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Piltdown
Skeptic Friend

USA
312 Posts

Posted - 05/20/2001 :  02:33:22  Show Profile  Send Piltdown an AOL message  Send Piltdown a Yahoo! Message Send Piltdown a Private Message
What is your favorite story of a face-to-face encounter with a far-gone creationist, new age wacko, ufool, or other non-critical thinker?
This is mine:
About 5 years ago, I was visiting the University of North Texas. A fellow skeptic who was on the faculty there told me that UNT was offering a course in "aura reading" as part of their continuing education program. I was incredulous, she asked me to visit the class with her and see for myself, and we duly showed up and sat in.
A few minutes into the class, the instructor, a middle aged crystal-bedecked woman in a paisley sack, asked me if I was skeptical of her claims. The steam coming from my ears must have been a clue, but I had already identified myself as a geologist and had arrived with a known (and notorious) skeptic.
I confirmed that I was, indeed, highly skeptical and thought that her class belonged in a new-age warehouse/ashram and not in a state university classroom. I also mentioned science, critical thinking, the usual stuff we benighted skeptics toss at the profitably self-enlightened. She responded with some half-baked statement about science being an invention of European white males and therefore a device of oppression. Then she said something so extraordinary that I wrote down her exact words, and have kept them ever since:

"Intuition and sympathetic magic are part of a nurturing, life-centered world view that is at least as valid as all this warlike male science of yours"

She also called my female colleague something like an "unwitting tool of the patriarchy."

I responded, "Ok, we'll both take a flight to Chicago, I'll get on a plane designed by wicked oppressor scientists and engineers, you get on one designed by a committee of witch doctors, we'll see who gets there."
Before the instructor could respond, my colleague suggested that the instructor could forget the plane since she could fly there on her broom. At that point we were asked to leave.


bestonnet_00
Skeptic Friend

Australia
358 Posts

Posted - 05/20/2001 :  02:46:56   [Permalink]  Show Profile  Send bestonnet_00 an ICQ Message  Send bestonnet_00 a Yahoo! Message
LOL.

I wonder if the broomstick would ever get more then 10 m off the ground?

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rubysue
Skeptic Friend

USA
199 Posts

Posted - 05/20/2001 :  13:54:58   [Permalink]  Show Profile Send rubysue a Private Message
LOL! Had to comment on your story. It's a great example of the post-modernist hooey that pervades our society. Count me in as one of the "unwitting tools of the patriarchy" who regularly uses the evil tools invented by the militaristic European white males (and I like the music written by those dead white Europeans, too).

Here's a story: A few years ago my hubby and I had a passing acquaintance with another couple in our area (occasional dinner, movies, etc.). We knew that she was interested in new-age stuff like chakra healing, tantric massage, astrological herb gardening (chamomile planted only under the sign of Virgo or some such nonsense), etc., etc. Well, the final straw came one evening when she offered to clear and cleanse our blocked up chakras (we'd been out to dinner and indulged in a few adult beverages at the time of this offer). My hubby (who shares my skepticism) shrugged and said "What the hell, I'll go first". She had him lay flat on the floor and put little crystals or rocks or some such crap on his throat, wrists, stomach (near the Pancreas, I believe) and ankles. She then started waving a larger crystal over the "chakra points" and making judgements about "the flow of his Chi". I started to get the giggles and tried to avoid eye contact with my hubby, who looked so silly on the floor listening to this prattle. She finally stopped over his throat and said that this "chakra" was really dirty and needed clearing. At this point, my dear hubby said that it could be the large hairball he had been meaning to regurgitate. That was it - we both lost it and collapsed into spasms of laughter. The little rocks went flying and our acquaintance stomped off into another room. I believe her hubby (now ex-hubby) also fell down laughing, which was probably not a good thing for their marriage.

Needless to say, we didn't do anything more with this couple after this disaster.

rubysue (with the blocked chakras)

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Kil
Evil Skeptic

USA
13457 Posts

Posted - 05/20/2001 :  14:39:33   [Permalink]  Show Profile  Visit Kil's Homepage  Send Kil an AOL message  Send Kil a Yahoo! Message Send Kil a Private Message
>What is your favorite story of a face-to-face encounter with a far-gone creationist, new age wacko, ufool, or other non-critical thinker?<

My gosh, there are so many. Here is one:

I went to a psychic expo in Pasadena last summer. There were a few seminars. I decided to go to the one on "spoon bending." The speaker immediately announced at the onset that he wasn't going to bend any spoons for this occasion. Instead, he brought a briefcase that held his lecture materials and evidence of a person's ability to bend spoons. He brought some bent spoons. Honest! He even passed them around. The idea was to get audience to sign up for a spoon bending class. He absolutely refused to do a demonstration of the art.

Before I go on to my reason for writing this post I thought I might share what I learned at the seminar about how to bend a spoon. This if free info folks.

Connect Command Let Go

1) Connect with subject.
You must focus and connect with the spoon.
2) Command.
You have to tell the spoon what you want it to do. (Otherwise, how will it know?) At times you might actually have to say out loud, "Spoon, Bend!"
3)Let go.
Release the thought into the spoon. If you don't let go the spoon will keep on bending. Sometimes the spoon can keep bending for up to three days. For some reason, unknown, three days seems to be the limit.

Anyway, during the lecture he mentioned remote viewing. He claimed that the CIA had studied remote viewing with much success. He droned on about the powers of the mind and yada yada. At the end of the lecture he asked for questions. I raised my hand. I asked him why, if remote viewing was successfully demonstrated by CIA researchers, had the program been dropped? (It is sad but true that the CIA did, in fact, research remote viewing.) I asked him why, if the results were positive, would the CIA turn its back on a cheap and risk (to life and limb) free form of espionage? His answer?

"Politics" he said.

"Who's politics" I asked?

"Certain people in congress."

"What was their motive for killing the program?"

"I really can't answer that at this time...."

Well, gee. I didn't want to get the guy killed or something. Obviously, the fact that "certain people in congress" felt strongly enough to cut the remote viewing research even though the results were positive, meant business. Anyway, this line of questioning ended because he was done with me.





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ljbrs
SFN Regular

USA
842 Posts

Posted - 06/02/2001 :  10:59:20   [Permalink]  Show Profile Send ljbrs a Private Message
I seldom go out of my way to make the acquaintance of sweet little baloney believers and hogwash harassers (wasting precious time in my life with nonsense). I actually feel sorry for such people, because of what they are missing in their poor little lives. They are petrified of thinking otherwise because of a fear of the nonexistent consequences of such irreverent thought.

On the other hand, when peddlers of religious materials, or other such baloney, make any attempt to push their foolish ideas upon me, I take exception to that rule.

On many mornings, when I had been ready to get into my car to go to work, some female would come running up to my car to offer me pamphlets and other religious reading materials. Each time, I had always politely declined. Finally, having become tired of refusing the reading materials, I merely asked her if she *would like TO HEAR ABOUT MY RELIGION* (which actually is of the *whatever exists, exists* kind). She scurried away as fast as her legs would take her. She has never bothered me since. Perhaps she saw imaginary horns growing out of my head, or something. Poor soul...

ljbrs

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@tomic
Administrator

USA
4607 Posts

Posted - 06/03/2001 :  13:28:46   [Permalink]  Show Profile  Visit @tomic's Homepage Send @tomic a Private Message
quote:
I actually feel sorry for such people, because of what they are missing in their poor little lives.


I don't know how good this attitude is. I say this because it irritates me when a religious person says that they feel sorry for non-believers because they are missing out etc etc. I don't think they are all living in fear of the consequences of questioning. There are many reasons people believe. Faith helps some people. The only time I get anywhere near "feeling sorry" for someone is when it directly effects their health, like when someone thinks that some quack cure is better than an established treatment. The ones I really feel sorry for are the children that these treatments are forced on when they have no control over it.

@tomic

Gravity, not just a good idea...it's the law!
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Trish
SFN Addict

USA
2102 Posts

Posted - 06/03/2001 :  13:34:14   [Permalink]  Show Profile Send Trish a Private Message
quote:
The only time I get anywhere near "feeling sorry" for someone is when it directly effects their health, like when someone thinks that some quack cure is better than an established treatment. The ones I really feel sorry for are the children that these treatments are forced on when they have no control over it.



I couldn't agree more with this sentiment. My great-grandmother died in a diabetically induced coma because some faith healer told her to throw away all her medicine because she was healed. Who stands up for the kids. Also, small pox is making a come back because of this mentality!

Spinnin' my wheels and gettin' no where - fast
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Bozola
Skeptic Friend

USA
166 Posts

Posted - 06/03/2001 :  16:02:42   [Permalink]  Show Profile  Visit Bozola's Homepage Send Bozola a Private Message
WOW! Kil, is that the REAL Duane T. Gish?!?

I AM impressed (honest)!

What's the story?


Bozola

- Practicing skeet for the Rapture.
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lldemats
New Member

Brazil
1 Post

Posted - 06/04/2001 :  14:18:56   [Permalink]  Show Profile Send lldemats a Private Message
quote:

quote:
I actually feel sorry for such people, because of what they are missing in their poor little lives.


I don't know how good this attitude is. I say this because it irritates me when a religious person says that they feel sorry for non-believers because they are missing out etc etc. I don't think they are all living in fear of the consequences of questioning. There are many reasons people believe. Faith helps some people. The only time I get anywhere near "feeling sorry" for someone is when it directly effects their health, like when someone thinks that some quack cure is better than an established treatment. The ones I really feel sorry for are the children that these treatments are forced on when they have no control over it.

@tomic

Gravity, not just a good idea...it's the law!



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ljbrs
SFN Regular

USA
842 Posts

Posted - 06/04/2001 :  21:25:23   [Permalink]  Show Profile Send ljbrs a Private Message
Of course, Atomic, you are right. But it is difficult not to feel empathy for anybody who is holding on tight to irrationality out of fear of going to Hell or some other foolish thing. When one is lucky enough never to have gone through such a process, it is always a miracle for me to see anybody capable of changing one's views in the face of public disapproval. It takes great courage.

I am always excited when I find an idea which goes counter to something I have believed for a long time, as in astrophysics and/or cosmology with the accelerating universe, and to find it so astounding. I have been following that almost from the beginning. It is exciting to confront new ideas and change one's own thinking in the process. But the fact of being skeptical has always been with me. I really meant that I felt sorry for anyone who was incapable of changing any of his/her ideas.

Incidentally, I go to a Catholic Church regularly for exquisite musical presentations -- better than any I can find in my metropolitan area. I do not kneel (bad for the knees) but the music always is so wonderful, I cannot stay away. However, the music has not converted me to religion.

ljbrs

If you KNEW better, you'd DO better!

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Lisa
SFN Regular

USA
1223 Posts

Posted - 06/05/2001 :  01:17:19   [Permalink]  Show Profile Send Lisa a Private Message
Agreed.
THEY feel sorry for ME? They will never feel the joy and wonder I feel, after wending my way through a long and complicated thread on BA, I finally "get it". I feel as though there's a light that's dispelling my ignorance, little by little. I know something today that I was completely in the dark about yesterday. I love to learn. When someone asks a question, I like to start searching for the answer. After going through 8-10 sites, maybe I've found the answer, maybe not. But I've always learned something new. Some of my co-workers think I'm a geek, (despite all the tattoos), but being on the hunt for a bit of information is exhilarating.
Those who would contain or destroy information because it doesn't confirm their dogma are criminal. (i.e. Slater's adventures on SF) They are closed-minded, small, and petty. I would never champion a bill that advocates that everyone must believe as I do. Why do others keep trying to do that to me?
Lisa

Chaos...Confusion...Destruction...My Work Here Is Done
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Trish
SFN Addict

USA
2102 Posts

Posted - 06/05/2001 :  01:31:44   [Permalink]  Show Profile Send Trish a Private Message
quote:
They are closed-minded, small, and petty. I would never champion a bill that advocates that everyone must believe as I do. Why do others keep trying to do that to me?


Agreed Lisa! I also dislike their notions that somehow I can not appreciate the beauty around me or know what emotions are because I'm not xian or whatever.

Someone came very close to accusing me of just that a short time ago. Censorship! LOL!

He's YOUR god, they're YOUR rules, YOU burn in hell!
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James
SFN Regular

USA
754 Posts

Posted - 06/05/2001 :  07:59:06   [Permalink]  Show Profile  Send James a Yahoo! Message Send James a Private Message
quote:

I also dislike their notions that somehow I can not appreciate the beauty around me or know what emotions are because I'm not xian or whatever.


Why do I get the feeling that some of these fundies think that the world will not be a nice place to live unless everyone believes in "God" or whatever they believe in.

quote:

Someone came very close to accusing me of just that a short time ago.


I'm surprised at you, Trish. I would think that you would have been at least threatened the person.

"Try not. Do or do not. There is no try." -Master Yoda

Edited by - James on 06/05/2001 08:00:55
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Trish
SFN Addict

USA
2102 Posts

Posted - 06/05/2001 :  11:07:23   [Permalink]  Show Profile Send Trish a Private Message
quote:
I'm surprised at you, Trish. I would think that you would have been at least threatened the person.


I politely informed him that I was a jarhead and I would do what ever it necessary to defend my rights under the constitution.

He's YOUR god, they're YOUR rules, YOU burn in hell!
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yaxxbarl
New Member

United Kingdom
7 Posts

Posted - 06/05/2001 :  11:23:20   [Permalink]  Show Profile Send yaxxbarl a Private Message
I must first admit that I am a decidedly practising if somewhat grumpy and confused Christian.

Contrary to what some would have you believe it's actually quite a hard set of beliefs to try and live by, and I for one don't go round being sickeningly happy all the time proclaiming about how Jesus loves me and everybody and so on - life is not made as simple as they make out.

Now I've got that out of the way my tale is that I was once having a discussion/argument with someone about evolution.

Now this fellow had always had a new-agey view on things but had by then got very deeply into the Christian thing. I started to get really concerned when he started to say that the estimated timescale for life to arise and for life to develop to the point where we're at was 'too short'.

I tried to argue this point by saying that the billions of years we were talking about are a length of time such that most of us would have trouble writing down with the correct number of zeroes in it let alone trying to visualise how long a time it is. He still wouldn't have it.

I then argued that whilst evolution is based around theories and may not be the full picture, it is the best one we've got that seems to fit in with a lot of what we see in nature and in the fossil record.

His answer was that the rocks were created with the fossils already in them. At this point I decided to call it a day and leave him to it.



Yaxx.
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Trish
SFN Addict

USA
2102 Posts

Posted - 06/05/2001 :  11:39:52   [Permalink]  Show Profile Send Trish a Private Message
quote:
I must first admit that I am a decidedly practising if somewhat grumpy and confused Christian.

Contrary to what some would have you believe it's actually quite a hard set of beliefs to try and live by, and I for one don't go round being sickeningly happy all the time proclaiming about how Jesus loves me and everybody and so on - life is not made as simple as they make out.


Well, I don't think we're referring to all xians. However, here in the states there are large groups of what we call fundies. They are primarily concerned with shoving their belief system onto everyone. We had a president that said if you don't believe in gawd your not a real citizen of the US. These are the ones who feel sorry for those of us who don't believe in their god. These are the ones who have no compunction against telling you that Jesus loves you and your going to burn in hell for eternity with their sicky sweet voices and smiles.

I personally don't have a problem with what other people believe, I do have problems with someone trying to foist their beliefs on me. Kansas is an excellent example, they almost passed laws to teach creationism in the schools. That goes against the direct separation of church and state put forth by the constitution.

He's YOUR god, they're YOUR rules, YOU burn in hell!

Edited by - Trish on 06/05/2001 11:41:51
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