Mod+ 229. The 5 Things You Need to Know About Skeptiko

#41
I'm happy to help. am also looking at some tools/tech to make older shows more accessible.
Great to hear, Alex. Naturally, we would want to minimise your workload. Look: I'm going to start a new thread in "Other Stuff" called the PODCAST PROJECT. If anyone is interested in taking part, please go there where we can get things started, initially discussing the best way to approach the project. Give it another half hour or so and I'll have posted the starter message. All contributions welcome! :)
 
#42
But generalities don't help with the assessment of this particular argument. Let's not clog up this thread, I really just wanted to post a reminder here . Maybe you can you let me know where you think my analysis is off back in the Lancet thread? http://www.skeptiko.com/forum/threads/the-van-lommel-lancet-nde-paper.110/
Arouet,

I think 'generalities' do have a place sometimes - you have to lift your head above the trees sometimes and look at the view.

The thing I never feel you realise, is that no experiment is above criticism - no experiment in no scientific discipline!

In most areas of science there is a consensus as to when an experiment is well done, and people who want to criticise, should do so by performing some experimental work themselves, rather than publishing a theoretical criticism - particularly if it involves dishonesty. Preferably they should not just try and fail to reproduce a result, but make a huge effort to succeed and talk to the original author(s) before accepting that they are right and the other guy made a mistake. I was once in a position to do just that, and we did all of the above (but no dishonesty was involved), and ultimately published a paper with the original author as one of the new authors (we needed to stay on good terms with him for various reasons :) ).

The ψ-science debate really is stuck-on because it breaks that normal scientific approach. No science would progress if it were done in that way.

David
 
#43
Alex, I really enjoyed this show. The Ben Radford bit was truly jaw-dropping--had to be heard to be believed. I also got quite a laugh out of your Noah's nails comments in regard to that witty and upbeat materialistic explanation of NDEs near the end. What I came away with was a strong sense that at bottom you really mean the search you are on. Rather than being about career or image, it's about your desire to solve the big questions for yourself. That's no small thing. It's not something you toot your horn about--or it wouldn't be real--but I expect it's what draws a great many of us to Skeptiko. For myself, having spent my adult life in the "business" of spirituality, I've become very jaded about what a business it is, how much the normal considerations of money, image, politics, and popularity drive it, sadly eclipsing real concern for truth. I feel like something different is happening here, and that matters.
 

Alex

Administrator
#44
Alex, I have to say what a delight it has been to hear your podcast and that I enjoy each and every episode. Pleased to be a new member here, and like what I see thus far. A cache of intelligent and good character oriented discussion around the formidable challenge of expanding the constraints of science to become a domain of open accountability. :)
thx for the kind words... glad you're here :)
 

Alex

Administrator
#45
Alex, I really enjoyed this show. The Ben Radford bit was truly jaw-dropping--had to be heard to be believed. I also got quite a laugh out of your Noah's nails comments in regard to that witty and upbeat materialistic explanation of NDEs near the end. What I came away with was a strong sense that at bottom you really mean the search you are on. Rather than being about career or image, it's about your desire to solve the big questions for yourself. That's no small thing. It's not something you toot your horn about--or it wouldn't be real--but I expect it's what draws a great many of us to Skeptiko. For myself, having spent my adult life in the "business" of spirituality, I've become very jaded about what a business it is, how much the normal considerations of money, image, politics, and popularity drive it, sadly eclipsing real concern for truth. I feel like something different is happening here, and that matters.
thx Robert. and I hear you real the problem when we mix in business and/or other goals... then again (as I'm sure you can appreciate), nothing is totally clean. It took me a long time to accept that I'm also in the entertainment business... just a tiny bit but still. so, I like having one foot in the real world and one in the next... it feels right for me.
 

Alex

Administrator
#46
Great to hear, Alex. Naturally, we would want to minimise your workload. Look: I'm going to start a new thread in "Other Stuff" called the PODCAST PROJECT. If anyone is interested in taking part, please go there where we can get things started, initially discussing the best way to approach the project. Give it another half hour or so and I'll have posted the starter message. All contributions welcome! :)
great. thx.
 
#47
the original principles of science are still relevant here,
That's even more of a sweeping assumption than much of what you post against. It's just an opinion "materialism and/or the methods that it utilizes can tell us about existence" not much different to "the church fathers will tell us all."
 
#48
Well, I like to quote Robert Anton Wilson. I did it several times already, and will probably do it a few more times in the future. What could I do if this guy had a talent to explain the things so powerfully and eloquently! ;)

This quote of his seem to be exactly about you, Alex. It's also about Craig Weiler. And many other people who gather here on Skeptiko. Well, let's give a word to RAW (quote is slightly paraphrased):

As I said earlier, the path of intelligence is all hard work, low pay, and a high probability that the fanatics of all ideologies will
gang up on you. But intelligence always wins in the long run. Copernicus couldn't publish in his lifetime, Bruno was burned at the stake, Galileo was condemned and placed under house arrest, etc., but the new astronomy finally triumphed over the Catholic orthodoxy. Dr. Reich died in prison of a broken heart, because he believed that those who jailed him really were in control and, hence, saw himself as a victim of injustice. Dr. Leary stayed high (through a sentence nine times longer than Reich's) because he knew that, even in prison, even in the solitary-confinement cell at the bottom of the maximum building in Folsom, he was more in control than his persecutors. He knew that because his ideas were creating the future; whereas the gang who locked him up can't even control the present, which is, in fact, falling apart all around them.
I can't say more. :)
 
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#49
Good show, Alex.

Something that I doubt gets mentioned that often is the humor to it all . . . I laugh aloud quite a bit throughout a lot of podcasts . . . In this case listening to the exchange with Radford and then White.
 
#50
Arouet,

I think 'generalities' do have a place sometimes - you have to lift your head above the trees sometimes and look at the view.
I agree with that. Both are valuable in their proper contex - I have views on both. (Though in this case the generality I was referring to was Soulatemen's critique of me personally)

The thing I never feel you realise, is that no experiment is above criticism - no experiment in no scientific discipline!
I know you've said this before and I'd meant to respond to you then but I might have forgotten to get back to that post. I do recognise that no experiment is perfect - or rather - that it is exceptionally difficult to design a perfect experiment. The standard of proof is not that of certainty and that is not the standard I am applying. I'll come back to this below.

In most areas of science there is a consensus as to when an experiment is well done, and people who want to criticise, should do so by performing some experimental work themselves, rather than publishing a theoretical criticism - particularly if it involves dishonesty.
Yes and no. That is, there is nothing wrong with people who have criticised also performing experimental work on their own but I don't think we want to establish that we will only accept as valid criticism from people who are going to personally perform the experiments themselves. This is not how the system is designed nor should it be and I don't think you believe that either. When we frame everything in terms of the culture war pithy lines like have rhetorical force but I don't think they stand to scrutiny. All science should be open to critique and expect it. Saying that the critique doesn't do their own experiments at the end of the day is simply an ad hom attack when it comes to the merits of their argument. Now, it may be more relevant vis-a-vis an evaluation of the person's credentials and experience - but that is separate from the critique itself.


Preferably they should not just try and fail to reproduce a result, but make a huge effort to succeed and talk to the original author(s) before accepting that they are right and the other guy made a mistake. I was once in a position to do just that, and we did all of the above (but no dishonesty was involved), and ultimately published a paper with the original author as one of the new authors (we needed to stay on good terms with him for various reasons :) ).
Again - there is absolutely nothing wrong with going out and getting involved on that level. It's just not pragmatic - which I think you recognised when you said "preferably". Moreover, it wouldn't change anything vis-a-vis this issue since all that would happen is that you should expect your own experiment to be subject to criticism from others who have no intention of going out and doing their own replications and investigations.

The ψ-science debate really is stuck-on because it breaks that normal scientific approach. No science would progress if it were done in that way.
Look, I'm not a scientist obviously and so am not in that milieu. But from what I've understood over the last few years from an outsider perspective is that it is precisely the cycle of perform an experiment, write it up, subject it to critique from the greater scientific community, modify experiment, rinse repeat that leads to progress.

You talk about mistakes and while that's certainly part of the process of evaluation I think that doesn't quite get at what we should be doing when approaching these studies. It's not just about whether the researchers were careful (although that's part of it). What we need to do is consider the question being asked, look closely at the methodology used, and try and determine how reliably the methodology used can help us answer the question asked. This is often a very difficult task in itself. And it is particularly difficult when the question being asked is not what something is - but rather is trying to answer what it is not.

It's true that there are no perfect experiments. But that's looking at it from the wrong way. The way to do it, I would suggest, is from the bottom up: given the methodology used, how should we interpret the results? How does the methodology used relate to the question asked? How closely do the conclusions related to the data collected? What is the risk of bias and how important is the particular risk in the context of the question we are asking? What are the limitations of the methodology used. How much confidence should we require in our conclusions?

None of these are easy questions. But they are quesions that have to be asked and they are questions that should be discussed. It's can be less fun, more frustrating, and much hard than engaging in triballistic Us vs. Them cheerleading and goading but if there's going to be progress made from the scientific perspective and particularly from the perspective of the introduction of a possible new paradigm or a better understanding of the old paradigm it's going to be there.
 
#51
#52
Good podcast. I think it offers an insightful overview of where Skeptiko (and the forum) are at. I also very much dislike the Stuck on Stupid arguments (but I'm liking the term :)). And the example podcasts/videos you chose are good for illustrating this (and the discussion thread for the Ben Radford podcast back on the old forum http://forum.mind-energy.net/skeptiko-podcast/2571-151-science-journalist-ben-radford-believes-psychic-detective-podcast.html).

Linda
Did you not have any problem with what Ben Radford told his constituency, misrepresenting what the two officers told him regarding “Florida” and “the south”.
 
#53
Did you not have any problem with what Ben Radford told his constituency, misrepresenting what the two officers told him regarding “Florida” and “the south”.
I found this Ben Radford duplicity appalling but not surprising. The problem with making cynic/denial based thought a central tenet of a culture club, led by celebrity role models who's very mandate is to 'one-up' opponents who are regarded as being stupid, is that it provides an incentive to club members to cheat, fabricate, abuse and play sleight-of-hand in order to impress club peers. It also establishes an environment of intimidation within science - not based upon performance or quality of work, rather based upon the subject pursued. For the amateurs who seek club approval, they need to have it clearly delineated as to which subjects are dis-approved, so they know what to bash. When the broader community observes one of these leaders going to the extent of undertaking an unethical action to impugn a subject or a person, they know that this is a serious game; one in which you cannot step out of line. You too can fall afoul of the club.

There is no benefit in these actions. There is no afforded 'protection of science.' The net effect of this is only loss for everyone.
 
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#54
I found this Ben Radford duplicity appalling but not surprising. The problem with making cynic/denial based thought a central tenet of a culture club, led by celebrity role models who's very mandate is to 'one-up' opponents who are regarded as being stupid, is that it provides an incentive to club members to cheat, fabricate, abuse and play sleight-of-hand in order to impress club peers. It also establishes an environment of intimidation within science - not based upon performance or quality of work, rather based upon the subject pursued. For the amateurs who seek club approval, they need to have it clearly delineated as to which subjects are dis-approved, so they know what to bash. When the broader community observes one of these leaders going to the extent of undertaking an unethical action to impugn a subject or a person, they know that this is a serious game; one in which you cannot step out of line. You too can fall afoul of the club.

There is no benefit in these actions. There is no afforded 'protection of science.' The net effect of this is only loss for everyone.
I agree with your analysis but I was still suprised that Radford would so blatently misrepresent the facts. I don't think you were around for the original fiasco but it appeared initially that Ben was a straight shooter. It will be interesting to see if and how Linda defends him.
 
#55
Did you not have any problem with what Ben Radford told his constituency, misrepresenting what the two officers told him regarding “Florida” and “the south”.
Like I said, I very much dislike Stuck on Stupid arguments, like this. We are all able to recognize that what is of interest is the specificity of the information which Nancy provided. The bickering doesn't do anything to answer that question, so why engage?

I couldn't care less about Ben Radford.

Linda
 
#56
Like I said, I very much dislike Stuck on Stupid arguments, like this. We are all able to recognize that what is of interest is the specificity of the information which Nancy provided. The bickering doesn't do anything to answer that question, so why engage?

I couldn't care less about Ben Radford.

Linda
Alex was saying, the way I understood it, that the exchange with Ben Radford was emblematic of the behavior of many of the prominent skeptics. I thought it was a fair characterization. Given that you said you very much disliked the podcast example I thought you might be sympathetic to him. I stand corrected.:)
 
#57
Alex was saying, the way I understood it, that the exchange with Ben Radford was emblematic of the behavior of many of the prominent skeptics. I thought it was a fair characterization. Given that you said you very much disliked the podcast example I thought you might be sympathetic to him. I stand corrected.:)
I'm sorry, but did you actually read my post? I said that I thought the podcast example was "good". How on earth did you get "disliked" from that?

Linda
 
#58
Good podcast. I think it offers an insightful overview of where Skeptiko (and the forum) are at. I also very much dislike the Stuck on Stupid arguments (but I'm liking the term :)). And the example podcasts/videos you chose are good for illustrating this (and the discussion thread for the Ben Radford podcast back on the old forum http://forum.mind-energy.net/skeptiko-podcast/2571-151-science-journalist-ben-radford-believes-psychic-detective-podcast.html).

Linda
I'm concerned that "stuck on stupid" appears a little smug and condescending to all the people who are not as intelligent/enlightened as those on this forum...?
 
#59
I'm sorry, but did you actually read my post? I said that I thought the podcast example was "good". How on earth did you get "disliked" from that?

Linda
I'm sorry, but did you actually read my post? I said that I thought the podcast example was "good". How on earth did you get "disliked" from that?

Linda
oops, i was unclear - you said:
I also very much dislike the Stuck on Stupid arguments (but I'm liking the term :)). And the example podcasts/videos you chose are good for illustrating this (and the discussion thread for the Ben Radford podcast back on the old forum http://forum.mind-energy.net/skeptiko-podcast/2571-151-science-journalist-ben-radford-believes-psychic-detective-podcast.html).
I was hearing that you didn't like him using radford as an example of "stuck on stupid" so I thought perhaps you thought it was an unfair characterization of Radford. Sorry my bad
 
#60
oops, i was unclear - you said:
I also very much dislike the Stuck on Stupid arguments (but I'm liking the term :)). And the example podcasts/videos you chose are good for illustrating this (and the discussion thread for the Ben Radford podcast back on the old forum http://forum.mind-energy.net/skeptiko-podcast/2571-151-science-journalist-ben-radford-believes-psychic-detective-podcast.html).
I was hearing that you didn't like him using radford as an example of "stuck on stupid" so I thought perhaps you thought it was an unfair characterization of Radford. Sorry my bad
Oh, I see. The subject of my pronoun ("this") wasn't clear (don't understand why, it was perfectly clear to me :) (that's a joke)). Sorry, my bad.

Linda
 
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