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  Reply # 505396 12-Aug-2011 11:15
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UnrealWarCheek: On the sub topic of quotes...

"For those who believe, no proof is necessary. For those who don't believe, no proof is possible." - This quote by Stuart Chase is one of my favourite.

L. 


That quote works for me to a point. But I think the "no proof is possible" thing is a bit rough on people who employ critical thinking.

Being skeptical isn't about just contrary and cynical - the point of skepticism is to open to considering new ideas and updating beliefs and theories, being open minded.




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  Reply # 505404 12-Aug-2011 11:38
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Ultimately then the issue is about the quantum of reality.
But whose reality. Whose perception?

We don't all share the same physical location, learning, or indeed interpretation of what we hear and see about us. On that premise, how therefore can we be expected to share a common understanding of a written document or indeed anothers interpretation of a lecture, a meeting, a miracle?

When space scientists are awed and humbled by the insignificance of our reality, because they finally get to see it, is that a time to question why they're involved in a science (or process) they perhaps have never clearly understood? Or should we celebrate the clarity it should give them in their task?

No god or image or individual can change the reality that is about us all, but such gods and images and individuals may challenge how we perceive it. Often our perceptions are wrong and perhaps that simplicity is the inherent mechanism we rely on to validate, and re-validate, our own reality on a continual daily basis.


 
 
 
 




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  Reply # 505409 12-Aug-2011 11:43
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"From the viewpoint of a Jesuit priest I am, of course, and have always been an atheist.... I have repeatedly said that in my opinion the idea of a personal God is a childlike one. You may call me an agnostic, but I do not share the crusading spirit of the professional atheist whose fervor is mostly due to a painful act of liberation from the fetters of religious indoctrination received in youth. I prefer an attitude of humility corresponding to the weakness of our intellectual understanding of nature and of our being."

- Albert Einstein

http://scienceray.com/philosophy-of-science/science-and-religion-did-einstein-believe-in-god/

Einstein's quote on curiosity:

"The important thing is not to stop questioning. Curiosity has its own reason for existing. One cannot help but be in awe when he contemplates the mysteries of eternity, of life, of the marvelous structure of reality. It is enough if one tries merely to comprehend a little of this mystery every day. Never lose a holy curiosity."

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  Reply # 505416 12-Aug-2011 11:50
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BurningBeard:
Being skeptical isn't about just contrary and cynical - the point of skepticism is to open to considering new ideas and updating beliefs and theories, being open minded.


That's quite refreshing to hear. My sister is a member of the New Zealand Skeptics Association, and to be honest (and probably uninformed), they come across as closed minded skeptics. Well that's the impression I get from talking with her on various topics, if you don't agree with us then your some how mentally deficient.   

L.

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  Reply # 505465 12-Aug-2011 12:42
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UnrealWarCheek:That's quite refreshing to hear. My sister is a member of the New Zealand Skeptics Association, and to be honest (and probably uninformed), they come across as closed minded skeptics. Well that's the impression I get from talking with her on various topics, if you don't agree with us then your some how mentally deficient.


They can come across like that.

One of my favourite scientists to listen to, Phil Plait, did a speech on this, entitled, "Don't be a dick."

He makes some great points that I'm sure you'll find heart warming.

You'll find most skeptics are more open-minded than your average believer. 

Some skeptics (and yes, I can be guilty of this sometimes) forget that some things that are obvious to a more critical thinker or a less credulous person are not so obvious to some people.

I hung around at the Sensing Murder forums for about a year and it was really interesting. I was one of the resident skeptcs, but I'm also an ex-believer in such abilities. I was able to empathyse with them because I once held the same viewpoints. I even made friends.

But one thing's for sure. You cannot argue or debate with a true believer* and expect to get anywhere. There's some fence sitters out there who, once they learned the tricks that TV and show psychics use, became more skeptical. To a dyed-in-the-wool beiever, this stuff is their main interest and skews their whole world view. They tend to get sucked into buying all sorts of garbage, fork out big money on (and sometimes get addicted to) psychic mediums, stupid books like "The Secret", dowsing, homeopathy... the whole lot. They're victims to a certain extent, and being aggressive or confrontational with them is an attack on their whole self.

Some skeptics get aggro with true believers because they's just no middle ground. You end up in a stalemate situation and it's just two people banging their heads against a brick wall.

*The term "true believer" was invented by a psychic huckster who conned people out of millions of dollars. He called them that because even after he admitted the hoax, he still had faithful followers. Same in the UFO camp. A case gets thoroughly debunked, yet people still cling to it. Sometimes even becoming more steadfast in their belief - If the info comes from any person of authority, then they're "in on it." 




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  Reply # 505469 12-Aug-2011 12:46
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oxnsox: No god or image or individual can change the reality that is about us all, but such gods and images and individuals may challenge how we perceive it. Often our perceptions are wrong and perhaps that simplicity is the inherent mechanism we rely on to validate, and re-validate, our own reality on a continual daily basis.


The beauty of science is it's a collaborative effort to establish facts and truth. It's a constant updating and testing of what is. People win Nobel prizes for attempting to disprove established theories and failing!  

But yeah, our individual perceptions can be wrong, or just different from each other. You and I both know what "Red" is, but neither of us can actually ever know what it looks like to us in our heads, once our very complicated optical setup forms an image in our mind.




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Reply # 505471 12-Aug-2011 12:55
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BurningBeard: Some skeptics get aggro with true believers because they's just no middle ground. You end up in a stalemate situation and it's just two people banging their heads against a brick wall.

A true skeptic and a true believer would never agree on the composition of said wall 

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  Reply # 505612 12-Aug-2011 15:43
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cgrew:
"From the viewpoint of a Jesuit priest I am, of course, and have always been an atheist.... I have repeatedly said that in my opinion the idea of a personal God is a childlike one. You may call me an agnostic, but I do not share the crusading spirit of the professional atheist whose fervor is mostly due to a painful act of liberation from the fetters of religious indoctrination received in youth. I prefer an attitude of humility corresponding to the weakness of our intellectual understanding of nature and of our being."

- Albert Einstein

http://scienceray.com/philosophy-of-science/science-and-religion-did-einstein-believe-in-god/

Einstein's quote on curiosity:

"The important thing is not to stop questioning. Curiosity has its own reason for existing. One cannot help but be in awe when he contemplates the mysteries of eternity, of life, of the marvelous structure of reality. It is enough if one tries merely to comprehend a little of this mystery every day. Never lose a holy curiosity."

"It is enough if one tries merely to comprehend a little of this mystery every day."
I think this is the most important point here.

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  Reply # 505625 12-Aug-2011 16:01
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Interesting 10min podcast about conspiratorial and paranormal thinking. It's pretty much hard-wired in our pattern-spotting brain and NOT a sign of being crazy or mentally ill.

Conspiracy Theorists Aren't Crazy audio
Conspiracy Theorists Aren't Crazy text




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  Reply # 509300 20-Aug-2011 09:30
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Bummer, we are doomed!

A scenario in a new study says that if there was contact a possibility could be aliens trying to destroy humankind to save the galaxy...

Run for the hills! Oh, wait.

 




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  Reply # 509317 20-Aug-2011 12:29
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Link to the complete paper (all scenarios): http://arxiv.org/ftp/arxiv/papers/1104/1104.4462.pdf

But it's all ok - Jodie Foster is on the case: http://www.guardian.co.uk/film/2011/aug/17/jodie-foster-hunt-aliens-donation



 

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  Reply # 509404 20-Aug-2011 17:58
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UnrealWarCheek:to be honest (and probably uninformed), they come across as closed minded skeptics



I'll just leave this here

 




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I sell lots of stuff for electronic enthusiasts...


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  Reply # 509483 20-Aug-2011 23:24
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^^^ Gold.

___

On a similar "on topic" note, with regards to UFOs being a fictitious phenomenon. There's a pretty clear correlation with the sci-fi pop culture and the perception of alleged ETs. I was reading an article the other day about the Bigfoot video hoax and I found it echo UFO pop culture (I was into both Cryptozooligy and UFOligy for many a year). Before the famous Bigfoot video (a person in a suit), the descriptions of Bigfoot were varied and at odds with each other; however once the hoax video came out, a majority of subsequent "sightings" conformed to the hoax video appearance. I think back to the "greys" of Whitley Strieber fame. You didn't even have to read the book 'Communion' to get the the heeby-jeebies, the image on the cover was striking enough! (Yes, I used to read that stuff and scare myself senseless before going to sleep in my early teens, lol)




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