11:48 PM

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.

The fact is what you’re criticizing is exactly one tiny paragraph out of a 37-page chapter!  Randi was just illustrating how far away the planets actually are, and how unlikely it is that they are the source of some mysterious force that influences human lives.  The main point which he repeats over and over, page after page is NOT that astrology couldn’t work, but that it has in fact been repeatedly shown not to work.  It’s strange that you completely ignored all that.

On pages 58 and 59, his “explanation” of the difference between tropical and sidereal astrology is completely wrong.

I don’t know the difference between “Tropical” and “Sidereal” astrology either, but the point Randi was making is that the zodiac constellations are different sizes!  If you look at the sky, Pisces actually covers five or six times as much space as poor little Cancer does.  So how can the “houses” be divided into 12 neat, equal-sized parcels unless they’re purely arbitrary?  In that case how can you claim that the actual patterns of stars have that much influence?

Page 59; his diagram of the constellations of Leo and Cancer is (seemingly deliberately) misleading.

I don’t know how you saw the illustrations as “deliberately misleading”.  They look pretty straightforward to me.  Randi was simply trying to illustrate that the constellations of the zodiac are just random patterns of stars.

Page 63: his account of the so-called “Mars effect” is completely untrue.

Once again, you’re talking about a single paragraph.  It seems pretty consistent to me with the articles I’ve read on the subject in Skeptical Inquirer.  You don’t say how it’s “completely untrue”, so I can’t really say.

Page 71: Randi says Kenneth Arnold reported “saucer-shaped” objects flying above Mount Rainier. He didn’t; the objects Arnold reported were crescent shaped.

I would give you this one, except that about half the books and articles I’ve ever read on UFOs make the same mistake.  Arnold reportedly described them as crescent-shaped, but they moved “like saucers skimmed over the water.”  Randi’s actual quote goes like this (bear with me a bit; this is going to be long but I’m going to condense a little to make my point): 

“The UFO silliness can be said to have started in World War II, when military pilots brought back stories of what they dubbed ‘foo fighters’, which were described as fuzzy balls of light that appeared on their wing tips and kept pace with the planes in flight… but until a private pilot named Kenneth Arnold came along with an account of seeing a formation of metallic-looking, ‘saucer-shaped’ disks above Mount Rainier, Washington, in 1947, the matter was a mere curiosity…  The term ‘flying saucer’ was coined…”

It’s obvious to the unbiased reader that all Randi is doing is giving background on where the term “flying saucer” came from!  He doesn’t even go into Arnold’s sighting in detail.  He does go into plenty of other cases in detail, but you don’t seem to have anything to say about his accuracy in those.  Sheesh, cut the man some slack!

My overall impression is that Lois was right.  You come off sounding like someone with a serious grudge against James Randi, for whatever reason.  The fact that you scoured a 37-page chapter looking for something to nit pick about and only managed to find these few lame excuses says it quite clearly to me.

[ Edited: 10 July 2015 07:19 AM by Advocatus ]
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Posted: 22 July 2015 05:59 PM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 17 ]
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Astrology reportedly impacted how a relatively recent POTUS (with the initials RR) made out his schedule.  Now that’s a weird phenomenon.

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As a fabrication of our own consciousness, our assignations of meaning are no less “real”, but since humans and the fabrications of our consciousness are routinely fraught with error, it makes sense, to me, to, sometimes, question such fabrications.

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Posted: 25 July 2015 11:55 PM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 18 ]
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Lausten - 08 July 2015 07:49 AM
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

Lausten, perhaps your first language isn’t English, and if so I apologise, but you seem to be having a really hard time understanding what I said. I did not say that science begins with a conclusion; I said that you so-called “skeptics” begin with a conclusion. Seems to me I understand both science and skepticism far better than you do - or just about anyone else on this forum, for that matter.

TFS

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Posted: 26 July 2015 12:10 AM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 19 ]
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Advocatus, I do not “have a grudge” against Randi; that’s a totally idiotic remark - and irrelevant. If that’s the best idea you can come up with, you’re really scraping the barrel. I simply don’t trust anything he says - for good reason; his research is truly abysmal. He presumes to criticise scientists, but has no scientific training whatsoever.

And just what do you mean by “a few lame excuses”? If anyone arguing for the truth of astrology, UFOs, ghosts or whatever made as many stupid little factual errors as there are in just ONE chapter of “Flim-Flam!”, you’d be jumping on them with all four paws. You would, wouldn’t you? If you can’t be honest with me, at least be honest with yourself. “It’s obvious to the unbiased reader” that Randi doesn’t have a clue what he’s talking about.

TFS

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Posted: 27 July 2015 08:43 AM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 20 ]
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Theflyingsorcerer - 26 July 2015 12:10 AM

Advocatus, I do not “have a grudge” against Randi; that’s a totally idiotic remark - and irrelevant.

I said you give the impression of having a grudge.  Is English your second language?  smile  If you can’t be honest with me, as least be honest with yourself.

If anyone arguing for the truth of astrology, UFOs, ghosts or whatever made as many stupid little factual errors as there are in just ONE chapter of “Flim-Flam!”, you’d be jumping on them with all four paws. You would, wouldn’t you?

Uh probably not.  For example, a while ago, you called him “The Amusing Randi”.  Should I have claimed that since you misspelled “Amazing”, it means I can’t trust anything you say?  Of course not.  You were trying to make a joke.  To pretend that it made you untrustworthy would be an ad hominem fallacy.  In the same token, a few factual errors don’t effect the overall point that Randi was trying to make.

[ Edited: 27 July 2015 09:20 AM by Advocatus ]
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Posted: 27 July 2015 10:25 AM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 21 ]
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Theflyingsorcerer - 25 July 2015 11:55 PM

Lausten, perhaps your first language isn’t English, and if so I apologise, but you seem to be having a really hard time understanding what I said. I did not say that science begins with a conclusion; I said that you so-called “skeptics” begin with a conclusion. Seems to me I understand both science and skepticism far better than you do - or just about anyone else on this forum, for that matter.

TFS

Unfortunately I am monolingual. I understand you just fine. Sure, you’re accusing me and some others of being what you consider non-scientific, but you back that up with nothing. You don’t show what evidence I missed as a way to show that I cherry picked, you don’t show a flaw in my logic, you just rant about being open minded.

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Posted: 27 July 2015 02:22 PM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 22 ]
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Advocatus - 10 July 2015 07:14 AM
Theflyingsorcerer - 04 July 2015 11:48 PM

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.

Okay then, I’ll bite.  I dusted off my old and battered copy of “Flim-Flam” last night and compared the chapter “Into the Air, Junior Birdmen!” with your criticism of it.  Let’s see what we got…

Theflyingsorcerer - 04 July 2015 11:48 PM

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.

The fact is what you’re criticizing is exactly one tiny paragraph out of a 37-page chapter!  Randi was just illustrating how far away the planets actually are, and how unlikely it is that they are the source of some mysterious force that influences human lives.  The main point which he repeats over and over, page after page is NOT that astrology couldn’t work, but that it has in fact been repeatedly shown not to work.  It’s strange that you completely ignored all that.

On pages 58 and 59, his “explanation” of the difference between tropical and sidereal astrology is completely wrong.

I don’t know the difference between “Tropical” and “Sidereal” astrology either, but the point Randi was making is that the zodiac constellations are different sizes!  If you look at the sky, Pisces actually covers five or six times as much space as poor little Cancer does.  So how can the “houses” be divided into 12 neat, equal-sized parcels unless they’re purely arbitrary?  In that case how can you claim that the actual patterns of stars have that much influence?

Page 59; his diagram of the constellations of Leo and Cancer is (seemingly deliberately) misleading.

I don’t know how you saw the illustrations as “deliberately misleading”.  They look pretty straightforward to me.  Randi was simply trying to illustrate that the constellations of the zodiac are just random patterns of stars.

Page 63: his account of the so-called “Mars effect” is completely untrue.

Once again, you’re talking about a single paragraph.  It seems pretty consistent to me with the articles I’ve read on the subject in Skeptical Inquirer.  You don’t say how it’s “completely untrue”, so I can’t really say.

Page 71: Randi says Kenneth Arnold reported “saucer-shaped” objects flying above Mount Rainier. He didn’t; the objects Arnold reported were crescent shaped.

I would give you this one, except that about half the books and articles I’ve ever read on UFOs make the same mistake.  Arnold reportedly described them as crescent-shaped, but they moved “like saucers skimmed over the water.”  Randi’s actual quote goes like this (bear with me a bit; this is going to be long but I’m going to condense a little to make my point): 

“The UFO silliness can be said to have started in World War II, when military pilots brought back stories of what they dubbed ‘foo fighters’, which were described as fuzzy balls of light that appeared on their wing tips and kept pace with the planes in flight… but until a private pilot named Kenneth Arnold came along with an account of seeing a formation of metallic-looking, ‘saucer-shaped’ disks above Mount Rainier, Washington, in 1947, the matter was a mere curiosity…  The term ‘flying saucer’ was coined…”

It’s obvious to the unbiased reader that all Randi is doing is giving background on where the term “flying saucer” came from!  He doesn’t even go into Arnold’s sighting in detail.  He does go into plenty of other cases in detail, but you don’t seem to have anything to say about his accuracy in those.  Sheesh, cut the man some slack!

My overall impression is that Lois was right.  You come off sounding like someone with a serious grudge against James Randi, for whatever reason.  The fact that you scoured a 37-page chapter looking for something to nit pick about and only managed to find these few lame excuses says it quite clearly to me.

Apparently he believes in astrology, too.

Lois

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Posted: 27 July 2015 02:28 PM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 23 ]
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Theflyingsorcerer - 26 July 2015 12:10 AM

Advocatus, I do not “have a grudge” against Randi; that’s a totally idiotic remark - and irrelevant. If that’s the best idea you can come up with, you’re really scraping the barrel. I simply don’t trust anything he says - for good reason; his research is truly abysmal. He presumes to criticise scientists, but has no scientific training whatsoever.

And just what do you mean by “a few lame excuses”? If anyone arguing for the truth of astrology, UFOs, ghosts or whatever made as many stupid little factual errors as there are in just ONE chapter of “Flim-Flam!”, you’d be jumping on them with all four paws. You would, wouldn’t you? If you can’t be honest with me, at least be honest with yourself. “It’s obvious to the unbiased reader” that Randi doesn’t have a clue what he’s talking about.

TFS

There is no truth in “astrology, UFOs, ghosts or whatever.” If you think there is, please provide some objective evidence for any of those things. I am particularly interested in the evidence for “whatever.”

I’m afraid it’s you who doesn’t have a clue what you are talking about. You lost the argument over Randi in your first sentence.

Also, if you think Randi “moves the goalposts”, please demonstrate when and under what circumstances he has ever done this and exactly which goalposts were moved. Details please.  I suspect you wouldn’t know a goalpost if it fell on your head.

Lois

[ Edited: 27 July 2015 02:33 PM by LoisL ]
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Posted: 27 July 2015 02:55 PM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 24 ]
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Lois if you will notice TFS doesn’t really appear to be interested in discussing anything. He made his original post but everything since then has essentially been nothing more than insults.

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