Skeptical Philosophy

  • Thread starter Zero
  • Start date
  • #1
I know there are plenty of people here who consider themselves to be skeptical, but is there a common outlook for all of us? I personally see it broken up into at least two camps. One is the type who says 'that's nonsense' to most everything not accepted by science, and leaves it at that. The second group attempts to show reasons behind why an idea is wrong, and suggests alternate explanations and avenues of inquiry.

I don't know if I have a point, except to say that the first group is useless, and the second group may be useful in certain situations.
 

Answers and Replies

  • #2
So? Where is this going? Give a lead-in or something!
 
  • #3
Originally posted by LogicalAtheist
So? Where is this going? Give a lead-in or something!

Ok, so...do you think it isnough to call religion or pseudoscience 'bunk', and walk away, or do you think you should try to present actual evidence, and even guide people towards some sort of reason? After all, not all bunk is really bunk.
 
  • #4
Because of the logical and statistical and scientific methods I used on religion (which only need to be used once in a lifetime) I walked away. It doesn't take long and once you do it your done for a lifetime.

Kind of like getting your tonsils removed.

So yes, from my perspective it can be bunked forever. But religion isn't pseudo-science, it's mythology, a big difference!

I would urge others to use the processes I did, or others if they wish, and thus to draw the conclusion, and walk away. I wouldn't urge someone to walk away without doing this, and I would urge those would have walked away without doing this, to do it and then walk away again.

I guess the importance lies in the methods I used. But my answer to your question is yes they can be debunked...

PS: Remember the burden of proof of an existence claim lies on the side claiming the existence. It's only a kind gesture if the other side wishes to present it's defense.
 
  • #5
On the other hand, if that is all you are going to do, you may as well just save a step and not say anything, don't you think? If all you are doing is stating your beliefs for the sake of hearing yourself talk, what good is that?
 
  • #6
What is the problem?

You ask a question, I answer it - and then you say I shouldn't answer it?

Perhaps you're unhappy you don't get the responses you wish to get!
 
  • #7
Originally posted by LogicalAtheist
What is the problem?

You ask a question, I answer it - and then you say I shouldn't answer it?

Perhaps you're unhappy you don't get the responses you wish to get!
?
 
  • #8
Iacchus32
2,313
1
Originally posted by Zero
I know there are plenty of people here who consider themselves to be skeptical, but is there a common outlook for all of us? I personally see it broken up into at least two camps. One is the type who says 'that's nonsense' to most everything not accepted by science, and leaves it at that. The second group attempts to show reasons behind why an idea is wrong, and suggests alternate explanations and avenues of inquiry.

I don't know if I have a point, except to say that the first group is useless, and the second group may be useful in certain situations.
Are you asking anyone to argue in favor "of" religion? Because it sounds like you've already concluded there's no need for it. Except of course that it would be nice if we could somehow find a way to convince those poor deluded souls who haven't realized it yet, that it wasn't necessary.

I'm not even a religious person (spiritual perhaps?), and yet the problem is not religion, it's what people do with religion. And this is the key, because religion is so close to the core of what we are -- as "creatures of belief" -- that it's subject to so much exploitation. And indeed, this is what gives it bad name ... while also explaining the nature of addiction.

And, while there's no doubt a good percentage of people who go to church who are under such delusions, I don't think the solution would be to outlaw religion, because people still need their "fixations." Ironically, just like Prohibition! And yet if properly understood, religion can ultimately provide the means by which to overcome our "earthly fixations," and possibly "escape the Matrix" so to speak.

This I'm afraid is what science fails to understand, that people can't help but be this way, for they need time to mature and open their eyes to reality. And yet the problem with Mother Church, is that She becomes so possessive about the whole thing (again, the nature of addiction), that She won't allow Her little children to do grow beyond the need for Mother Church, and become independent "spiritual beings." But doesn't this sound like a problem with most parents?

So the problem is not religion (which isn't to say there aren't things which couldn't be addressed about "formalized religion"). The problem is to understand why we have the need for religion ... And hey, it might even be possible for Science and Religion to get together and bridge some of their differences. Now wouldn't that be something!
 
  • #9
wuliheron
2,135
0
Originally posted by Zero

I don't know if I have a point, except to say that the first group is useless, and the second group may be useful in certain situations.

I think the point you are making is that Skeptics come in two essential varieties, intellectual and reactionary. Reactionary politics are as old as humanity and are not quite totally useless, but certainly are a reflection of the cultures they emerge from. In the long run they can bring about changes that otherwise might not occur, especially in male dominated Patriarchal societies which place violence, assertiveness, and rugged-individualism in general on a pedistal. In the short run, of course, reactionary politics can cause as much embarassment and backstepping as possible.

Sometimes people simply refuse to listen and when they have the overwhelming advantage and dominate the floor, raising hell becomes an attractive alternative. Reactionary Skeptics multiply and grow louder the less people listen to them. Likewise, the more intellectual Skeptics refrain from expressing their own feelings, the more reactionary Skeptics fill in the gaps. The less empowered people feel and the less heard, the more outrageous their behavior.

The ancient Athenian motto for democracy was, "Strike if you must! But hear me first!" Instead of merely putting down reactionary Skeptics as useless, a truly intellectual Skeptic would ask why they act the way they do. This is apparently what you seem to be doing here in a sort of high handed, demeaning way. Note that this is perfectly in character, appropriate, and socially acceptable in western societies but not so much in Asian cultures. In Asia they tend to have to opposite problem, people bend over backwards to at least appear they are not insulting each other or otherwise taking advantage of each other. :0)
 
  • #10
Kerrie
Staff Emeritus
Gold Member
841
15
i think as a general rule, each individual should

QUESTION EVERYTHING

for themselves...this means to think for yourself, and not be insulted, swayed, brainwashed by what another individual has to say unless you 100% completely agree with them for your own reasons...

that to me is skeptical philosophy...
 
  • #11
wuliheron
2,135
0
Originally posted by Kerrie
i think as a general rule, each individual should

QUESTION EVERYTHING

for themselves...this means to think for yourself, and not be insulted, swayed, brainwashed by what another individual has to say unless you 100% completely agree with them for your own reasons...

that to me is skeptical philosophy...

Most importantly, a real Skeptic questions themselves.
 
  • #12
Originally posted by Kerrie
i think as a general rule, each individual should

QUESTION EVERYTHING

for themselves...this means to think for yourself, and not be insulted, swayed, brainwashed by what another individual has to say unless you 100% completely agree with them for your own reasons...

that to me is skeptical philosophy...


This idea is useless in reality. It's not only impossible but simply strange.

You don't question weather your cereal is poisoned, or weather you have aids today. Or weather you're going to fall through the floor, and weather ghosts are going to kill you right NOW... or a million other things.

To questions things isn't an intelligent decision unless you're going to use empirical data to back your claim up. I could question Newtons 2nd law, but I'd be a jackass for it if I didn't have a better theory.

The whole notion of "question everything" like I see these childrens commercials on TV for is just strange. It's part of why we have people who are intellectual without any intelligence or knowledge.

It's a big problem in society today. It also goes back to the whole philosophy thing, philosophy is intellectualism without any knowledge. Science is the intellect to ask why with the knowledge and intelligence to back it up.

Philosophy itself is a poor choice, skeptical philosophy is unbelievably worse!
 
  • #13


Originally posted by Iacchus32

So the problem is not religion (which isn't to say there aren't things which couldn't be addressed about "formalized religion"). The problem is to understand why we have the need for religion ... And hey, it might even be possible for Science and Religion to get together and bridge some of their differences. Now wouldn't that be something!

This cuts to teh heart of what I was trying to get across...that it isn't enough to say 'you are wrong, therefore you must be stupid', and move on. I think it is important to understand the reasons people believe differently from you, if only to better understand humanity as a whole. I mean, why do people believe in things that are patently false? Or believe without what some would consider sufficient evidence?
 
  • #14
Originally posted by Kerrie
i think as a general rule, each individual should

QUESTION EVERYTHING

for themselves...this means to think for yourself, and not be insulted, swayed, brainwashed by what another individual has to say unless you 100% completely agree with them for your own reasons...

that to me is skeptical philosophy...

Exactly...question, and then measure the answers against everything you know. Be open to new ideas, new information. Like The Amazing Randi likes to say, it isn't that astrology or psychic powers can't exist, it is simply that teh evidence doesn't sway me. If new evidence comes to light, I look at it, compare it to what I know about the world, and see if it rings true.
 
  • #15


Zero - I've done a few short publications on this "why" you propose. Using many angles. Perhaps I will post them in a new post and see why other atheists propose religion not only became a mythology, but why also it was superimposed.

Originally posted by Zero
This cuts to teh heart of what I was trying to get across...that it isn't enough to say 'you are wrong, therefore you must be stupid', and move on. I think it is important to understand the reasons people believe differently from you, if only to better understand humanity as a whole. I mean, why do people believe in things that are patently false? Or believe without what some would consider sufficient evidence?
 
  • #16
wuliheron
2,135
0
Originally posted by LogicalAtheist
This idea is useless in reality. It's not only impossible but simply strange.

The whole notion of "question everything" like I see these childrens commercials on TV for is just strange. It's part of why we have people who are intellectual without any intelligence or knowledge.

As usual, your logic ignores the simple facts of emotional life and the common emotional connotations of natural language which give it context. Genuine questions do not demand answers, are not habitual, etc. When a Skeptic says "question everything" it is not a command to question every breath you take. Question your own insistence on taking things out of context and, perhaps, you will gain some insight into what a sincere question involves.
 
  • #17
Iacchus32
2,313
1
Originally posted by LogicalAtheist
This idea is useless in reality. It's not only impossible but simply strange.
I think what's she saying is to question everything, as much as possible, when it comes to people's underlying motives, including yourself's (which is what wuliheron was saying). For indeed, nothing is as it appears, or at least very little of it anyway.

You don't question weather your cereal is poisoned, or weather you have aids today. Or weather you're going to fall through the floor, and weather ghosts are going to kill you right NOW... or a million other things.
Yes, and the rest of the things which you don't have time to question -- so long as they don't appear too serious -- you have to pretty much leave up to faith. Hmm ... very interesting!
 
  • #18
Les Sleeth
Gold Member
2,254
2


Originally posted by Zero
This cuts to teh heart of what I was trying to get across...that it isn't enough to say 'you are wrong, therefore you must be stupid', and move on. I think it is important to understand the reasons people believe differently from you, if only to better understand humanity as a whole. I mean, why do people believe in things that are patently false? Or believe without what some would consider sufficient evidence?

Thank you Zero for posting this, I think you are asking an important question.

My opinion is, this is a forum, not a dumping ground for opinionated people to come and unload their dogma on the rest of us. The entire purpose of a forum is to discuss, and listen, and hopefully learn/contribute.

The first variety of skeptic you cite contributes nothing useful, and in fact only wastes everyones' time because when one tries to reason with them, they ignore what you say and merely repeat what they've already said. Rather than a healthy skepticism, it really just ends up being the rantings of the self-absorbed.

Your second example is what I think Kerrie is referring to, not to literally question everything, but rather to wonder about everything which is open to question (and that's a lot of stuff). To me, that is a sign of someone who wants to learn and grow.

Some of the best discussions I've had here when debating with someone, is when they answer me and begin by addressing the important points I made before moving on to their own points, and they do so with an honest willingness to acknowledge anything I said that made sense. It makes no difference whether ultimately people agree as long as they are willing to listen and admit when they don't make sense or make a mistake with facts.
 
  • #19
Iacchus32
2,313
1
Originally posted by Zero
Exactly...question, and then measure the answers against everything you know. Be open to new ideas, new information. Like The Amazing Randi likes to say, it isn't that astrology or psychic powers can't exist, it is simply that teh evidence doesn't sway me. If new evidence comes to light, I look at it, compare it to what I know about the world, and see if it rings true.
It's funny you should mention James Randi here, because he's a prime example of what skeptic shouldn't be, "died-in-the-wool" that is. At least this is my own opinion. For he claims to be open to the possiblity that the "super natural" might exist, yet he all he does is mock and ridicule and slam the door shut in the face of it.

Whereas I think James Randi is just in it for himself, and this is what the big hoopla is all about.
 
  • #20
So:

Everything = Somethings

Hmmm. Does not compute.
 
  • #21
wuliheron
2,135
0
Originally posted by LogicalAtheist
So:

Everything = Somethings

Hmmm. Does not compute.

Exactly, my computer is a complete idiot... an idiot savant that would wander into traffic and get itself killed if it had legs. It cannot place anything in any kind of context, but is a wonderful tool if you can place it in a personal, emotional context.
 
  • #22
Iacchus32
2,313
1
Originally posted by LogicalAtheist
So:

Everything = Somethings

Hmmm. Does not compute.
While probably at one time or another you do question everything. Which then becomes a matter of "faith." Hmm ...
 
  • #23
Kerrie
Staff Emeritus
Gold Member
841
15
Originally posted by wuliheron
Exactly, my computer is a complete idiot... an idiot savant that would wander into traffic and get itself killed if it had legs. It cannot place anything in any kind of context, but is a wonderful tool if you can place it in a personal, emotional context.

hehe, music to my ears...

You don't question weather your cereal is poisoned, or weather you have aids today. Or weather you're going to fall through the floor, and weather ghosts are going to kill you right NOW... or a million other things.

well, most people who know how use the word "weather" in the correct context know that to question the obvious is not what i meant...
 
  • #24
Originally posted by Iacchus32
It's funny you should mention James Randi here, because he's a prime example of what skeptic shouldn't be, "died-in-the-wool" that is. At least this is my own opinion. For he claims to be open to the possiblity that the "super natural" might exist, yet he all he does is mock and ridicule and slam the door shut in the face of it.

Whereas I think James Randi is just in it for himself, and this is what the big hoopla is all about.

Hmmmmm...no, I think he is very open-minded to PROOF, if only someone could show him some.
 
  • #25
Originally posted by Zero
Hmmmmm...no, I think he is very open-minded to PROOF, if only someone could show him some.

Haha!

Seriously - how open do you want someone to be? So open they think ghosts exist? Big foot? A dude who defies Newtons laws and walks on water? dragons?

I mean come on now, the most open people on the planet are schizos and wackos.

Should we all aspire to be that open?
 
  • #26
Kerrie
Staff Emeritus
Gold Member
841
15
Seriously - how open do you want someone to be? So open they think ghosts exist? Big foot? A dude who defies Newtons laws and walks on water? dragons?

that's why we are talking about skeptical philosophy...
 
  • #27
Originally posted by LogicalAtheist
Haha!

Seriously - how open do you want someone to be? So open they think ghosts exist? Big foot? A dude who defies Newtons laws and walks on water? dragons?

I mean come on now, the most open people on the planet are schizos and wackos.

Should we all aspire to be that open?
No, but you should be open to NEW evidence, again, if only to debunk it on its own terms.
 
  • #28
OK< here's part of what I'm getting at...a 'false skeptic' says "herbal remedies are a scam" and walks away. A 'true skeptic' says "show me what the active ingredients are, and we'll take another look at it".
 
  • #29
Originally posted by Zero
No, but you should be open to NEW evidence, again, if only to debunk it on its own terms.


Yes, and I'm sure that's what this guy does. As do I. It's a small world when you remove the debunkable.
 
  • #30
Iacchus32
2,313
1
Originally posted by Zero
Hmmmmm...no, I think he is very open-minded to PROOF, if only someone could show him some.
He need only prove it to himself which, I don't think he's capable of doing, because he's so "externally oriented."

Proof only constitutes "fact" anyway, and doesn't belie "the experience," which is really the whole point. Otherwise what purpose does Religion serve?
 
Last edited:
  • #31
Originally posted by Iacchus32
While probably at one time or another you do question everything. Which then becomes a matter of "faith." Hmm ...
You like to mention this word "faith". I get the feeling you mean it to mean 'belief without evidence'...
 
  • #32
He does always mention it. But - and without insult - look at some of his concepts.

He bends reality into his own world so the meanings he wants to give things are "true" to him. And doesn't listen to fact that hurts his faith.

Not an insult, but many here are observing it. So what is this faith? And why have it?
 
  • #33
Iacchus32
2,313
1
Originally posted by Zero
OK< here's part of what I'm getting at...a 'false skeptic' says "herbal remedies are a scam" and walks away. A 'true skeptic' says "show me what the active ingredients are, and we'll take another look at it".
Yeah, and while running the whole thing like a three ring circus. Perhaps like one of his well-known counterparts, the so-called "true conservative," Rush Limbaugh ...
 
  • #34
Originally posted by Iacchus32
Yeah, and while running the whole thing like a three ring circus. Perhaps like one of his well-known counterparts, the so-called "true conservative," Rush Limbaugh ...


You should really read his site, you know? He is as upfront as anyone I have witnessed. And, what is the circus, expecting people to prove things or stop making claims?
 
  • #35
Iacchus32
2,313
1
Originally posted by BoulderHead
You like to mention this word "faith". I get the feeling you mean it to mean 'belief without evidence'...
No, I mean it by "weighing the benefit of the doubt" -- afraid you can't get away from that -- and concluding which "logical" choice to take. So then, maybe there is some higher form of intelligence over here to my side of things afterall? Hmm ... Faith is just a matter of existence. I hate to tell you this!
 

Suggested for: Skeptical Philosophy

  • Last Post
Replies
3
Views
287
  • Last Post
Replies
3
Views
1K
Replies
12
Views
1K
Replies
2
Views
618
Replies
1
Views
1K
  • Last Post
Replies
12
Views
1K
Replies
17
Views
1K
Replies
2
Views
248
Top