UFO Conjectures

Thursday, October 24, 2013

UFO Skepticism: Good or Bad?

I don’t think the skeptical brood found in the UFO arena really know the vicissitudes of skepticism, its historical and philosophical antecedents; they just block, from their mind, any possibility of UFO truth.

They’ve adopted, unknowingly, the view of Pyrrho [ circa 360 B.C.—270 B.C.], the Greek philosopher who held that one must suspend all judgment, about everything.

The Augustine/Cartesian views that allow for probabilities is not even considered by this gaggle of UFO commenters.

The dismiss probability out of hand, usually.

They would do well to enlighten themselves by reading Richard Popkin’s book, The History of Skepticism from Eramus to Descartes [1960] or find skepticism in the Dictionary of Philosophy Religion : Eastern and Western Thought, edited by W.L. Reese [New Jersey Humanities/Harvester Press, Sussex, 1980].

In the UFO field, I like Robert Sheaffer’s skeptical entries, even though I’ve excoriated him for taking on a hipster look when making TV appearances, His skeptical approach is refined by analysis of a serious kind.

There is Gilles Fernandez whom we/I laud here often. He tells me he uses Tim Printy’s skeptical ideas as a basis for his ufological skepticism.

Tim Printy, a model for skepticism?

Tim Printy, whom I once extolled at this blog, lost my admiration when he went to Anthony Bragalia imploring him to chastise me publicly for outing the Roswell Dream Team’s slide investigation.

That’s sneaky and leaves a taste in my mouth that his skepticism may be rooted in sneaky motivation, much as Phill Klass’s was, both men acting despicably behind the scenes.

Zoam Choamsky is the extreme Pyrrhonist: he accepts nothing about UFOs as true.

But I like ZC because he shoots from the hip, and while, an irrational unbeliever, he attacks with verve and commitment, even though his observations are vibrantly in philosophical error: illogical and biased in an opposite way (to UFO believers).

Lance Moody and CDA (Christopher Allan) pretend to be skeptics, but down deep they know that UFOs exist and may even have, possibly, an ET explanation. (They’ll deny this, of course, but one can read between their comment lines.)

Skepticism is a trait I like to think I have, in moderation, but I’m prone to think that anything is possible; probable is another matter, obviously.

That I like Paul Kimball and Nick Redfern, they are, both, open to the varieties of philosophical and paranormal truths, while looking at both intellectually, and philosophically.

They don’t argue points to make points, as some skeptics noted here do. They make points to make points.

Being heard is not their primary ambition, as it is with some who belabor UFO argumentation just to be argumentative.

Yes, skepticism is irksome, as it’s practiced in the UFO arena.

But its remains a viable alternative to what William James called “The will to believe” (even when that will to believe accepts that which is outrageously ridiculous on its face).

RR