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Change a skeptic's mind?


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#16 Enderfay

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Posted 10 March 2009 - 02:44 AM

The general concensus seems to be 'a sceptic can change....' etc, as if we're discussing the prospects of someone being able to get over a tragic illness. Lol, lol, lol !!!

Best wishes,

Enderfay
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#17 chestnut

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Posted 10 March 2009 - 12:04 PM

Okay, now I get what you're saying. Yeah, that's true, skeptics are often perceived as "flawed" somehow, as in "Whaddaya mean, you don't believe?? Just look at this picture!!" And I disagree with those who have that mindset.

Some skeptics may change their minds if they feel the evidence is strong enough -- I believe it was brucekp on this site who said that he was previously a skeptic. But that doesn't mean all skeptics have to change their minds, of course. It depends on what criteria that person has in determining "proof" of a paranormal event.

I can't remember if it was CaveRat or OMPRDave who talked about skeptics vs cynics. I think cynics are a separate category, on the opposite end of the spectrum as blind believers. It's the knee-jerk reaction in one extreme or the other that causes problems.

I'm all in favor of clinical evaluation of evidence, with as much scrutiny as possible.

#18 Enderfay

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Posted 10 March 2009 - 02:12 PM

Hi Chestnut,

I have to admit that my own personal belief system is an exceptionally 'fluid' thing...... and has changed many times over the years. (And will no doubt change again and again and again and again..... Lol, lol, lol !!!) I'm currently a rather sceptical old soul (in most quarters), with definite cynicism aimed at certain sections of the (supposed) paranormal world..... Lol.

Best wishes to you,

Regards,

Enderfay
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#19 OMPRDave

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Posted 10 March 2009 - 03:47 PM

In another thread I mentioned "checking my belief system at the door" so to speak when it comes to my own research, and I also stated that sometimes it can be hard to keep them in check, especially where I've had a handful of very unexplainable events in my own life.

As far as being skeptical, I'm not saying I won't accept any answers found out through research. I just reserve any bias until I am 100% satisfied that the data I'm considering is proven. I'll try to put it another way, with a hypothetical scenario, to clarify:

On one case I measure a distinct variation in a DC field that seems to localize each time mention of a deceased person happens. This variation presents itself in a measurable pattern every time the name of the deceased is mentioned, and occurring in various locations each time. Where this is one case, I document it but formulate no opinion as to whether it is in fact paranormal in nature or not. A second, third, fourth, and fifth study is conducted at the residence, and the same results are monitored on each occasion. Now, with verified documentation and consistent results, I begin to find a correlation between this anomalous fluctuation and the mention of the deceased person's name. From the data I can therefore reinforce the claim that there can be definite fluctuations in magnetic fields associated with spirit activity.

So, a skeptic won't make a biased decision based solely on any accepted belief system without investigation of the claims. Unfortunately too many skeptics are labeled cynics because they won't acknowledge the believer's standpoint outright. Just remember that a skeptic just wants proof - we aren't discounting anything until we have gotten the information needed to make our own opinions. And we're really quite friendly, too. Oh, and cuddly. Not like those rough, prickly cynics!

Edited by OMPRDave, 10 March 2009 - 03:48 PM.

"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

#20 yld1009

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Posted 10 March 2009 - 06:22 PM

In another thread I mentioned "checking my belief system at the door" so to speak when it comes to my own research, and I also stated that sometimes it can be hard to keep them in check, especially where I've had a handful of very unexplainable events in my own life.

As far as being skeptical, I'm not saying I won't accept any answers found out through research. I just reserve any bias until I am 100% satisfied that the data I'm considering is proven. I'll try to put it another way, with a hypothetical scenario, to clarify:

On one case I measure a distinct variation in a DC field that seems to localize each time mention of a deceased person happens. This variation presents itself in a measurable pattern every time the name of the deceased is mentioned, and occurring in various locations each time. Where this is one case, I document it but formulate no opinion as to whether it is in fact paranormal in nature or not. A second, third, fourth, and fifth study is conducted at the residence, and the same results are monitored on each occasion. Now, with verified documentation and consistent results, I begin to find a correlation between this anomalous fluctuation and the mention of the deceased person's name. From the data I can therefore reinforce the claim that there can be definite fluctuations in magnetic fields associated with spirit activity.

So, a skeptic won't make a biased decision based solely on any accepted belief system without investigation of the claims. Unfortunately too many skeptics are labeled cynics because they won't acknowledge the believer's standpoint outright. Just remember that a skeptic just wants proof - we aren't discounting anything until we have gotten the information needed to make our own opinions. And we're really quite friendly, too. Oh, and cuddly. Not like those rough, prickly cynics!


OMPRDave, I have to say I am seeing a different side to you. I like what you had to say. To me, a cynic is someone who does not believe, and there is nothing that will change their mind, not even with evidence that proves beyond a reasonable doubt. A skeptic however, and this is just my opinion, does believe in the paranormal to a point or why else would they bother studying it? They just want the actual proof and evidence to make sure it's paranormal instead of looking at something and saying, o.k. this is paranormal. I believe we need skeptics in this field to keep us grounded so to speak. I am a believer, I have seen and experienced too much not to be, but at the same time, I have had a PI team to my home just to make sure. So, in a way, I am a believer, but a believer that also wants validation that what I see or experience is in fact paranormal. There are sometimes that certain things can be explained with a logical reason, and sometimes not. Like I stated before, I need it to a point, to stay grounded and not jump to the conclusion that everything I hear or see is paranormal. I have nothing against skeptics. In fact, since joining this site, I have learned a lot from some great people on here, even the skeptic ones..lol. It has helped me a lot. Now, I don't jump every time I hear a sound or take a picture and automatically assume I have caught something. So.....here is to skeptics and believers joining together, and trying to find answers to the awesome and unexplainable things that happen around us. I think together, we can one day figure this all out. We need believers to provide the circumstance and experiences, and a skeptic and/or investigators to help us figure all this out. I mean, why else do we call in PI teams? We do it to get answers, and sometimes it's the skeptics that can help us see it from a different point of view. Not always, mind you..lol, but how else have we come up with the explanations that we have now? Hope this made sense. I may be way out of my element here, but this is just my perspective on the topic. Thanks for listening..yld

#21 PhenomInvestigator

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Posted 15 March 2009 - 04:33 PM

While not an example of 'changing' a mind, this certainly represented a great 'question of faith' to one well-known skeptic. Years ago a group of well-known scientists conducted an series of studies into modern physical mediumship called the "Scole Experiments". You can read about them in the book of the same name. This was an attempt to determine if the supposed abilities of the physcial mediums, most well-known from the work of psychical researchers in the late 19th and early 20th centuries, could have in fact truly been real.

Unlike their predecessors, these later researchers placed stringent controls on most of the sessions. They invited the scientific, conjuring and skeptical community to work with them with varied success. No one was able to find any problems with the protocols per se and some unexplainable phenomena did occur. (For more details please see the book referenced above).

One scientist who read the reports and found them unexplainable was Dr. Richard Wiseman. Wiseman is a skeptic in the U.K. who has for years been debunking much of what is reported especially when it comes to psychics and mediums. This is the same investigator who was involved with a researcher from Noetic in a landmark study that clearly demonstrated experimenter effect. Wiseman could not explain the Scole phenomena. But and this is the point, he also has refused to admit the possibility that the phenomena might be 'paranormal' or be attributable to spiritual communication.
Anomalous Phenomena is Unexplained not ImpossiblePsi is Subtle not AbsoluteAnything is possible, it's all a matter of Probability---------------------

#22 WillowsRaven

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Posted 16 June 2009 - 04:43 PM

I'd say most skeptics minds are changed not by others experiences, but rather their own. And usually it needs to be a VERY intense and convincing experience. I compare it to religion. I'm an atheist and there's nothing anyone has said or done to date that has changed my opinion. So if you're looking to share an experience, perhaps choose ears of those who've had their own experiences rather than those who are nay sayers. It'll make you feel better. Birds of a feather you know?
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#23 stevenedel

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Posted 20 June 2009 - 02:16 PM

If a skeptic allows his mind to be changed by a mere 'experience', he's not a true skeptic. If there is one thing we need to question at all time it is subjective experience - it is simply far too flawed and unreliable to draw far-reaching conclusions from.

As a skeptic, I remain unconvinced of the paranormal due to the consistent lack of compelling evidence gathered in a methodically sound way, and also due to the many logical inconsistencies in paranormal lore. I am especially baffled by the often heard claim that 'this or that could not be explained in any other way', as if the person in question possesses full knowledge of all possible explanations there might be. Worse, even if a strange blur on a photograph truly couldn't be explained in any known way, that would still not constitute evidende it's a ghost.
- it would still be a mere unexplained blur.
Extraordinary claims demand extraordinary evidence. (Carl Sagan)

#24 WillowsRaven

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Posted 22 June 2009 - 12:54 PM

Ah, but not all experiences are mere. Some are very intense. That too though is subject to interpretation by the person ( or persons ) having the experience. One person might be more excitable or read more into something than his buddy who just shrugs and is much less moved. I tend to be a shrugger.. however I have had experiences in life ( not exclusively related to the paranormal ) that flipped me to the other side of the coin.
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#25 PhenomInvestigator

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Posted 26 June 2009 - 01:04 PM

Here is a fun fact that is loosely related to the topic of changing a skeptic's mind.

Did you know that Skeptic in Chief Dr. Michael Schermer, long a critic of all things wierd, wacky and paranormal, has now reversed himself?

I KNOW!

In his book "Best Evidence", Schermer reports on several years' research into various types of anomalous phenomena including Near Death Experiences, Mediumship, ESP, Healing and so on. His astounding conclusion: that the traditional skeptics, working from their materialistic perspective are wrong and worse, have been fundamentally intellectually dishonest. He accuses his fellow skeptics of such things as arguing from a position of philosophy rather than science, of misinvoking Occam's Razor, and of not taking the time to understand the subtleties and nuances of the parapsychology research. He fundamentally vindicates the work of J. B. Rhine, Charles Honorton and Ian Stevenson which he at one point time unabashedly criticized.

If there was ever an example of a skeptic changing his mind, this has to be it! What did it take? Nothing but his own determination to look into the matters himself, remain objective and actually read the research.

Edited by PhenomInvestigator, 26 June 2009 - 01:05 PM.

Anomalous Phenomena is Unexplained not ImpossiblePsi is Subtle not AbsoluteAnything is possible, it's all a matter of Probability---------------------

#26 Caniswalensis

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Posted 26 June 2009 - 02:20 PM

Did you know that Skeptic in Chief Dr. Michael Schermer, long a critic of all things wierd, wacky and paranormal, has now reversed himself?


In his book "Best Evidence", Schermer reports on several years' research into various types of anomalous phenomena including Near Death Experiences, Mediumship, ESP, Healing and so on. His astounding conclusion: that the traditional skeptics, working from their materialistic perspective are wrong and worse, have been fundamentally intellectually dishonest. He accuses his fellow skeptics of such things as arguing from a position of philosophy rather than science, of misinvoking Occam's Razor, and of not taking the time to understand the subtleties and nuances of the parapsychology research. He fundamentally vindicates the work of J. B. Rhine, Charles Honorton and Ian Stevenson which he at one point time unabashedly criticized.

Hi Phemom,

Do you have a ISBN for the book in question? I would like to check it out, but there seems to be no mention of this on Michael Shermer's website. http://www.michaelshermer.com/books/

Pardon me for asking, but are you sure that this was not aa April fool's prank or something?

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


#27 Caniswalensis

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Posted 26 June 2009 - 03:48 PM

Did you know that Skeptic in Chief Dr. Michael Schermer, long a critic of all things wierd, wacky and paranormal, has now reversed himself?


In his book "Best Evidence", Schermer reports on several years' research into various types of anomalous phenomena including Near Death Experiences, Mediumship, ESP, Healing and so on. His astounding conclusion: that the traditional skeptics, working from their materialistic perspective are wrong and worse, have been fundamentally intellectually dishonest. He accuses his fellow skeptics of such things as arguing from a position of philosophy rather than science, of misinvoking Occam's Razor, and of not taking the time to understand the subtleties and nuances of the parapsychology research. He fundamentally vindicates the work of J. B. Rhine, Charles Honorton and Ian Stevenson which he at one point time unabashedly criticized.

Hi Phemom,

Do you have a ISBN for the book in question? I would like to check it out, but there seems to be no mention of this on Michael Shermer's website. http://www.michaelshermer.com/books/

Pardon me for asking, but are you sure that this was not aa April fool's prank or something?

Regards, Canis

Never mind, I answered my own question. The book's title sounded familiar, and a quick check of my shelves solved the Mystery.

Michael Schmicker is the Author of "Best Evidence." Simular name, completely different guy.

Definately not a skeptic. Good writer, though. I find him to state things in a rather biased fashion and I disagree with most of his conclusions. I recommend the book, with the caveat that you do not take what he says as gospel.

To the best of my knowledge, Michael Shermer retains his skeptic's card. :-)

Regards, Canis

Edited by Caniswalensis, 26 June 2009 - 03:50 PM.

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


#28 PhenomInvestigator

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Posted 03 July 2009 - 02:11 PM

Did you know that Skeptic in Chief Dr. Michael Schermer, long a critic of all things wierd, wacky and paranormal, has now reversed himself?


In his book "Best Evidence", Schermer reports on several years' research into various types of anomalous phenomena including Near Death Experiences, Mediumship, ESP, Healing and so on. His astounding conclusion: that the traditional skeptics, working from their materialistic perspective are wrong and worse, have been fundamentally intellectually dishonest. He accuses his fellow skeptics of such things as arguing from a position of philosophy rather than science, of misinvoking Occam's Razor, and of not taking the time to understand the subtleties and nuances of the parapsychology research. He fundamentally vindicates the work of J. B. Rhine, Charles Honorton and Ian Stevenson which he at one point time unabashedly criticized.

Hi Phemom,

Do you have a ISBN for the book in question? I would like to check it out, but there seems to be no mention of this on Michael Shermer's website. http://www.michaelshermer.com/books/

Pardon me for asking, but are you sure that this was not aa April fool's prank or something?

Regards, Canis

Never mind, I answered my own question. The book's title sounded familiar, and a quick check of my shelves solved the Mystery.

Michael Schmicker is the Author of "Best Evidence." Simular name, completely different guy.

Definately not a skeptic. Good writer, though. I find him to state things in a rather biased fashion and I disagree with most of his conclusions. I recommend the book, with the caveat that you do not take what he says as gospel.

To the best of my knowledge, Michael Shermer retains his skeptic's card. :-)

Regards, Canis


Anomalous Phenomena is Unexplained not ImpossiblePsi is Subtle not AbsoluteAnything is possible, it's all a matter of Probability---------------------

#29 PhenomInvestigator

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Posted 03 July 2009 - 02:16 PM

I figured out what happened, the names were indeed confused. It seemed unlikely when I read it I must confess. Although I hold to my point that the skeptical community must begin to adapt or face an ever-increasing onslaught of negative press. The materialist reductionist position is simply not working as a preponderous amount of evidence mounts that denies the validity of the fundamental position. Onl time will tell, of course.

Apologies for any confusion this may have caused.
Anomalous Phenomena is Unexplained not ImpossiblePsi is Subtle not AbsoluteAnything is possible, it's all a matter of Probability---------------------

#30 OMPRDave

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Posted 12 July 2009 - 11:40 PM

I feel quite the opposite...it's the believers that are going to be feeling the pressure of having supply evidence that holds water. A skeptic doesn't have anything to prove, whereas a believer has the entire burden of proof to show people that what they have captured is indeed unexplainable. And i have seen a marked sift in people posting on alot of forums who think rationally and skeptical versus those who jump straight on the paranormal bandwagon.
"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




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