I am a Pseudoskeptic

I just LOVE this post that I randomly stumbled upon looking at posts on all WordPress.com hosted blogs tagged under Skepticism, and figured I would share it…

[Originally posted at: The Call of Troythulu]

I’ve come to the conclusion that I am not a genuine skeptic, but a pseudoskeptic and a pseudointellectual according to Neo-Velikovskians I’ve met online. Yep, I’m downright delusional and deranged, because I believe that…

…anecdotes are only useful for the purpose of forming hypotheses, not testing them,

…Nostradamus was not a prophet—he may have seen things, but not the future,

…there is such a thing as an objective reality, that exists regardless of our wishes, thoughts, and beliefs, and that this is the best,  most rational explanation for the evidence of our senses,

…the scientific community is not a sinister, monolithic conspiracy bent on hiding the truth of the paranormal, nor skeptics a ‘new inquisition,’

…President Barack Obama was born a United States citizen, and that his birth certificate proves this,

…claims of the paranormal can be most parsimoniously explained by conventional means without invoking supernatural powers or phenomena,

…coincidences are real, and that it would be an extraordinary coincidence if extraordinary coincidences didn’t happen as often as they do,

…the Fantasy-Prone Personality type exists as a real psychological phenomenon, even if it explains a person’s belief that they are psychic,

…you don’t have to be crazy, lying, stupid, or uneducated to believe things that just ain’t so,

…unlikely statistical correlation does not equate to paranormal causation, or scientific importance,

…conventional explanations are not weak or implausible & contrived just because they are not understood or known,

…evolution actually happened, and the Earth is billions, not thousands, of years old,

…while electromagnetism does play some astrophysical role in the universe, the principle large-scale binding force of the Cosmos is gravity,

…anthropogenic global warming, and the resultant climate change, are real, and need to be dealt with in a rational manner to stave off their detrimental consequences,

…Quantum mechanics, Classical mechanics, and the Special & General theories of Relativity are all valid descriptions in their own context as to how the universe works,

…conventional evidence-based medicine is not a conspiracy to make and keep you sick, and is safer and more effective than most alternative modalities,

…miracles do not really happen, the mundane actually exists and isn’t boring,

…black holes, quasars, neutron stars, dark matter and dark energy are all real astrophysical entities,

…impact craters on planetary bodies are made by (gasp!) impacts by meteorites, asteroids and comets over billions of years, not electrical scarring over minutes or hours,

…the supernatural and the paranormal probably don’t exist, just the natural, the normal, and those things we have yet to explain,

…looking for conventional explanations and eliminating them one by one is more rational than grasping for supernormal explanations first,

…personal testimony is not a reliable form of proof that something is real, works, or is true,

…skeptical organizations, while not perfect, are generally more factually correct, honest, objective, rational, and fair in their treatment of subject matter than organizations run by paranormal and fringe-science believers,

…meta-analyses are not an accurate way of demonstrating the validity of a set of studies if the component studies have incompatible methodological and statistical protocols, or are ‘tweaked’ or ‘fixed’ after the fact,

…relativism and false balance are not the same thing as objectivity,

…astrology is not a valid science, and has been falsified in every empirical test of it to date,

…the UFO phenomenon is more likely to be psycho-cultural than extraterrestrial in nature,

…open-mindedness is unquestionably a virtue, but not opening your mind so far that your brains fall out,

…Bigfoot, the Jersey Devil, Nessie, Mothman, the Montauk Monster(s), Mokele Mbembe, the Mongolian Death-Worm, and other similar creatures probably don’t exist as real animals,

…free-energy or perpetual motion machines don’t work as claimed, much less at all,

…real science and the wonders of nature are far more interesting than the parochial claims of the paranormal,

…evidence does not have to be ‘absolute concrete physical proof’ to be acceptable in science, or to skeptics,

…claims of fact or statements about reality are not just opinion and immune to being considered wrong just because one wants to believe them,

…the burden of proof for a claim of fact rests primarily upon the one making the claim, not its critics,

…all views should get a fair hearing, but not all views are equally valid in truth content,

…human beings have the unalienable right to believe what they wish, so long as they don’t infringe upon the rights of others to believe what they wish,

…and finally…

…science and reason are superior to authority, ideology, intuition, faith, and mystical experience as ways of knowing the world.

Yessiree, I am just one big-time true believer for harboring all these crazy, irrational ideas… Fnord.

[Originally posted at: The Call of Troythulu]

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About Rodibidably

Jeff Randall is a frequent volunteer for free-thought organizations, including the Center For Inquiry – DC. Having been blogging since January 2008, he decided that a community of bloggers would be an interesting new experience (or at the very least a fun way to annoy his friends into reading his posts more frequently). Since finding out about about the existence of, and then joining, the atheist/skeptic community in 2007 he has been committed to community activism, critical thinking in all aspects of life, science, reason, and a fostering a secular society.
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6 Responses to I am a Pseudoskeptic

  1. Matt says:

    Sad but true that all too many go running for their accusation of ‘psuedoskeptic!!!!!’ the moment someone expresses doubt about their favorite bit of woo.

    I swear the accusation-to-actual-psuedoskeptic ratio is about 1000-to-1.

    • Rodibidably says:

      I know that I have been called “not a real skeptic” a number of times, because I don’t believe that the government or some company or group of companies is “out to get us”.

      I typically try to explain the consequences of their delusion (such as the total number of people who must be “in on it”, how do they know I’m not one of “them”, etc), and try (unsuccessfully ) to get them to think about an alternative. Then I eventually give up (because the true conspiracy nuts at least in my experience are beyond my ability to reason with them) and wonder how they manage to get through their day with so much mistrust and fear in their lives.

  2. poietes says:

    Wow. Pseudoskeptic. New term for me. Skeptic isn’t enough. If I don’t believe in conspiracy theories, does that make me a pseudoskeptic?

    Love your list, and agree with just about everything, except when I’m in my own fairytale world, filled with magiks and stuff.

    • Rodibidably says:

      poietes,
      Based on what some people say, if you believe anything that does not fall in line with their beliefs, it makes you a pseudoskeptic, a sheeple, or part of the conspiracy…

  3. Troythulu says:

    Thanks for re-posting this on your site, and for the link. It’s one of my few free-form posts I’m actually pleased with. I think I came up with it in a bit of a cold snark from past dealings with Electric Universe advocates and the occasional self-professed psychic on my own blog. I’ve bookmarked your site, so it looks like I have yet another blog to check out. Excellent!

    • Rodibidably says:

      Troythulu ,
      No need to thank me. It’s a great post, and one that I felt should be shared. As you can see, it’s gotten a bit of feedback (and a lot of hits from people who did not reply as well).

      I hope you enjoy Rodibidably, and if you figure out any rhyme or reason to what i post, please let me know, as I am convinced it’s just whatever random shit pops into my head with very little filter from brain to keyboard…

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