How to Become a Media Skeptic

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How to Become a Media Skeptic

G. Playfair


Quote: There are some researchers, such as J. B. Rhine, whose work is not so easy to dismiss. Neither Rhine’s personal integrity nor the reliability of his statistical methods have ever been seriously challenged, So what should you do? Simple. Explain that he “might have been hoodwinked” by all those clever magicians who were disguised as his laboratory subjects. There’s no evidence that he was, but it sounds good to suggest that he might have been, and of course nobody can disprove this. Read the classic of skeptical revisionist non-explanation, C.E.M. Hansel’s error-riddled book ESP and Parapsychology: A Critical Reevaluation (New York: Prometheus, 1980) to see just how bizarre criticisms can be – Hansel even has one of Rhine’s card-guessers clambering up to the attic and peering through a non-existent trap door at the card! You can learn a lot from Hansel, a master of the mud-slinging school. Never mind if there is no evidence at all that such-and-such an individual misbehaved in any way. If you need some damning evidence and there isn’t any, just make some up.



Quote: If somebody mentions all those distinguished scientists and academics from Crookes, Lodge, Richet, the Curies, Bergson, Jung, McDougall, William James and Lord Rayleigh to contemporaries like Brian Josephson, Bernard Carr and Donald West, point out as patronisingly as you can that an expert in one field is not necessarily an expert in another field, such as psi research.

Skeptics, on the other hand are by implication experts on everything.
'Historically, we may regard materialism as a system of dogma set up to combat orthodox dogma...Accordingly we find that, as ancient orthodoxies disintegrate, materialism more and more gives way to scepticism.'

- Bertrand Russell



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