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Author Topic:   The Nature of Scepticism
RAZD
Member (Idle past 66 days)
Posts: 20714
From: the other end of the sidewalk
Joined: 03-14-2004


(1)
Message 17 of 271 (690856)
02-16-2013 11:12 PM
Reply to: Message 1 by Straggler
02-15-2013 1:54 PM


dead end? ... how far do you go?
"I wish to propose for the reader’s favourable consideration a doctrine which may, I fear, appear wildly paradoxical and subversive. The doctrine in question is this: that it is undesirable to believe a proposition when there is no ground whatever for supposing it true". - Bertrand Russell, Introduction to Sceptical Essays

Is this an accurate reflection of scepticism? Is it the approach taken by science? Is it paradoxical and subversive?

Well, I would say that taken to the absurd ultimate extreme final conclusion, nothing could be trusted, not even your own senses, and that you end up not believing anything.

Therefore you take some things on trust, such as the trust that reality exists, or that empirical evidence represents that reality.

To my mind this requires a certain amount of open-mindedness, ... which in its absurd ultimate extreme final conclusion would mean believing everything. This would appear to be equally invalid.

Therefore you are somewhat skeptical of most claims ...

... and thus in the end you balance open-mindedness with skepticism in varying degrees according to your personal worldview.

(pink color added for emphasis below)

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Skepticism

quote:
Skepticism or scepticism (see spelling differences) is generally any questioning attitude towards knowledge, facts, or opinions/beliefs stated as facts,[1] or doubt regarding claims that are taken for granted elsewhere.[2]

Philosophical skepticism is an overall approach that requires all information to be well supported by evidence.[3] Classical philosophical skepticism derives from the 'Skeptikoi', a school who "asserted nothing".[4] Adherents of Pyrrhonism, for instance, suspend judgment in investigations.[5] Skeptics may even doubt the reliability of their own senses.[6] Religious skepticism, on the other hand is "doubt concerning basic religious principles (such as immortality, providence, and revelation)".[7] Most[who?] scientists are empirical skeptics,[citation needed] who admit the possibility of knowledge based on evidence, but hold that new evidence may always overturn these findings.

A scientific (or empirical) skeptic is one who questions beliefs on the basis of scientific understanding. Most scientists, being scientific skeptics, test the reliability of certain kinds of claims by subjecting them to a systematic investigation using some form of the scientific method.[10] As a result, a number of claims are considered "pseudoscience" if they are found to improperly apply or ignore the fundamental aspects of the scientific method. Scientific skepticism may discard beliefs pertaining to things outside perceivable observation and thus outside the realm of systematic, empirical falsifiability/testability.
Similarly to science where it can be used misleadingly and then becomes pseudoscience, scientific skepticism can also be acted many ways impoliticly if it just looks like skepticism but in fact it is pseudoskepticism.


Now I don't believe anyone wants to return to the issue of pseudoskepticism ... unless you want to flog dead horsemeat () ...

... but one does need to guard against false skepticism (or confirmation biased skepticism).

A quick review for the new readers:

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Pseudoskepticism

quote:
Truzzi characterized "true" skepticism as:[5]

  1. Acceptance of doubt when neither assertion nor denial has been established
  2. No burden of proof to take an agnostic position
  3. Agreement that the corpus of established knowledge must be based on what is proved, but recognising its incompleteness
  4. Even-handedness in requirement for proofs, whatever their implication
  5. Accepting that a failure of a proof in itself proves nothing
  6. Continuing examination of the results of experiments even when flaws are found

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]


Now I would classify Truzzi's characterization as open-minded skepticism, and I would classify false skepticism as being more skeptical of an opponents position than you are of your own.

Also see Denialism ...

quote:
Denialism is choosing to deny reality as a way to avoid an uncomfortable truth.[1] Author Paul O'Shea remarks, "[It] is the refusal to accept an empirically verifiable reality. It is an essentially irrational action that withholds validation of a historical experience or event".[2]

In science, denialism has been defined as the rejection of basic concepts that are undisputed and well-supported parts of the scientific consensus on a topic in favor of ideas that are both radical and controversial.[3] It has been proposed that the various forms of denialism have the common feature of the rejection of overwhelming evidence and the generation of a controversy through attempts to deny that a consensus exists.[4][5] A common example is Young Earth creationism and its dispute with the evolutionary theory. [6]

The terms Holocaust denialism and AIDS denialism have been used,[7][8][9][10][11] and the term climate change denialists has been applied to those who argue against the scientific consensus that global warming is occurring and that human activity is its primary cause.[12][13][14][15] ...


And denial is the first defense against cognitive dissonance -- where that "uncomfortable truth" conflicts with strongly held beliefs.

There, have I hit all the buttons yet?

Enjoy

Edited by RAZD, : ]


we are limited in our ability to understand
by our ability to understand
Rebel American Zen Deist
... to learn ... to think ... to live ... to laugh ...
to share.


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This message is a reply to:
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Replies to this message:
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RAZD
Member (Idle past 66 days)
Posts: 20714
From: the other end of the sidewalk
Joined: 03-14-2004


(1)
Message 25 of 271 (690881)
02-17-2013 8:48 AM
Reply to: Message 19 by Straggler
02-17-2013 5:15 AM


too far already?
Yep, your buttons are pushed.

I would suggest that doubting one's own senses to some degree is a very sensible approach. Because we are notoriously adept at wrongly interpreting that which we sense. I would argue that many of the methods of science (verification, peer review, repeatability etc. etc) are necessary exactly because individual perception is an incredibly unreliable means of distinguishing what is real and what is not. For example is this picture moving?

I don't think a healthy doubt of the validity of one's own individual perception leads to that conclusion at all. Rather it leads to a more scientific approach when we want to most accurately and reliably discern what is real and what is not.

Your opinion based on your worldview. You trust the scientific process and approach, and accept the accuracy of research papers based on these beliefs.

No. We don't take these things on trust. Reality (of some sort) exists otherwise how on earth are you and I here conversing? ...

Are we or is it your imagination? Or do you take it on trust that your senses do give you some valid information (those ones you doubt above)?

Thanks for making my point.

... Nor is the conclusion that empirical evidence is the most reliable method of discerning that reality an assumption. People have tried other approaches and they have been less successful. So on a very pragmatic level we aren't just assuming that empirical evidence represents reality we can demonstrate that this approach has been more successful than any other approach yet devised at investigating reality as we experience it.

These aren't assumptions. They are conclusions.

Your opinion based on your worldview. You trust the scientific process and approach, and accept the accuracy of research papers based on these beliefs.

On a very basic pragmatic level believing everything won't get you very far at all. Compared to skepticism it is obviously inferior.

Not trusting anything is superior to trusting everything ... according to your opinion based on your worldview. You trust the scientific process and approach, and accept the accuracy of research papers based on these beliefs.

One equally needs to guard against those who are unable to cope with the fact that evidentially unsupported claims are unlikely to be correct no matter how unfalsifiable they are designed to be.

Be strong, you can do it Strags. After all, you have your opinion based on your worldview. You trust the scientific process and approach, and accept the accuracy of research papers based on these beliefs. Once more into the breaches son.

Enjoy.


we are limited in our ability to understand
by our ability to understand
Rebel American 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 19 by Straggler, posted 02-17-2013 5:15 AM Straggler has responded

Replies to this message:
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RAZD
Member (Idle past 66 days)
Posts: 20714
From: the other end of the sidewalk
Joined: 03-14-2004


Message 29 of 271 (690889)
02-17-2013 12:29 PM
Reply to: Message 27 by Straggler
02-17-2013 9:17 AM


Too far already? Yep
Are all world views equally valid?

If there is any valid information to be had about a reality external to one's own mind then how else is one going to get any valid information about it?

There are as many worldviews as there are people. What do you mean by "valid" -- that they are consilient with your views?

How do we decide which 'world views' are more reliable and accurate than others?

A general conformity of the consilience of many views would certainly give the impression of reliability and accuracy. The logical fallacy of popularity? Or just open trust\acceptance that everyone is experiencing the same reality at some basic level?

People generally appear to be open to trusting\accepting the worldviews of others that are similar to theirs, the greater the consilience of the views the greater they are open to trusting\accepting those worldviews. Problems arise when there is disagreement, not consilience, and this can lead to cognitive dissonance and loss of openness.

Like I said before - Even Descrate himself disposed of Cartesian doubt as a valid argument. If you are going to base your entire 'open mindedness' argument on solipsism then I'd suggest you barely have an argument at all.

Argument from authority? (... is that typo a Freudian slip btw?)

As I said before, however, taking skepticism to the "absurd ultimate extreme final conclusion, nothing could be trusted, not even your own senses" -- so once you trust yourself (cogito ergo sum), you have broken from complete skepticism, ... and taking open mindedness to, as I said before, "its absurd ultimate extreme final conclusion would mean believing everything. This would appear to be equally invalid."

So the question then becomes what is your personal balance between skepticism and open-mindedness.


skeptical ..................................... open-minded

Do you agree with Truzzi's characterization of "true" skepticism (see Message 17):

quote:
  1. Acceptance of doubt when neither assertion nor denial has been established
  2. No burden of proof to take an agnostic position
  3. Agreement that the corpus of established knowledge must be based on what is proved, but recognising its incompleteness
  4. Even-handedness in requirement for proofs, whatever their implication
  5. Accepting that a failure of a proof in itself proves nothing
  6. Continuing examination of the results of experiments even when flaws are found

Seems pretty rational to me.

Enjoy.


we are limited in our ability to understand
by our ability to understand
Rebel American 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 27 by Straggler, posted 02-17-2013 9:17 AM Straggler has responded

Replies to this message:
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RAZD
Member (Idle past 66 days)
Posts: 20714
From: the other end of the sidewalk
Joined: 03-14-2004


Message 32 of 271 (690910)
02-17-2013 10:35 PM
Reply to: Message 30 by Straggler
02-17-2013 1:08 PM


Re: Too far already? Yep
How do we decide which 'world views' are more reliable and accurate than others?

from Message 29 ...

How do we decide which 'world views' are more reliable and accurate than others?

A general conformity of the consilience of many views would certainly give the impression of reliability and accuracy. The logical fallacy of popularity? Or just open trust\acceptance that everyone is experiencing the same reality at some basic level?

People generally appear to be open to trusting\accepting the worldviews of others that are similar to theirs, the greater the consilience of the views the greater they are open to trusting\accepting those worldviews. Problems arise when there is disagreement, not consilience, and this can lead to cognitive dissonance and loss of openness.

Are you expecting a different answer this time?

If I decided that sitting in a room waiting for divine inspiration was the best path to discovering things about reality external to my own mind do you think it would yield equally valid results as the scientific method? Or not?

It may be as valid for the person in question. It could be the next Einstein thought experiment. Why should my opinion be important in determining validity?

Note that the vast majority of people are scientifically ignorant and seem to be no worse of than many scientists: they eat, they drink, they have children ...

But again -- what is "valid"

No. In epistemological terms we are talking about a method of knowing that results in conclusions that are more likely correct than not.

Your opinion based on your worldview. You trust the scientific process and approach, and accept the accuracy of research papers based on these beliefs.

For example - If a claim is made on the basis of no evidence whatsoever is it in your view:

A) Likely to be correct
B) As likely to be correct as incorrect
C) Likely to be incorrect

(1) How could you ever know?
(2) Why would you need to decide?

What would be the more productive use of your time:

  1. Loudly proclaim to all around you that it is "Highly likely to be incorrect and only fools would pursue it"
  2. Assist in investigating to see whether or not it is correct
  3. Wait for more information before developing an opinion.

OK. But is every world view equally correct or are some more correct than others?

What does "more correct" mean -- that they are more consilient with your views?

Certainly a general conformity of the consilience of many views on many topics would appear to give the impression of reliability and accuracy -- correctness -- when compared with your worldview The logical fallacy of popularity? Or confirmation bias? Or just open trust\acceptance that they are experiencing a singular and same reality at some basic level?

People do generally appear to be open to trusting\accepting the worldviews of others that are similar to their own, and the greater the consilience of the views the greater they are open to trusting\accepting those worldviews in a general way.

Problems arise when there is disagreement, not consilience, and this can lead to cognitive dissonance and may lead to loss of openness.

Depends what one means by "agnostic position". If, for example, you told me that a herd of undetectable ethereal elephants were congregating in my garden as I type I don't think that an agnostic position beyond trivial lack of philosophical certainty would be necessary.

Is lack of philosophical certainty "agnostic"...?

To all practical intents and purposes I am atheistic rather than agnostic about said herd of undetectable ethereal elephants congregating in my garden. But if lack of certainty qualifies as "agniostic" then I guess I am "agnostic".

What exactly do you mean by "agnostic"...?

Judging from the context of the article ...

quote:
In science, the burden of proof falls upon the claimant; and the more extraordinary a claim, the heavier is the burden of proof demanded. The true skeptic takes an agnostic position, one that says the claim is not proved rather than disproved. He asserts that the claimant has not borne the burden of proof and that science must continue to build its cognitive map of reality without incorporating the extraordinary claim as a new "fact." ...
— Marcello Truzzi, "On Pseudo-Skepticism", Zetetic Scholar, 12/13, pp3-4, 1987[5]

... I would assume that Truzzi means that the claim is not proved rather than disproved ... it could be true and it could be false.

So now -- using this definition -- do you agree with Truzzi's characterization of "true" skepticism (see Message 17):

quote:
  1. Acceptance of doubt when neither assertion nor denial has been established
  2. No burden of proof to take an agnostic position
  3. Agreement that the corpus of established knowledge must be based on what is proved, but recognising its incompleteness
  4. Even-handedness in requirement for proofs, whatever their implication
  5. Accepting that a failure of a proof in itself proves nothing
  6. Continuing examination of the results of experiments even when flaws are found

Still seems rational to me.

Enjoy


we are limited in our ability to understand
by our ability to understand
Rebel American 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 30 by Straggler, posted 02-17-2013 1:08 PM Straggler has responded

Replies to this message:
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RAZD
Member (Idle past 66 days)
Posts: 20714
From: the other end of the sidewalk
Joined: 03-14-2004


Message 49 of 271 (690992)
02-18-2013 7:24 PM
Reply to: Message 35 by Eli
02-18-2013 4:31 AM


no moving for me
Certainly appears to be moving to me.

I've looked at for a while, even stared just off to the side and I cannot get any sensation of movement - it just looks garish, stationary and garish, however I look at it.

There are probably better examples of optical delusions.

Enjoy.


we are limited in our ability to understand
by our ability to understand
Rebel American 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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Replies to this message:
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RAZD
Member (Idle past 66 days)
Posts: 20714
From: the other end of the sidewalk
Joined: 03-14-2004


Message 50 of 271 (690993)
02-18-2013 7:31 PM
Reply to: Message 39 by Straggler
02-18-2013 5:42 AM


still not moving
It isn't actually moving but approx 98% of human beings will perceive it as moving. ...

Interesting. Perhaps those 2% that don't see it moving are better trained at observation ...

Enjoy.


we are limited in our ability to understand
by our ability to understand
Rebel American 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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RAZD
Member (Idle past 66 days)
Posts: 20714
From: the other end of the sidewalk
Joined: 03-14-2004


Message 52 of 271 (690997)
02-18-2013 7:49 PM
Reply to: Message 37 by Straggler
02-18-2013 5:25 AM


Re: Too far already? Yep ... amusing
Conversely when confronted by an evidentially unsupported but unfalsifiable proposition your approach to skepticism demands either: ... be given equal credence ...

Equality is a false paradigm and is typical of Faux Noise blatherings and poor thinking.

Curiously, I don't need to give either claim credence, pro or con, rather I can wait (not holding my breath) for evidence pro or con before needing to apply any credence to either.

You should remember this from last go-round.

And you, as an atheist, should be able to understand half of this.

Consilient with reality.

What is reality?

How do you know?

Because, in the specific case of ethereal elephants, if too many congregate in one place their inaudible trumpeting causes long term brain damage to small children.

Only when it's too late and my children grow into brain damaged adults. So do you think I should evacuate my children from my house just in case there are a congregation of ethereal elephants in my garden? Or do you (skeptically?) think this unevidenced proposition not something remotely worth worrying about?

Ah, I see you have chosen your normal approach:

my Message 32:

What would be the more productive use of your time:

  1. Loudly proclaim to all around you that it is "Highly likely to be incorrect and only fools would pursue it"
  2. Assist in investigating to see whether or not it is correct
  3. Wait for more information before developing an opinion.

It appears you've chosen "A" while I will still take "C" ...

You realize, I hope, that your opinion is not based on any empirical evidence in this regard and thus you should be skeptical of it, according to your precepts above ... or is this a special pleading?

Enjoy

Edited by RAZD, : clrty

Edited by RAZD, : ...


we are limited in our ability to understand
by our ability to understand
Rebel American 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 37 by Straggler, posted 02-18-2013 5:25 AM Straggler has responded

Replies to this message:
 Message 54 by Straggler, posted 02-18-2013 8:33 PM RAZD has responded

  
RAZD
Member (Idle past 66 days)
Posts: 20714
From: the other end of the sidewalk
Joined: 03-14-2004


Message 55 of 271 (691006)
02-18-2013 10:51 PM
Reply to: Message 54 by Straggler
02-18-2013 8:33 PM


Re: Too far already? Yep ... amusing
No normal person would sit there without comment or action and allow small children to incur brain damage if this was a remotely realistic possibility would they? If this scenario was remotely likely it would demand action wouldn't it?

On the basis that you wouldn't risk brain damage to small children simply to score points in an internet debate I can only conclude that your lack of concern, despite long-winded assertions regarding things being unproven and whatnot, is because to all practical intents and purposes you are as skeptical of the brain-damage-inducing-congregation-of-ethereal-elephants-in-my-garden as I am.

If you consider this scenario a remotely realistic possibility why aren't you more concerned regarding the potential brain damage being induced in small children?

So you continue with (A) Loudly proclaim to all around you that it is "Highly likely to be incorrect and only fools would pursue it"

What do you consider more rational behavior:

  1. a person standing in their garden loudly proclaiming that "There are no ethereal elephants inaudible trumpeting in my garden" ... or
  2. a person standing in their garden loudly proclaiming that "There are ethereal elephants inaudible trumpeting in my garden" ... or
  3. a person standing in their garden smiling politely at people passing ...

Curiously I would find both A and B positions bizarre if not delusional.

Well that is the crux of the matter isn't it? ...

And yet you didn't answer it.

... In order to explore this let's consider someone who has a radically different world view to either you or I and who thus takes a radically different approach to knowledge.

Consider hypothetical Bob. Bob works under the assumption that empirical evidence is designed to deceive. That scientific conclusions are those of weak minded fools too embroiled in the deception to see the wood for the trees. Instead Bob relies on a sacred text and divine revelation in order to gain access to the truths of reality.

According to his method of knowing the Earth is about 1,000 years old. According to his method of knowing the empirical evidence that says that the Earth is billions of years old was put there to deceive and cannot be trusted.

More word games, instead of answering the question.

Is Bob's world view equally as valid as a more scientific world view?

Amusingly, I am pretty sure that he would think it was more valid, otherwise he wouldn't behave the way he does.(1)

Is Bob's conclusion regarding the age of the Earth more or less likely to be correct than the scientific conclusion?

And I already asked you (Message 32):

OK. But is every world view equally correct or are some more correct than others?

What does "more correct" mean -- that they are more consilient with your views?

To which you replied "Consilient with reality."

Now when I ask what is reality, you seem to be saying that reality is "more correct" -- making a circular argument rather than answering the question.

So are you going to answer this time or evade and wheedle around the issue with smoke screens and more word games?

How do we decide?

Indeed ... how does Hypothetical Bob decide?

Enjoy

(1) - actually his name was Hans and he believed the world was flat, but that was years ago and on another board.

Edited by RAZD, : clrty


we are limited in our ability to understand
by our ability to understand
Rebel American 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 54 by Straggler, posted 02-18-2013 8:33 PM Straggler has responded

Replies to this message:
 Message 68 by Straggler, posted 02-20-2013 8:52 AM RAZD has responded

  
RAZD
Member (Idle past 66 days)
Posts: 20714
From: the other end of the sidewalk
Joined: 03-14-2004


Message 64 of 271 (691064)
02-19-2013 9:30 PM
Reply to: Message 61 by DBlevins
02-19-2013 1:03 PM


Re: Too far already? Yep
'Proven' is a pretty loaded word. ...

Yeah, I agree. I take his "but recognising its incompleteness" to refer to the necessary tentativity of scientific conclusions.

One could say "what is known" but that would have similar problems and it would get back to the previous discussion on another thread of the differences between "KNOW" and "know" (using Jar's distinctions with capitalizations)

Or we could use validated

3. Agreement that the corpus of established knowledge must be based on what is validated, but recognising its incompleteness.

Note that this also implies a touch of open-mindedness is necessary.

Enjoy

Edited by RAZD, : om


we are limited in our ability to understand
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Rebel American Zen Deist
... to learn ... to think ... to live ... to laugh ...
to share.


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This message is a reply to:
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RAZD
Member (Idle past 66 days)
Posts: 20714
From: the other end of the sidewalk
Joined: 03-14-2004


Message 69 of 271 (691149)
02-20-2013 8:20 PM
Reply to: Message 68 by Straggler
02-20-2013 8:52 AM


getting repetitious again now
When confronted with an un-evidenced proposition, the consequences of which are dire if ignored, you ignore it. The un-evidenced proposition in question is not treated as a realistic possibility. The proposition is treated to all practical intents and purposes as if it were NOT true. This is indistinguishable from taking a defacto atheist approach to un-evidenced propositions. This is indistinguishable from taking a sceptical approach to un-evidenced propositions.

Curiously, it would appear that you seem to spend way to much time in make-believe land, rather than discuss the issues of skepticism, open-mindedness, and ascertaining what reality means. If this is where your brand of skeptical thinking takes you then perhaps I don't need to consider it valid.

No, I behave as if the claim is not validated by evidence -- you are the one that makes the leap of faith that it is NOT true.

If the dire consequences began to occur, then I would be in the position of saying "well now there is evidence on which to base a valid conclusion" -- you, on the other hand, would need to change your opinion.

In other words you are not sufficiently skeptical of your own position\opinion ...

Remember this?

                 question
|
is there sufficient valid
information available to decide
| |
yes no
| |
decide based is a decision
on empirical (1) necessary or
valid evidence (2) can it be ignored?
=logical / \
conclusion (1) (2) ... but ... ?
(A) / | |
decide ignore make a
based on rather decision
inadequate than make anyway
evidence a decision based on
=guess =wait/ignore =opinion ?
(B) (C) (D)

You keep running off to (D). That isn't skeptical imhysao.

As Dr A has pointed out in this thread – Everyone is a skeptic except when they want to give some particular favored idea a free ride. ...

Such as you wanting to conclude that it is not true even though you do not have empirical evidence of this? Amusing. Everyone wants to give their worldview a free ride when it comes to judging situations -- it is basic to how people behave.

Now I notice that you did not answer another question I asked:

What do you consider more rational behavior:

  1. a person standing in their garden loudly proclaiming that "There are no ethereal elephants inaudible trumpeting in my garden" ... or
  2. a person standing in their garden loudly proclaiming that "There are ethereal elephants inaudible trumpeting in my garden" ... or
  3. a person standing in their garden smiling politely at people passing ...

Curiously I would find both A and B positions bizarre if not delusional.

Would you agree that A and B are rather irrational behaviors? Yes No

RAZD writes:

What is reality? How do you know?

Well it would be difficult to cover the entirety of epistemological thinking in a single sentance, paragraph or post. We would be doing well to cover it in a single thread. But that is ultimately what this thread is about. So I suggest we look at some proposed methods of knowing and see if we can reach common ground on how to evaluate them. I have already put forward Bob's epistemology. So let's look at that a bit more.

More word games and evasion, I begin to think you have no idea ...

Exactly. Bob is convinced that his world view is superior to those who hold a more empiricist world view. Those who hold a more empiricist world view are convinced that theirs is superior to Bob's divine-revalationist epistemological approach.

More specifically Bob's world view results in him concluding that the Earth is less than a 1,000 years old. A scientific world view results in the conclusion that the Earth is over 4 billion years old. So we are faced with different specific conclusions based on different methods of knowing.

Bob adopted his epistomology because it was subjectively appealing to him.

Do you think this a sensible approach to selecting a method of knowledge acquisition? What other options are there?

But that is what everybody does, it's part of your worldview.

How do we know what is sensible -- other than by comparing it to our worldview? If it's consilient with your worldview then you will think it is sensible, and if it is contrary to your worldview then you will think it is not sensible.

The question is now how people think and behave, but whether or not we can ascertain what reality really is, and then how can we tell which world views are atuned to reality. Talking about Bob is avoiding this issue.

Well if the Earth really is less than 1,000 years old Bob's conclusion regarding this matter is "more correct". If the Earth is billions of years old the scientific conclusion is "more correct". Surely this is obvious.......

But how do we know what the age of the earth really is ... by knowing what is "more correct" ... but how can we tell what is "more correct" ... by being more consilient with reality ... how do we know what reality is? ... by knowing what is "more correct"...

And around we go a second (third, fourth, fifth?) time.

Enjoy


we are limited in our ability to understand
by our ability to understand
Rebel American 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 68 by Straggler, posted 02-20-2013 8:52 AM Straggler has responded

Replies to this message:
 Message 76 by Straggler, posted 02-22-2013 6:41 AM RAZD has responded

  
RAZD
Member (Idle past 66 days)
Posts: 20714
From: the other end of the sidewalk
Joined: 03-14-2004


Message 85 of 271 (691541)
02-22-2013 9:08 PM
Reply to: Message 81 by Straggler
02-22-2013 3:09 PM


Gosh Straggler
Haven't you learned yet to read what I write? Will you ever learn?

Go back and read the posts between myself and DBlevins and you should find out who was talking about "proof."

I'll give you a hint: I agreed with DBlevins.

When you find it you can either admit that you made an error or not -- I'll still know.

Enjoy.

Edited by RAZD, : .


we are limited in our ability to understand
by our ability to understand
Rebel American 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 81 by Straggler, posted 02-22-2013 3:09 PM Straggler has responded

Replies to this message:
 Message 94 by Straggler, posted 02-23-2013 9:38 AM RAZD has responded

  
RAZD
Member (Idle past 66 days)
Posts: 20714
From: the other end of the sidewalk
Joined: 03-14-2004


Message 88 of 271 (691550)
02-22-2013 10:02 PM
Reply to: Message 76 by Straggler
02-22-2013 6:41 AM


Still going in circles, that is consistent ...
In your case however we need look little further than your username or the tagline splayed across the bottom of all your posts to see that you do not take the same approach to all such propositions. That your approach is not consistent. You make exceptions for your favoured ideas.

You like to quote Dr Adequate, so perhaps you should read this one:

Message 432: To take an obvious example, suppose I say: "I am a Democrat!" And then B-d tells you that I am in fact a Republican. So, who are you going to believe, him or me?

I get the last word about what I think.

You keep acting just like Bolder-dash whenever you talk about me -- which you feel you have to do whenever we debate (rather than respond to the issues, the old ad hominem logical fallacy card) -- but you do not know what my beliefs are, so you keep making up stuff and then claim that it is what I believe.

But I don't see anyone behaving as described in A) or B) with regard to brain-damage-inducing-ethereal-elephants-congregating-in-the-garden. With regard to this particular proposition I see no difference between us either in terms of approach taken or the credence given to the proposition in question. Any differnces are purely semantic.

ROFLOL.

And yet it appears that you cannot reply to my posts without loudly talking about your scenario as if it were the most important thing to talk about. So there you are in your garden saying "There are no ethereal elephants inaudible trumpeting in my garden" ... in fact you opened this last reply with it and then address it again.

Seems rather irrational to me to make up stuff so you can then say you don't believe it. Bizarre form of skepticism imho.

... Then I would describe this approach as skeptical and the position taken towards that proposition as atheistic. ...

And yet your position is not founded on any objective empirical evidence, so by the precepts you have laid out here you should be skeptical\atheistic about your position.

Oh but wait, you give your beliefs a free ride here ...

Message 68: As Dr A has pointed out in this thread – Everyone is a skeptic except when they want to give some particular favored idea a free ride. ...

... because you aren't skeptical of your position.

Or you're a hypocrite.

Yes. And as I think I have pointed out to you before the "ignore" position is ignostic rather than agnostic. Ignosticism is a perfectly valid approach to propositions which are so ill defined and incoherent as to be impossible to evaluate.

So you should be ending up at "C" rather than the "D" you always seem to pick?

Let's try a different word\meaning for "agnostic" -- try "unconvinced" and see if that clarifies what a skeptical position would properly be.

If, as you seem to be suggesting, all methods of knowledge acquisition are essentially axiomatic with no one epistemology superior to any other then all we can ever do is say something like the following “Bob, based on your epistemological premise you have drawn a conclusion and I, based on a different epistemological premise, have drawn an opposing conclusion. Neither is right. Neither is wrong. All conclusions are simply a matter of subjectively preferred starting premise”.

What is "right" and what is "wrong" ... ?

... you're still not getting it.

Let's look at a real life example of Bob-think:

Message 248: If so I'm happy to exit this thread, Bolder, but no I don't get the argument. Perhaps i haven't spent enough time on it. I don't really care, though, since everything about the ToE is delusional.

Now we probably agree (I would hope so anyway) that this view is "wrong" ... but how do we -- individually and as a society -- make that determination?

I could help you, but it is much more fun to watch you run in circles.

Consider hypothetical Eric. Eric’s epistemology is best described as “egocentrism”. Eric feels that he is special. Eric is not like everyone else. Eric operates under the subjectively appealing premise that he has a special, unique and important role in the universe. Whilst others are mere bit part players on the stage that is reality Eric is the star of the show. Based on this epistemology Eric knows that he can come to no significant harm. Eric knows that, whilst others can die, his role in the universe is too important for this to be possible. In order to demonstrate his specialness to the pseudo-skeptical naysayers who refuse to accept Eric’s epistemology as viable Eric volunteers to leap out of a 10th storey window. Eric assures everyone that he will come to no harm. Eric knows this to be true.

Another word game ... another circle dance ... you're getting a bit closer (perhaps by accident) but you still need to make the right connection.

RAZD writes:

What is reality? How do you know?

Reality is that which made a rather brutal assessment of the validity of Eric’s epistemology. Reality is that which constrains our subjective whims.

Which still doesn't really answer the question of how we tell which worldview is better.

btw -- do you think Eric ever "lost faith" in his belief?

Enjoy,

Edited by RAZD, : clrty/coding

Edited by RAZD, : ...


we are limited in our ability to understand
by our ability to understand
Rebel American 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 76 by Straggler, posted 02-22-2013 6:41 AM Straggler has responded

Replies to this message:
 Message 92 by Straggler, posted 02-23-2013 9:24 AM RAZD has responded

  
RAZD
Member (Idle past 66 days)
Posts: 20714
From: the other end of the sidewalk
Joined: 03-14-2004


Message 100 of 271 (691657)
02-23-2013 5:34 PM
Reply to: Message 94 by Straggler
02-23-2013 9:38 AM


Re: Gosh Straggler -- seems you still don't get it right yet.
You really must love being wrong.

You were.

No, Truzzi was. See my Message 32 - which you should have read, as it was addressed to you:

... I would assume that Truzzi means that the claim is not proved rather than disproved ... it could be true and it could be false.

So now -- using this definition -- do you agree with Truzzi's characterization of "true" skepticism (see Message 17):

quote:
  1. Acceptance of doubt when neither assertion nor denial has been established
  2. No burden of proof to take an agnostic position
  3. Agreement that the corpus of established knowledge must be based on what is proved, but recognising its incompleteness
  4. Even-handedness in requirement for proofs, whatever their implication
  5. Accepting that a failure of a proof in itself proves nothing
  6. Continuing examination of the results of experiments even when flaws are found

Then DBlevins in Message 61 says:

'Proven' is a pretty loaded word. Our established 'knowledge' of the universe is never proven, something I am sure you've agreed with outside of your philosophical debates. We may be able to draw inferences based on what we think we know, but we can never be absolutely certain that we are absolutely correct.

And then my Message 64:

'Proven' is a pretty loaded word. ...

Yeah, I agree. I take his "but recognising its incompleteness" to refer to the necessary tentativity of scientific conclusions.

One could say "what is known" but that would have similar problems and it would get back to the previous discussion on another thread of the differences between "KNOW" and "know" (using Jar's distinctions with capitalizations)

Or we could use validated

3. Agreement that the corpus of established knowledge must be based on what is validated, but recognising its incompleteness.

Note that this also implies a touch of open-mindedness is necessary.

Please note where it says "his" - referring to Truzzi's argument - rather than "my" ... in case you have any malingering doubt about having been wrong - again - and jumping - once again - to false conclusions.

I love it when you turn on the charm RAZ.....

Thanks. You earn it.

Now try again to follow the arguments properly, as they are written, with only what is written, instead of making stuff up in your head.

If you had, you should have recognized the reference ... because you answered the post in Message 30:

RAZD writes:

Do you agree with Truzzi's characterization of "true" skepticism.

Depends. For example:

RAZD writes:

No burden of proof to take an agnostic position

,

Depends what one means by "agnostic position". If, for example, you told me that a herd of undetectable ethereal elephants were congregating in my garden as I type I don't think that an agnostic position beyond trivial lack of philosophical certainty would be necessary.

Is lack of philosophical certainty "agnostic"...?

To all practical intents and purposes I am atheistic rather than agnostic about said herd of undetectable ethereal elephants congregating in my garden. But if lack of certainty qualifies as "agniostic" then I guess I am "agnostic".

AND because I referred back to the Truzzi article in my Message 32 reply, so if you had been paying attention you should have known.

So when you say in Message 81:

This is the distinction RAZ is missing when he talks about "proof"..

YOU are the one spreading misinformation - once again.

So you should stop posting lies about me, and stop making posts attacking me, and perhaps actually concentrate on the argument instead.

New readers please note that this is not the first time Straggler has been caught lying about me, and making personal attacks, and that other people have complained about this tendency of his.

So if anything, one should be extremely skeptical of anything Straggler says about anyone.

Enjoy.

Edited by RAZD, : ...


we are limited in our ability to understand
by our ability to understand
Rebel American 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 94 by Straggler, posted 02-23-2013 9:38 AM Straggler has responded

Replies to this message:
 Message 101 by Straggler, posted 02-23-2013 6:01 PM RAZD has responded

  
RAZD
Member (Idle past 66 days)
Posts: 20714
From: the other end of the sidewalk
Joined: 03-14-2004


Message 102 of 271 (691694)
02-24-2013 10:06 AM
Reply to: Message 101 by Straggler
02-23-2013 6:01 PM


Re: Gosh Straggler -- seems you still don't get it right yet.
Trying to twist it eh?

The next time you post anything that might constitute an on topic position could you make clear which bits of that position you actually subscribe to and which bits you are just posting for fun and japes?

Oddly it was you that took this off-topic by posting fallacious information about me rather than about the topic.

You want to keep on topic then don't post gratuitous unnecessary nonsense about me -- you can keep your gratuitous unnecessary nonsense posting to your hypothetical word games.

Truzzi isn't here posting messages. You are.

Correct, and what I posted was a quote from wikipedia that had a quote from Truzzi. The purpose was to ask you if you agreed with that article's assessment of skepticism ... rather mundanely on topic imho.

Only a fatuous fool would claim that I was responsible for each and every word in a quote being a pedantically correct statement.

If you are posting messages advocating positions that you are not actually taking then the mind boggles as to how you expect anyone to reasonably respond to anything you say.

Only a gibbering idiot would think that I was advocating that specific and particular wording of a statement in a quoted article that I have already acknowledged needed some correction.

Oh wait ... that's you.

Now let's try again -- see if you can follow the English in the article instead of the delusional voices in your head -- and see if you can cypher out what I am actually advocating (it is a simple concept -- I'll highlight it this time):

Message 17 (my first on this thread):

... and thus in the end you balance open-mindedness with skepticism in varying degrees according to your personal worldview.

(pink color added for emphasis below)

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Skepticism

quote:
Skepticism or scepticism (see spelling differences) is generally any questioning attitude towards knowledge, facts, or opinions/beliefs stated as facts,[1] or doubt regarding claims that are taken for granted elsewhere.[2]

Philosophical skepticism is an overall approach that requires all information to be well supported by evidence.[3] Classical philosophical skepticism derives from the 'Skeptikoi', a school who "asserted nothing".[4] Adherents of Pyrrhonism, for instance, suspend judgment in investigations.[5] Skeptics may even doubt the reliability of their own senses.[6] Religious skepticism, on the other hand is "doubt concerning basic religious principles (such as immortality, providence, and revelation)".[7] Most[who?] scientists are empirical skeptics,[citation needed] who admit the possibility of knowledge based on evidence, but hold that new evidence may always overturn these findings.

A scientific (or empirical) skeptic is one who questions beliefs on the basis of scientific understanding. Most scientists, being scientific skeptics, test the reliability of certain kinds of claims by subjecting them to a systematic investigation using some form of the scientific method.[10] As a result, a number of claims are considered "pseudoscience" if they are found to improperly apply or ignore the fundamental aspects of the scientific method. Scientific skepticism may discard beliefs pertaining to things outside perceivable observation and thus outside the realm of systematic, empirical falsifiability/testability.
Similarly to science where it can be used misleadingly and then becomes pseudoscience, scientific skepticism can also be acted many ways impoliticly if it just looks like skepticism but in fact it is pseudoskepticism.


Now I don't believe anyone wants to return to the issue of pseudoskepticism ... unless you want to flog dead horsemeat () ...

... but one does need to guard against false skepticism (or confirmation biased skepticism).

A quick review for the new readers:

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Pseudoskepticism

quote:
Truzzi characterized "true" skepticism as:[5]

  1. Acceptance of doubt when neither assertion nor denial has been established
  2. No burden of proof to take an agnostic position
  3. Agreement that the corpus of established knowledge must be based on what is proved, but recognising its incompleteness
  4. Even-handedness in requirement for proofs, whatever their implication
  5. Accepting that a failure of a proof in itself proves nothing
  6. Continuing examination of the results of experiments even when flaws are found

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]


Now I would classify Truzzi's characterization as open-minded skepticism, and I would classify false skepticism as being more skeptical of an opponents position than you are of your own.

Thus the quoted article supports my position of open-minded skepticism, one you should be very familiar with from previous discussions.

Then, continuing in Message 32 after your ... response:

What exactly do you mean by "agnostic"...?

Judging from the context of the article ...

quote:
In science, the burden of proof falls upon the claimant; and the more extraordinary a claim, the heavier is the burden of proof demanded. The true skeptic takes an agnostic position, one that says the claim is not proved rather than disproved. He asserts that the claimant has not borne the burden of proof and that science must continue to build its cognitive map of reality without incorporating the extraordinary claim as a new "fact." ...
— Marcello Truzzi, "On Pseudo-Skepticism", Zetetic Scholar, 12/13, pp3-4, 1987[5]

... I would assume that Truzzi means that the claim is not proved rather than disproved ... it could be true and it could be false.

So now -- using this definition -- do you agree with Truzzi's characterization of "true" skepticism (see Message 17):

quote:
  1. Acceptance of doubt when neither assertion nor denial has been established
  2. No burden of proof to take an agnostic position
  3. Agreement that the corpus of established knowledge must be based on what is proved, but recognising its incompleteness
  4. Even-handedness in requirement for proofs, whatever their implication
  5. Accepting that a failure of a proof in itself proves nothing
  6. Continuing examination of the results of experiments even when flaws are found

So now, if we:

  1. use Truzzi's definition of "agnostic" taken from the context of the quoted articles (an elementary part of basic reading comprehension skills), and
  2. alter (3) as I have previously proposed in Message 64:

    Or we could use validated

    3. Agreement that the corpus of established knowledge must be based on what is validated, but recognising its incompleteness.

    Note that this also implies a touch of open-mindedness is necessary.

We can carry this further to replace "proof" with more pedantically appropriate words in other points, and also replace "agnostic" (a word which seems to give you gas) with "unconvinced" ...

Do you AGREE or DISAGREE with this characterization of skepticism?

  1. Acceptance of doubt when neither assertion nor denial has been established
  2. No burden of substantiation to take an unconvinced position
  3. Agreement that the corpus of established knowledge must be based on what is validated, but recognizing its incompleteness
  4. Even-handedness in requirement for validations, whatever their implication
  5. Accepting that a failure of a validation in itself proves nothing
  6. Continuing examination of the results of experiments even when flaws are found

It's a simple question.

Note you only need to respond to this last question to be on topic.

Enjoy

Edited by RAZD, : ..

Edited by RAZD, : ..


we are limited in our ability to understand
by our ability to understand
Rebel American 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 101 by Straggler, posted 02-23-2013 6:01 PM Straggler has responded

Replies to this message:
 Message 103 by Straggler, posted 02-24-2013 12:35 PM RAZD has responded

  
RAZD
Member (Idle past 66 days)
Posts: 20714
From: the other end of the sidewalk
Joined: 03-14-2004


Message 106 of 271 (691705)
02-24-2013 2:09 PM
Reply to: Message 103 by Straggler
02-24-2013 12:35 PM


Re: Gosh Straggler -- still with your pants down.
Lol. I caught you with your pants down. As I have before.

Anyway - I know from past experience that when you start engaging in these relentless and hysterical "you said I said" claims of misrepresentation that it is because the main discussion isn't going how you would like it to.

No, it's actually because you are actually posting false representations of what I actually say.

And the best way to avoid this is for you to use actual quotes of my statements rather than your near-sighted self-delusional interpretations. I've suggested this before when you make an absurd or unrealistic or false statement about my position -- that you back it up with actual quotes -- yet you never do ... apparently you prefer fantasies over reality.

If you use the phrase (or one like it) that "RAZD says ... " then you should either provide an actual quote of that or not say it.

If your own posts submitted by you to support your own position contain arguments whose wording you disagree with then you place yourself in the bizarre situation of misrepresenting yourself.

So I take from this that you stand 100% behind every single word and phrase you have ever quoted on every thread in support of your position ... ROFLOL. That'll be a great example of skepticism in action.

In addition I note that you post your fantasy hypothetical word games to get my response, but you get all squirrelly when I ask you how you react to an actual practical application of an actual quote on the actual topic of skepticism from wikipedia -- one I posted to see where you were drawing your lines in your positions.

How is that not hypocritical?

I am reluctant to respond to anything you haven't written in your own words because it appears to be only a matter of time before you start declaring "I didn't say that, you are misrepresenting me...."

Another cop-out, avoidance, etc etc -- if you use actual quotes you should not have any problem, just don't make up stuff. That's how honest debate is done. And when I quote someone, then you should refer to the quote and the author, and you shouldn't go wrong. That too is how honest debate is done.

Curiously, I actually rephrased Truzzi's list in my words at the end of Message 92, so you can feel free to actually read it this time (and quote it when you actually get around to actually answering):

Do you AGREE or DISAGREE with this characterization of skepticism?

  1. Acceptance of doubt when neither assertion nor denial has been established
  2. No burden of substantiation to take an unconvinced position
  3. Agreement that the corpus of established knowledge must be based on what is validated, but recognizing its incompleteness
  4. Even-handedness in requirement for validations, whatever their implication
  5. Accepting that a failure of a validation in itself proves nothing
  6. Continuing examination of the results of experiments even when flaws are found

It's a simple question.

Note you only need to respond to this last question to be on topic.

You didn't answer the question and you didn't stay on topic, but continued to attack me rather than address the issue. That certainly is not proper skeptical behavior as I understand it, no matter how typical it is for you.

I will only say one thing further in this post - If the form of skepticism and associated method of knowledge acquisition you are advocating ...

Why don't you either actually read what I have already said and respond to that, or if that is not sufficient, then wait and see what I am actually advocating before you start making false prophesies.

Do I need to highlight it for you? Again?

I don't want my children to be brain damaged. So in a very practical sense I do need to be able to decide if such a proposition is realistic and worthy of credence or not. If you tell me that your form of skepticism necessitates me just ignoring possible brain damage to my children then obviously it isn't something I can ever adopt in practise.

Amazing. You can't help yourself from shouting this from your garden, can you.

If you want to reply to Message 92 in your own words ...

I will get to that when you stop wasting my time -- and your thread -- by making false statements about me, stop attacking me personally rather than the argument and deal with the issue.

Start by answering just this simple question and nothing else:

Do you AGREE or DISAGREE with this characterization of skepticism?

  1. Acceptance of doubt when neither assertion nor denial has been established
  2. No burden of substantiation to take an unconvinced position
  3. Agreement that the corpus of established knowledge must be based on what is validated, but recognizing its incompleteness
  4. Even-handedness in requirement for validations, whatever their implication
  5. Accepting that a failure of a validation in itself proves nothing
  6. Continuing examination of the results of experiments even when flaws are found

You can also show good faith by editing Message 92 to take out all references to me or my beliefs and only address the issues of the topic via direct quotes. It should be good practice for you to consider as a way of making future posts: deal with the issues not the people. You just need to ask yourself if you want this thread to be about skepticism or about your delusional\perverted views of my beliefs.

Enjoy.

Edited by RAZD, : ...


we are limited in our ability to understand
by our ability to understand
Rebel American 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 103 by Straggler, posted 02-24-2013 12:35 PM Straggler has responded

Replies to this message:
 Message 107 by Straggler, posted 02-25-2013 4:41 AM RAZD has responded

  
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