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From: Burch Seymour From: bseymour@encore.com (Burch Seymour) There are times in life, when one sees a deal that is too good to be true for example, that one must back up and try to see the bigger picture. If someone calls you and offers to send you a cashiers check for $50,000, but first we need your charge card number, the picture becomes much clearer. However, when one sees individuals holdin' on to out dated ideas and crackpot science the motivations are not so clear. Whenever I see or hear something that turns on my reality check light, I try to figure out who is making money from this "thing". I can see for example that as science progresses, more and more of the things that used to be "acts of God" or articles of faith are being eroded down to textbook phenomena. Lightning and thunder are still to be respected, not as the wrath of the gods, but as potentially dangerous electrical activity. So when the mysticism starts to leave religion, the big money churches start looking for something to hold on to as the focus of the faith. Thus was begat "creationism." Big ministries need big money, and that requires keeping people in their hold. If too many of their stories are proven to be just folklore, the audience leaves. We've already seen how well *some* of the TV evangelists practice their preachings. (I don't mean to imply any generality here, I'm sure there are some genuinely fine people in this business, but some of these guys are just pond scum!) Now to the point at hand. Some folks are just born to be trouble makers. They sit at home and look for ways to stir things up. Gives them some kind of cheap thrill that they've wasted some important folks time by causing them to argue about "Their theory of the origins of the universe". The more radical and outlandish, the better. By taking a hodge podge of information from a variety of sources (some credible, many not) one can "prove" damn near anything. Then you sit back and watch the stuffed shirts have kittens trying to refute you. The great part about it is, the Trouble Maker never has to prove anything. He can just say "I don't choose to believe that!" and call up some "great conspiracy" amongst scientists to back up his contention that some obvious thing is false. This sends the stuffed shirts back into paroxysms of rebuttals. Great FUN! So here's the scoop (from my point of view). Never argue with fanatics. They are either out to just goad you into blowing your cool or are so far 'round the bend that you'll never change their point of view anyway. The debates are not very productive and waste bandwidth better devoted to more useful discussions. This debate reminds me of an episode of M*A*S*H in which a visiting person made Charles grovel about everything. If Winchester tried to talk about wine, this guy one-upped him. In fact, in every case the guy one-upped Winchester. Then at the end we found out he was a son of a limo driver who had just picked up a lot of gab from hanging around snobby people. BUT He drove Charles to distraction trying to outdo him. The same thing seems to be going on here. One group trying to play by the "rules" of an objective, provable, evidence based, scientific method. The other playing by no rules. Discounting valid data when it doesn't suit their needs. Using data from similar sources when it does. Depending on the writings of a lunatic as valid science. Using ancient folk tales, passed on verbally for who knows how long, as documented facts. (Jeez, we can't even figure out who shot JFK, how in the heck are we supposed to separate fact from fiction in 5000-year-old folk legends) Anyway, my point (and I'm almost done with this babble) is ignore the gibberish fountains. They are using you for entertainment.

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