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A great response to my article

Discuss conspiracies, mysteries and paranormal phenomena.

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A great response to my article

Postby Winston » Thu Jan 17, 2008 5:24 pm

Dear Winston,

Your article "debunking pseudo-skeptical arguments on paranormal debunkers" is a must read to any person who seeks to understand the nature of pseudoskepticism. I grasped the basic ideological foundation of pseudoskepticism when you wrote: "Eventually, I realized that their skepticism was not about an open inquiry for truth, but rather a philosophy they used to manipulate data to fit their beliefs". This is the essence of pseudoskepticism and the basic truth that any person should know about it.

This fact was also explained in the parapsychologist George Hansen's book Tricksterbook and the Paranormal. Hansen documented the influence of atheism in the debunking movement:
http://www.tricksterbook.com/ArticlesOn ... erview.htm

Also, I read Paul Sandoval's "rebuttal" of your article, and I think Sandoval's response is a superb example on how to use ad logicam fallacy (or fallacist's fallacy http://www.fallacyfiles.org/fallfall.html) to win arguments. He creates a straw man and then tries to spot logical fallacies in your reasoning and arguments, but he doesn't refute them. As you wrote, pseudoskeptics use philosophical semantics to win arguments. They try to impress the readers using pompous language and erudite pseudological terms, instead of using sound reasoning and facts to rebut and refute arguments.

Your comments on pseudoskeptic's argument on alternative medicine is very good. Pseudoskeptics love to debunk alternative health methods and use anecdotal evidence to "prove" the inefficacy of these methods, but don't say nothing about the thousand of deaths per year caused by conventional medicine:
http://www.noblindmen.com/Is%20US%20Hea ... 20Best.htm

In fact, some pseudoskeptics like quackbuster Stephen Barrett are uncritical apologists and propagandists of conventional treatments. Fortunately, these quackbusters have been exposed as liars in U.S. courts and their ties with FDA, AMA, etc. were unmasked:

http://www.canlyme.com/quackwatch.html
http://www.bolenreport.net/feature_arti ... cle060.htm
http://www.humanticsfoundation.com/barr ... enthal.htm
http://www.quackpotwatch.org/
http://www.chiro.org/LINKS/QUACKWATCHERS.shtml
http://www.healthfreedomlaw.com/

Your article was the first on-line resource to expose the fallacies, motivation, agenda and dishonesty of pseudoskeptics. Currently (and maybe inspired by your article) other people are doing their job to unmask and document the dishonest tactics of peudoskeptics on specific cases:
http://paginas.terra.com.br/educacao/cr ... ticism.htm

Kind regards
Jessica
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Postby DiscoPro_Joe » Fri Mar 14, 2008 2:45 am

Interesting series, Winston. I read through the first several sections yesterday, and highly respect the way you present the arguments. I'll browse more of it when I have the time.

I was raised in a traditional Catholic setting, and discovered humanism as my niche at age 15. (At 20, I found out what it was called.) Today I still consider myself one.

But what has really turned me off regarding some of my fellow atheists & agnostics is the highly-negative reaction I received from many of them when discovering natural health and the organic lifestyle two years ago, after reading Kevin Trudeau's Natural Cures book. I wrote a long article about it on my MySpace blog in June 2006, entitled, "Your Health is your Ultimate Freedom."

Some of them (and this one guy in particular) scorned me like I was a leper. And when berating my article, virtually all of their arguments were based upon theories, axioms, straw-man refutations, and ad hominem (especially against Trudeau). They always pointed out webpages from Skepdic, CSICOP, Quackwatch, etc. My presentation, on the other hand, is about 15% theory and 85% practice. I primarily say, "Here's what I've tried, and these are the results."

Not all of them are close-minded about it, though. At this last Winter Solstice party I attended, many of them (primarily women) asked me about what I'm doing to look and feel so great, and were very receptive. As for the few who previously berated me, they either semi-ignored me, or seemed to pretend as if I hadn't changed at all physically -- even after nearly two years of my living this way. I guess their little "theorems" must be more important to them than physical reality.

So when reading the first few sections of your pseudo-skeptical pages that expose their tactics, I found myself nodding my head constantly -- as it gave me flashbacks to two years ago about the negative reception from several of those guys. My experience also has caused me to lose some respect for publications such as Skepdic, CSICOP, etc. While some of their material is very good, I absolutely cannot give point-blank credence to organizations that seem to imply that my very own lifestyle is a bunch of B.S.

So deep-down emotionally, I've felt a bit of a repulsiveness toward those publications.

Well, that's all from me for now. I'm looking forward to checking out more of your stuff on these subjects!
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Postby Winston » Fri Mar 14, 2008 7:02 am

Wow Joe, excellent points and observations. I had no idea you were so well rounded. I wish we could hang out in person, we'd have many great deep conversations.

I've sent your reply above to my paranormal list, hope you don't mind.

Naturopathic medicine, holistic health, and herbal treatments are still a gray area. There are cases that support both sides. On the one hand, it is true that there are many whose affliction could not be helped by doctors and pharmaceutical drugs but then they were suddenly cured by natural remedies. But on the other, some who have stopped taking their prescribed meds and went totally naturopathic have lost their lives as well.

Holistic remedies are also one of those things that works for some people, but not for everyone.
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Postby DiscoPro_Joe » Sat Mar 15, 2008 12:41 am

Sure! Maybe sometime we could chat on the phone. And yes, feel free to post my reply elsewhere.

With regard to those who died from ceasing their consumption of prescribed meds, my assumption is that they didn't consult a certified healthcare practitioner about it beforehand. Most likely, a naturopathic professional would recommend that they first make changes in their lifestyle and eating habits (preferably transitioning into an organic one). Then as their health improves, they could gradually taper off their usage of the drugs over the course of many months (or years). Eventually, they might become so healthy that they won't need the drugs anymore. That's my guess, at least.

As mentioned in my article, pharmaceutical drugs are very important for emergencies. (If one must choose between losing his life or a limb, versus taking drugs, then the drugs are the better option.) They're also essential during LASIK surgery and a vasectomy, which I've had. But many people seem to use them as a permanent crutch, or as a relief from minor illnesses, which is usually not the best choice.
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