Joe Nickell - Debunking in Hollywood? (April 6, 2007)
Posted: 07 April 2007 12:26 AM   [ Ignore ]
Sr. Member
RankRankRankRankRankRankRankRankRankRank
Total Posts:  508
Joined  2006-04-18

Joe Nickell Rocks!

I often wondered how he and Paul get roped into the often biased appearing Discovery Chanel shows, where 90% of the time is given over to magical thinking and then they set these two (or else Randi, but seldom all 3) to be the grumpy skeptic. Now I know.

But CSICOP could make good advertising with a picture of Joe in a dress (or better yet, a knee length skirt and blouse with matching jacket and handbag (picture the Church Lady)) and the slogan:

"CSICOP: Normal people, investigating the Paranormal".

LOL

ETA Kind of like this:   

http://homepage.mac.com/cgallaga/PhotoAlbum4.html

LOL

[ Edited: 19 May 2007 01:11 PM by Thomas Donnelly ]
Profile
 
 
Posted: 07 April 2007 07:00 PM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 1 ]
Member
Avatar
RankRankRankRankRankRank
Total Posts:  148
Joined  2007-03-07

After listening to Nickell talk about The Reaping, I think I might go watch it… and if it’s irrational… I will laugh.

I like to laugh at irrational movies. smile

 Signature 

1. God is omnipotent.
Source: Several incidents where I’ve annoyed fundamentalist Christians by challenging God’s power.
2. If God is omnipotent then he can travel faster than the speed of light.
Modus Ponens
3. Nothing can travel faster than the speed of light.
Source: Einstein
Therefore, God is nothing.
QED

Profile
 
 
Posted: 07 April 2007 07:54 PM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 2 ]
Member
Avatar
RankRankRankRankRank
Total Posts:  122
Joined  2006-11-24

I don’t know…

In this and a previous edition Nickel and DJ repeatedly talked about how Nickel is not a debunker but an investigator who simply evaluates the evidence. Let me find a bad analogy: it’s like a male doctor who claims his naked female patients only register for their symptoms, not their protrusions.
I don’t buy it. It sounds like a legal disclaimer. Reminds me of Dan Dennet who had played a similar game, always repeating: “Let’s find out”. The fact is claims of the paranormal have always failed for the simple reason that the laws of physics seem not to be capricious but constant, and because the gullibility of humans makes exploiting that gullibility a lucrative business proposition.
My take: if there really were something truly out of the ordinary, it would be irrefutable and BIG, not “now you see it, now you don’t”.
It’s that same argument that tells me that no gods exist. If those gods can’t get themselves noticed and recognized, they’re the equivalent of non-existent. Don’t bother.

Profile
 
 
Posted: 08 April 2007 06:37 AM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 3 ]
Member
RankRankRankRankRankRank
Total Posts:  150
Joined  2006-04-03

The thing is, Joe is very methodical.  When he visits a place, he examines all of it.  He researches the prevailing story, interviews anyone who may have had primary contact with the event or sighting (whatever), and begins to put together a logical alternative.

He is exceedingly logical.  He tests hypotheses.  I don’t think that he believes ghost or the Loch Ness Monster will make an appearance, but he works with people who do believe these things. His process helps *them* see the logical alternatives.

This careful process puts him above the fray.  His conclusions are logically arrived at and practically irrefutable.

Many of us (me included) tend to deny the odd or paranormal straight away.  This puts the rest of the public off.  They believe it. Joe’s method gets more people thinking.  I do agree that it drives the skeptic in me crazy, but it works!

Linda

Profile
 
 
Posted: 08 April 2007 02:30 PM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 4 ]
Sr. Member
RankRankRankRankRankRankRankRankRankRank
Total Posts:  508
Joined  2006-04-18
[quote author=“HappyHumanist”]TMany of us (me included) tend to deny the odd or paranormal straight away. 

And that is fine as long as you admit that instance for instance, this has no greater truth value than the belief of one who believes in the paranormal. You have faith in your knowledge of past evidence, and you have an expectation of what is possible based on that and so (from their perspective) do they.

Science can’t prove a negative and so the burden is on us to disprove each positive claim whereever possible. And where not, to be skeptical either that all the facts are in or that our method and understanding is complete or both
The way I see it is that Joe is just being intellectually honest. He can’t claim that his belief without proof has any greater mooring than anyone else’s. Plus he knows that belief before proof can lead to faulty investigation, and so the suspension of judgement is the most honest method for one who is really seeking the truth.

This is the scientific method. And it is the Russel agnostic argument come to play again (as often is the case).

http://humanum.arts.cuhk.edu.hk/humftp/E-text/Russell/agnostic.htm

The Agnostic suspends judgment, saying that there are not sufficient grounds either for affirmation or for denial. At the same time, an Agnostic may hold that the existence of God, though not impossible, is very improbable; he may even hold it so improbable that it is not worth considering in practice. In that case, he is not far removed from atheism. His attitude may be that which a careful philosopher would have towards the gods of ancient Greece. If I were asked to prove that Zeus and Poseidon and Hera and the rest of the Olympians do not exist, I should be at a loss to find conclusive arguments. An Agnostic may think the Christian God as improbable as the Olympians; in that case, he is, for practical purposes, at one with the atheists.

http://www.wellingtongrey.net/miscellanea/archive/2007-01-15—science vs faith.html

2007-01-15 -- science vs faith.png

Profile
 
 
Posted: 09 April 2007 03:40 AM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 5 ]
Sr. Member
Avatar
RankRankRankRankRankRankRankRankRankRank
Total Posts:  9301
Joined  2006-08-29

deleted by the author

Profile
 
 
Posted: 10 April 2007 01:27 PM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 6 ]
Member
RankRankRankRankRankRank
Total Posts:  150
Joined  2006-04-03

cgallaga wrote:

HappyHumanist wrote:
TMany of us (me included) tend to deny the odd or paranormal straight away. 


And that is fine as long as you admit that instance for instance, this has no greater truth value than the belief of one who believes in the paranormal. You have faith in your knowledge of past evidence, and you have an expectation of what is possible based on that and so (from their perspective) do they.

I agree completely.  I was answering moreover, who questioned Joe’s “investigator” role.  I get that “knee-jerky” skeptical it-must-be-a-load-of-crap feeling when I hear of ghosts, or sea monsters, or whatever.  Joe really takes his time investigating the claim.  And I admire his patience and dedication.  I don’t always have it!! LOL

And, George, I am not a Nazca expert. However, a natural explanation is more tenable than a supernatural one. Is Joe 100% correct?  Beats me.  Is it possible?  Sure.  Does Joe insist that his explanation is the ONLY one?  I doubt it seriously.  If you have a different hypothesis, I’m sure he would listen and consider it.

Profile
 
 
Posted: 10 April 2007 05:56 PM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 7 ]
Sr. Member
Avatar
RankRankRankRankRankRankRankRankRankRank
Total Posts:  9301
Joined  2006-08-29

deleted by the author

Profile
 
 
Posted: 10 April 2007 08:26 PM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 8 ]
Member
Avatar
RankRankRankRankRank
Total Posts:  122
Joined  2006-11-24

Nichols does what he does for a living, and does it in a professional manner, and that requires scrutiny and an appearance of neutrality. I would ask a different question: Whom should I, a private individual with very limited resources, afford the benefit of the doubt? Should I hire the released sex offender as my babysitter? Should I vote for the lying politician - again? Now that the chakra candles did not help, should I buy the copper bracelet this same vendor highly praises?
Many people are better off if they don’t expose themselves too much to folks peddling “alternative” explanations or phenomena. Reason is but one factor in a person’s psychological makeup (and the most powerful one only in weirdos). Breasts make me horny. Promises of riches make me greedy. Praise of my ability flatters me. Charlie Chaplin makes me cry. Music evokes universal harmony. We are played by our emotions like a fiddle, and reason plays second fiddle in the best of circumstances.
It’s imperative that we practice our reasoning skills. At the same time, we all know people who have succumbed to subscribing to weird belief systems because they encountered them when their guards were down and their rational armor was not functioning. I therefore advocate to keep the broader picture in sight: Why would one expect that the natural world with its demonstrated ‘lawfulness’ would be punctuated by weird exceptions?  And how odd that the claimed exceptions tend to disappear on closer inspection or turn out to be acts of fraud, time and time again?
My wife, a chemistry prof, just related her discussions about global warming she had with students. What it boils down to is that in order to believe that global warming evidence is false requires to also believe in a vast conspiracy of thousands of scientists worldwide to manufacture such evidence and suppress (undetected!) the counter evidence. This bigger argument in front of you is a much better guide than diving down into the nitty gritty of the complexity of the original research on climate models and date which is beyond the scope of what most people can understand.  It’s at that technical level where industry stooges like Dick Lindzen (spelling??) of MIT (whom I heard speak at a panel a few years back) excel at befuddling and confusing with their jargon and technicalities.
Long argument, short meaning: Convictions more easily originate through psychological impact. The technical superiority of reason means little in the context of human psychological vulnerability to persuasion. If we want to guard against bad memes we’ll have to employ smart strategies that take emotional factors into account and importantly also work to protect of convince people who are not terribly smart to begin with.

Profile
 
 
Posted: 05 June 2007 02:18 AM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 9 ]
Sr. Member
RankRankRankRankRankRankRankRankRankRank
Total Posts:  508
Joined  2006-04-18

I saw a clip of Joe on the new Nessie “sighting”. He looks to have lost quite a bit of weight and he was in a kind of modern trendy shirt, looking all CSI-esque. Ya look great Joe! And I mean that in the most hetero and manly way possible. wink

Profile