Skeptic, general discussion of skepticism with believer
you said it was OK to copy others, so I'm copying Jim and
my skeptic email list. It's true, I probably have more patience
and openness that most skeptics. I feel an honest skeptic would
change their mind if confronted with sufficient evidence. I'm
well aware of criticism of skeptics (I'm in touch with many
of the critics). There is a good overview of them at:
Yes, I would love to switch sides and promote a wonderful
way to find water, or read minds, or heal people. But I serve
truth above all else. I feel I must not believe something because
it would be nicer to believe. I'd love to believe there is
nothing wrong with my body but still get check ups.
Many skeptics have written on humans being selectively blinded.
Survival would seem to favor irrational conclusions. If you see
another creature do something and be harmed, it's safest to just
believe the doing something precipitated action. A real rational
analytical mind would not be very useful to hunter gathers.
In my work, I assumed that a software routine I wrote worked
properly. There was evidence of a crash being caused by my
code. I had a theory how it could be someone else's fault - but
I was eventually forced after doing tests to admit the fault was
my own. My debugging problems at work are a regular living out
of seeing data, formulated hypothesis, collecting more information
and having to be willing to form conclusions independent of my
initial conclusions. In the greater course of life,
I've had to conclude that former friends
were scoundrels, that people I voted for suck, that purchases
and stocks I invest in were bad. If I was unable to change
my mind, I'd be a loser. I feel I must continuously adjust my level
of expectations for quality of proof.
I can't speak for skeptic Jim, but I suspect if someone were
able to offer, "Jim, this data here is the best supporting data
we have for paranormal theory X", rather than wade through
stacks of stuff, he would be open to a closer look.
best wishes, Eric
> ---------- Eric's origin message:
> > David,
> > TT is Therapeutic Touch. More info at:
> > http://www.voicenet.com/~eric/tt
> > I don't think anyone seeks to change their view. Hopefully
> > people seek to challenge their veiw with something that
> > may change it. Leading skeptic, Joe Nickell told me,
> > "I'd rather believe in the paranormal - it would be far
> > more fun and add more hope to life". That's how I feel -
> > I'd love to switch sides. Either way, I want to help
> > spread truth, and even more: help people to learn how
> > to assess their own truth.
> =============== the following is David's answer to my above statement:
> Hi Eric... I really don't know what to make of you above statement...
> particularly since from what I can tell from your emails, you really are
> more open than the others I have talked to about this issue.
> But I do not buy into what you say for the simple reason that "if you would
> love to switch sides" you arlready would have.
> You ARE where you are, because you love that postion most.... if you loved
> the other side most, then you'd be there.... on that side.
> That is a fact.
> So YOU are choosing your position... no one else is choosing it for you....
> AND MOST CERTAINLY THE "FACTS" ARE NOT CHOOSING IT FOR YOU.
> It is just the other way around. Because of your mind set you will only
> see and accept the facts that agree with your current position... basically
> you will screen out and dismiss everything and anything that - as you say
> above - "challenges" that position.
> This analysis may not be accurate about, you, Eric... like I say.... you
> SOUND more open than that.
> But I would almost guarantee that this analysis is very applicable to Jim.
> I am astounded by how much time he spends finding all the reasons not to
> go look at an actual living paranormal .... and to see for himself. The
> only explanation that I can imagine for this is that he really does not
> want to find the evidence... AND UNTIL THAT ATTITUDE OF HIS CHANGES......
> you could stack opportunities to SEE DIFFERENTLY in front of him and he
> would reject and find a way around every one of those opportunities.
> So, Eric... that is the caution to apply to yourself as well (and me to
> apply to myself as well).
> The fact of the matter is that it appears to me that ALL HUMANS are
> selectively focused and selectively blind. The only question s are: to
> what degree are we blinded and about what are we blinded and why are we
> blinded to these particular things?
> Ie: what kind of limited illusion are we identifying with and "believing"
> that this illusion is the real truth.
> That trap does not trap only skeptics..... oh no...... I am seeing all
> sorts of newagers in the same kind of trap. The beliefs that they
> espouse and cling to are quite different than that demonstrated by the
> skeptic....... but the problem is the same.