I've just listened to the latest episode of Skeptiko with David Lane, and my favourite part of the whole interview was when Lane silenced Alex with the question "What's wrong with being made of matter?" Lane also deserves great credit for suggesting that the violence in the world has more to do with capitalism and the state than with atheism or scientific materialism. Anyway, let's get back to my main issue with Alex and Skeptiko. Yet again, Alex is claiming, without evidence, that mainstream skepticism and scientific materialism are propping up the techno-capitalist-militarist industrial complex and encouraging violence, greed and selfishness. He's now talking about materialism as being the 'tip of the spear'. We can all agree that mainstream skeptics are conservative and support the status quo when it comes to science. This is almost the definition of a mainstream skeptic. The question at issue is whether mainstream skepticism also supports the economic, political and ethical status quo. If we look at the big names in skepticism like Sagan, Randi, Shermer and Piggliucci, we can see that it's simply not true that these people always support the status quo across the board. Indeed, one of the most popular political/ethical ideologies with skeptics is libertarianism, according to which we should get rid of both the warfare state and the welfare state and legalize drugs and prostitution. You also have animal rights activists, environmentalists and socialists, none of whom can be said to support the status quo. So what Alex has here is a wild conspiracy theory, and moreover it's completely unfalsifiable. If I came up with some atheists or materialists who were against war, consumerism, technology-worship and greed, he would just say that deep down they were spiritual people and not really materialists. And likewise if I came up with some believers in the afterlife and psi who did support war, greed and selfishness, he would just say that they were not truly spiritual people. I know I'm never going to change Alex's mind about any of this, but I hope other people can see what I'm getting at. Skeptiko is still 'stuck on stupid'.