Skeptics have already made their minds up about UAPs

Discussion in 'Conspiracies' started by Yazata, Sep 1, 2023.

  1. Yazata Valued Senior Member

    Moderator note: This thread was split from the following thread:

    Venus and camera stabilizing | Sciforums

    The movement "skeptics" come into an argument with their minds already made up that thatever their opponents propose is bullshit ("woo") and that their self-appointed mission in life is to erase bullshit (and those they perceive as bullshitters). In this case the perceived bullshit is any proposal/hypothesis that something unfamiliar might be happening in the sky that doesn't conform (or can be reduced) to the set of things that the "skeptics" already believe can happen in the sky.

    Then they practice highly selective targeted skepticism in which those opponents' ideas are exposed to relentless attack while their own preexisting beliefs are simply accepted as givens. It appears hypocritical at the very least.

    Real skepticism is doubt and questioning about any and all belief. If our movement "skeptics" were really skeptical, they would criticize their own assumptions just as rigorously as they criticize those of their opponents.

    In their minds, bullshit isn't worthy of anything more than insult and ridicule. Of course, their preexisting assumption that their opponent's hypothesis is bullshit might itself be bullshit.

    If they really want intelligent discussion, they mustn't try to gratuitously anger their opponents. That just hardens those opponents against anything that they have to say, no matter how valuable it might be.

    There's no way that we can anger our opponents into agreeing with us. That's not how it works. The goal in rhetoric is to make opponents want to agree with us. That means sympathetically addressing their issues and concerns and finding some way to make them consistent with our own.
    Last edited by a moderator: Sep 8, 2023
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  3. Magical Realist Valued Senior Member

    Actually I think the two things are linked. All the hostility and flaming we undergo here is consistent with someone who feels their belief system is under attack and in need of meticulous defending. It has all the hallmarks of one basically insecure in their beliefs and trying desperately to protect the worldview they support. Strange that something so minor as a little unknown ufo can have such a devastating effect on them. You and I accept their reality and are doin just fine. I don't feel the world collapsing around me. But then I never espoused the edicts of science so religiously as they do.
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  5. DaveC426913 Valued Senior Member

    Ironic that you peddle this in a thread where a believer had his mind already made up, and someone with a healthy skepticism had to point out that it wasnt what the believer thought it was.

    Its almost as if you selectively apply your cynicism where and when it suits your personal narrative.
    Last edited: Sep 1, 2023
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  7. DaveC426913 Valued Senior Member

    I agree. Yazata is certainly lashing out.

    You too Magical Realist would do well to note that you were the one in the wrong in this thread and had to be corrected and got pissy about discovering your ignorance and bias.

    So maybe less kavetching and more humility about belief systems being shaken, mKay? And maybe a little more listening to people who have the technical skills.
    Last edited: Sep 1, 2023
  8. Yazata Valued Senior Member

    Yes, that's how I see it too.

    I think that I want to distinguish between two very different propositions:

    1. UFOs might hypothetically be something unexpected, something as yet unknown to science, even sign of space aliens/time travelers/who knows visiting our Earth.

    compare that to:

    2. UFOs definitely are something unexpected, something as yet unknown to science, even sign of space aliens/time travelers/who knows visiting the Earth.

    As for me, I happily embrace 1. while I think that it's way too early to embrace 2. I think that there's evidence to support 1. (the possibility that these things might be something extraordinary) including the UAP reports labeled "anomalous", to say nothing of countless other reports of unknown things seen in the sky.

    So... if our "skeptics" are arguing against 2., against some flat-out assertion that UAPs/UFO's are space aliens, then I would have to agree with them that we don't really know that.

    But it seems to me that they go way beyond that justifiable position. They seem to battle tooth-and-claw against even the mere suggestion of 1., that these sightings might conceivably be something extraordinary. Even proposing it as a hypothesis is repeatedly condemned as "woo". It gets people condemned as a "true believer".

    I'd hope that our "skeptics" can bring themselves to accept the legitimacy of more exotic UAPs/UFO ideas, merely as hypotheses, and stop battling so violently against the mere suggestion, as if their life somehow depended on it.

    The ironic part is that science doesn't include a general theory of proper reasoning, of knowledge, evidence, truth and justification. Which science would that be? Psychology? What I think happens with science is that scientists adopt their own common-sense cognitive and logical intuitions from everyday life, and apply it to their own very specialized and technical problems. Physical problems for physicists. Biological problems for biologists. Astronomical problems for astronomers.

    The only specialized area that actually addresses the kinds of reasoning that scientists do as they conduct their investigations isn't really part of science at all -- it's the philosophy of science.

    So being a scientist doesn't make a person a general expert on all correct and proper applications of reasoning. Being a philosopher of science doesn't help a whole lot either, given that philosophy of science tends to be descriptive rather than prescriptive. Being a logician or an epistemologist, even a metaphysician, may or may not come closer. But nobody on Sciforums is expert in those areas so it doesn't matter.
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  9. DaveC426913 Valued Senior Member

    More meta-philosophizing and rhetoric about factions and motives.

    Skeptics like to analyze data and accounts. This thread is about an event and some data.

    Sn we take it as a given that Yazata et al will continue to remain silent on any actual analysis?
  10. James R Just this guy, you know? Staff Member

    You're back to telling your Big Lie again.

    Why do you do that?

    You know that skeptics don't come in with their minds already made up. They (we) simply say "show us sufficient evidence and we'll happily believe your woo". Believers such as yourself find that terribly confronting, for some reason. Your term "movement skeptics" is presumably intended as an insult, implying groupthink and dogma, neither of which apply in the case of skeptics.
    What pre-existing beliefs are you thinking of? The Big Lie, again?

    "Relentless attack" is over-egging the pudding, too. Skeptics merely ask that believers present evidence in support of their beliefs. Some believers get all angry and flustered when skeptics dare to question them. They feel attacked when asked to demonstrate that they are capable of rational thought. I guess it's easier to get angry than to examine your own beliefs, for some people. Make it somebody else's fault.
    Be specific. You claim that skeptics have assumptions that, presumably, you think are unreasonable. Which ones are the most unreasonable ones, in your opinion? If you need a focus, you might like to list what you believe my assumptions as a skeptic are and explain to me why you think they are unreasonable. But please, stop with the Big Lie. I have already told you that I have an open mind about UFOs. I accept that it is possible that some UFOs are alien spacecraft, and all that. I just haven't seen any convincing evidence that any UFO is an alien spacecraft. Have you? If you have, then why haven't you presented it? And if you haven't, then you're in lock-step agreement with me, not with Magical Realist. You just won't admit it to yourself.
    This has been accepted since post #1 of this thread by all participating skeptics here. No skeptic has ever once objected to this proposition. Any yet, you feel the need to raise it in every few posts, perhaps to try to support your Big Lie which claims that the skeptics are too closed-minded to accept this quite uncontroversial proposition.
    To support that one, all you need to do is to gather sufficient evidence. So far, you and your Believer friends have failed to do that. For 70 years, at least.
    In other words, you are completely in agreement with me, despite all your whining and your repeat of the Big Lie. You're a skeptic yourself, but you want to try to distance yourself from that label by pretending that there's a "movement" of closed-minded skeptics and that you're above all that.
    No evidence is needed to support a possibility, in the absence of any proof of impossibility. Possibility is the default assumption of skeptics, your Big Lie notwithstanding.
    That is, you're a skeptic yourself, de facto in lock step with the people you claim have all the unreasonable assumptions. Meanwhile, you give all the people who do have all the unreasonable assumptions (i.e. the ones you admit are unjustifiable) a free pass. Who knows why?
    Quote one example of me battling tooth and claw against the mere suggestion that UFOs "might hypothetically be something unexpected [etc.]".

    If you cannot do that, you should apologise for repeating your Big Lie over and over again. More importantly, you should stop telling it.
    Every skeptic here has accepted that "hypothesis" from post #1 of this thread. Nobody is battling against that. You're fighting a straw man.
    Last edited: Sep 2, 2023
  11. James R Just this guy, you know? Staff Member


    This is a different argument, but it is the other strand you often run. It has nothing to do with your Big Lie about skeptics being closed-minded, but stands on its own. Its function is a fall-back position for you, just in case your "skeptics are all unreasonable people who make unreasonable assumptions" lie falls flat. If that argument fails - which it demonstrably has done - then your back-up argument is that "scientists don't know anything anyway, so the UFO believers must be right about the aliens after all".

    Just stating the argument that way exposes the ridiculousness of it. Suppose we accept that there is no philosophical justification for human reasoning of any kind, which means humans can never have reliable knowledge of anything. Does it then follow that UFO Believers are the one exception, as the people who can know for sure that space aliens exist? What gets the UFO believers over your anti-rationality hurdle, Yazata?
    And UFO Believers are exempt from common-sense cognitive and logical intuitions, and therefore must be right about the aliens?
    More generally, it's called epistemology, a sub-field of philosophy. But you know that already. It doesn't just apply to science; it applies to all human knowledge, of every kind. UFO believers don't get an exemption or a free pass, any more than scientists do. So, this strand of your argument doesn't d what you need it to do.
    You seem to be claiming that nobody - on sciforums, at least - is appropriately qualified to question the wacky claims the UFO believers make. Because, don'tch know, nobody can really know everything - not even the philosophers. In fact, it would follow that nobody is really qualified to say they know anything at all. Therefore, everything is possible, and all claims to knowledge are equally valid?
    Tell me what bullshit is worthy of, Yazata.
    That's the Big Lie again. You should stop telling it. You know it isn't true. There is no pre-existing assumption of the kind you allege. At least, not from any skeptic in this current discussion.
    Nice try there with "gratuitously". You almost slipped that one through unnoticed. But not quite.
    Well, yes. UFO believers have often turned our to be intransigently resistant to reason and critical thought, no matter how valuable it is. The reasons for that are many and varied. Some of them I find quite fascinating - much moreso than the silly claims about UFOs that the believers make. But it's a discussion for a different thread.
    I haven't seen you making much of an effort to address MR's issues and concerns, or to find some way to bring him around to your way of thinking (our way of thinking - yours and mine). Instead, you spend all your time repeating your big lie about the (other) skeptics. Why is that, Yazata? Surely you haven't given up on MR as a lost cause?

    Of course, I fully expect you to ignore these posts of mine, because that is the pattern of behaviour you - the Great Impartial Commentor - have established for yourself. No hypocrisy there, I'm sure. In a page or so of posts, we'll see you repeating the same Big Lie for the n-th time, as if you didn't even read this. Right?
  12. Yazata Valued Senior Member

    Are insults the best that you can do?

    You are contradicting yourself. If the movement "skeptics" don't come in with their minds already made up, then why do they assume out of the gate that what those they are attacking are saying is what they term "woo"? What justifies that judgment if it isn't preexisting belief? You attack what I believe is an accurate perception of movement "skeptics" as a "Big Lie", and then in the very next sentence you illustrate its accuracy.

    There you go again.

    It's meant to distinguish the organized "skeptical" movement from philosophical skepticism. The former seems to me to me to be organized around a desire to suppress, discredit and silence any eruption of what they believe is "woo". The latter is a questioning attitude towards any and all knowledge claims.

    I make the distinction because I consider myself a skeptic. It's implicit in my fallibilism. But I don't for a moment want to identify with CSICOP and that crowd. Unlike them, I'm skeptical about their judgments of what is and isn't "woo". I'm skeptical about the scientism that many of them seem to me to display.

    Do they ever agree with anything their opponents say? Do they ever admit that they might be wrong? Do they ever back off and agree to disagree? I've never seen it.

    What kind of "evidence" would convince a "skeptic" that what they believe is "woo" might be a real possibility? Typically they seem to set that standard impossibly high. Largely because of their preexisting belief that "woo" is bullshit, it seems to me.

    Most of the anger in these threads seems to have come from you. See my post immediately above.

    Please don't try to set yourself up as the teacher of rational thought in these threads. I'm not convinced that you possess the qualifications.

    Like prejudging what is and isn't "woo"? Like preexisting assumptions about who is and isn't skilled at "rational thought" or the relation of science to whatever it is? Like assuming that any employment of "rational thought" will somehow lead inexorably to the "skeptic" position regarding "woo"?
    Last edited: Sep 2, 2023
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  13. C C Consular Corps - "the backbone of diplomacy" Valued Senior Member

    Truzzi and others, of course, label it "pseudoskepticism". But there seems to be a fine line between it and "scientific skepticism". (Another contemporary variety distinct from Academic and the Pyrrhonian schools.)

    Truzzi, Susan Blackmore, etc do offer ways to tell them apart, but many "inquiries" could still appear externally to be driven by pre-existing motivations, beliefs, and systemic world-views that already deem knowing what the conclusions are in advance. The term "debunker" entails treating _X_ as bogus beforehand, and is frequently conflated with scientific skepticism.

    "He [Truzzi] argued that scientific skepticism is agnostic to new ideas, making no claims about them but waiting for them to satisfy a burden of proof before granting them validity."

    Blackmore: "There are some members of the skeptics’ groups who clearly believe they know the right answer prior to inquiry. They appear not to be interested in weighing alternatives, investigating strange claims, or trying out psychic experiences or altered states for themselves (heaven forbid!), but only in promoting their own particular belief structure and cohesion."​

    Just as the popular usages of "cynic" and "cynicism" contrast to the original philosophy of cynicism, these popular usages of "skeptic" have become a legit part of the unfolding narrative, too.
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  14. DaveC426913 Valued Senior Member

    With all due respect, please STFU about your dumb conspiracy theory against believers. Youre stinking up another thread like Write4U does, with this.

    Reporting to have Yazatian politics moved to its own thread in the Conspiracy forum.
  15. Yazata Valued Senior Member

    True. I haven't been calling it "pseudoskepticism" recently because it sounded slightly perjorative to me. I prefer to call it "movement skepticism" because its the skepticism practiced by the skeptical movement, by organizations like CSICOP and found on the pages of publications like Skeptical Inquirer.

    I think that "scientific skepticism" might be how our movement skeptics would like to think of themselves, since they perceive the word 'scientific' as a honorific. Unfortunately, it doesn't seem to be entirely applicable in most of their rhetoric. It isn't that UFOs/UAPs lack empirical evidence. There are thousands of reports. It's more that they lack evidence that this sort of skeptic is willing to accept.

    And there are assumptions being imported with "scientific skepticism", which seems to leave the mathematics so beloved by theoretical physics in an uncomfortable place. Justifying mathematical propositions by proofs is very different than justifying them empirically. So if we are supposed to doubt everything not justified empirically, where does that leave physics?

    Sabine Hossenfelder has written about this.

    And the shortest chapter ever in a physics textbook...

    From Why String Theory by Joseph Conlon, CRC Press 2015
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    Satisfaction of a burden of proof is unobjectionable on its face. It's basically saying, "If you want me to believe that, you have to convince me first." That's the burden. I do that, you do that, everyone does that.

    That's fine when it's just a statement about one's personal belief. But skepticism typically goes way beyond that to some kind of assertion that nobody should believe it. And that much stronger claim has its own burden of proof. It often brings with it a whole implicit epistemology, a strong empiricism in the case of "scentific skepticism". And that epistemology probably won't be justified empirically, let alone scientifically.

    Yes. That's my criticism of them in these threads.

    I think that we all use the word "skeptical" in an everyday sense in which the word means "doubtful". 'I'm skeptical about X' It's a common usage.

    Most people don't use it in the old Pyrrhonian sense of being doubtful about any possibility of knowledge at all. So the way people typically use the word is a targeted way, they are skeptical about some things (for a whole variety of reasons) but not doubtful about everything else.

    I often use the word in this limited way and I'd guess that you do too. But the fact remains that when I doubt some particular proposition, it's because of some preexisting belief of mine. I don't just question some things but not other things, entirely at random. I doubt that anyone does.
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  16. Magical Realist Valued Senior Member

    Then you sure do waste alot of time trying to debunk every uap account posted here. If they aren't important, then why all the long rambling posts about them? Why is there an almost 10,000 post thread about them? What happens when I post an account that you can't debunk? Like the metallic spheres the AARO talks about and shows video of? Does you and Mick's world stop spinning? Will science as we know it undergo some major new transformation? I like the idea of science learning something new. It gives me hope that we are not simply parroting the old ideas of the past century.
    Last edited: Sep 3, 2023
  17. DaveC426913 Valued Senior Member

    Dude, take a breath; you're making no sense.

    James (and I) have made it quite clear that we are interested in UAPs and finding the answers to them.
    It's pretty presumptuous of you to suppose what somebody else considers a good use of time.

    Dude. Seriously, take a moment before going off half-cocked.

    UAPs and aliens are not the same thing. James is not interested in your wild speculations about aliens. That's what he said. Read more carefully.

    As above.

    No sign of aliens there.

    Um. You're only one frothing at the mouth here. Read twice, answer once. Otherwise you look foolish - incidentally proving James right.
  18. DaveC426913 Valued Senior Member

    This is where the thread went off the rails:

    " all comes down to the same thing with Mick West: people are idiots..."

    and then you double down with this:

    "...skepticism is a belief system that skeptics will fanatically defend to the death..."

    Both of these are textbook trolling - deliberately argumentative and incendiary wording that that drags a thread off-topic.

    Thou shalt not ask for justice with unclean hands.

    I suggest the thread be rolled back past post 13 - where the trolling began. Virtually nothing that follows has anything to do with the video in the OP.

    That'll be a lot of work. I too quote from the rules:

    Behaviour that may get you banned
    • Being a repeat-offending drain on moderator time and effort.
    Last edited: Sep 3, 2023
  19. Magical Realist Valued Senior Member

    "Aliens" is James' strawmanish and mocking term for the position I take on uaps--that they are piloted by non-human beings or else remotely operated as AI probes. In reality I only assert that uaps are some sort of technology beyond our current science. The implication of aliens is certainly there, but not asserted as anything more than a tantalizing possibility.
    Last edited: Sep 4, 2023
  20. Pinball1970 Valued Senior Member

    The weird thing is that you should really engage in this sort of thing, debunking fake footage.

    It is in your interests to do that so you can rule out the junk and concentrate on the phenomena that really cannot be explained.

    My interests were raised when NASA got involved and you will no doubt be aware of this

    Could be something in it if those guys are involved?

    My personal opinion is UAPs will not be anything to do ET life, aliens and that is not based on any sort of sighting, that is more to do with, culture, abiogenesis and the vastness of space.

    The phenomena may well be real but still be natural (as opposed to super natural) and terrestrial.

    I may start a thread called “why aliens are not here and have never visited” and you are welcome to lay out your case.
  21. Magical Realist Valued Senior Member

    It is indeed. That's why I present in these threads only those cases that are famous and well-vetted over the years by others more competent than me. See
    I find with enough searching compelling evidence for uaps is out there and in need of full public disclosure. I don't claim to know what uaps are, only that they are some sort of technology beyond human capabilities. I am greatly encouraged however that the military is taking various more recent sightings seriously and presenting some of them to Congress and the public for review. If only we could get the mass of scientists and engineers on board to assist in studying this phenomenon, I think it would change history as we know it.
    Last edited: Sep 6, 2023
  22. DaveC426913 Valued Senior Member

    Last edited: Sep 6, 2023
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  23. Magical Realist Valued Senior Member

    Glad to know I'm at least entertaining..

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