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Thread: Why I Am Not a Skeptic

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    Why I Am Not a Skeptic

    I know that most men, including those at ease with problems of the greatest complexity, can seldom accept even the simplest and most obvious truth if it be such as would oblige them to admit the falsity of conclusions which they have delighted in explaining to colleagues, which they have proudly taught to others, and which they have woven, thread by thread, into the fabric of their lives." -Tolstoy

    To distill down the essence of this essay, I'm just too damn skeptical to be a skeptic. Skepticism before it eloped with positivism and produced its Siamese twin child Scientism, allowed for a free range on inquiry into an idea, theory or notion sacred of secular. One was skeptical in those days without having to be subject to the rules of Skepticism.

    Free to question with equal vigor the worship of the current scientific paradigm or astrology and Alien abduction. A skeptical minds these and should always be wary of the agents of any doctrinal philosophy in which people have staked their careers and their livelihoods. How open will they be the real discussion? One should be wary of being the victim of isms, be they scientism, atheism, Buddhism and soon.

    My approach to most of these matters is definitely Fortean, I simply do not accept anything based on trust, I am willing to accept all sorts of possibilities that certain phenomenon exists which we cannot explain at present, until such time as they are proven to be either delusions fraud or fitting within a consistent rational paradigm. Actually Buddha taught that one should accept nothing merely because it's held in tradition nor that many other people hold it to be true but that it must meet to major criteria first it must be reasonable rational and logical, secondly in holding such a view we do not set ourselves apart and caused enmity or hatred of others.

    The current skeptical movement unfortunately does not pass the Buddhist caveat. It only appears to be logical but is inconsistent and is not; secondly its adherents are strongly inclined towards condescension, engage in arrogant vilifying attacks on those who do not share their worldview. When they become aedent Athiests They also lack even the remotest self-examination or reflection. One is reminded by the biblical quote remove the log from your own eye before you remove the splinter from mine.

    You see skepticism fails for me to be skeptical by my definition of that word. To be skeptical means to be skeptical of any theory concept or idea which may be accepted not because of the twin facts about the human mind and its ideas. Those twin facts are theories evolve proving adequate at one point may yet be superseded by a deeper understanding at a later point. The other twin is the fact that ideas come from men with egos often confuse their theories with themselves, and can have their reputation careers and livelihood contingent upon defending those.

    Just as the fundamentalist Christian would have you accept Jesus Christ as your Lord and Savior. The skeptic movement would have you except Science as your Lord and Savior. They would explain to in great detail the irrationalities of religious belief, and tell you they have a natural explanation for the world unimpeded the need for supernatural forces, consistent and logical.

    Well that's great, but I'm waiting for them to actually present it to me, because that's not what I see. What I see are a few philosophers in the classic mold of Lord Russell surrounded by a strange montage of people with all sorts of educational backgrounds, racing to defend their paradigm against the infidels. They have even employed a small contingent of stage magicians to assist them in their effort.

    The basic tenets of their belief are as follows, they represent science in defense against irrationalism (religion and belief in the so-called paranormal being irrational)
    No one has ever explained to me how they obtained the mantle of defenders of the faith. As my Irish granny was want to say “who died and who appointed you Ard Ri (High King)in his place.

    So they are self-appointed spokesmen for Science, since the primary spokesman for the group are not scientists per se, Science they speak of, must be something other than the scientific method, and any knowledge derived there from. Somehow it has evolved (how appropriate for Richard Dawkins) from the sum of its parts, myriads of disciplines, countless theories into a concrete unity that that is the sole vessel for the truth.

    The scientific community can differ greatly in regards to the most fundamental questions of physics, far from being a unity that can be pointed to and said this is its doctrine. Scientists are a diverse group who vary widely in world view, theories and are far from unified in opinion. It is gross simplification for anyone to collectivism them and their accumulated knowledge and ideas into some sort of Platonic form called Science. Science is the method, its theories are fluid or it would not be science it would be dogma.

    Perhaps I can overlook the fact that there are competing cosmologies in science, there’s a plasma physics solid-state model of the cosmos and the Big Bang and several others contrary to what I've been told by the skeptics, the Big Bang does not seem to be proven beyond all question. So isn't that interesting to skeptics accept the Big Bang unskeptically even though it's got, as one wag put it more patches for Windows XP with little or no skeptical inquiry.
    Being skeptical I did little investigation into the minority view. The cosmology of the solid-state as a working mathematical model is very consistent and logical leads to less fantastical theories and has produced workable technologies.
    t was a skeptical person I have to say is just as likely to be the case that it is a more accurate model in the Big Bang. Now if this fabricated creature Science (as opposed to the knowledge of the scientific community and its differences) is going to define my view of the world and what's possible, what am I going to believe about its inner consistency? Whose Voice Is Really Science?

    Now remember that's just on the single issue of cosmology there are major splits, and then you have the other major discipline of physics, quantum physics. So if Science and its self appointed priests the skeptic movement ,are to arbitrate what is real for me then they’re going to have to speak for this other discipline as well. Particle physics however does not resemble Classical Physics based on Relativity nor the linear mechanical world view derived from it by materialists..

    This one is strange beyond measure, a palace of the occult. Non locality, entanglement, no time maybe no space either, mind unable to separate from it’s observations and vice versa. You can't just ignore this science like it doesn't exist. One of their major standards for accepting science as the arbitrator of the Real in the publics mind is it has created technologies with the ability to transform the world .This has been argued as proof of the pudding for years. That is really the nexus of its authority over other views. It is also that which has assured the common mans respect for it.

    Quantum physics has succeeded probably like no other scientific theory in producing advanced technologies. One cannot dismiss it like it’s irrelevant to the arguments about what is possible and what is not Claims of the paranormal so despised by Skeptics bare a eerie resemblance to it. Classical Physics cannot be reconciled with relativity and the basic materialist concepts of the macro universe that the Skeptics hold to be Science. Their belief system is grounded in the former model only

    Our Skeptic friends, with their tunnel vision loose credibility as objective voices for Science. Even the simple Christian they look down on knows the rules about scripture, you do not pick and choose, its part of Gods word or it is not. The Scientism of the Skeptics is not even half the truth, dealing not at all, first the problems and questions of cosmology and classical whistling loudly past the graveyard of what Einstein described as “spooky” world of quantum physics.
    So you really represent only one quarter of the potential understanding and knowledge in science, the vast majority of are not practicing scientists nor have a great scientific background. So you can see as a skeptical person why I could never be a Skeptic.

    And that is only one issue list address the other major parts of this problem. The science that is presented by the skeptics follows the old reductionist paradigm. Let us imagine for the sake of argument that paradigm is accurate. Now we know that physics has gone from Aristotelian to Newton to Relativity and the Copenhagen theory of quantum mechanics. So that while each theory was held as the scientific truth ,and had a mathematical model to prove it, at some point it was superseded by a better model which showed it to be wrong and some cases an incomplete understanding and others.

    For me to except your scientism you have to convince me that you have solid evidence that your current reductionist views are not going to be proved false by a new model which is more. coherent and has a better mathematical model, and also produces greater and more complex technologies. Now you're not even addressing the skeleton in the closet of quantum physics and for the most part are dealing with biology and nature like some sort of linear Newtonian building blocks.

    Everything is composed of matter, and of course what is matter, 0h oh here's where the Janus god of science turns his face. From the subatomic realm matter appears not to exist in any solid sense, patterns of energy whirling in vast space with a strange knowledge of what other particles are doing without regard to temporal and spatial differences.
    When these theories first arose and it became apparent it struck Albert Einstein Wolfgang Pauli and others that there may be something to telepathy based not on psychology but on physics. Since then a whole host of men including many Nobel laureates have also entertained the possibility as well. Being scientists and being skeptical they see patterns which are suggestive but make no claims about the ultimate provability or possibility of Psi phenomenon having a physical basis. This is being open-minded and skeptical at the same time.

    Not having read some of these comments and given their credentials of the people who hold them I can weigh them against the people who represent the Skeptical Inquirer CSICOP, and such. Critical thinking tells me that such phenomenon may very well be possible and may have a physical basis. When a den review all the evidence presented by those who support side and their various investigations it becomes obvious to me that there is a very strong case for the existence of these phenomenon and an actual physical theory to explain them.

    The depth of understanding of the cult of Scientism is revealed to me when they discuss religion, particularly mine. In the various atheists political polemics that have been presented by Richard Dawkins and Sam Harris, Christopher Hitchins and several others there is exhibited so many logical inconsistencies and lack of depth of understanding of Religious thought thier argument could only appeal to another member of the atheist choir.
    Of course the bloody history of the monotheistic traditions is brought forward, the argument is made that based on the very notion of a tribal god and his demands for absolute obedience is the inherent cause of the many religious wars and tyrannies.

    I don't think one could argue that wasn't a strong element in facilitating most of those events, but it completely ignores the genocidal wars pogroms, and such have been generated throughout history by traditions with no ties to Jesus, Moses or the Prophet Mohamed. In the 20th century it has been atheist and dialectical materialist such as Mao of China Pol Pot of Cambodia and Joseph Stalin who have acted in a similar manner towards their own population and others without any kind of theological basis for their actions.

    When humankind was purely tribal, each with its own religious mythology, war was about land and resources. The Celts did not try to make Druids out of Norseman, nor did Goths have Odinistic missionaries to other cultures. Once can argue monotheistic Religions facilitate excuses for War but history shows us plenty of example of non theistic War. Anyone with common sense can see their ethnicity and nationalism and economic interests easily trumps religion as the primary cause of war. This is not to say that those traditions did not have their moments but you can did cannot divorce the actions or religion for the politics of the time and the cultures they existed iin.

    As a person with a Zen background we are in the middle of crossfire between the fundamentalist faithful, versus the atheist Army of Dawkins, Hitchins, Sam Harris at all. References sometime is made to us they are evidently several Skeptics dabble in Buddhism and Zen among them Mr. Harris and skeptical apologists and sometimes psychologist Susan Blakemore.

    Atheist polemicist Sam Harris has been kind enough given us Zen types advice “not to let our experiences propose a metaphysic, and that we should be aware of being victims of Buddhism.” Thank you very much Mr. Harris in the 2500 years of Buddhism no one has ever addressed that before. Now of course I'm being sarcastic. One of my first and teachers used to always say in practice makes you better keep practicing it makes you worse stop. Don't be a victim of Buddhism, you make Buddhism you make atheist and these are all concepts of your mind.
    I have yet to meet a reductionist that had any sort of even superficial understanding of the Zen tradition Sorry, fellows if you want to dabble with forms of meditation and the popular misunderstandings of Zen Buddhism go right ahead.

    However Zen Buddhism cannot be separated from the eightfold path, and the eightfold path has contained within it right views. You cannot have right views without understanding the doctrine of interdependent origination. Interdependent origination excludes reductionism and materialism as illusory concepts based on epistemological errors and bad ontology.

    Zen actually comes out with a skeptical tradition of Nagarjuna a first century Buddhist philosopher, who provides a perfect example in his doctrine of emptiness of what reality should be given interdependent origination. The greatest thing about my tradition is I don't even have to believe in it I'm really must take into account what it says and reflect upon it

    For the entire worldview of scientism/Skepticism to survive a natural explanation of everything, consciousness must be contingent upon the material structure which produces it. We come to the science of the brain and neuroscience and the claims that are made that they have gained such knowledge of the process that their view that mind is merely a function within brain and cannot exist outside of it must be accepted as a logical given the evidence.

    So far and so far neuroscience has produced little or no insights that are translated into any kind of technology. Pharmacology or mental illness is extremely crude. A case if you were to look on the labels of most antidepressants they will tell you they don’t really know why they work. The fact that you can isolate certain parts of the brain in regards to certain functions is not very impressive either. The argument that follows that because of this mind is nothing more than the brain is extremely weak.

    To paraphrase the late a physicist David Boehm I can certainly manipulate every part of my television set control the horizontal and vertical the color the sound that however does not mean that no one is broadcasting. There is a large body of evidence suggesting mind is not localized in the brain. Much of this phenomenon bears an eerie resemblance to quantum physics. I suspect there is a connection there, as a skeptic I don't automatically accepted nor do I reject. For this seems skeptical mind has to essentially disregard any arguments coming from the organized skeptical movement, because as I have said before their entire worldview is contingent upon crushing anything that would suggest the paranormal.

    The Skeptics are irrelevant in regard to critical thinking or objective examination of any phenomenon not explained easily by the current paradigm.. Skeptics is a Business founded by a college professor, Paul Kurtz it makes it ’s living producing only one product, polemics attacks on non mainstream ideas Iit one mans hobby and obsession turned into a Publishing Company Prometheus press world renown he and many of his colleagues get from it that could never get in their filed otherwise. It is infused with an almost cult like dismissal for non believers. Skepticsm ahs turned into a nice industry for fellows like Martin Gardner,Kurts and Shermer .the likelihood of any of these individuals offering an unpainted analysis of religion or paranormal would be astronomicaly large. They are purveyors of a product just like Exxon sales of oil and Philip Morris sells cigarettes. The followers of these organizations,The vast majority of which are middle aged and geriatric European males, have a very deep religious feeling for this abstraction they call science. in the most alluring aspect of skepticism is that It immediately promotes the skeptic into the elite of intelligentsia. Therefore a stage magician such as the Amazing Randi with no scientific credentials can lecture and ridicule a perfectly qualified scientist who simply thinks outside the current paradigm.

    Most of the members of the Skeptic movement are laypeople there are a few practicing scientists involved. All cults must provide for the membership a feeling of the longing to something special something that sets them apart from others. It must also have claim to a complete and eternal unchanging truths that cannot be approached by any other Ave. but the cults. I think it would be a safe estimate to believe that there are a million skeptical individuals for every member of the skeptic cult, whose worldview is extremely similar. The difference is they do not need the affirmation of other cult members to fulfill their lives, nor the psychological need to ridicule, and denigrate others who do not believe the same.

    The skeptics see themselves as exorcists, exorcising irrational beliefs from the public. like good priests they are not afraid to apply a little pain in the form of humiliation ridicule and contempt to the possessed. Like most cults they are entirely dedicated to their beliefs the point where any sort of self reflection is not only impossible but threatening as well. Of course self reflection would require an inner life. For a person who believes the human mind is a big can of by bio electrical soup, why open that can something might leak out, or worse in. Perhaps one of the most amusing and revealing examples of this is their complete inability to self reflect. As Philosopher Henri Poincare said“

    Doubt everything or believe everything: these are two equally convenient strategies. With either we dispense with the need for reflection."

    Although they criticize anything outside of the current scientific paradigm as irrational or foolish, they claim for themselves the ability to be objective investigators and obvious absurdity which somehow sails past them. The following is a quote by Kendrick Frazier and editor for the Skeptical Inquirer and a CSICOP fellow, concerning the Journal for Scientific Exploration which is composed of a group of scientists not laypeople who examine the paranormal.

    “The JSE, while presented as neutral and objective, appears to hold a hidden agenda. . Most of the prominent and active members are strong believers in the reality of such phenomena”

    Now this from a member of an organizations which is as radically biased as any group in the world toward their belief system. The very purpose and its founding was the brainchild materialist philosopher Paul Kurtz and his followers to stem the tide of what they saw as the public is abandoning its faith in logic and science in favor of what they call a "new irrationality." The term the chose for their selves was CSICOP.

    All members of this group I have ever met and in all the literature I have ever read confirm for me they believe that anything paranormal is a priori impossible. Now skeptics are qualified to study something objectively that they are convinced beforehand can not exist,. Is that because they are more open minded, than par researchers not according to another CSICOP fellow Dr David marks in his book The Psychology of the Psychic (2000) he states my subjective estimate of the reality of various "paranormal" phenomena as “infinitesimally low” (p. 306).

    Amusingly enough for so-called ultra critical thinkers they don’t see the inconsistency in holding that opinion and claiming to be objective investigators. Inconsistency is something they don’t seem to have a problem with. But me give you two instances both involve the brain and their reductionist paradigm that mind is nothing more than a functioning of the brain. First implicit in all their arguments against things they consider irrational or paranormal is their current worldview which is based upon classical physics and only one cosmolgy. If someone has a belief in something that cannot be explained by that model, it is therefore not possible, the obvious implication is that the model is final and exhaustive. The model to borrow a phrase from Islam about the Prophet Mohammed’s role in Revelation. The Current Paradigm is the Seal of the Prophets. No further revelations coming.

    Now the problem with that is at the same people are all neo Darwinists to a man or woman they hold the brain and man is a matter of evolution based on natural selection. No one puts forward the idea that evolution stops at some point. If that is the case then it logically follows that our cognitive process our ability to understand the world is contingent upon the development of our brain. We would only be able to understand that which our brain had evolved enough to conceive of.

    It would then naturally follow that any theories we had about the world of the universe will be limited to the state of evolution we are in a that time, knowledge would always be progressive according to that evolution. Homo Erectus Brain could not understand Newton. In fact some in this skeptic movement do not hold that primates have language because of the evolution of their brains and its structure prohibit it. From my perspective the very fact we can conceive of such counterintuitive thoughts as ,curving space, non locality and entanglement speak to me of evolution.. How then could the current scientific theories be either final or exhaustive. If the physical model is true then they cannot be, it demands constantly evolving paradigms with a constantly evolving brain.

    The resistance comes up because In human secularism man is God. They are still operating in the image of the relationship of man to creature that is In the Old Testament.
    Our dominion is not of God’s will but of the transcendental quality of our intellect. Over other that of other animals. They hold the same Judeo Christian belief of absolute other man and animal at the deepest level of their unreflective minds.

    . It is quite ironic that the disciplines that people such as Richard Dawkins, consider pseudoscience and have such contempt for such as mythology, analytical psychology are the very tools which can help one understand the force of those nonlogical unconscious archetypes that shapes our thoughts regardless of how free we think we are of them.

    Professor Dawkins is now taking upon himself to be the point man for evangelical atheism. The problem with the role his he is simply not prepared to do it. It’s a fascinating saying that skeptic true believers believe somehow they can critique other disciplines with having little or no knowledge of them. For someone who has spent his entire life studying man, religion, myth, and the complexities of culture and the dynamics of the interplay between the conscious mind and the unconscious, Dawkins insights run as deep as Los Angeles River in August.
    if you look for the father of the gods you look for dreams, and dreams always manifest both the belief system of the dreamer and that belief systems friction with the psyches human needs, and they are usually in conflict.

    The fact that religion based on ethnicity have passed on in the form of social organizations as organized religions, does not mean he of really pass at all likewise even a super rationalist like Dr. Dawkins has his religious past waiting patiently for a new form. Jung said in a letter written by Professor Jung to Miguel Serrano on September 14, 1960

    "...When, for instance, the belief in the God Wotan vanished and nobody thought of him anymore, the phenomenon originally called Wotan remained; nothing changed but his name, as National Socialism has demonstrated on a grand scale. A collective movement consists of millions of individuals, each of whom shows the symptoms of Wotanism and proves thereby that Wotan in reality never died, but has retained his original vitality and autonomy. Our consciousness only imagines that it has lost its Gods; in reality they are still there and it only needs a certain general condition in order to bring them back in full force."

    One could say that skepticism as a business and philosophy is morphing into the old molds of religion, including the dogma, the inquisitions, and the theological elitism that denies even its enemies the soul, but in this case it’s called an intellect.

    On an intellectual level the emotional comfort of the elitism of man found in monotheism has transferred over into scientism as well. The difference is now it is man intellect that makes him transcendent to nature though part of it, in monotheism it is Gods will to give man dominion that makes him master. The concept carries with it a corollary attitude.
    In an essay on Nietzsche by HL Mencken, the Barbed Bard of Baltimore, mentioned David Strauss a 19th-century preacher turned popular philosopher and agnostic.

    Mencken writes that” for all his smug and agnosticism the result was that his disciples were self satisfied bigoted and prejudiced as agnostics as they had been before as Christian’s”
    In a Materialists echo of the first verse of the Koran, There is no God but Allah and Mohammed is his Prophet. there is no God but man’s intellect and the atheist is his prophet.. In deed there is something decidedly religious about today’s proselytizing atheist and professional skeptics. A case in point is Michael Shermer the chief public spoken for the Skeptic Movement

    Shermer wrote, "I became a skeptic on Saturday, August 6, 1983, on the long climbing road to Loveland Pass, Colorado
    "He spent years of practicing acupuncture, chiropractic and massage therapy, negative ions, rolfing, pyramid power, fundamentalist Christianity,

    Michael Shermer had an epiphany like St. Paul's at Tarsus in the Colorado Mountains changing from Christian to skeptic. He met Jesus on the road and killed him so to speak.
    He is a natural for the Church of Skepticism as Erich Hoeffer wrote
    "A rising mass movement attracts and holds a following not by its doctrines and promises but by the refuge it offers from the anxieties, barrenness and meaninglessness of an individual existence." The less control people feel they have over their lives, the more attractive the message of mass movements will be.”

    Atheists and reductionist with a cause, oxymoronic as it is it is evangelical atheism. However one should have seen it coming for as that workingman’s philosopher Erich Hoeffer wrote in his classic The True Believer,
    "Every mass movement", "shapes itself after its own specific demon."

    So there It is I’m simply too skeptical to be a skeptic and not religious enough to be a new age Atheist.., the so called the self-anointed Brights. Unfortunately the Logic of these “Brights” seems to flicker a lot. I will have to light my way with the small candle of my intellect And the flame of Buddha’s teaching, even though the candle may be small it is constant .for the flame of Dharma has not gone out in 2500 years.
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    Science= something that you can prove by demonstration over and over again in experiment. i.e. I say the sun is yellow you can go out and look at it any time and scientifically determine it to be so.

    Skeptics simply do not trust other people. You tell me that you were abducted by a UFO but have no proof of it. I remain skeptic. Neither believing nor disbelieving until I have further evidence.

    I think you are confusing a lack of faith in a religion with being the same as a skeptic. I guess in some ways hold, but generally religions are provable or disprovable on a lot of their grounds.

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