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Paradigm Paralysis

By William F. Fechter
Posted on: 9/15/2004

All correspondence received by Skeptic Friends Network or its staff becomes the property of Skeptic Friends Network, and may be printed without the consent of the author.

Come see what happens when an opponent of paradigm paralysis becomes trapped within his own.


William F. Fechter wrote, on July 21, 2004:

I was glad to see that you would put a book like The God Hypothesis on your web site. The problem I see with becoming a skeptic or to join with a group of skeptics is that it is like joining a church. Once we become involved with a certain system of beliefs we become biased in our beliefs and the paradigm effect sets in. We humans tend to want to be around other people that think like us because it brings us some level of comfort. Right behind this paradigm effect is paradigm paralysis and I see more paradigm paralysis in atheists than I do in most traditional Christians. Skepticism can lead to cynicism and a cynic would not be able to see reality if they stepped on it. I suppose all are needed because we saw what happened when the religious ran the world. And we all saw what happened when the atheists tried to run the world.

Bill




Kil replied, on July 24, 2004:

Bill:

Hi there, and thanks for your letter to the SFN. I would like to comment on some of the observations you have made in your note to us.
I was glad to see that you would put a book like The God
Hypothesis on your web site. The problem I see with becoming
a skeptic or to join with a group of skeptics is that it is
like joining a church. Once we become involved with a
certain system of beliefs we become biased in our beliefs
and the paradigm effect sets in.
Skepticism is not a belief system. Skeptics promote critical thinking as the best way to evaluate claims of fact. It is a method, not unlike and related to the “scientific method,” for examining claims of fact to determine what value they may actually have, if any. To that end we employ science and logic. Whatever our conclusions are, they remain tentative in that we must remain open to new evidence that may support what once appeared to be an unlikely claim.

We all have a bias. I think the best way to cut through that bias and get to the “truth” of things is to have a non-dogmatic method for doing that. Critical thinking is our tool of choice. The rules of logic keep us honest.
We humans tend to want to be around other people that think
like us because it brings us some level of comfort. Right
behind this paradigm effect is paradigm paralysis and I see
more paradigm paralysis in atheists than I do in most
traditional Christians.
You are correct that we are a group of skeptics. In general, I am not a joiner. But in an effort to make critical thinking the default method for evaluating claims of fact, our numbers matter. Teaching people how to recognize and cut through all the bologna out there cannot be a solo project. This is a grassroots effort to teach people how to think, not what to think.

Also, we are not all atheists. I happen to be agnostic. And we do have theists in are ranks. Perhaps you could explain further what you mean by “more paradigm paralysis in atheists” and how that relates to an organization that promotes critical thinking. The atheists that I know personally have told me that if evidence were to show up, other than anecdotal, in support for the existence of god, they would re-examine their position on the matter.
Skepticism can lead to cynicism and a cynic would not be
able to see reality if they stepped on it.
I am not a cynic. You are right that if all we do is to doubt everything, we would not recognize a good idea or a valid claim. But that is not who we are and that is not what we promote. Carl Sagan once said that we must, as skeptics, remain open to new ideas. I believe that. He also said that we should not be so open minded that our brains fall out. I believe that too. So we need to have a way of evaluating claims. Frankly, I’m pretty tired of the skepticism = cynicism misunderstanding of what we are about. There would be no point in pursuing skepticism or critical thinking if I already knew what every outcome was going to be. I would go as far as to say that we sometimes expose cynics. Those who use pseudoscience to bolster a claim they know is untrue in a cynical attempt to part a credulous public from some of their money, would be an example of that.
I suppose all are needed because we saw what happened when
the religious ran the world. And we all saw what happened
when the atheists tried to run the world.
What we saw were those who centralized their power by controlling people though religion in both cases. The Soviets banned theistic religion so that they could make the state the religion. They didn’t want to share their power with the church, or have other influences over peoples’ thinking. They just didn’t put it that way. Of course, this is just my opinion.

While I am a strong advocate of the establishment clause of the First Amendment, I am also a strong advocate of freedom of religion. I shudder to think of what our country would be like if it was a theocracy or had a policy of enforced atheism. Anyhow, what this has to do with any objection you may have to skepticism you would need to explain to me.

Thanks very much for your thoughts. Hope I was able to share with you a deeper understanding of who we are…

David Glück



William F. Fechter wrote, on July 25, 2004:

Thank you for taking the time to respond to my comments. All humans have a system of beliefs, most just don’t recognize the impact that their beliefs have on them, myself included. You apparently have had different experiences than I have with atheists. Even when evidence is presented that an event was probably due to more than chance, the skeptics always fall back on chance, fraud, or wishful thinking. It is the atheists that I find very closed minded not so much the agnostics. I believe the evidence is there for gaining knowledge of an underlying reality that our five senses very seldom sees. The exception would be the mystics. I do understand where you are coming from because there is so much dogma and blind faith out there in the world it is hard for any logical person not to be a skeptic but skepticis can blind us to this underlying reality. It is nearly impossible to see our own paradigm paralysis and apparently this includes the skeptics. Thanks again.

Bill Fechter




Kil replied, on August 19, 2004:

Hi Bill:

Thanks for the reply. I can’t tell you how many times I have heard that my skepticism blocks my ability to see beyond what we usually call reality. Since so many who, for example, say they have personally seen ghosts and also say they were once skeptical of the existence of ghosts, why should it be that I cannot see them? But that is exactly what I have been told. My skepticism gets in the way. I have to assume then that those who say they were once skeptical of ghosts but are now convinced that they exist are liars. But what exactly are they lying about and why?

I have trouble buying the idea that evidence for such things as an “underlying reality” will not be available to me simply because I use a method for evaluating evidence. Remember, I said a skeptic must be open-minded. I meant that.

The problem is that if a plausible natural explanation exists for some occurrence that seems paranormal by casual observation, we skeptics will choose the natural explanation. Is that “paradigm paralysis” or common sense? Sure, we may be wrong. But without some compass to go by, how can we know anything? It seems to me that if the criteria for evaluating evidence for an unusual claim is fair and consistent, any bias we may have while pondering the problem will have a minimal effect on any conclusion the evidence demands. In fact, without a method for evaluating a claim, all we are left with is a bias that will more than likely confirm our beliefs. If we believe in miracles, then it was a miracle. If we don’t believe in miracles, it wasn’t a miracle. Case closed.

Once again, critical thinking is a method, not a belief system. It’s a tool. It is my belief that it is the best tool for evaluating claims of fact. I don’t buy that it’s a catch-22 since critical thinking makes no claims of its own.

So Bill, in the spirit of critical thinking and skeptical inquirery I have to ask you, what evidence is there that “mystics” can see more than the rest of us, and what evidence is there that skeptics are victims of “paradigm paralysis?”

Thanks again writting to SFN.

David Glück



William F. Fechter wrote, on August 20, 2004:

Hi David,

You make some good points about all of us needing to be skeptical. I think it is a matter of degree. We can become so skeptical that our beliefs filter our incoming data and will effect our perception of reality. What proof is there that mystics can see more than we normal folks? Well, mystics have been telling us what they see for thousands of years and we turn a deaf ear. They are pretty consistent in what they tell us but not entirely. Many let their religious beliefs effect their perception of what they see. I agree it is a tough call to figure out what is reality and what is perception. Again, beliefs affect our perception of reality. Skepticism can be as much a belief system as religious beliefs. Our minds are not as open as we might think. My experience after teaching hundreds of seminars is that those that think they have an open mind don’t. Two great scientists Oliver Lodge and William Crookes in England used critical thinking, skepticism and the scientific method to study the paranormal and came to the conclusion that consciousness survives death. They were even able to obtain physical evidence such as locks of hair and finger prints of manifested entities but the scientists still were unable to believe them. Scientists do not have a good track record of accepting new ideas. In my own personal search for truth I have found the atheists the most rigid in their beliefs. This came as a surprise to me but it makes sense. The atheist cannot have anything unexplained so he or she must always rely of the defense of the unexplained is due to chance, coincidence, wishful thinking or the person is lying. I proved to one atheist that the chance of some event happening without help from the other side was .0000000000000000000000008 out of 100. He stated that it was still due to chance or that I fudged the numbers with statistics. When we have made up our mind that there is no underlying reality no amount of information or proof is sufficient. I read The God Hypothesis and basically he is saying that there is intelligent design behind physical life. I agree with him but he sure made a thick book out of it.
Thanks for the reply.

Bill




William F. Fechter wrote, on August 20, 2004:

http://www.cfpf.org.uk/
David thought you would find this website interesting.




Kil replied, on September 8, 2004:

Hello Bill:

Thanks for writing back. Again, I have comments and questions.
You make some good points about all of us needing to be
skeptical. I think it is a matter of degree. We can become
so skeptical that our beliefs filter our incoming data and
will effect our perception of reality.
I answer this assetion by referring back to my first reply. I said, “You are right that if all we do is to doubt everything, we would not recognize a good idea or a valid claim. But that is not who we are and that is not what we promote.” Again, skepticism is a tool and not a belief.
What proof is there that mystics can see more than we
normal folks? Well, mystics have been telling us what they
see for thousands of years and we turn a deaf ear. They
are pretty consistent in what they tell us but not
entirely. Many let their religious beliefs effect their
perception of what they see. I agree it is a tough call to
figure out what is reality and what is perception. Again,
beliefs affect our perception of reality.
I’m sorry, but this does not answer my question. It tells me what you think, but I had a pretty fair grasp of that already. I asked you for evidence, not proof, that mystics can see more than the rest of us. I’m still asking.
Skepticism can be as much a belief system as religious
beliefs. Our minds are not as open as we might think. My
experience after teaching hundreds of seminars is that
those that think they have an open mind don’t.
Sigh… Please explain the belief system of skeptics, and how it is as much a religious belief as, well, a religious belief? And while you are at it, I will ask once again, what evidence there is to assert that skeptics are victims of “paradigm paralysis?” I understand that you hold this belief. Do you have anything that would suggest that this is nothing more than your personal belief? Perhaps if you will share with me what your seminars are on, it may shed some light on why you would you would imply that skeptics are dogmatic and back your assertion that we are closed-minded? My hope is that you haven’t come to that conclusion simply because there are skeptics who do not agree with you.
Two great scientists Oliver Lodge and William Crookes in
England used critical thinking, skepticism and the
scientific method to study the paranormal and came to the
conclusion that consciousness survives death. They were
even able to obtain physical evidence such as locks of
hair and finger prints of manifested entities but the
scientists still were unable to believe them.
I will address the story and the claims made on the site you recommended to me:
http://www.cfpf.org.uk/
But first, let me say something about the logical fallacy of an “appeal to authority.” Yes, Crookes was a scientist of note. Yes, he could speak with authority about his discoveries in chemistry. Yes, he probably deserved all the honors bestowed upon him. But it should be noted that every one of the honors were in the field in which he was an expert. Just how exactly did his expertise in chemistry make him an expert in the investigation of the paranormal? Did he have any degrees in psychology? Did he have the expert eye of a magician who knows how to spot trickery?

You can learn more about the logical fallacy of “appeals to authority” at:
http://skepdic.com/authorty.html
I’ll have more to say about the link you sent to me later in this letter.
Scientists do not have a good track record of accepting
new ideas.
Science cannot move forward without “new ideas.” Since you are probably talking about the scientific rejection of some paranormal claims (the ones that can be tested in some way), your statement about science is nothing more than hyperbole.
In my own personal search for truth I have found the
atheists the most rigid in their beliefs. This came as a
surprise to me but it makes sense. The atheist cannot
have anything unexplained so he or she must always rely
of the defense of the unexplained is due to chance,
coincidence, wishful thinking or the person is lying.
Any scientists, atheist or not, would love to have solid evidence for anything supernatural. A contribution of that kind would greatly expand our knowledge and seal the scientist’s place in history. What have you got?
I proved to one atheist that the chance of some event
happening without help from the other side was
.0000000000000000000000008 out of 100. He stated that it
was still due to chance or that I fudged the numbers with
statistics. When we have made up our mind that there is no
underlying reality no amount of information or proof is
sufficient.
Once something happens, the chance of it happening becomes one hundred percent. But again, what have you got? We have more than one mathematician here at SFN who would probably love to have a look at the event you are speaking of and how you arrived at your calculation.
I read The God Hypothesis and basically he is saying that
there is intelligent design behind physical life. I agree
with him but he sure made a thick book out of it.
I haven’t read it. As I understand it though, there is a whole bunch about aliens and such…

Now, lets take a look at the link you sent me:
http://www.cfpf.org.uk/
The article was written by Maurice Barbanell (1902-1981), founder-editor of Psychic News to rebut an article in The New Scientist. Aside from the logical fallacy of appeals to authority that Bardanell makes about Sir William Crookes, I really don’t care about the specifics of the attack and counter-attack. What interests me more are the links at the bottom of the page that “prove” that Florence Cook was the genuine article.

An excerpt from a letter from Crookes:
“The séance was held at the house of Mr. Luxmore, and the ‘cabinet’ was a back drawing-room, separated from the front room in which the company sat by a curtain. The usual formality of searching the room and examining the fastenings having been gone through, Miss Cook entered the cabinet.

“After a little time the form of Katie appeared at the side of the curtain, but soon retreated, saying her medium was not well, and could not be put into a sufficiently deep sleep to make it safe for her to be left.

“I was sitting within a few feet of the curtain close behind which Miss Cook was sitting, and I could frequently hear her moan and sob, as if in pain. This uneasiness continued at intervals nearly the whole duration of the sťance, and once, when the form of Katie was standing before me in the room, I distinctly heard a sobbing, moaning sound, identical with that which Miss Cook had been making at intervals the whole time of the séance, come from behind the curtain where the young lady was supposed to be sitting.

“I admit that the figure was startlingly life-like and real, and, as far as I could see in the somewhat dim light, the features resembled those of Miss Cook; but still the positive evidence of one of my own senses that the moan came from Miss Cook in the cabinet, whilst the figure was outside, is too strong to be upset by a mere inference to the contrary, however well supported.”
- http://www.cfpf.org.uk/articles/scientists/crookes/1874-02-03_crookes.html
Many magicians are still using the Cabinet Illusion in one form or another. It’s a very good illusion. Before I link to how Cook may have done her trick I need to point out that Crookes himself stated that (Katie) “was startlingly life-like and real, and, as far as I could see in the somewhat dim light, the features resembled those of Miss Cook.” That should have raised some alarms in a skeptic, an assertion that Crookes made about himself before he became convinced of Cook’s abilities.

As for the cabinet itself, please see:
SPIRIT CABINETS
Communicating with the Spirits
http://www.prairieghosts.com/cabinets.html
Following another link on the site I came upon a group of photographs taken by Sir Crookes and others associated with his “controlled experiments.” That “Katie” materialized completely may shed some light on how they could have come up with the physical evidence you described above. That the evidence wasn’t even considered comes as no surprise to me since the cabinet trick was not unknown at the time.
http://www.survivalafterdeath.org/photographs.htm
The International Survivalist Society makes this astonishing statement about photograph one.
“This photograph taken by the eminent physicist and chemist Sir William Crookes, using magnesium light, is perhaps the most crucial.

‘Sceptics’ often attempt to explain away materialisations by claiming the medium and the materialised form are the same person, i.e. the medium somehow play-acts the whole thing by impersonating different individuals using an array of costumes, accents, etc. This photograph proves otherwise. Both the medium and the materialised figure can be seen at the same time - proving they were two separate entities.”
Well, come on! This is only picture in the series that Katie appears in with her face fully covered. No alarms? If I was to parody this kind of proof, I couldn’t do a better job than the real proof offered here!

Crookes own words:
“On entering the cabinet, Miss Cook lies down upon the floor, with her head on a pillow, and is soon entranced. During the photographic séance, Katie muffled her medium’s head up in a shawl to prevent the light falling upon her face. I frequently drew the curtain on one side when Katie was standing near, and it was a common thing for the seven or eight of us in the laboratory to see Miss Cook and Katie at the same time, under the full blaze of the electric light. We did not on these occasions actually see the face of the medium because of the shawl, but we saw her hands and feet; we saw her move uneasily under the influence of the intense light, and we heard her moan occasionally. I have one photograph of the two together, but Katie is seated in front of Miss Cook’s head.”
What can I say? Am I closed-minded? The problem with the pictures took me about three seconds to recognize. Should I be expected to except Crookes explanations because he was an expert in the field of chemistry?

Here is another link if you want to learn more about Spiritualism in general:
http://www.adam.com.au/bstett/SupernatSpiritualism16.htm
Thanks again for writing,

David Glück



William F. Fechter wrote, on September 8, 2004:

http://www.survivalafterdeath.org/experiments/materialisation/duncan.htm
Hi, David,

You may want to read this article because it is a case of a famous magician and his thoughts on the paranormal after he sat in a séance with Helen Duncan. But really, David, until you come to realize that all organizations have a system of beliefs even a skeptic organization you will be unable to accept any evidence of anything paranormal.

Regards

Bill




Kil replied, on September 9, 2004:

Hi Bill,

Thanks for addressing at least one of my questions with the link you sent to me. Unfortunately, there is no way for me to know if the magician was fooled or not. Since this took place in 1932 and the only sources are from pro-psychic sites, I guess I will just have to take Will Goldston at his word and accept that he believed that no trickery was involved. And maybe no trickery was involved. I dunno…

As for your continued assertion that skeptics have a belief system that prevents us from accepting “any evidence of anything paranormal,” I would still like to know on what you base this claim? You could answer all my other questions to you while you are at it. Frankly, based on the fact that you have left most of my questions to you unanswered again, I have to conclude that your beliefs are so impenetrable and so filled with bias and certainty that any challenge to them is not worth your time. And after all, all I did was ask you to back up some assertions that you made!

Oh well. I’m going go off now to wallow in my “paradigm paralysis” because it is my nature to wonder at what is real and what is not…

Thanks again for the reply,

David Gluck (The Evil Skeptic)



William F. Fechter wrote, on September 9, 2004:

Hi, David,

Hey, I will take an “I don’t know.” “I don’t know” is a powerful statement. It is when we think we know and don’t know that is referred to as positive ignorance, whereas negative ignorance is when we don’t know that we don’t know. Both cause a lot of suffering, but positive ignorance is the most difficult to overcome. As far as being the evil skeptic, consider that all evil is based in ignorance. No ignorance, no evil. The Buddha discovered that all suffering is due to some level of ignorance, and 2,500 years later 99% of the world still does not know what the Buddha discovered, not even 2/3rds of his monks. Most of his monks confuse symptoms of ignorance such as attachment and craving with the root cause of attachment and craving, which is ignorance. Now that is an example of paradigm paralysis on a massive scale for 2,500 years. No, I am not a Buddhist.

As far as skeptics not being a part of a belief system, all organizations have as their core a commonality of beliefs. We tend to like being around people that think like us, or stated another way, we tend to join organizations that foster the same beliefs that we have. Beliefs have a way of filtering the information coming into our consciousness. This is often referred to as the paradigm effect. This paradigm effect can lead to paradigm paralysis. To give you an idea of how powerful this paradigm paralysis can be, Christians believe that they have a god of love and perfection, but also a god of wrath and anger, so he sacrifices an only son so a few might be saved from eternal damnation. If god was a baker he would burn the whole batch.

None of these things I just stated in the previous paragraph pass even a simple logic test, but yet over 1 billion people on this planet believe this very thing. Now here is what I find interesting: these Christians do not suffer from as much paradigm paralysis as an atheist. Why is this? Well, I think it is because if the atheist finds one piece of information unexplainable then his or her whole belief system comes tumbling down. Hence, a very rigid belief system that fosters both positive and negative ignorance. Thanks for the “I don’t know,” I was impressed.

Bill Fechter




Kil replied, on September 11, 2004:

OK Bill,

One more time. You keep talking about the beliefs a skeptic has. Please tell me exactly what those beliefs are and how they cause paradigm paralysis? I am not interested in a general hypothesis on how groups may become afflicted. I don’t care about positive and negative ignorance. I’m not interested in why you feel that atheists suffer from this affliction. The fact is you have made so many assertions that it would make me happy if you addressed even one of them.

Frankly, Bill, going back over your letters, by your own definition of paradigm paralysis, you seem to suffer from the same affliction. You have demonstrated that by answering direct questions with hypothesized generalizations and anecdotes that only seem to affirm your own bias. I have explained to you what a skeptic is more than once and yet you keep talking about our beliefs without actually saying what you think they are. How about it Bill? Can you give me a direct answer to my questions?

Again: exactly what beliefs do skeptics have that cause us paradigm paralysis?

David Glück



William F. Fechter wrote, on September 12, 2004:

Hi, David,

You wanted one belief that applies to you, so I will give you one. The belief that positive and negative ignorance does not apply to you or your organization. The two greatest obstacles we must overcome are positive and negative ignorance. OK, I will give you one more belief. The belief that everything metaphysical can be explained by chance, wishful thinking, and coincidence. OK, I will give you one more: the belief that you and your organization do not have a system of beliefs. There, you have three to ponder, but my guess is that your belief that you don’t have any paradigms that keep you from seeing reality will prevent you from seeing the beliefs I have mentioned. For your information, that is called paradigm paralysis and we all have it to one degree or another. My point has been that my observation has been that the atheists have this paradigm paralysis to a greater degree than most people I come into contact with. This is easy to understand once we realize that they must have a rigid set of beliefs because if they admit to one thing they cannot explain then their belief system is threatened by the slippery slope. This is why the words “I don’t know” are so powerful because it admits to our ignorance rather than falling into the trap of positive an negative ignorance.

Bill Fechter




Kil replied, on September 13, 2004:

Hi Bill:

Perhaps you didn’t actually understand what I was asking for in my last letter to you. I’m about to give up on trying to get though your obvious prejudice but allow me to comment on the assertions you have made in reply to that letter.
You wanted one belief that applies to you so I will
give you one.
That is not what I asked for at all. What I asked for was specific beliefs skeptics hold that would cause them paradigm paralysis.
The belief that positive and negative ignorance does
not apply to you or your organization. The two greatest
obstacles we must overcome are positive and negative
ignorance.
Since no skeptic that I know sits and ponders positive and negative ignorance as you do, I do not think you can actually call that a belief that skeptics hold. This is a straw man argument. You build a straw man by making up a belief (held by skeptics, in this case) and then continue your argument by knocking that belief down. Also, we skeptics are aware of our own ignorance. That is why we ask questions…
OK, I will give you one more belief. The belief that
everything metaphysical can be explained by chance,
wishful thinking, and coincidence.
Have you actually read my replies to you? Or are you just stuck in this belief? Here is how it is, Bill: we skeptics believe that a method is needed to evaluate evidence for psi, or any other extraordinary claim for that matter. Our method of choice is called critical thinking, using science and logic as guides. I have told you many times that a skeptic must be open minded to the idea that the evidence presented will confirm, to at least some degree, a claim we are at first skeptical about. Otherwise there is no point in conducting investigations to evaluate extraordinary claims. I suspect your belief that we have an answer for all things metaphysical has grown out of the fact that as of yet we have found nothing that would confirm those beliefs that you cherish so. On the other hand, there are some claims that cannot be proved to be false. And with that in mind, I have shown you that a skeptic is capable of saying “I don’t know.” In fact it is a regular thing with us…
OK, I will give you one more: the belief that you and
your organization do not have a system of beliefs.
Based on evidence, or lacking evidence, many skeptics share the same doubts about certain claims that still remain open to question. Does doubt equal belief? Don’t you have to settle on something for it to become a belief? I was not aware of the fact that doubting as a skeptic does is a belief system. Perhaps you are talking about our confidence in critical thinking as our method of choice for learning all we can about ours and others beliefs? Personally, I would love to see some convincing evidence for psi. My skepticism should not prevent me from being able to evaluate the evidence for that.
There, you have three to ponder, but my guess is that
your belief that you don’t have any paradigms that keep
you from seeing reality will prevent you from seeing
the beliefs I have mentioned.
So you’re saying that any response by me contrary to your assertions will fail based on your criteria. How nice for you. But there is this for you to ponder: what if my responses fail in your view because you are stuck in your own paradigm paralysis? Remember, I was the one who said “I don’t know” when there wasn’t enough evidence for me to say one way or the other if psi was happening in the case you sent me. I am perfectly comfortable saying “I don’t know.” And I think I am pretty typical of skeptics in general… And who said I have no paradigms?
For your information, that is called paradigm paralysis
and we all have it to one degree or another.
And I am saying that a method is needed to sort out what is real and what is not, so that any bias we may have doesn’t prejudice the answers we are seeking…
My point has been that my observation has been that the
atheists have this paradigm paralysis to a greater degree
than most people I come into contact with. This is easy to
understand once we realize that they must have a rigid set
of beliefs because if they admit to one thing they cannot
explain then their belief system is threatened by the
slippery slope.
Atheists see no evidence for god. I see no evidence for god. But let me do this: I am going to send you a list of your latest assertions that our editor sent to me after reading your response as a reply to the atheist question and everything else you have stated as a matter of fact.

Dave W. says this:
And Bill displays these beliefs:
1) that skeptics aren’t aware of their own ignorance,
2) that skeptics attempt to explain “everything metaphysical” as chance, wishful thinking, and/or coincidence (there are many more possible explanations than that, including “this metaphysical thing is real”),
3) that skepticism is a belief system, and not a method of thought (this is a symptom of Bill’s paradigm paralysis),
4) that skeptics are unaware that the three beliefs he lists aren’t good things,
5) that atheists display more paradigm paralysis than others in general,
6) that athiests must actively deny god, instead of what we normally do: ignore him,
7) that there is some evidence of some god which is good enough to withstand serious scrutiny,
8) that “accepting” such evidence puts atheists on a “slippery slope” (a logical term without meaning in that context), and
9) that skeptics and/or atheists think that “I don’t know” is an unacceptable answer to questions.
Once again, Bill has told you what his beliefs are, but he refuses to support them with any sort of evidence that skeptics are actually
guilty of any of these charges. Bill believes that we are, but cannot seem to bring himself to show us the facts of the matter, instead just repeating his opinions.
[Bill continued:]
This is why the words “I don’t know” are so powerful
because it admits to our ignorance rather than falling
into the trap of positive an negative ignorance.
Apparently you were not impressed enough by my own “I don’t know” for you to consider the need on your part for a “paradigm shift” in your thinking about us.

I sign all my posts at SFN with these words:
“Uncertainty may make you uncomfortable, certainty makes you ridiculous.”
You seem to be certain about a lot of things, Bill…

David Glück



William F. Fechter wrote, on September 14, 2004:

Spiritism and Science complement each other: Science, without Spiritism, will find it impossible to explain certain phenomena through the laws that govern only matter. And Spiritism, without Science, will lack support and corroboration.
- Allan Kardec, “The Genesis”
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