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Still Waters

Can Skepticism Blind You to the Truth?

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An odd experiment, done by a believer in paranormal phenomena, opens a few questions about how everyone perceives the world. We know that belief can blind people - but can disbelief do the same thing?

http://io9.com/can-s...eringlis-arkell

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We all make decisions based on personal experience that cloud our judgement before entering a situation.

But I cry 'no fair' on this experiment...

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Well of course a believer of the paranormal will say skeptics are blinded from "the truth". Maybe if they started applying the scientific method and stopped blindly believing every personal experience they come across, they can be taken seriously.

And like Chubb, I'm calling foul.

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Posted (edited)

In the experiment two people made something up. One said a gray mist rose from the floor and the other said the bowl never moved. Both are liars and should be dismisssed as morons.

As for the rest of the group, the believers would accept that the bowl levitated and say their belief in the paranormal has been justified. The skeptics would also accept that the bowl levitated but would then try and figure out what gravitational, electrical or magnetic force had acted at a distance on that bowl to make it levitate.

If the skeptics could find no mechanism or scientifc way to prove such a force had acted on the bowl, then they'd have to admit to the existence of the paranormal in this instance.

So far the last bit has never happened.

Edited by Merc14
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Posted (edited)

This seems more like cynicism than skepticism. Like Merc said, a true skeptic would say the bowl moved but would then try to find out how it moved.

Edited by Lilly
grammar
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Can Skepticism Blind You to the Truth?

Skepticism leads you where ever the evidence points. So far we've discovered that evidence tends to lead to truth.

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Skeptic means study then believe. It's not a disbelief in anything. Instead of jumping to the conclusion like "true", "false", a true skeptic will put the subject in question under the state "unknown". A study will then necessary to decide whether it's "true/false" or still "unknown" (require more test).

The key to prove something is "repeatable", "experimentable". Something which is randomness or personal experience is very hard to do experiment with

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Science does not require faith, while wanting to believe needs no evidence.

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This seems more like cynicism than skepticism. Like Merc said, a true skeptic would say the bowl moved but would then try to find out how it moved.

That was the first thought that came into my head as well. Skeptics aren't 'deniers', they merely judge an event based solely on the evidence. And for the record, words (testimonies et al) are the least reliable form of evidence. If the evidence doesn't adequately support the conclusion then skeptics will point that out.

It's not "That didn't happen!".

It's "You can't logically draw that conclusion (to the exclusion of other possibilities) with the evidence available!"

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Skepticism leads you where ever the evidence points. So far we've discovered that evidence tends to lead to truth.

All possible evidence maybe, but evidence paints a picture not necessarily the truth.

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Posted (edited)

That was the first thought that came into my head as well. Skeptics aren't 'deniers', they merely judge an event based solely on the evidence. And for the record, words (testimonies et al) are the least reliable form of evidence. If the evidence doesn't adequately support the conclusion then skeptics will point that out.

That's the way it's supposed to be, however that's not the way It usually happens.

Edited by White Crane Feather

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Science does not require faith, while wanting to believe needs no evidence.

It most certainly does.

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It most certainly does.

The beverage can is still next to my computer for you, and your spirit buddies to provide me with your evidence.

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The beverage can is still next to my computer for you, and your spirit buddies to provide me with your evidence.

Immature appeals to ridicule does not bolster your opinions. In fact it demonstrates your inability to argue the matter coherently which shows that indeed your attitude is faith based not evidence based. You make my point. ;)

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Immature appeals to ridicule does not bolster your opinions. In fact it demonstrates your inability to argue the matter coherently which shows that indeed your attitude is faith based not evidence based. You make my point. ;)

I have a can next to my computer for you, and Mr Walker to show me the validity of claims you two made in the past.So far I only get ignored, or received excuses.

As for my opinion, you have only shown to me that you use spirituality to hide anger issues.

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The experiment seems rather short, and therefore very inconclusive.

If they wanted to make this point, why not just Quote Lord Kelvin on the Wright Brothers? He said heavier than air flight was impossible yet examples in nature were all around him. Birds somehow seem to have escaped his attention, as such, one can only deduce that his head was so far into the books that he did not notice the world around him. And then 8 years later, the Wright Brothers used the very science he used to postulate his preposterous notion to prove him wrong.

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I have a can next to my computer for you, and Mr Walker to show me the validity of claims you two made in the past.So far I only get ignored, or received excuses.

As for my opinion, you have only shown to me that you use spirituality to hide anger issues.

Now it's you claiming psychic abilities. :(

I'm not using spirituality for anything. I have not even mentioned it on this thread It is you who lashes at the people you cannot intimidate with ridicule or soundly and maturely discuss the subject matter. Take a very hard look at the way you represent yourself. Who is really angry? Mr.walker and I like to debate subjects. It is not our faults that you have not learned how to debate an issue with sound logic or separate your emotions and opinions from the subject material or previous conversations.

I can't speak for MW, but I participate on the forums because television and pretty much everything else media related is boring. I find it more stimulating to debate people on issues, its also an outlet for my experiences, and probably the only real adult interaction I might get in the day. I spend 90% of my time with children. I suppose that's why it annoys me a little bit more when someone is acting childish here. So be it, we are all free to comment within the rules But make no mistake its no more an anger issue than being annoyed by the preteen on a video game that can't seem to control his foul mouth and name calling.

Lets face it my friend, you are unable to logically debate the issues at hand and know certain people are, so you lash out with ridicule. It's actually not that uncommon. It's actually much like bullying.

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All possible evidence maybe, but evidence paints a picture not necessarily the truth.

Just because its not the "truth" you want doesn't mean its not the truth.

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Posted (edited)

Just because its not the "truth" you want doesn't mean its not the truth.

Indeed. And just because some limited evidence points to a specific conclusion dosnt mean that that conclusion will be right if all the facts were known. In fact limited information practically guarantees even the best factual conclusion will be wrong. Especially when dealing with ultimate ends.

Edited by White Crane Feather

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Indeed. And just because some limited evidence points to a specific conclusion dosnt mean that that conclusion will be right if all the facts were known. In fact limited information practically guarantees even the best factual conclusion will be wrong. Especially when dealing with ultimate ends.

And science acts on those changes. Science isn't bogged down by dogma. It doesn't have to go through men in pointy hats, or consult "sacred" texts. More than I can say for so many die hard believers who will fall for any deception so long as it plays into their beliefs.

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Posted (edited)

Can skepticism blind one from the truth??

hell yes!!!!!

But so can being a true believer blind someone from the truth..

IMO it all comes down to perspective, and being fully in charge of your own perceptions.. (believe it or not, most people are slaves to their perceptions.)

IMO anyone who lay claim to being skeptic or spiritually enlightened are kidding themselves and blinding and binding themselves to a fixed perspective that is incapable of seeing any truth. Instead of standing back and viewing subjects and situations from a neutral perspective they attack subjects with a fixed bias of passive or aggressive energy because their perceptions are screwed over by the Ego of being one or the other..

Edited by Professor T
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Posted (edited)

And science acts on those changes. Science isn't bogged down by dogma. It doesn't have to go through men in pointy hats, or consult "sacred" texts. More than I can say for so many die hard believers who will fall for any deception so long as it plays into their beliefs.

:lol:

Science has replaced men in pointy hats and sacred texts with men in white coats and principles of scientific methods that's fought with equal passion.. There's no comparison, both are the same from a neutral perspective..

Let's just face it.. perspective is sacred ground in science and religion. fight all you want.. you'll get nowhere..

Edited by Professor T
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:lol:

Science has replaced men in pointy hats and sacred texts with men in white coats and principles of scientific methods that's fought with equal passion.. There's no comparison, both are the same from a neutral perspective..

Let's just face it.. perspective is sacred ground in science and religion. fight all you want.. you'll get nowhere..

Things going for the scientific method: internal combustion, nuclear fusion, antibiotics, flight, forensics, robotics, basically the entire modern world including this lovely website you are a member of.

What does the supernatural have? Religious intolerance, and a bunch of cold readers (if your that lucky).

The only people who would possible equate the numerous aspects of science and all that humanity has gained from it are those who don't understand it. From that perspective, I can see why it might come off as "magic".

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Things going for the scientific method: internal combustion, nuclear fusion, antibiotics, flight, forensics, robotics, basically the entire modern world including this lovely website you are a member of.

What does the supernatural have? Religious intolerance, and a bunch of cold readers (if your that lucky).

The only people who would possible equate the numerous aspects of science and all that humanity has gained from it are those who don't understand it. From that perspective, I can see why it might come off as "magic".

Thanks... :tu:

Point made...

IMO it all comes down to perspective, and being fully in charge of your own perceptions.. (believe it or not, most people are slaves to their perceptions.)

IMO anyone who lay claim to being skeptic or spiritually enlightened are kidding themselves and blinding and binding themselves to a fixed perspective that is incapable of seeing any truth. Instead of standing back and viewing subjects and situations from a neutral perspective they attack subjects with a fixed bias of passive or aggressive energy because their perceptions are screwed over by the Ego of being one or the other..

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Hate to put someone on the spot, but this ties in with our lovely little conversation here:

http://www.unexplain...possession&st=0

A few post in you can see an account by a self professed believer (putting it lightly) in the supernatural, and what happens? By their own account, they were absolutely useless! How does one expect to be taken seriously at all when this is what that belief amounts to?

The evolutionary theory went through many phases, starting with Darwin's own crude "survival of the fittest and natural selection" until decades later when the discovery of DNA and genetics gave us a mechanism to explain the transfer of traits from generation to generation. Science, in all its myriad branches, is subject to review, to change, and if something is proven wrong, its run through the mill, under strict standards, again until we come to truth.

Believers of the supernatural have no system, not even cohesion. Stick three "psychics" with the same customer and you'll get three different responses. Who's right? If the customer is wary and has any sort of acting skill, they can feed them any sort of sob story and the "psychic" will be none the wiser.

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