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Rock-Star

Why You Became a Skeptic

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Rock-Star

Hi everyone,

Thought I'd do something a bit different with this post. As one who came to UM as a bonafide "believer" in ghosts and the paranormal, I most assuredly used to annoy some of the skeptics on these forums with my paranormal interpretations of things! I would even get a bit testy when someone disagreed with me. After one particular experience with a long running thread, however, I began to see the error in my thinking. I didn't stop to look at the rational explanation first, but always jumped to the fantastical conclusion. I'll freely admit that this may very well have been out of a simple desire to see something crazy, or just about making existence more interesting!

The moment I came to realize that it is better to debunk first was a couple months back when a thread about a certain "Ghost Video" was posted to the forums. It featured a video from a local news station that was labeled something such as "Indisputable proof of the afterlife"! I watched the video with that in mind, and totally saw a ghost child running through a cemetary, jumping high into a tree, then leaping back down. I posted an intrigued response about the video, and was quickly rebuffed that nothing of that sort was happening. I got a little snotty towards some of the skeptical responses, and maintained that I was seeing what I said I had.

As the skeptical responses and debunking theories came in, however, I forced myself to go back and watch the video again, this time at home on a bigger screen. It was a bit painful to admit, but I realized I had been seeing what I wanted to see, and not what was really going on. I came to realize the simple explanations that people gave put this thing to bed rather easily, and came to the realization that maybe I had to start rethinking some of the "paranormal" events from my past. As I did so, I came to see that there were practical, everyday, mostly boring explanations for everything that I had thought outlandish in the past. Finding relatable topics on these boards also helped, as I saw similar explanations from others. Also, reading the skeptical responses again and again, what I once thought was simple rudeness to believers was in actuality in most cases constructive information and very well thought out.

So, in any case, my journey from believer to skeptic came in a relatively short time. Despite this fact, I can't lie and say I wouldn't love to see something paranormal. It would be fascinating to experience a whole different dimension to our world that we could not fully understand. The simple fact is, though, that there is really not much of a basis for believing these things exist. If someday I see it with my own eyes, then maybe my opinions would change, but for now when looking back, I realize I have no real basis for belief in the paranormal.

In conclusion, I ask believers simply to give everything a second look. Don't jump to conclusions, or let your preconceived notions color your impressions. Look at everything with a rational eye, and I would be willing to bet in 99% of circumstances that your situation is explainable in a very "normal" way :yes: .

If anyone else would like to share their stories, please feel free to add them here. It may, if nothing else, help the believers on this site to understand our perspective and where we are coming from. On a personal note, a special thank you to members Sakari, Shadowofadoubt, Agent Mulder, and Paranormal Skeptic, whose postings and insight in particular on these forums helped me to come to my way of thinking :tu:

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Bendy Demon

That was a very interesting read..I thank you for posting it.

I too once thought myself to be a skeptic yet I tried to be open minded about lots of things. The problem was that I really was not that much of a skeptic and I too resisted the people trying to debunk things. After all it seems only "natural" to want to believe what people say; nonetheless I too would sometimes shake my head at those who tried to debunk things yet there must have been some part of me that was compelling me to continue listening to the "debunkers".

Of course lack of knowledge about any subject makes us more susceptible to the unfounded claims of others so when someone claimed to be studying crop circles, for example, it seemed natural to believe someone who used flashy words, had "witness accounts" of what they felt while in the circles and claimed to do all sorts of studies.

Point is that as one gets older and makes an effort to study things even at a superficial level, one discovers that all the supposed "paranormal" stuff was really nothing more than elaborate hoaxes, deceptions and frauds.

Especially after an experience I had a few years ago with an Ouija board I began to question everything and even the nature of the experience itself. If it is true that I unwittingly did all this stuff to myself somehow then it only stands to reason how easy it can be to delude ourselves and others.

With all of the video technology available to us now, it is rather easy, with a little practice, to doctor up a photo or video..but then again even in the early 1900's and late 1800's photos were found to be faked such as the ones claiming to have captured ghosts or whatever.

I now realize that in the past I was nowhere near as skeptical as I should have been and I resolved, after my experience, that I will NEVER take anything at face value and no matter how convincing something looks or how "sincere" someone claims to be..I will never accept the paranormal as an explanation for anything.

Science, logic and reason must come first and even if something cannot be explained readily doesn't mean we can just jump on the "paranormal/supernatural" wagon.

Seeing is not believing, the eyes or rather the brain can and will deceive you and just because one likes an idea doesn't make it true.

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Nadia B.

Thanks for sharing that. I, myself, came here as WannabeSkeptic. The name came from the need to be skeptical, but the belief that things can't always been explained, even as much as I'd like to explain them away. :lol: I do believe in certain paranormalities, but I've always looked for a rational explanation first and encourage others to do the same. :yes:

What I find so amusing, and it's underlined in your post, is how some believers are very hypocritical. They yell and yell about being openminded, but then can be totally close minded to rational thought. :rolleyes: The key is a healthy balance of common sense, knowledge, and open-mindedness.

Nice post. ^_^

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Rock-Star

Thanks to the both of you for reading a long post, and for your thoughtful replies :D

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Sakari

RockStar ,

You should get some kind of Award for this post :yes:

Thank you for the feedback , and I for one am glad to see someone take the facts handed to them , and not be close minded about it , actually take it all in , and think about it before coming to a solid conclusion......

It is even more nice to see that this did help someone to not be so " close minded " about things that have answers.

Thank You Rock Star , I hope others read this and take your advice , I doubt everyone in that place you were in will , but if it even get's one person to open up a bit , it would be worth it ....

I know from experience it is important for me to point out , the advice given here , is to actually look at evidence , or the lack of , and to not make judgement based off of opinion without fact first.....Get all of the information you can , decipher it all , than form your opinion.....And as in anything , that opinion just might change with new facts that come in , nothing wrong with saying " I am not sure yet ".....

Good Job !

Edited by Sakari

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ShadowSot

I used to be heavy into the fringe side of science.

I had more fringe volumes than actual fiction on my shelves.

However, I also started to read actual history volumes, which showed how much information we have on these cultures. I remember how they tend to present monuments without presenting the culture they were apart of.

The thing that prettymuch got me to be a skeptic were the many, many different and conflicting locations of Atlantis that I read of, as well as a growing understanding of Geology and Plate Tectonics.

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Rock-Star

I know from experience it is important for me to point out , the advice given here , is to actually look at evidence , or the lack of , and to not make judgement based off of opinion without fact first.....Get all of the information you can , decipher it all , than form your opinion.....And as in anything , that opinion just might change with new facts that come in , nothing wrong with saying " I am not sure yet ".....

Good Job !

More excellent advice :tu: , and thanks for your appreciation and kind response to my post!

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Rock-Star

I used to be heavy into the fringe side of science.

I had more fringe volumes than actual fiction on my shelves.

However, I also started to read actual history volumes, which showed how much information we have on these cultures. I remember how they tend to present monuments without presenting the culture they were apart of.

The thing that prettymuch got me to be a skeptic were the many, many different and conflicting locations of Atlantis that I read of, as well as a growing understanding of Geology and Plate Tectonics.

Cool, those are interesting reasons! Thanks for your response.

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The Skeptic Eric Raven

Hi everyone,

Thought I'd do something a bit different with this post. As one who came to UM as a bonafide "believer" in ghosts and the paranormal, I most assuredly used to annoy some of the skeptics on these forums with my paranormal interpretations of things! I would even get a bit testy when someone disagreed with me. After one particular experience with a long running thread, however, I began to see the error in my thinking. I didn't stop to look at the rational explanation first, but always jumped to the fantastical conclusion. I'll freely admit that this may very well have been out of a simple desire to see something crazy, or just about making existence more interesting!

The moment I came to realize that it is better to debunk first was a couple months back when a thread about a certain "Ghost Video" was posted to the forums. It featured a video from a local news station that was labeled something such as "Indisputable proof of the afterlife"! I watched the video with that in mind, and totally saw a ghost child running through a cemetary, jumping high into a tree, then leaping back down. I posted an intrigued response about the video, and was quickly rebuffed that nothing of that sort was happening. I got a little snotty towards some of the skeptical responses, and maintained that I was seeing what I said I had.

As the skeptical responses and debunking theories came in, however, I forced myself to go back and watch the video again, this time at home on a bigger screen. It was a bit painful to admit, but I realized I had been seeing what I wanted to see, and not what was really going on. I came to realize the simple explanations that people gave put this thing to bed rather easily, and came to the realization that maybe I had to start rethinking some of the "paranormal" events from my past. As I did so, I came to see that there were practical, everyday, mostly boring explanations for everything that I had thought outlandish in the past. Finding relatable topics on these boards also helped, as I saw similar explanations from others. Also, reading the skeptical responses again and again, what I once thought was simple rudeness to believers was in actuality in most cases constructive information and very well thought out.

So, in any case, my journey from believer to skeptic came in a relatively short time. Despite this fact, I can't lie and say I wouldn't love to see something paranormal. It would be fascinating to experience a whole different dimension to our world that we could not fully understand. The simple fact is, though, that there is really not much of a basis for believing these things exist. If someday I see it with my own eyes, then maybe my opinions would change, but for now when looking back, I realize I have no real basis for belief in the paranormal.

In conclusion, I ask believers simply to give everything a second look. Don't jump to conclusions, or let your preconceived notions color your impressions. Look at everything with a rational eye, and I would be willing to bet in 99% of circumstances that your situation is explainable in a very "normal" way :yes: .

If anyone else would like to share their stories, please feel free to add them here. It may, if nothing else, help the believers on this site to understand our perspective and where we are coming from. On a personal note, a special thank you to members Sakari, Shadowofadoubt, Agent Mulder, and Paranormal Skeptic, whose postings and insight in particular on these forums helped me to come to my way of thinking :tu:

Great post.

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Ignus Fatuus

Even with all of my god blessed experiences wether it be the Earthlights, Shadow People or accoustic bangs .. I still am quite the skeptic.

Not skeptical of the things which should not be, yet skeptical of calling them ghosts or spirits. It would be ridiculous and hypocritical of me to say that people have not seen ghosts .. yet are they??? Even with these SP's, earthlights and such here which coincedently are found in the middle of thousands of Native American graves I still have a feeling that the Natives saw these lights, heard these sounds and being the spiritualists which they are pointed and believed their experiences were due to the spirits of their ancestors. Thus they named this area sacred and buried their dead here.

With all I have seen .. still do not believe in ghosts. What these things are is totally over my head. Still quite a skeptic!!! Yet I know for fact these things which should not be are real.

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booNyzarC

I tip my hat to your Rock-Star. Excellent post! :tu:

I suspect that a great number of skeptics here originally arrived as believers. I know that I did. The collective wisdom of this fantastic community has a way of cutting through the darkness and shining the light of rationality on a great many things. ;)

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Black Hound

Just wanted to see what my opposite numbers were thinking about being a "skeptic", whatever that really means,and some were quite interesting, though I am quite a "skeptic" as to their reasons. :yes:

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The Skeptic Eric Raven

Just wanted to see what my opposite numbers were thinking about being a "skeptic", whatever that really means,and some were quite interesting, though I am quite a "skeptic" as to their reasons. :yes:

It means using logic, not emotion or wishful thinking, to look at things. Its a great way to be. :yes:

FYI. I am a skeptic that believes in a supreme being/god. I wasn't two years ago, so people can change either way thru out life.

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Rob Awesome

I'm not as skeptical as I am pessimistic. I beleive all kinds of things go on that we are not aware of, I just have yet to see any evidence to support this claim.

I do tend to respond humourously to most threads this is mostly because if we take our own or each others' proof or disproof too seriously it becomes far too easy to become subjective rather than objective.

I guess to sum it up I'd say I'll never stop looking but I'll never stop thinking either

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Ignus Fatuus

I'm not as skeptical as I am pessimistic. I beleive all kinds of things go on that we are not aware of, I just have yet to see any evidence to support this claim.

I do tend to respond humourously to most threads this is mostly because if we take our own or each others' proof or disproof too seriously it becomes far too easy to become subjective rather than objective.

I guess to sum it up I'd say I'll never stop looking but I'll never stop thinking either

I have a Doctorate in BS!!! :lol:

Yet no bull .. there are all kinds of things that go on that many are not aware of. It does not matter if I had even filmed that fifteen minutes of glory with that Earthlight that night .. "had a camcorder in the car with me", yet the only thing that was going through my mind was "what the :huh:"!!!

Catching EVP's, EMF spikes, even Earthlights on camera will never be proof positive enough to prove squat. Does not matter how much or how many times you film or record these events. The world of parapsychology is a lose, lose situation. Until technology arrives to accurately measure these things that should not be ... in the minds of many they will never exist.

I know they are there ... yet to say they are ghosts??? Yet the only fact that I know is these things exist. I would cut the cyst off of my left nut for even a clue to what they are!!! ;) Yes I would!!!

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Podo

When I first joined these boards many a year ago (as another account I have long since forgotten the name of), I was similar to Rock Star. I wanted to believe everything and attribute paranormal explanations to it all.

I was quite young at the time, however. As I grew and expanded my knowledge of the world and learned the meaning of logic and rationality, I became far more critical of most things. Now, I look at everything with a harsh skeptic's eye, exhausting every mundane explanation long before I go for anything vaguely supernatural. I don't doubt that supernatural things happen around us all the time. They're just not magical or divine, or ghosts, etc. They're simply attributes of the natural world that we have not figured out yet.

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FlyingAngel

I know that science has discovered a lot of thing. I also know that science didn't discover all the things. That's what I called "unknown zone". In the world, we can't just rely on logic and rational. Astrologist for example, in order to discover new thing, you got to use your his eyes to do it. Sometime, we have to rely on our sense, our perception.

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Big Bad Voodoo

I dont like generalisation of any kind. Same here. I dont consider myself believer or sceptic.

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Timothy

Hey Rock-Star I'm glad I read your post.

I have always been a skeptic but like you I would love for something 'out-of-this-world' to be proven.

Can I ask if you feel a sense of liberation now that you have changed your way of thinking? (That could sound a bit rude but I mean no offense)

Thanks for the post ;)

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ShadowSot

Cool, those are interesting reasons! Thanks for your response.

I remembered one other thing that helped draw me towards skepticism: Everything unknown is aliens.

It was silly, an unexplained blob? Aliens.

Skull not immediately recognizable? Aliens.

Weird dreams? Aliens.

Your Mom! Aliens!

It made me think a little more about how people interpret what they see.

If something's unknown, it's unknown. It doesn't automatically mean something paranormal, but some people will leap to that point.

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Paranormalcy

Thanks for an insightful post and sharing your own personal views for the benefit of others - that is always great when someone helps others understand how to see things from another perspective.

I also dislike the binary idea of skeptic/believer but if you had to "round up", I suppose you'd have to pick one or the other - but people DON'T have to pick one or the other, really - but you can have a developed and well-applied sense of skepticism and pragmatism that is your primary approach to situations that don't make immediate mundane sense.

Much like others here, I believed various things that I either no longer believe at all, or believe or even just HOPE may exist, but have not seen what I feel is any significant proof, or am more circumspect as to what the possible explanations for these things ARE - I should note however I never had a super strong SPECIFIC belief in anything except maybe psychic abilities like ESP; I always believed in ghosts but never had a gut conviction of exactly what they were - I STILL believe in "ghost phenomena" but I haven't seen anything that "proves" they're spirits of the dead.

In a way it is disappointing and disheartening to not be able to get all excited and amazed at things, but instead go into analytical mode when you read or hear something unusual, but on the other hand, it is a privilege to be able to make use of reason and critical thinking which is underdeveloped in some people.

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Big Bad Voodoo

It made me think a little more about how people interpret what they see.

viewpoint-middle.gif

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Sakari

I know that science has discovered a lot of thing. I also know that science didn't discover all the things. That's what I called "unknown zone". In the world, we can't just rely on logic and rational. Astrologist for example, in order to discover new thing, you got to use your his eyes to do it. Sometime, we have to rely on our sense, our perception.

I dont like generalisation of any kind. Same here. I dont consider myself believer or sceptic.

Isn't the title of the thread here :

" Why you became a skeptic " ?

No offense at all , but I would not go into a discussion of " why you became a believer " and post why I am not one , or why people should not be one......( I know a few would )....Strange how topics here can go....

Sorry , had to share that.....Back on topic :)

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ShadowSot

I also dislike the binary idea of skeptic/believer but if you had to "round up", I suppose you'd have to pick one or the other - but people DON'T have to pick one or the other, really - but you can have a developed and well-applied sense of skepticism and pragmatism that is your primary approach to situations that don't make immediate mundane sense.

Very good point, when it comes to aliens I classify myself as a skeptical believer, while on ancient history threads I'm definitely a full on skeptic.

I usually just make it easy an classify myself as a skeptic, though, as when it comes to aliens I think most of us fall under the heading of skeptical believer.

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Kazahel

In conclusion, I ask believers simply to give everything a second look. Don't jump to conclusions, or let your preconceived notions color your impressions. Look at everything with a rational eye, and I would be willing to bet in 99% of circumstances that your situation is explainable in a very "normal" way :yes: .

I think I am quite skeptical but I think most people would assume I am not because I tend to believe in personal experiences which cannot be explained simply. The 'explanations' I have been generally given are that 1. Your memory is wrong(which is untrue because others remember the same thing and I write things down)or 2. That I am a liar(which is also untrue)or 3. That certain things are simply a coincidence(which I think is a big stretch).

Take for example shared dreaming. To keep my example(personal experience)very short, I once dreamt(like an obe)I was walking around my house and someone had sprayed red paint over all the walls and I couldnt understand who had trashed my house. In the morning I asked my son what he dreamt(before telling him anything of my dream). He told me he dreamt he was running around our house painting all the walls red with spray paint. And we had not had anything to do with red paint during the waking hours.

So I believe in shared dreaming and I think that would probably come under paranormal. And I probably wouldnt believe in shared dreaming as much as I do unless I had experienced it as distinctly as I did. So I guess I am naturally skeptical but am a believer considering.

Edited by Kazahel

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