Maureen O'Hara

Brian_the_bard

Lost Pilgrim
Member
#1
Does anybody know much about Maureen O'Hara? She seems aggressively anti "pseudoscience"

http://www.maureen.ohara.net/
http://www.maureen.ohara.net/pubs/Of%20Myths%20and%20Monkeys.pdf

"The Hundredth Monkey provides us with a case study through which to examine the deterioration in the quality of thought and scholarship among those people who participate in what has become known as the 'New Age' or 'Human Potential' community. I believe that this deterioration may ultimately result (if it has not already) in discrediting humanistic science altogether, leaving us with nothing more than faddism and a rag-bag of pseudoreligious and pseudoscientific superstition. Because I believe that a humanistic view of persons and their communities has never been more necessary in order to counterbalance the galloping alienation in human life, I view this trend toward superstition with real alarm."
 
#2
Because I believe that a humanistic view of persons and their communities has never been more necessary in order to counterbalance the galloping alienation in human life, I view this trend toward superstition with real alarm."
She is saying that materialism (humanism) will solve the problem of alienation?

Materialism is the cause of the problem not the solution.

http://ncu9nc.blogspot.com/2015/04/video-john-lennox-on-problem-of-evil_7.html
Richard Dawkins
In a universe of blind physical forces and genetic replication, some people are going to get hurt, and other people are going to get lucky; and you won't find any rhyme or reason to it, nor any justice. The universe we observe has precisely the properties we should expect if there is at the bottom, no design, no purpose, no evil and no good. Nothing but blind pitiless indifference. DNA neither knows nor cares. DNA just is, and we dance to its music.
- Out of Eden, page 133.​

The solution is spirituality and religion.

http://ncu9nc.blogspot.com/p/articl...ect.html#articles_by_subject_benefits_meaning

The Benefits of Religion and Meaning in Life

Materialism: Meaning is an illusion. Science: People need meaning to thrive.
http://ncu9nc.blogspot.com/2013/08/materialism-meaning-is-illusion-science.html
People who are happy but have little-to-no sense of meaning in their lives have the same gene expression patterns as people who are enduring chronic adversity.
...
From the evidence of this study, it seems that feeling good is not enough. People need meaning to thrive. In the words of Carl Jung, “The least of things with a meaning is worth more in life than the greatest of things without it.” Jung’s wisdom certainly seems to apply to our bodies, if not also to our hearts and our minds.

Belief in religion and spirituality gives meaning to life in a way that atheism cannot.
http://ncu9nc.blogspot.com/2015/04/belief-in-religion-and-spirituality.html

Andrew Sims, past president of Royal College of Psychiatrists: "The advantageous effect of religious belief and spirituality on mental and physical health is one of the best kept secrets in psychiatry and medicine generally. ... In the majority of studies, religious involvement is correlated with well-being, happiness and life satisfaction; hope and optimism; purpose and meaning in life; higher self-esteem; better adaptation to bereavement; greater social support and less loneliness; lower rates of depression and faster recovery from depression; lower rates of suicide and fewer positive attitudes towards suicide; less anxiety; less psychosis and fewer psychotic tendencies; lower rates of alcohol and drug use and abuse; less delinquency and criminal activity; greater marital stability and satisfaction… We concluded that for the vast majority of people the apparent benefits of devout belief and practice probably outweigh the risks.
http://ncu9nc.blogspot.com/2015/03/video-lecture-by-john-lennox-explains.html

Research shows that belief in the paranormal and religion can be conducive to the health and well being of people. These beliefs can help people cope with grief, divorce, job loss, the fear of death, particularly in the terminally ill, and can deter suicide. Therefore, when skeptics and atheists try to convince people to stop believing in the paranormal and religion, they may be doing harm to other people. Furthermore, research also shows that having meaning in life is necessary for people to thrive but skeptics claim consciousness and meaning are illusions. When skeptics spread their philosophy of materialism they may cause harm by taking the meaning and purpose of life away from people.
http://ncu9nc.blogspot.com/2012/09/skepticism-big-lie-activist-skeptics.html

Belief in religion and the afterlife eases grief and fear of death. It deters suicide, and helps people cope with adversity such as unemployment and divorce. People who find meaning in life are healthier, but pseudoskeptics espouse materialism which says that life is meaningless.
http://ncu9nc.blogspot.com/2013/09/the-harm-caused-by-pseudoskepticism.html

Religion provides a solid foundation for ethics and morality in a way that atheism and materialism cannot.
http://ncu9nc.blogspot.com/2015/04/video-john-lennox-on-problem-of-evil_7.html

Belief in religion and spirituality is enormously beneficial to the individual.
http://ncu9nc.blogspot.com/2015/03/video-lecture-by-john-lennox-explains.html#lennox_individual

Christianity and religion have made an enormously positive contribution to civilization.

Exploding the persistant myth that Christianity impeded the growth of science. by James Hannam in firstthings.com. "... the "scientific revolution" was a continuation of developments that started deep in the Middle Ages among people whose scientific work expressed their religious belief. ... Given the advantages Christianity provided, it is hardly surprising that modern science developed only in the West, within a Christian civilization."
http://ncu9nc.blogspot.com/2015/03/video-lecture-by-john-lennox-explains.html#lennox_civilization
 
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#3
Why materialism is harmful:

http://ncu9nc.blogspot.com/2015/03/video-lecture-by-john-lennox-explains.html
Atheism, the absence of religion, has been responsible for enormous harm.

John Gray
The totalitarian regimes of the last century embodied some of the Enlightenment's boldest dreams. Some of their worst crimes were done in the service of progressive ideals, while even regimes that viewed themselves as enemies of Enlightenment values attempted a project of transforming humanity by using the powers of science, whose origins are in Enlightenment thinking.

This full quote not in the lecture but it is referenced:

Aleksandr Solzhenitsyn
“Over a half century ago, while I was still a child, I recall hearing a number of old people offer the following explanation for the great disasters that had befallen Russia: "Men have forgotten God; that's why all this has happened." Since then I have spent well-nigh 50 years working on the history of our revolution; in the process I have read hundreds of books, collected hundreds of personal testimonies, and have already contributed eight volumes of my own toward the effort of clearing away the rubble left by that upheaval. But if I were asked today to formulate as concisely as possible the main cause of the ruinous revolution that swallowed up some 60 million of our people, I could not put it more accurately than to repeat: "Men have forgotten God; that's why all this has happened.”

This quote is not from the video. I am including it here because it is on the same subject: Layman’s Reflections on Evolution and Creation. An Insider’s View of the Academy
Viktor Frankl (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Viktor_Frankl), a former Auschwitz inmate wrote in The Doctor and the Soul, that the source for much of the 20th Century’s inhumanity has come from the very origins being discussed here.
“If we present a man with a concept of man which is not true, we may well corrupt him. When we present man as an automaton of reflexes, as a mind-machine, as a bundle of instincts, as a pawn of drives and reactions, as a mere product of instinct, heredity and environment, we feed the nihilism to which modern man is, in any case, prone.

“I became acquainted with the last stage of that corruption in my second concentration camp, Auschwitz. The gas chambers of Auschwitz were the ultimate consequence of the theory that man is nothing but the product of heredity and environment; or as the Nazi liked to say, ‘of Blood and Soil.’ I am absolutely convinced that the gas chambers of Auschwitz, Treblinka, and Maidanek were ultimately prepared not in some Ministry or other in Berlin, but rather at the desks and lecture halls of nihilistic scientists and philosophers [emphasis added].”
If Frankl is correct, God help us.​
 
#6
Why do you think evangelical atheist/materialists are so keen to remove meaning from our lives?
...

The following may provide some insight into why some people are always ready to argue against paranormal phenomena:

I have often wondered why so many scientists are so ardently "binary" in terms of the spiritual.
There are many reasons (see below for details):
  • Some scientists experience cognitive bias because materialism gives them prestige.
  • Humans can't think analytically and intuitively at the same time and due to neuroplasticity scientists become fixed in analytical thinking and they become unable to conceive of anything that cannot be proved through reductionism.
  • Certain scientists used Darwinism to make methodological naturalism a part of mainstream science - making religion heretical to science.
  • Some atheists have promulgated the fallacy that religion is at war with science. (History shows this is not correct, it is atheism that is at war with religion.)


https://sites.google.com/site/chs4o8pt/suppressed_parapsychology

Dean Radin, in his book "The Conscious Universe" in the chapter "Seeing Psi" proposes that some scientists may have too much self interest in preserving the materialist status quo to be objective about psychic phenomena. He writes that if this is true, belief in psychic phenomena should depend how committed a person is to the materialist world view. He then presents evidence to support this contention showing that 68% of the general public believe in the possibility of psychic phenomena, 55% of college professors also believe, 30% of American Association for the Advancement of Science (AAAS) division heads believe, but only 6% of the members of the National Academy of Sciences (NAS) believe in psychic phenomena.

Radin points out that a skeptic might suggest that this dependency is due to greater knowledge about perceptual and memory biases that are said to lead to mistaken belief in psychic phenomena. But it is also true that the skeptics' own perceptual and memory biases might be the cause of their skepticism. It seems unlikely that there would be a great difference in knowledge about perceptual and memory biases between AAAS division heads and NAS members. However, there would be a difference in attachment to the scientific world view since being a NAS member is more prestigious than being an AAAS division head. Therefore the contention that the cause of disbelief is due to perceptual and memory biases in skeptics seems to be justified.

It should be understood that Radin is not saying NAS members are deliberately dishonest about the existence of psychic phenomena. He is saying they are so caught up in the scientific world view, (for example, because they get a lot of personal status from it, or because they spend their careers defining that world view) that they are unconsciously unable to accept that the scientific world view might be so seriously flawed, that it could have such big gaps in it, that psychic phenomena could be real.

https://sites.google.com/site/chs4o8pt/skeptical_fallacies#skeptical_fallacies_skeptics_rational

Research has shown that people who think analytically rather than intuitively tend to be atheists. People who analyze problems using logic, because of their education, career, or innate characteristics, may become habituated to reductionist analysis. Reductionism is the belief that something complex can be understood by the interaction of simpler components. This way of thinking works well in many branches of science. Psychology can be explained in terms of biology, which can be explained in terms of chemistry, which can be explained in terms of physics. However, some scientists, engineers, philosophers, and other intellectuals, may become so habituated to reductionist thinking that they are unable to conceive that some phenomena cannot be explained in terms of simpler phenomena. For example, the subjective experience of consciousness, what pain feels like, or what red looks like, cannot be understood through reductionism. Psychic phenomena that cannot be explained by current scientific theories, such as telepathy, clairvoyance, psychokinesis, and precognition cannot be understood through reductionism. This is why some people who are habituated to reductionist thinking simply cannot conceive that psychic phenomena could be real or consciousness might be nonphysical and survive bodily death. Reductionists suggest consciousness is an epiphenomenon even though that is a poor explanation of consciousness because it is the best they can conceive of within their reductionist prison.

...

Some people hold a grudge against religion because they have been harmed psychologically by overly dogmatic upbringing, or because some religion condemns their lifestyle choices. They may choose to vilify anything that relates to the supernatural, including psychic phenomena. Often this type of skeptic is a victim of Christianity who has been brainwashed by church logic who has substituted the extreme dogmatism of Christianity with the extreme dogmatism of the religion of materialism.

http://ncu9nc.blogspot.com/p/62014-contents-evidence-for-afterlife.html#articles_by_subject_science

Why Scientists are often Narrow-minded

George Orwell: "... the scientists themselves would benefit by a little education." Darwin agrees.
http://ncu9nc.blogspot.com/2013/08/george-orwell-scientists-themselves.html

Why are so Many Scientists Pseudo-skeptics?
http://ncu9nc.blogspot.com/2013/01/someone-in-internet-discussion-forum.html

Perceptual Bias in Parapsychology
http://ncu9nc.blogspot.com/2014/04/perceptual-bias-in-parapsychology.html

...

The Brain Can't Empathize And Analyze At Same Time
http://www.medicalnewstoday.com/articles/252241.php

Why Don't Psychopaths Believe in Dualism?
http://ncu9np.blogspot.com/2015/05/pl9-tsc-2012-anthony-jack-why-dont.html

A scientific case for conceptual dualism: The problem of consciousness and the opposing domains hypothesis.
http://tonyjack.org/files/2013 Jack A scientific case for conceptual dualism (1).pdf


http://ncu9nc.blogspot.com/2012/09/t-h-huxley-accidental-founder-of-modern.html

Why are so many scientist skeptics? Because naturalism is an implicit part of the culture of science and science students are indoctrinated in that philosophy during their education. Naturalism is the belief that science should only study natural processes and consider natural explanations for phenomena. This is a mistake. Science should be the search for the truth where ever it leads. This flaw in the culture of science is due to a large extent to T. H. Huxley and the X club. The X Club was Founded by T. H. Huxley and played an important role in making naturalism a fundamental tenet of modern science.
The nine men who would compose the X Club already knew each other well. By the 1860s, friendships had turned the group into a social network, and the men often dined and went on holidays together. After Charles Darwin's On the Origin of Species was published in 1859, the men began working together to aid the cause for naturalism and natural history.

...

More importantly, the men of the club all shared an interest in natural history, naturalism, and a more general pursuit of intellectual thought free from religious influence, commonly referred to as academic liberalism.

- Wikipedia​
...

Because of T. H Huxley and the X club, naturalism has become so ingrained in modern scientific culture and education, students don't even realize they are being indoctrinated. Because of this, Huxley can be considered a major cause of modern of science's intolerance to psychic phenomena and the source of modern pseudo-skepticism.

It is unfortunate that Darwin was used this way in the adoption of philosophical naturalism and materialism by the scientific establishment. Materialism is a gross misrepresentation of Darwin's thinking. Darwin believed that natual laws were designed - which is a form of intelligent design. Darwin also doubted human reason could be reliable if it arose through natural selection. If you cannot trust reason, then it is not rational to believe in anything including materialism.

...
Because naturalism is such an integral part of the scientific worldview, working as a scientist tends to brainwash a person into believing in physicalism. This is because scientists spend all their time trying to find physicalist solutions to problems. They get stuck thinking that way and can't conceive there might be something that current science can't explain or that there could be significant gaps in scientific knowledge. Like the proverbial man with a hammer to whom everything looks like a nail, to a scientist every question must have a physicalist answer.​
http://darwins-god.blogspot.com/2016/04/warfare-thesis-failure-leaves-evolution.html

Ever since Voltaire mythologized the Galileo Affair, Hume’s Philo demolished Cleanthes, and Gibbon blamed pretty much everything on the Christians, evolutionary thinking has had an unbeatable template: The Warfare Thesis. Anyone who opposes or even questions evolution is automatically branded as having religious motives. Religion is at war with science. That claim has failed the test of historiography over and over, but so what? Who cares about history? Certainly not journalists, policy makers, federal judges, textbook authors, and anyone else who matters. But now there is an entirely different, empirical, falsification of the Warfare Thesis, and evolutionists are in full-panic.
http://ncu9nc.blogspot.com/2015/03/video-lecture-by-john-lennox-explains.html

Lennox also makes the case that science and theology are not in conflict. Science and theology provide different kinds of explanations. You can explain a car by describing an internal combustion engine, and you can explain a car as a product of the company founded by Henry Ford. Both explanations are true, but they are different kinds of explanations. Many Nobel Prize winning scientists believe in God. Lennox says, "We owe modern science to Christianity directly. All the early pioneers Galileo, Kepler, Newton, Clerk Maxwell were all Christians." He says Christian faith is based on evidence and the faith modern scientists have that nature is orderly and subject to natural laws originated from religious beliefs about God. Science is man's attempt to understand the universe created by God. God is not a god of the gaps who's role is diminished with every scientific discovery. That misconception arises when you believe there is only one kind of explanation. God is the creator of the natural laws scientists are trying to discover.

The conflict is between atheism and theism. Lennox sides with the theists and concludes that it is atheism that is incompatible with science.
Nobel Prize winners Erwin Schrödinger, Albert Einstein, Werner Heisenberg, Guglielmo Marconi, Brian Josephson, William Phillips, Richard Smalley, Arno Penzias, Charles Townes, Arthur Compton, Antony Hewish, Christian Anfinsen, Walter Kohn, Arthur Schawlow and scientists, Charles Darwin, Sir Fred Hoyle, John von Neumann, Wernher von Braun, and Louis Pasteur, believed the scientific evidence demonstrates the existence of God or that the universe was designed:
https://sites.google.com/site/chs4o8pt/skeptical_fallacies#skeptical_fallacies_skeptics_rational
Skeptics do not Base their Beliefs on Evidence

Why are skeptics so set against belief in psychic phenomena and the afterlife? There are a number of reasons and they have very little to do with evidence.
Genuine psychic phenomena have been experienced by ordinary people throughout the history of humankind. However, these phenomena were rejected by science for "political" reasons, not empirical reasons, when the scientific revolution deposed religion as the ultimate source of knowledge. Philosophical naturalism, the belief that paranormal phenomena do not exist, has been integrated into the scientific world view and students of science are indoctrinated in that philosophy during their education.

Besides being seen as allied with religion, psychic phenomena are also a threat to science's place as the best means of obtaining information about the universe. Why would you need scientists if you could ask a psychic or a spirit? Many scientists also have a psychological attachment to the status quo scientific world view because it is the source of their status and livelihood. Recognizing the reality of psychic phenomena would force scientists to admit that science has for centuries failed to recognize huge gaps in its world view. Because of all of this, many modern scientists have a lot of cultural baggage that prevents them from accepting that some paranormal phenomena are real.

Furthermore, doctrinal discipline is maintained among scientists by ostracizing anyone who espouses different views. A prime example of this is the Nobel prize winner in physics Brian Josephson who was banned from a scientific conference due to his interest in parapsychology. Because scientists are influential in society, they control allocation of funds for research, and are respected for the technological advancements of modern civilization, they have a great influence on the rest of society. Their skepticism of paranormal phenomena lends moral authority to anyone else who advocates that view.

Research has shown that people who think analytically rather than intuitively tend to be atheists. People who analyze problems using logic, because of their education, career, or innate characteristics, may become habituated to reductionist analysis. Reductionism is the belief that something complex can be understood by the interaction of simpler components. This way of thinking works well in many branches of science. Psychology can be explained in terms of biology, which can be explained in terms of chemistry, which can be explained in terms of physics. However, some scientists, engineers, philosophers, and other intellectuals, may become so habituated to reductionist thinking that they are unable to conceive that some phenomena cannot be explained in terms of simpler phenomena. For example, the subjective experience of consciousness, what pain feels like, or what red looks like, cannot be understood through reductionism. Psychic phenomena that cannot be explained by current scientific theories, such as telepathy, clairvoyance, psychokinesis, and precognition cannot be understood through reductionism. This is why some people who are habituated to reductionist thinking simply cannot conceive that psychic phenomena could be real or consciousness might be nonphysical and survive bodily death. Reductionists suggest consciousness is an epiphenomenon even though that is a poor explanation of consciousness because it is the best they can conceive of within their reductionist prison.

Some religious leaders reject psychic phenomena (see the comment at the top of the link) because those phenomena threaten the dogmatic teachings of their religion. It undermines their authority as the source of information on the afterlife, God, and other spiritual subjects. In some cases it also subverts their role as an intermediary between the individual and supernatural entities.

Some people hold a grudge against religion because they have been harmed psychologically by overly dogmatic upbringing, or because some religion condemns their lifestyle choices. They may choose to vilify anything that relates to the supernatural, including psychic phenomena. Often this type of skeptic is a victim of Christianity who has been brainwashed by church logic who has substituted the extreme dogmatism of Christianity with the extreme dogmatism of the religion of materialism.

Sometimes materialism is just wishful thinking. It makes some people (who may be suffering from depression) feel better to believe all pain and suffering will end with the extinction of consciousness at death.

When some people experience a personal loss, or experience extreme hardship, or feel concern about the extreme hardships of others, they may be unable to understand how God could allow such suffering to occur. As a result, they may feel angry at God or be unable to believe in God. This may cause them adopt materialism and express hostility toward anything that relates to God such as belief in the afterlife or anything that contradicts materialism such as evidence for psychic phenomena.

Certain government agencies have spread disinformation about the reality of psychic phenomena to discourage other countries from developing psychic means for spying and sabotage, and to protect the secrecy of their own government's programs to develop those capabilities.

Some debunkers make a living disputing every paranormal claim and sometimes misrepresent the empirical evidence because real paranormal phenomena jeopardize their career and life's work. Their livelihood is based on media exposure to sell books, raise money, and generate more media exposure, and as a result their influence is far greater than their qualifications in the field should warrant.

Many people who, because of their education, accept the authority of scientists, suspend their critical thinking in order to embrace the debunkers' deceptive "logic" because it allows them to hold on to their world view in the face of empirical evidence, including scientific research, that demonstrate genuine psychic phenomena. People resist changing their world view because it requires admitting they were wrong or misled.

In children, the brain is very flexible. To young children, everything is new, and they are able to absorb new information easily. However, in adults the brain is less flexible, it runs on automatic most of the time. It has difficulty perceiving and conceiving of things that it has not experienced before. If an adult hears of something that is not consistent with previous experiences or existing beliefs, the brain will most likely filter it out as "impossible".

Some people may have a psychological disorder, such as a phobia, that causes them to be horrified that consciousness might end at death. Just like learning how an airplane works doesn't help people who are afraid of flying, learning about the evidence for the afterlife doesn't change their fear of death. Because they fear that consciousness ends at death and knowledge about the evidence for the afterlife doesn't help them, they feel that they don't believe in the afterlife.

It should also be pointed out that we all incarnate for different reasons. Some people are meant to be atheist materialists because there are lessons that are best that way. Skeptics are not necessarily bad people however activist pseudo-skepticism is harmful to society for many reasons and at many levels.
http://ncu9nc.blogspot.com/p/articles-and-links-arranged-by-subject.html#articles_by_subject_science

George Orwell: "... the scientists themselves would benefit by a little education." Darwin agrees
http://ncu9nc.blogspot.com/2013/08/george-orwell-scientists-themselves.html
neuroplasticity is why many scientists are pseudoskeptics. Their lifelong habituation to reductionist thinking has caused their brain to become wired in a way that makes it impossible for them to conceive of phenomena such as ESP and the afterlife which, since consciousness is non-physical, cannot be explained in terms of simpler phenomena known to science.
Why are so Many Scientists Pseudo-skeptics?
http://ncu9nc.blogspot.com/2013/01/someone-in-internet-discussion-forum.html
Habitual reductionist thinking prevents scientists from accepting anything that they can't explain in terms of simpler phenomena, such as non-physical consciousness, qualia, and psychic phenomena.
Indoctrination into philosophical naturalism during science education.
Psychological attachment to the status quo scientific world view because it is the source of their status and livelihood.
Fear of alternative means of obtaining knowledge about the universe that might supplant science as the most important source of knowledge. If you can ask a psychic or a spirit, why would you need scientists?
Persecution of heretics. If Nobel prize winning physicist Brian Josephson is ostracized because of his interest in psi, what chance does an ordinary scientist have?
Perceptual Bias in Parapsychology
http://ncu9nc.blogspot.com/2014/04/perceptual-bias-in-parapsychology.html

Consciousness is non physical but science can only measure and describe things in physical terms so scientists don't have the tools or mental inclination to conceive of anything that is non-physical.

Scientists are so habituated to thinking in reductionist terms they can't cope with something like consciousness that is irreducible and can't be explained in terms of anything simpler.

Non-physical + irreducible = scientific fumble

Maybe science as we know it today can't study consciousnss. Maybe consciousness can only be understood through experience?
 
#8
The question was really to do with why they have become so evangelical and so scathing and insulting with it. What does it matter to them what I believe in?
Many of the activist atheists have had a bad experience with religion in their past and are therefore hostile to anything relating to religion, God, or the supernatural.

http://www.scientificexploration.org/journal/jse_16_1_leiter.pdf

L.David Leiter of Willow Grove, Pennsylvania was for several years 'actively' engaged with the Philadelphia Association for Critical Thinking (PhACT) after being introduced to it by an old friend, a sometime CSICOP supporter who had left that organisation 'in protest over specific non-professional behaviour on their part'. This, Leiter has found, is 'a seemingly frequent complaint of former CSICOPers'.
...
His most interesting finding was that all the hard-line skeptics he came to know personally (getting on quite well with some of them) admitted that they had had 'an unfortunate experience with a faith-based philosophy, most often a conventional religion'
...

Leiter subsequently found additional hard evidence for his two main conclusions: that extreme skeptics are often rebounding from exposure to a faith-based philosophy in their formative years and that they avoid reading anything that threatens to change their minds or at least broaden them a little.


https://web.archive.org/web/2012012...icexploration.org/journal/jse_16_1_leiter.pdf

Journal of Scientific Exploration, Vol. 16, No. 1, pp. 125–128, 2002 0892-3310/02
...
The Pathology of Organized Skepticism
L. DAVID LEITER
...
Abstract—Experience of interacting with an organized Skeptics’ group suggests
an hypothesis that may explain what produces avowed Skeptics.
...
For about 5 years now, I have been actively engaged with a local Skeptics’ organization in the Delaware Valley of Pennsylvania. It is the “Philadelphia
Association for Critical Thinking”, better known by its acronym “PhACT”.
...
The theme that has emerged time after time, as I become closely
acquainted with individual PhACT members is this: Each one who has disclosed
personal details of their formative years, say up until their early 20’s,
has had an unfortunate experience with a faith-based philosophy, most often a
conventional major religion. Very often, their family or community has (almost forcibly) imposed this
philosophy on them from a very early age; but then as they matured, they
threw off this philosophy with a vengeance, vowing at a soul level never to be
so victimized again. Less often, it appears that they have instead voluntarily
and enthusiastically embraced, for example, a New Age cult, or have become
say, a born-again Christian. Then after a few years, they become convinced of
the folly of that infatuation with the same basic result. They throw off this philosophy
with a vengeance, vowing at a soul level never to be so victimized
again.
...
A person who has been duped frequently in everyday life might learn by bitter experience to be cautious and wary. The reaction of those who have joined PhACT is however more dysfunctional. They have been wounded at a deeper level, to the extent that what was purported to be a valid philosophy of life, and in which they were heavily involved, turns out to be empty and useless, even damaging, in their eyes. Thus, they gravitate to what appears to them to be the ultimate non-faith-based philosophy, Science. Unfortunately, while they loudly proclaim their righteousness, based on their professed adherence to “hard science”, they do so with the one thing no true scientist can afford to possess, a closed mind. Instead of becoming scientifically minded, they become adherents of scientism, the belief system in which science and only science has all the answers to everything. This regrettable condition acts to preclude their unbiased consideration of phenomena on the cutting edge of science, which is not how a true scientist should behave. In fact, many “Skeptics” will not even read significantly into the literature on the subjects about which they are most skeptical. I have direct experience with this specific behavior on the part of a number of PhACT members. Initially, I attributed that behavior to just plain laziness, but lately I’ve begun to suspect that those individuals may actually have a phobia about reading material that is contrary to their own views. It seems entirely possible that they fear “contamination” from that exposure will eventually lead to (Gasp!) acceptance of the opposition’s position. Such scientifically inclined, but psychologically scarred people tend to join Skeptics’ organizations much as one might join any other support group, say, Alcoholics Anonymous. There they find comfort, consolation, and support amongst their own kind.

Anyone who has spent much time engaging members of Skeptics’ organizations knows about their strong inclination toward ridicule and ad hominem criticism of those with differing viewpoints. Therefore, it should come as no surprise that many members of PhACT have been rather offended by my position as someone who is skeptical of Skeptics. As the old adage states, “They can dish it out, but they can’t take it.”​
 
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Brian_the_bard

Lost Pilgrim
Member
#15
That's a really good question, I think EthicalSkeptic had a good post on it: https://theethicalskeptic.com/2015/01/07/no-you-are-not-an-atheist-you-are-a-nihilist/
What an amazing page. I'll look at that one closely later. ;;/?

How do you guys feel about new age schools?
IMO schools for mandatory education should be free from biases and should encourage free thinking and intelligent discussion on all angles, be they New Age, religious or atheist. Universities are a different thing entirely but I'm not sure they do a lot of good. You would probably end up with a lot of metaphysical biases or be kicked out if you don't comply. ;)
 
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