« Good News on James Randi • The Rants • On Skepticism: A Reply to Francois »
Skeptics' Circle #28, Carnival of the Godless #34
2006.02.19 (Sun) 22:07
The twenty-eighth edition of the Skeptics' Circle was published on Thursday for your perusal over at Unused and Probably Unusable. In this edition, we particularly liked Austin Cline's entry fisking a column by staggeringly thick-headed Lorraine Daston who clearly has no concept of what it means to be a skeptic. Go check out the posts!
In addition, the thirty-fourth edition of the Carnival of the Godless is available as of today at Goosing the Antithesis. We'd like to mention, though, that while we were checking out the host's site, we noticed a post from a few days ago that addresses a typical statement from James Randi in which Randi says:
Yes, I'm a materialist. I'm willing to be shown wrong, but that has not happened — yet. And I admit that the reason I'm unable to accept the claims of psychic, occult, and/or supernatural wonders is because I'm Iocked into a world-view that demands evidence rather than blind faith, a view that insists upon the replication of all experiments — particularly those that appear to show violations of a rational world — and a view which requires open examination of the methods used to carry out those experiments.
We agree wholeheartedly with Randi on this. However, the author, Francois Tremblay, does not:
Well, a few months ago I would have agreed completely, but now Randi's skeptical views somewhat annoy me. I don't think it's possible to prove that the supernatural exists, even in principle. I have yet to see any skeptic prove that the possibility remains. And yet they keep looking...
Isn't the skeptic's quixotic quest rather like those studies that keep cropping up to try to prove or disprove that prayer has a medical effect ? What is the point to these millions of dollars wasted ? Let's devote our energy to better things, people...
Sorry, but we really have no idea what Francois is talking about here. What quest is he referring to as silly and useless? Randi isn't on a quest to prove that the paranormal exists — truly such a quest would be an awful lot like tilting at windmills. Instead, Randi (along with many other good skeptics) stands ready and willing to have someone prove via the scientific method that their specific claim of the paranormal exists. There's a big difference. If it were the former, Randi would be acting much like Dr. Venkman's initial perception of his colleagues in Ghostbusters — he'd be meeting and greeting every freak in the world who claimed to have a paranormal experience. Truly, that would be a waste of his time. If the latter — which is the reality of the situation — Randi's door is simply open to such claims, and when he is approached, he listens with an open mind, and designs scientific tests to verify the claims.
Further, the "possibility" always remains to prove the existence of the supernatural, inasmuch as anything is theoretically conceivable. Skeptics aren't, however, "looking" for evidence to support this possibility. They're testing those who claim such phenomena to see if their claims hold up. Just one instance in which a paranormal claim was supported by methodical, verifiable testing would, in fact, prove that the claimed phenomenon exists at least in this instance; which would, in fact, prove that "supernatural" phenomena in general are possible, regardless of whether any specific cases are true or false. The fact that not a single one of these phenomena has been successfully verified simply goes a long way toward supporting the hypothesis that none of them exist. Skeptics remain open (despite what credulous detractors assert) to further testing, but — as with any scientific theory — the preponderance of evidence currently available lends credence to a solid theory: in this case, the nonexistence of paranormal phenomena.
So, unless we're missing Francois' point, we have to say that he just doesn't seem to be getting it. We would have posted this on his site, but his comment software demanded blogger registration which we don't have. If Francois stumbles upon our entry here, we'd love to hear what he has to say on this subject.
Anyway, that aside aside, check out the godless posts.
— • —
[ Filed under: % Bullshit % Religion ]
Adam Scanlan, 2006.02.20 (Mon) 02:07 [Link] »
Michael McCarron, 2006.02.20 (Mon) 08:37 [Link] »
Michael McCarron, 2006.02.20 (Mon) 08:40 [Link] »
Francois Tremblay, 2006.02.20 (Mon) 14:47 [Link] »
GH, 2006.02.20 (Mon) 15:02 [Link] »
Francois Tremblay, 2006.02.20 (Mon) 15:13 [Link] »
Gh, 2006.02.20 (Mon) 15:39 [Link] »
Francois Tremblay, 2006.02.20 (Mon) 16:24 [Link] »
The Two Percent Company, 2006.02.20 (Mon) 22:29 [Link] »
Francois Tremblay, 2006.02.20 (Mon) 22:38 [Link] »
Francois Tremblay, 2006.02.21 (Tue) 00:04 [Link] »
The Two Percent Company, 2006.02.21 (Tue) 23:08 [Link] »
Francois Tremblay, 2006.02.21 (Tue) 23:21 [Link] »
The Two Percent Company, 2006.02.21 (Tue) 23:50 [Link] »
Francois Tremblay, 2006.02.21 (Tue) 23:53 [Link] »
The Two Percent Company, 2006.02.22 (Wed) 10:20 [Link] »
Francois Tremblay, 2006.02.22 (Wed) 13:01 [Link] »
The Two Percent Company, 2006.02.22 (Wed) 14:39 [Link] »
Francois Tremblay, 2006.02.22 (Wed) 15:37 [Link] »
The Two Percent Company, 2006.02.22 (Wed) 16:22 [Link] »
JY, 2006.02.22 (Wed) 16:32 [Link] »
— • —