"What I'm dealing with is so vast and great that it can't be called the truth. It's above the truth." - Sun Ra

Tuesday, June 19, 2012

The Zealots of Doubt, or why skeptics are the new cranks

 "Let me add one more important point: The general a priori-scepticism, the systematic, total denial, damages, even destroys the basic value of the human testimony with grave and incalculable consequences, since it is indeed the fundament of human society, if individual, social or religious. Of course there is always one or the other exemption, there are errors and lies, but generally all our life is based on what we learned from others. It is unthinkable to live without this basic confidence, unimaginable are the consequences of a general negation of the human experience on the individual, social and religious life. It would destroy the very fundament of any human society! " -- Monsignore Corrado Balducci, Rome
"..if God exists and he actually made a cloud formation in the sky that literally said “I exist – signed, God“, skeptics would chalk it up to people seeing what they want to see. If God literally materialized in the sky so that everyone could see, I’m pretty sure skeptics would chalk it up to a rare light formation in the atmosphere due to the ionization of cosmic radiation (or some similar nonsense). My point is simply this: Commitment to doubt is not synonymous with commitment to truth. Skeptics however, can rarely tell the difference." --Xenlogic- Atheism Exposed
"There are still some things science is too young to understand" - Ewan McGregor, Angels and Demons 

Watching a TV documentary on the infamous 1952 exorcism wherein presumably objects flew around the room, I finally lost it when some smartass skeptic 'psychology major' interviewed for the documentary dismissed these reports noting that "firsthand accounts are notoriously unreliable"! So this skeptic claims he is a more reliable judge of what went on in that 1952 real-life exorcist case than the priests that were there, who recorded the objects flying around in scrupulous notes. But of course all the psych major's knowledge on the subject comes from professors and Western Medical Consensus that regularly denies what it does not understand but that doesn't matter. Stuff can't exist unless he's already learned about it.

Even though the web is choked on quotes from NASA and astronauts about firsthand alien experience, these skeptics--who haven't even deigned to glance at the mountain of evidence-- available have decided a priori the witnesses and experts are all either lying or hallucinating or misinterpreting marsh gas. This is a scary thought: people in charge of protecting our country from invasion can't recognize stars, aircraft or marsh gas when they see them. But that doesn't concern skeptics, who are confident that whatever they were taught about reality at their university is true, and all else hopelessly unimportant or the ravings of the less intelligent and deluded. They claim they'll believe in aliens when they can meet one in person, yet they believe in George Washington based purely on ("notoriously unreliable") firsthand witness reports filtered down through the ages, some sketchy portraits, a diary, all of which could be faked, and the unreliable commonality of history books. Since they don't get a chance to meet Washington, by logical association with their denial UFOS he may not have actually existed. And clearly Washington, if he existed, was delusional because he saw UFOs and was visited by alien spirits too. How he ever forged a country without the help of smarmy psych majors to set him straight we'll never know.

Kevin Cook, a smirky dillweed
The thing is, these people who dismiss these things so smarmily are not true skeptics, because skeptics keep an open mind one way or the other. Like Sherlock Holmes, they believe in nothing and everything until evidence is conclusive and sometimes not even then. In that definition even I am a skeptic.
"Just remember one thing: don't be skeptical halfheartedly. Be a total skeptic. When I say be a  total skeptic, I mean that your skeptical ideas should also be put to the same test as anybody else's beliefs. Skepticism, when it is total, burns itself out because you have to question and doubt your skepticism too. You cannot leave your skepticism without doubt; otherwise that is the standpoint of the believer" - Osho
Now there are skeptics who are open-minded, who can grasp the mystery, and who can surrender their doubt as needed, who don't let their doubt sink their ship of open-minded wonderment anymore than they let belief uproot their staunch open-minded doubt. Such a skeptic is Gordon Bonnet of Skeptophilia (read his hilarious response to my ideas on Bigfoot here). A true skeptic is not technically defined as 'someone who clings to their narrow worldview and defends it like a frightened NRA member patrolling the Mexican border.' A true skeptic is not swayed either by science or religion. They are not suckers but neither are they fundamentalist defenders of the 'norm'. BUT when you deny any evidence, even if it's just firsthand accounts, because it doesn't fit your paradigm, then you are not a skeptic, you are exactly what you're seeking to expose, a crank, a deluded nut, except instead of raving about phantoms and insects inside your skin you're a drowning man clinging life-vestedly to the most safe and mainstream 'norms' of science. At that point skepticism no longer means curious or open to new ideas or a willingness to suspend judgment until the facts are in, but instead it is the last refuge of paranoid fledgling 'experts' in fields who have been spending fortunes on post-grad studies and parroting the party line that will award them power and tenure.

Skeptics will accept that they are annoying everyone around them annoyed if it means they are the center of attention. Suddenly the UFO Hunters aren't theorizing and getting their minds boggled on some new piece of evidence, instead they're trying to convince Kevin Cook that the evidence is in fact evidence and not marsh gas or a hubcap tossed in the air. Cook is a great example of the kid no one likes so he learns to passive aggressively seek attention with a kind of continual negative-reinforcement he mistakes as public service (for example - threatening to tell the teacher that the other kids are smoking). Notes UFO MAG:
Here's hoping UFO Hunters gets rid of the new skeptoid, or that at least things improve. Maybe Cook will get a clue. I'm certainly not going to give up watching the program. Let's hope Cook gets off his snarky little horse and stops with the smirking, and shows us he's actually done some research about UFOs
On the show Ancient Aliens we learn that the founding fathers of our country were "men of science - their belief in extraterrestrials was part of their conception of the universe," (see it here). This is how it should be regarding reports of UFOs, a given. We need to trust eyewitness accounts the way we trust them in a courtroom. After all, most men and women of science admit there are countless planets out there which could support life, and one or two (or two million) could be more advanced than us, and certainly it's not inconceivable that one day, millions of years from now, we might be able to fold space or travel back in time--but at the same time, skeptics say, we should contemptuously dismiss anything or anyone that suggests it might already be happening / happened. It can't be true, of course, but it can be a given in theory. It's like a kid runs inside screaming about seeing Bigfoot and his dad punishes him for lying. Moments later a newscast comes on and says there's proof Bigfoot was in the area, sighted and confirmed by the police and military, but the dad still doesn't believe his son or lift the punishment.

The founding fathers wrote their papers long before 1952, which was when the whole debunking and ridiculing thing started as part of Operation Bluebook.  That's the most absurd part -- the ridicule contingent genuinely thinks they're free of delusion, they're too smart to be taken in by the whole UFO nonsense, but the ridicule and dismissal was generated through a deliberate government program of ridicule that didn't exist until 1952. It's a bit like the war on drugs... for awhile LSD was legal and being tested in hundreds of hospitals and college studies. Then, suddenly and without due diligence, it was illegal. Anyone who still stuck up for it, or who took it, was a criminal, insane, deluded, requiring hospitalization. I've been browbeaten by a lot of women who look at me like I'm their kid they caught shoplifting when I mention UFOs. But it's the skeptics and browbeaters who are the shoplifters, for they never once examine or question virulence of their own position, which is not even their own. Why do they not wake children up to tell them Santa Clause doesn't exist? Why don't they go to hospitals and lecture cancer patients about the impossibility of a hereafter or a God on their death beds? Why are they scared to entertain the possibility of broadening the parameters of the known? Is it so important for their negativity to be heard? If they truly don't believe in something why mention it. I don't go around yelling at children about the impossibility of unicorns, yet I don't believe they exist. Does this mean I'm a hypocrite? No, I'm just not an asshole.

These skeptics never bother to read up and learn the shady origins of their ridicule. Skeptics don't like to feel they've been influenced, or that they're just drones of social conditioning, even as they parrot the status quo like indoctrinated fascists.
 "Radio has no future. Heavier-than-air flying machines are impossible. X-rays will prove to be a hoax."--William Thomson, Lord Kelvin English scientist, 1899.  
"Meanwhile there is the forbidden technology, of Tesla and Reich, the forbidden sciences of Crowley and Jack Parsons, the idea of quantum entanglement, the final arrival of physics into the realm of being able to rationalize and explain telepathy, the power of prayer and its possible influence on otherworldly communication. The irrefutable proof of telepathy; the conclusive Princeton prayer studies. Are the scientists saying ants and birds are more evolved than us? Science admits it's barely begun to explore the 'other' 90% of the brain, all while ridiculing any conjecture about what the unknown 90% may consist of. Telepathy is ridiculous (why? They can't be bothered to ask their superiors for fear of being branded a kook); science admits they've discovered less than 20% of all the creatures that exist in the ocean, but sea serpents are ridiculous.
"At this point in the game, dogmatic denial and professional debunking constitute the irrational... Why do we, as a highly educated and supposedly free society, allow these fake rationalisms and this constant censorship campaign to continue unchallenged?" - Whitley Streiber 
The thing is, those open to the mysteries include all sorts of high level pols and deep thinkers, but the few skinny little shitheads who know nothing about the topic just get to mouth the popular reactionary opinion like an invisible throng of supporters is continually applauding them. They get on TV because, in the end, the TV suits want this weird shit couched in doubt... only Ancient Aliens rises above, realizing that dismissive 'experts' just sound as outgunned as celibacy-advocating virgins at a Haight Ashbury acid test.

The more we understand these things the more it is about vibrations, that there is no truth, only waves, and when we've learned to measure and translate the waves and frequencies that as yet lie outside our senses, then all this will be self-evident. The few times I've been outside my body I've felt these vibrations and understood them as channels on a radio, like being able to travel through a red glowing root system that connects you to everything - your nervous system and its impressions are suddenly catalogued and transcended; your senses are flooded and united by the overpowering signal; your radio suddenly tuning into the far away stations perfectly clear, hearing consciously the music that was always there, in the airwaves, regardless of our hearing it. But since I experience these things on occasion, I'm a freak. If the most unimaginative of people can't feel or experience something, can't measure it, then science not only ignores it, but persecutes, even bullies, those who continue to explore it.

Thus do we grind our human progress to a halt, all so the skeptic can smile his smug smile.

I believe this is largely because of neurochemistry: the left (logical-analytical) brain and right (intuitive-creative) brain are in an ideological war. The right brained people acknowledge the importance of the left, while the left-brained often dismiss the right as a lot of unreliable fantasy. That's why they fail to see the big picture or if they do, it's a soulless void, godless and empty.

 Sooner or later you have to surrender all that and step into the unknown, so while the skeptic barks and growls to protect his giant faceless 1% Other, are you really gonna let him shame you into not following the white rabbit down the hole? I hate to break it to you, o skeptic puppy dog, your owner has no biscuit to toss you for your betrayal of your own brood, so you can either let go of your own leash and open your damn mind, or you can just stay behind and feed your doggy-in-the-window soul to the reptiles until all that's left of you is your Cheshire smirk. Either way, just stay out of my paranormal documentaries or face the wrath of the Ring!!

Can you guess which one is the smirky dillweed?
There's a new show on NatGeo, CHASING UFOS that has a skeptic even more annoying than Kevin Cook! He's Ben Something, and he's super smug in his dismissal of all evidence as explainable by natural rationalizations. As awesome as Erin Ryder is (above, center), I couldn't even get five minutes in due to this disrespectful, skeevy skeptic. Who in the hell gave him a camera or a right, and why does NatGeo insist on poisoning the well with these tiresome types? If you had a show about molecular physics would you insist on adding a bible belt hysteric who kept proclaiming no molecules exist, only the lord? In truth, those poor dumb Christians are ten times righter than old Ben with his hysterical blindness to anything he didn't learn in grad school. Bullying witnesses as if it's their moral duty to convince him of their validity, he's an insulting and hostile pisher who should be barred from all television.

There's nothing wrong with a skeptic if they're open minded (Ryder calls herself a 'skeliever' and that's kind of where I'm at with it all, too), but smug dorks like Ben will be closing their eyes and counting to ten refusing to believe a flood is coming long after they've officially drowned. And good riddance.