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Can you be a skeptical believer?


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#1 flyingorb

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Posted 05 June 2003 - 04:09 PM

Hi All, just some thoughts I wanted to share.  What is a skeptic?  I have encountered three types of skeptics in my life.

One is a person who is completely closed minded on the subject and refuses to consider anything outside of their religious teaching, and is usually dismissive and says "They're all demons!".  I admit that I was once like this too.

One is a person who will give consideration to alternate possibilities, but goes along grudgingly expecting to be tricked by the dishonest and constantly looks for mundane causes for paranormal events.  Sometimes this person reaches a point from where they cannot continue due to conflicts with their religious belief and are not willing to change their view of/on life and death.  Oops, I've been there too!

The third type of skeptic I have met is one that will keep an open mind, but realises that if you keep your mind too open- then your brains fall out and you step on them!  *LOL*.  They will consider evidence, even if it conflicts with their belief structure, but be sure that they will run that evidence through-the-mill before even thinking of accepting it.  They are looking for a pattern of truth that is often obscured by the rantings of charlatans and fools.  They are seekers.

I try to emulate the above and think the term skeptical believer applies.  Do I succeed?  Not always, I'm human with all the faults inherent, [glow=red,2,300]but we all must strive to be better than ourselves[/glow]

How do you balance the believer in you with your skeptical side?  What are your thoughts on this. ;)

Please note that none of the three types of skeptics are bad, evil, or stupid.  They just are what they are.  What different types of skeptics you have encountered?  Tell us about it.

[glow=red,2,300]A healthy dose of skepticism will do us no harm![/glow]
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#2 MoonChild

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Posted 06 June 2003 - 02:51 AM

hhmmm. this is tough to answer friend. A Skeptic is a skeptic and a Believer is a believer. It is either this or that. Because when a person is a believer, what happens is that, his mind seeks information to support his belief. Same way, for a skeptic, his mind seeks information to support his cause. But then, there are other category of people who are caught in between! Certain things tells them to be a believer, and other things tell them to be a skeptic! Basically, it is fear and lack of information that holds these people in no man's land. It is not that I do believe everything that comes my way not is it that I cut off everything comes my way. There is always a possibility to explore and check it out.

Now, if some one goes and tell Pandora tthat spells do not work, or Wiccan is not appreciated, she is gonna tear that person off! This happens because, she has tried out Wiccan rituals and spells and have ggot the results, whereas the other person might not have tried it out the right way and perhaps have such closed mind and sees things as bad. Same way, if anyone confronts me about Rock Music, or say Cats, they are going to end up on the wrong side, since my conviction and knowledge in the subject. So the question is not if we can be skeptical believers, but if we can have an open mind - whatever!
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#3 flyingorb

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Posted 06 June 2003 - 06:14 PM

Hi Moon,

Yes, I agree that we are all prisoners of our preconceived ideas and tend to interpret everything based on our own experiences.  What I mean about being a Skeptical Believer is the ability to rise above our experiences (and beliefs) to a level where we can be objective in our search for the truth.

An example of what I mean:

Recently one of the spirits in my house enveloped me in the living room (I have a physiological reaction when it's close).  Immediately the power went out in the whole house for about 5-6 seconds.  The believer in me thought "Sh*t how can you be powerful enough to do that!" (plus a decent surge of adrenaline *LOL*).  The skeptic in me investigated and found that the power outage was spread throughout the area- nothing paranormal happened (well the envelopment happened, but the rest was mere coincidence).  So I am saying that all believers should strive to keep the skeptic inside alive and well to help us separate the truth from fiction. ;)
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#4 MoonChild

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Posted 07 June 2003 - 05:11 AM

Dennis, that is not skepticism, it is inquisitiveness!

Naturally, I am a believer. But not that I believe in anything and everything. Even I do whatever I can to find out what is happenning, but in a way perhaps, I may be seeking to support my belief. At the same time, if a skeptic searches for clues and hints, he will be doing it to support his skepticism.

In this case, when the power went off, since you were a believer, the first thought was that it was the spirit who did that. But later you found that there was a power disruption all over. Adrenaline surge, yes, is natural ;)

And talking about coincedence, itself is a VAST subject.
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#5 maharet

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Posted 17 June 2003 - 08:56 PM

It's possible to be a skeptic and a believer at the same time. Scientists must function as both regularly. They formulate a hypothesis, collect data, calculate and summarize their findings and then find alternate explanations. Obviously that's not the end of the work but at least they follow a method that forces them (provided they're ethical) to be honest.
Investigating the paranormal should follow the scientific method.

It's like the "God" answer. Everything people can't explain, or are afraid to explain, is immediately attributed to a higher power. If there is a scientific explanation for the supernatural, then it's still breaking new ground to study the phenomena and why they occur.

#6 flyingorb

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Posted 17 June 2003 - 09:28 PM

Hi Maharet!

Welcome to the village.

Yes the "skeptic" in the term skeptical believer is extremely inportant.  If you are seeking the truth it is always important to keep both feet on the ground and exhaust all mundane possibilities before considering the paranormal.

Again welcome. hope you decide to stick around. ;)
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#7 Brianne

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Posted 02 August 2003 - 02:03 AM

Hello,

I think that this is a very interesting topic....I grew up in a very haunted house with a skeptical father so I got a sort of confused upbringing.  But I'm glad because it has kept me down to earth about these things and I don't automatically think that every noise/sound/smell is paranormal....even with some things I see, I first wonder what it is I'm actually seeing.  And then I get scared, but that's besides the point... ;)  I also don't believe all the things I see on Telly...for instance, here in the UK, there is a "premiere psychic" which most people seem to flock to and think that he is just the most amazing person in the world.  My husband and I, however, only see the holes in his "readings" and the theatrics he pulls.  I personally do not think he is psychic...  And I think it is obvious if you sit a actually watch him....  He just comes off false to me.  But I'm not sure if you can post names in here of TV personalities, so I won't, otherwise, I'd like to see other people's reactions to him as well if there were others from the UK or if the states is showing the show!

Anyhow, I am a huge believer due to things I have experienced but I still even question myself so I am also a pretty big skeptic.  

Enough of my prattle : ),
Brianne

#8 Freda

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Posted 02 August 2003 - 02:18 AM

Now you have us all wondering who you are referring to  ;)
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#9 Brianne

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Posted 02 August 2003 - 03:03 AM

Now you have us all wondering who you are referring to  ;)


I guess I can mention the name of the show, right?  The show is called "Most Haunted" here on Living TV.  

#10 Freda

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Posted 02 August 2003 - 05:00 AM

Hi Brianne,

I used to think that way and I don't really watch MH all that much ... I thought you were talking about my mate Colin ... who speaks very highly of Derek.

He does come across how you described him, and I too feel that sometimes he tends to go over the top a little but I think it is just how he is normally.

Definitely not as bad as the two who tried to contact Princess Diana recently !!!

Freda
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#11 flyingorb

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Posted 02 August 2003 - 09:14 AM

Yep, you two just lost us colonials *snicker*.  Don't be afraid to mention a public figures name, after all you are only expressing your own opinion.  many threads here also talk about particular "psychics" here in the States.  Fill us in, I'm even more confused than normal now! ;)
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#12 reprise

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Posted 02 August 2003 - 02:32 PM

Moonchild, I find your definition of a "skeptic" a curious (although not uncommon one).  No-one whose viewpoint is "nothing can convince me otherwise" can rightly claim to be a skeptic (such a person would, in fact, be a "believer" of a different kind).

Falsifiability is an integral aspect of a skeptical position.  Someone who cannot conceive evidence which would change their viewpoint about a specific paranormal claim is most definitely not a skeptic.

For instance, while The Rapture might not convince me of the existence of a Biblical God, it would go a long way towards providing evidence for the existence of at least one "super-being" or "superforce" which can exert conscious control over the physical universe.

#13 Cheshire

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Posted 08 August 2003 - 03:05 PM

Definetly a very good topic! I guess I'm more of a skeptic. I don't go out to dissprove anyone, or thier beliefs but I'll look into what logical things may have caused the encounter/sighting or whatever before I delve too deeply into the paranormal side. The only problem I have with reading encounters on this site and reading stories and encounters from anywheres on the internet is that it is the internet. There's alot of garbage out there, alot of people who would say things just to get a rise out of others or to maybe make an alternate personality online. I've seen it done, and hoaxes are very easy to begin on the internet and surprisingly difficult to figure out. The real key is to remain open minded. I also will never give my opinion unless I'm sure I know what the hell I'm talkin about first. I know not everyone does that, some people just begin blabbing about things they know nothing about. Then they look like fools and thier reputation is pretty much ruined.
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#14 MoonChild

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Posted 15 October 2003 - 10:22 AM

aren't skeptics believers on the other side? and arent believers skeptics from the other?
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#15 Gregory

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Posted 15 October 2003 - 03:06 PM

aren't skeptics believers on the other side? and arent believers skeptics from the other?


I don't think so; I can see how you might say that skeptics are believers on one side (if they believe that there is no such thing as the paranormal), but what are believers skeptical in?

In answer to flyingorb's original question, I don't see why not.  Unless you define skepticism as being the absolute belief in the nonexistence of the paranormal--and I don't know many skeptics who would use that definition--than skepticism should not be incompatible with belief.
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