JREF Homepage Swift Blog Events Calendar $1 Million Paranormal Challenge The Amaz!ng Meeting Useful Links Support Us
James Randi Educational Foundation JREF Forum
Forum Index Register Members List Events Mark Forums Read Help

Go Back   JREF Forum » General Topics » General Skepticism and The Paranormal
Click Here To Donate

Notices


Welcome to the JREF Forum, where we discuss skepticism, critical thinking, the paranormal and science in a friendly but lively way. You are currently viewing the forum as a guest, which means you are missing out on discussing matters that are of interest to you. Please consider registering so you can gain full use of the forum features and interact with other Members. Registration is simple, fast and free! Click here to register today.

Reply
Old 3rd December 2012, 08:43 AM   #41
Mojo
Mostly harmless
 
Mojo's Avatar
 
Join Date: Jul 2004
Location: Nor Flanden
Posts: 24,989
Originally Posted by Foster Zygote View Post
Before subjecting a scientific paper for peer review by other skeptical scientists, and good scientist will first subject his/her own ideas to the greatest skeptical scrutiny that he/she can manage.

"The first principle is that you must not fool yourself..."

http://calteches.library.caltech.edu.../CargoCult.pdf
__________________
"You got to use your brain." - McKinley Morganfield

"The poor mystic homeopaths feel like petted house-cats thrown at high flood on the breaking ice." - Leon Trotsky

Last edited by Mojo; 3rd December 2012 at 08:44 AM.
Mojo is online now   Quote this post in a PM   Nominate this post for this month's language award Copy a direct link to this post Reply With Quote Back to Top
Old 3rd December 2012, 08:45 AM   #42
justintime
Banned
 
Join Date: Dec 2012
Posts: 1,260
Originally Posted by H'ethetheth View Post
If you haven't read "the demon-haunted world", you should. It's a fun read and contains the answer to your question.
I don't have a problem with Carl Sagan's criticism of superstitions and other irrational beliefs. But to attack them with skepticism and at the same time believe in aliens, flying saucers and ETI is a contradiction.
There are several instances in his biography that demonstrates how seriously he took aliens and UFOs. He even wrote to the Sectary of State wanting to know if the US was prepared for an alien attack. He did turn skeptical of UFOs later on. But that did not stop him from dedicating his whole life to search for alien life after he denounced them.
I am sure there are many scientist also keen on looking for aliens, UFOs. But how does a rational person like Carl Sagan dismiss people looking for aliens, UFOs HERE as wacky but still believe in a project looking for them in outer space (for 50 years).
justintime is offline   Quote this post in a PM   Nominate this post for this month's language award Copy a direct link to this post Reply With Quote Back to Top
Old 3rd December 2012, 08:48 AM   #43
Vortigern99
Philosopher
 
Vortigern99's Avatar
 
Join Date: Mar 2009
Location: Austin, TX
Posts: 5,740
Originally Posted by justintime View Post
I think Carl Sagan did more than insist alien life exists. He went looking for them!!! for over 50 years. That is an obsession, conviction and wishful thinking all rolled in one.
Seeking evidence is not "obsession", nor did Sagan limit his activities in those 50 years to efforts to collect that evidence.

But let's grant that he was obsessed, just for the sake of discussion. Carl Sagan was obsessed with finding evidence for ETI.

And...? So...? How would that disqualify him from being a skeptic?
__________________
"I'm 'willing to admit' any fact that can be shown to be evidential and certain." -- Vortigern99

"When the power of love overcomes the love of power the world will know peace." -- Jimi Hendrix
Vortigern99 is offline   Quote this post in a PM   Nominate this post for this month's language award Copy a direct link to this post Reply With Quote Back to Top
Old 3rd December 2012, 08:49 AM   #44
Foster Zygote
Dental Floss Tycoon
 
Foster Zygote's Avatar
 
Join Date: Jun 2006
Location: Between the pit of man's fears and the summit of his knowledge
Posts: 15,932
Originally Posted by justintime View Post
I think Carl Sagan did more than insist alien life exists. He went looking for them!!! for over 50 years. That is an obsession, conviction and wishful thinking all rolled in one.
No. You clearly have not read Sagan. He clearly stated that it was entirely possible that no signals would be detected, even after an exhaustive search. While this would not necessarily rule out the possibility of extraterrestrial civilizations, it would certainly give us empirical data that would allow us to narrow our speculations. Sagan specifically stated that hearing nothing but the cosmic noise of nature in our little part of the universe could suggest something of the rarity and preciousness of life.

The histrionic application of words like "obsession" and the use of emoticons do nothing but reveal your lack of an argument and your biases. Sagan did a great many things during his career, including working on projects that explored the other worlds in our solar system up close for the first time. SETI was certainly of interest to him, but it was, at best, a side project for him. I see no justification for your characterization of "obsession".
__________________
Counterbalance in the little town of Ridgeview, Ohio. Two people permanently enslaved by the tyranny of fear and superstitution, facing the future with a kind of helpless dread. Two others facing the future with confidence - having escaped one of the darker places of the Twilight Zone.
Foster Zygote is offline   Quote this post in a PM   Nominate this post for this month's language award Copy a direct link to this post Reply With Quote Back to Top
Old 3rd December 2012, 08:51 AM   #45
Mojo
Mostly harmless
 
Mojo's Avatar
 
Join Date: Jul 2004
Location: Nor Flanden
Posts: 24,989
Originally Posted by justintime View Post
I don't have a problem with Carl Sagan's criticism of superstitions and other irrational beliefs. But to attack them with skepticism and at the same time believe in aliens, flying saucers and ETI is a contradiction.
There are several instances in his biography that demonstrates how seriously he took aliens and UFOs. He even wrote to the Sectary of State wanting to know if the US was prepared for an alien attack. He did turn skeptical of UFOs later on. But that did not stop him from dedicating his whole life to search for alien life after he denounced them.
I am sure there are many scientist also keen on looking for aliens, UFOs. But how does a rational person like Carl Sagan dismiss people looking for aliens, UFOs HERE as wacky but still believe in a project looking for them in outer space (for 50 years).

You seem to be suggesting that a "rational person", or "skeptic", should reject the idea of alien life without bothering trying to find out if there is any evidence for it. Since "closed-mindedness" is a frequent criticism (unfairly) aimed at skeptics, it looks rather as if you're trying to erect a strawman argument.
__________________
"You got to use your brain." - McKinley Morganfield

"The poor mystic homeopaths feel like petted house-cats thrown at high flood on the breaking ice." - Leon Trotsky
Mojo is online now   Quote this post in a PM   Nominate this post for this month's language award Copy a direct link to this post Reply With Quote Back to Top
Old 3rd December 2012, 08:56 AM   #46
justintime
Banned
 
Join Date: Dec 2012
Posts: 1,260
Originally Posted by Beerina View Post
Was it reasonable to send ships into the ocean looking for new land? Or should people not bother because someone drew a waterfall edge and "There be dragons here" on a map?
Land, distant lands separated by wide expanses of water (ocean) are tangible just as rocks and dirt are on other planets. But aliens? Superior advanced intelligent aliens.
justintime is offline   Quote this post in a PM   Nominate this post for this month's language award Copy a direct link to this post Reply With Quote Back to Top
Old 3rd December 2012, 08:58 AM   #47
justintime
Banned
 
Join Date: Dec 2012
Posts: 1,260
Originally Posted by Mojo View Post
You seem to be suggesting that a "rational person", or "skeptic", should reject the idea of alien life without bothering trying to find out if there is any evidence for it. Since "closed-mindedness" is a frequent criticism (unfairly) aimed at skeptics, it looks rather as if you're trying to erect a strawman argument.
I am not erecting a strawman. I am relating what Carl Sagan actually did.
justintime is offline   Quote this post in a PM   Nominate this post for this month's language award Copy a direct link to this post Reply With Quote Back to Top
Old 3rd December 2012, 08:59 AM   #48
Foster Zygote
Dental Floss Tycoon
 
Foster Zygote's Avatar
 
Join Date: Jun 2006
Location: Between the pit of man's fears and the summit of his knowledge
Posts: 15,932
Originally Posted by Mojo View Post
Nope. While he said that it was likely that they exist, he didn't "insist alien life exists"; he tried to find evidence for it.
More importantly, from a scientific perspective, he made clear that any answer is the right answer. There is no "failure" if no signals are detected. The goal of the project is to investigate the true nature of the universe. If nothing is detected, then we know something about the nature of the universe (or at least our little part of it) that we did not know before. It doesn't tell us that we are alone as a civilization, but it does tell us that no one is sending signals using radiation. This could be because most civilizations quickly discover far better technologies than radio. Or it could be because civilizations don't last long enough to be around to communicate with others. Or it could be that we are an incredibly rare phenomenon in the galaxy, or even the universe. These are all questions worth seeking the answers to. But in order to seek those answers we have to start looking.
__________________
Counterbalance in the little town of Ridgeview, Ohio. Two people permanently enslaved by the tyranny of fear and superstitution, facing the future with a kind of helpless dread. Two others facing the future with confidence - having escaped one of the darker places of the Twilight Zone.
Foster Zygote is offline   Quote this post in a PM   Nominate this post for this month's language award Copy a direct link to this post Reply With Quote Back to Top
Old 3rd December 2012, 09:00 AM   #49
StankApe
Banned
 
Join Date: Oct 2012
Posts: 4,643
Originally Posted by justintime View Post
I came across this intriguing double play.
Skeptics are reactive not proactive. They are not seekers of knowledge nor keepers of knowledge they are critiques of knowledge. And because knowledge is never present in an absolute way skeptics can get caught up in endless disagreements. For example "A man is innocent until proven guilty beyond a reasonable doubt." As abstract as the law may be it is circumspect in the application of the word "reasonable". But what is a reasonable doubt or reasonable argument is less definable or guaranteed to satisfy the skeptic because the threshold also vary from skeptic to skeptic.
Most skeptics are not in a positioned to make an informed decision or arrive at a reasonable conclusion because the process designed to extract the facts are often steeped in ignorant dogma and the failure to admit to ones own biases.
Skeptics often put the burden of proof on the one who makes the claim. It is not a cooperative exchange but an adversarial challenge. More often than not the skeptic is not an expert in the field under discussion which leads to endless missed turns, so complex issues are best avoided when confronting a skeptic. Which begs the question, why deal with skeptics if even the obvious are subject to



So the question can go beyond "Why you might not be a skeptic" and can be truthfully answered with "why you might very well be a very insecure individual."




somebody has had the smackdown put on them before I see
StankApe is offline   Quote this post in a PM   Nominate this post for this month's language award Copy a direct link to this post Reply With Quote Back to Top
Old 3rd December 2012, 09:06 AM   #50
Foster Zygote
Dental Floss Tycoon
 
Foster Zygote's Avatar
 
Join Date: Jun 2006
Location: Between the pit of man's fears and the summit of his knowledge
Posts: 15,932
Originally Posted by justintime View Post
Land, distant lands separated by wide expanses of water (ocean) are tangible just as rocks and dirt are on other planets. But aliens? Superior advanced intelligent aliens.
What is it about life, intelligent or otherwise, that informs you that it cannot exist on other worlds? Life evolved here, why not elsewhere? Is the question, "how common is life in the universe?" not worth investigating?
__________________
Counterbalance in the little town of Ridgeview, Ohio. Two people permanently enslaved by the tyranny of fear and superstitution, facing the future with a kind of helpless dread. Two others facing the future with confidence - having escaped one of the darker places of the Twilight Zone.
Foster Zygote is offline   Quote this post in a PM   Nominate this post for this month's language award Copy a direct link to this post Reply With Quote Back to Top
Old 3rd December 2012, 09:08 AM   #51
justintime
Banned
 
Join Date: Dec 2012
Posts: 1,260
Originally Posted by Vortigern99 View Post
Seeking evidence is not "obsession", nor did Sagan limit his activities in those 50 years to efforts to collect that evidence.

But let's grant that he was obsessed, just for the sake of discussion. Carl Sagan was obsessed with finding evidence for ETI.

And...? So...? How would that disqualify him from being a skeptic?
His obsession clouded his judgement. He lost scientific objectivity. Sometimes gut feelings turn out successful. Very rarely do obsession bear fruit. Carl Sagan rolled obsession, conviction and wishful thinking together to stack the odds in his favor.
justintime is offline   Quote this post in a PM   Nominate this post for this month's language award Copy a direct link to this post Reply With Quote Back to Top
Old 3rd December 2012, 09:09 AM   #52
Slowvehicle
Membership Drive
Co-Ordinator,
Russell's Antinomy
 
Slowvehicle's Avatar
 
Join Date: Sep 2012
Location: ...not where I seemed, nor was calculated to be...but no-one need worry...
Posts: 5,993
Originally Posted by justintime View Post
I don't have a problem with Carl Sagan's criticism of superstitions and other irrational beliefs. But to attack them with skepticism and at the same time believe in aliens, flying saucers and ETI is a contradiction.
There are several factual problems with your claim here, as there have been every other time you have made it. I encourage you to provide evidence for the claims you make, as, after all, pursuing, and evaluating, evidence is one of the driving forces of skeptical inquiry.

1. Please provide evidence that Dr. Sagan "belkeived in" "aliens" (As opposed to, say, "searching for evidence of extraterrestrial intelligences").

2. Please provide evidence that Dr. Sagan "beleived in" "UFOs", particularly given his work in debunking credulous claims of "UFO sightings" and "alien abductions".

3. Please provide evidence that Dr. Sagan "believed in" extra-terrestrial intelligences (as opposed to searching for evidence of extra-terrestrial intelligences).

4. Please explain how, on the one hand, explaining the superstitious nature of "UFO sightings" and "alien abduction" stories, based primarily upon the grounds that there is no evidence that UFOs have ever been sighted, or that anyone has ever been abducted by an "alien"; but looking for evidence of the existence of extra-terrestrial intelligences (instead of simply existing that they do, in fact, exist) is a "contradiction".

Originally Posted by justintime View Post
There are several instances in his biography that demonstrates how seriously he took aliens and UFOs. He even wrote to the Sectary of State wanting to know if the US was prepared for an alien attack. He did turn skeptical of UFOs later on. But that did not stop him from dedicating his whole life to search for alien life after he denounced them.
As has been explained to you before, the letter you like to mention was written by a young man. In the letter, he did not say, "Since aliens exist, we must prepare", but instead, asked the Secretary of State (Dean Acheson, at the time) how the United States would respond if "UFOs" actually did turn out to be of extraterrestrial origin. You might want to consider re=reading the letter before claiming that it demonstrates that the young Sagan "believed in" "UFOs and aliens".

Originally Posted by justintime View Post
I am sure there are many scientist also keen on looking for aliens, UFOs. But how does a rational person like Carl Sagan dismiss people looking for aliens, UFOs HERE as wacky but still believe in a project looking for them in outer space (for 50 years).
As has been explained to you, the difference between. on the one hand, credulous claims of "UFOs" and "alien abductions" with no evidence (ever wonder why UFOs and aliens seem to bollix cameras and vidcorders at will?); and, on the other hand, searches for evidence of intelligent signals from outer space, or evidence of how "aliens" could abduct humans and leave no traces, or evidence of the existence of (and the physics that would allow) "flying saucers" is the difference between superstition and science; between knowing and believing.
__________________
"Anything that can be accepted into science gets accepted into science." -HighRiser
"And in science the default is that you're wrong. EVERYONE is wrong. You only can be not wrong if you have evidence to back up your claim." -Dinwar
"That is not my circus; those are not my monkeys." -Howard Tayler
Slowvehicle is online now   Quote this post in a PM   Nominate this post for this month's language award Copy a direct link to this post Reply With Quote Back to Top
Old 3rd December 2012, 09:09 AM   #53
Foster Zygote
Dental Floss Tycoon
 
Foster Zygote's Avatar
 
Join Date: Jun 2006
Location: Between the pit of man's fears and the summit of his knowledge
Posts: 15,932
Originally Posted by justintime View Post
I am not erecting a strawman.
That's all you've done, so far.

Quote:
I am relating what Carl Sagan actually did.
No, you are using emotional appeals in an attempt to characterize what he did as an unreasonable obsession.
__________________
Counterbalance in the little town of Ridgeview, Ohio. Two people permanently enslaved by the tyranny of fear and superstitution, facing the future with a kind of helpless dread. Two others facing the future with confidence - having escaped one of the darker places of the Twilight Zone.
Foster Zygote is offline   Quote this post in a PM   Nominate this post for this month's language award Copy a direct link to this post Reply With Quote Back to Top
Old 3rd December 2012, 09:13 AM   #54
StankApe
Banned
 
Join Date: Oct 2012
Posts: 4,643
Sagan used the odds. He knew that there were ,as he's so often quoted, billions and billions of stars, if only a tiny amount supported planets, and of these planets only a tiny amount had liquid water, well by golly there "could' be life there. and if only one other watery world had evolved intelligent life, well it's our duty as another intelligent species to seek them out!!

Trying to besmirch the character of Sagan due to some hidden agenda on your part is cute. But it isn't gonna work. Not that way anyway, I would refer you to the kiddy pool, but apparently you got banned from there. This is the grownups area, and yer gonna have to do better than that.
StankApe is offline   Quote this post in a PM   Nominate this post for this month's language award Copy a direct link to this post Reply With Quote Back to Top
Old 3rd December 2012, 09:15 AM   #55
Hokulele
Official Nemesis
 
Hokulele's Avatar
 
Join Date: Feb 2007
Location: Trying to decide whether to set defenses against an army, or against mole rats.
Posts: 27,894
Originally Posted by justintime View Post
His obsession clouded his judgement. He lost scientific objectivity. Sometimes gut feelings turn out successful. Very rarely do obsession bear fruit. Carl Sagan rolled obsession, conviction and wishful thinking together to stack the odds in his favor.

Obsession?

It is to laugh...
__________________
Yvette: "Blasty! Blasty! Blasty!"
Some person: "Why did you shoot that?"
Yvette: "Blasty! Blasty! Blasty!"

- Tragic Monkey
Hokulele is online now   Quote this post in a PM   Nominate this post for this month's language award Copy a direct link to this post Reply With Quote Back to Top
Old 3rd December 2012, 09:17 AM   #56
Slowvehicle
Membership Drive
Co-Ordinator,
Russell's Antinomy
 
Slowvehicle's Avatar
 
Join Date: Sep 2012
Location: ...not where I seemed, nor was calculated to be...but no-one need worry...
Posts: 5,993
Originally Posted by justintime View Post
I keep hearing that Skepticism is a process of applying critical thinking and demanding credible evidence to determine validity. Now they are nice catch words. But the roots of Skepticism are closer to a psychological state of mind than a philosophical approach.

Definition of Skepticism: . A doubting or questioning attitude or state of mind; dubiety synonyms with uncertainty.
As you have been told before, you could do worse that starting here, a post you yourself once provided:
http://skeptoid.com/skeptic.php
__________________
"Anything that can be accepted into science gets accepted into science." -HighRiser
"And in science the default is that you're wrong. EVERYONE is wrong. You only can be not wrong if you have evidence to back up your claim." -Dinwar
"That is not my circus; those are not my monkeys." -Howard Tayler
Slowvehicle is online now   Quote this post in a PM   Nominate this post for this month's language award Copy a direct link to this post Reply With Quote Back to Top
Old 3rd December 2012, 09:18 AM   #57
justintime
Banned
 
Join Date: Dec 2012
Posts: 1,260
Originally Posted by Foster Zygote View Post
More importantly, from a scientific perspective, he made clear that any answer is the right answer. There is no "failure" if no signals are detected. The goal of the project is to investigate the true nature of the universe. If nothing is detected, then we know something about the nature of the universe (or at least our little part of it) that we did not know before. It doesn't tell us that we are alone as a civilization, but it does tell us that no one is sending signals using radiation. This could be because most civilizations quickly discover far better technologies than radio. Or it could be because civilizations don't last long enough to be around to communicate with others. Or it could be that we are an incredibly rare phenomenon in the galaxy, or even the universe. These are all questions worth seeking the answers to. But in order to seek those answers we have to start looking.
How is it rational that Carl Sagan though it was important to seek answers to alien life but dismissed all other searches as irrational, superstitions. Was he the final authority on what were conclusively without evidence?
justintime is offline   Quote this post in a PM   Nominate this post for this month's language award Copy a direct link to this post Reply With Quote Back to Top
Old 3rd December 2012, 09:23 AM   #58
Resume
Philosopher
 
Join Date: Apr 2010
Posts: 9,705
Originally Posted by justintime View Post
How is it rational that Carl Sagan though it was important to seek answers to alien life but dismissed all other searches as irrational, superstitions. Was he the final authority on what were conclusively without evidence?
Could you perhaps offer a concrete example of just what you're on about?

Links, that sort of thing?
Resume is offline   Quote this post in a PM   Nominate this post for this month's language award Copy a direct link to this post Reply With Quote Back to Top
Old 3rd December 2012, 09:24 AM   #59
StankApe
Banned
 
Join Date: Oct 2012
Posts: 4,643
define "all other searches"
StankApe is offline   Quote this post in a PM   Nominate this post for this month's language award Copy a direct link to this post Reply With Quote Back to Top
Old 3rd December 2012, 09:24 AM   #60
godless dave
Great Dalmuti
 
godless dave's Avatar
 
Join Date: Jul 2007
Location: St. Paul, Minnesota
Posts: 6,615
Originally Posted by justintime View Post
Extraordinary claims require extraordinary evidence, particularly in claims that are far fetched or that violate physical laws.

Carl Sagan did not need extraordinary evidence to spend his adult life searching for ETI (aliens).
The extraordinary evidence is what he was looking for.
__________________
"If it's real, then it gets more interesting the closer you examine it. If it's not real, just the opposite is true." - aggle-rithm
godless dave is offline   Quote this post in a PM   Nominate this post for this month's language award Copy a direct link to this post Reply With Quote Back to Top
Old 3rd December 2012, 09:25 AM   #61
godless dave
Great Dalmuti
 
godless dave's Avatar
 
Join Date: Jul 2007
Location: St. Paul, Minnesota
Posts: 6,615
Originally Posted by justintime View Post
I think Carl Sagan did more than insist alien life exists. He went looking for them!!!
Going looking for them is looking for the evidence. That's what you do before you claim something exists, not after.

Sagan thought it was possible intelligent life lived on other planets and used radio waves to communicate. Obviously this is possible, since we already know of one planet where intelligent organisms use radio waves to communicate.
__________________
"If it's real, then it gets more interesting the closer you examine it. If it's not real, just the opposite is true." - aggle-rithm
godless dave is offline   Quote this post in a PM   Nominate this post for this month's language award Copy a direct link to this post Reply With Quote Back to Top
Old 3rd December 2012, 09:28 AM   #62
tsig
a carbon based life-form
 
tsig's Avatar
 
Join Date: Nov 2005
Posts: 31,821
Originally Posted by justintime View Post
His obsession clouded his judgement. He lost scientific objectivity. Sometimes gut feelings turn out successful. Very rarely do obsession bear fruit. Carl Sagan rolled obsession, conviction and wishful thinking together to stack the odds in his favor.
Seems to be a lot of that going around.
tsig is online now   Quote this post in a PM   Nominate this post for this month's language award Copy a direct link to this post Reply With Quote Back to Top
Old 3rd December 2012, 09:29 AM   #63
Slowvehicle
Membership Drive
Co-Ordinator,
Russell's Antinomy
 
Slowvehicle's Avatar
 
Join Date: Sep 2012
Location: ...not where I seemed, nor was calculated to be...but no-one need worry...
Posts: 5,993
Originally Posted by justintime View Post
How is it rational that Carl Sagan though it was important to seek answers to alien life but dismissed all other searches as irrational, superstitions. Was he the final authority on what were conclusively without evidence?
What other "searches" did Dr. Sagan dismiss?
Specific examples, please, with citations...
__________________
"Anything that can be accepted into science gets accepted into science." -HighRiser
"And in science the default is that you're wrong. EVERYONE is wrong. You only can be not wrong if you have evidence to back up your claim." -Dinwar
"That is not my circus; those are not my monkeys." -Howard Tayler
Slowvehicle is online now   Quote this post in a PM   Nominate this post for this month's language award Copy a direct link to this post Reply With Quote Back to Top
Old 3rd December 2012, 09:30 AM   #64
tsig
a carbon based life-form
 
tsig's Avatar
 
Join Date: Nov 2005
Posts: 31,821
Originally Posted by justintime View Post
How is it rational that Carl Sagan though it was important to seek answers to alien life but dismissed all other searches as irrational, superstitions. Was he the final authority on what were conclusively without evidence?
You don't like him because he didn't believe your woo is true.
tsig is online now   Quote this post in a PM   Nominate this post for this month's language award Copy a direct link to this post Reply With Quote Back to Top
Old 3rd December 2012, 09:30 AM   #65
Foster Zygote
Dental Floss Tycoon
 
Foster Zygote's Avatar
 
Join Date: Jun 2006
Location: Between the pit of man's fears and the summit of his knowledge
Posts: 15,932
Originally Posted by justintime View Post
I don't have a problem with Carl Sagan's criticism of superstitions and other irrational beliefs. But to attack them with skepticism and at the same time believe in aliens, flying saucers and ETI is a contradiction.
Are you able to comprehend that someone can look for something without having a positive belief that it exists? You've already attempted to use innocence until proof of guilt as an analogy in another thread. Can you understand that a juror can look for evidence of someone's guilt without having positive belief in the person's guilt? Sagan, and many other scientists, thought/think that it is possible that life has evolved on other worlds, and that some of this life may have evolved the intelligence to generate radio signals. They do not claim that this is a fact. It is a possibility that is being investigated.

By the way, as has already been pointed out to you, Carl Sagan did not regard UFOs as evidence of alien life. He regarded them as evidence of certain aspects of human imagination and the unreliability of human perception.

Quote:
There are several instances in his biography that demonstrates how seriously he took aliens and UFOs. He even wrote to the Sectary of State wanting to know if the US was prepared for an alien attack. He did turn skeptical of UFOs later on. But that did not stop him from dedicating his whole life to search for alien life after he denounced them.
And how old was he when he did this?

He skeptically investigated the idea of UFOs and found no credible evidence for their reality, as well as a lot of credible evidence from the fields of psychology and sociology to explain why people believed they saw them or their crews. He did not claim that alien life or alien civilizations exist. He only noted the possibility and, like a scientist, began investigating the matter to determine if such life can be detected.

Quote:
I am sure there are many scientist also keen on looking for aliens, UFOs. But how does a rational person like Carl Sagan dismiss people looking for aliens, UFOs HERE as wacky but still believe in a project looking for them in outer space (for 50 years).
Because he investigated the evidence presented for UFOs and found it lacking. He very much doubted that aliens were visiting Earth in UFOs. But that does not eliminate the possibility that alien life exists elsewhere, be it bacteria in the soil of Mars, life beneath the ice of Europa, or life in other solar systems.

Ironically, had he dismissed the possibility of life elsewhere in the universe simply because UFO claims have proved unconvincing, he'd have been guilty of the same sort of closed-mindedness that you are generically accusing skeptics of.
__________________
Counterbalance in the little town of Ridgeview, Ohio. Two people permanently enslaved by the tyranny of fear and superstitution, facing the future with a kind of helpless dread. Two others facing the future with confidence - having escaped one of the darker places of the Twilight Zone.
Foster Zygote is offline   Quote this post in a PM   Nominate this post for this month's language award Copy a direct link to this post Reply With Quote Back to Top
Old 3rd December 2012, 09:31 AM   #66
Edx
Illuminator
 
Join Date: Feb 2008
Posts: 4,427
Originally Posted by justintime View Post
I think Carl Sagan did more than insist alien life exists. He went looking for them!!! for over 50 years. That is an obsession, conviction and wishful thinking all rolled in one.
Um so how that make him not a skeptic? Life and intelligent life existing elsewhere in the universe is a statistical given, as improbable as it may be that we will meet them it is not irrational to search for it and hope you may find evidence. Personally I hope and cross my fingers that they will figure out ageing in my lifetime, but they probably wont and if they do I probably wont be able to make use of it.

Last edited by Edx; 3rd December 2012 at 09:33 AM.
Edx is offline   Quote this post in a PM   Nominate this post for this month's language award Copy a direct link to this post Reply With Quote Back to Top
Old 3rd December 2012, 09:33 AM   #67
Foster Zygote
Dental Floss Tycoon
 
Foster Zygote's Avatar
 
Join Date: Jun 2006
Location: Between the pit of man's fears and the summit of his knowledge
Posts: 15,932
Originally Posted by justintime View Post
How is it rational that Carl Sagan though it was important to seek answers to alien life but dismissed all other searches as irrational, superstitions. Was he the final authority on what were conclusively without evidence?
What are these "all other searches" that he dismissed?

Might we, finally, be coming to your point?
__________________
Counterbalance in the little town of Ridgeview, Ohio. Two people permanently enslaved by the tyranny of fear and superstitution, facing the future with a kind of helpless dread. Two others facing the future with confidence - having escaped one of the darker places of the Twilight Zone.
Foster Zygote is offline   Quote this post in a PM   Nominate this post for this month's language award Copy a direct link to this post Reply With Quote Back to Top
Old 3rd December 2012, 09:33 AM   #68
Loss Leader
Opinionated Jerk
Moderator
 
Loss Leader's Avatar
 
Join Date: Jul 2006
Location: New York
Posts: 14,540
Originally Posted by justintime View Post
I am not erecting a strawman.

Not only are you creating a straw man, you're creating one out of a corpse.
__________________
Follow me on Twitter! @LossLeader
Loss Leader is offline   Quote this post in a PM   Nominate this post for this month's language award Copy a direct link to this post Reply With Quote Back to Top
Old 3rd December 2012, 09:34 AM   #69
StankApe
Banned
 
Join Date: Oct 2012
Posts: 4,643
I suspect that eventually we shall glean the woo right out of his hair and get to the bottom of this charade.
StankApe is offline   Quote this post in a PM   Nominate this post for this month's language award Copy a direct link to this post Reply With Quote Back to Top
Old 3rd December 2012, 09:38 AM   #70
tsig
a carbon based life-form
 
tsig's Avatar
 
Join Date: Nov 2005
Posts: 31,821
Originally Posted by Loss Leader View Post
Not only are you creating a straw man, you're creating one out of a corpse.
It's easier that way the dead seldom appear to refute an argument.
tsig is online now   Quote this post in a PM   Nominate this post for this month's language award Copy a direct link to this post Reply With Quote Back to Top
Old 3rd December 2012, 09:40 AM   #71
AdMan
Philosopher
 
AdMan's Avatar
 
Join Date: Feb 2010
Posts: 8,916
Originally Posted by justintime View Post
How is it rational that Carl Sagan though it was important to seek answers to alien life but dismissed all other searches as irrational, superstitions.

Which other searches shouldn't he have dismissed, and why?

ETA: I see Slowvehicle and Foster Zygote beat me to the question. Hope we get an answer that will get us closer to the OP's actual point.
__________________
It is far better to grasp the universe as it really is than to persist in delusion, however satisfying and reassuring.
- Carl Sagan

Last edited by AdMan; 3rd December 2012 at 09:43 AM.
AdMan is offline   Quote this post in a PM   Nominate this post for this month's language award Copy a direct link to this post Reply With Quote Back to Top
Old 3rd December 2012, 09:58 AM   #72
justintime
Banned
 
Join Date: Dec 2012
Posts: 1,260
Originally Posted by Slowvehicle View Post
There are several factual problems with your claim here, as there have been every other time you have made it. I encourage you to provide evidence for the claims you make, as, after all, pursuing, and evaluating, evidence is one of the driving forces of skeptical inquiry.

1. Please provide evidence that Dr. Sagan "belkeived in" "aliens" (As opposed to, say, "searching for evidence of extraterrestrial intelligences").

2. Please provide evidence that Dr. Sagan "beleived in" "UFOs", particularly given his work in debunking credulous claims of "UFO sightings" and "alien abductions".

3. Please provide evidence that Dr. Sagan "believed in" extra-terrestrial intelligences (as opposed to searching for evidence of extra-terrestrial intelligences).

4. Please explain how, on the one hand, explaining the superstitious nature of "UFO sightings" and "alien abduction" stories, based primarily upon the grounds that there is no evidence that UFOs have ever been sighted, or that anyone has ever been abducted by an "alien"; but looking for evidence of the existence of extra-terrestrial intelligences (instead of simply existing that they do, in fact, exist) is a "contradiction".



As has been explained to you before, the letter you like to mention was written by a young man. In the letter, he did not say, "Since aliens exist, we must prepare", but instead, asked the Secretary of State (Dean Acheson, at the time) how the United States would respond if "UFOs" actually did turn out to be of extraterrestrial origin. You might want to consider re=reading the letter before claiming that it demonstrates that the young Sagan "believed in" "UFOs and aliens".



As has been explained to you, the difference between. on the one hand, credulous claims of "UFOs" and "alien abductions" with no evidence (ever wonder why UFOs and aliens seem to bollix cameras and vidcorders at will?); and, on the other hand, searches for evidence of intelligent signals from outer space, or evidence of how "aliens" could abduct humans and leave no traces, or evidence of the existence of (and the physics that would allow) "flying saucers" is the difference between superstition and science; between knowing and believing.
Your logic is totally flawed.
1. If he did not think aliens were a threat why did he write to the Sectary of State concerned if they were prepared for an alien attack.
In fact he is not alone in thinking aliens are threatening. Stephen Hawkins is another scientist who warns of making contact with aliens because they might not have altruistic intentions.
2. Nothing has been explained to me. You are the one asking the questions.
3. It is dumb to say he was looking for the evidence of ETI but did not believe in them. In fact you got it backwards. He had to know what he was looking for. He had to tell people who were funding him what he was looking for and also convince them of the chance/probability of finding them after he convinced himself. He had to make them believe they exists. All this even before he started looking for them or as you like to say evidence of them. The evidence of ETI would go a long way to validate his beliefs and convictions of their existence. Just like the results of a scientific research can confirm or invalidate the hypothesis.

Last edited by justintime; 3rd December 2012 at 10:00 AM.
justintime is offline   Quote this post in a PM   Nominate this post for this month's language award Copy a direct link to this post Reply With Quote Back to Top
Old 3rd December 2012, 10:00 AM   #73
GeeMack
Banned
 
Join Date: Aug 2007
Location: Not Bandiagara
Posts: 7,241
Originally Posted by AdMan View Post
Which other searches shouldn't he have dismissed, and why?

ETA: I see Slowvehicle and Foster Zygote beat me to the question. Hope we get an answer that will get us closer to the OP's actual point.

There is evidence that expressing disdain for skeptics and contempt for skepticism is the point. At least that's one possibility suggested by the OP's history of being banned from other skeptics' forums for expressing that disdain and contempt while failing to provide any rationale for it.
GeeMack is offline   Quote this post in a PM   Nominate this post for this month's language award Copy a direct link to this post Reply With Quote Back to Top
Old 3rd December 2012, 10:06 AM   #74
Craig4
Philosopher
 
Join Date: Aug 2010
Posts: 6,913
Originally Posted by justintime View Post
I keep hearing that Skepticism is a process of applying critical thinking and demanding credible evidence to determine validity. Now they are nice catch words. But the roots of Skepticism are closer to a psychological state of mind than a philosophical approach.

Definition of Skepticism: . A doubting or questioning attitude or state of mind; dubiety synonyms with uncertainty.
Clearly you take exception to the fact that many people here do not believe something you believe in. Would you care to share what it is that you believe in that you think we should? As you posted this in Religion and Philosophy I have a pretty good idea what it was but I won't put words in your mouth.
Craig4 is offline   Quote this post in a PM   Nominate this post for this month's language award Copy a direct link to this post Reply With Quote Back to Top
Old 3rd December 2012, 10:10 AM   #75
godless dave
Great Dalmuti
 
godless dave's Avatar
 
Join Date: Jul 2007
Location: St. Paul, Minnesota
Posts: 6,615
Originally Posted by justintime View Post
3. It is dumb to say he was looking for the evidence of ETI but did not believe in them. In fact you got it backwards. He had to know what he was looking for. He had to tell people who were funding him what he was looking for and also convince them of the chance/probability of finding them after he convinced himself. He had to make them believe they exists. All this even before he started looking for them or as you like to say evidence of them. The evidence of ETI would go a long way to validate his beliefs and convictions of their existence. Just like the results of a scientific research can confirm or invalidate the hypothesis.
Exactly.
__________________
"If it's real, then it gets more interesting the closer you examine it. If it's not real, just the opposite is true." - aggle-rithm
godless dave is offline   Quote this post in a PM   Nominate this post for this month's language award Copy a direct link to this post Reply With Quote Back to Top
Old 3rd December 2012, 10:10 AM   #76
StankApe
Banned
 
Join Date: Oct 2012
Posts: 4,643
BTW, Sagan was 17 when he wrote that letter to the DOD about aliens. But you probably knew that and hoped we wouldn't....

He stated clearly that he found it very possible for ETI to exist, but he did not say that he "believed hey existed". He clearly states in one of his books that he thinks that UFO's were a construct of The Cold War, and that both sides used this fear as a tool of propaganda.


so, in other words, you have nothing but accusations, and no evidence to back it up. (except trying to wash over an esteemed scientists entire career with the fact that when he was 17 he was interested in UFOs enough to write a letter to the Gubbmint.)

Last edited by StankApe; 3rd December 2012 at 10:15 AM.
StankApe is offline   Quote this post in a PM   Nominate this post for this month's language award Copy a direct link to this post Reply With Quote Back to Top
Old 3rd December 2012, 10:11 AM   #77
H'ethetheth
fishy rocket scientist
 
H'ethetheth's Avatar
 
Join Date: Aug 2004
Location: among the machines
Posts: 2,460
Originally Posted by justintime View Post
I don't have a problem with Carl Sagan's criticism of superstitions and other irrational beliefs. But to attack them with skepticism and at the same time believe in aliens, flying saucers and ETI is a contradiction.
There are several instances in his biography that demonstrates how seriously he took aliens and UFOs. He even wrote to the Sectary of State wanting to know if the US was prepared for an alien attack. He did turn skeptical of UFOs later on. But that did not stop him from dedicating his whole life to search for alien life after he denounced them.
I am sure there are many scientist also keen on looking for aliens, UFOs. But how does a rational person like Carl Sagan dismiss people looking for aliens, UFOs HERE as wacky but still believe in a project looking for them in outer space (for 50 years).
Actually, UFOs take up a huge part of the demon-haunted world. As bunk, that is. You, or his biographer, may have misunderstood his stance.
H'ethetheth is offline   Quote this post in a PM   Nominate this post for this month's language award Copy a direct link to this post Reply With Quote Back to Top
Old 3rd December 2012, 10:17 AM   #78
justintime
Banned
 
Join Date: Dec 2012
Posts: 1,260
Originally Posted by GeeMack View Post
There is evidence that expressing disdain for skeptics and contempt for skepticism is the point. At least that's one possibility suggested by the OP's history of being banned from other skeptics' forums for expressing that disdain and contempt while failing to provide any rationale for it.
I have another OP Is scientific skepticism really rationalism. The whole exercise is to question the examples Skeptics use as Skeptic advocates. Is Skepticism a philosophical approach or a state of mind (psychological)? Carl Sagan preached scientific skepticism which appears to deviate from philosophical skepticism, but is that just a repackaging of rationalism. Because again going back to the definitions:
Skepticism: 1. A doubting or questioning attitude or state of mind; dubiety synonyms with uncertainty.
justintime is offline   Quote this post in a PM   Nominate this post for this month's language award Copy a direct link to this post Reply With Quote Back to Top
Old 3rd December 2012, 10:22 AM   #79
GeeMack
Banned
 
Join Date: Aug 2007
Location: Not Bandiagara
Posts: 7,241
Originally Posted by justintime View Post
I have another OP Is scientific skepticism really rationalism. The whole exercise is to question the examples Skeptics use as Skeptic advocates. Is Skepticism a philosophical approach or a state of mind (psychological)? Carl Sagan preached scientific skepticism which appears to deviate from philosophical skepticism, but is that just a repackaging of rationalism. Because again going back to the definitions:
Skepticism: 1. A doubting or questioning attitude or state of mind; dubiety synonyms with uncertainty.

Take it where it belongs. No spamming, please.
GeeMack is offline   Quote this post in a PM   Nominate this post for this month's language award Copy a direct link to this post Reply With Quote Back to Top
Old 3rd December 2012, 10:25 AM   #80
justintime
Banned
 
Join Date: Dec 2012
Posts: 1,260
Originally Posted by H'ethetheth View Post
Actually, UFOs take up a huge part of the demon-haunted world. As bunk, that is. You, or his biographer, may have misunderstood his stance.
And he also wrote Contact which was all about UFOs, alien spacecraft and alien encounters. Here he is pandering to the so called irrational and trying to profit from it after he claimed to be a Skeptic of UFOs. It is hard to be a scientist and not indulge in some wild speculations or vicariously live in fiction, what the real world cannot provide, except in fantasy land.
justintime is offline   Quote this post in a PM   Nominate this post for this month's language award Copy a direct link to this post Reply With Quote Back to Top
Reply

JREF Forum » General Topics » General Skepticism and The Paranormal

Bookmarks

Thread Tools

Posting Rules
You may not post new threads
You may not post replies
You may not post attachments
You may not edit your posts

BB code is On
Smilies are On
[IMG] code is On
HTML code is Off
Forum Jump


All times are GMT -7. The time now is 08:04 AM.
Powered by vBulletin. Copyright ©2000 - 2014, Jelsoft Enterprises Ltd.
2001-2013, James Randi Educational Foundation. All Rights Reserved.

Disclaimer: Messages posted in the Forum are solely the opinion of their authors.