Friday Cephalopod: Young Kraken »« Did you know douchebags are full of dihydrogen monoxide?

Comments

  1. Akira MacKenzie says

    Brian’s no. 1 was a sure fire way never to get invited to TAM ever again.

  2. Wowbagger, Designated Snarker says

    C’mon PZ. Everyone knows you’re the puppet master of the entire atheist/skeptic community – that #bravehero and totally not a complete pissant Rich Sanderson said so! – so you must have put him up to this.

  3. Akira MacKenzie says

    Stacy @ 3

    Oh, I’d be weeping too. Watching Grothe ignore sexual harassment claims while Hal Bidlack reminds us again how good a skeptic he really is was something no one should miss!

  4. says

    I’m kind of torn about this one. Brian expresses how I personally feel, though I like that my local skeptics group isn’t keen on skeptical purity. Plus I don’t want to kick someone like Pamela Gay out of the movement.

    It kind of boils down to what the skeptical movement should be. Should it be a coalition of people united to promote science education? Then it can have religious members, and the movement’s leaders need to work on creating a safe space for people of different beliefs to work together.

    If the movement is for people to feel superior about themselves, and surround themselves with other “skeptics,” then I think this video is spot on.

    I’d like it to be a coalition, but I’m starting to think the larger groups are more interested making a select group feel like they’re “critical thinkers” who need to act like fire fighters to protect the unenlightened masses.

    Thanks to Brian for giving me something to consider. :)

  5. says

    but I’m starting to think the larger groups are more interested making a select group feel like they’re “critical thinkers”

    But we already HAVE Mensa.

  6. louisi says

    @cethis (#8)

    I don’t know that we need to split this into groups (us vs them). Shouldn’t the more skeptical among the group challenge the less skeptical about their dogmas?

    If some skeptic somewhere says a claim is beyond skeptics, isn’t it up to the rest of us to demand some evidence for that assertion?

    Of course, if they can’t take criticism of their point (e.g. Michael Shermer and the whole “skepticism is more of a guy thing”), and subsequently run away, there’s not much anyone can do about that.

    In other words, keep doing what we’re doing.

  7. says

    That was hilarious. I really need to remember YouTube more…

    cethis @ 8 – I don’t think we need to kick anyone out. Just be consistent in applying the skeptical inquiry. If someone wants to claim to be a skeptic, but hold on to homeopathy or astrology or Mormonism or whatever, I think that’s their issue to deal with. We shouldn’t be avoiding publicly applying skepticism to claims because some people cherish some woo idea or other too much. Calling Christianity dangerous nonsense isn’t the same as kicking Pamela Gay out of the movement.

  8. louisi says

    “a claim is beyond skeptics”

    should be

    “a claim is beyond skepticism”
    Or
    “a claim is beyond skeptical inquiry”

  9. Muz says

    Re: er, a few people.

    That was kind of the nub of the whole “Don’t be A Dick” thing though, it seemed to me. Being mean about jesus and faith etc upsets Pamela Gay (and a couple of others). (which isn’t to say she made some request to have jesus taken off the skeptical table. I don’t know either way. She’s just pals with prominent skeptics who said this kind of thing, best as I can tell).
    It’s a little tricky. I like her as well. Seems like there’s just some things you have to endure, within reason, if you’re a believer.

  10. Stacy says

    Yeah, I don’t think it should ever be about kicking anybody “out of the movement. I’m all for inclusiveness. But it should be a tough-minded inclusiveness. The question is, do we leave some issues off the table and refuse to engage them, simply because some important people (read: wealthy would-be donors) might feel uncomfortable?

  11. Ichthyic says

    It kind of boils down to what the skeptical movement should be. Should it be a coalition of people united to promote science education?

    How about there be groups to promote science education that are composed of skeptics and religious?

    how about there be skeptic groups interested in promoting science education, and religious groups doing the same thing?

    why must we force skeptics to accept the idea that the religious can be skeptics too?

    Brain’s argument is airtight. there is no need to “kick anyone out”, so much as there IS a need to not be so fucking accomodationist, especially within a group that calls itself skeptical to begin with.

    but, I thought this argument had been settled years back. Didn’t we already let the accomodationists form their own groups? Pretty sure we did.

  12. JohnnieCanuck says

    Hmm. PZ and Brian. Beard: check, Skeptic: check, Atheist: check, Trouble-maker: check, I could go on.

    Has anyone seen both of them together in the same place? If so, then perhaps they are twins, separated at birth?

  13. says

    I would have to say there is a difference between fundraising orgs that hold “skeptic”conferences at casinos, and skeptical people.

    Also, the problem with religious/Bigfoot/moonlanding skeptics is not so much the atheists who point out that their position is inconsistent with skepticism, but rather the religious/Bigfoot/moonlanding people who feel offended when asked to provide evidence and storm out in a huff.

    But yeah, nice clip by Dalton. He won’t be going to TAM anytime soon. Then again, you’d hope he wouldn’t want to anyway.

  14. groschen says

    @sethis
    I think what you are talking about is a “promoting science education” movement, which does not have to be the same as a skeptical movement. You can not have a skeptics movement, where it is only some of the things the people are allowed to be skeptical of –
    It goes against the whole purpose of being a skeptic – If you are not allowed to be skeptical of religion, but only of other things – well then there really is not a big difference between you as a “skeptic” and your normal every day religious person that also does not believe in old time myths, the moonlanding conspiracy, alien attacks etc. and other things that the majority of people have written of as being bogus views…

    And I don’t think the skeptical movement would have any merit, if they just stood and shouted the things that the majority of people already agreed with – then what was the movement for? We would already have won, right?

  15. John Kruger says

    So spot on.

    He did forget the “testable claims” trope though.

    The un-testable claims of relgion are beyond the scope of skepticism! Just because a broad idea fails every time it can be put to the test does not mean the un-testable parts have no merit, does it? Sure, there are easily dismissed ideas that are “not even wrong” in skepticism, but religion is different because . . . um . . .

  16. John Kruger says

    So spot on.

    He did forget the “testable claims” trope though.

    The un-testable claims of religion are beyond the scope of skepticism! Just because a broad idea fails every time it can be put to the test does not mean the un-testable parts have no merit, does it? Sure, there are easily dismissed ideas that are “not even wrong” in skepticism, but religion is different because . . . um . . .

  17. says

    Don’t overinterpret, or think this is a specific slam at an organization or event (although it is clearly a humorous criticism of a policy by a specific organization). Dalton is good buddies with Michael Shermer, I don’t think he has to worry about getting blacklisted.

  18. Steve Caldwell says

    JohnnieCanuck wrote:

    Hmm. PZ and Brian. Beard: check, Skeptic: check, Atheist: check, Trouble-maker: check, I could go on.

    Has anyone seen both of them together in the same place? If so, then perhaps they are twins, separated at birth?

    Unless this video is an elaborate special-effects hoax using the same technology found in “Forest Gump,” it looks like we have video evidence of PZ and Brian together in the same place:

  19. itkovian says

    I have indeed seen them both in the same room, at a Montreal conference. Of course, they could still be a quantum-entangled pair sharing the same consciousness…

    If so, PZ has kept his Mormon upbringing a closely kept secret… Brian had quite a few things to say about his own. :)

    Itkovian

  20. Tyrant says

    “I have indeed seen them both in the same room, at a Montreal conference. ”

    Heck I somtimes see everyone twice in the same room after some drinks. Thats why amecdotal evidence is unreliable..

  21. Crip Dyke, Right Reverend Feminist FuckToy of Death & Her Handmaiden says

    @cethis, and generally about the “purity” thing.

    While people often talk about internal criticism as an effort to “kick out” persons criticized *if* the criticism is about something central to the movement, it is the very nature of having something central to the movement that makes it an appropriate topic of conversation.

    If I found an anti-violence group, it gets big enough to be respected and known in our little corner of the world, and then the fact that we distinguish “physical discipline” from “violence” becomes controversial…that is not an attempt to kick me out of the anti-violence movement. That’s challenging me to think about why some non-consensual pain inflicted to create fear and establish control is acceptable to me when other forms are so unacceptable that I’ve founded a darn organization to oppose them.

    The people saying we shouldn’t challenge X haven’t thought it through. If someone wants to create an organization specific to thinking critically about the effectiveness of anti-hunger campaigns run by the RCC, they can still do a great job at that and believe that under the right circumstances dry carbs become magical, protein-y goodness. But if while they are doing that [in our imaginations] they promote themselves as good general critical thinkers, another [imaginary] group devoted to critical thinking generally would be justified in saying, “Hey there, I appreciate the empirical evaluation of anti-hunger program effectiveness, but this carbs-to-protein thing isn’t supported at all, and if you’re a generalist on critical thinking as you purport to be you should seriously be thinking about that. Maintaining in public both the stance of a critical thinking generalist and the defense of magic carbs undermines your credibility generally, and that’s a problem if you want anything you do – including your main mission – to be taken seriously.”

    Auntie Hunger can certainly respond: “I’m not going to think critically about that, that’s not my mission.” Auntie Hunger could also respond that critical thinking is not a general good – that in specific circumstances it is counter productive. Then it would be appropriate for Auntie Hunger to cease attempting to maintain the reputation of a critical thinking generalist. Or, finally, Auntie Hunger could reevaluate the magic carbs claim.

    None of these kicks Auntie Hunger out of the movement. None of the criticisms is targeted at making Auntie Hunger stop evaluation food programs in the Pampas.

    However if we tell advocates of critical thinking generally that they cannot perform their mission, that *is* kicking them out of the movement to the extent that we refuse to allow them to carry out their mission.

    Mr Deity is right to heavily criticize those people who attempt to sabotage the mission of advocates of general critical thinking.

  22. KDoug says

    I see it this way: The perfect is the enemy of the good. Yes, an intellectually honest skeptic should be an atheist. But if you’re not an atheist and you’re still doing the large majority of skepticism correctly, I won’t complain much. Whether or not you’re an atheist, if you’re getting too much of it wrong, I’ll complain a lot.

  23. says

    “It kind of boils down to what the skeptical movement should be. Should it be a coalition of people united to promote science education?”

    That’s a great objective, but I think a broader social agenda shouldn’t be overlooked.

    When I was growing up in working class Middle America, saying “I’m an atheist” would not be that much different from saying “I’m a devil worshipper” or “I’m a troubled psychopath.” Self-identifying atheists were rare as hen’s teeth, and something only on television (or in communist countries.) When I go visit relatives and old acquantences that stayed behind, I’m reminded that this is still a popular opinion in many circles. The role of religion meant that free thought had serious, negative social consequences. For these reasons, it took me decades before I got over the cultural baggage and embraced the identifier “atheist”, even though I already was.

    There is a lot of work to be done to make atheism/free thought/secular humanism socially acceptable. I don’t think labels need to be some sort of litmus test, since there are plenty of people who are still “in the closet”. At the same time, anything we can do to alleviate that social pressure to hide would be good. Like Harvy Milk said, “when they get to know us, they’re going to love us.”