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  • Astrokid MHRA

    John, while your atheist journey is known, how exactly did you become a skeptic? Have you blogged about that? The skepticism movement is based on scientific skepticism, and doesnt touch political ideologies such as feminism, neoliberalism or religious ideologies. Neither do you blog on topics relevant to the movement, nor do you have a pedigree in it.

    As far as skepticism of political ideologies is concerned, your blog network is full of neoliberals and Prussian is the only known classical liberal here. No conservatives, no libertarians AFAIK. So how can this blog network be taken seriously as a skeptic network

  • John W. Loftus

    Astrokid, I don’t know/ I think they drew names out of a hat.

  • Astrokid MHRA

    Nope.. I certainly am not qualified, and I dont call myself a skeptic.
    When I came across the skeptics community about 4 years ago, I was most certainly impressed with the work of James Randi and Michael Shermer, but I could not understand why the then president of JREF Phil Plait went about calling himself a skeptic. He just didnt seem to have the track record.
    There was a good difference between myself and others who hung out in the skeptic community.. they had a good understanding of logical fallacies and demonstrated that in arguments. And they had a good understanding of the history of the skeptic movement and the areas they operate in and the “enemies” they took down. But beyond that, I saw no difference.. in that I was as evidence and “reason” based as any of them. The best advice I got in this community was from someone who was visiting and did NOT call himself a skeptic.

    Best advice I heard .. from David Byron
    I hadn’t really thought in terms of “skepticism” as a concept but it matches a lot of what I have thought independently. It’s a good word. Here is what I think: people are not good at seeing things from different directions. They are very good at one direction. But trying to do two is very hard work. There’s an easy solution which is to get two people together with different views. Thesis, antithesis, synthesis. That is how you learn to think better. That is why I go to places to meet people I know I will disagree with because I want to know more stuff and have better thoughts.
    People ought to do it but they do not.
    I don’t understand though, why skeptics do not do this already. Is it because there’s too much science not enough philosophy? Maybe you do visit eg. religious boards but just don’t know how to handle being on the other end of things?
    I tell you this because I want you to know that talking to people isn’t easy. It’s hard. It’s very hard. It’s so hard that we are probably not going to be able to pull it off. I happen to think if it’s even 1% likely then I’ll give it a try

    There are people who dont identify as skeptics, but are better at understanding reality and their opponents position. And not letting moral outrage get in the way. Prime example: Jonathan Haidt

    The Righteous Mind: Why Good People Are Divided by Politics and Religion
    So..while its enriching to emulate the skeptic, my preferred goal is to emulate the DavidByron and Haidt model.

    But my question stands. How are you a skeptic network? You do not exhibit the behaviour of the other skeptics I mentioned. You come across a lot more as a neoliberal atheist network.

  • John W. Loftus

    We’re a skeptic network because it says so, silly.