Saturday, June 2, 2012

Assessing Skeptical Claims

I often see questions on internet discussion forums asking if there is any known rebuttal to some skeptical claim. When assessing skeptical claims, it is important to understand that there have been many cases of misleading claims by skeptics.

Because there are so many misleading claims made by skeptics you should:

  1. Demand the same level of proof for skeptical claims that you demand for proof of the paranormal. An accusation of fraud is not proof of fraud, just as a claim of a paranormal phenomenon is not proof of a paranormal phenomenon. Skeptics demand scientific statistically significant evidence and replication and they still don't believe any paranormal claims. But when it comes to accusations of fraud, despite many misleading claims made by skeptics, people tend to assume that any accusation of fraud is reliable without considering it may be incorrect due to ignorance, incompetence or duplicity of the skeptic.

  2. Never make up your mind on a skeptical claim until you see how the other side rebuts the skeptics on that issue. Just like sometimes there is a simple natural explanation for a supposed paranormal phenomena that is overlooked because people are ignorant of science or magic tricks, sometimes a skeptical claim may be easily rebutted by someone who knows the details of the situation. The skeptic may be ignorant of the phenomenon he is criticizing, or there may be indisputable evidence the skeptical claim is false.

  3. Be especially suspicious of any side to a dispute that relies heavily on ridicule, persecution, tenuous unproven alternative hypotheses, and misleading statements rather than a simply relying of facts and arguments. People who can't argue based on the facts and logical analysis will resort to other means to convince people of their beliefs.

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