Talk:Skepticism

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[edit] Shermer

Reading some of Michael Shermer's stuff, he strikes me as a professional skeptic. Not that that is a Bad Thing per se, but he doesn't seem to fully grasp the pseudoscience du jour that he writes about...dismissing it out-of-hand. I like my debunking with a bit more meat on its bones, thank you very much. ~~ CЯacke® 16:56, 26 June 2007 (CDT)

Rob, my boy, you've got to read more Shermer...he does his homework. His regular SciAm column is great.--PalMD-yada yada 21:10, 26 June 2007 (CDT)
Maybe it's me but his column comes off a bit know-it-ally, but w/o going into detail. There's an old saying, Those who think they know everything are a real pain in the ass for those of us who actually DO. Most of mine's readings of his ARE from SciAm. CЯacke®
Well, I've always found your judgement sound, so I'll buy what you've got to say.--PalMD-yada yada 21:22, 26 June 2007 (CDT)
But I'm calling the FBI because you disagreed with me...I'm filing a federal case.--PalMD-yada yada 21:23, 26 June 2007 (CDT)
Oh let me do it, I am getting really good at IC3. 24.141.169.255 21:25, 26 June 2007 (CDT)

[edit] Theories produce evidence?

The article says:

  • Theories and suggestions that produce evidence and are deemed logically coherent are kept, while those that fail this test are rejected - but, very importantly, nothing is ever held above this challenge.

My theory of science may be at fault but I thought that theories produced testable predictions. (OK if these turn out to be true then this is evidence the theory is correct - but if the predictions are not "true then it's evidence the theory is wrong.) Even stranger is the idea that suggestions produce evidence. Isn't this all the wrong way round? Surely we start with evidence and go from there to produce theories and suggestions. I was going to change it to read that - but then I saw that that would throw the subsequent sentence out -as it goes back to evidence. Unless somebody thinks I'm wrong I'll change it later.--BobSpring is sprung! 14:56, 12 October 2010 (UTC)

Good point, I clarified it. But in the nature of real research, it's often difficult to know whether you start with theory and find evidence or you start with evidence and find a theory. Usually it's a mix of both and it part of a long chain of "idea" > "testing" > "idea" > "testing" that it's a bit chicken and egg. Scarlet A.pngpostate 10:32, 13 October 2010 (UTC)
The new wording is better.--BobSpring is sprung! 14:20, 13 October 2010 (UTC)

[edit] I was born to be a sceptic

Even when I was a Christian, I couldn't accept the idea of dualism. I wanted physical evidence for God. Then I realised there was none, and became an atheist. EddieMonah (talk) 20:43, 30 August 2012 (UTC)

[edit] The leader of the Scepticlal movement is Elisabeh Whelam.

The leader of the Scepticlal movement is Elisabeh Whelam. She controll the money flow. Here organisation ACSH make contact between different persons in the movement, and companies that need help with their marketting.The sceptics spreads the companies views on their blogs, and the followers spread the views further. A part of the marketing plan is that the followers do not discuss from where their ideas come. They are not allowed to discuss the question. The followes are told, that talk about that is help the Woo-Woo(thats the name of the movements enemies), so the scientific way to respond is to change subject, and demand that he who ask the question answer another question first, and then takes the skeptic over and leads the discussion to the questions the movement propagate.


Customers are many different companies, who are accused of pollution, or sales of unnecessary or dangerous drugs, but in principle, all companies that pay are accepted as clients. ACSH is spreading propaganda to influential people within the movement, who get paid for their work.

James Randi campaigned for climate skepticism in a few months. U.S. oil companies could pay a lot for such propaganda.

In order to keep the members of the movement as it focuses a lot on changing the direction of discussions takes place. For example, a discussion is taking place in society, that the swine flu vaccine caused narcolepsi in some children, the movement can try to start a discussion on homeopathy instead.

Advantage of this business idea is that it is inexpensive, and can be implemented at low cost. — Unsigned, by: Mamma / talk / contribs

Falldownlaugh.gif Scarlet A.pnggnostic 09:04, 21 January 2013 (UTC)

Rational or incompetent?

This document is written by two of Elisabeth whelans hired hands("scientific advisors"): http://www.scienceinmedicine.org/policy/papers/AntiFluoridationist.pdf and here are pseudo-sceptics who back it up.: http://www.scienceinmedicine.org/fellows/

This is some of the reasons, that make the fluoride sellers to hire "independent scientists": http://curezone.us/upload/pdf/Fluoride_exposure_in_drinking_water_and_osteosarcoma.pdf and http://www.fluoridealert.org/issues/caries/who-data/ and of course this

http://edition.cnn.com/2011/HEALTH/01/07/fluoride.recommendations/index.html

(Read ACSH lobbyists).Read about ACSH: http://www.sourcewatch.org/index.php/ACSH


Is lobbyism new in this subject?

http://www.thenhf.com/article.php?id=3294

http://www.thenhf.com/article.php?id=3386 http://www.thenhf.com/article.php?id=1225

Why not try to use other parts of your head than the lower front part?--Mamma (talk) 10:24, 21 January 2013 (UTC)

Three well known "sceptics" with ties to ACSH are: Michael Shermer, Steve Novella and Stephen Barrett . (Check ACSH on Sourcewatch).--Mamma (talk) 10:29, 21 January 2013 (UTC)

You do realize that skepticism deals with much more than water fluoridation and alternative medicine, don't you?
So far you have failed to show a meaningful link between the ACSH and the individuals you are accusing of being shills. Neither Novella, nor Shermer or Barrett appears in the Sourcewatch article. (Sourcewatch itself is a wiki. It used to have a rather lengthy article claiming that the Moon landings were a hoax...)
Randi didn't "campaign" for climate "skepticism", he just said some dumb things in a blog post. A lot of the people you are referring to as "followers" who mindlessly propagate his words, took issue with what he said and set him straight - you know, the opposite of viewing him as an infallible leader. The skeptical movement is not a monolith. It contains people with different views and biases, including political biases. Other skeptics notorious for their views on AGW were Shermer and Penn and Teller, and they have been criticized for those views by other skeptics, including this very wiki.
Also, some of your hyperlinks don't work, which shows that you are copying them from somewhere else in a rather stupid way. If you want a meaningful conversation, fix them.--ZooGuard (talk) 13:03, 21 January 2013 (UTC)
WE MUST DELETE THIS NOW! We can't let people know that the skeptical movement is really a front for big oil!
(Alternatively, and seriously this time, can we save this somewhere special? It's a bit too good to lose, and its the funniest thing I've seen for a while.)--Weirdstuff (talk) 18:37, 21 January 2013 (UTC)
Right here TyJFBANBSRADA 18:46, 21 January 2013 (UTC)
ZooGuard did Write:"Neither Novella, nor Shermer or Barrett appears in the Sourcewatch article." Sorry if I did it too difficult for you. Go to 6.3 and click on "Scientific advisors" in the sentence:"As of December 2009, ACSH lists over 300 advisors"As of December 2009. Novella was "sa" for 5 years, Shermer have had more important functions, and Barrett is an old timer in ACSH. You have never thought about from where he got money to all SLAPP-suits?( http://www.dynamicchiropractic.com/mpacms/dc/article.php?id=50524 http://bolenreport.com/archives/barrett.htm )ZooGuard said:"The skeptical movement is not a monolith. " Good you know that at least, but the effect is good enough, so Whelan go on paying her "scientific advisors". They manage to create a "public opinion" small maybe, but agressive. You can check ACSH views and you will see ACSH have done a pretty good job. Maybe you do not bother about which ideas you spread.--Mamma (talk) 18:53, 21 January 2013 (UTC)
"Randi didn't "campaign" for climate "skepticism", he just said some dumb things in a blog post." Not to mention he got immediately savaged for it. Nebuchadnezzar (talk) 20:14, 21 January 2013 (UTC)
Having looked at WP's article on American Council on Science and Health founded by alleged (and previously unknown) "skeptical leader" Elisabeh Whelam I've got to say that it doesn't look much like a skeptical organisation to me.--Weirdstuff (talk) 20:37, 21 January 2013 (UTC)
Here is what Barrett says about ACSH on his "Nutritionwatch"in the end of the page: "Antiquackery Web Sites • American Council on Science and Health (ACSH) http://www.nutriwatch.org/ Why not check the links on fluoride above? Whelan has written one CSI-article. But mostly her "scientific advisors" inside "the sceptical movement" like Michael Shermer, Steve Novella and Stephen Barrett do the hard labour. Check the links on fluoride and the names in the organisation.--Mamma (talk) 21:23, 21 January 2013 (UTC)

──────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────── The Sourcewatch list of experts is sourced to the ACSH's website itself. The up-to-date list no longer lists Novella or Barrett, Shermer is still in. In all cases, it doesn't say what's the criteria for listing someone as an advisor and whether advisors receive money for their services. Here's what Novella says about it himself:[1]

Finally, Handley pulls the “pharma shill” gambit on me as part of his smear campaign. He trots out an accusation he has made before, portraying my association with the ACSH as being sinister. As I have already explained, my association with the ACSH is limited to me agreeing to advise them on areas of my expertise. That’s it. I have, in fact, performed zero work for them. I have had no contact with them, other than them sending me their public material, and I have never received any kind of remuneration from ACSH. I have corrected Handley on this before, so I know that he knows what he is writing is wrong, and he has failed to correct his errors.

And here's what another notable medical skeptic says about the ACSH:[2] (hyperlinks omitted, go for the original for them)

Unfortunately, in almost the mirror image to the nutrition alarmists, one also sees a disturbing temptation on the part of those who represent themselves as scientific to go too far in the other direction and point to Schoenfeld and Ioannidis’ study as a convenient excuse to summarily dismiss nutritional epidemiological findings linking various foods or types of foods with cancer or other disease. For example, the American Council on Science and Health (ACSH) did just that in response to this study, gloating that it proves that its dismissal of food health scares are insignificant. Well, actually, many scares are insignificant, but surely not all of them are. The ACSH also almost goes into conspiracy theories when it further claims that the mainstream media except for a couple of UK newspapers, such as The Guardian, ignored the study. Although arguably this particular study didn’t get huge coverage, it’s going a bit far to claim that the mainstream media ignored it. It didn’t; the study was featured on Boing-Boing, The Washington Post, Reason, Cancer Research UK, and others. Of course, one can’t help but note that the ACSH is the same organization that has referred to advocating organic foods as “elitist”, likes to disparagingly refer to questions about links between environment and cancer as “chemophobia,” and been very quick to dismiss the possibilities that various chemicals might be linked to cancer, as so famously parodied on The Daily Show. a few years ago. We must resist the temptation to go too far in the opposite direction and reflexively dismiss even the possibility of such risks as the ACSH is wont to do, most famously with pesticides and other chemicals.

So, your thesis - that "the leader of the skeptcial movement is Elizabeth Whelam" and that the movement receives its marching orders from her - is unsubstantiated. Your thesis also fails to account for the fact that the movement is not concerned only with alternative medicine. Do you believe that psychics are real? Do you believe that UFOs are alien spacecraft? Do you believe that the Moon landings were hoaxed? Do you believe that 9/11 was the work of the government/Freemasons/Jews/Illuminaty/etc? Who do you think killed JFK? Because all of these are questions addressed by elements of the skeptical movement, and I can't see how the leader of the movement dictates everyone what to say on all of them.--ZooGuard (talk) 14:02, 22 January 2013 (UTC)

Pure comedy gold, from the initial torrent of typos to the "who cares" reference for ACSH being more than they are. Welcome, Mamma, and thanks for the lolz! ħumanUser:Human/sigtalk|}} 04:41, 22 January 2013 (UTC)

Human. I see that you use "scientific skepticism". The "scientist" james Randi is proud of you. --Mamma (talk) 10:13, 22 January 2013 (UTC)
The skeptical movement is a global phenomenon. It includes Brits such as Richard Dawkins and Ben Goldacre. It includes academics like P Z Myers and a whole host of others from many walks of life round the globe.
Yet you think that this entire global movement is coordinated by some American called Elisabeh Whelam who doesn't even rate a Wikipedia article?
I have no idea whether this lady claims to be a skeptic or not - but the idea that one person, much less this person is "the leader of the Scepticlal (sic) movement" is simply laughable. Given that you start from such an absurd premise it's not surprising that anything else you say is treated with derision.--Weirdstuff (talk) 12:16, 22 January 2013 (UTC)
ZooGuard you missed Barret he is still on the list.In the first column,in the beginning. Steve Novella was on the list for five years as "scientific advisor", and of course if one know how ACSH functions.See ACSH Sourdewatch 6.5 "Former staff Nicolas Martin was ACSH's administrative director during parts of 1988 and 1989. He dubbed ACSH's President, Elizabeth Whelan, the "junk food queen" for her defense of companies who make products with low nutritional value. Martin says that during his tenure with ACSH he saw or was informed of instances when funders were intimately involved in ACSH projects. Before Martin's arrival at the organization, ACSH published a booklet on sugar and health. He says that he was told by ACSH's then vice-president, Edward Remmers, that the booklet was printed in-house by The Hershey Company. Martin says that during his tenure ACSH was producing a booklet on alcohol and health that the Stroh Brewery Company participated in editing. Neither booklet included an acknowledgement of funder participation. Martin claims that in 1999 The Professional Lawn Care Association of America (PLCAA) asked ACSH to publish a booklet defending chemicals used for lawn care. He says that Dr. Whelan insisted that ACSH would only produce such a defense if the PLCAA made a donation to fund it. This is the sort of quid pro quo Dr. Whelan has always claimed that ACSH has never permitted.[13] Martin says that he notified ACSH board members of these apparent violations of ACSH policy, but that no public acknowledgement or correction resulted. Martin disputes Dr. Whelan's claim to be a libertarian, noting that she has long supported government limits on the sale of food supplements, and controls over tobacco sale and use by adults. He notes that Dr. Whelan attended a fundraiser to support the Supreme Court nomination of Robert Bork, whose constitutional views are anathema to most libertarians. From 1989 to the present, Martin has been executive director of the Consumer Health Education Council." Then you know being of the list must not mean you do not work for them anylonger. ACSH has been in the business in that industry a long time. Gorski do treat ACSH as a part in a normal discussion, and not as a lobby organization. He is softening the message. Gorski is a "Founding fellow"in "Institute for Science in Medicine"(A constuction by ACSH. It is not real Institute.)(See the link above.) Do I believe that psychics are real? No I do not. Aliens, UFO, alien spacecraft, the moon landing, and so on? No of course not! Do you NOT believe that ACSH exist? Do you not believe they act as Sourcewach says? If NOT. Why not check the facts? Why think conspiracy theory? Do you not see how silly it looks? You do says:" I can't see how the leader of the movement dictates everyone what to say on all of them." From that I can tell you have NOT studied Social science. There are other type of social organizations , than military organizations, and there are different styles of leaders. Maybe this is above the level of your(and Weirdstuff) education. Maybe you do not know anything about critical thinking? MAYBE you do not like then someone do not share your believe system? Maybe you are fundamentalistic pseudosceptics? Sorry if I disturbed your beauty sleep. Sorry girls!--Mamma (talk) 22:57, 22 January 2013 (UTC)
And maybe you are an alt-med, anti-vaccination loon? A shill for the "health freedom" industry? ;) Oh, and misogynistic to boot. Really, "girls"?
I agree that the ACSH probably is not a "nice" organization, and I think that most other RW users following this page would agree too. But you need a lot more to make a convincing case that Whelam is the leader of the skeptical movement. I already pointed out why such a claim is absurd - you missed the point of the reason I asked if you believe in UFOs. Your chain of associations does not necessarily mean that skeptics X,Y and Z are minions of Whelam. If the ACSH is successful in presenting itself as an anti-quackery group, it will naturally attract genuine skeptics. Moreover, it would be more effective as an industry front if it produces more legitimate stuff than paid-for industry PR - this way, the "bad apples" would be hidden among the good. ;) Apparently, you are neither cunning enough, nor experienced enough to see that. ;p
Anyway, the text quoted in your last post says nothing about the function of advisors, just piles up on the ACSH leadership. "Board member" is not the same as "advisor". --ZooGuard (talk) 09:00, 23 January 2013 (UTC)
Guilt by association is not science. Science is something else. You said :"I agree that the ACSH probably is not a "nice" organization,"Well, Shermer, Barrett and Novella are connected to ACSH, and they influence a lot of people in the skeptical movement. "Your chain of associations does not necessarily mean that skeptics X,Y and Z are minions of Whelam. If the ACSH is successful in presenting itself as an anti-quackery group, it will naturally attract genuine skeptics." Maybe ACSH are not as fond of "labels" as "the skeptical movement". A lot of "skeptics" do not see through ACSH. ACSH work as other lobby organizations, so most likely they give "small gifts" to friendly journalists who publish their stuff. But that is harder to prove because "bad apples" will be hidden among the good.  :smile:  (You can find more about that on the net.) You say:"And maybe you are an alt-med, anti-vaccination loon? A shill for the "health freedom" industry? ;) " It is the same as always CHECK THE FACTS.--Mamma (talk) 10:24, 23 January 2013 (UTC)
None of this has any bearing to whether Whelam is "the leader of the skeptical movement". You know, the reason why you post this shit on the talk page of the skepticism article.
And you failed to address what I said. I think you even failed to even comprehend it.--ZooGuard (talk) 10:30, 23 January 2013 (UTC)
Some evidence is not the same as conclusive evidence. But some evidence is not the same as no evidence. But it seems as you don´t get it. Good luck with highschool!--Mamma (talk) 11:05, 23 January 2013 (UTC)
http://www.anomalist.com/commentaries/pseudo.html--Mamma (talk) 11:22, 23 January 2013 (UTC)
Claiming that Elisabeh Whelam runs the skeptical movement is an extraordinary claim. (OK, it's an absurd claim but let's stick with extraordinary). It needs extraordinary evidence. Your ill-written, ranting, semi-comprehensible walls of text have certainty not provided this extraordinary evidence. Can you provide it?--Bob"I thought this was supposed to be "Rational" Wiki?." 11:24, 23 January 2013 (UTC)
I am familiar with Truzzi and his views on skepticism - I wrote the Marcello Truzzi article here. :) It's also irrelevant for the topic at hand - your claim that Whelam is "the leader of the skeptical movement".--ZooGuard (talk) 12:11, 23 January 2013 (UTC)
You suggest that we know nothing of critical thinking Mama. So let's go with burden of proof. You claim that Elisabeh Whelam is "the leader of the Scepticlal (sic) movement". You have been challenged repeatedly to substantiate this bizarre claim but nothing your have come up with really cuts the mustard.
As you claim to be a skeptic you will be aware of the fact that you need evidence to back up your claims. And your evidence will need to be pretty damn overwhelming to meet the burden of proof on this one. I await the next response with interest and I hope it will answer the question your have been repeatedly asked.--Weirdstuff (talk) 17:04, 23 January 2013 (UTC)
"Guilt by association is not science." Oh the irony. Nebuchadnezzar (talk) 17:49, 23 January 2013 (UTC)
ETA: Another anti-ACSH post from Orac. He must be under Whelan's spell. Nebuchadnezzar (talk) 18:21, 23 January 2013 (UTC)
Is kim jong-un not the leader of North Korea because there are people who not support him? Why are there NO comments on Fluoridation links? Who is Barretts paymaster?http://www.bolenreport.com/feature_articles/Doctor's-Data-v-Barrett/discovery%20dam%20burst6.htm--Mamma (talk) 09:19, 29 January 2013 (UTC)
And your overwhelming evidence that "the leader of the Scepticlal movement is Elisabeh Whelam" is?--Bob"I thought this was supposed to be "Rational" Wiki?." 09:48, 29 January 2013 (UTC)
If you not are interested in analysing the "sceptical" movement, and only are "belivers" I will not waste my time on you.--Mamma (talk) 12:17, 29 January 2013 (UTC)
Read: I have nothing. CopperheadHisssssss 15:48, 29 January 2013 (UTC)
Indeed. OR: "I could answer that question if I wanted to and thus demonstrate the correctness of my position but for some bizarre reason I prefer not to".--Bob"I thought this was supposed to be "Rational" Wiki?." 16:10, 29 January 2013 (UTC)

────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────That said, Shermer's continued association is not too surprising, given his politics. Nebuchadnezzar (talk) 16:40, 29 January 2013 (UTC)

Shermer's a Social Darwinest? Libertarian - OK, but Social Darwinest?--Bob"I thought this was supposed to be "Rational" Wiki?." 17:17, 29 January 2013 (UTC)

[edit] JREF discussion

Note: This article is being discussed here. Sterilesig.svgtalk 12:51, 17 May 2013 (UTC)

Cool. Could generate some ideas worth implementing. Scarlet A.pngsshole 14:42, 17 May 2013 (UTC)

[edit] Addition of Brian Dunning to notable skeptics

Brian Dunning seems to fit in the notable skeptics column. I think he should be added there, anyone else think the same or otherwise?--WMS (talk) 22:08, 30 May 2016 (UTC)

Added him--WMS (talk) 02:09, 3 June 2016 (UTC)
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