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Thread: Why Bad Beliefs Don't Die (+ Advice for the Skeptic Frustrated with "Stupid" People)

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    Hai esper

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    The big picture is that most people are just too addicted to video games/the internet to notice real external threats nowadays. That means you have to get out there and look, force yourself to get out of yourself and develop some sort of objectivity otherwise you'd be the first to die from actual threats.

    People are so like, they perceive danger when there really isn't any because we're such a media-addicted culture and the Bad Guys want you to be that way. We need to engage real people more, and cyberspace less- let's fucking face it.

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    thanks for the article, esper, i found it illuminating.

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    They must avoid becoming critical or demeaning in response to the resilience of beliefs.
    WHY? I can take complete issue with this guy. In fact, I think his own beliefs are um, a problem.

    Nevermind... I looked this guy up. He's one of the few psychologists qualified to diagnose personality disorders, meaning his power is tremendous. Or so it seems. But I sense a confrontation between he and I is inevitable because he's quite loony in his own right.

    Unless we are to welcome McNew back with open arms (this is what this guy insists we are obligated to do) then we have to dismiss Mr. Lester's advice. One thing that could work -- getting another psychologist to diagnose Lester as having a martyr complex, which would damage his credibility and possibly threaten his ability to practice. This is scary... much more scary even than the delusional types, because he is the voice which empowers delusion.

    This is probably the most reckless and arrogant piece of material ever produced. At least since Jesus said "turn the other cheek".

    Oh by the way, did you notice that this guy VIs as an ISFJ? I'm not saying that all ISFJs are so arrogant as to impose their values on people to whom they are oppressive, but this guy has the ethical sense of a peanut. If we listened to him, they'd be teaching creationism in every school in the United States. He wants us to be fucking lambs. Hell no I say: if somebody yells at you, yell back LOUDER.

    Either that, or I'm not a skeptic. You get the idea though: this guy is the picture of the stereotype of the peacenik nut whose stubborn insistence on giving the bad guy his fair say ends up letting said bad guy throw the whole world into chaos. ...I would never submit to an analysis by this guy. Ever.
    Last edited by tcaudilllg; 12-08-2009 at 01:55 AM.

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    Quote Originally Posted by esper View Post
    "Inconsequential" Beliefs

    It is this system that the brain relies on in order to experience consistency, control, cohesion, and safety in the world. It must maintain this system intact in order to feel that survival is being successfully accomplished.
    Gregory W. Lester, Ph.D.
    I think that ruined the article for me. Other than that, the guy seemed spot on and offered good advice for anyone looking to persuade and not persecute. Then again, it almost sounds like he's selling us short. I don't know, I don't think I could ever actually respect the stupid people.
    Feels gewd to be an ISTp

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    The lesson for skeptics is to understand that people are generally not intending to be mean, contrary, harsh, or stupid when they are challenged. It's a fight for survival.
    Jesus, do you think a person might be willing to be at least "mean" and "harsh" towards someone who appeared to be trying to kill them?

    But this essay is so general it probably shouldn't have even been attempted. The meaning of a "skeptic" vs a "believer" is lost in translation. Whatever, I'm done with this.

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    lol I remember this. It's rather circular. Who cares if their defensiveness is a result of feeling their survival being threatened? That just shows how miserably stupid and narrow-minded they are. I'd rather die than consign myself to unquestioned beliefs for intellectual subsistence.
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    The man does not understand that the only way to deal with stupidity/extremism (stupidity is these days used as a euphemism for domestic extremism) is to differentiate the stupid from the non-stupid and then unite the non-stupid in the face of the stupid by playing on their collective sense of the absurd.

    I hope someone had the courage to publicly rebuke him.

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    Uhm? And where are the neurological basis for all this? Did the guy forget that we have a neocortex, thus not everything we do can be reconducted to survival? Does he imply that skepticals are more evolved than hardcore believer? I don't like his reasoning, beacause it doesn't provide any solution to the "issue" he speaks about.
    Obsequium amicos, veritas odium parit

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    Quote Originally Posted by FDG View Post
    Uhm? And where are the neurological basis for all this? Did the guy forget that we have a neocortex, thus not everything we do can be reconducted to survival? Does he imply that skepticals are more evolved than hardcore believer? I don't like his reasoning, beacause it doesn't provide any solution to the "issue" he speaks about.
    I couldn't agree more.

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    This is actually really good shit.
    But, for a certainty, back then,
    We loved so many, yet hated so much,
    We hurt others and were hurt ourselves...

    Yet even then, we ran like the wind,
    Whilst our laughter echoed,
    Under cerulean skies...

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    Quote Originally Posted by Gilly View Post
    This is actually really good shit.
    You agree with this?

    This piece is little more than a denial of the value of intimidation. Do not begrudge yourself the defense of rationality, nor the defense of your own emotional state... accept the necessity for such as a natural part of living.

    Gilly you know what happens to guys like these when they find themselves in front of a lion. You and I would probably survive... this guy would probably give himself to it to satiate its hunger.
    Last edited by tcaudilllg; 12-09-2009 at 01:40 AM.

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    Quote Originally Posted by esper View Post
    Skeptics Frustrated with "Stupid" People...u know who u are.

    Why Bad Beliefs Don't Die (Skeptical Inquirer November 2000)

    Why Bad Beliefs Don't Die

    Because beliefs are designed to enhance our ability to survive, they are biologically designed to be strongly resistant to change. To change beliefs, skeptics must address the brain's "survival" issues of meanings and implications in addition to discussing their data.
    Gregory W. Lester

    Because a basic tenet of both skeptical thinking and scientific inquiry is that beliefs can be wrong, it is often confusing and irritating to scientists and skeptics that so many people's beliefs do not change in the face of disconfirming evidence. How, we wonder, are people able to hold beliefs that contradict the data?
    This puzzlement can produce an unfortunate tendency on the part of skeptical thinkers to demean and belittle people whose beliefs don't change in response to evidence. They can be seen as inferior, stupid, or crazy. This attitude is born of skeptics' failure to understand the biological purpose of beliefs and the neurological necessity for them to be resilient and stubbornly resistant to change. The truth is that for all their rigorous thinking, many skeptics do not have a clear or rational understanding of what beliefs are and why even faulty ones don't die easily. Understanding the biological purpose of beliefs can help skeptics to be far more effective in challenging irrational beliefs and communicating scientific conclusions.

    Biology and Survival

    Our brain's primary purpose is to keep us alive. It certainly does more than that, but survival is always its fundamental purpose and always comes first. If we are injured to the point where our bodies only have enough energy to support consciousness or a heartbeat but not both, the brain has no problem choosing-it puts us into a coma (survival before consciousness), rather than an alert death-spiral (consciousness before survival).
    Because every brain activity serves a fundamental survival purpose, the only way to accurately understand any brain function is to examine its value as a tool for survival. Even the difficulty of successfully treating such behavioral disorders as obesity and addiction can only be understood by examining their relationship to survival. Any reduction in caloric intake or in the availability of a substance to which an individual is addicted is always perceived by the brain as a threat to survival. As a result the brain powerfully defends the overeating or the substance abuse, producing the familiar lying, sneaking, denying, rationalizing, and justifying commonly exhibited by individuals suffering from such disorders.

    Senses and Beliefs

    One of the brain's primary tools for ensuring survival is our senses. Obviously, we must be able to accurately perceive danger in order to take action designed to keep us safe. In order to survive we need to be able to see the lion charging us as we emerge from our cave or hear the intruder breaking into our house in the middle of the night.
    Senses alone, however, are inadequate as effective detectors of danger because they are severely limited in both range and scope. We can have direct sensory contact with only a small portion of the world at any one time. The brain considers this to be a significant problem because even normal, everyday living requires that we constantly move in and out of the range of our perceptions of the world as it is right now. Entering into territory we have not previously seen or heard puts us in the dangerous position of having no advance warning of potential dangers. If I walk into an unfamiliar building in a dangerous part of town my survival probabilities diminish because I have no way of knowing whether the roof is ready to collapse or a gunman is standing inside the doorway.

    Enter beliefs. "Belief" is the name we give to the survival tool of the brain that is designed to augment and enhance the danger-identification function of our senses. Beliefs extend the range of our senses so that we can better detect danger and thus improve our chances of survival as we move into and out of unfamiliar territory. Beliefs, in essence, serve as our brain's "long-range danger detectors."

    Functionally, our brains treat beliefs as internal "maps" of those parts of the world with which we do not have immediate sensory contact. As I sit in my living room I cannot see my car. Although I parked it in my driveway some time ago, using only immediate sensory data I do not know if it is still there. As a result, at this moment sensory data is of very little use to me regarding my car. In order to find my car with any degree of efficiency my brain must ignore the current sensory data (which, if relied on in a strictly literal sense, not only fails to help me in locating my car but actually indicates that it no longer exists) and turn instead to its internal map of the location of my car. This is my belief that my car is still in my driveway where I left it. By referring to my belief rather than to sensory data, my brain can "know" something about the world with which I have no immediate sensory contact. This "extends" my brain's knowledge of and contact with the world.
    ......
    In my honest opinion, without reading much more than the first few paragraphs of that post; I believe that skeptical attitude is based upon fear and insecurity. I think that most "skeptics" are afraid of 'looking stupid' so take chances in being doubtful at what seems to be outrageous claims.

    What makes someone's claims outrageous? It is the simple fact that the claims do not fit the norms of observability or common/status-quo acceptability enough to be acceptable for themselves.

    If someone believes in the possibility that a certain person developed the power to walk on water, a skeptic will ASSUME, without proof or omniscience, that this is not possible. Skeptics rely upon MATERIAL knowledge from books and limited personal experience and therefore can NEVER realize their ultimate inherent potential.

    The skeptic is a gambler that assumes he is right based upon probability and nothing more. If the skeptic is right it is usually by luck. The chance he takes is, by rule, based upon the odds.

    All of this talk about "evolution" or "instinct" is assumption NOT based upon FACT since there is no proof of evolution as is proposed by the average evolutionist, and since "instinct" is a vague and theoretical idea. Any skeptic that uses evolution as an justification of any human behavior is merely theorizing and NOT speaking fact, nomatter how delusionally they believe that such beliefs are facts.

    Simply put: the self-proclaimed skeptic PRETENDS/feigns knowledge of truth.

    Trying to talk about brain before you understand your own mind is just discussing and hashing research from PROFESSIONALS that you cannot CONFIRM is true, and even if it were it is NOT a complete picture of mental reality.

    That is only my opinion.
    Last edited by Waddlesworth; 12-13-2009 at 07:26 AM.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Waddlesworth View Post
    In my honest opinion, without reading much more than the first few paragraphs of that post; I believe that skeptical attitude is based upon fear and insecurity. I think that most "skeptics" are afraid of 'looking stupid' so take chances in being doubtful at what seems to be outrageous claims.
    It's not about fear; it's about concern for accuracy. This quality lend itselfs to a hesitance to express oneself before real understanding has been achieved.

    What makes someone's claims outrageous? It is the simple fact that the claims do not fit the norms of observability or common/status-quo acceptability enough to be acceptable for themselves.
    Nothing to with skepticism. What's outrageous, is purporting claims because they fit a norm.

    If someone believes in the possibility that a certain person developed the power to walk on water, a skeptic will ASSUME, without proof or omniscience, that this is not possible. Skeptics rely upon MATERIAL knowledge from books and limited personal experience and therefore can NEVER realize their ultimate inherent potential.
    They won't assume impossibility; they will just refrain from assuming existence. There's a difference.

    And what is "material knowledge from books"?

    The skeptic is a gambler that assumes he is right based upon probability and nothing more. If the skeptic is right it is usually by luck. The chance he takes is, by rule, based upon the odds.
    How does an assumption of impossibility lend itself to basing ideas on probability? The skeptic acknowledges said thing as a requisite of something existing, and filters through information accordingly. This is opposed to prematurely assuming something is true and personally confirming it.

    All of this talk about "evolution" or "instinct" is assumption NOT based upon FACT since there is no proof of evolution as is proposed by the average evolutionist, and since "instinct" is a vague and theoretical idea. Any skeptic that uses evolution as an justification of any human behavior is merely theorizing and NOT speaking fact, nomatter how delusionally they believe that such beliefs are facts.
    Evolution is espoused because it is the most reasonably probable explanation the skeptic has found for human existence, not a dogmatic claim of factual perfection.

    Simply put: the self-proclaimed skeptic PRETENDS/feigns knowledge of truth.
    sigh. They acknowledge the limitations of said thing, and move forward with an awareness of that "truth" in the situation. Implicit doubt allows for certainty of belief, and implicit certainty of belief can create a blind absence of doubt.

    Trying to talk about brain before you understand your own mind is just discussing and hashing research from PROFESSIONALS that you cannot CONFIRM is true, and even if it were it is NOT a complete picture of mental reality.
    Who says skeptics don't understand their own minds? And furthermore, citing personal experience as valid is much different than referencing an expert.

    That is only my opinion.
    Your opinion is miserably flawed and disgustingly presumptuous.
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    Quote Originally Posted by strrrng View Post
    Your opinion is miserably flawed and disgustingly presumptuous.
    Wow, you are very defensive. Typical of a so-called "skeptic"(i.e. person who likes to look like they know what they are talking about.)

    Anyone can be suspicious about the reality of any proposed idea or belief. But when someone identifies as being a 'skeptic' MY OPINION is that they have a negative disposition to anything unusual or miraculous. This negative disposition is based upon insecurity; in my opinion.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Waddlesworth View Post
    Wow, you are very defensive. Typical of a so-called "skeptic"(i.e. person who likes to look like they know what they are talking about.)
    See, the fact that you think my statement implies defensiveness, is the entire problem here. You seem to assess these so-called skeptics with the same criteria that you assess non-skeptics; that is flawed. I can tell someone that their opinion is "miserably flawed and disgustingly presumptuous" for the sake of intellectual honesty. I wasn't trying to attack you personally; that's legitimately what I think.

    Anyone can be suspicious about the reality of any proposed idea or belief. But when someone identifies as being a 'skeptic' MY OPINION is that they have a negative disposition to anything unusual or miraculous. This negative disposition is based upon insecurity; in my opinion.
    Ever consider revising your opinion? I don't think skeptics care much about whether something is promoted as empirical or miraculous; their attitude towards verifying it will not change, even if their initial assessment of its potential existence does.
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    Quote Originally Posted by strrrng View Post
    See, the fact that you think my statement implies defensiveness, is the entire problem here. You seem to assess these so-called skeptics with the same criteria that you assess non-skeptics; that is flawed. I can tell someone that their opinion is "miserably flawed and disgustingly presumptuous" for the sake of intellectual honesty. I wasn't trying to attack you personally; that's legitimately what I think.



    Ever consider revising your opinion? I don't think skeptics care much about whether something is promoted as empirical or miraculous; their attitude towards verifying it will not change, even if their initial assessment of its potential existence does.
    Sure, whatever. Like I said, it is just my opinion.

    Another opinion of mine is that when someone claims something is "disgustingly presumptuous" it is a sign of a latent complex/internal conflict being exposed. But hey, that is just my opinion and I could be wrong.

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    Everything is "just your opinion," it seems. Perfect recourse for being criticized on your faulty views. Also, lol @ the baseless connection between a linguistic phrase and a "latent complex/internal conflict" being exposed. You could do with some healthy skepticism – but that's just my opinion.
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    Quote Originally Posted by strrrng View Post
    Everything is "just your opinion," it seems. Perfect recourse for being criticized on your faulty views. Also, lol @ the baseless connection between a linguistic phrase and a "latent complex/internal conflict" being exposed. You could do with some healthy skepticism – but that's just my opinion.
    latent complex/internal conflict basically means that I made you insecure enough to get you defensive. that's what that means.

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    Except that your assumption of my defensiveness was flawed, as was the consequent inference.

    Also, do not think that I missed the fact that you conveniently omitted about 90% of my post in your response.
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    Quote Originally Posted by strrrng View Post
    Also, do not think that I missed the fact that you conveniently omitted about 90% of my post in your response.
    I don't remember what you said and couldn't care less what you said.

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    Nice excuse. You cared enough to cherry-pick one phrase and use it as a last-resort defense, given that you had nothing else to your argument. Either way, I'm done conversing with you.
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    Quote Originally Posted by strrrng View Post
    Nice excuse. You cared enough to cherry-pick one phrase and use it as a last-resort defense, given that you had nothing else to your argument. Either way, I'm done conversing with you.
    Yeah, as though I care.

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    awesome article.

    I've always wondered why people kept believing in all kinds of stuff despite all the contrary evidence.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Waddlesworth View Post
    In my honest opinion, without reading much more than the first few paragraphs of that post; I believe that skeptical attitude is based upon fear and insecurity. I think that most "skeptics" are afraid of 'looking stupid' so take chances in being doubtful at what seems to be outrageous claims.

    What makes someone's claims outrageous? It is the simple fact that the claims do not fit the norms of observability or common/status-quo acceptability enough to be acceptable for themselves.

    If someone believes in the possibility that a certain person developed the power to walk on water, a skeptic will ASSUME, without proof or omniscience, that this is not possible. Skeptics rely upon MATERIAL knowledge from books and limited personal experience and therefore can NEVER realize their ultimate inherent potential.

    The skeptic is a gambler that assumes he is right based upon probability and nothing more. If the skeptic is right it is usually by luck. The chance he takes is, by rule, based upon the odds.

    All of this talk about "evolution" or "instinct" is assumption NOT based upon FACT since there is no proof of evolution as is proposed by the average evolutionist, and since "instinct" is a vague and theoretical idea. Any skeptic that uses evolution as an justification of any human behavior is merely theorizing and NOT speaking fact, nomatter how delusionally they believe that such beliefs are facts.

    Simply put: the self-proclaimed skeptic PRETENDS/feigns knowledge of truth.

    Trying to talk about brain before you understand your own mind is just discussing and hashing research from PROFESSIONALS that you cannot CONFIRM is true, and even if it were it is NOT a complete picture of mental reality.

    That is only my opinion.
    I think there is no sceptic to be found who claims to know the truth.

    You can never know the truth, but you can use probabilities. Skeptics are therefor just closest to the truth because they accept critisism. It are the believers who don't like critisism, cause they are afraid of letting go of their belief.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Jarno View Post
    I think there is no sceptic to be found who claims to know the truth.

    You can never know the truth, but you can use probabilities. Skeptics are therefor just closest to the truth because they accept critisism. It are the believers who don't like critisism, cause they are afraid of letting go of their belief.
    Probability can be the skeptic's best friend because he can ALWAYS say he is "closer to the truth" when he infects the miraculous with his 'probabilities'. Also, skeptics only attack things that are "probably" not true, so your statement guarantees a skeptics opinion is automatically more valuable than, say, someone who ACTUALLY EXPERIENCED something miraculous. see how your statement that skeptics are "therefore closest to the truth" is really an empty one?

    Question:"Is it possible for a person to become a mutant immortal? I have met someone that claims to be a mutant immortal and he has shown me convincing evidence."

    Skeptic's Answer: "Probably not...unlikely...according to science it is impossible. Cases of this occuring are likely fraud. In terms of probability there are zero confirmed cases of mutant immortals so therefore, in probability, this is impossible. My conclusion is closer to the truth and therefore my conclusion is more valuable and reliable."


    See, skepticism is a matter of EGO. And what trauma's cause a person to IDENTIFY as a SKEPTIC?

    Who lives their life trying to prove false the miraculous things that other people claim to have experienced? Think of what they have shut themselves away from!

    The skeptic FEARS that which is new and does not want to accept that which may subtract from his own ego's perception of what 'probably is' and 'probably isn't'.

    Skepticism subtracts from faith and when you don't have faith guiding you, what is there? What's the point? It just becomes EGO EGO EGO and you become a cynical, insecure skeptic.

    Anyone can exercise clear judgment of the facts. You don't have to call yourself a skeptic to do that.
    Last edited by Waddlesworth; 12-18-2009 at 05:49 AM.

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    Equating skepticism with fear is laughable. Fear is what drives people to blindly adhere to faulty religions, because doing so makes them feel more 'human' and 'courageous' for taking the noble leap of faith and surmounting the apparently limited and egotistical attitude displayed by so many skeptical heathens. Real skeptics – not idiots who parade around neuroscience forums in materialistic glory – acknowledge the limitations of human knowledge, and pursue understanding with acceptance of the unknown as just that, instead of something to be compensated for through fervent spiritualism or whatever.
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    Quote Originally Posted by strrrng View Post
    Equating skepticism with fear is laughable. Fear is what drives people to blindly adhere to faulty religions, because doing so makes them feel more 'human' and 'courageous' for taking the noble leap of faith and surmounting the apparently limited and egotistical attitude displayed by so many skeptical heathens. Real skeptics – not idiots who parade around neuroscience forums in materialistic glory – acknowledge the limitations of human knowledge, and pursue understanding with acceptance of the unknown as just that, instead of something to be compensated for through fervent spiritualism or whatever.
    Quote Originally Posted by dictionary.com
    skep⋅tic
      /ˈskɛptɪk/ Show Spelled Pronunciation [skep-tik] Show IPA
    Use skeptic in a Sentence
    See web results for skeptic
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    –noun
    1. a person who questions the validity or authenticity of something purporting to be factual.
    2. a person who maintains a doubting attitude, as toward values, plans, statements, or the character of others.
    3. a person who doubts the truth of a religion, esp. Christianity, or of important elements of it.
    4. (initial capital letter) Philosophy.
    a. a member of a philosophical school of ancient Greece, the earliest group of which consisted of Pyrrho and his followers, who maintained that real knowledge of things is impossible.
    b. any later thinker who doubts or questions the possibility of real knowledge of any kind.
    –adjective
    5. pertaining to skeptics or skepticism; skeptical.
    6. (initial capital letter) pertaining to the Skeptics.
    Equating skepticism with fear is psychological. I have concluded through my observation of myself and others that many who describe themselves as skeptics have fear based motives. To put it simply, they fear/anticipate 'looking stupid' so always base their bets on the odds and doubt anything miraculous. They can rarely even come close to proving anything so simply infect discussion of miraculous things with doubt and pretend somehow they are being 'scientific' which is simply a delusion.

    As for your poke at religion: Believing anything to be true without experiencing or being able to confirm it is dangerous. Many (maybe most)skeptical people walk a very false path which is no less dangerous or fear based than the path that religious fanatics walk.

    Your division of so-called real skeptics versus phony/idiotic 'fake' skeptics is just a difference of how cleverly a skeptic is able to mask his cynical negativity. They seem to be the same thing, one is just better at it than the other.

    In the definition of skepticism I see negativity, pessimism, and just general doubt of all things worth living for.

    A person can discern between fact or fiction without calling themselves a skeptic. Anyone I meet that proudly calls themselves a skeptic(in the most typical sense of the word), from all of my experiences, is just masking their overwhelming ignorance instead of accepting it.

    Thinking you will save the world by denying what you perceive as 'faulty religion' in the name of skepticism is just a waste of your time and the time of anyone that chooses to take you seriously. The world's leading religions are filled with many great teachings and help to release us from suffering. The problem is that many people do not really study the books they claim to stand behind.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Waddlesworth View Post
    Equating skepticism with fear is psychological. I have concluded through my observation of myself and others that many who describe themselves as skeptics have fear based motives. To put it simply, they fear/anticipate 'looking stupid' so always base their bets on the odds and doubt anything miraculous. They can rarely even come close to proving anything so simply infect discussion of miraculous things with doubt and pretend somehow they are being 'scientific' which is simply a delusion.
    Why does it always have to tie back to a "fear of being stupid"? Surprising as this may be, many "skeptics" developed such a mindset naturally; through observation and experience, they came to see the value of logic and doubt in the pursuit of knowledge, contrasted to the potentially dire consequences of prioritizing belief over all else.

    As for your poke at religion: Believing anything to be true without experiencing or being able to confirm it is dangerous. Many (maybe most)skeptical people walk a very false path which is no less dangerous or fear based than the path that religious fanatics walk.
    At least they don't presume their path to be more pious than any others.

    Your division of so-called real skeptics versus phony/idiotic 'fake' skeptics is just a difference of how cleverly a skeptic is able to mask his cynical negativity. They seem to be the same thing, one is just better at it than the other.
    Real vs. fake skeptic refers to a genuine pursuit of understanding through the lens of reason and experience, with a latent doubt toward initial belief; as opposed to pessimistically rejecting everything outside of one's narrow-minded world under the pretense of skepticism. Seems like you're harping on the second.

    In the definition of skepticism I see negativity, pessimism, and just general doubt of all things worth living for.
    So, because they aren't happy enough for you, they must be bad? The main thing I saw in the definitions, was an implicit hesitance to believe something without verification. How cynical.

    Thinking you will save the world by denying what you perceive as 'faulty religion' in the name of skepticism is just a waste of your time and the time of anyone that chooses to take you seriously. The world's leading religions are filled with many great teachings and help to release us from suffering. The problem is that many people do not really study the books they claim to stand behind.
    They don't alleviate suffering; give me a break. They create illusions of suffering in peoples' minds in order to absolve themselves of real intellectual responsibility and chalk up all their shit to god or whatever, so that through shameful confession, monotonous prayer and whatever else they do, this horrid suffering will be ended, they will be the chosen ones, saved from the world's misery -- come join them! lol.
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    Quote Originally Posted by strrrng View Post
    Why does it always have to tie back to a "fear of being stupid"? Surprising as this may be, many "skeptics" developed such a mindset naturally; through observation and experience, they came to see the value of logic and doubt in the pursuit of knowledge, contrasted to the potentially dire consequences of prioritizing belief over all else.



    At least they don't presume their path to be more pious than any others.



    Real vs. fake skeptic refers to a genuine pursuit of understanding through the lens of reason and experience, with a latent doubt toward initial belief; as opposed to pessimistically rejecting everything outside of one's narrow-minded world under the pretense of skepticism. Seems like you're harping on the second.



    So, because they aren't happy enough for you, they must be bad? The main thing I saw in the definitions, was an implicit hesitance to believe something without verification. How cynical.



    They don't alleviate suffering; give me a break. They create illusions of suffering in peoples' minds in order to absolve themselves of real intellectual responsibility and chalk up all their shit to god or whatever, so that through shameful confession, monotonous prayer and whatever else they do, this horrid suffering will be ended, they will be the chosen ones, saved from the world's misery -- come join them! lol.
    My conclusions are based on my own observations. when I refer to skeptics i refer to people who identify and pride themselves on being skeptics.

    everything else here seems to be difference in opinion between us and we cannot resolve that now/here.

    edit: it is not so much all coming down to a 'fear of looking stupid' but instead is more related to a fear of having a belief or curiosity of the miraculous being rejected by others. It is a 'super-ego' based response to new and unexplainable, sometimes 'taboo' things.

    The 'fear of looking stupid' is a good way to describe the emotional state which leads to the development of a full-blown skeptical attitude.
    Last edited by Waddlesworth; 12-21-2009 at 07:44 PM.

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