Monday, January 29, 2007

Too Busy for Myself

Comment from
Rick over on TDG about my anti-skeptic piece on American Chronicle:

(Jesus in a Saucer)
American Chronicle's R. Lee discusses the new meme of skeptics to discredit the UFO phenomenon; label it as a religion. Look out, R. Lee, I bet they have a voodoo doll in your likeness.

LOL. As I told him, that explains all these mysterious aches and pains I’ve been having!

I forgot to mention, in my writing recap, my blog entry over on
The Daily Grail; it’s a response piece to Michael Prescott’s excellent piece on fanatical, bullying skeptic tactics:

More insights into pathological skepticism, or “chronic, cultural” skepticism, to use Colin Bennett’s terms. (See Bennett’s article Scepticism as Mystique, December UFO magazine, December 2006.)

This is from author Michael Prescott’s blog and his recent article
Bully for skepticism!

“Item: After the publishing house Macmillan announces acquisition of Immanuel Velikovsky's book Worlds in Collision, which makes unorthodox claims about the origins and history of the solar system, famed astronomer Harlow Shapley lobbies the publisher to prevent the book's publication. He fails. According to philosopher David Stove, Shapley then arranges for "denunciations of the book, still before its appearance, by an astronomer, a geologist, and an archaeologist," none of whom have read it. Other reviews by "professors who boasted of never having read the book" follow, and Velikovsky is "rigorously excluded from access to learned journals for his replies." The anti-Velikovsky forces then compel the firing of the long-time Macmillan senior editor who bought the book, even though it has become a bestseller. They also get the Hayden Planetarium's director fired "because he proposed to take Velikovsky seriously enough to mount a display about the theory." Under intense and continuing pressure, Macmillan eventually transfers the book to rival Doubleday, "which, as it has no textbook division, is not susceptible to professorial blackmail."

As the above shows, the tactics of these chronic skeptics are unethical, though sadly typical. Why the Pelicanists, etc. seem to prefer to behave like Bette Davis on her best flamboyant drama queen melodrama days is an intriguing sociological question to ponder.

I’ve given up on the pondering part long ago; I’ll leave that to others who study the sociology of scientism. Still, I enjoy, and believe it’s a worthy act, to point out the actions that range from amusing to outrageous, of the “skeptoids.”

No matter how many times those of us who point out these behaviors and tactics state that it is the actions, not mere skepticism itself, that is the issue, it falls on deaf ears. Prescott writes:

“I’m not endorsing the validity of all the unconventional theories mentioned above. In particular, I think Velikosky and Reich are unlikely to have been correct. All that interests me, in citing these instances (and there are many others that could be added to the list), is this question: What are the powers of establishment science so afraid of? Why would people who are genuinely confident that they have reason on their side resort to character assassination, ostracism, threats, and even police action to enforce their opinions?

In other words, why do the self-styled defenders of reason, science, progress, and civilization so often act like bullies and thugs?

Excellent questions.

Irrational rationalists also resort to hyperbole and thin skinned, over the top silliness, as in comparing being called a “thug,” or a “skeptoid” to being called a racial or ethnic slur, as I wrote this September (The Usual Purple Tinged Hyperbole About UFOs

Rabid skepticism abhors the UFO-abduction phenomena of course, and doesn’t hold back when it comes to television. I found an interesting post at UFO Updates from 2001. Posted by John Velez, it discusses the PBS NOVA program on UFOs and abductions as written about by Terry Hansen in his excellent book, The Missing Times.

There are endless examples of course: The Amazing Randi and his on-going battles with Uri Geller, the sTarbaby scandal, Phillip Klass, etc.

Thuggish and dishonest tactics, as well as disingenuousness, have always been a part of scientism in general (they are scientism) as well as UFOlogy. No doubt much of it is intentional disinformation, the rest, picked up by the individual rabid skeptic, and, unaware he/she is being used, happily passes along such behaviors.

While this campaign of disinformation and witless acceptance by unsuspecting individuals can be said of many a UFOlogist, that’s another article for another day.


Dustin said...

Nice post Regan. I hope you don't mind that I used ranted a bit about skeptics and debunkers and believers on my blog today and used this link as an intro.

R. Lee said...

Thank you Dustin.

Heck, I don't mind! lol. I love it; I'm shameless for that kind of stuff. Good minds think alike and all, you know?