Mod+ The Guerrilla Skeptics: Taking Creepy to 11

#1
New Blog post from The Weiler Psi: Basically just backfilling from the Wikipedia controversy because the GS needed a post strictly about them.

The Guerrilla Skeptics are an organization dedicated to editing Wikipedia. According to them they have about 90 members total and operate in several countries.

Apparently the Guerrilla Skeptics are starting to feel the heat from all the unwanted attention they’ve been receiving recently. Organizer Susan Gerbic writes:

The drama of Rupert Sheldrake and Deepak Chopra has almost been laughable. Every morning for a few months I wondered “what is waiting for me in my inbox?” Would you believe that there are more than 20 anti-GSoW blogs that have been written in the last few months. Three came from a skeptic blogger who thinks we are making her job talking to the paranormal community more difficult.

(Thank you to Douglas for bringing this to my attention.) While I covered them in various blog posts about Wikipedia, I think it’s a good idea to sum up my research on this group in one place. Gerbic is trying to portray their mission as one of accuracy on Wikipedia and I would like to show that this isn’t at all the case. They are pushing for an ideological point of view. This is pretty clear from four aspects of their organization: (1) The structure of their organization, (2) how and where they solicit members and what they’re looking for in their members, (3) the philosophy of the organizer, (4) what they think are acceptable sources. . . .
 
#2
Very nice article, Craig.
I haven't followed very closely this subject but I've read a few of your articles during the past months which has been very illuminating.

It is a remarkable example of how the very particular interests of a small and well organized group can be override the interests of the majority. It happens all over the place in our societies, but sometimes they are well hidden from the public especially via the mainstream media.
In this case it's pretty obvious how it works and how creepy it is.

I tried to watch a bit of Gerbic's "instructional" video on YouTube but couldn't take it anymore. Interesting that most of the top comments in YouTube are less than favorable.

Keep up the good work.
 
#3
One of the revealing effects of this debate is the way in which the "paranormal community" (to quote Susan Gerber) is perceived in contrast to the skeptical community. I think both are an illusory contrast forged by materialist skeptics. Among 'proponents' there is a wide array of interest, from quantum scientists amused and intrigued by the consequence of their research, through to the most fundamental believers in strange phenomena. By contrast, ideological skeptics are virtually all card carrying, unreconstructed materialists. The idea that both sides of the debate are equal is absurd. Proponents comprise the vast majority of the world's population, skeptics are made up of a tiny minority of vociferous, Western ideologues with a political agenda.

While their access to media and polemical zealotry have given them a high profile, skeptics are an irrelevance in terms of intellectual progress.
 
#5
While their access to media and polemical zealotry have given them a high profile, skeptics are an irrelevance in terms of intellectual progress.
Perhaps. But are they also an irrelevance to progress beyond the intellectual? I see that progress as far more important. What the pseudo-skeptics (those you term skeptics) want to do is limit things to only the intellectual.
 
#6
Perhaps. But are they also an irrelevance to progress beyond the intellectual? I see that progress as far more important. What the pseudo-skeptics (those you term skeptics) want to do is limit things to only the intellectual.
See my response on the 'political skeptics' thread.
 
#7
Hey Craig - just curious, especially since the Coyne article and Vzaak's public declaration of no involvement with GSM. Do you think GSM is still the case? I'm not quite so sure it is. This is not to mean that the editors there are not card carrying skeptic 'ideologues' with their own agenda, I'm just not sure if it's Gerbic's group. I'm not sure if that still matters or not.

There is a lot of anecdotal evidence that members of JREF are involved, and of course Susan does have affiliations, but Wikipedia has it's own skeptic groups and they all probably interact without even knowing it. The peculiar thing I find only is that Vzaak's account became active once Vzaak came into the Sheldrake article. And she came in pretty strong and bold, things that go against basic civility, and really knew how to intimidate with WP policies very shrewdly for someone who just came on. Vzaak's past editing experience is entirely hidden, yet Vzaak is clearly a very experienced editor. Odd that.
 
#8
Hey Craig - just curious, especially since the Coyne article and Vzaak's public declaration of no involvement with GSM. Do you think GSM is still the case? I'm not quite so sure it is. This is not to mean that the editors there are not card carrying skeptic 'ideologues' with their own agenda, I'm just not sure if it's Gerbic's group. I'm not sure if that still matters or not.

There is a lot of anecdotal evidence that members of JREF are involved, and of course Susan does have affiliations, but Wikipedia has it's own skeptic groups and they all probably interact without even knowing it. The peculiar thing I find only is that Vzaak's account became active once Vzaak came into the Sheldrake article. And she came in pretty strong and bold, things that go against basic civility, and really knew how to intimidate with WP policies very shrewdly for someone who just came on. Vzaak's past editing experience is entirely hidden, yet Vzaak is clearly a very experienced editor. Odd that.
No way to prove anything. As far as speculations go, there are signs of coordination between groups at the very least. All the skeptical PR stuff that suddenly popped up when my articles came out is a good example of that. It would really take openness on the part of the GS combined with a complete list of all the screen names and sock puppets to really sort that out. But that ain't gonna happen.
 
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