South African Skeptics

The Skeptical Crackpot

Offline Teleological

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It is all good and well to call yourself a skeptic, however, certain forms of skepticism such as skeptical crackpotism™ are unacceptable.


The skeptical crackpot (SC) is best exemplified by the following:

The SC does not have a clear definition of X, the SC has no intention of even formulating a clear definition of X and hence does not even try to understand what X entails, but the SC believes with any kind of certainty that X cannot and does not exist.
« Last Edit: July 16, 2010, 20:20:39 pm by Teleological »
“Those who devote themselves to the purpose of proving that there is no purpose constitute an interesting subject for study.” - Alfred North Whitehead


Offline cyghost

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Beautiful. The creation and construction of a straw man for all to behold.

There are of course an infinite number of things which we don't have to consider as existing on a daily basis. These includes grunderfloges, frumfulops and the ever playful drinderbonies. I'm sure you get the idea. All the while not 100% discounting the possibility of such existences. But as Calilasseia is aptly known to say:

If an entity X is postulated to exist, and no critically robust substantive evidence is present to support the postulated existence of entity X, then the default position is to regard entity X as not existing, until said substantive evidence supporting the postulated existence of entity X becomes present.   (my bold)

When the skeptic doesn't have a clear definition of X, it is most certainly the responsibility of the people who actually champions the existence of X to provide such a definition. And then to back it up with evidence. Or else we can easily reject it.

That which is asserted without evidence, may safely be dismissed without evidence. Hitchens.

This ridiculous attempt to shirk the burden of proof and actually attempt to shift it to others' shoulders is the typical underhanded, devious and dishonest behavior we find from the intellectually bankrupt.

So what we have here, is theists saying God exists, holding God up as the cause and creator of all that exist without ever providing a shred of evidence to back up such a bold assertion. Extraordinary claims require extraordinary evidence. Sagan. When it is (naturally) rejected as bogus bullshit, we see an immediate shifting of goal post as in "the God you are rejecting is not the CTG, I believe in with all my little heart."

All that is left for the CTG believer is to create a nonsense SC concept in a desperate attempt to divert attention from his own precarious faith head position.

This can of course easily be proved incorrect by actually providing robust and empirical evidence for CTG. I suggest you put up or shut the freck up. Neither of which you will actually do, I for see with my wonderful psychic powers.
Ei incumbit probatio, qui dicit, non qui negat; cum per rerum naturam factum negantis probatio nulla sit


Offline Teleological

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There is just no justification to support skeptical crackpotism™ in any way. Sure there are an infinite number of things we don't have to consider as existing on a daily basis. It unfortunately does not logically follow that because we don't have to consider them then we can believe with any certainty that it cannot and does not exist.

As an example. There is no need for me to believe in an infinite number of Skalli's magic squares. There is no demonstration that they do exist and possibly can't be shown to exist. I also don't need to be a skeptical crackpot and believe with any certainty that they do not and cannot exist ESPECIALLY since I do not have a clear definition or even intend try and understand what it entails. Unless of course I want to look like a sceptical crackpot ???.
“Those who devote themselves to the purpose of proving that there is no purpose constitute an interesting subject for study.” - Alfred North Whitehead


Offline Hermes

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It's the same tired old story over and over.
Let's consider the (ridiculous) premiss that you need an in depth understanding of classical theism in order to assess if God exists.   How many xtians have bothered to study classical theism?   1 in 1000?   What then about the other 999?   Are they religious crackpots?   Is your average xtian in the church/brothel/prison a crackpot?

Let's adapt your claim to account for that:
The skeptical xtian crackpot (SXC) is best exemplified by the following:

The SXC does not have a clear definition of X, the SXC has no intention of even formulating a clear definition of X and hence does not even try to understand what X entails, but the SXC believes with 99.99% certainty that X cannot and does not exist.

 
My thoughts, my beliefs, my feelings are all in my brain.  My brain is going to rot. - Richard Dawkins


Offline Teleological

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Do Christians reject classical theism  :o?
“Those who devote themselves to the purpose of proving that there is no purpose constitute an interesting subject for study.” - Alfred North Whitehead


Offline Hermes

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That's irrelevant to the premiss.
My thoughts, my beliefs, my feelings are all in my brain.  My brain is going to rot. - Richard Dawkins


Offline Teleological

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That's irrelevant to the premiss.
I would have to say both are crackpots given that:
A person has no clear definition of X
Has no intention of even formulating a clear definition of X
Does not even try to understand what X entails.
Yet still believe with any kind of certainty that X does or does not and can or cannot exist.
“Those who devote themselves to the purpose of proving that there is no purpose constitute an interesting subject for study.” - Alfred North Whitehead


Online Rigil Kent

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How the heck can you understand what X entails if there is nothing testable about X in the first place?

Mintaka
You know it's cold outside when you go outside and it's cold.


Offline Teleological

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How the heck can you understand what X entails if there is nothing testable about X in the first place?

Mintaka
Why does something have to be testable before you understand it? How do you test whether you have free will, thoughts, intentionality, qualia etc.

To put it in another way, it does not logically follow that untestable things are not capable of being understood.
“Those who devote themselves to the purpose of proving that there is no purpose constitute an interesting subject for study.” - Alfred North Whitehead


Online Rigil Kent

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Quote
To put it in another way, it does not logically follow that untestable things are not capable of being understood.

Here is why I think it does follow logically :

1. To understand X is to be familiar with the properties of X.
2. To become familiar with the properties of X, the properties must be examined (tested).
3. For the properties to be examinable (testable), the properties must avail itself, or at least the effects of itself, to sensory scrutiny.

Therefor, if X has properties which are not available to our senses, we cannot understand X.

Quote
How do you test whether you have free will, thoughts, intentionality, qualia etc.

Erm ..well, maybe thats why these things are so poorly understood and debated to death. ;D
But perhaps I'm not the best person to comment on thoughts. I've long ago written them off as non-existant, except notionally,  remember?  ;) But if they do have testable properties, one should in principle be able to understand these notions. And the more about them that can be tested, the better we'll understand them.

Mintaka

You know it's cold outside when you go outside and it's cold.


Offline cyghost

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Telicmonster, what would the correct position be with regards to X in your opinion?

Further prediction: Above question will be evaded. No clear, concise answer will be given.

Addendum to further prediction: Should above question be answered it will be a) the result of the pre-emption b) if at all accurate, actually based on the real skeptic position rather than the stupid strawman betrayed here.

woot woot
Ei incumbit probatio, qui dicit, non qui negat; cum per rerum naturam factum negantis probatio nulla sit


Offline Teleological

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Quote
To put it in another way, it does not logically follow that untestable things are not capable of being understood.

Here is why I think it does follow logically :

1. To understand X is to be familiar with the properties of X.
2. To become familiar with the properties of X, the properties must be examined (tested).
3. For the properties to be examinable (testable), the properties must avail itself, or at least the effects of itself, to sensory scrutiny.

Therefor, if X has properties which are not available to our senses, we cannot understand X.
I think you are missing the importance of your intellect. I'd restate it as follows:

1. To understand X is to be familiar with the essence of X. Properties of X point to the essence of X.
2. To become familiar with the properties of X, the properties must be available to the intellect.
3. Even if the properties of X are unavailable to our intellect, it does not follow that it does not or cannot exist.

Therefore, if X has properties which are not available to our senses or intellect, we cannot understand X and thus cannot make any claims of existence or non-existence of X. Unless you are a skeptical crackpot :o.

Quote
How do you test whether you have free will, thoughts, intentionality, qualia etc.

Erm ..well, maybe thats why these things are so poorly understood and debated to death. ;D
But perhaps I'm not the best person to comment on thoughts. I've long ago written them off as non-existant, except notionally,  remember?  ;)
If a thing or thought is non-existent, then it is non-existent notionally, imaginary and otherwise. Saying a thing is non-existent except notionally is nonsensical, it does not make sense.

But if they do have testable properties, one should in principle be able to understand these notions. And the more about them that can be tested, the better we'll understand them.
Mintaka
You seem to deny that thoughts have ANY properties by fiat since you deny their existence. I am still curious how you think you are able to reason without having thoughts.
“Those who devote themselves to the purpose of proving that there is no purpose constitute an interesting subject for study.” - Alfred North Whitehead


Offline Teleological

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what would the correct position be with regards to X in your opinion?
If a person has no clear definition of X, has no intention of even formulating a clear definition of X and does not even try to understand what X entails, then that person would be best suited not to say anything about the existence or non-existence of X.
“Those who devote themselves to the purpose of proving that there is no purpose constitute an interesting subject for study.” - Alfred North Whitehead


Offline cyghost

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psychic cyghost: 2 for 2

Who doesn't adhere to this? Identify some SC's for us.

Furthermore this still seems like an attempt to sneak the Courtier's reply in there innit?

What is your feelings about Z?
Ei incumbit probatio, qui dicit, non qui negat; cum per rerum naturam factum negantis probatio nulla sit


Offline Teleological

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Furthermore this still seems like an attempt to sneak the Courtier's reply in there innit?
Ah, the courtier's reply. When a skeptical crackpot is confronted with the overwhelming evidence that he hasn't got a clue what he is talking about, he can shout "Courtier's reply". Intelligent people will be baffled how claiming "Courtier's reply" is an excuse for not knowing what you are talking about. Neat trick for covering one fallacy with another.

Who are these skeptical crackpots? They are not hard to miss really. Young earth creationists, IDers, gobal warming deniers and of course your average crackpot that believes with any kind of certainty about the existence of entities without having a clear definition of these entities and do not even try to understand any kind of definition or how it is derived.
“Those who devote themselves to the purpose of proving that there is no purpose constitute an interesting subject for study.” - Alfred North Whitehead