Saturday, February 3, 2007

Skepticism vs. All The Other Kinds of Skeptoism

Hey, that’s it! Maybe. ‘Skepto’ to denote the rabid, pathological, fundie,mondo, irrational skepticism, and to separate it from normal, everyday, “real” skepticism.

While we do have skepti-bunkies, skeptoid, etc. that seems to offend those that wear those shoes (tough) and confuse some others.

I like Colin Bennett’s chronic and cultural skepticism terms, but that may be too esoteric.

Whatever term you use, and I’ll probably keep on using various forms of rabid-pathological-fundie myself, the point is: there is skepticism, and then there’s something else entirely hiding behind the goodly term of skepticism.

When it comes to UFOs, it’s not that I’m skeptical. As I’ve asked in the past, skeptical of what, exactly? That UFOs exist? Of course I’m not skeptical. That’d be stupid.

It’s illogical, and, well, pathological to hold yourself up proudly as a “skeptic’” and state that you “don’t believe UFOs exist.”

UFOs exist. People see them all the time. Whatever in the world is there to dispute, dahlings?

Personal interpretations of what those UFOs are, now, that’s a different matter. And stating, as fact, that they’re aliens from Mars, is not one bit skeptical. To be skeptical that UFOs are from other planets is a good and true thing.

This doesn't mean, however, that they couldn’t be from Mars. It’s possible. And in my opinion, it’s very likely they are. Or from somewhere. I suspect they are, and that’s my opinion. It’s not a fact, for no one knows. (Well, possibly “they” know, you know, “them” -- but they’re not telling.)

I’m very skeptical alien abductions are: A) carried out by aliens, and B) literal abduction events. I’m also equally skeptical alien abductions are merely road weariness or product of a sleep disorder.

As much as I respect and admire Stanton Friedman, and I do, I am skeptical of the veracity of MJ-12. I think he has been the ongoing target of a disinformation campaign, but I could be wrong. I hope I am. But the history of the source, or his leads, and of UFO disinfo itself, causes me to be skeptical.

Surprising as it may be to the anti-UFO “skeptic” there are skeptics within genuine UFOlogy as well. I remember many years ago, when I was involved in a local UFO study group. I voiced my opinion on abductions; how I think much of that is staged “MILAB’ stuff. I was almost run out of town on a rail. One person told me he didn’t want to be around me; he couldn’t bring himself to associate with someone like me who was “that paranoid.”

At a local UFO conference once, I was disinvited to speak, because I was too “negative.” My message? Beware the messenger. Too “negative” and they wanted to keep things upbeat. Christ, you would have thought I was talking about the Reptilian Overlords and vats of human body parts in Dulce from the way the conference facilitator carried on.

Anyway, I could go on and on, and I will at some point. Meantime, just know that there are those out there who are no mere skeptics, but a completely different breed altogether, wit no only a bias, but an agenda. There are levels and varieties to these types of course, from the hapless dupes who gladly grab onto the latest meme of anti-UFOism, to the intentional disinformation agents who put the latest anti-UFO meme out there for the dupes to pick up, gossip over, and pass along. There are the debunkers, and the pathological, the rabid, the irrational rationalists. There are the ones with the big egos who pride themselves on being educated and intelligent -- as they never fail to tell the rest of us , implying that many of us are not -- and carve out a niche for themselves as skeptics. Finally -- and this is based on my personal experience and observation -- those who are given to sarcasm and sneering ‘tudes, just for its own sake , seem to gravitate to the rabid skeptic side.

There are also those who I find particularly intriguing, though at the same time unctuous and nauseating, and that’s the mega-rabid anti-UFOist. So obsessed they are! They despise UFos, UFOlogy, UFO experiencers, UFO witnesses, UFO researchers, UFO “enthusiasts” so much, they write virtually daily on UFOlogy, and why it’s bad, evil, silly, stupid, dangerous, sad, pathetic, a waste of time. Why, they even lie at times! I know, it’s positively astonishing, isn’t it?

Well, I kind of went off there on a tangent, but nothing new there. Aside from my own brilliant insights into skepticism, there have been some very good entries on the topic by other bloggers as well lately. Greg Bishop, on UFO Mystic, and
Dustin of Odd Things.
Dustin mentions Mac Tonnies; with a link to Wikipedia on Tonnies’ essay on Skepticism. Nick Redfern has also written something recently on UFO whistle blowers, and the need for skepticism.

One thing I’ve noticed about “skeptics” and UFO people -- and of course this is a generalization, based on nothing but observation - but it seems that the anti type of skeptic isn’t questioning. Unless, of course, they’re calling into question one’s sanity, character, and innate state of truthfulness. Compare that to the questioning of the UFO witness, or researcher. Most of us are doing nothing but questioning. The “true ‘bleevers” aside, most of us question quite a lot, while the fundie/rabid/pathological etc. “skeptic” does not. They believe there is nothing to question. They’re far from any honest, open “inquiry” they’re about denial, derision, and even a sort of cultural cleansing. Rid the world of “woo” -- in this case, flying saucer woo -- and let the questioning end, seems to be the goal.


Idoubtit said...

I completely agree with your assessment that the real question is "What are UFOs?". It also applies to the situation where people say they have seen an unknown animal or ghost. Something has happened to them. But, if we try to find out what, they may be disappointed if we say it likely has a mundane explanation when they really wanted it to be a special (paranormal) event. Then they don't believe it.

The true approach should be one of allowing the evidence to dictate the explanation. Science means making every effort to remove the subjective view to only allow an objective view. That kind of eliminates personal (emotional) anecdotes as evidence. Without that, a lot of paranormal foundation disappears and we are left with little to study and judge as evidence.

I hope I am practicing a skepticism that is objective and fair. If you want more on my views, see my blog. I do have a post regarding "blobjects" as evidence that touches on these above points as well as blurfos, blobsquatches, etc. It is here.

Don't let the name fool you. I may be doubtful, but I don't debunk. And I'm certainly not rabid about it (except maybe about Sylvia Browne...)

Dustin said...

Nicely said! There certainly are two kinds of skeptics, and I think classifying each of them separately is the only way to move forward without having this discussion ad nauseum forever.

It is funny how many people are discussing it recently. I was planning on blogging about it when I saw your previous post and that got me going. I had no idea about Greg and Nick's posts at the time. Then just today I saw a similar post on "The Paranormal Blog" as well. Synchronicity and all, I guess.

Some people just prefer to bury their heads in the sand and pretend nothing outside of their comfort zone is really happening out there.

One small item of correction, Tonnies' essay isn't on Wikipedia, it's on the "Leaves of Wisdom" which is a wiki-based resource that we put together(and are constantly updating with interesting info) at Book of THoTH.

R. Lee said...

Thanks for the comments. I couldn't access your blog; blogspot told me it wasn't available. A glitch or?

R. Lee said...

Thanks Dustin! And thanks for the clarification on Tonnies.

Annalisa Ventola said...

Skeptoism? Love it. There's the skeptics, and then there's the skeptoids. Ha!

Alfred Lehmberg said...

I felt "klasskurtxian" had the right look and sound and incorporating the names of bull-moose loonies an _added_ draw.
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