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Author Topic:   Open-minded Skepticism
RAZD
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Joined: 03-14-2004
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Message 1 of 85 (755034)
04-03-2015 10:07 AM


I ran across this article, and it is nice to see other people on my wavelength:

quote:
Why Open-Mindedness Should Go Hand In Hand With Skepticism

De omnibus dubitandum est

Doubt everything

The World

Our stream of consciousness is constantly bombarded by harmful information. Propaganda, advertisement, manifestos, popular cultural values and questionable theories of what life is really about. Information that wants to do everything but inform. ...

And us

But its not only the external world we must look out for. We must also clean our own minds. We can do this in a multiply of ways. Some, lets call them conservatives, propose we hold onto one perspective and look the other way when contradictory information shows up. Sure we will still have problems, but at least we can get used to that, cover it up a little, and dont have to deal with new ones in the future. But its obvious that this life-denying attitude already gives up before trying.

Opposite of this close mindedness we find open mindedness, the willingness to consider new ideas. This is a good trait that keeps your eyes open and face reality as it is, not as you want it to be. And if we ever want to learn what works in life and what doesnt, we have to keep an open mind. However, this doesnt automatically mean we accept every new perspective as a truthful perspective. We will only consider it. We take it as an experiment. Because life itself is an ever going on experiment.

So we keep an open mind and use experimentation to test whether the information is valid or not. Experiment in the broadest possible sense: a course of action tentatively adopted without being sure of the eventual outcome. This can be both a scientific experiment (exoteric) and a personal experiment (esoteric). So, in essence, these experiments work to filter out what can be used as a truthful perspective, and what cant. It separates the noise from the occasional valuable idea.

For example, when an advertisement for the newest deodorant enters your consciousness, you keep an open mind. You will consider the idea that this new formula will turn you into the person you always wanted to be and that it will bring you all the girls. But before you accept this as a truthful perspective, you employ either a thought and, if that is not sufficient, a practical experiment. Does the advertisement have any reason to lie? Do other people who use the product get all the girls? Is there any causal connection between deodorant and being who I want to be? If youre not sure about all this, you can try the product yourself, and see if what it promises hold true.

Being skeptical to what it is

This skeptical attitude will prevent you from being gullible. It reduces the power outside forces have over your actions and identity. An open mind that doesnt have this filter, will let in an awful lot of crappy ideas, since there is no way to distinguish between valid and flawed ideas. And even worse, if you take a random, societies or your perspective as the perspective, in other words, if you stop being doubtful about your own truth, you immediately stop being open-minded. You cant consider new ideas that dont mix with the already established truth. If you are not skeptical, you are close minded!

Reality is ambiguous

The point where most people go wrong is thinking there is only one way of gaining truth, one perspective that fits on every bit of data. But describing a painting in terms of its chemical composition can be just as truthful as describing the same information, the painting, from an artistic point of view. Since they both talk a different language, they can never make a claim about what the other is saying. You cant falsify an inner experience with scientific evidence, nor can you falsify scientific evidence with inner experience.

Creating room to grow

Once you have an open mind and put the skeptical filters in place there is one more thing left to do: getting rid of social conditioning. Social conditioning are filters that are not necessary true, but only hold true for that society, in that time and age. But throughout history, different values, different moralities, different meanings of freedom, good and bad etc. have existed. This conditioning is what society has to do in order to survive. Because without it, there wouldnt be any norms to follow (and thus no society). But if a certain society is too anxious to let conflicting ideas roam free, it might reject the one idea that solves its problems. It could lead to close mindedness, not being able to adapt to a new norm even if ones life was depending on it (capitalism and the ecological crisis anyone?) Needless to say, to an individual this can have a suffocating effect, because taking a societies perspective as the boundary of knowledge prevents the potential to think outside it.


Open minded skepticism -- willingness to consider the possibility of concepts that are not invalidated by objective empirical evidence, but remaining skeptical of their value until there is some validation for them.

Enjoy

Edited by RAZD, : /i


we are limited in our ability to understand
by our ability to understand
RebelAmerican☆Zen☯Deist
... to learn ... to think ... to live ... to laugh ...
to share.


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Replies to this message:
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AdminNosy
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Message 2 of 85 (755036)
04-03-2015 2:49 PM


Thread Copied from Proposed New Topics Forum
Thread copied here from the Open-minded Skepticism thread in the Proposed New Topics forum.
  
subbie
Member (Idle past 237 days)
Posts: 3508
Joined: 02-26-2006


(3)
Message 3 of 85 (755042)
04-03-2015 4:38 PM
Reply to: Message 1 by RAZD
04-03-2015 10:07 AM


RAZD writes:

Open minded skepticism -- willingness to consider the possibility of concepts that are not invalidated by objective empirical evidence, but remaining skeptical of their value until there is some validation for them.

I'm curious. Have you heard anyone espousing a version of skepticism different from this? Because that seems a rather standard description.


Ridicule is the only weapon which can be used against unintelligible propositions. -- Thomas Jefferson

We see monsters where science shows us windmills. -- Phat

It has always struck me as odd that fundies devote so much time and effort into trying to find a naturalistic explanation for their mythical flood, while looking for magical explanations for things that actually happened. -- Dr. Adequate

Howling about evidence is a conversation stopper, and it never stops to think if the claim could possibly be true -- foreveryoung


This message is a reply to:
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Replies to this message:
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 Message 23 by ramoss, posted 06-08-2015 11:13 PM subbie has responded

  
Tangle
Member
Posts: 5058
From: UK
Joined: 10-07-2011
Member Rating: 3.2


Message 4 of 85 (755044)
04-03-2015 4:43 PM
Reply to: Message 1 by RAZD
04-03-2015 10:07 AM


Well, yes, hardly original though, millions think and feel that way - what's new here?

Je suis Charlie. Je suis Ahmed. Je suis Juif.

Life, don't talk to me about life - Marvin the Paranoid Android

"Science adjusts it's views based on what's observed.
Faith is the denial of observation so that Belief can be preserved."
- Tim Minchin, in his beat poem, Storm.


This message is a reply to:
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RAZD
Member
Posts: 18966
From: the other end of the sidewalk
Joined: 03-14-2004
Member Rating: 3.7


Message 5 of 85 (755096)
04-04-2015 11:43 AM
Reply to: Message 4 by Tangle
04-03-2015 4:43 PM


Glad you agree now
Well, yes, hardly original though, millions think and feel that way - what's new here?

So now you agree the (C) is the position of choice when there is insufficient information to make an evidence informed decision:

As that is the open-minded skeptical position. Good.

Enjoy


we are limited in our ability to understand
by our ability to understand
RebelAmerican☆Zen☯Deist
... to learn ... to think ... to live ... to laugh ...
to share.


Join the effort to solve medical problems, AIDS/HIV, Cancer and more with Team EvC! (click)

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RAZD
Member
Posts: 18966
From: the other end of the sidewalk
Joined: 03-14-2004
Member Rating: 3.7


Message 6 of 85 (755097)
04-04-2015 11:48 AM
Reply to: Message 3 by subbie
04-03-2015 4:38 PM


I'm curious. Have you heard anyone espousing a version of skepticism different from this? Because that seems a rather standard description.

Short answer: yes.

Longer answer -- see other discussions (I can provide links if interested) and answer to Tangle.

Essentially the part of remaining open-minded is what is neglected.

Enjoy


we are limited in our ability to understand
by our ability to understand
RebelAmerican☆Zen☯Deist
... to learn ... to think ... to live ... to laugh ...
to share.


Join the effort to solve medical problems, AIDS/HIV, Cancer and more with Team EvC! (click)

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Tangle
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Posts: 5058
From: UK
Joined: 10-07-2011
Member Rating: 3.2


Message 7 of 85 (755108)
04-04-2015 1:08 PM
Reply to: Message 5 by RAZD
04-04-2015 11:43 AM


Re: Glad you agree now
RAZD writes:

So now you agree the (C) is the position of choice when there is insufficient information to make an evidence informed decision

Get over yourself RAZ, trying to jemmy your little model into the discussion we were having missed the entire point. Remember, it was about beliefs, not facts or decisions? Beliefs are non-rational, as you demonstrate yourself by claiming to believe in god (Deist) whilst being agnostic! Bonkers man.

There's a whole world of the non-rational out there - love, hate, happiness, desire, beliefs, misery, hope, despair, longing,... These are governed by personality traits, hormones, upbringing, drugs, time-of-life, disposition, class, morality etc etc. Stick them in your little boxes and its gigo all the way down.

You're using the wrong tools for the wrong job. That's not rational, Captain.


Je suis Charlie. Je suis Ahmed. Je suis Juif.

Life, don't talk to me about life - Marvin the Paranoid Android

"Science adjusts it's views based on what's observed.
Faith is the denial of observation so that Belief can be preserved."
- Tim Minchin, in his beat poem, Storm.


This message is a reply to:
 Message 5 by RAZD, posted 04-04-2015 11:43 AM RAZD has responded

Replies to this message:
 Message 10 by RAZD, posted 04-05-2015 11:23 AM Tangle has responded

  
Lammy
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Posts: 3576
From: Chicago Suburbs
Joined: 03-29-2004


Message 8 of 85 (755111)
04-04-2015 1:18 PM


I was watching a program on the discovery channel a few days ago about strange atmospheric phenomena. There's one where pilots have been seeing for decades and for decades scientists dismissed it as delusions. Forgot what it's called, but it's upside down lightning where the lightning strikes upward instead of down. But because of the air is a lot thinner up there, the lightning dissipates a lot faster so it glows up a large volume.

No wonder the public perceives skeptics and scientists as denialists. Speaking as a skeptic myself, I see a clear difference between being a skeptic and being a denialist. A skeptic doesn't accept a claim at face value, but he keeps his mind open. A denialist just dismisses the claim as some kind of delusion.

This is also why I don't call climate change deniers as "skeptics". They will deny climate change regardless of what evidence they see. They just deny.


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New Cat's Eye
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Posts: 11706
From: near St. Louis
Joined: 01-27-2005
Member Rating: 2.3


(1)
Message 9 of 85 (755133)
04-04-2015 10:20 PM
Reply to: Message 8 by Lammy
04-04-2015 1:18 PM


I was watching a program on the discovery channel a few days ago about strange atmospheric phenomena. There's one where pilots have been seeing for decades and for decades scientists dismissed it as delusions. Forgot what it's called, but it's upside down lightning where the lightning strikes upward instead of down.

"Sprites"

Saw that program too. It was woo and the pilots were kooks because it was impossible, until they saw that it wasn't.


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RAZD
Member
Posts: 18966
From: the other end of the sidewalk
Joined: 03-14-2004
Member Rating: 3.7


Message 10 of 85 (755149)
04-05-2015 11:23 AM
Reply to: Message 7 by Tangle
04-04-2015 1:08 PM


Re: Glad you agree now: open-minded skepticism = (C)
Get over yourself RAZ, trying to jemmy your little model into the discussion we were having missed the entire point. Remember, it was about beliefs, not facts or decisions? Beliefs are non-rational, as you demonstrate yourself by claiming to believe in god (Deist) whilst being agnostic! Bonkers man.

Just because you still don't get it doesn't make it bonkers, it just makes your view limited and narrow-minded. You focused on your definitions as a shield and missed the wider application\discussion. That is why I introduced\tried a different way of looking at the issue ... which you just rejected.

But please return to that thread to continue that particular discussion if that is your wish, because this thread is about being an open-minded skeptic, and not about pointless arguments about arbitrarily categorizing beliefs.

There's a whole world of the non-rational out there - love, hate, happiness, desire, beliefs, misery, hope, despair, longing,... These are governed by personality traits, hormones, upbringing, drugs, time-of-life, disposition, class, morality etc etc. Stick them in your little boxes and its gigo all the way down.

Actually, what they do is operate to move you to position (D) ... the irrational position ... the "leap of faith\belief\opinion" position ... if you let them.

So, again, in terms of the topic, of being (or not being) an open-minded skeptic, you do agree that position (C) is the logical end position when there is insufficient information to make an evidence informed decision, and that the answer is "I don't know" ... unless of course you insist on making a choice based on your (choose to be closed minded) opinion.

To keep an open mind you have to consider multiple results possible when you don't know. You have to be willing to choose (C) rather than (D), and say "I don't know" ...

As the article said:

quote:
... , the willingness to consider new ideas. This is a good trait that keeps your eyes open and face reality as it is, not as you want it to be. And if we ever want to learn what works in life and what doesnt, we have to keep an open mind. However, this doesnt automatically mean we accept every new perspective as a truthful perspective. We will only consider it. We take it as an experiment. ...

... if you stop being doubtful about your own truth, you immediately stop being open-minded. You cant consider new ideas that dont mix with the already established truth. If you are not skeptical, you are close minded!


ie -- you need to be skeptical of your own beliefs and opinions, of the inadequately evidenced conclusions you have reached, and you need to consider the alternative/s to be open possibilities.

quote:
... this doesnt automatically mean we accept every new perspective as a truthful perspective. We will only consider it. ...

You need to be open minded and skeptical, to doubt yourself, you need to make "room to grow"

quote:
Once you have an open mind and put the skeptical filters in place there is one more thing left to do: getting rid of social conditioning. ...

And, imho, it needs to be active\real doubt, not just lip service.

Enjoy


we are limited in our ability to understand
by our ability to understand
RebelAmerican☆Zen☯Deist
... to learn ... to think ... to live ... to laugh ...
to share.


Join the effort to solve medical problems, AIDS/HIV, Cancer and more with Team EvC! (click)

This message is a reply to:
 Message 7 by Tangle, posted 04-04-2015 1:08 PM Tangle has responded

Replies to this message:
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RAZD
Member
Posts: 18966
From: the other end of the sidewalk
Joined: 03-14-2004
Member Rating: 3.7


Message 11 of 85 (755153)
04-05-2015 11:47 AM
Reply to: Message 8 by Lammy
04-04-2015 1:18 PM


... I see a clear difference between being a skeptic and being a denialist. A skeptic doesn't accept a claim at face value, but he keeps his mind open. A denialist just dismisses the claim as some kind of delusion.

Indeed. The evidence for global climate change is whelming.

quote:
de•lu•sion -noun
1.
    a. The act or process of deluding.
    b. The state of being deluded.
2. A false belief or opinion: labored under the delusion that success was at hand.
3. Psychiatry A false belief strongly held in spite of invalidating evidence, especially as a symptom of mental illness: delusions of persecution.
(American Heritage Dictionary 2009)

The difference between a true skeptic and a denialist is that the true skeptic is skeptical of his own position and looks for evidence to invalidate it, while the denialist doesn't and is only concerned with cherry picking the tidbits of evidence that supports his position.

This is also why I don't call climate change deniers as "skeptics". They will deny climate change regardless of what evidence they see. They just deny.

Pseudoskepticism\false skepticism:

quote:
While Truzzi's characterisation was aimed at the holders of majority views who he considered were excessively impatient of minority opinions, the term has been used to describe advocates of minority intellectual positions who engage in pseudoskeptical behavior when they characterize themselves as "skeptics" despite cherry picking evidence that conforms to a preexisting belief. Thus according to Richard Cameron Wilson, some advocates of AIDS denial are indulging in "bogus scepticism" when they argue in this way.[13] Wilson argues that the characteristic feature of false skepticism is that it "centres not on an impartial search for the truth, but on the defence of a preconceived ideological position".[14]

Bold added.

... But because of the air is a lot thinner up there, the lightning dissipates a lot faster so it glows up a large volume.

Elves, Sprites & Blue Jets: Earth's Weirdest Lightning

Excellent example.

Enjoy


we are limited in our ability to understand
by our ability to understand
RebelAmerican☆Zen☯Deist
... to learn ... to think ... to live ... to laugh ...
to share.


Join the effort to solve medical problems, AIDS/HIV, Cancer and more with Team EvC! (click)

This message is a reply to:
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Tangle
Member
Posts: 5058
From: UK
Joined: 10-07-2011
Member Rating: 3.2


Message 12 of 85 (755172)
04-05-2015 3:38 PM
Reply to: Message 10 by RAZD
04-05-2015 11:23 AM


Re: Glad you agree now: open-minded skepticism = (C)
RAZD writes:

Just because you still don't get it doesn't make it bonkers, it just makes your view limited and narrow-minded. You focused on your definitions as a shield and missed the wider application\discussion. That is why I introduced\tried a different way of looking at the issue ... which you just rejected.

Of course I 'got' what you were saying - it was hardly original. Just like now, you see a post about open-minded skepticism and immediately think that its special - only you, the writer and a few like minded individuals 'get it'. And yet, it seems obvious to others here that this is just, well, normal. Similarly only you 'get' confirmation bias and particular logical fallacies. Really? When you're on the subject of 'hard science' like radio carbon dating you're brilliant - when it comes to human beliefs and behaviours, you're lost. You're as puzzled as Spock, watching a human kiss.

Its time you turned this very special mind of yours in on yourself and really open it up.

So, again, in terms of the topic, of being (or not being) an open-minded skeptic, you do agree that position (C) is the logical end position when there is insufficient information to make an evidence informed decision, and that the answer is "I don't know" ... unless of course you insist on making a choice based on your (choose to be closed minded) opinion.

No. I reject the entire proposition that the human mind is open to such a reductionist approach. Rationalism and the scientific method has proved to be a fantastic mechanism for understanding simple realities such as the age of rock, how organisms change over time, how to confirm a medical process is efficacious or harmful, but so far it can't begin to tell me why I love the smell of wild garlic. (Don't try to google that for a generic link - it too can't make the associations.)

By ignoring the human condition and how people actually work in real life, you are failing to be open minded and sceptical and missing an enormously important part of life - the irrational. And in doing so, you are fooling yourself and are the perfect example of how not to be open minded and sceptical.

You believe in God without evidence! And, yes, I do understand why you say that, but do you? Really? But that's irrational isn't it?


Je suis Charlie. Je suis Ahmed. Je suis Juif.

Life, don't talk to me about life - Marvin the Paranoid Android

"Science adjusts it's views based on what's observed.
Faith is the denial of observation so that Belief can be preserved."
- Tim Minchin, in his beat poem, Storm.


This message is a reply to:
 Message 10 by RAZD, posted 04-05-2015 11:23 AM RAZD has responded

Replies to this message:
 Message 13 by RAZD, posted 04-05-2015 6:16 PM Tangle has responded

  
RAZD
Member
Posts: 18966
From: the other end of the sidewalk
Joined: 03-14-2004
Member Rating: 3.7


Message 13 of 85 (755179)
04-05-2015 6:16 PM
Reply to: Message 12 by Tangle
04-05-2015 3:38 PM


Re: Glad you agree now: open-minded skepticism = (C)
Of course I 'got' what you were saying ...
You believe in God without evidence! ...

So, no, you did not \ do not get it. You see only half the answer because that fits your categories of how things work.

So, again, in terms of the topic, of being (or not being) an open-minded skeptic, you do agree that position (C) is the logical end position when there is insufficient information to make an evidence informed decision, and that the answer is "I don't know" ... unless of course you insist on making a choice based on your (choose to be closed minded) opinion.

No. I reject the entire proposition that the human mind is open to such a reductionist approach. ...

Because you choose to be close minded?

... Rationalism and the scientific method has proved to be a fantastic mechanism for understanding simple realities such as the age of rock, how organisms change over time, how to confirm a medical process is efficacious or harmful, ...

Which is path (A) ...

... but so far it can't begin to tell me why I love the smell of wild garlic. (Don't try to google that for a generic link - it too can't make the associations.)

... and position (C) says "I don't know" to the question of "why I love the smell of wild garlic" or the color green, the taste of chocolate or whatever else is not confirmed by the scientific method.

Proof again that you don't get it.

Enjoy


we are limited in our ability to understand
by our ability to understand
RebelAmerican☆Zen☯Deist
... to learn ... to think ... to live ... to laugh ...
to share.


Join the effort to solve medical problems, AIDS/HIV, Cancer and more with Team EvC! (click)

This message is a reply to:
 Message 12 by Tangle, posted 04-05-2015 3:38 PM Tangle has responded

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Tangle
Member
Posts: 5058
From: UK
Joined: 10-07-2011
Member Rating: 3.2


Message 14 of 85 (755188)
04-06-2015 4:38 AM
Reply to: Message 13 by RAZD
04-05-2015 6:16 PM


Re: Glad you agree now: open-minded skepticism = (C)
RAZD writes:

no, you did not \ do not get it. You see only half the answer because that fits your categories of how things work.

You find it impossible that someone could fully understand your childisly simple little model and still disagree with you don't you? For some hubristic reason, you've decided that only you and a rare few others - evidenced by your amazement in finding the article you've posted - are capable of sceptical thinking and therefor whatever you've decided to be 'correct' IS correct. Have you considered, in an open-minded, sceptical way, that your model might not be inclusive? That it might not apply in certain circumstances? That in fact it is completly unable to cope with the irrational, which is a very real and necessary part of human behaviour?

So, again, in terms of the topic, of being (or not being) an open-minded skeptic, you do agree that position (C) is the logical end position when there is insufficient information to make an evidence informed decision, and that the answer is "I don't know" ... unless of course you insist on making a choice based on your (choose to be closed minded) opinion.

You seem unable to understand - perhaps because you don't like to admit it to yourself - that when people do not have all the information to make a decision, they make a decision anyway. Not only that, they have autonomous mechanisms that have allowed them to not have to make decisions about some very important things. Like fall in love, feel happy, punch someone in the face. And believe in Gods. Which you claim to do - without evidence and without the need for a decision.

You can rage against that fact as much as you like, but you have still made an irrational decision. I don't have a problem with that, I think you're wrong but I have made a similar irrational step to say that god does not exist. That's the great human perogative - to behave irrationally - sometimes for rational reasons.

Your mind is closed to the idea that the reductive, rational approach that works so well with objective realities like our physical enviroment might not so simplistically be similarly applied to the human mind and human behaviour.


Je suis Charlie. Je suis Ahmed. Je suis Juif.

Life, don't talk to me about life - Marvin the Paranoid Android

"Science adjusts it's views based on what's observed.
Faith is the denial of observation so that Belief can be preserved."
- Tim Minchin, in his beat poem, Storm.


This message is a reply to:
 Message 13 by RAZD, posted 04-05-2015 6:16 PM RAZD has not yet responded

  
Straggler
Member
Posts: 10198
From: London England
Joined: 09-30-2006


Message 15 of 85 (755362)
04-07-2015 4:54 PM
Reply to: Message 5 by RAZD
04-04-2015 11:43 AM


Re: Glad you agree now
What happens if we put the question of whether your model is itself valid, through your little model?

Is your model derived from "validated objective empirical evidence"?

If it isn't then, by its own criteria, it fails to be anything other than an opinion.


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