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 Post subject: what makes a 'good sceptic'?
PostPosted: Thu May 06, 2010 10:54 am 
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Underworld Minion
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Again, interested in peoples opinions on this!

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 Post subject: Re: what makes a 'good sceptic'?
PostPosted: Thu May 06, 2010 11:08 am 
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Well I always said that being a Skeptic is the method we use to investigate things rather than a belief system.

For me a good Skeptic is someone who constantly questions everything and looks at things from every possible angle in an attempt to find the most probable solution.
A bad Skeptic in my opinion (and there are a lot of them about) is someone who has already made up their mind about something before they even look at the evidence. A Skeptic should be able to hold their hands up and say that something is puzzeling and that they don't have an answer for it at the present time just as much as if they find a rational explanation for phenomena.

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 Post subject: Re: what makes a 'good sceptic'?
PostPosted: Fri May 07, 2010 9:12 pm 
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correct mark :mrgreen:


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 Post subject: Re: what makes a 'good sceptic'?
PostPosted: Tue May 11, 2010 9:06 am 
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hmm.......isnt being skeptical something we do naturally anyway regarding some things....?????I say its impossible for anyone to not be skeptical,to question........to wonder......to not take things at face value.........and I think its a term that regarding 'the paranormal' is misused.

People may apply more skepticism to the paranormal than others........but others may apply ore skepticism to other areas............?

To me its not so much a 'tool' (but I see where your coming from with that Mark and agree).

To me to accept without questioning and to question everything is the way that makes sense.......regarding everything!

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 Post subject: Re: what makes a 'good sceptic'?
PostPosted: Thu May 13, 2010 12:18 pm 
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Too much is probably made of the word "sceptic" (and "believer" in truth) in respect of the paranormal .. As Claire says, we're all sceptical to one degree or another .. Unless you're a completely 100% devout "paranormal" worshipper like what you find in some of the major religions - we're all sceptical of the paranormal (well, I hope so).

The line seems to be drawn down the middle, seperating out those who wave an EMF around and those who don't. The former being the Sceptics, the latter the Believers. All right, stereotyping and generalising, maybe .. but not far off.

We're all "good sceptics" in our own way .. its just at what level we go at. You show any leaning towards a ghost being real, then your made out to be woo-woo, despite what the rest of your opinion is ..

But to answer : Don't accept what happens with an experience at face value, but don't be quick to judge, condemn or dismiss either.

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 Post subject: Re: what makes a 'good sceptic'?
PostPosted: Thu May 13, 2010 1:01 pm 
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Jay wrote:
You show any leaning towards a ghost being real, then your made out to be woo-woo, despite what the rest of your opinion is .. .


Abso'bloody'lutely

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 Post subject: Re: what makes a 'good sceptic'?
PostPosted: Thu May 13, 2010 1:23 pm 
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''Most people, whether believers or sceptics, find paranormal and related claims fascinating. Such topics are often the focus of conversations at dinner parties and arguments in pubs, not to mention being a staple of tabloid newspapers and daytime TV. Starting from the inherent interest that students and the public have in such controversial claims, important questions can be raised regarding the most valid forms of evidence and arguments that could be put forward in support of them.

For example, most people assume that the most reliable evidence of all is that based upon personal experience. Even those sceptical of paranormal phenomena often fall into this trap. People often proclaim: "I won't believe in ghosts [or flying saucers, angels, etc.] until I see one with my own eyes." But accepting the evidence of your own eyes can be a mistake. As even brief exposure to the field of anomalistic psychology will reveal, personal experience is often a very poor guide to reality.

Both perception and memory are prone to errors. What we see and hear, especially under less than ideal observational conditions, can be heavily influenced by our prior beliefs and expectations.

Hallucinations are much more common than most people realise. Memory is also prone to errors: many of our recollections are not even distorted versions of events that we have witnessed but instead are complete fabrications. The evidence suggests that many reports of ostensibly paranormal experiences may well be based upon such false memories.

Anomalistic psychology investigates the imperfections of the human cognitive system that could lead us to conclude that we have experienced the paranormal when in fact we have not. The cognitive biases include not only those affecting perception and memory, but also those related to reasoning and judgement.

So if personal experience is not a reliable guide, is there a preferable approach? The kind of evidence that might convince me that paranormal forces really do exist is that produced by well-controlled scientific studies.

Because scientists are human beings and therefore susceptible to all of the cognitive biases referred to above, in practice the scientific method is not perfect. But it is the best approach we've got. It is the only approach to truth that I am aware of that at least acknowledges that such biases exist and attempts to control for them.

Furthermore, its reliance upon replicability, self-correction, critical evaluation by peers, and ultimately upon empirical data means that we can legitimately have a higher level of confidence in well-supported scientific theories than in other assertions about the ultimate nature of reality.

We should therefore welcome the increasing number of universities in the UK that offer anomalistic psychology as part of their BSc psychology programmes and the inclusion of anomalistic psychology as an option on the A2 psychology syllabus for A level students. Studying this branch of psychology is an excellent way to improve the nation's critical thinking skills.

However, there remain barriers to the full acceptance of anomalistic psychology as a respectable sub-discipline within psychology. One of these is simple intellectual snobbery. There are still some academics who seem to believe that any topic that is of interest to the tabloid press and to daytime TV cannot possibly be worthy of serious consideration by psychologists.

My advice to such people? Come down from your ivory towers! Psychology is about people, and most people believe in the paranormal, a sizeable minority claim to have had direct personal experience of it, and many live their lives in accordance with such beliefs.

Fortunately, this intellectual snobbery appears to be on the wane within the discipline.

There is a second barrier to the wider acceptance of anomalistic psychology. Most people do believe in the paranormal and, what is more, evidence suggests that such beliefs may, in certain contexts, provide psychological benefits.

One obvious example is the fact that people who believe in an afterlife, despite the lack of any convincing scientific evidence, will be less afraid of dying. Exposure to anomalistic psychology may not only lead people to question paranormal claims but also to question firmly held religious beliefs. One of the implicit messages of anomalistic psychology is, "Question everything – but use the appropriate critical thinking tools when doing so." For some people, this will be a challenge they prefer not to face.

For those who do accept the challenge, anomalistic psychology can be an extremely rewarding subject. The sheer range of topics covered is exceptional. At one extreme are highly entertaining accounts of the fraudulent techniques used by con artists to convince punters that they have genuine psychic powers, as well as consideration of the psychological processes that lead far more people to the mistaken but sincere belief that they themselves are psychic.

At the other extreme, some of the most profound questions that we face as human beings are addressed: Do we survive bodily death? What is the nature of consciousness? What is the solution to the mind-body problem? In between these two extremes, the nature of science and pseudoscience are considered, not to mention a wide range of fascinating topics such as alien abduction claims, psychic healing, hypnosis, ESP, psychokinesis and cryptozoology. What more could you ask for?''

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 Post subject: Re: what makes a 'good sceptic'?
PostPosted: Thu May 13, 2010 1:33 pm 
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Bloody hell, I actually followed, understood and agreed with one of Claire's loooonnggg posts. Things are looking up. :wink:

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 Post subject: Re: what makes a 'good sceptic'?
PostPosted: Thu May 13, 2010 1:39 pm 
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you havent.....you've actually followed,understood and agreed with your mate Chris Frenches post................

Sorry,I deliberatly didnt want to put who it was by to influence people,as Derek,Chris French and other doinfluenve people postively and negatively just be peoples opinions of them regarding what they say at times.....

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 Post subject: Re: what makes a 'good sceptic'?
PostPosted: Thu May 13, 2010 1:44 pm 
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I though it was well written!!!! :wink: :wink: :wink:

Bloody hell, agreeing with Chris French, what is the world coming to? :shock:

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 Post subject: Re: what makes a 'good sceptic'?
PostPosted: Thu May 13, 2010 1:50 pm 
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Chrisy and Marky,
Sitting in a tree,
K-I-S-S-I-N-G.
First come love, then comes marriage,
Then come Marky with a baby carriage.

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 Post subject: Re: what makes a 'good sceptic'?
PostPosted: Thu May 13, 2010 1:53 pm 
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I don't suppose the Chris "Believes" in marriage.

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 Post subject: Re: what makes a 'good sceptic'?
PostPosted: Thu May 13, 2010 2:00 pm 
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Well, it is scientific in someways .. nature and evolution would tell us that a greater chance of survival and reproduction is brought about when 2 members of a species bond for life. So .. he might do - but ONLY on that basis ... :D

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 Post subject: Re: what makes a 'good sceptic'?
PostPosted: Thu May 13, 2010 10:05 pm 
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you dont have to believe in marriage to get married,you can just 'do' it,regardless of motive......so Frenchy probably approves!!!!!!

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 Post subject: Re: what makes a 'good sceptic'?
PostPosted: Thu May 13, 2010 10:29 pm 
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well what is marrige? a declamation of love, with the paper to prove it,in the eyes of GOD, your married. why does anyone have to go through a cermony with an unknown being to be married :mrgreen: so a yes


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