occam's razor and other useful links + things....

A forum for the discussion of heuristic questions relating to Druidry using verifiable methods. Fo-fúair!
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Lily
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occam's razor and other useful links + things....

Postby Lily » 01 Nov 2004, 11:44

if you would like all your illusions about "alternative" subjects shattered, go to
http://skepdic.com

The unified logical fallacies....
http://www.intrepidsoftware.com/fallacy/toc.php

Carl Sagan's Baloney Detection Kit....
http://www1.tpgi.com.au/users/tps-seti/baloney.html

Let me add a very important one when it comes to health issues: Medline. a database covering 40 years of scientific and medical papers. If it's not even discussed there, it's probably quackery and even if it is, let's see what they think of it.

The US. national center on complementary and alternative medicine:

http://nccam.nih.gov/

http://www.vandruff.com/art_converse.html
how to kill your opponent's argument (Not the nice way)

http://www.propagandacritic.com
(sharpen up on propaganda techniques)

http://www2.widener.edu/Wolfgram-Memori ... ebeval.htm
(how to evaluate web content)

http://www.junkscience.com
How to recognize junk science

http://www.snopes.com (urban legends)
Last edited by Lily on 25 Nov 2004, 17:20, edited 5 times in total.
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"You cannot reason people out of a position that they did not reason themselves into"
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Selene
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Postby Selene » 01 Nov 2004, 16:43

Other resources:
Skeptics Society. This is the group that publishes a column in each month's Scientific American.
Dedicated to the promotion of science and critical thinking, and to the investigation of extraordinary claims and revolutionary ideas.
Committee for the Scientific Investigation of Claims of the Paranormal
CSICOP encourages the critical investigation of paranormal and fringe-science claims from a responsible, scientific point of view and disseminates factual information about the results of such inquiries to the scientific community and the public.
These are the folks who also publish The Skeptical Inquirer: The Magazine for Science and Reason.
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Azrienoch
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Postby Azrienoch » 01 Nov 2004, 17:10

You all should also know about the James Randi Educational Foundation. They are a non-profit organization committed to seeking the truth, specifically in psychic ability. They actually have a one million dollar prize for anyone who can prove their abilities.
Their website, http://www.jamesrandi.org has a lot of online resources and a very well established message board, the users of which are extremely knowledgable.

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Postby gandalf2004 » 24 Jan 2005, 20:51

Greetings all

A Sceptics Bookshelf

Contains a list of some 25 sceptical books, with pointers to many more in alternative lists given in a sidebar. Please check it out.

Yours

Gandalf

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Libby
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Postby Libby » 17 Feb 2005, 06:46

Hello!
After a hiatus from the list (working one too) I am happily back and very interested in what has been occuring in my absence. It seems that a healthy portion of skeptisism is being passed out to all...grin! After all the "Skeptical" was founded with the idea of promoting rational and supported discussions. I had become weary of bad language and irrationality which has sometimes been the norm on Druid lists.

Now, a book that I have read and can hardily recommend is _The End of Faith, Religion, Terror, and the Future of Reason_ by Sam Harris. In it he discusses our willingness to suspend reason in favor of religious belief. This seems to be particularly true with the more traditional faith and personality based religions. A fascinating read in general and particularly if you are faced with the task of arguing with non-Druid friends and relatives.
Cheerily,
Libby

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Lily
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Postby Lily » 23 Feb 2005, 20:07

This is very much also true for paganism. No exceptions.
bright blessed days, dark sacred nights

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"You cannot reason people out of a position that they did not reason themselves into"
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Re: occam's razor and other useful links + things....

Postby MountainGnome » 12 Oct 2009, 05:38

Skeptics bring a smile to my face. It always seems as though they are afraid of something, but I could never tell what.

Everything is true. It's just a matter of the right perspective. There is nothing to worry about. :)

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Re: occam's razor and other useful links + things....

Postby Nicholaas » 13 Oct 2009, 08:10

The "Bad Astronomer" Phil Plait is another great skeptic voice.
"Everything is right for me, which is right for you, O Universe. Nothing for me is too early or too late, which comes in due time for you. Everything is fruit to me which your seasons bring, O Nature. From you are all things, in you are all things, to you all things return."
-Marcus Aurelius

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Re: occam's razor and other useful links + things....

Postby Lily » 16 Oct 2009, 21:48

Skeptics bring a smile to my face. It always seems as though they are afraid of something, but I could never tell what.
Afraid of being made to pretend I believe. Nothing else. I don't know what you're getting at.
bright blessed days, dark sacred nights

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"You cannot reason people out of a position that they did not reason themselves into"
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Re: occam's razor and other useful links + things....

Postby MountainGnome » 17 Oct 2009, 04:19

Afraid of being made to pretend I believe. Nothing else. I don't know what you're getting at.
I have been around many different kinds of "skeptics," being Christian, then atheist, agnostic, then getting into all sorts of philosophies and so many different strains of spirituality. I have been on many different sides of many different issues over time and have learned to see the truth in just about anything, as it is mostly always simply a difference of perspective only.

I have personally become skeptical of many things, since I've swung through so many different views, but it has never been part of my nature to be automatically skeptical of anything/everything I come across. I don't make it a POINT to be skeptical, which I equate to being reserved, timid, not very confident.

I find that people who take pride in calling themselves "skeptics" in today's world also have sarcastic, pessimistic tendencies, and also often take to science as if science itself is a religion, not taking it as a tool but rather looking to the popular "scientific community" for all their answers to life's questions. Which is not taking science as the tool that it is, but taking it as a religion. Which I strongly disagree with.

It's not all skeptics, but the sarcastic/pessimistic ones that I feel sorry for, because they miss out on so much in life simply from being afraid to entertain ideas that don't seem to make much sense to them. I have done 180-degree shifts on issues so many times that I realize if someone believes something, they obviously see SOME kind of sense in it, and usually there IS some underlying truth, to just about anything you can imagine. You just have to think about it the right way. Words themselves are meaningless. From fairy tales to UFOs to alternative medicine. I don't take offense or cringe at the mention of "fringe topics"; rather, I embrace them to see what personal truth I can find in them. I am perfectly confident in my ability to discriminate information. And I feel no need to label myself a "skeptic" or to feel as though I have to protect myself from foreign ideas. I feel that attitude is childish.

Hopefully that clarifies my feelings on the subject somewhat.

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Re: occam's razor and other useful links + things....

Postby Nicholaas » 19 Oct 2009, 04:10


I have personally become skeptical of many things, since I've swung through so many different views, but it has never been part of my nature to be automatically skeptical of anything/everything I come across. I don't make it a POINT to be skeptical, which I equate to being reserved, timid, not very confident.

I find that people who take pride in calling themselves "skeptics" in today's world also have sarcastic, pessimistic tendencies, and also often take to science as if science itself is a religion, not taking it as a tool but rather looking to the popular "scientific community" for all their answers to life's questions. Which is not taking science as the tool that it is, but taking it as a religion. Which I strongly disagree with.

It's not all skeptics, but the sarcastic/pessimistic ones that I feel sorry for, because they miss out on so much in life simply from being afraid to entertain ideas that don't seem to make much sense to them. I have done 180-degree shifts on issues so many times that I realize if someone believes something, they obviously see SOME kind of sense in it, and usually there IS some underlying truth, to just about anything you can imagine. You just have to think about it the right way. Words themselves are meaningless. From fairy tales to UFOs to alternative medicine. I don't take offense or cringe at the mention of "fringe topics"; rather, I embrace them to see what personal truth I can find in them. I am perfectly confident in my ability to discriminate information. And I feel no need to label myself a "skeptic" or to feel as though I have to protect myself from foreign ideas. I feel that attitude is childish.

Hopefully that clarifies my feelings on the subject somewhat.
I think your assessment of skepticism is highly inaccurate, and quite insulting at points. Maybe it's just me, but it seems you want to claim the benefits of being "skeptical" then at the flip of your hand denounce them as being "afraid" and "childish".

I'm not sure what kind of people you have associated with, but whatever timidness or lack of confidence (you perceived) they exhibited is not necessarily a result of skepticism. That's like saying all neo-pagans are flighty, head-in-the-clouds, flakes. Or that all Christians are bigoted, close-minded buffoons. Some are, but you can't judge the whole based on a few people. I can only conclude that your view of skeptics and skepticism in general was formed with a severe lack of information about what skepticism is.

You're painting with an awfully large brush here, sir. And you're using all the wrong colors.
"Everything is right for me, which is right for you, O Universe. Nothing for me is too early or too late, which comes in due time for you. Everything is fruit to me which your seasons bring, O Nature. From you are all things, in you are all things, to you all things return."
-Marcus Aurelius

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Re: occam's razor and other useful links + things....

Postby MountainGnome » 19 Oct 2009, 07:05

Well, I should clarify.

Everyone is naturally skeptical of things that go against the grain of what the currently believe. Everyone is naturally inquisitive when they hear something they have never heard before.

But when people take to skepticism almost religiously, ie they call themselves "skeptics" and consider themselves more "skeptical" than most people, that is when things start looking, sounding, feeling like a psychological defense mechanism, at least to me, and that is my personal opinion. Someone who has more trust in the world wouldn't feel the need to put such a label on themselves, or put so much extra energy or emphasis on being "skeptical" of so many things.


If you look back historically, Galileo, Copernicus, all of these guys had to deal with "skeptics." Now, like I said, skepticism by itself is natural. But if you look back to what some of the "skeptics" were arguing against Galileo and Copernicus, you'll see they were really just trying to defend commonly-held views (ie Sun revolves around the Earth, etc.) and reinforce the status-quo of their day, almost like an automatic knee-jerk reaction. That is the kind of "skepticism" I personally am not fond of. It took many years before what Copernicus said caught on, because of this. It appears these people were just afraid of new ideas, could not comprehend them and had no intention to try. So it's a fine line to walk when you consider yourself a skeptic, imo. It's a fine line between being sincerely open-minded and considerate, or just automatically trying to reinforce you already-held convictions. That is all I am saying. That should clarify my issue.

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Re: occam's razor and other useful links + things....

Postby wolf560 » 02 Oct 2010, 01:33

Everything else aside.....
I prefer Ockham's Razor actually...
"Occam's razor (or Ockham's razor) is often expressed in Latin as the 'Lex Parsimoniae' (law of parsimony, law of economy or law of succinctness). The principle is popularly interpreted as "the simplest explanation is usually the correct one"
I also prefer Sir Arthur Conan Doyle's Sherlock Holmes even more...
Eliminate all other factors, and the one which remains must be the truth.
There is nothing wrong with eliminating things that are untrue since the use of them might actually be of some negative impact. If someone believes in something that is not true, that is their issue and not yours. If they ask you however, they should be prepared for the answer. (Never ask a question if you are not prepared to deal with the answer).

Sometimes there cannot be more than "One Truth". If someone asks you what color is on the wall it does not matter if you or they are color-blind. The true color remains unchanged, only your "perception" of what you THINK it is changes. Truth is, the wall is that color.... period.
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Re: occam's razor and other useful links + things....

Postby DJ Droood » 02 Oct 2010, 01:39

If someone believes in something that is not true, that is their issue and not yours.
I wish that were true..it is my personal ideal...but I see all around me people enforcing their beliefs in untrue things, or trying to enforce their beliefs in untrue things.
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Re: occam's razor and other useful links + things....

Postby wolf560 » 02 Oct 2010, 01:58

I wish that were true..it is my personal ideal...but I see all around me people enforcing their beliefs in untrue things, or trying to enforce their beliefs in untrue things.
Yes I completely agree DJ ...
....and it is sad when they do that.....
.......So many chances to learn from one another wasted ....
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Re: occam's razor and other useful links + things....

Postby Oneonine » 02 Oct 2010, 13:14

Okay so you explain the principle of occam's razor to a 25th century time traveller and a 19th century shaman. The simplest explanation for a man appearing out of nowhere to the shaman is magic, the simplest explanation to the 25th century time traveller is time travel.

Both are far from the simplest explanation for us today.

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Re: occam's razor and other useful links + things....

Postby wolf560 » 02 Oct 2010, 16:59

Okay so you explain the principle of occam's razor to a 25th century time traveller and a 19th century shaman...
During World War Two, something quite unique developed called the "Cargo Cult". http://www.smithsonianmag.com/people-places/john.html These natives went to the point of entirely abandoning their religious views and actually built a full scale runway in order to bring the "bounty from the skies". So is John Frum a GOD? No, not at all.... the villagers simply are ignorant of reality and are unable to understand reality. Their "Personal Truth" is flawed, but the "One Truth" is also impossible to explain to them. So they live in ignorance to this very day, 65 years later still worshiping John From on Feb 15th every year.

Since we are in the year 2010, and Occam's razor applies to the situation at the moment the explanation is just for us. The razor also presupposes that the dialog in question is between people that understand mutual concepts and not between an aborigine and a rocket scientist.

That being said perhaps we are slipping into Crabtree's Bludgeon territory now
"No set of mutually inconsistent observations can exist for which some human intellect cannot conceive a coherent explanation, however complicated."
Either way, Occam's Razor/ Holme's Rule still remains (IMHO) the best way to cut through the dross and come to a good conclusion as to why something is happening. The more you know about something the easier that process is. The less you know, the more likely you are to find yourself flattening out patches of jungle to worship a Cargo Plane Deity....
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Re: occam's razor and other useful links + things....

Postby echoe » 18 Dec 2010, 06:20

hmmmm....

"Everything is true. It's just a matter of the right perspective." well, let me take that from the debate perspective:

If everything is true, then it must be true that everything is false, in which case, everything can not be true.

Some things are false. There isn't a perspective in believing the world to be flat and the sun orbiting around the earth. It did not help men to utilize tools efficiently (sailing off the end of the earth???) Understanding that the position of stars in the sky change? that we see planets at different times and in different latitudes? Or how would we ever have sent a robot to Mars or a person to the moon if we'd not understood the factual truth? Hawkings debunking that creation is a complete God made mystery was more a message along those lines. The Catholic Church, throughout history has been known for wanting to keep its members ignorant so that the POPE could tell them what to believe and what they knew. Kills me how absolutely hypocritical the Church still is.

When presented with false information, man puts himself in danger in many ways, skepticism is a very healthy pursuit! Not always cynical, or pessimistic. I'm highly optimistic, yet very skeptical. I grew up in a family where the mother's word was law, and I'm sorry to say, my adoptive mom was INCREDIBLY stupid and put her two children in danger CONSTANTLY. I had to learn to step lively and to learn things for myself and not believe most of what she told me. She STILL tries to tell me things that would make those here guffaw.

Skepticism is a healthy pursuit. It's a wise one, and not a negative connotation at all. A little fear is also healthy, makes a person ready for self-protection if needed, but skepticism isn't to be necessarily linked to fear, either.

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Re: occam's razor and other useful links + things....

Postby wolf560 » 18 Dec 2010, 07:07

hmmmm....Skepticism is a healthy pursuit.
Hear Hear
Well said...!!!
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The Druids wrote nothing down, and memorized everything...
/|\ Mark /|\

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Re: occam's razor and other useful links + things....

Postby Bart » 23 Sep 2011, 17:26

Finally someone found an answer to the skeptic druid: :o


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