Genuine skepticism is a virtue in science. Unfortunately, some self-proclaimed guardians of science are committed to conventional taboos against psychic phenomena, despite many promising lines of evidence. Although they call themselves skeptics, they are in truth fundamentalists who attack any challenge to their beliefs, even if it means contradicting the core scientific principles of paying attention to evidence and keeping an open mind. They assume psychic phenomena cannot exist, and remain ignorant of the relevant research. They are pseudoskeptics.
Skeptical About Skeptics examines their ill-informed attacks with articles by well-known scientists and thinkers, revealing their faulty critiques and the underhanded methods they employ. We highlight controversies in specific fields of research and shine a light on prominent pseudoskeptics and skeptical organizations.
We are pro-science, and we are in favor of open-minded inquiry.
For several years now Rome Viharo has been documenting his disturbing Wikipedia experiences on his website Wikipedia, We Have a Problem. His latest post is an excellent case study on the harassment, libel and slander routinely practiced by some editors of the king of encyclopedias.
There is a disturbing pattern of behaviors evolving across Wikipedia – a number of skeptic activists on Wikipedia believe that only they are qualified to edit a large swath of topics and biographies on Wikipedia, and they seek to purge other editors from those articles or Wikipedia itself. Skeptic activists take this very seriously and treat Wikipedia like a battleground for their activism, where online harassment, slander, bullying, character assassination, and public shaming are all used as tactics to control editing permissions on the world’s largest repository of knowledge.
It's not just individuals who are subject to harassment; entire fields of scientific and medical research are being targeted [e.g. Dysfunction at Wikipedia on Homeopathic Medicine, Huffington Post]. In 2014 the ACEP went so far as to create a formal petition demanding changes to Wikipedia policies which 11,519 people signed. How did Jimmy Wales, founder of Wikipedia, respond to all these people?
No, you have to be kidding me. Every single person who signed this petition needs to go back to check their premises and think harder about what it means to be honest, factual, truthful. Wikipedia's policies around this kind of thing are exactly spot-on and correct. If you can get your work published in respectable scientific journals - that is to say, if you can produce evidence through replicable scientific experiments, then Wikipedia will cover it appropriately.
What we won't do is pretend that the work of lunatic charlatans is the equivalent of "true scientific discourse". It isn't.
One might argue that Jimmy Wales is simply ignorant of the facts or in denial of the sickness that's taken hold of his creation, but the tone and content of his response falls right in line with the disruptive, head-in-the-sand, bully editors which inspired this petition in the first place. Ironically, the ACEP (Association for Comprehensive Energy Psychology) had been trying to correct factual errors on articles about energy psychology and add references to work published in respectable scientific journals but were blocked at every turn with the same irrational arguments and harassment Rome Viharo and so many others have suffered through.Continue Reading
Veteran investigative journalist, Sharyl Attkisson breaks down the phenomenon of astroturf, i.e.,the fake "grassroots movements" of trolls funded by political, corporate, or other special interests, who form a phalanx which very effectively manipulate and distort media messages, especially on the Internet, and on Wikipedia in particular.Continue Reading
Sean M Carroll (not be confused with the developmental biologist Sean B Carroll also a committed skeptic) is a theoretical physicist at the California Institute of Technology, who does research on theoretical aspects of dark matter and dark energy as well as extra dimensions and other theoretical topics. He has an active blogger and his blog post carries the old materialist slogan, "In truth, only atoms and the void". Although he has no training in psychology he is confident that physics can explain consciousness, and that
"Parapsychology is not science. It's pseudoscience. From a completely blank slate perspective, one could certainly pose scientific questions about whether the human mind can tell the future or read minds or move objects around without touching them. The thing is, we know the answer: No. The possibilities have been investigated and found wanting; more straightforwardly, they would inviolate the known laws of physics."
From his blog Preposterous universe
Goldsmiths, University of London, 11th-13th September 2015
by "Ian Filtrator"
“The Association for Skeptical Enquiry is committed to the application of rational, objective and scientific methods to the investigation and understanding of ideas, claims and practices, especially those of an extraordinary or paranormal nature.”
- ASKE website
I’ve just been to two conferences.
At the same time, in the same place, featuring the same speakers.
The first, ostensibly upfront and straightforward in its intent to apply the rigour of scientific enquiry, in particular to non-mainstream activities such as paranormal investigation and complementary medicine, with, amongst other aims, the wholly laudable intent of protecting the ignorant and gullible.Continue Reading