Acid »« So far, this is just gossip

Extreme Skeptics™

I like this idea of dramatizing life among the Extreme Skeptics™, I want to do some more of it.

Scene 1

The living room. Chris is watching “Hoarders” on tv; Terry enters.

Terry: Let’s go swimming?

Chris: Why?

Terry: “Why?” What do you mean why? For fun, that’s why.

Chris: What’s your evidence that swimming is fun?

Terry: What are you talking about?! I like swimming, that’s my “evidence.”

Chris: That’s just a feeling. Feelings are not evidence.

Terry: Oooooookay, see you later. [Exit carrying towel and bathing suit]

Scene 2

The living room. Chris is watching “Man vs Food” on tv; Terry enters.

Terry: You drank all the milk!

Chris: What’s your evidence for that?

Terry [shaking a plastic milk jug]: There are like three drops left and it was nearly full this morning! That’s my evidence.

Chris: Maybe you drank it all.

Terry: I didn’t.

Chris: What’s your evidence for that?

Terry: I don’t have any evidence! I just know I didn’t. I had a little on my cereal for breakfast and that’s it, and I was at work all day.

Chris: Maybe you had a blackout and don’t remember.

Terry: Or maybe you drank it all and didn’t bother to get more.

Chris: What’s your evidence for that?

Terry: That’s it – I’m moving out.

Curtain.

Comments

  1. maudell says

    Careful, self-appointed hyperskeptic masters of reason don’t understand analogies very well.

  2. says

    This sounds more like annoying thirteen year olds.

    I expected Extreme Skeptics™ to have skateboards and Mountain Dew. Clearly, I was thinking of X-treme Skeptics™

  3. Courtney Caldwell says

    @Maudell

    I think it’s safe to say there’s a great deal they don’t understand.

  4. Brian E says

    Sorry, Ophelia. I’m a bit skeptical about all this. I’m gonna reserve judgement. After all, Santa Claus has been known to take milk (and cookies). You didn’t rule out Santa.

  5. mofa says

    At Freethough Blogs ‘skepticism’ = ‘hyperskepticism’. Freethought Blogs (like PZ) has divorced itself from the skeptics community

  6. says

    mofa, you got proof of that? I expect to see notarized copy of the divorce certificate, in long form and in triplicate, so my lawyers and special friend Mike can review. After all, what am I supposed to do, take your gossip as fact? U B Cray Cray, bro!!!

  7. whiskeyjack says

    “Oh, hey, man. I’m having a bad day.”
    “Really? What happened?”
    “Well, I stubbed my toe.”
    “Uh… do you have any proof of that?”
    “What? No. Well, I have a bruise on my toe…”
    “For all I know, you did that to yourself to garner sympathy.”
    “Uh… no, I caught it on the leg of the couch.”
    “Oh, sure. Blame my couch. You’ve always hated that couch. You’re out to destroy it!”
    “Um… well. Anyway. I’m having kind of a sh*tty day, so…”
    “You haven’t given me any proof that you’re having a bad day at all. All you’ve done is spread unsubstantiated rumours about my couch!”
    “I… see. I also burned my toast.”
    “But you ate it?”
    “Yes…”
    “Then it couldn’t have been burnt that badly. Jesus. You expect me to believe you’re having a bad day?”

  8. Bernard Bumner says

    At Freethough Blogs ‘skepticism’ self-serving cynicism = ‘hyperskepticism’.

    Fixed.

  9. says

    Actually, mofa, I now remember that PZ posted something about divorcing Shermer, because of an affair with Ray Comfort, on his highly false blog. Be careful and think of the children (a few of them will be alpha-dudebros some day, with bad ass stories of having sex with intoxicated women) before you go around repeating and spreading gossip posted on PZ’s blog of lies.

    Seriously, if you use the same epistemology (PZ’s words on his blog) to both accept that he’s “divorced from skepticism” and reject that a rape victim came to him with her story, you are not rational or skeptical. You are deluded!

  10. says

    @Bernard, do you have any evidence that mofo wasn’t drunk when they wrote that? Maybe their grammar was a bit short so they were totally asking for it. I mean they used symbols instead of words so you know they aren’t very critical in their sentence structure.

  11. rnilsson says

    @12: Why are you spreading false rumors about how tall mofo’s grandma was? (But we all note you said nothing about hir mom! Ahaa!)

  12. says

    @12 Yea, let’s not assume anything until we have the real facts of mofa’s blood alcohol level. We all know that writing things down isn’t evidence, we all need to fly out this afternoon to visit with the sheriff deputy that took the report. I also hear that thunderf00t is almost ready to post a youtube video about this that will be proof once and for all that the evidence is factual.

  13. mikej says

    If you replace “Extreme Skeptics” with “atheists”, this could be a christian post.

    That’s the problem, some of these blogs are sounding more and more christian every day. Maybe “Jesus” is replaced with something else, but the ideas are the same –

    “X said it, I believe it, that settles it”.

  14. says

    @15 So you’re saying that the claims of rape are equal, in terms of rational, skeptical evidence, to the claims of Christians? I’m sure the victims of rape are glad you consider their testimony equal to that of a barking Jesus-freak in your half-analogy. Please stop apologizing for rapists, use your brain, and join humanity.

  15. rowanvt says

    I am reminded of Kent Hovind and his teaching children to ask “were you there”, only it’s turned inward.

    Because these hyperskeptics weren’t there… it didn’t happen. “Was I there? No. So there is no evidence.”

  16. mikej says

    It’s not christian in the religious sense, it’s christian in the “x said it, I believe it, that settles it” ideology, and then bullying into silence anyone who dissents. By the way, I’m not saying you do this – okay, yeah I am saying this, but probably not to the degree I have seen around, and frankly I don’t read every post of yours so I couldn’t really say – but there is a trend starting to emerge within these blogs.

    Something is said, it is believe verbatim without discussion or consideration, and those who question it are labelled the forum equivalent of heretics, and bullied into silence.

    Sometimes people even make funny little “skits” to do it.

    By the way, even though it’s a different “subject”, they reminded me of these –
    http://www.evolutionvsgod.com/primates.php

  17. mikej says

    I think you might not be seeing it because you’re too close to it, too emotionally invested in it – so you see what you want to see.

    Perhaps I could do a table, taking the “christian” way, and putting it next to the forum version I’ve seen. That might be a nice visual.

    Heck, perhaps you could do it, and maybe if you approached these forums for a moment from that frame of mind, you might see what I’m talking about.

  18. mikej says

    By the way, #18 is a great example. I don’t mention rape at any point. I don’t link anything I say to any recent topic about rape. I merely state that I am seeing a trend in the forums. I am dissenting, which means I am told –

    1) That I am equating rape claims as “equal, in terms of rational, skeptical evidence, to the claims of Christians”
    2) That I am a rape apologist.
    3) That I am not using my brain.
    4) That I am not human (join humanity).

    All because I said I am seeing a trend on these forums.
    I wonder what fresh bullying tactics I’ll get for these posts?

  19. says

    mikel @22:

    …so you see what you want to see.

    Coming from someone who thinks they can identify a trend while admitting to not having read every post, this accusation of confirmation bias seems highly hypocritical.

  20. says

    mikel @23:

    By the way, #18 is a great example. I don’t mention rape at any point. I don’t link anything I say to any recent topic about rape…

    The blog post you’re commenting on is a recent topic about rape. You’re arguing that there is a “[a rape victim] said it, I believe it, that settles it” mentality here and that that’s a bad thing. You’re arguing in favor of the hyperskeptics who approach rape accusations like Chris in the skit.

  21. mikej says

    Also – by the way, sorry for the multiple posts, my brain works in fits and starts, and I tend to write it down as I think it –

    When I said “replace the title with “atheists” and it could be a christian post, I meant that if a Christian was to write those same skits about “atheist skepticism”, they would pretty much look the same. Same criticisms, same everything. Hope that clears that up.

  22. mikej says

    (I have no idea if I got these blockquote things right. If I didn’t, hopefully you can still make out what’s being referred to).

    #25 –

    No, you’re telling me that’s what I’m arguing about. That is some of it, sure, but I’m not just talking about that. I specifically said “X” to represent a more general scope than that.

    I’m not sure to respond to this in the context again of “no, that’s what you’re saying I’m doing, or in the context of when I asked what “fresh bullying tactics” I would get. Which one do you think?

  23. mikej says

    I’ll try that again without tags so you can see it properly.

    #25 –

    >”The blog post you’re commenting on is a recent topic about rape. You’re arguing that there is a “[a rape >victim] said it, I believe it, that settles it” mentality”

    No, you’re telling me that’s what I’m arguing about. That is some of it, sure, but I’m not just talking about that. I specifically said “X” to represent a more general scope than that.

    >” You’re arguing in favor of the hyperskeptics who approach rape accusations like Chris in the skit.”

    I’m not sure to respond to this in the context again of “no, that’s what you’re saying I’m doing, or in the context of when I asked what “fresh bullying tactics” I would get. Which one do you think?

  24. says

    mikej @28:

    … I specifically said “X” to represent a more general scope than that…

    You’re going to need a lot more data (as opposed to “frankly I don’t read every post of yours so I couldn’t really say”) to prove the general case. Why not stick with just the rape allegations as a limited, specific instance?

    And you think it’s bullying to point out the context in which you are posting? While trying to tell me about the context in which I’m responding? Why are you trying to bully me into silence?

  25. mikej says

    “Coming from someone who thinks they can identify a trend while admitting to not having read every post, this accusation of confirmation bias seems highly hypocritical.”

    Is this like how I have to have knowledge of everything to know god isn’t real, or more like

    “How can you say you don’t believe in any god if you don’t know everything about every religion?”

    Pick one, answer it, and you can probably figure out why I can see a trend in the posts I have seen, without having to have seen every one.

  26. mikej says

    >”And you think it’s bullying to point out the context in which you are posting? While trying to tell me about the >context in which I’m responding? Why are you trying to bully me into silence?”

    No, I think it’s bullying for you to take something without a specific context, tell me that’s the context that it’s in, and that if I’m going to have that context, I’m wrong and should stop apologising for rapists – an emotionally charged accusation about something I never said or did.

    Nice taking what I said and turning it around on me, again so I’ll stop dissenting and saying what I’m saying. Classic bullying. We should all be “skeptical of skepticism”.

  27. mikej says

    Like I said, so often now the things I’m seeing people say and do here are similar in style to the things I see Christians do. It’s the same tactics, just a different context. Either way, the main goal is to get the people saying the dissenting opinion to just shut up about it.

    So when will I get “Well, this is a christian nation, and if you don’t like it you atheists can just leave!”

  28. says

    mikej: So now you’re telling me what my goals are? Interesting that you think you can read my mind.

    You’re accusing Ophelia Benson of having a faith-based ideology and confirmation bias. You’re not actually saying that she’s wrong about anything, you’re criticizing her methods of asserting her own opinions. That’s not “a dissenting opinion.”

    And the fact that you take criticism to be bullying and to mean “just shut up about it” says more about you than me. I think that fallacious and hypocritical arguments like yours should be highlighted as examples of what not to do, and people who use them should learn from the experience. All you’re saying, though, is “stop being mean to me!”

    I doubt more argument will alleviate your confirmation bias. If, in the context of rape, your argument looks like a rape apology, perhaps you should think about that some more. I have a feeling that in the context of racism, your argument will look like it enables racism, too.

    There’s been quite a lot of argument on “these blogs” supporting the idea that victims’ statements should be believed. The fact that those arguments aren’t re-hashed in every single post on the subject might look like “she said it, I believe it…” but looks would be deceiving. When it’s pointed out to you that the “trend” you think you’ve spotted may in reality be false because you’re not in possession of all the data, instead of seeking to eliminate your admitted ignorance, you go on the attack, defending your half-baked opinion by characterizing the criticism you receive as being similar to religious dogmatism. But that’s just ad hominem argumentation, and not actually supportive of your position.

  29. mikej says

    >> “You’re accusing Ophelia Benson of having a faith-based ideology and confirmation bias.”

    Yes and no. I’m mostly accusing the site in general, from what of seen, of that. Some more than others.

    >> “You’re not actually saying that she’s wrong about anything”

    Doesn’t mean I’m saying she’s right about anything, either.

    >>”you’re criticizing her methods of asserting her own opinions. That’s not “a dissenting opinion.”

    Yes. I am criticising her method of doing that as similar to that of many Christians. However, that’s exactly what a “dissenting opinion” is.

    >> “And the fact that you take criticism to be bullying”

    No, I take “Bullying” to be “bullying” and you’ve done plenty of it.

    >> “I think that fallacious and hypocritical arguments like yours should be highlighted as examples of what not to do, and people who use them should learn from the experience.”

    And I feel the same about yours, which is why I spoke up in the first place. So I guess we’re at an impasse. I don’t expect to change your mind any more than a christians – however, I do hope that maybe somebody else reading this has had the opportunity to think twice about the actions people take around here.

    >> “I doubt more argument will alleviate your confirmation bias.”

    Oh wow. There’s no way to prove this really, but I’m responding to this as I read it. We both pretty much said the same thing about each-other at roughly the same time. Crazy.

    >>” If, in the context of rape, your argument looks like a rape apology, perhaps you should think about that some more. I have a feeling that in the context of racism, your argument will look like it enables racism, too.

    That’s because when you put something into a context of something that it was not intended for, it often looks out-of-sorts with that context. Funny that.

    >> “There’s been quite a lot of argument on “these blogs” supporting the idea that victims’ statements should be believed.”

    Okay. Again, not really what I’ve been getting at. I keep telling you, but you’re not getting it.

    >>”The fact that those arguments aren’t re-hashed in every single post on the subject might look like “she said it, I believe it…”

    SERIOUSLY NEVER SAID THAT. I SAID “X”. X. Like the algebraic term to mean “undisclosed value”. You’re the one putting a “rape” context on this. I never have. That’s not it’s intention. PLEASE STOP IT. STOP MISREPRESENTING ME, IT’S SO VERY CHRISTIAN OF YOU.

    >> “but looks would be deceiving. When it’s pointed out to you that the “trend” you think you’ve spotted may in reality be false because you’re not in possession of all the data, instead of seeking to eliminate your admitted ignorance, you go on the attack, ”

    Once again, this idea that I can’t see a trend in something because I don’t have all the information is like saying I can’t know god exists because I can’t know everything.

    Okay, maybe you’re thinking like a statistical trend, which fair enough going on about complete data and etc. I’m not. I’m talking “trend” in the colloquial sense. Like, “Every time I go to a post or topic on FreeThoughtBlogs recently, I see the same things happening. A trend seems to be forming”. That type of things. I’m not talking statistics here. Sorry if that confused you.

    >> “defending your half-baked opinion by characterizing the criticism you receive as being similar to religious dogmatism.”

    It is. I’ve shown why. Saying it isn’t doesn’t change that, sorry.

    >> “But that’s just ad hominem argumentation, and not actually supportive of your position.”

    Once again, I’ve shown why. Each time you’ve shown a “christian” type of argument, I’ve shown the actual christian argument that they use to compare it. I have not “Ad Hominem”ed anything. Every time you have used a faulty argument, I have shown what the faulty argument is and compared it to the christian version. Not once have I said your argument was invalid because of something about you personally (as an Ad Hominem attack would be). Rather, I’ve said your agument was invalid because your argument was invalid.

  30. rnilsson says

    OK, I’ll try once again, now while logged in.

    mikej, it appears to me that you may have the impression that you are contributing something of value in this conversation. I could be mistaken. Could you?

  31. says

    mikej @37:

    SERIOUSLY NEVER SAID THAT. I SAID “X”. X. Like the algebraic term to mean “undisclosed value”. You’re the one putting a “rape” context on this. I never have. That’s not it’s intention.

    Then why bring it up in relation to this post? Was this post just the most convenient place for you to drop a completely generalized, non-rape-related thought?

    Of course, in algebra, x doesn’t represent an “undisclosed value,” but instead a variable which is either solved for or filled based upon context, so substituting “rape victim” for x is totally justified in this thread (context!).

    If you really meant it to mean “undisclosed value” then you’re just making off-topic blather about a subject that you are (for whatever reason) keeping a secret.

    PLEASE STOP IT. STOP MISREPRESENTING ME, IT’S SO VERY CHRISTIAN OF YOU.

    Please stop whining “persecution” at every turn. It’s so very Christian of you.

    I’ve shown why.

    No, you haven’t. You’ve made comparisons of some activities here to the activities of Christians, making a loose analogy with the obvious intention of insulting atheists by comparing them to theists. You haven’t shown the comparison to be apt, however, you’ve just insisted that it is. It’s silly of you to think otherwise, because you’re doing “Christian” things yourself, and I’ve “shown why” just as much as you have.

    Each time you’ve shown a “christian” type of argument, I’ve shown the actual christian argument that they use to compare it. I have not “Ad Hominem”ed anything.

    You’ve just admitted that instead of addressing my criticisms, you’ve critiqued the way I have behaved, instead. That’s ad hominem and does nothing to support your argument. Arguments aren’t faulty just because they’re used by Christians, no matter how much you think that’s true. Otherwise, you’ll be forced to admit that your own claims of being bullied and/or misrepresented are faulty, just because Christians do a whole lot of that, too.

    No, it’s clear you’re just trying to desperately polish the turd you dropped here.

  32. says

    Well this is stupid. I’ve never said “x said it, I believe it, that settles it” or anything like it. What I have said is that Brian Dalton/Mr Deity was wrong to say “all claims require evidence” and that he would still be wrong even if he had phrased it better. The skit in this post was part of saying that. We don’t demand or expect or want “evidence” for every single claim we hear or read. That’s not the same as saying “x said it, I believe it, that settles it.” mikej apparently doesn’t get nuance. At all.

  33. says

    @23 mikej, let me start of by apologizing that I was ignorant of your ignorance. I acknowledge that you have a point concerning our (the commenters) involvement of rape into the discussion, if you’re ignorant of larger context of Ophelia’s post (which is just a case in point of non-extraordinary claims). We’re all operating from the knowledge of this context. Here’s the context:

    A anonymous (to us, not PZ) rape victim approached PZ with her story of how Michael Shermer raped her:

    http://freethoughtblogs.com/pharyngula/2013/08/08/what-do-you-do-when-someone-pulls-the-pin-and-hands-you-a-grenade/

    “Extreme Skeptics” have been howling “Evidence! Evidence! Evidence!” and blaming the victim for getting drunk (because Shermer didn’t do it, PZ is a liar, and also Shermer can’t be expected to keep his dick out of an intoxicated women). Go search “Michael Shermer Rape” in google. Enter Brian Dalton/Mr Deity:

    http://freethoughtblogs.com/butterfliesandwheels/2013/08/the-gospels-are-anonymous-geddit/

    He masterfully demonstrated that he misunderstood what PZ had posted, compared the anonymity of the victim to the anonymity of the gospel authors (does PZ know who they are too? Wow, that’s extraordinary!) and in the same section of video explained how easy it is to stop drinking so you don’t get raped (victim blaming at it’s finest).

    Greta has a great post explaining why rape claims are not extraordinary (massively cited by emotion-neutral sources):

    http://freethoughtblogs.com/greta/2013/08/12/harassment-rape-skepticism-denialism/

    Now, I’m not expecting you to have the desire to go research this fully, but most folks here have and we’ve formed a position on the topic. Nothing in skepticism prevents this. In fact this is the purpose of skepticism is to rationally, reasonably and skeptically analyze things in the real world so we can take action to make the world demonstrably better.

    Here’s my position: Testimony from rape victims is evidence (sometimes the only evidence) and believing victims by default is something we should extend to rape victims. The detractors, despite conspiracy theories that Occam’s razor shreds, know that PZ has no good reason to be lying (they should be attacking him if they really buy into it, and some are, not the victim or making excuses for Shermer). They’re flabbergasted because he’s bucking the dudebro rape culture of silencing/not believing the victim. They can’t fathom that PZ might be doing this to inform future rape victims of Shermer’s M.O (yes, telling people about actual rapists is far more helpful than saying “don’t get drunk”; alcohol doesn’t directly cause rape, rapists directly cause rape).

    Another note is that this isn’t a court of law. Nobody is demanding the immediate arrest and detention of Shermer. We all support the law and don’t want people to be tried by public opinion. We’d just like the culture to stop treating rape victims like they’re not to be believed and give the law a real chance at prosecuting rapists (silent victims = fewer rapists convicted).

    One last thing, on the emotional jab. I will admit to having some emotional bias (my wife was raped and I have a daughter who I’d rather not be raped). Are my rational arguments not valid because of this? You can question why I care (fuck you if you do), but rejecting reality doesn’t make you a skeptic. In fact, if all things are emotionally based, then the only reason you would come here and try to push rape apologetics is that you’re a rapist and you are irrationally and intentionally trying to keep the culture from exposing your crimes. I don’t think that, because I’m rational and I know the data.

    If you’ve got arguments or data to show that my position is wrong, please let me know. Coming in here out of the blue and making an analogy comparing us to Christians is not a good argument.

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