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Differences between Skeptic and Believer?


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#16    Slave2Fate

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Posted 31 January 2013 - 03:33 AM

View Postpsyche101, on 31 January 2013 - 03:25 AM, said:

I feel the study is too limited to draw any conclusions, although I would like to have carried it out. (two thousand Finns (mostly women)



I guess this more caught my eye, and yet again, I think this is stating the obvious? By nature we anthropomorphise everything. From insect to Gods. As such, surely it is to be expected that looking for deeper meaning to events is naturally going to follow? I guess it is in a way vanity, but I think it also shows curiosity.

I agree on anthropomorphization (whew! mouthful) however there are degrees of such I'm sure and I think those with a more critical mind can recognize it even when they happen to be doing it. That's the difference I think. I do it myself more often than I would like though as you say, we all do it so it's kind of like trying not to inhale smoke inside a burning building.

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You know... the plural of ``anecdote'' is not ``data''. Similarly, the plural of ``random fact'' is not ``mystical symbolism''. -sepulchrave


#17    psyche101

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Posted 31 January 2013 - 03:34 AM

View PostSlave2Fate, on 31 January 2013 - 03:10 AM, said:

Sorry for posting more article excerpts, just trying to prime the conversation with information.

Here is another one well worth a read.  http://www.psycholog...agical-thinking

Just so I don't appear biased, it has this to say about too much skepticism.

Wash you mouth out with soap! :lol:

I am not sure of I have read this completely correct. I want to make sure I am reading this right.

Does it not say if you have enough of the right drug, that you are more likely to believe something? That in this case being Dopamine? Dopamine's action is reward driven learning, but that learning can be anything, Dr Suess or Grays Anatomy. So wouldn't a predisposition also be the precursor? i.e. if you want to believe something, and then you read about it, your brain will reward you with dopamine?

Mate, I will be cold and pushing up daisies before I slap a Magic Happen's sticker on my car window.

Things are what they are. - Me Reality can't be debunked. That's the beauty of it. - Capeo 'If I have seen further it is by standing on the shoulders of giants.' - Sir Isaac Newton. "Let me repeat the lesson learned from the Sturrock scientific review panel: Pack up your old data and forget it. Ufology needs new data, new cases, new rigorous and scientific methodologies if it hopes ever to get out of its pit." Ed Stewart. Youtube is the last refuge of the ignorant and is more often used for disinformation than genuine research.  There is a REASON for PEER REVIEW... - Chrlzs. Nothing is inexplicable, just unexplained. - Sir Wearer of Hats.


#18    psyche101

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Posted 31 January 2013 - 03:38 AM

View PostSlave2Fate, on 31 January 2013 - 03:33 AM, said:

I agree on anthropomorphization (whew! mouthful) however there are degrees of such I'm sure and I think those with a more critical mind can recognize it even when they happen to be doing it. That's the difference I think. I do it myself more often than I would like though as you say, we all do it so it's kind of like trying not to inhale smoke inside a burning building.

The bolded - exactly what I was trying to say mate. :tu:

I think we all do it, and I am not sure that we have much choice in our pool of one, Maybe that s some deep seated desire to contact other life comes from. That is truly expressed in varying degrees. Do you feel the point of the article is to express this as a revelation, or kind of a slap in the face with a wet fish to any reader?

Things are what they are. - Me Reality can't be debunked. That's the beauty of it. - Capeo 'If I have seen further it is by standing on the shoulders of giants.' - Sir Isaac Newton. "Let me repeat the lesson learned from the Sturrock scientific review panel: Pack up your old data and forget it. Ufology needs new data, new cases, new rigorous and scientific methodologies if it hopes ever to get out of its pit." Ed Stewart. Youtube is the last refuge of the ignorant and is more often used for disinformation than genuine research.  There is a REASON for PEER REVIEW... - Chrlzs. Nothing is inexplicable, just unexplained. - Sir Wearer of Hats.


#19    Slave2Fate

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Posted 31 January 2013 - 03:39 AM

View Postpsyche101, on 31 January 2013 - 03:34 AM, said:

Wash you mouth out with soap! :lol:

I am not sure of I have read this completely correct. I want to make sure I am reading this right.

Does it not say if you have enough of the right drug, that you are more likely to believe something? That in this case being Dopamine? Dopamine's action is reward driven learning, but that learning can be anything, Dr Suess or Grays Anatomy. So wouldn't a predisposition also be the precursor? i.e. if you want to believe something, and then you read about it, your brain will reward you with dopamine?

Mate, I will be cold and pushing up daisies before I slap a Magic Happen's sticker on my car window.

I was thinking along the same lines myself, as far as dopamine being a reward. I would think it would only enforce further thinking along such lines. That may be a fairly significant element of a believers inability to entertain other options.

"You want to discuss plausibility then you have to accept reality." -Mattshark

"Don't argue with an idiot. They'll drag you down to their level then beat you with experience." -Obviousman

You know... the plural of ``anecdote'' is not ``data''. Similarly, the plural of ``random fact'' is not ``mystical symbolism''. -sepulchrave


#20    Slave2Fate

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Posted 31 January 2013 - 03:43 AM

View Postpsyche101, on 31 January 2013 - 03:38 AM, said:

Do you feel the point of the article is to express this as a revelation, or kind of a slap in the face with a wet fish to any reader?

I'm not sure though I'm sure it may have that effect. At least for those that are willing to see the point for what it is, an observation on human behavior.

"You want to discuss plausibility then you have to accept reality." -Mattshark

"Don't argue with an idiot. They'll drag you down to their level then beat you with experience." -Obviousman

You know... the plural of ``anecdote'' is not ``data''. Similarly, the plural of ``random fact'' is not ``mystical symbolism''. -sepulchrave


#21    psyche101

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Posted 31 January 2013 - 05:28 AM

View PostSlave2Fate, on 31 January 2013 - 03:39 AM, said:

I was thinking along the same lines myself, as far as dopamine being a reward. I would think it would only enforce further thinking along such lines. That may be a fairly significant element of a believers inability to entertain other options.

Interesting, I wonder how much "reward" Dopamine is capable of giving out, and if time affects that. I am not sure of age would offer a resistance, of the frailties might allow a more powerful effect. It could weel explain the "deathbed confessions" and older military men coming out. With the mindset and pop culture heavily influencing a Sci Fi perspective of space, it might well have been a more powerful influence in a book reading society than today's television society can fathom.

View PostSlave2Fate, on 31 January 2013 - 03:43 AM, said:

I'm not sure though I'm sure it may have that effect. At least for those that are willing to see the point for what it is, an observation on human behavior.

:tu: Well in that case, it does illustrate both aspects well. One might look at it and go "of course" but it might be an epiphany to some I guess. Sometimes things have to be in plain sight before we can see them.

Things are what they are. - Me Reality can't be debunked. That's the beauty of it. - Capeo 'If I have seen further it is by standing on the shoulders of giants.' - Sir Isaac Newton. "Let me repeat the lesson learned from the Sturrock scientific review panel: Pack up your old data and forget it. Ufology needs new data, new cases, new rigorous and scientific methodologies if it hopes ever to get out of its pit." Ed Stewart. Youtube is the last refuge of the ignorant and is more often used for disinformation than genuine research.  There is a REASON for PEER REVIEW... - Chrlzs. Nothing is inexplicable, just unexplained. - Sir Wearer of Hats.


#22    quillius

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Posted 31 January 2013 - 11:04 AM

View PostSlave2Fate, on 30 January 2013 - 10:58 PM, said:

Having read an article recently I found an interesting take on the Believer/Skeptic rift that indicates that the rift isn't nearly as wide as we sometimes make it out to be.



Hello S2F, great thread :tu:

Can I throw a curve ball into the mix?

ok, the question of what is the difference and how can it be bridge may be impossible to answer, why? well what if I suggest that there is no difference and they are/can be the same! they are not the opposite ends.

I would argue the two opposites are 'believer' versus 'non-believer'. Both of these sets can be skeptics/skeptical in both approach and method and display the same characteristics. The 'skeptic' will then interpret the data differently (at least that which is subject to interpreattion and is not conclusive), this interpretation then creates a 'believer' or a' non-believer,' but does not create 'believer or skeptic'.

So Basically I am saying would the Psychology of 'believer' versus 'non believer' be a more prudent path to take as its the bias in interpretation rather than method or approach that is different.

Edited by quillius, 31 January 2013 - 11:06 AM.


#23    DingoLingo

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Posted 31 January 2013 - 11:32 AM

View PostCakeOrDeath, on 31 January 2013 - 12:03 AM, said:



just going off topic for a moment.. Cake would you be church of england by any chance ;)


#24    Slave2Fate

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Posted 31 January 2013 - 12:01 PM

View Postquillius, on 31 January 2013 - 11:04 AM, said:

Hello S2F, great thread :tu:

Can I throw a curve ball into the mix?

ok, the question of what is the difference and how can it be bridge may be impossible to answer, why? well what if I suggest that there is no difference and they are/can be the same! they are not the opposite ends.

I would argue the two opposites are 'believer' versus 'non-believer'. Both of these sets can be skeptics/skeptical in both approach and method and display the same characteristics. The 'skeptic' will then interpret the data differently (at least that which is subject to interpreattion and is not conclusive), this interpretation then creates a 'believer' or a' non-believer,' but does not create 'believer or skeptic'.

So Basically I am saying would the Psychology of 'believer' versus 'non believer' be a more prudent path to take as its the bias in interpretation rather than method or approach that is different.

Hey Quill, glad you like it. :tu:

I've been aware for some time that skepticism cuts both ways, that believers are just skeptical of the proposed skeptical arguments and the 'status quo', so to speak. In that regard, yes we share more similarities than most would admit. I suppose the demarcation is between 'magical thinking' ( I don't like that term, it conjures thoughts of unicorns and crap) and critical thought based views. Those are the two ideologies (and subsequent rift) I refer to by labeling them believer and skeptic.

It's an interesting difference of thought processing that I've never received a clear reason behind, for either side. it's the 'why' that I'm interested in. Why do skeptics take a hard line approach to the unknown? Is it out of fear of being wrong? Or some OCD derived behavior? Or even different neural pathways and brain activity as proposed by an earlier link I provided? Even being a skeptic myself I don't have a good answer. I imagine that it is a little different for all of us (skeptics) however there has to be a kernel of commonality somewhere. The same questions could be asked of the believer mindset. That's where participation will help narrow down the possibilities I think. That's my hope anyway. :tu:

Edited by Slave2Fate, 31 January 2013 - 12:09 PM.

"You want to discuss plausibility then you have to accept reality." -Mattshark

"Don't argue with an idiot. They'll drag you down to their level then beat you with experience." -Obviousman

You know... the plural of ``anecdote'' is not ``data''. Similarly, the plural of ``random fact'' is not ``mystical symbolism''. -sepulchrave


#25    quillius

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Posted 31 January 2013 - 01:30 PM

View PostSlave2Fate, on 31 January 2013 - 12:01 PM, said:

Hey Quill, glad you like it. :tu:

I've been aware for some time that skepticism cuts both ways, that believers are just skeptical of the proposed skeptical arguments and the 'status quo', so to speak. In that regard, yes we share more similarities than most would admit.

To be honest this isnt exactly what I am alluding to in my suggestion. The bolded part limits the skeptisism to just the 'skeptical arguments' and not the pro ETH (or other) argument. I am suggesting that we are all (majority anyway) skeptical and the difference is only in conclusions drawn which lead to either believer or non believer. I think the opposing stances are either believer V non believer or 'blind believer V skeptic'. You see in the second grouping I would be called a skeptic, however in the first grouping I am classed as aa believer. I cannot differentiate between skeptic and believer for myself as I feel I am both and again I stress the skeptisismisnt restricted to 'prosaic explanations' put forth.

View PostSlave2Fate, on 31 January 2013 - 12:01 PM, said:


I suppose the demarcation is between 'magical thinking' ( I don't like that term, it conjures thoughts of unicorns and crap) and critical thought based views. Those are the two ideologies (and subsequent rift) I refer to by labeling them believer and skeptic.
At what point does it become 'majical thinking' as opposed to critical thought? during process or conclusion?

View PostSlave2Fate, on 31 January 2013 - 12:01 PM, said:


It's an interesting difference of thought processing that I've never received a clear reason behind, for either side. it's the 'why' that I'm interested in. Why do skeptics take a hard line approach to the unknown? Is it out of fear of being wrong? Or some OCD derived behavior? Or even different neural pathways and brain activity as proposed by an earlier link I provided? Even being a skeptic myself I don't have a good answer. I imagine that it is a little different for all of us (skeptics) however there has to be a kernel of commonality somewhere. The same questions could be asked of the believer mindset. That's where participation will help narrow down the possibilities I think. That's my hope anyway. :tu:

The 'why' gets closer to the question IMO. Why are different conclusions drawn? Why does a non-believer favour a conclusion in line with their current stance and the same goes  for a believer

Fear is certainly an aspect worth pursuing whilst not limiting this to those you label skeptics and I label non-believers.

I am also wondering if religion plays a part? or at least religous influence in an upbringing.


#26    CakeOrDeath

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Posted 31 January 2013 - 05:30 PM

Heh, I have a supreme love of Eddy Izzard, truly brilliant comedian.  "Great Britain conquered a great percentage of the world through the clever use of flags..." heh!

What time is it? "peeas nuh burder" and Jelly time!

#27    QuiteContrary

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Posted 31 January 2013 - 06:44 PM

Don't we as believer/nonbeliever or skeptic/believer change our label and our approach and thinking depending on the subject matter?

I know believers who are very skeptical of say, western medicine.
I know skeptics who suddenly are not skeptical and defensive when it  comes to say, western medicine.

Does this make us more alike than we realize? Something we can relate to in the "other"?

These labels (like most) just get a bit tricky for me as I think about them more:

I am not a believer in ghosts, but I believe in the possibility of alien space travel. Or, I used to believe in the existence of bigfoot, now I do not believe in the existence of bigfoot. Or, I don't believe in spirits but I am skeptical of western medicine, to the point I think it serves to help me stay an informed, not gullible, patient. I'm an atheist, but I refuse to wear torquoise because it brings me bad luck. Etc

Is there a bias as to what subjects are okay/acceptable to be skeptical about and thus earn you the label of skeptic? Therefore we end up with somewhat of "once a believer or skeptic always a believer or skeptic" as a way to identify not only others but ourselves? When in fact, if we thought about it, it isn't that black white but rather at the mercy of bias, as I suggested?

Keep your eyes wide open and don't run!

P.S. Just to be clear, because sometimes I am not. I do not believe...
in the existence of a large previously unknown undiscovered hairy biped roaming North America.
But I like to hear the accounts, read the books, watch the shows, discuss and argue about the phenomenon.

#28    SwampgasBalloonBoy

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Posted 01 February 2013 - 01:54 AM

View PostQuiteContrary, on 31 January 2013 - 06:44 PM, said:

Don't we as believer/nonbeliever or skeptic/believer change our label and our approach and thinking depending on the subject matter?

I know believers who are very skeptical of say, western medicine.
I know skeptics who suddenly are not skeptical and defensive when it  comes to say, western medicine.

Does this make us more alike than we realize? Something we can relate to in the "other"?

These labels (like most) just get a bit tricky for me as I think about them more:

I am not a believer in ghosts, but I believe in the possibility of alien space travel. Or, I used to believe in the existence of bigfoot, now I do not believe in the existence of bigfoot. Or, I don't believe in spirits but I am skeptical of western medicine, to the point I think it serves to help me stay an informed, not gullible, patient. I'm an atheist, but I refuse to wear torquoise because it brings me bad luck. Etc

Is there a bias as to what subjects are okay/acceptable to be skeptical about and thus earn you the label of skeptic? Therefore we end up with somewhat of "once a believer or skeptic always a believer or skeptic" as a way to identify not only others but ourselves? When in fact, if we thought about it, it isn't that black white but rather at the mercy of bias, as I suggested?

much, much, much better than your previous post. :tu:


I think believers are from Mars, Skeptics are from Venus. You want proof? Just look at how often Venus are brought up by skeptics of UFO/ET.


#29    bison

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Posted 01 February 2013 - 02:09 AM

I'm not too happy about dichotomous pairs of labels like; believer/non-believer, or believer/skeptic. Labels are for cans (tins) and bottles, not for people. Although I could pass for a 'believer' in this group, I've approached many paranormal, flying saucer, and crop circle claims with considerable skepticism, and rejected quite a few. In any case, 'believer' sounds like someone with a religious position to defend. Although I concede that there can be a spiritual aspect to all of the above topics, The notion that something should be accepted without exposing it to the light of reason is very far from my intentions.


#30    John Weiss

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Posted 01 February 2013 - 02:50 AM

I have always been a devout skeptic! I felt that anything that had to do with the paranormal and extraterrestrials was a stinking mound of horse ****. I also thought that anyone who believed in an afterlife was a complete moron. Well........now I'm the moron. Having experienced the afterlife in a series of deep meditative dreams, I can't say anything negative about those who believe in ANYTHING I thought was crazy.

Let me clear one thing up: While I never believed we had been visited by little green men, I was always 100% certain that life was plentiful in the universe. That's just pure, logical science. What's not logical is the supposition that they've traveled many millions of light years to reach this lousy world and never made the proverbial demand: "Take me to your leader!" And don't tell me they have, and it's all been a massive government cover-up. The government is way too stupid to keep anything like that under wraps.

One last thing: If or when we ARE visited, I hope they threaten to vaporize us if we don't ban the ownership of firearms. Now, I hope that doesn't get too many of you p***ed off!





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