He’s a fellow libertarian even if he is (his words) “agnostic-atheist”. He is a self-described “skeptic”, which seems to be his center. Like most people who identify today as “skeptics”, though, it is not a perfect skepticism, and there are some areas where he’s not a skeptic at all when he should be. We all share this to some extent.
As a guy who “followed the evidence” from Bible-believing preacher’s kid to atheism and kept on going to a more mature –and absolutely evidence-based– belief in the Bible, I know something about skepticism. I was determined to keep my beliefs within factual science, meaning demonstrable knowledge.
“It seems that all too often people will believe what they’re told by a single media source, a politician, a political party, a professor, etc.”
This is very, very true. But it’s not a matter of just a “single media source”, either. Libertarians should know that the entire government-media complex of establishment corporate institutions very much follow the same political meme, “even when” it is most obviously wrong, and even when they don’t seem to care that it looks so coordinated you can reconstruct the original press release from the government department or corporate PR department it came from.
Often, also entire majorities of entire nations and states are often collectively deluded by government or corporate or other propaganda
machines. Socialist memes from Karl Marx have persuaded even influential wealthy silver spoon rich, despite thinkers like Ludwig von Mises showing they are even self-contradictory.
I believe anyone who believes we didn’t put a man on the moon is ignorant. Click here to see the Mythbusters dismantle these issues on the faked moon landing. I do believe the Americans did put a man on the moon, and in fact I am convinced the Bible predicted space travel at least (Revelation 18:5).
? But I know some people who are anything but ignorant that did believe it. Ad hominems don’t prove anything about anybody but they can be good persuaders. And in this case it helps your reader understand that you are not one of those in no uncertain terms. But sometimes that’s like Peter denying Christ, he finally cursed at the woman the third time, and like Shakespeare’s character said, “Thou dost protest overly much”.
A true skeptic has learned to have a strong distrust of media that have been the vehicles for so much a multitude of lies.
* I believe anyone who thinks George W. Bush spearheaded 9/11 is disgusting, hateful, and ignorant….. insulting to the military who would never follow such an unlawful order…
I don’t believe “George W Bush spearheaded 9/11”, but I also know that not all the people who are skeptical of the official government story are “disgusting, hateful, and ignorant”. And yes, it is “insulting to the military” to say they would follow such an unlawful order, but some things have changed. High military brass (not the ones in the “official-story” media) in alternative media have exposed the fact that the promotions in the military, from the White House down, at the highest levels, have favored the “one-worlders”, as they are called military officers’ circles.
And yes, American military forces have been used for many unlawful and unconstitutional adventures and projects in the past, and no doubt today in many situations. The Congress has helped blur the lines by passing laws that blur the line between its own duty to be the only body authorized to “declare war”.
For example, I have only recently learned that Abraham Lincoln ordered the Army to put down a protest in New York against the draft, in which they engaged in a great massacre, shooting great numbers of protestors in cold blood. With no punishment at all against the officers who issued the orders to do it, nor against the privates who did it. I don’t know if any of them resisted.
How about General Custer’s last stand, after commanding a cold-blooded slaughter of the women and children of the braves who went to pow-wow elsewhere? And in modern times, we have unlawful undeclared wars happening with clockwork regularity, with the military marching right on in, and the last one who refused what he considered such an unlawful order was Michael New.
But special forces participated in a war in Libya, on the ground, rather obviously, in a war against Libya with a specific mission to take out Gadhafi by surrogate, a war that the Obama administration said it did not have to even inform Congress about, much less seek approval for, much less ask for a lawful declaration of war.
So, I’m sorry to bust a bubble, but yes, way too many American soldiers today, especially in the secret missions branches, are all too willing to obey unlawful orders contrary to their oaths to uphold and defend the Constitution.
And we can thank God there are also a great many who would presumably never consciously do so.
What I know about odds and probabilities leads me to believe there is life in our universe outside of Earth. What I know about physics tells me it would have almost no way of getting here in tact. So yes I believe there is alien life, no I do not believe it has ever inhabited Earth.
Well, now there you have it. Micheal Crichton took down this idea about odds and probabilities masterfully in his talk, “Aliens Cause Global Warming”. Among other things, EVERY ELEMENT in Drake’s famous formula about the probability of alien life was completely and utterly ARBITRARY. Of course the still completely arbitrary guesses about how many planets might be able to sustain life are in a precipitous plummet now due to discoveries of actual planets surrounding nearby stars.
Jules Verne could write credibly about people on the Moon, now considered as dead as saying it’s made of green cheese. Then life on Mars became a credible science fad. Now that’s been pushed into eons before. Clarke even had to invent a black-box “monolith” to explain how intelligence “evolved”.
And remember also, that as far back as the 1980s mathematicians proved that the probabilities actually disproved the biologists’ theory on spontaneous biogenesis, again, nearing a 100 years after Pasteur showed the same thing. The problem for the biologists in this kind of mixed-discipline pow-wow was that the mathematicians who did the math were still swearing loyalty to the ancestry in the mud. That we came from rocks eroded into mud.
Never mind all that, though, it is enough to point out that the Drake equation is built on sand. All made-up factors from thin air.
I’m an agnostic/atheist. I do not believe in any supernatural or spiritual beings. The burden of proof is not on science, as such claims are not falsifiable. The burden lies with the people claiming such phenomena exist. I’m open to the possibility, provided there is any scientific evidence presented to support it—such evidence has yet to be presented.
That’s what I said, and then got a chance —took the chance– to look at the evidence. The claim that there is no such evidence is made by people who go through the evidence every day and say it is not. But these are the trusted people that self-identified “skeptics” are not skeptical about.
The anti-creationist paleontologist every day faces the strong evidence of stasis in the fossils. He also now faces soft tissue in fields of bones that stink of exposed, rotting flesh. But they swear fealty to the Darwin dogma of common ancestry in spite of it. Still, some begin to wonder. Not in journals that blacklist such ideas, though.
The anti-creationist physicist has to face the anthropic principle every day. So instead of admitting “a divine foot in the door”, he postulates self-reproducing universes with no real science theory to base it on, multiple universes, infinite universes. And they accuse the creation scientist of blind faith!?
Physicists battle out strings and dimensions and twist themselves silly to avoid the “divine foot in the door” evidence. To keep away the Creator they have dark matter implied by anomalous gravity phenomena, dark energy invented to “explain” the universe stretching out (a circular reasoning conclusion since its only definition or description is that it does what it was postulated to “explain”).
“Trusted” biologists, having seen that cells are not so simple, that all of life depends on thousands of irreducibly complex super-molecules with vital functions that leave life dead without them, still say they “evolved” in stepwise evolution. Many saw Pasteur prove Huxley’s abiogenesis wrong and double wrong, and still do not question it.
They saw Mendel prove that traits are inherited not created anew but still believed it. When Watson and Crick discovered DNA, in when they realized its irreducible complexity and its incorporation of a completely symbolic language for folding proteins, they still swore allegiance to the Most Inviolate Blind-Faith Dogma of science: macro evolution. They were delighted to discover what they said was how it happened in fact.
So with the progress of genetics, they used the evidence of the “expression” of genes, that show the importance of epigenetics in forming traits, which help a species adapt to changing conditions, to say its the same as leaps by slow crawl–punctuation–to completely new forms.
Saying you are skeptic just means that you apply the scientific method to your every day life and belief system.
Would that were the case. If it were, how about an expose by Skeptic Magazine of the global warming fables? Climate models disproved over and over again by actual real world events, which don’t seem to matter to either the pop science press or the “academic” journals?
Now comes a mainstay for them, but it has an unspoken subtext.
The greater the claim one makes, the greater the evidence required to support it.
Yes, but then many who say that also make presumptions of what are lesser claims or greater claims. Richard Dawkins postures himself as such a spokesman, with the claim that Christians have the burden of proof.
That makes an assumption that contradicts one of the earliest occupants of the most respected position in the Royal Academy, Isaac Newton, who said the consistency of the rules of physics made a Creator obvious.
In other words, Isaac Newton would demand all this extraordinary proof of the atheists’ extraordinary claim. The extraordinary claim being, not so much the atheism, but the extraordinary claim that there was no evidence for God.
While we will often admit a creator is possible, rarely are skeptics religious. This is due to the overwhelming amount of anecdotal evidence and the underwhelming lack of scientific evidence.
Well, I am one skeptic observer and therefore creationist. The dismissal of the vast body of scientific evidence showing the Creator’s handiwork in specific scientific ways is one thing. But more offensive to logic is the dismissal without a thought to the great founders of the various branches of science, and the ones who made the greatest contributions to science in all of modern history, of whom Isaac Newton was only one, and still considered the greatest scientist of all time. Some place Einstein on high, but Newton invented calculus, and Einstein needed help with the math from his wife for his theories.
A skeptic will start from a null hypothesis—the idea that nothing is true until reasonably confirmed with evidence. If you tell me that magnetic wrist band will cure my headaches and increase my sperm count, you’d better have more than a testimonial, which of course are discredited by the placebo effect. Nothing less than a proper peer-reviewed study will do.
Okay, let’s see what skeptics do with evidence. St. Luke’s Hospital in Kansas City, according to CRI, was the place for one peer-reviewed study that found the odds 25 to 1 against a complete chance explanation for the result. (Neither doctors nor patients knew about the study). There have been a great many such studies. Also note that CRI opposes such studies for their own religious reasons that have more to do with suppressing the claims of some “TV evangelists” that are getting to be about as credible as the psychic on the corner in your neighborhood.
As for me, I say bring on the studies but have a skeptical mind toward them. If your people praying do not believe in it, you’re cheating.
Of course I am skeptic about such studies myself. The St. Luke’s Hospital study is described as involving people who believed in the effectiveness of prayer.
There’s another thing about “anecdotes”. Remember that “anecdotal” evidence often very properly sends men to the death chamber. “With my own eyes” has lost some of its clout as too often we see mistakes made, and too often what we see is guided by experience.
That said, eyewitness testimony is important. They eyewitness testimony of more than 500 people compelled those witnesses to share what they had seen: The same Christ they knew had been crucified, but now walking the earth before them.
Many criminal cases fall apart because the witness will not testify. Do you trust the source?
f we read some random meme on Facebook or Twitter which makes a provable claim, we’ll usually assume it’s bunk and not even bother sharing it. If we’re curious, we might check it out on Snopes or other reputable sites, then share if we can confirm it to be true.
But you will learn that you cannot always trust Snopes, either, or these “fact-checker” sites.
Some years ago, another such “fact-checker” web site was sneering at suggestions that Obama was lying with his “If you like it you can keep it” promises. It’s the one that made that promise the number one lie of 2013.
It may have been the one that also in 2008 gave a “false” reading to “Obama is a socialist”. They compared him to the Soviet style Marxist definition in which the state takes formal, written, explicit ownership. But his voting record in the U.S. Senate was already farther left than the declared socialist Bernie Sanders.
We believe in the scientific method. Almost everything we enjoy in life, from gadgets to health care, we have because this method works—it has for centuries. We don’t need to believe in the method, we know it works.
Who can speak against the formal scientific method? Therefore one must always be skeptical of dogmas in the assertions in science that are “known” outside that method. One of the steps in the famous scientific method is that the hypothesis, the theory, be empirically verifiable. Repeatable. The only Darwinian empirical such experiment is Lenski. After 50,000 generations at least, his E Coli have undergone some genetic changes in certain apparent adaptations too, but they are still always E Coli, and nothing else. And looking at many, or most, or all, such bacterial “beneficial” mutations have been either losses of genetic information (of a type that provided a vulnerability for virus attack or chemical damage), or an adjustment in epigenetic controls over gene expression that is breeded into activation by the environmental change.
Some experimentation is done by epigenetic and genetic mechanisms that biologists still don’t understand.
In fact, check how recent discoveries in epigenetics has revolutionized biology. In one science article, a biologist was described as almost despondent, because the new developments were going to have to go back and rewrite all of biology.
A skeptic wants both sides of the argument. In politics, if a Democrat makes a claim, I want to hear a Republican’s or Libertarian’s rebuttal and vice-versa
That is always a good point. Remember that especially when there is much at stake, be it money, or power, and sometimes other motivations, you cannot simply accept the media consensus story. The most despised intellectual minorities, like creation scientists, for example, insist not that you blindly believe but that you consider the evidence, while note that their detractors use ad hominems instead of science arguments, almost always. Some honest intellectual atheists, like the main academic and intellectual champion of atheism, Antony Flew, even accept the evidence of DNA and admit their had be a great Designer.
Not I agree with this skeptic heartily that ” shows about cryptozoology, astrology, alien abductions, ghost hunting, etc. belong on the The Sci-Fi Channel, not The Science Channel. While presented as science, they’re all utter nonsense. One cannot make scientific claims about Bigfoot if one does not have a living or dead Bigfoot standard to compare it to.”
Another thing, though. After saying that skeptics are rarely “religious… due to the overwhelming amount of anecdotal evidence and the underwhelming lack of scientific evidence”, you said that Steve Jobs “proved” in 2003 when he opted when he opted for a homeopathic solution to his cancer instead of what his doctors recommended.”
…But there is plenty of empirical evidence for whole-person approaches to healing, and not just one alternative to modern medicine as practiced. Vaccines are one of the politically protected pharmaceutical products, for example. Medical schools emphasize sick care, not health maintenance, and nutrition is the neglected stepchild of medicine, for another example.
One should be skeptical of established institutions, due to the tendency of institutions to cultivate status quo protection for themselves through the effect on its human members. Lobbyists in D.C. like to hide in the shadows, but what they do is good for the country (Just ask them!).
But with the Black Plague it wasn’t skeptics that proposed it could be something that might have a cure. Where is the evidence that there were not believers among those folks with new ideas? Those dissident and breakthrough ideas in science have been more product of Christian and Jewish believers through the centuries than from non-believers.
Pasteur, for example, Mendel, Faraday, Newton, Roger Bacon (the scientific method). Call them mavericks, skeptics too, if you want to, but they certainly knew what to be skeptic about, but they did not have enough blind faith to believe that maybe God did not exist. They would tell you that such an extraordinary claim in the face of the real world would require extraordinary evidence.
Modern medicine in fact owes much to the Christians who were skeptical of the superstitious claims of leaches and such things. The established and respected scientists of the times of Galileo and Copernicus were the ones who fought to preserve their positions, but those two were the skeptics and they still claimed faith and that God did not contradict his universe. To defend their positions and reputation, they rushed to the Roman Church to condemn their ideas as heresy, just as today Darwinians have organized a group of clergy to declare a Darwin day.
And you call that “skepticism”?
I’m a libertarian too, anarcho-capitalist from what I understand of what these terms mean, so I wil continue to speak against robbing the fruits you earn of your labor for state support for anything smacking of either creation or “faith-based initiatives”. Like Montescue said, government payouts to religions and churches weakens them. Bush may have had this in mind with this initiative.
Likewise, payments from politically created organs of government like NASA and NIH and the CDC have weakened science and politicized it. There is no greater example of this than the “global warming” studies funded by government. True Bible believers have also been the biggest pain in the rear for totalitarians throughout the millenia, especially notable in the atheist regimes (were they “skeptics”? or “believers”?)
I believe that miracles happen, but would call 911 for a heart attack. What most believers and “skeptics” both fail to understand is that the Bible talks about two kinds of faith.
One kind of faith is the evidence kind.
Paul demanded that the unbeliever check the evidence.
The earliest Christians in the First and Second centuries pleaded with the emperors to check their records to prove that these things were true.
Paul pointed to the 500 eyewitnesses of the Resurrection.
Jesus said if you “do” his words (meaning try them, check them out to see if they are true), you’ll know they are true.
In Malachi God challenges believers to try him, to prove his promises to find they are true.
Alexander the Great saw the proof and still did not change. Too bad for him.
The Bible speaks of DNA:
Psalm 139:16 Thine
eyes did see my substance, yet being unperfect; and in thy book all my members were written, which in continuance were fashioned, when as yet there was none of them.
The Bible condemns Darwinism through its ancient pagan manifestation:
Jeremiah 2:27 Saying to a stock, Thou art my father; and to a stone, Thou hast brought me forth: for they have turned their back unto me, and not their face: but in the time of their trouble they will say, Arise, and save us.
It’s just a simple matter than some people, like Lewontin admitted, are committed to a hard materialist dogma and “cannot allow a divine foot in the door”.
Isaiah 1:18 Come now, and let us reason together, saith the Lord: though your sins be as scarlet, they shall be as white as snow; though they be red like crimson, they shall be as wool.