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 What are your main Red Flags?

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Rob
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PostSubject: What are your main Red Flags?   Mon Aug 11, 2008 1:51 pm

Here are a few of my pet hates - In no particular order. Twisted Evil

1) No physical evidence.
2) Only anecdotal evidence as a source.
3) Not allowing the examination of raw footage (remember that stupid Alien Autopsy).
4) Supposed experts - who's background cannot be verified.
5) Making very over the top claims.
6) Testimonials.
7) Releasing it directly to the media
8 ) Not allowing a proper "peer review" process.
9) Ulterior motives - selling you a book, crystals, magic ball or whatever (making money).
10) Making false promises (such as healing with no scientific basis).
11) Selling false hope to people (that's how a con works)
12) Multiple evidence form the one source (ie - too many UFO pics form the one person)
13) Bad evidence that cannot really be tested for authenticity (blurry photos)
14) Evidence presented by an anonymous source
15) Claims that cannot be possible or go against the laws of physics (perpetual motion, etc.).


What are yours?


R.
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Jamie Clubb
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PostSubject: Re: What are your main Red Flags?   Mon Aug 11, 2008 5:07 pm

Hi Rob,

You kind of just about exhausted everything there, Rob. However, one thing that definitely sends off my alarm bells - aggressive and/or disproportionately excitable response to any form of scepticism. It is, more often than not, a dead giveaway that they have doubts of their own and are trying to shout them down. Insecure sceptics can do this too and it is something worth checking. Passion is great, most people who know me know I am passionate, but lack of emotional control is another matter and speaks volumes about what you actually know about a subject.

In most instances when I have encountered "Believers" of something or another, particularly conspiracy theorists! or faddy people, the game is given away very early on by the angry way they defend their "Beliefs".

Another Red Flag personality trait I notice is the way some "Believers" seem to believe in anything. It almost like they have embraced a completely alternative view of the world. They believe that we have been visited by aliens, that there are ghosts, that people have psychic skills, that the Da Vinci Code is based on fact, that JFK was shot by just about anyone but Lee Harvey Oswald, that Marylin Monroe was murdered, that Bruce Lee was murdered, that Princess Diana was murdered, that Crystals can heal, that reflexology is a science etc., etc., etc.
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Rob
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PostSubject: Re: What are your main Red Flags?   Mon Aug 11, 2008 6:06 pm

Hey Jamie,

Good post mate.

I totally agree with you there. The zealot approach is a dead give a way. It must be borne out of complete frustration, as they can't produce any tangible proof.

Or someone who just uses the proverbial, "Oh yeah!" or "you just don't understand!!" type of argument. Without proof it means nothing.

I feel the "believers" really feel the need to belong to something, or be part of a fringe group that has "secret knowledge" that makes them better than us mere mortals. I guess they need to feel important.

Also, they seem to have a "fantasy prone personality". A hard wired genetic predisposition.

Cheers,

R.
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Jamie Clubb
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PostSubject: Re: What are your main Red Flags?   Thu Aug 14, 2008 10:39 am

I think we all have a certain degree of the "I want to believe" in us. Now that I am more and more involved with scepticism I have to watch out for seeking that as an absolute. There have been several instances when I have had to stop myself from launching into a counter-argument on a subject that I really have very little knowledge about. The recent article posted up here about scientists "reclaiming NDE" illustrates this point beautifully.

There have been many times when I bought into something because I desperately wanted to believe. The idea was exciting. Take for example, the fun airport fiction novel "Meg". This science fiction thriller is all about the existance of megalodon sharks (60 or so foot ancestor of the great white shark) in the depths of the sea. The book made the argument that it was possible for megalodons to exist in thermal streams deep in the sea. I was fascinated by the idea, which was then given further dubious justification by the statement that is often banded about on "Discovery" programmes that 90 or so per cent of species in the sea has yet to be discovered. Such statements are like beacons for cryptozoologists! Later I looked up the megalodon in a scientific book written on sharks by a friend of my Dad's. My appetite was whetted by the author pretty much repeating the science put across in the book "Meg". So, I thought, the megalodon DID and still COULD exist. However, after this speculative aside the very sensible author went on to explain that no evidence whatsoever had been unearthed to indicate that megalodons lived longer than their estimated time of extinction. My excited mind added some futile resistance in the shape of - pardon the expression - red herrings like the fact we have only ever discovered 2 "megamouth" sharks or that we from time to time we find evidence of real "monsters" like giant squid and giant crabs. However, in the end the author won me over and helped re-click the sceptic button in my mind that was first triggered on my tenth birthday when I got my copy of "The Hamlyn Book of Facts and Fallacies" when he made the statement (paraphrasing from memory) "the truth is some people want to believe in megalodons". He went on to give comparisons found in cryptozoology. That pretty much did it for me. My sense of reason returned and it made me consider the whole idea of "want to believe". It made sense of what Rob here beautifully describes as "fantasy prone personality".

I think the lesson here can be contained in fact that the words "possible" and "unknown" are potent keys to unlocking unbridled imagination. This then can be reinforced by a desire or need to want to believe. I also think insecurity has a lot to do with this. The longer someone has clung onto something the firmer their grip remains. This is because, over time, they have invested so much of their life into believing something that excites their imagination.
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