Hello, Lionking,lionking wrote:
Skeptics by nature are negative and close minded. If evidence exists they will say it isn't adequate. You need to be careful siding with skeptics because they can even pull the rug under your own feet.
As I tend towards skepticism myself, I would like to respond to your comment.
I would not describe myself as "negative and close-minded," although it's possible that there are some hardened skeptics who fit that description. I would describe myself as curious and open-minded about the universe and our role within it.
However, at nearly 50 years of age, I have come to be aware of a few things. For example, I'm aware that when I receive an unsolicited Facebook friend request from an improbably gorgeous-looking stranger, this is probably a scam of some kind. When someone tries to interest me in a guaranteed-to-make-you-rich-overnight sort of business venture, I know that this most likely isn't going to deliver. To put it briefly, I have some BS-detection skills. I would rather not waste my time on BS, because time is valuable, and at my age I don't have as much of it as I'd like.
Along the same lines, I know from experience that when a supernatural claim is put forward, it stands a very high probability of being debunked. This isn't a question of deeply ingrained bias on my part. I find the supernatural an interesting topic. I used to play Ouija board with my friends, and am still convinced that parts of London are haunted. Nevertheless, supernatural claims almost always turn out to be bogus, and as I said, I don't like to waste my time. Chances are, if you put such a claim before me, I won't have to Google very far before I find it has been called into serious question or debunked entirely. And when I come back to you with this information, you will accuse me of being "negative and close-minded."
Because I have studied a little bit about argumentation and logic, I can recognize certain known fallacies. And I notice that, over and over again, the people speaking up on behalf of the supernatural rely on logically fallacious arguments. When people routinely make unsound arguments, I trust them less -- for the same reason I don't trust Donald Trump to be my next president, or Deepak Chopra to be my kids' science instructor. It's true that the quality of someone's argumentation does not necessarily determine whether the argument is valid (someone can make a crappy case for a true proposition). Nevertheless, when I see time and time again that supernaturalists resort to unsound arguments -- and, even worse, often don't seem to know what a sound argument is -- then I trust them less. You see, if they had really good arguments at hand, they would surely use them. But they don't. Why is that?
On a fairly regular basis, I come across people referring to "the fact of rebirth" or "the truth of rebirth." When they use this phrasing, I know they are lying. They may not be intending to lie, but the choice of words is dishonest. It is pushing (like a slick used car salesman) for us to accept what has not been established. Rebirth, at present, is a belief. I don't reject this belief (I'm agnostic on the question), but to refer to it is a "fact" is just plain misleading. The facts as present are as Ben put them:
So -- negative? Close-minded? I suppose you could accuse me of being "close-minded" towards the spam folder on Gmail and the diet pill and Russian bride offers contained within. My feeling is that when folks accuse skeptics of close-mindedness, what they're really asking for is a free homework pass. They want to be given credit for work they have not done. They're not willing to apply the sort of rigorous scrutiny that is needed to establish a claim, probably because they're not fundamentally interested in that sort of inquiry -- their minds are already made up. And yet they want their claims to be recognized as "fact."Ben wrote:There is no credible scientific evidence of rebirth or reincarnation. People either take it a metaphor or take it on faith.
Sorry for the rant -- it's not meant to be harsh....just to help explain a perspective. An apologia of sorts...