Spanking The Skeptics

#1
An article by Steve Volk
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If you read Fringe-ology, or heard me interviewed on the radio, you know I think the value of paranormal stories often lies in what our reactions to such tales reveals about us.

In researching subjects like telepathy, UFOs, ghosts and consciousness, for instance, I found that the people most vocal about the paranormal tend to resist the unexplained. That statement probably sounds counter-intuitive, but allow me to explain: To the most ardent believers, a UFO report is evidence of alien visitation. To passionate skeptics, a UFO report is evidence of how readily people misidentify Earth-bound phenomenon as exotic technology. The truth, of course, is that an Unidentified Flying Object is just that—unidentified—and nothing more. It should go without saying that a UFO, once identified, ceases to be a UFO.

In these terms, skeptics and believers should be able to rally around a common set of cases. After all, listen to alien-visitation advocate Stanton Friedman or arch-skeptic James Randi speak on the subject and both will acknowledge the vast majority of UFO reports can be explained as mis-identified but well-known phenomena. Only a small handful of cases remain unexplained. But even when the data runs out, skeptics and believers go on arguing for their point of view. Friedman advances the E.T. hypothesis. Randi, or the like, explains that these unsolved cases will likely be answered by Earth-bound explanations—and in any case there is no evidence that aliens have visited; and so this is not a possible explanation we should take very seriously; and—may I add?—harrumph.

In my opinion the conversation about any of these unresolved cases should conclude in the exact geolocation where we really sit: at the edge of a mystery, which might be solved by any number of possible explanations—from the prosaic to the powerfully strange—and which cuts right to the heart of one of the deepest existential questions humankind has yet to answer: Are we alone in the universe? But as I mentioned at the outset, mystery—even if it is reality—is less appealing to the blinkered believer or dogmatic skeptic than the answer they have presupposed
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The complete article=> http://stevevolk.com/archives/1081
 
F

Frank Matera

#2
Well I can tell you... only 1 of those people named Stanton is interested in looking at the data and finding an answer for the unexplained cases. The other named Randi is only interested in rationalising the unexplained cases to fit their belief system... without ever bothering to study the data in the first place.

Tell me which one is practising scientific method... and which one isn't but goes around calling others "Pseudo-Scientists".

It's a state of mind. Open or Closed.
 
#5
If you read Fringe-ology, or heard me interviewed on the radio, you know I think the value of paranormal stories often lies in what our reactions to such tales reveals about us.
I do not share this interest. I'm interested in paranormal stories to find out what has happened and how it can be explained.
 
#6
The truth, of course, is that an Unidentified Flying Object is just that—unidentified—and nothing more. It should go without saying that a UFO, once identified, ceases to be a UFO.
Actually I completely agree with this.

For one thing, I simply like language to be accurate. From a linguistic point of view UFO primarily signifies only a lack of sufficient information, nothing more, nothing less. I've always found it disturbing that a simple lack of information should be promoted as the opposite, and considered meaningful.

In my opinion there really is a need for a better and more meaningful term, in order to describe and talk about those phenomena which are actually interesting, and separate them from those which are mundane.
 
#8
In my opinion there really is a need for a better and more meaningful term, in order to describe and talk about those phenomena which are actually interesting, and separate them from those which are mundane.
I use ETC (Extraterrestrial Craft) and ODC (Other Dimensional Craft)
 
#9
This kind of radical agnosticism usually sounds off key, but never more so than here.
??? I don't get that. How is stating that UFO simply means something is unidentified radical? I also will say that I find agnosticism ( as I use the term) a wonderful thing. I use with "unknown" not with "unknowable."
 
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