science


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:

“We live in a Newtonian world of Einsteinian physics ruled by Frankenstein logic.”

—attributed to David Russell

Disclaimer: The views expressed in this random quote of the day do not necessarily reflect the views of the poster, her immediate family, Desus and Mero, Beyoncé, or the Marine Corps Marching Band. They do, however, sometimes reflect the views of the Cottingley Fairies.

Random quote of the day:

“You tell me when you want it and where you want it to land, and I’ll do it backwards and tell you when to take off.”

—Katherine Johnson, https://www.nasa.gov/image-feature/mathematician-katherine-johnson-at-work

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:

“Science means simply the aggregate of all the recipes that are always successful. All the rest is literature.”

—Paul Valéry, Moralités

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:

“We must be clear that when it comes to atoms, language can be used only as in poetry. The poet, too, is not nearly so concerned with describing facts as with creating images and establishing mental connection.”

—Niels Bohr in his first meeting with Werner Heisenberg as reported in Theorizing Modernism by Steve Giles

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:

“All our scientific and philosophic ideals are altars to unknown gods.”

—William James, lecture, Harvard Divinity School, 13 March 1884

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.

I would say to my pagan friends the same thing I would say to my friends of any religion: beware thinking your way is the One True Faith. There are many paths back to the Source, but judgement and rigidity are not amongst them.
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I’d start calling him President Cthulhu but that’s an insult to Cthulhu.
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You know, I’ve supported Nancy Pelosi all this time but mostly kept quiet because I didn’t want to fight with people, often people I liked and admired. I’m a little ashamed of that, but oh well. I knew, you see, that Pelosi is one of the canniest and most experienced politicians in Washington and I knew she was holding fire for a good reason. Last week that reason became eminently clear: she was waiting for a smoking gun. One that these cretins couldn’t wiggle out of, one that the general American public could readily understand. It may be argued that the Mueller report was a smoking gun, but even Mueller himself obfuscated and demurred so much that it wasn’t something that could be easily conveyed to the larger public. But everybody understands the kind of brutish and heavy-handed strong-arming Trump attempted with Ukraine. It was schoolyard bully stuff and illegal and immoral as hell. It’s enough to start changing minds–except for his rabid believers, of course. Trump said he could shoot someone on 5th Avenue and no one would hold him responsible. What he was too stupid or arrogant to realize was that when he did give Nancy Pelosi an easy-to-hold gun of her own, she would have no hesitation in pulling the trigger. Good work, Madame Speaker. I’m sorry I didn’t defend you.
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You know that overworked and ridiculous phrase in writing: “She (he) released a breath she didn’t know she was holding”? I’ve always loathed it in a work of fiction, but when the Ukraine news broke and with all the revelations that came out… I released a breath I didn’t know I was holding.
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I used this deck quite a lot at one point in my life. Can you tell?

Fortunately, the cards don’t look as disreputable as the box. And after literally decades of using this deck, I just discovered that I had two Knights of Swords. I’m not sure what that means. I would probably have never known if they both hadn’t come up in the same reading. Reversed. And yes, I guess the day of that reading had been about being, “indiscreet, extravagant, and foolish.” I’ve been through the entire deck now and there are no other duplications and no missing cards. But I guess I’d better pay attention to that Knight, hadn’t I?
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I was born in the last six hours of Virgo, just seven hours shy of the Autumn Equinox (West Coast time), so I have a hella amount of Libra in my chart. I was really feeling the effects of the new moon in Libra at the end of September. I tried to use that energy well. Balance and rectification. Throwing off the shackles of old bad habits that are holding me back.
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One of the best parts of living alone is that when I’m not feeling well I can sit around and groan and not worry about driving anyone crazy with my drama queen ways.
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I was watching one of those ghost shows on TV and the house owner was talking about how a ghost threw her cat across the kitchen. And there’s the cat sitting in the middle of the kitchen floor with its leg up cleaning its nether regions. He seemed very unconcerned in general. She took the ghost hunters into the bedroom to talk about what happened in there and here comes the cat to sprawl on the bed. “I ain’t afraid a no ghosts.” In fact, I kind of regard cats as a reverse ghost monitor. If they are there and not concerned they ain’t no ghost there.
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Every time I watch the science channel I wonder if the people who came up with the SciGo acronym realized how close it sounds to “psycho.”
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When the estimable Dr. Lucy Jones, eminent geologist, says that she fears climate change more than earthquakes one should really pay attention. I saw her state just that in a recent interview.
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I may have finished writing something that seemed very much like the denouement of my current novel. Only the coda left, and that’s already half written. But it’s been a couple of weeks now and I still haven’t finished it. I can’t help wondering if this resistance is a way of preventing myself from moving on. Or knowing that once I finish that coda, I’m done with this world for the foreseeable future. I can’t see writing any more Dos Lunas stories any time soon–and I’ve lived there on and off for so long (since 2000), I may be reluctant to let go.
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I’ve come to the conclusion that I like having mindless tasks to do, things that most people would never have the patience for. I suspect it’s a Virgo thing.
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Oh yeah, that probably explains a lot about the last few months. I forgot until just last week that I have summer SAD (Seasonal Affective Disorder). Somehow I manage to forget that every freaking year.

Random quote of the day:

“We have not the reverent feeling for the rainbow that the savage has, because we know how it is made. We have lost as much as we gained by prying into the matter.”

—Mark Twain, A Tramp Abroad

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:

“Science emerged from the Copernican revolution as the winner, the new paradigm, to use Thomas Kuhn’s famous term. But science is wrong if it believes it is the last paradigm or the only one that deserves credence. The nature of new paradigms, as Kuhn wrote, is that they explain more than the previous paradigm.”

—Deepak Chopra, The Huffington Post, October 10, 2005

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:

“To me [Freud’s] sexual theory was just as occult, that is to say, just as unproven an hypothesis, as many other speculative views. As I saw it, a scientific truth was a hypothesis which might be adequate for the moment but was not to be preserved as an article of faith for all time.”

—Carl Jung, Memories, Dreams, Reflections

 

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.

 

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