lies


Please note that I have capitalized Skepticism. I am referring here not to healthy skepticism, which any reasonable person must apply to dubious claims, whether of the paranormal or elsewise, but to the sort practiced by the Skeptical Inquirer, various magicians, Richard Dawkins and others who have made Skepticism their one true religion. Pseudoskeptics, in other words. These Skeptics use sometimes very sloppy science to bludgeon experiencers into submission, have been caught in out-and-out suppression of genuine inquiry, and when all else fails fall back on tropes without evidence to counter claims of the paranormal. For them, no evidence—no matter how good—can ever stand up to their “it must be faked/hallucination/lies” counterargument. All, of course, expressed in the most pompous and mocking tones.

Dishonest Skepticism does not achieve its most desired goal: the extermination of all belief in the extraordinary. In fact, it encourages people to disregard what these Skeptics are saying because it’s so easy for most people to see through that kind of dishonesty. Worse, it encourages people to disregard skeptics and experts of all sorts. It’s not a very long leap from disregarding a dishonest Skeptic to questioning the veracity of immunologists during a pandemic.

Yes, reasonable people will still use their brains in those matters, but the doubt begun with dishonest Skepticism grows in the dark and spreads like a cancer. People who are credulous, who have had the experience of their own eyes mocked or disregarded without sincere investigation, are more likely to believe well-told lies. Once they’ve bought any of the lies, it’s easier to sell them the next lie. Very soon, the fact-based, science-backed words of the genuine expert can be dismissed as “that’s just his opinion.” (Something I’ve actually heard hoax believers say about the COVID precautions urged by Dr. Fauci.)

Maybe the spirit of one’s dead mother didn’t appear beside the bed to say she was happy and not to worry, maybe it was just a comforting dream. Maybe those weird lights in the sky were just a misidentification of something natural, although they did perform in very unnatural ways. Maybe that immensely tall hairy manlike creature didn’t stand in front of you ten feet away before loping off into the woods and disappearing. Maybe that was just…well, very hard to rationalize that away without falling to the fake/lie/hallucination trope—but you get my drift. The thing is, a healthy skepticism would say, “I don’t know what it was you saw. It may be exactly as you say, or it may have had a rational explanation, but I don’t have one right now.” A Skeptic, on the other hand, would not rest until the experiencer was mocked into submission, hiding away in the dark corners of the internet where the Religion of the Lie can take root and spread.

Do I expect the Skeptics to rethink things and shut up? Of course not. This is their religion, after all. True believers never reconsider their positions. They know the Ultimate Truth and will go down in flames to defend it. Just like those who believe lizard people have taken over the government and are eating babies in the basement of the Capitol building. Unfortunately, these two extreme fringes of discourse threaten to take the rest of us down in flames with them.

Belief has always been experiential in nature. I suppose, healthy skepticism is non-experiential in nature. Skepticism, on the other hand, the unhealthy variety, strikes me as a bone-deep existential terror that the Skeptic may not know the answer to all things and that there may be more things in Heaven and Earth than are dreamt of in their philosophy.

Random quote of the day:

“I’d rather not have anything than be a liar.”

—Alicia Keys, Ebony, January 2004

Disclaimer: The views expressed in this random quote of the day do not necessarily reflect the views of the poster, her immediate family, Key and Peele, Celine Dion, or Sgt. Pepper’s Lonely Hearts Club Band. They do, however, sometimes reflect the views of the Cottingley Fairies.

Random quote of the day:

“Novelists tell that piece of the truth hidden at the bottom of every lie.”

—Italo Calvino, The Paris Review, Issue 124, Fall 1992

Disclaimer: The views expressed in this random quote of the day do not necessarily reflect the views of the poster, her immediate family, Key and Peele, Celine Dion, or Sgt. Pepper’s Lonely Hearts Club Band. They do, however, sometimes reflect the views of the Cottingley Fairies.

Random quote of the day:

“. . . a lie is more comfortable than doubt, more useful than love, more lasting than truth . . .”

—Gabriel Garcia Márquez, The Autumn of the Patriarch

Disclaimer: The views expressed in this random quote of the day do not necessarily reflect the views of the poster, her immediate family, Key and Peele, Celine Dion, or Sgt. Pepper’s Lonely Hearts Club Band. They do, however, sometimes reflect the views of the Cottingley Fairies.

Random quote of the day:

“To be false and to be a liar are not one and the same thing, though they closely resemble each other.”

—Louis de Rouvroy, duc de Saint-Simon, Memoires de Saint-Simon, Book 5

Disclaimer: The views expressed in this random quote of the day do not necessarily reflect the views of the poster, her immediate family, Key and Peele, Celine Dion, or Sgt. Pepper’s Lonely Hearts Club Band. They do, however, sometimes reflect the views of the Cottingley Fairies.

Random quote of the day:

“He who foretells the future lies, even if he tells the truth.”

—Moroccan proverb

Disclaimer: The views expressed in this random quote of the day do not necessarily reflect the views of the poster, her immediate family, Key and Peele, Celine Dion, or Sgt. Pepper’s Lonely Hearts Club Band. They do, however, sometimes reflect the views of the Cottingley Fairies.

 

 

 

1. Let me thread you a story…(1-12)
2. Howdy, folks. I know it’s been a long time since you’ve heard from me—and I’m not a’tall sure anyone has a mind to listen to an old country narrator like me any more—but sometimes a person has to be tellin’ stories, even if they’s talkin’ to themselves.
3. Truth is, I fell into a pit of despair over the way of things in the larger world, and the state of things in Portalville itself. All the stories in the world, no matter how sarcastic, didn’t seem to make a lick of sense to anyone so I figured, why bother?
4. The other problem is when you’re a confabulator and things happenin’ in the real world is more confabulous than what a storyteller could come up with and still be believed, it does somewhat take the gunpowder outten your musket.
5. Still, like I said, I got that need to tell stories whether anyone believes ‘em or not. Like that time President Turps joined forces with Portalville’s former mayor and minor god of chaos, Belial Covfefe. Covfefe got voted out of office here in Portalville fair and square—
6. once townsfolk got wise to his evil ways—but he kept screamin’ that the whole thing was rigged even as he packed his bags and left in a huff. Turns out, he became one of them political consultants on President Turps’ re-election committee.
7. Said he’d learned from his mistakes here in Portalville and if President Turps wanted to be re-elected he, Covfefe, would show him the way. Before you knew it, the president had him a revolvin’ set of heads on his shoulders.
8. Whenever anyone called him out as a liar to his face, which nervy journalists and late-night TV show hosts sometimes had the balls to do, he’d swivel another head around and that one would get all riled & declare, “I never said any such thing. These are all just fake truths.”
9. All’s he had to do was keep track of which head told which lie & switch to a new head that had no part in the lyin’. Trouble was, you can only fit so many heads on one pair of shoulders and the president told so many lies he soon ran out of heads to do his denying for him.
10. So the president started sproutin’ little bitty heads out his rear end—but that wasn’t telegenic. Folks didn’t want to see footage of that process. For a time the news was filled with shots of the back of the president’s drawers with these tiny muffled voices comin’ out.
11. Had to shove them microphones so close to his pants that people finally said, “Enough!” ‘Course, they’s always folks what believe anything the president tells ‘em without regard to common sense. Even if it is comin’ out his rear end.
12. You can read the entire sage (so far) of Portalville at https://pjthompson.dreamwidth.org/1672524.html

Random quote of the day:

“Only lies and evil come from letting people off.”

—Iris Murdoch, A Severed Head

Disclaimer: The views expressed in this random quote of the day do not necessarily reflect the views of the poster, her immediate family, Key and Peele, Celine Dion, or Sgt. Pepper’s Lonely Hearts Club Band. They do, however, sometimes reflect the views of the Cottingley Fairies.

 

Random quote of the day:

“This is the slyness of art: If you tell enough lies, you’re bound to say something true.”

—William Meredith, The Paris Review, Issue 95, Spring 1985

Disclaimer: The views expressed in this random quote of the day do not necessarily reflect the views of the poster, her immediate family, Lucy and Ethel, Justin Bieber, or the Kardashian Klan. They do, however, sometimes reflect the views of the Cottingley Fairies.

Random quote of the day:

“There are such things as false truths and honest lies.”

—Gypsy proverb

Disclaimer: The views expressed in this random quote of the day do not necessarily reflect the views of the poster, her immediate family, Lucy and Ethel, Justin Bieber, or the Kardashian Klan. They do, however, sometimes reflect the views of the Cottingley Fairies.

Next Page »