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Saturday, February 18, 2006

Tomorrow is Carnival day / Mohammed Image Archive / Randi on rejecting religion

Tomorrow is D-Day for Carnival of the Godless #34 right here on Goosing the Antithesis. I've tried to make this edition a bit special. I hope you guys will like it !

Want to piss off an islamic friend ? Make sure to point him to one of the mirrors of the Mohammed Image Archive. Sure to start an instant riot !

James Randi is a no-nonsense kinda guy. So you know what you're gonna get when you read his article called : "Why I Deny Religion, How Silly and Fantastic It Is, and Why I'm a Dedicated and Vociferous Bright." Doesn't get much clearer than that. To boot :

Yes, I'm a materialist. I'm willing to be shown wrong, but that has not happened — yet. And I admit that the reason I'm unable to accept the claims of psychic, occult, and/or supernatural wonders is because I'm Iocked into a world-view that demands evidence rather than blind faith, a view that insists upon the replication of all experiments — particularly those that appear to show violations of a rational world — and a view which requires open examination of the methods used to carry out those experiments.

Well, a few months ago I would have agreed completely, but now Randi's skeptical views somewhat annoy me. I don't think it's possible to prove that the supernatural exists, even in principle. I have yet to see any skeptic prove that the possibility remains. And yet they keep looking...

Isn't the skeptic's quixotic quest rather like those studies that keep cropping up to try to prove or disprove that prayer has a medical effect ? What is the point to these millions of dollars wasted ? Let's devote our energy to better things, people...

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At 2/20/2006 8:34 AM, Blogger Heathen Mike declaimed...

From the people at The Two Percent Company via me:

"Sorry, but we really have no idea what Francois is talking about here. What quest is he referring to as silly and useless? Randi isn't on a quest to prove that the paranormal exists — truly such a quest would be an awful lot like tilting at windmills. Instead, Randi (along with many other good skeptics) stands ready and willing to have someone prove via the scientific method that their specific claim of the paranormal exists. There's a big difference. If it were the former, Randi would be acting much like Dr. Venkman's initial perception of his colleagues in Ghostbusters — he'd be meeting and greeting every freak in the world who claimed to have a paranormal experience. Truly, that would be a waste of his time. If the latter — which is the reality of the situation — Randi's door is simply open to such claims, and when he is approached, he listens with an open mind, and designs scientific tests to verify the claims.

Further, the "possibility" always remains to prove the existence of the supernatural, inasmuch as anything is theoretically conceivable. Skeptics aren't, however, "looking" for evidence to support this possibility. They're testing those who claim such phenomena to see if their claims hold up. Just one instance in which a paranormal claim was supported by methodical, verifiable testing would, in fact, prove that the claimed phenomenon exists at least in this instance; which would, in fact, prove that "supernatural" phenomena in general are possible, regardless of whether any specific cases are true or false. The fact that not a single one of these phenomena has been successfully verified simply goes a long way toward supporting the hypothesis that none of them exist. Skeptics remain open (despite what credulous detractors assert) to further testing, but — as with any scientific theory — the preponderence of evidence currently available lends credence to a solid theory: in this case, the nonexistence of paranormal phenomena.

So, unless we're missing Francois' point, we have to say that he just doesn't seem to be getting it. We would have posted this on his site, but his comment software demanded blogger registration which we don't have. If Francois stumbles upon our entry here, we'd love to hear what he has to say on this subject."


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