Articles of Interest

Skeptical Tactics, Techniques,
and Suppression of Dissent

Rupert Sheldrake and Richard Wiseman Clash Over Parapsychology Experiments
Alex Tsakiris, Skeptico, March 8, 2010
“A lively debate between biologist Rupert Sheldrake and telepathy skeptic Richard Wiseman reveals wide rift between skeptics and psi proponents.”

Dr. Rupert Sheldrake on the Persistence of Richard Wiseman’s Deception
Alex Tsakiris, Skeptico, April 19, 2011
“Biologist and author Rupert Sheldrake expresses dismay at latest claims made by skeptic Richard Wiseman in Wiseman’s recent book, Paranormality.”

Zen … and the Art of Debunkery
“Or, How to Debunk Just About Anything.”
Dan Drasin, New Science 2020
Step by step instructions for the pseudoskeptic new at the job.

A Response to Wikipedia: Regarding Remote Viewing and Russell Targ
Russell Targ, ESP Research, May 2014
“Remote viewing is not ‘pseudoscience’. Please immediately drop that inaccurate and insulting term that you have scattered throughout my Wikipedia bio-page.”

True versus Pseudo-Skepticism
Dr. Gary Schwartz
“Pseudo-skeptics often are typically disbelievers – i.e. they are firmly entrenched in believing ‘no’ about certain things. Although they may ‘claim’ that they are open to new information, they typically react with strongly unfriendly if not hostile criticisms when their beliefs and assumptions are challenged by new ideas and evidence.”

The Right Man Syndrome: Skepticism And Alternative Medicine
Larry Dossey, M.D.
“[CSICOP’S] skepticism is not always balanced. [T]he general tone … is extraordinarily cavalier and condescending.”

A Critical Look at CSI, A Pseudo-Scientific Skeptic Organization
Craig Weiler, August 30, 2011

Religion, Science, and the Attack of the Angry Atheists
Max Tegmark (MIT Physicist), Huffington Post, February 19, 2013

Symptoms of Pathological Skepticism
William J. Beaty, 1996.
“[Skeptics use] the same tactics religious groups use to suppress heretics: hostile emotional attacks, circular reasoning, dehumanizing of the ‘enemy’, extreme closed-mindedness, intellectually dishonest reasoning, underhanded debating tactics, negative gossip, and all manner of name-calling and character assassination.”

The Death of David Reimer
Jesse Walker, Reason, May 24, 2004
“A tale of sex, science, and abuse … one of the darker episodes in the history of pseudoscientific hubris.”

Are Hardcore Skeptics and Debunkers Actually Brain Deficient? Their Own Beloved ‘Hard Science’ Might Well Suggest Many Are
Thomas Sheridan, April 15, 2013

Technical Reasons Why Skeptics Remain Stubborn
Victor Zammit, November 2011

Criticizing Skepticism: a Critical Evaluation of the Organized Skeptic Movement
Julio Siqueira, 2012

The Skepticism of Believers
Rupert Sheldrake, Edge, 2006
Skepticism – virtue or weapon?

Fraud occurs in every area of human endeavor, but sometimes what is claimed to be fraud isn’t. In the case of psi and psychic research pseudoskeptics are overliberal, often even mendacious, in their accusations of fraud where there has been none.

Undue pressure from pseudoskeptics, mainstream scientists, or families on vulnerable subjects – often with a renumerative reward – can cause them either to suppress their abilities or to “recant” their proofs. Bias in the service of agenda is antiscientific:

Fraud in Psi Research
Robert McLuhan, Paranormalia

The Confidence of Jerry Coyne
Ross Douthat, The New York Times, January 6, 2014

Is This the Week that Organized Skepticism Imploded?
The Daily Grail, August 11, 2013

What Is Unhealthy Skepticism?
Tara MacIsaac, Epoch Times, April 5, 2014
“What to consider when evaluating skeptic arguments;
how to spot a pseudoskeptic.”

Debunking Debunkers
Foster Gamble, Thrive, 30 August 2014
“I met one man who said he was going to watch Thrive, but then changed his mind when he saw that it ‘had been debunked.’ I asked if the debunking had made sense to him. ‘Oh I didn’t actually read it. I just saw it had been debunked.’ My immediate reaction was a punch in the gut. How often are people throwing away or discrediting years of valuable fact-checked research on the grounds of a baseless attack?”

Folklore and the Rise of Moderation Among Organized Skeptics
“‘Personally, I like the uniforms best. They’re jet-black with red insignia and berets. Only the officers wear them to most meetings, but we always dress up for investigations. When you show up at a haunted house in uniform, with night sticks and jackboots, people take notice! The ID is also handy when there is a long line at the store. I like flashing it and saying “Step aside, step aside, official skeptic business here,” and then buy a loaf of bread, or a stick of gum or something. You can feel the eyes burning holes in your back, but it don’t bother me. We’re skeptics, and you can see the jealousy.'”

Suppression of Sound Scientific Ideas
“Abstract: American and British history is riddled with examples of valid research and inventions which have been suppressed and derogated by the conventional science community. This has been of great cost to society and to individual scientists. Rather than furthering the pursuit of new scientific frontiers, the structure of British and American scientific institutions leads to conformity and furthers consensus-seeking. Scientists are generally like other people when it comes to the biases and self-justifications that cause them to make bad decisions and evade the truth. Some topics in science are ‘taboo’ subjects. Two examples are the field of psychic phenomenon and the field of new energy devices such as cold fusion. Journals, books and internet sites exist for those scientists who want an alternative to conformist scientific venues.”

British scientists are more likely than Swedish scientists to exclude mavericks, believing that they need to be excluded from the scientific community so that they do not gain legitimacy:

Mavericks Struggle to be Heard
Lena Eriksson, The Guardian, August 2004
“The British and the Swedes do it differently.”

When Scientists Fight
Lena Eriksson, Science and Public Affairs, June 2004 (at Scribd)

Two remarkable bibliographies on the suppression of dissent
within science:

Suppression of Dissent: Science
Brian Martin

Challenging Dominant Physics Paradigms
Juan Miguel Campanario and Brian Martin, 2004