Jump to content


Click Here To Visit Our Sponsor


Photo

Does critical thinking kill paranormal forums?


  • Please log in to reply
21 replies to this topic

#1 OMPRDave

OMPRDave

    Village Elder

  • Member
  • PipPipPipPipPip
  • 563 posts
  • Gender:Male
  • Location:Upton, Massachusetts
  • Interests:Family, fishing, hunting, camping, history, photography, poetry/writing, and last but not least, paranormal investigation

Posted 10 April 2011 - 12:39 AM

Just curious...I never downplay the experiences that got me drawn into paranormal research, but I never over-embellished them either. When a critical thinker interjects into a thread, does it kill it for you?
"There is a principle which is a bar against all information, which is proof against all arguments and which cannot fail to keep a man in everlasting ignorance - that principle is contempt prior to investigation." Herbert Spencer

#2 MoonChild

MoonChild

    Undead giant that feasts on hotdogs!

  • Town Council
  • PipPipPipPipPip
  • 50,387 posts
  • Gender:Male
  • Location:Universe
  • Interests:Life

Posted 10 April 2011 - 01:09 PM

No and Yes. When the "critical" thinker comes up with some valid, thought provoking points it is good, but when they go on to the "I know it all you fool" mode, no, it ain't fun at all.
Posted Image

#3 petunia4998

petunia4998

    Village Elder

  • Member
  • PipPipPipPipPip
  • 1,533 posts
  • Location:Albuquerque,NM

Posted 10 April 2011 - 07:45 PM

To me, criticism does not equate open-mindedness. :)
petunia4998

#4 OMPRDave

OMPRDave

    Village Elder

  • Member
  • PipPipPipPipPip
  • 563 posts
  • Gender:Male
  • Location:Upton, Massachusetts
  • Interests:Family, fishing, hunting, camping, history, photography, poetry/writing, and last but not least, paranormal investigation

Posted 11 April 2011 - 07:59 AM

yes, but there are different forms of criticism. When dealing with the unknown and something unproven, shouldn't one be open to criticism to see things from every possible angle?
"There is a principle which is a bar against all information, which is proof against all arguments and which cannot fail to keep a man in everlasting ignorance - that principle is contempt prior to investigation." Herbert Spencer

#5 Caniswalensis

Caniswalensis

    Villager

  • Member
  • PipPipPip
  • 276 posts
  • Gender:Male
  • Location:The cold, scary world of Skepticism

Posted 11 April 2011 - 12:06 PM

Dave, you are right on this one. If someone desires to be openminded, they should be so for all explanations to the degree that it is merrited.

What's more, the term 'Crtitical Thinking' does not imply critisim of any sort.

It is defined as exercising or involving careful judgment or judicious evaluation.

It no more involves critisim than someone that is said to be in critical condition after an accident.

...and I think Moonie said it very well. If a critical thinker wants to make a contribution, they need to keep it respectful and have some good points backed up with logic or evidence. Otherwise theyrisk just being obnoxious nay-sayers.

Dave, as a skeptic, I have asked myself the same question many times. I try to be respectful when making comments, and I try to avoid situations where I am simply nay-saying someone's experience when nothing is on the line. I still worry that I am being a wet blanket, though.

Regards, Canis

"It is proper for you to doubt ... do not go upon report ... do not go upon tradition ... do not go upon hear-say." ~ Buddha


#6 mastermind73

mastermind73

    Senior Villager

  • Member
  • PipPipPipPip
  • 466 posts
  • Gender:Male
  • Location:Kansas City, MO

Posted 11 April 2011 - 01:51 PM

Having a skeptical outlook on a supernatural forum does not HAVE TO "kill" the experience for anyone.

I find that most of the time people not having an objective point of view is what really hurts discussions. This is the point where a discussion becomes an argument, and a poster becomes a troll.

Belief or unbelief in the supernatural does not change the fact that there is simply no MAINSTREAM "accepted scientific proof" of existence or non-existence.

Personally, I don't understand why someone who does not believe in ghosts would want to join a board/site filled with people who do. The nature of personal supernatural experiences is such that nobody who has ever had one will EVER change their mind about the existence of the spirit world. So, if you're here to change our minds, what's the point?

I am by no means saying that skeptics are unwelcome here, I'm just saying I don't really see the point.... Unless deep down you WANT to believe. :)

Canis, I don't think it's possible to be a "wet blanket" to someone's personal experience. They are just going to let it roll of their shoulders because they were there and you were not.

However, if you have something to add to the discussion of a piece of evidence "that looks like a spec of dust", I am one of the people here who will ALWAYS appreciate that. In fact, I am a believer, but I will be the first to speak up in evidence analysis trying to debunk!

Honestly, I have been away from these forums for a while... So I don't know if it ever gets hostile in here. But in the past, everyone always stayed very civil and I hope it is still that way. It's one of the reasons I came back after all this time. ;)

Edited by mastermind73, 11 April 2011 - 01:53 PM.

"If dreams are like movies, Then memories are films about ghosts.You can never escape, you can only move south down the coast.""Don't you remember when we were young, and we wanted to set the world on fire?'Cause I still am, and I still do."

#7 CaveRat2

CaveRat2

    Village Elder

  • Town Council
  • PipPipPipPipPip
  • 1,545 posts
  • Gender:Male
  • Location:Fayette County, Pennsylvania
  • Interests:Serious Research and separating the truth from the hype in the paranormal field today.

Posted 11 April 2011 - 02:41 PM

Somebody talking about me???

I will admit I am probably one of the more skeptical people on the forum. I approach every report from the point of the mundane until such time as it can be ruled out. Which is not to say I am a cynic. I will be the first to admit SOMETHING is going on. Too many credible people have had sightings to say it is all fabrication or imagination.

But I don't necessarily accept that ghosts are responsible either. At least in the traditional sense. I for one don't believe that the ghost of Uncle Charlie is hanging around. I don't find any proof that ANYONE is hanging around after they died. But that doesn't rule out ghosts either. For instance residual energy might be left behind by the living as well as those who passed. If that is the case then ghosts may not require anyone have died at all.

What about the possibility of ghosts being interdimensional beings? Again, if that is the case no one need have died at all. Maybe we just have a visitor. Of course they could also be angelic / demonic in nature. Again, nobody had to have passed to get a ghost.

My point is critical thinking does not kill a forum if done with an open mind. It does not negate the possibility of the paranormal; rather it opens additional avenues to explore. Provided one does not take the single minded approach that ghosts are spirits of the dead. While that may in fact turn out to be true, there is in fact no proof that any of the explanations given here are in fact correct. Ghosts may turn out to be something none of us has even considered yet!

Critical thinking is how we may eventually reach the truth behind the paranormal.

#8 Caniswalensis

Caniswalensis

    Villager

  • Member
  • PipPipPip
  • 276 posts
  • Gender:Male
  • Location:The cold, scary world of Skepticism

Posted 11 April 2011 - 05:16 PM

Personally, I don't understand why someone who does not believe in ghosts would want to join a board/site filled with people who do. The nature of personal supernatural experiences is such that nobody who has ever had one will EVER change their mind about the existence of the spirit world. So, if you're here to change our minds, what's the point?

I am by no means saying that skeptics are unwelcome here, I'm just saying I don't really see the point.... Unless deep down you WANT to believe. :)

lol! You may be closer than you think. ;-)
Nothing would make me happier than to find out even a tiny bit of this stuff is true. In my case the answer is simple, I love all things paranormal, and I love to discuss them, especially with believers. I do not really have a desire to talk people out of their beliefs, but I do tend to point out problems with evidence presented.

I suppose that this subject will always interest me. I used to be a believer, and I guess I never lost my facsinantion with the paranormal. Even though I have had a few experiences that I believed were genuine at the time, as I studied more and tried to understand the nature of such things, I began to see that there were other possible explanations for what I had experienced. They were not the iron-clad evidence of the paranormal i had once thought they were.

Oh well....

Canis, I don't think it's possible to be a "wet blanket" to someone's personal experience. They are just going to let it roll of their shoulders because they were there and you were not.

You would think wouldn't you? I see that is often not the case in Practice, though.

As I said, I try to avoid questioning peopleís personal experiences, unless there is a fairly good reason to do so, such as them being frightened or considering making a big decision based on something subjective & arbitrary. Even then I try to only comment on the evidence presented, and I do my best to be respectful towards the person. To be honest, I usually find myself in the position of defending one believer from another believerís subjective critique of their experience. I have seen discussions between believers get very heated before.

What I meant when I said wet blanket is that I worry that no matter how polite & respectful & friendly I am, if I am questioning an event, that the very presence of my doubtful opinion will be enough to wreck other peopleís enjoyment of the discussion. I am not talking about peoples personal experiences here. Say for instance, there is a thread about The Loch Ness Monster, and I make a post about all the reasons that it probably does not exist. Will that ruin the fun of the discussion for a believer? Personally I would hate to think I am doing that.


regards, Canis

"It is proper for you to doubt ... do not go upon report ... do not go upon tradition ... do not go upon hear-say." ~ Buddha


#9 CaveRat2

CaveRat2

    Village Elder

  • Town Council
  • PipPipPipPipPip
  • 1,545 posts
  • Gender:Male
  • Location:Fayette County, Pennsylvania
  • Interests:Serious Research and separating the truth from the hype in the paranormal field today.

Posted 12 April 2011 - 02:31 PM

.... Say for instance, there is a thread about The Loch Ness Monster, and I make a post about all the reasons that it probably does not exist. Will that ruin the fun of the discussion for a believer? Personally I would hate to think I am doing that.


regards, Canis


In fact that should not ruin the "fun". If I was a believer in the monster your reasons would need to be approached, one by one, and refuted. THAT is the position a believer should take. Of course your next step would be to counter their argument with facts supporting your stand.

The "fun" is in the discussion. These are forums for discussion. Those who take a position they are always right and demand others accept that stand probably shouldn't be here in the first place. If you are in fact correct you earn that position by virtue of the evidence submitted not by bashing your opponent personally.

#10 freyjasdottir

freyjasdottir

    Don't follow this leader

  • Town Council
  • PipPipPipPipPip
  • 3,429 posts
  • Gender:Female
  • Location:Aliquippa, Pennsylvania USA

Posted 13 April 2011 - 11:34 AM

Critical thinking is a valuable skill that everyone should use. It is the basis of the scientific method and a skill greatly esteemed in earlier generations.

As an example, someone says that their deceased great aunt Fanny visits them every Friday night after their fifth rum and coke and they know this because they wake up Saturday morning with a headache and her perfume used to give them a headache. Critical thinking would give a person pause and realize that isn't a haunting it's a hangover.
Posted Image

Myspace

"Insanity is doing the same thing over and over again, but expecting different results." Albert Einstein

Posted Image

Posted Image I've been hit by mrsspookypants

#11 petunia4998

petunia4998

    Village Elder

  • Member
  • PipPipPipPipPip
  • 1,533 posts
  • Location:Albuquerque,NM

Posted 13 April 2011 - 07:51 PM

That is correct, but that is an extreme case. How is critical thinking help someone who is actually seeing and talking with their deceased Aunt Fanny but is not impaired in any way? :kitty:
petunia4998

#12 OMPRDave

OMPRDave

    Village Elder

  • Member
  • PipPipPipPipPip
  • 563 posts
  • Gender:Male
  • Location:Upton, Massachusetts
  • Interests:Family, fishing, hunting, camping, history, photography, poetry/writing, and last but not least, paranormal investigation

Posted 13 April 2011 - 10:04 PM

Well, have seen people who run in pro-ghost and cause more problems that naught...a critical thinker SHOULD go in to any case based solely on the report given, and look for causes. I never recommend talking down to a client at all. There is the chance it could be Aunt Fanny. it would be astute of me to give opinions.
"There is a principle which is a bar against all information, which is proof against all arguments and which cannot fail to keep a man in everlasting ignorance - that principle is contempt prior to investigation." Herbert Spencer

#13 CaveRat2

CaveRat2

    Village Elder

  • Town Council
  • PipPipPipPipPip
  • 1,545 posts
  • Gender:Male
  • Location:Fayette County, Pennsylvania
  • Interests:Serious Research and separating the truth from the hype in the paranormal field today.

Posted 14 April 2011 - 09:36 AM

That is correct, but that is an extreme case. How is critical thinking help someone who is actually seeing and talking with their deceased Aunt Fanny but is not impaired in any way? :kitty:


Consider, there are two possibilities in most cases. First it may be a mundane, commonplace event being mis-identified. Second it may in fact be Aunt Fanny paying a visit. So we need to approach it in the way which does the most good for a client.

If we come in as a skeptic and keep an open mind there are two scenarios. First, if it is mundane, the explanation will eventually help by ruling out any paranormal activity. No harm done to anyone. If it is in fact aunt Fanny then the investigator can act as an advisor helping the client to deal with the situation. Again, no real harm done, and a possible way to gain new knowledge about haunts.

Now suppose the investigator comes in as some believers, expecting ghosts are behind the events. If it is in fact a ghost then maybe there is still no harm done (assuming the investigator does not embellish the event.). If it is mundane, however,the possibility exists that the commonplace will be overlooked and some paranormal explanation will lead the client to believe something is there when in fact it is not. I have seen this approach taken to extremes too. Clients have been convinced that demons and who knows what else have taken over their homes and lives all because someone refuses to accept the possibility. This can lead to very real problems for a client.

I would much rather approach a situation as a skeptic and let the evidence point to the paranormal than come in as a total believer trying to disprove a ghost. The risks to the client are much less.

#14 Redhead

Redhead

    Village Elder

  • Moderator
  • PipPipPipPipPip
  • 2,196 posts
  • Gender:Female
  • Location:The beautiful West Coast of Wisconsin
  • Interests:Needlework, including counted cross stitch and knitting, reading, dogs, triking (trikes are three wheeled motorcycled if you didn't know) and flower gardening. That is besides the paranormal...

Posted 19 April 2011 - 12:58 PM

I don't think that it's the critical thinking or skepticism that "kills" a discussion or even spoils the fun, as it were. It's how one's thoughts and opinions are expressed that does that.

Let's use the Aunt Fanny scenario mentioned above. A member tells us that they see Aunt Fanny after those mixed drinks and her headaches are caused by the perfume. I can connect the dots - lots of booze over a long period of time can cause one to see all sorts of things. But I might pose my thoughts on this particular scenario like this: "Have you ever seen/felt/heard your late aunt at a different time of day or when you haven't had any alcohol or taken medicine? It would be easier to look at this if you have." Someone else might say: "So you only see dead people when you're drunk as a skunk? Who could believe that!" The first version doesn't hurt the poster's feelings, but shows some respect. It also politely points this person into thinking about alternative explanations and their own critical thinking. After all, we all have had odd things happen and until we figured out what other things might be the cause, we might have entertained the idea of paranormal explanations. One example that comes to mind was a few years ago a new member posted about a lamp in an empty room that would turn itself on all the time. They came here for answers and there were plenty of ideas for them to think about. People were decent to this member and they were able to find a natural explanation - and stayed around the Village. So the critical thinking helped someone and encouraged them to hang around and contribute more - but that was due to the respect shown that person.

I believe in healthy skepticism. If I post a picture with an anomaly and CaveRat points out how it looks like something normal and why he thinks that, then I learn what to look for in my other pictures. If he points it out in such a way that I end up feeling like an idiot or like I've been slapped in the face, then all I've learned is that he's a jerk (and he's certainly not one) or that I won't get help at GV. So keep the critiques up - open exchange of ideas lead to deeper understanding!
"Never wrestle with a pig. All you get is dirty and the pig has all the fun." ~ Anon.

#15 CaveRat2

CaveRat2

    Village Elder

  • Town Council
  • PipPipPipPipPip
  • 1,545 posts
  • Gender:Male
  • Location:Fayette County, Pennsylvania
  • Interests:Serious Research and separating the truth from the hype in the paranormal field today.

Posted 19 April 2011 - 08:48 PM

I read that! OK, So I'm a jerk..... (JK)! :kitty:

Seriously though, Red is right regarding how one critiques another's evidence. It is not enough just to say Aunt Fanny is a figment of your imagination or is a dust speck. If someone posts a picture or anything else, and someone wishes to dispute it, the burden of proof is on the debunker. They are OBLIGATED to give supporting evidence for their view. It is how the field will advance.

Consider the orb argument. Today most agree that orbs in pictures are dust, etc. But there was a time when such evidence was believed to be valid by many. They posted their orbs and a few would discount them. Logic and reasoning was presented as evidence to debunk them. Many didn't believe the debunkers but they continued to post explanations as to how and why dust could cause such an effect. Some followed up with their own experiments using flash and cameras in the manner outlined by the skeptics. They created situations using dust in the same manner and also got orbs in their test pictures. Gradually the orb was shown to be what it is.

Today most agree that the vast majority of orbs are dust based on the evidence presented by those early debunkers. Had they simply disputed them without giving a reason no one would have learned anything. But because arguments were made against them the orb has for the most part been ruled out as paranormal. At the very least some criterea have been established to validate the few that don't fit the dust argument. But that's a different discussion!

An example of critical thinking and positive results!




0 user(s) are reading this topic

0 members, 0 guests, 0 anonymous users