The Weiler Psi

Parapsychology Journalism: The People, The Theory, The Science, The Skeptics

The Healing Power of Dealing with Skepticism


Way back in the late ’80’s, early 90’s, in the middle of the New Age Movement, I was exposed to a lot of psychic people and wannabe’s.  One of the collective traits of this movement was to ignore pseudo skepticism and stay away from pseudo skeptical people as much as possible.  The theory behind this was that the key to happiness and fulfillment was to stay positive and ignore all that negative energy.  For the most part, I went along with this, more because I didn’t know anything about the science and I was terrible at research.  At the time there was no Internet to speak of and the book that got me started, “The Conscious Universe” by Dean Radin, hadn’t been written yet.  What little got onto TV or into print wasn’t sufficient to reach any conclusions.  In other words, even if I wanted to argue with skeptics, I lacked the necessary information.  Also, in pre-Internet days it was harder to find the sort of hard core pseudo skeptic that the Internet has so graciously to us.

Now, of course, there is no avoiding them.  They are very focused on getting out their message and show up on mainstream sites on a regular basis in the comment section.  The Internet has given them the perfect forum for spreading their ideas far and wide.  This has changed the landscape considerably . . . for the better.  It has forced the psychic community to become more focused and better educated on psi and ever so slowly has started changing the culture of ducking and running from the pseudo skeptics.  The TED controversy was a good example of this.  The way forward is pretty clear to me.  As a group, our spiritual advancement now goes straight through the pseudo skeptics.  Our healing and our growth depend on removing their ability to out-influence us.

As irritating as it has been, I’ve discovered that pseudo skeptics have forced me to be a better thinker.  I’ve had to do more and better research as a result of arguing with them because it was important to me to know what I was talking about.  I had to be sure I wasn’t doing the same thing they were: forming opinions using bad logic, faulty reasoning and a poor grasp of the facts.  Many times after I’ve argued with them, an insight came to me; it was a way of looking at things that I hadn’t seen before that helped me understand my own point of view.  For example, it was after an argument with a pseudo skeptic that I realized that I had been defining my own perceptions about psychic ability wrong.  I had been  accepting the pseudo skeptical version that I had beliefs about psychic ability.  That’s not actually true.  I have experiences  which shape my perception.  They are not beliefs.  These kinds of insights are only possible if we are challenged.

One result of becoming better informed was that I began to perceive my own position differently.  I lost the hesitancy and uncertainty I once felt about being psychic; a result of this is that I have become bolder and more assertive fundamentally about identifying myself this way.  I’m reminded of this song:  (WARNING: ’80’s hair and one scene with glitter.  It cannot be unseen.  Viewer discretion is advised.)

It’s become sort of an anthem to me.

The struggle has allowed me to understand the pseudo skeptical mindset that I previously feared and as a result, I fear this sort of  mindless skepticism no more.  I don’t get the pit in the middle of my stomach when I see that someone is firmly in Camp Pseudo Skeptic.  I know enough not to take them seriously.

Of course there comes a point of diminishing returns when dealing with pseudo skeptics.  There is only so much to learn from them before it simply becomes tiresome, but for me, this took quite a while.  Maybe it’s because I’m a bit obsessive myself or maybe it’s because I grew up in a household with two brothers and an opinionated father where pointless arguing was the main sport; at any rate it took me years to let go of needing to confront pseudo skeptical trolling.  Intellectually I understood that it was a waste of time, and completely useless, but I just could not let it go.  At times I was as bad as they were, but eventually the urge to rise to the bait subsided.  I would see some inane comment and rather than compulsively responding, I finally accepted that it just wasn’t worth it.  It was an emotional change, not a logical one that finally put that behavior to rest.  There was a spiritual change as well.  Losing the need to correct people also meant that it was easier to be nice to them, regardless of how they were personally reacting.  I wasn’t getting caught up in their drama.

Ultimately, we are all connected, and arguing incessantly with skeptics is a way of acknowledging this connection.  If you think of arguing as a kind of dance then you have to realize that you are actively choosing your dance partner.  You have to have something in common with people in order to engage them and this is something I realized early on with the intellectual battles I was engaged in.  I was seeing a reflection of myself in their behavior, however unpleasant.  Did I really want to engage in discussions with people who had strong opinions but knew almost nothing about the subject?  What did this say about me that I felt compelled to do this?  I’m reminded of this cartoon by xkcd comics:

We can learn a great deal about ourselves from the people that annoy us most if we stay present and allow ourselves to learn the lessons that they present to us.  I am grateful to the pseudo skeptics that I’ve argued with.  They’ve helped me become a calmer, better person and more certain of myself.  Without their help, I would be less certain about my own identity and would not have become a good thinker.

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51 comments on “The Healing Power of Dealing with Skepticism

  1. Liz
    March 28, 2014

    I would venture to say: thank yourself, not those closed-minded, angry (for reasons that could take a lifetime to understand), poorly educated, venomous hardened skeptics, for what you learned because that learning process was – in my opinion – only possible through a willing to grow in self awareness, not through what is mostly their ignorance and arrogance.

    • Liz
      March 28, 2014

      that should have said “willingness to grow…” above.

  2. James
    May 30, 2013

    After reading more of the comments that came after mine, I just want to add that I am done dealing with skeptics. There are more than enough open minded people out there who are willing to share in my experiences. So many people are wanting to know what is possible, they will turn to anyone, including the authentic and the scam artists. The interest in a higher level of human abiities has always been there, throughout known history.

    With skeptics, you just end up arguing past one another usually, unless you are dealing with a skeptic who is also able to acknowledge that their world view is one epistemology among many. Unfortunately, this is rare because skeptics by their very nature believe that reality is singular, objective, discrete, and shared by everyone. Odd, this, given that quantum level science fully acknowledges that the observer changes that which is observed.

    In any case… I am really done dealing with skeptics. The paradigm shift is not going to come from dealing with the hardliners. They are stuck in an old paradigm and won’t change until the paradigm is literally coming down around them. Those people are needed because they prevent human structures from fluctuating too wildly; they are the substrate.

    But there will come a time when even they will change. It’s just that usually they are the last to change because they are the last ones holding on. Others will change before them – many others – and it is those people who have earned my association. The cumulative shift therefore starts with building support among those who are allies. What happened at TED, and which repeats elsewhere, is the old order. It’s on its way out — and I don’t say that in a begrudging way at all.

    Material reductionism was counter-reformational. It freed us from the grip of Church rule. Now the church of material reductionism needs to be reshaped in a new kind of reformation. It’s already happening. The information age of interconnectedness will assure it continues. Knowledge is no longer just institutional or aristocratic, it is public domain. I will yell my experiences from the highest mountain and make sure EVERYONE knows. That is my contribution, and activism, to the world of psi. It is my existence itself which does this.

  3. PCplod
    May 29, 2013

    Craig the following was posted by DoomMetal on the JREF Forum:

    “You can watch a video lecture of Craig Weiler here:

    Under the video in the description Craig is described as a “psychic healer” .

    His lecture which was supposed to be on parapsychology was pretty poorly researched. Psychic research or the “movement” as he calls it did not start with the Society for Psychical Research (SPR) like he claimed. The parapsychologist Carlos Alvarado who has written extensively on the history of psychic research has traced it back before that. The parapsycholgist Brian Inglis in his books also traced it back before that.

    Around the 3 minute mark Craig describes the SPR as set up to investigate mediums. Check the history of the SPR that was not their sole purpose, and most SPR members have been critical of mediumship. He then says skeptics were “behind” the SPR and set out to discredit and ignore the SPR’s research and were “attacking” them. This is not true, it would be interesting to see his sources for that claim.

    When the SPR first formed it contained a mixture of believers and skeptical members and due to the exposure of fake mediums in the 1880s many spiritualist members left the SPR. Craig does not know the history. It was the SPR members who exposed many fraud mediums! Why not mention the SPR has had skeptical members and exposed fraud mediums?

    He then says the skeptics continued to attack the SPR until the period got to J. B. Rhine. Interesting that Craig names none of these skeptics throughout his lecture who had supposedly been attacking the SPR or other parapsychological institutions, this is sloppy research and unverified allegations. Also the gap from 1880 to the 1930s is a long time. Craig misses a lot of psychic research out

    Craig says J. B. Rhine was working on parapsychology/ESP in the 1950s this is true but he started his work on ESP in the 1930s not in the 50s…

    He says J. B. Rhine took parapsychology into the lab and was the first to do so. This is not true, I know of psychical researchers who worked on ESP experiments in labs far before Rhine and could easily list many of them. One of my favourites was G. N. M. Tyrrell an independent psychical researcher and engineer who set up his own lab to experiment on ESP. Sadly his lab was bombed in the war.

    Craig then says J. B. Rhine was the first to use statistics in parapsychology. Not true as there were psychical researchers doing this far before Rhine in France. See for example the scientists who worked at the Institut Métapsychique in the 1920s such as René Warcollier.

    He then says the skeptics attempted to trash everything Rhine did, but gives no names. Next he says that a researcher who worked with Rhine faked his results, but Craig does not even mention the name of this researcher! This is dishonest. He then claims it makes no difference that this researcher faked his results because it was Rhine who outed him. Well that is not the full truth

    He then claims organised skepticism started with Committee for Skeptical Inquiry (CSI). This is not true, organised skepticism of paranormal claims existed before the Committee for Skeptical Inquiry. See the recent pdf article published by Daniel Loxton for example.

    All those mistakes in the first 5 minutes. And Craig is the one who goes around telling “pseudoskeptics” online they do not know the history of parapsychology. I think its very much the other way round, he has no idea about what he is talking about.

    Craig Weiler a pseudo-parapsychologist.”

    Don’t worry you don’t have to put my post through but I certainly would interested in reading a response, can you please reply on your thread on the skeptiko forum entitled “The Healing Power Of Dealing With Skepticism”.

    Thanks. Remember it was you who said the skeptics don’t know the history of PSI, but it appears you have made errors and literally been caught with your trousers down on this one! A skeptic knows more than you? Are you will to admit the skeptics have beaten you on this issue? 🙂

    • craigweiler
      May 29, 2013

      I have no problem posting this comment. You’ve clearly taken the time to watch the video and research the issues. Your criticisms are noted.

      So here is my response:

      1. I did not have any time at all to properly prepare this speech, so I had no time to get the details absolutely correct. So I improvised, painting the history of psi in broad strokes, concentrating on the parts that I thought were important. I did the best I could under the circumstances. I would not have included the names of the skeptics because until you get to the Ganzfeld, they’re not really all that important in my opinion.

      2. This was not supposed to be a technical presentation and did not have the requirements of being absolutely, technically correct. Nor is that possible in a twenty minute speech unless you want to talk about one single detail of one section of one topic and bore everyone to tears.

      So yes, I did have flaws in my speech, I knew it at the time but there wasn’t much I could do about it. I got the gist of the message across and that’s all I could really do given the circumstances.

    • sigrid2012
      May 29, 2013

      Your reply was interesting as it added knowledge that I did not have, however, your comment “Are you will to admit the skeptics have beaten you on this issue?” gives me the impression it’s more important to have one-upmanship rather than disseminating information. I agree, it’s important when making a presentation, to have your facts lined up, but your last sentence makes it look like this is more of a contest rather than information dissemination. There is a reason why SNOPES is on the internet, getting facts wrong happens all the time and their site is one example of this phenomenon. Thank you for the information you posted, but the little side comment at the end took away from your presentation.

    • mikeapparition
      May 29, 2013

      I would only say: JREF pseudo skeptics are detestable as always. They pseudo know everything about anything…

      • sigrid2012
        May 29, 2013

        I think skepticism is important and I keep it around as a reality check. We are dealing with an area that doesn’t have an owner’s manual, so to speak, and reality checks from time to time are helpful.

        • mikeapparition
          May 29, 2013

          True skeptics are quite different from pseudos. JREF is a pseudos nest. Skepticism in general has no meaning in subjects beyond proof.

    • Mark
      May 30, 2013

      Hmmm…some of these criticisms might be fair enough, but others, I think, are open to interpretation, like whether or not CSI started the modern pseudoskeptic movement. I don’t like the arrogance of the tone, one way or another.

    • mikeapparition
      May 31, 2013

      After reading the whole thread at JREF, where they want to argue against the “pseudo skeptic” concept, I would like to comment:

      To my understanding a TRUE skeptic is an intelligent person, mostly devoted to science, respectful to other persons, views and thoughts. A true skeptic, well educated and sensible is incapable of resorting to insults, diminishing comments or using ridiculing words such as the dreaded “WOO” the pseudo skeptics use, referring to any kind of declaration, comment or idea not within their narrow, obtuse angle of view.
      Pseudos consider ONLY as intelligent and valid the brain activities emanated from the intellectual part of the brain. For them, the brain is limited to rational thinking and they are incapable of considering any other brain activity, except for the purely physiological and autonomous functions.
      They cling to the THEORETICAL idea which holds the Ego resides and is a product of brain activity and nothing else. Although they constantly demand “proof” they never consider the fact scientists have NOT BEEN able yet to PROVE the psyche is a total derivative of brain functions and nothing else.

      They constantly deny as NON EXISTENT everything not supported by “scientific” proof of some kind. Pseudo skeptics cannot answer many questions with logic and reason ability, invariably resorting to an antagonistic posture of total rejection, sarcasm, and diminishing assertions.
      They ignore the fact individual thoughts cannot be proven. It is impossible to prove a person is thinking about something but such impossibility does not mean the person “is not thinking” or cannot do it.

      By the same reason it is impossible to assert or deny a person’s brain is performing paranormal activities, perceiving other people’s or entities thoughts.

      Most emotions are also impossible to prove. Love is totally BEYOND proof. Pseudo-skeptics, when confronted with the burden of proving love, respond “A person’s love is proved by actions and behaviors”.
      According to pseudo-skeptics, taking care of people, family or “beloved ones” is a proof of love, absolutely ignoring the fact same actions can be performed by interest, convenience, duty, law enforcement or social practices, not having a thing to do with authentic Love!

      For pseudo-skeptics it is impossible to recognize there are subjects totally BEYOND PROOF. They cannot understand True Skepticism has NOTHING TO DO with such subjects, like, spiritual phenomena, mental powers, spiritual worlds, Love, Compassion, Life after Death, ESP, etc., all within a personal experience and not as speculations, theories or plain inventions.

      Pseudo-skeptics cannot think holistically. They cannot understand Unity and Purpose of a System. For them a man has no purpose (from a universal point of view) other than his own interests. Pseudos cannot see the difference between Essence and Personality.
      Even worse: They cannot see or understand the difference between a True Skeptic and a Pseudo one! .

  4. sigrid2012
    May 28, 2013

    I’m new to this site and have been thoroughly enjoying learning the traits I have, as a psychic, that are shared by others of like abilities as well as all the other links to information on this site. I was learning so much about myself, until I started reading about the TED controversy. I was surprised how much space had been given to this subject. I’m psychic and yet, if I had not seen and done all the things over many years relating to psychic phenomenon, I’d probably not believe it either. Perhaps there is disappointment that TED could introduce subjects such as GOD in their talks and not allow presentations about psychic phenomenon, that’s understandable. After all, on a materialistic level, GOD has not been proven, it is faith based while psychics, experiencing for centuries the psychic world exists, are not believed because scientists have not developed the proof skeptics are wanting. As a newcomer, I’m hoping it gets back to information that is shared with each other and not about TED. They’ve shown me if I want to learn about psychic phenomenon or find relevant links to more information, it’s not from the TED talks. I am grateful for all the hard work Craig Weiler has done on this blog to provide such a format for the psychic community. And I am grateful being psychic, the world has so much more to offer when you open your eyes and embrace the unknown.

  5. ~C4Chaos
    May 26, 2013

    amen. could totally relate. that is all. keep it flowing 🙂

  6. LW
    May 24, 2013

    You might be interested in this thread, your name was mentioned:

    http://forums.randi.org/showthread.php?t=258905

    • craigweiler
      May 24, 2013

      I saw that already, but thanks. They don’t like me over there, do they? Not that they care, but I made a point of specifically mentioning pseudo skeptics and not skeptics, because they’re quite different. If the people at JREF think they are being called pseudo skeptics then they need to evaluate whether this applies to them. If not, then I must be talking about someone else.
      At JREF, they’re usually better informed than most of the people I run into on the Internet. I think that they have a double standard for evidence in that what they ask of parapsychology far, far exceeds the norm and that they’ll accept just any old skeptical answer without much questioning, but at least they mostly know what that evidence is.
      They’re not running around saying stupid stuff like “There is no evidence for psi.”

      • Mike
        May 27, 2013

        Craigweiler: I would have to disagree with the benevolent concepts you have about the JREF community. I was subscribed for a while to that forum, thinking I could engage some fruitful exchange with someone. With a single exception, I always got ridiculing responses, insults, diminishing “adjectives” and empty responses.

        After reading this thread I can add my grain of salt to the pseudo-skeptic definitionl:

        Pseudos think they can firmly deny ANYTHING not proven by “scientists”. They have no room in their narrow minds for possibilities, alternatives, or worse, they cannot understand a basic principle:

        “Skepticism has no ground or reason to be applied to subjects which cannot be proven or disproved”

        True Skeptics should admit they cannot be skeptic about things beyond proof. For example Life after Death. Or about Love. Both cannot be proven. Even Sagan said it in a movie!

        They think if something cannot be proven it firmly does not exist or cannot be. I posted an example about the very remote galaxies and stars, farther than 4000 light years away. I said the only proof we have about those cosmic objects was the light emitted by them LONG time ago. I sustained those objects might not exist today but we could see them for years and years as if they still would be there.

        I insisted practically the whole Universe, mainly the farthest parts cannot be proven to exist so all Universe speculations were totally “anti-skeptic”.
        Most of the answers I got were related to “Scientists can “guess” by observation of nearer objects, the farther ones would still be there” !!!!!
        Pseudos were strongly insisting on “guessing” as a viable means to prove something!! Amazing!

      • Syl
        May 27, 2013

        A quote from this forum:
        “No matter what evidence you give them against psi they will just reject it and call you a “pseudoskeptic”. They do not look at the data objectively.”

        Interesting how it is symmetrical to your definition of a pseudo-skeptic:
        “No matter what evidence you give them for psi they will just reject it and call you a believer. They do not look at the data objectively.”

        🙂

    • Syl
      May 27, 2013

      The guys over there have a problem. Seriously.

      I do not mean that about their beliefs for or against psi per se, but in their handling of contrary ideas and how they seem to feel the need to lessen other people. For me, as an outsider of the whole debate, they sound a lot like a childish cult. How old are they, actually? Does somebody know about their demographics?

      I tend to find somebody like Craig Weiler more mature in his posture.

      • Syl
        May 31, 2013

        The last paragraph of the comment from PCplod above is still another example of what I meant in my above comment.

        PCplod, you take a such triumphant tone because you find flaws in a video? “Lalalilala!”. It’s kindergarten level.

        A badly supervised kindergarten, at that, since children should be taught that such behavior is wrong. Even my seven years old girl is above verbally bullying others like that now. Do you realize that she is probably emotionally more mature than you are? No, I guess you don’t.

  7. LW
    May 24, 2013

    Craig I would be interested in knowing can you name a skeptic? It gets a bit annoying when the psi believers call everyone and I mean every skeptic a “pseudoskeptic”. So can you name a single skeptic who in your opinion is a skeptic and not a “pseudoskeptic”? I would be interesting in hearing a name. Cheers.

    • craigweiler
      May 24, 2013

      Actually, I think most people are true skeptics. As far as names go? Dean Radin, Rupert Sheldrake; most scientists for that matter. It’s their job to be critical thinkers and most of them don’t cross the line and start making assumptions about things they don’t know about.

      You will hear about pseudoskeptics the most from people like me because they cause the most trouble. I’m not going to go on and on about real skeptics because they are reasonable people. They ask for evidence, you show them the evidence and they go away to think about it. They don’t start arguing compulsively against evidence they know nothing about.

      • Fran Theis
        May 24, 2013

        And leading the pack of pseudo skeptics is the group of a un-named people who are pulling the strings at TED these days — they’re so “pseudo” they won’t even tell the world who they are…

  8. Mike Apparicio
    May 24, 2013

    Please describe difference between Pseudo Skeptic and plain Skeptic…

    • craigweiler
      May 24, 2013

      That’s a good point to bring up. Here’s a bit from Marcello Truzzi that I lifted from Wikipedia:
      In 1987 Marcello Truzzi revived the term specifically for arguments which use scientific-sounding language to disparage or refute given beliefs, theories, or claims, but which in fact fail to follow the precepts of conventional scientific skepticism. He 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. Pseudoskepticism, by contrast, involves “negative hypotheses” – theoretical assertions that some belief, theory, or claim is factually wrong – without satisfying the burden of proof that such negative theoretical assertions would require.[5][6][7][8]

      In 1987, while working as a professor of sociology at Eastern Michigan University, Truzzi gave the following description of pseudoskeptics in the journal Zetetic Scholar (which he founded):

      In science, the burden of proof falls upon the claimant; and the more extraordinary a claim, the heavier is the burden of proof demanded. The true skeptic takes an agnostic position, one that says the claim is not proved rather than disproved. He asserts that the claimant has not borne the burden of proof and that science must continue to build its cognitive map of reality without incorporating the extraordinary claim as a new “fact.” Since the true skeptic does not assert a claim, he has no burden to prove anything. He just goes on using the established theories of “conventional science” as usual. But if a critic asserts that there is evidence for disproof, that he has a negative hypothesis—saying, for instance, that a seeming psi result was actually due to an artifact—he is making a claim and therefore also has to bear a burden of proof.

      — Marcello Truzzi, “On Pseudo-Skepticism”, Zetetic Scholar, 12/13, pp3-4, 1987[5]

      Truzzi attributed the following characteristics to pseudoskeptics:[5]

      Denying, when only doubt has been established
      Double standards in the application of criticism
      The tendency to discredit rather than investigate
      Presenting insufficient evidence or proof
      Assuming criticism requires no burden of proof
      Making unsubstantiated counter-claims
      Counter-claims based on plausibility rather than empirical evidence
      Suggesting that unconvincing evidence provides grounds for completely dismissing a claim

      Truzzi characterized “true” skepticism as:[5]

      Acceptance of doubt when neither assertion nor denial has been established
      No burden of proof to take an agnostic position
      Agreement that the corpus of established knowledge must be based on what is proved, but recognising its incompleteness
      Even-handedness in requirement for proofs, whatever their implication
      Accepting that a failure of a proof in itself proves nothing
      Continuing examination of the results of experiments even when flaws are found

  9. Rupert McWiseman
    May 24, 2013

    An excellent and positive article.

    I think you are quite right in taking a constructive view of pseudoskeptics. As a group they can be clearly differentiated from true skeptics by their use of hectoring, insulting and emotionally-driven language.

    Some of these people are motivated by hatred – a generation ago they would have been targeting gays, blacks or women; these groups are now politically off-limits but the “woos” are fair game.

    Others are driven by fear – they often accuse the pro-psi crowd of being “scared of death”, but they themselves are terrified of life after death. (Many are former Christians who are secretly worried that they’ve backed the wrong horse, others fear the idea of being reincarnated into a life of hardship, still others fear the notion of “judgement” or “life review”.)

    Some pseudoskeptics are simply trying to keep in with the in-crowd; they have low self-esteem and need the approval if others in order to feel good about themselves, and materialism/atheism is the latest hip trend for young well educated people. (It was communism when I was a youngster.)

    Finally there are those with an inferiority complex who have a deep-seated need to prove that they’re actually smarter than everyone else.

    The pseudoskeptics are therefore rarely concerned about truth, but rather with the working-out of their own psychological issues. As such they are just as screwed-up as the rest of us, despite their claims to be the embodiment of reason and rationality.

    We are all on a journey and none of us – except the self-deluded – holds the keys to Ultimate Truth. All of us are, in reality, powerless and frightened, knowing basically diddly-squat about bugger-all, and whistling in the dark.

    But if we believe that the Perennial Philosophy – the total mystical experience of the ages – is correct about life’s ultimate purpose, then we must accept that (in Richard Bucke’s words) “the Founding Principle of the Universe is Love”. And in our dealings with pseudoskeptics we should extend our love to them, as fellow embodiments of Universal Mind slowly and painfully working our way back towards our Source.

    Pseudoskeptics not only challenge us to become better thinkers, they also challenge us to return hatred with love and aggression with compassion.

    • craigweiler
      May 24, 2013

      “they also challenge us to return hatred with love and aggression with compassion.”

      Couldn’t agree more.

  10. Andy Howgate
    May 23, 2013

    “He that wrestles with us strengthens our nerves, and sharpens our skill. Our antagonist is our helper.” – Edmund Burke

  11. Mark
    May 23, 2013

    Hmmm…I don’t agree with a good deal of this. I don’t believe that there is anything good that can come out of pseudoskepticism that can’t also come out of true skepticism, and there is a lot of good, I think, that can come out of true skepticism that cannot come out of pseudoskepticism. I agree that we have to fight back against these punks, but not by arguing. I think that we should be trying to shut down their speech, and their other immoral behaviors. Yes, I am anti-“freedom:”

    http://podcastufo.com/blog/you-are-not-free/

    Feel free to remove the ling, Craig, if you think that it will make too many people angry. It made some folks angry when it was first posted.

    • craigweiler
      May 23, 2013

      I think you are confusing some points I was making in the article. I did not claim that we can gain anything by arguing except for our own spiritual journeys.

      • Mark
        May 23, 2013

        Yeah, maybe. Sorry about that. I guess I should have asked, do you think that there is anything that can be gained in our own spiritual journey by arguing with pseudoskeptics that cannot be gained in our own spiritual journey by discussing things with true skeptics?

        • craigweiler
          May 23, 2013

          Yes, I do. Basically, the greater the amount of struggle, the more we learn from it.

          • Mark
            May 23, 2013

            Well, I don’t agree, entirely, but I’m open to being wrong, so I’m going to think about this a little more. Thanks for spurring my mental processes.

            • craigweiler
              May 23, 2013

              This was mostly my own experience I was drawing from, so I can understand how this might be different for someone else.

    • Stephen Leslie
      May 23, 2013

      Being able to suppress free expression may sound like a good idea … as long as you’re on the side doing the suppressing. Otherwise, I bet you won’t like it at all.

      Democratic societies work on the basis that free exchange of ideas allows citizens to come to their own conclusions based on the merit of ideas. Since this is a psi blog and you run a UFO blog, maybe you would be pleased to hear that public belief in both psi and UFOs has been increasing with time, with psi belief in a clear majority and UFO belief rising quickly. Now the scientific and media establishments are oligarchies where dissenters who express contrary beliefs are fired or find their careers ruined. Someone like you might observe that these top-down oligarchies are getting stuck on incorrect beliefs. This is precisely because they don’t operate based on freedom.

      I am still agnostic on UFOs but I very deeply appreciate being able to hear both sides and come to my own educated opinion.

      • Mark
        May 23, 2013

        I’ll agree with your first paragraph. I will also agree that these top-down oligarchies are getting stuck on incorrect beliefs, but I do not believe that it is precisely because they don’t operate based on freedom. I believe that it is precisely because they don’t operate on a proper system of oppression that forces a certain amount of serious discussion about all issues, no matter how bizarre, offensive, gross, or otherwise. I hope that Craig doesn’t get mad at me for continuing to post links to my blog posts:

        http://podcastufo.com/blog/ufology-the-battle-against-taboo/

        Once again, Craig, feel free to delete the link, if you want. I know that it sounds contradictory, but I don’t think that it is.

        Anyway, I want to correct you, because I do not run podcastufo.com, nor have I ever. I used to be a contributor, but I no longer work for that website.

  12. James
    May 23, 2013

    I understand the need to engage with it online. There are so many info wars happening right now, across many different topics. Psi is not exempt from this.

    In the offline world, I find it much easier to convince people, just by letting them hang around me for a while. Eventually, enough stuff happens that they are convinced. Even skeptics who have a hard time accepting it, acknowledge that something weird might be going on.

    I try to make friends with skeptics. One disavantage of the internet is that it’s all text and rather impersonal. When they can see your face, and the normalcy of your life, they come to realize you’re just another person and not some deluded fanatic. Not only that, there is an experiential basis for why you feel the way you feel.

    There have been enough EM disturbances around me and short circuiting of technology that even my skeptic friends tell me to stay away from their computers when I’m angry. 🙂

    • craigweiler
      May 23, 2013

      Oh I agree completely. I know of only one true pseudo skeptic in my life and he’s my friend! It’s all different when you meet people in person. It’s led me to believe that there aren’t all that many real pseudo skeptics out there, it’s just that they make a tremendous amount of noise on the Internet.

      • Stephen Leslie
        May 23, 2013

        The fanatics are always the ones who need to shout the loudest and in the most places. I think many of the pseudoskeptics are just going along with what authority says since that’s easiest and a natural human trait. One the psi taboo falls and a real debate breaks out within the scientific community, I think it will surprise many how quickly the skeptical position collapses.

  13. Mike Aparicip
    May 23, 2013

    Are you including the JREF audience? I find those folks insufferable but as you say, I realized my arguments were based on experience while theirs were only ideas and no real understanding. Great article!

    • craigweiler
      May 23, 2013

      JREF is, of course, a rich vein of pseudo skepticism, but it never occurred to me to mention them specifically. I don’t post at their forum and there is no way to identify them on mainstream news sites.

  14. Fran Theis
    May 23, 2013

    And now you stand empowered, with your feet planted firmly on the ground of scientific reasoning!!

    The SSE (Society for Scientific Exploration) annual conference will be held June 5-9 in Dearborn, Michigan. http://www.scientificexploration.org/

    Come stand with us and see where our explorations are taking us!!!

    • craigweiler
      May 23, 2013

      I wish I could, but sadly, Michigan is just too far away.

      • Fran Theis
        May 23, 2013

        Perhaps next year — meetings are generally held in Boulder, Co. This year the venue was changed to accommodate those of us who live further east. You’d find many like minds in this group, Craig.

        • craigweiler
          May 23, 2013

          If they can make their way all the way to California, that will be a lot easier. My wife and I don’t have a lot of extra cash for traveling.

    • Mike Aparicip
      May 23, 2013

      I think it is not “planted on the ground” .Skeptics are actually ” buried in tbe ground”…

    • mikeapparition
      May 23, 2013

      “Planted on the ground” is not accurate as “buried in the ground”, as all good skeptic minds are!

  15. moniquestevenson
    May 23, 2013

    You know, this really captures a lot of how I feel about arguing with pseudo-skeptics, and with trolls in general. Sure, the troll\skeptic won’t change their minds, but that doesn’t mean presenting the argument isn’t a worthwhile pastime in and of itself. It helps sharpen our skills, teaches us the flaws in our arguments, and, for the people who are actually curious in the audience, presents the debate to them. Great post. 🙂

    • craigweiler
      May 23, 2013

      Aww, thanks.

    • Riz
      May 25, 2013

      The biggest problem with all this is that by its very nature debate is self-limiting and inevitably takes one into the world of the mind and belief. It’s remarkable how the pro-psi and skeptics blogs are such a precise mirror of each other. The defining feature is the way the other side is commonly depicted as stupid and ignorant. It’s inevitable that after a while the whole discussion becomes us against them. The reason I prefer not to engage people at that level is that it is a world of illusion where battles are fought against opponents that don’t actually exist. Rather than offend too many people by talking about psi-proponents, just take a look at the link that is provided in the first comment. The discussion about Craig and this forum has some truth to it, but is mostly projection. Nobody is learning anything , everyone is just saying the same thing over and over and over again: I am right, you are wrong. This is the same story the human mind has been repeating since two grunting cavemen rubbed two sticks together. There is actually a different space where a person can shift that transcends these endless binaries. But to go there, there is a price to pay. There’s something you have to leave behind… It’s a free cosmos, and all choices have their legitimate place. But for me the price of playing the mind games outweighs the benefits. However it can be a fun test to engage people in such forums without allowing your mind to get dragged into the world of belief. And any time you are thinking you are in the world of belief- because the mind by its very nature deals in abstractions.

      • marcustanthony
        May 25, 2013

        Well, this little phone has renamed me again. The post is actually by me, Marcus.

      • craigweiler
        May 25, 2013

        I realize that there is a temptation to portray both sides as divisive, disagreeable polarized opponents on relatively equal footing both name calling and engaging in ugly behavior. There is some truth to that.

        However I would offer a different take on this. On the one hand, we have a fairly neutral party willing to examine things as a whole and make reasonable compromises, and on the other hand we have a biased party that sees things in black and white terms and is uncompromising.

        When these two parties clash, no matter what the issue, they will look the same because the neutral party is going to insist on fairness and the only way to achieve that is to be quite aggressive with the biased party.

        Yet they are not the same. Can you imagine a pseudo skeptic writing an article about the healing power of dealing with proponents? No. They don’t think in the same way.

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This entry was posted on May 23, 2013 by in Psi Wars, Skeptics and Skeptic Arguments, Stuff about Craig and tagged .
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