Skeptic Friends Network

Username:
Password:
Save Password
Forgot your Password?
Home | Forums | Active Topics | Active Polls | Register | FAQ | Contact Us  
  Connect: Chat | SFN Messenger | Buddy List | Members
Personalize: Profile | My Page | Forum Bookmarks  
 All Forums
 Our Skeptic Forums
 General Skepticism
 Are you a real skeptic or just faithing it?
 New Topic  Reply to Topic
 Printer Friendly Bookmark this Topic BookMark Topic
Next Page
Author Previous Topic Topic Next Topic
Page: of 3

Kil
Evil Skeptic

USA
13467 Posts

Posted - 11/28/2010 :  12:47:01  Show Profile  Visit Kil's Homepage  Send Kil an AOL message  Send Kil a Yahoo! Message Send Kil a Private Message  Reply with Quote
Desiree Schell and Greg Laden have reposted on facebook a blog that Laden wrote a few months ago. I think it’s worth a look and a consideration.

Are you are real skeptic, or are you just faithing it?

From the article:

… The point is: Knowing what is a valid argument for or against something, for the average person who wants to be a skeptic, is not easy. One must find sources one trusts and rely in part on those sources. And then, one must ask oneself, is "trust" just another five letter word. Like "faith"?
That it is hard, that it is work, is not a new idea, and you may be thinking "WTF did I just read this whole post for just to find out what I already know." But you would be missing the point. My point is some "skeptical thinking" is faith based. Skeptics are not as skeptical as they think they are, or at least, they are not a skeptical as they claim. Very few skeptics like to hear this (see comments below for skeptics yelling at me for saying this apparent fact out loud). But it is true. And it is of concern. Indeed, what I would predict to be a standard faith-based skeptical conclusion regarding fluoride is to not worry about the extra dosing of the infant. And, that might be wrong. Wrong for bad, yet avoidable, reasons…


I think this is a valuable read and so here I am recommending Laden's blog so we can discuss it…

Uncertainty may make you uncomfortable. Certainty makes you ridiculous.

Why not question something for a change?

Genetic Literacy Project

Kil
Evil Skeptic

USA
13467 Posts

Posted - 11/28/2010 :  12:49:50   [Permalink]  Show Profile  Visit Kil's Homepage  Send Kil an AOL message  Send Kil a Yahoo! Message Send Kil a Private Message  Reply with Quote
By the way. Here was my short response to the article in Desiree's thread:

Good article. It goes to that "how do we recognize a reliable source" question and how much personal confidence (faith) should we allow for when as lay people we base our conclusions on those experts that we consider reliable. Since it's impossible to be an expert on everything, I look for a scientific consensus from multiple sources if I can. But it's probably healthy to acknowledge to ourselves that we are putting at least a certain amount of faith/confidence/trust (call it what you will) in the consensus, even if it is the best bet.

Uncertainty may make you uncomfortable. Certainty makes you ridiculous.

Why not question something for a change?

Genetic Literacy Project
Go to Top of Page

The Rat
SFN Regular

Canada
1342 Posts

Posted - 11/28/2010 :  14:39:24   [Permalink]  Show Profile  Visit The Rat's Homepage Send The Rat a Private Message  Reply with Quote
I am quite open in telling people that I have faith that science and my own senses aren't lying to me. We can never be 100% certain of anything.

Bailey's second law; There is no relationship between the three virtues of intelligence, education, and wisdom.

You fiend! Never have I encountered such corrupt and foul-minded perversity! Have you ever considered a career in the Church? - The Bishop of Bath and Wells, Blackadder II

Baculum's page: http://www.bebo.com/Profile.jsp?MemberId=3947338590
Go to Top of Page

Ebone4rock
SFN Regular

USA
894 Posts

Posted - 11/29/2010 :  05:18:14   [Permalink]  Show Profile Send Ebone4rock a Private Message  Reply with Quote
Originally posted by Kil

Desiree Schell and Greg Laden have reposted on facebook a blog that Laden wrote a few months ago. I think it’s worth a look and a consideration.

Are you are real skeptic, or are you just faithing it?

From the article:

… The point is: Knowing what is a valid argument for or against something, for the average person who wants to be a skeptic, is not easy. One must find sources one trusts and rely in part on those sources. And then, one must ask oneself, is "trust" just another five letter word. Like "faith"?
That it is hard, that it is work, is not a new idea, and you may be thinking "WTF did I just read this whole post for just to find out what I already know." But you would be missing the point. My point is some "skeptical thinking" is faith based. Skeptics are not as skeptical as they think they are, or at least, they are not a skeptical as they claim. Very few skeptics like to hear this (see comments below for skeptics yelling at me for saying this apparent fact out loud). But it is true. And it is of concern. Indeed, what I would predict to be a standard faith-based skeptical conclusion regarding fluoride is to not worry about the extra dosing of the infant. And, that might be wrong. Wrong for bad, yet avoidable, reasons…


I think this is a valuable read and so here I am recommending Laden's blog so we can discuss it…



The main message I am getting from the article is that nobody really knows anything and it is nearly impossible for anyone to really know anything.
Fuck it, maybe I'll turn to God to tell me what's right and wrong instead. Seems easier and maybe just as accurate as the supposedly skeptical thinking I attempt to do.

Haole with heart, thats all I'll ever be. I'm not a part of the North Shore society. Stuck on the shoulder, that's where you'll find me. Digging for scraps with the kooks in line. -Offspring
Go to Top of Page

Kil
Evil Skeptic

USA
13467 Posts

Posted - 11/29/2010 :  09:54:32   [Permalink]  Show Profile  Visit Kil's Homepage  Send Kil an AOL message  Send Kil a Yahoo! Message Send Kil a Private Message  Reply with Quote
Ebone4rock:
The main message I am getting from the article is that nobody really knows anything and it is nearly impossible for anyone to really know anything.
Fuck it, maybe I'll turn to God to tell me what's right and wrong instead. Seems easier and maybe just as accurate as the supposedly skeptical thinking I attempt to do.

Gosh. I didn't think that was the main message of the article. My take away is that yes, as lay people who identify as skeptics, we must take on faith the sources that we turn to. So we need to learn how to choose reliable sources. We need to learn how to recognize those experts who are most likely to provide us with good information. And that takes a good deal of effort on our part. And we need to own up to the fact that not only are we not experts in all areas of concern to skeptics, but are for the most part we are accepting on faith (in this sense confidence or trust) the sources we choose for what we hope is the best information.

I think the title of the article was meant to be provocative. And I don't get that Laden is saying that we can't really know enough about a subject to weigh in as skeptics. But that we need to be cognizant of the fact we don't have an experts knowledge in most scientific areas and issues of concern to skeptics and we should keep that in mind and keep digging.

Uncertainty may make you uncomfortable. Certainty makes you ridiculous.

Why not question something for a change?

Genetic Literacy Project
Go to Top of Page

Ebone4rock
SFN Regular

USA
894 Posts

Posted - 11/29/2010 :  11:42:24   [Permalink]  Show Profile Send Ebone4rock a Private Message  Reply with Quote
Originally posted by Kil

Ebone4rock:
The main message I am getting from the article is that nobody really knows anything and it is nearly impossible for anyone to really know anything.
Fuck it, maybe I'll turn to God to tell me what's right and wrong instead. Seems easier and maybe just as accurate as the supposedly skeptical thinking I attempt to do.

Gosh. I didn't think that was the main message of the article. My take away is that yes, as lay people who identify as skeptics, we must take on faith the sources that we turn to. So we need to learn how to choose reliable sources. We need to learn how to recognize those experts who are most likely to provide us with good information. And that takes a good deal of effort on our part. And we need to own up to the fact that not only are we not experts in all areas of concern to skeptics, but are for the most part we are accepting on faith (in this sense confidence or trust) the sources we choose for what we hope is the best information.

I think the title of the article was meant to be provocative. And I don't get that Laden is saying that we can't really know enough about a subject to weigh in as skeptics. But that we need to be cognizant of the fact we don't have an experts knowledge in most scientific areas and issues of concern to skeptics and we should keep that in mind and keep digging.


Kil,
I'm hoping that my facetiousness was obvious in my response.

So what are we as lay skeptics (in my case anyway) supposed to do? Are we supposed to reserve judgement until we earn a PHD in whatever subject it is that we are currently talking about? Do we not have the formal education required to even call ourselves skeptics? I didn't need that article to help me come to the realization that I don't know everything. The article is just kind of stating the obvious as far as I'm concerned.


Haole with heart, thats all I'll ever be. I'm not a part of the North Shore society. Stuck on the shoulder, that's where you'll find me. Digging for scraps with the kooks in line. -Offspring
Go to Top of Page

Dr. Mabuse
Septic Fiend

Sweden
9677 Posts

Posted - 11/29/2010 :  11:45:33   [Permalink]  Show Profile  Send Dr. Mabuse an ICQ Message Send Dr. Mabuse a Private Message  Reply with Quote
I take my sources and experts, whom I depend on for an informed opinion, provisionally and tentatively.

Just as scientific theories and conclusions themselves are by their very nature tentative, so I must also view my sources of scientific information. It's an abstraction away from the actual work, and I need to make a judgement call on what I read and hear. The consensus isn't always right, but most of the time it is.

The governmental body in my country in charge of medical concerns says vaccines are good. I know about their scientific background, and their mission to promote health in my country. I therefore draw the tentative conclusion that they aren't full of shit when they recommend vaccinations.


Dr. Mabuse - "When the going gets tough, the tough get Duct-tape..."
Dr. Mabuse whisper.mp3

"Equivocation is not just a job, for a creationist it's a way of life..." Dr. Mabuse

Support American Troops in Iraq:
Send them unarmed civilians for target practice..
Collateralmurder.
Go to Top of Page

Dude
SFN Die Hard

USA
6891 Posts

Posted - 11/29/2010 :  16:37:00   [Permalink]  Show Profile Send Dude a Private Message  Reply with Quote
Laden is using a different definition of faith than anyone else uses.

It is not faith when you have established institutions that produce verifiable experts, and you then rely on information provided you by those experts.

Also, its fucking insulting to say that mist people can't understand data produced by those experts. Even if you don't have a PhD in molecular biology I think most people can grasp concepts. The degree just means you are trained to investigate and describe new findings.

No one takes the word of a scientist on faith either. We rely on the mechanisms in place to ensure our PhD people provide us with reliable information. It's a big fucking deal when one of them fakes it.

To summarize: Laden is creating a straw man with his faulty definition of faith, then arguing against it. It's insulting.

Ignorance is preferable to error; and he is less remote from the truth who believes nothing, than he who believes what is wrong.
-- Thomas Jefferson

"god :: the last refuge of a man with no answers and no argument." - G. Carlin

Hope, n.
The handmaiden of desperation; the opiate of despair; the illegible signpost on the road to perdition. ~~ da filth
Go to Top of Page

Kil
Evil Skeptic

USA
13467 Posts

Posted - 11/29/2010 :  20:08:47   [Permalink]  Show Profile  Visit Kil's Homepage  Send Kil an AOL message  Send Kil a Yahoo! Message Send Kil a Private Message  Reply with Quote
Dude:
Laden is using a different definition of faith than anyone else uses.

Wrong. here's a Kil Report from 2002 called Faith.

And then there is always a dictionary definition. See number one.

Dude:
To summarize: Laden is creating a straw man with his faulty definition of faith, then arguing against it. It's insulting.


Faith is a word that skeptics and atheists hate. But not all faith is of the religious kind. Faith can also be a synonym for confidence and trust. As in confidence in our sources because in the long run, we are not expert in every area and we, as skeptics, must and do take other peoples words for things. Not all faith is blind. I don't think Laden has built a strawman at all. My guess is that word just puts a bug you your ass, Dude. Laden is known for provocative titles, but I think his theses stands. Too many skeptics think they are expertologists. Heh.

(Thanks to DL for the word, "expertologists." I'm sure he made it up...)

Uncertainty may make you uncomfortable. Certainty makes you ridiculous.

Why not question something for a change?

Genetic Literacy Project
Go to Top of Page

Kil
Evil Skeptic

USA
13467 Posts

Posted - 11/29/2010 :  20:29:55   [Permalink]  Show Profile  Visit Kil's Homepage  Send Kil an AOL message  Send Kil a Yahoo! Message Send Kil a Private Message  Reply with Quote
Ebone4rock:
So what are we as lay skeptics (in my case anyway) supposed to do?

You're supposed to learn how to find the best sources possible when evaluating a claim. And you are supposed to understand that you do not have the expert knowledge of those who you are sourcing. There is nothing in Laden's article that says you can't possibly understand well enough a scientific idea, even as a lay person, to come to a conclusion about it. He's just saying we would do well to remember that we are not experts ourselves and we are indeed taking an experts word for it before we come to a conclusion. So we need to be very careful in how we choose what experts we will source. I think what he's saying is the skeptic has an obligation to actually check things out and not just go along with the consensus of skeptics on a subject, because for the most part, skeptics are not experts in any particular area of science. Some are, of course. But even those who are are limited to the area of research that they do and are in the same boat as the layman when discussing those things of concern to skeptics that are outside of their area of expertise.

Skepticism is not restricted to PhD's. But skepticism does require some effort. He's saying that we shouldn't be fucking parrots.

Uncertainty may make you uncomfortable. Certainty makes you ridiculous.

Why not question something for a change?

Genetic Literacy Project
Go to Top of Page

Dude
SFN Die Hard

USA
6891 Posts

Posted - 11/29/2010 :  21:10:50   [Permalink]  Show Profile Send Dude a Private Message  Reply with Quote
Originally posted by Kil

Dude:
To summarize: Laden is creating a straw man with his faulty definition of faith, then arguing against it. It's insulting.


Faith is a word that skeptics and atheists hate. But not all faith is of the religious kind. Faith can also be a synonym for confidence and trust. As in confidence in our sources because in the long run, we are not expert in every area and we, as skeptics, must and do take other peoples words for things. Not all faith is blind. I don't think Laden has built a strawman at all. My guess is that word just puts a bug you your ass, Dude. Laden is known for provocative titles, but I think his theses stands. Too many skeptics think they are expertologists. Heh.

(Thanks to DL for the word, "expertologists." I'm sure he made it up...)


The problem is he is making an argument where he equates the confidence/trust kind of "faith" with religious faith. In common usage "faith" is most often associated with religion and the unquestioning belief it requires.

Most of us trust no one blindly. Our experience with the institutions that produce experts, and the body of work of those experts, is the basis of our trust. Like I said, it's a big fucking deal when one of them fakes it. Career ending deal.

There is a vast distance between the kind of "faith" I would admit having and the kind he is implying the general population of skeptics have.

On the other hand, I can also give you at least a sentence on each of the words in his vocab test too.

From his blog entry:
The point is: Knowing what is a valid argument for or against something, for the average person who wants to be a skeptic, is not easy. One must find sources one trusts and rely in part on those sources. And then, one must ask oneself, is "trust" just another five letter word. Like "faith"?

That it is hard, that it is work, is not a new idea, and you may be thinking "WTF did I just read this whole post for just to find out what I already know." But you would be missing the point. My point is some "skeptical thinking" is faith based. Skeptics are not as skeptical as they think they are, or at least, they are not a skeptical as they claim.


This is what I have a problem with. We trust our experts and institutions because they have earned that trust. No one tolerates people inside this circle who lie about their results, fake data, and so on. It is a reliable system with a long history of amazing advances in human knowledge and it self polices quite well. Any scientist that falsifies data, or is even just negligent with the process, gets burnt down just as fast as a straw man at a skeptics convention. Betrayal of trust is not tolerated.

To me this is the exact opposite of religious faith.


Ignorance is preferable to error; and he is less remote from the truth who believes nothing, than he who believes what is wrong.
-- Thomas Jefferson

"god :: the last refuge of a man with no answers and no argument." - G. Carlin

Hope, n.
The handmaiden of desperation; the opiate of despair; the illegible signpost on the road to perdition. ~~ da filth
Go to Top of Page

Kil
Evil Skeptic

USA
13467 Posts

Posted - 11/29/2010 :  21:17:49   [Permalink]  Show Profile  Visit Kil's Homepage  Send Kil an AOL message  Send Kil a Yahoo! Message Send Kil a Private Message  Reply with Quote
Dude:
The problem is he is making an argument where he equates the confidence/trust kind of "faith" with religious faith. In common usage "faith" is most often associated with religion and the unquestioning belief it requires.

First see the edit I did in the above post you quoted me from. We just cross posted. Also, I don't see where he equates the faith he is talking about with religious faith.

Uncertainty may make you uncomfortable. Certainty makes you ridiculous.

Why not question something for a change?

Genetic Literacy Project
Go to Top of Page

Dude
SFN Die Hard

USA
6891 Posts

Posted - 11/29/2010 :  21:37:55   [Permalink]  Show Profile Send Dude a Private Message  Reply with Quote
Originally posted by Kil

Dude:
The problem is he is making an argument where he equates the confidence/trust kind of "faith" with religious faith. In common usage "faith" is most often associated with religion and the unquestioning belief it requires.

First see the edit I did in the above post you quoted me from. We just cross posted. Also, I don't see where he equates the faith he is talking about with religious faith.


He spins a strong negative connotation on "faith", calls trust "just another five letter word. Like 'faith'." (implying profanity) So yeah, he is equating trust of experts to religious faith.


Ignorance is preferable to error; and he is less remote from the truth who believes nothing, than he who believes what is wrong.
-- Thomas Jefferson

"god :: the last refuge of a man with no answers and no argument." - G. Carlin

Hope, n.
The handmaiden of desperation; the opiate of despair; the illegible signpost on the road to perdition. ~~ da filth
Go to Top of Page

Dude
SFN Die Hard

USA
6891 Posts

Posted - 11/30/2010 :  02:09:31   [Permalink]  Show Profile Send Dude a Private Message  Reply with Quote
What I am saying is: The "trust" we place in experts and the information they provide could (technically) be called faith, but it is a different form of faith than the type religious people have. It is a trust that the system and the experts produced by that system are providing us with legitimate (verifiable and repeatable) data. It is earned by the track record of those experts. It is also conditional, new evidence could overturn an old finding and we are obligated to adjust our thinking.

There is no viable comparison to that form of "faith" and the religious kind.

Laden's premise is invalid, and he probably knows it too.


Ignorance is preferable to error; and he is less remote from the truth who believes nothing, than he who believes what is wrong.
-- Thomas Jefferson

"god :: the last refuge of a man with no answers and no argument." - G. Carlin

Hope, n.
The handmaiden of desperation; the opiate of despair; the illegible signpost on the road to perdition. ~~ da filth
Go to Top of Page

filthy
SFN Die Hard

USA
14408 Posts

Posted - 11/30/2010 :  04:06:51   [Permalink]  Show Profile Send filthy a Private Message  Reply with Quote
Digging is work. To do two hours of research just to be sure that your three paragraph statement will withstand scrutiny can be too tedious for many people. There is not only finding the information, but checking the credentials of those who put forth that info as well. What it boils down to is: who are you going to rely on when it comes to, say, paleontology; Jack Horner or Ken Ham? To see the difference, you need to dig. You don't have to dig very deeply to find the difference with that pair. They are extreme examples, are Horner and Ham, the respected professor and the dismal charlatan, but you've got to check anyway. Scientists get it wrong now & again, and it behooves the skeptic look around a bit more to be certain. "Have faith, but verify." Don't recall who said that.

I rather like research. Having a limited attention span, I get distracted easily and can end up in some really interesting places.




"What luck for rulers that men do not think." -- Adolf Hitler (1889 - 1945)

"If only we could impeach on the basis of criminal stupidity, 90% of the Rethuglicans and half of the Democrats would be thrown out of office." ~~ P.Z. Myres


"The default position of human nature is to punch the other guy in the face and take his stuff." ~~ Dude

Brother Boot Knife of Warm Humanitarianism,

and Crypto-Communist!

Edited by - filthy on 11/30/2010 04:10:56
Go to Top of Page

Kil
Evil Skeptic

USA
13467 Posts

Posted - 11/30/2010 :  09:09:32   [Permalink]  Show Profile  Visit Kil's Homepage  Send Kil an AOL message  Send Kil a Yahoo! Message Send Kil a Private Message  Reply with Quote
Dude:
Laden's premise is invalid, and he probably knows it too.

Well, in his thread on the topic, someone brought up TAM and he mentioned Penn and Teller. His meaning was obvious. He was saying that people actually come to skeptical conclusions using Penn and Teller as their source and not digging deeper. Penn and Teller are strongly influenced by their politics, as you know. Their past take and partial retraction on AGW is a good example of that. The point is, if a skeptic is doing that, it's darned close to the kind of faith that you are upset about Laden alluding to. Again, since he is really talking about sourcing, I don't think his premise is invalid and I doubt that he would have mentioned Penn and Teller if he thought so. I would suggest to you Dude that you don't measure what all skeptics do by what you or I do.

Uncertainty may make you uncomfortable. Certainty makes you ridiculous.

Why not question something for a change?

Genetic Literacy Project
Go to Top of Page
Page: of 3 Previous Topic Topic Next Topic  
Next Page
 New Topic  Reply to Topic
 Printer Friendly Bookmark this Topic BookMark Topic
Jump To:

The mission of the Skeptic Friends Network is to promote skepticism, critical thinking, science and logic as the best methods for evaluating all claims of fact, and we invite active participation by our members to create a skeptical community with a wide variety of viewpoints and expertise.


Home | Skeptic Forums | Skeptic Summary | The Kil Report | Creation/Evolution | Rationally Speaking | Skeptillaneous | About Skepticism | Fan Mail | Claims List | Calendar & Events | Skeptic Links | Book Reviews | Gift Shop | SFN on Facebook | Staff | Contact Us

Skeptic Friends Network
© 2008 Skeptic Friends Network Go To Top Of Page
This page was generated in 0.69 seconds.
Powered by @tomic Studio
Snitz Forums 2000