Phil Plait to Attendees of The Amazing Meeting 8: Don’t Be A Dick

Bad Astronomy’s Phil Plait offers this suggestion to attendees of the James Randi Educational Foundation’s The Amazing Meeting hoping to win people over to their cause: “Don’t be a dick!”

Talk about pulling a rabbit out of a hat. Oh wait – I think I’m being a dick, oops.

  • Frater Isla

    Randi gets me so worked up. I’m all for healthy skepticism, but I’m also a fan of the scientific method.

    • echar

      What kind of person in their right mind would be against the scientific method? I can see the bias in this man, even though he is calling for militant skeptics not to be dicks. It’s like a pastor suggesting to keep from yelling “you’re going to burn in hell” to the people they want to save. Yet who the fuck asked them for saving?

      I mean, it’s a good move, and their heart’s may be in the right place, but…

      • Ittabena

        If I didn’t have to work tomorrow morning early after closing tonight…

        But maybe the Amazing Randi should take this man’s advice.

        Personally i am a skeptic when that is called for and a believer when that is called for, but to me anyone who has agreed or consented to become a part of a group that has a label is not a free thinker.

      • Frater Isla

        Right? My problem with the Skeptic movement is it’s basically a religious one. You start with the conclusion and work backwards, and when there IS a scientific result that goes against your preconceived belief system, then you say there must be a flaw in it somewhere.

        Oooo. Randi, I can’t stands ya!

        • echar

          I can’t measure this, so it, not me or my tool must be broken.

          • Frater Isla

            I wonder what they think of quantum physics, since there’s a good chunk of it that deals with matters that are unobservable, and can only be analyzed through math.

            ‘Quantum physics is unscientific!!’

          • echar

            I bet some don’t recognise quantum physics.

          • Monkey See Monkey Do

            They also exclude major sections of philosophy, psychology and social science from their quasi-fascist movement.

          • echar

            That’s pretty sad… It struck me the other day how backwards some are. They will take the word of a stage magician over a Research Fellow of the Royal Society.

          • mike_93

            Typical. I bet you guys don’t know shit about quantum physics. You can’t just say “well here’s some theoretical stuff” and act like it explains your theoretical stuff, just because they both seem equally inaccessible to the lay-person. They are not equivalent. There is nothing about being a yogi that qualifies someone to teach physics, and nothing that yogis generally do or talk about has anything to do with physics. It’s just some new age bull plop to try and act like one explains the other. Ask anyone who has sat through years of classes on the subject, likewise they will say nothing about physics explains or has anything to do with yoga. They are not the same.

          • echar

            More predictable self serving nonsense that I didn’t read. NEXT!

          • mike_93

            So you admit that you have no response? You are too much fun man… “Oh no, I’m not going to read those scary ideas! It’s heresy! Heresy to challenge me and my magic!” Blow me.

          • echar

            I didn’t read it. There’s nothing to read. You are speaking to something other than me, because you are assuming you know how I percieve the world. If you would get down off of your high horse we could see eye to eye. That will never happen though, you’d have to be re-educated to understand concepts that you appear to be convinced about. Not worth my time. Just know, people think you are funny, in a bad way.

          • Rhoid Rager

            He’s trying to troll us.

          • echar

            It’s cute isn’t it?

          • gustave courbet

            Hey Mike, While saying that some ancient metaphysical statement is ‘the same as’ a contemporary understanding brought about through scientific inquiry is a little intellectually lazy, I would suggest that there is sometimes consonance between these seemingly disparate worlds. They are not using the same language or constructs because they are separated by millennia and vast cultural differences. For instance, the Buddhist axiom “form is emptiness; emptiness is form” is a fair, if poetic, assessment of the vast space found in the atomic structures that make up our ‘solid’ world. I would suggest that some of these mystical teachers were alluding to a reality that they intuitively experienced but lacked the technology to scientifically explore or articulate.

          • mike_93

            It’s actually very simple to do away all this trash you believe in Echar. All I must do is invoke the almighty words of power “No Proof No Proof No Proof No Proof No Proof No Proof No Proof”. See? That was easy.

          • echar

            Did I read this one yet? Not sure… More predictable nonsense. I can walk you to the door.

        • mike_93

          Whatever Fr. Isla, your just saying that because…. YOU’RE RELIGIOUS! It’s common for you guys to cry and put down scientists but the FACT of the matter is that your “magick” hasn’t done a damn thing for the human race since the inception of the modern scientific method.

          • Rhoid Rager

            your — you’re
            ‘You’re’ is an abbreviation of ‘you are’; whereas, ‘your’ expresses possession.

          • mike_93

            yes, har har…. so you’ve never made a typo… ever? are you really going to pretend like that invalidates the point?

          • Rhoid Rager

            You seem to have quite a delicate ego. Does something trouble you?

          • mike_93

            says the guy who believes in magic powers, but doesn’t like evidence to the contrary.

      • Rhoid Rager

        This is a good point. If the Skeptical Movement(TM) has such good ideas, they wouldn’t have to sell them with such fucking fervor. Good ideas sell themselves with no effort.

        Anyways, good ideas are like orgasms, people spend their lives searching for the best ones from somewhere else when they always actually cum from themselves. Realize that, and we’re all one step closer to freedom.

        • echar

          I like that about ideas. That’s something to ponder… intellectual greener pastures. More like other’s ideas germinating in the ovum of the self’s mind. And other such branches.

          • Rhoid Rager

            All this sex talk is getting me riled up! Wife’s asleep tho. :(

          • echar

            Welp!

          • Calypso_1

            Sounds like a good time to break out the ski mask & duct tape.

        • mike_93

          Critical thinking is a good idea, you moron. It doesn’t require any marketing. You don’t like that it challenges your religious beliefs, just admit it and stop being such a poor sport. Science has brought you such good ideas as the internet, medicine, aviation, etc, etc.

          Your second paragraph is nonsense, and only serves to prove that magic and new age bull shit doesn’t do anything for anyone. There is nothing original about the idea or sentiment you have expressed. Magical thinking is a relic of a bygone age. Your living in the past, maaaaaan.

          • Cyprus Mulch

            “Critical thinking is a good idea, you moron.”

            So I guess you’re one Skeptic who isn’t going to act on Phil Plait’s suggestion to be civil and respectful toward those with whom you disagree?

            Good luck with your act of representing a rational and scientific point of view while behaving in a manner that makes you appear to be at the mercy of your own emotions.

            Your mantra seems to be “bullshit bullshit bullshit” — maybe the psychological sciences can offer some insights as to what constant use of scatological language might signify?

          • Rhoid Rager

            I wonder why you are so angry? I haven’t been called a ‘moron’ on the internet for a long time. Doesn’t ad hominem qualify as a logical fallacy?

          • mike_93

            I’ll tell you why. It’s because no matter where I go, no matter who I talk to, the only people I encounter are people like you who don’t give a shit about what’s true. You don’t give a shit about what’s real, or accurate, or historically known to fit with the facts. Christian, Muslim, Jewish, Hindu, New age. You’re all the damn same. You don’t care about what’s real or true, you only care about what fits your little perception of reality, what fits with your image of yourself and the way you see things…. as if your entire world would collapse without this.

          • Cyprus Mulch

            Maybe try looking for what you have in common with other people.

          • astrofrog

            *you’re.

  • satch

    I love when people refer to ‘Magic’ using pop culture examples, such as Disney, or say Harry Potter and poo poo it, how could you believe in such nonsense. is this not a huge misunderstanding of ‘Magick’?. Disney is one of many very powerful brands/sigils in the world, that have a very strong and defining grip on peoples lives, and desires.

    • Ittabena

      Very good point. Not only that but science we have not yet been able to understand has always been labeled magic, until we understood it.

      Perhaps if we had a more mature outlook, and looked at our history a little better, we would have figured this out by now.

      • Haystack

        Or to flip it around, magic is failed science.

        • Calypso_1

          Have you written a book?

          • Haystack

            No, why?

          • Ittabena

            Okay, it makes more sense this morning than it did last night. Sorry.

          • Calypso_1

            I’ve been enjoying Haystacks comments for a long time. I really don’t care about the state of mind – the output is what I hold in high regard.

          • Ittabena

            For some reason it does make more sense this morning than it did last night. I have edited/replaced the comment.

          • Haystack

            As I was replying to it. *laughs*

          • Ittabena

            One of the very few times I will use the edit button 7 hours later.

          • Haystack

            Sure. I wasn’t trying to be flippant, just succinct.

            Many scientific disciplines emerged out of what we would, today, think of as occult or mystical practices. Chemistry emerged from alchemy, astronomy diverged from astrology, and so on. The elements that turned out to be predictive, could be reproduced and built upon, became scientific disciplines, and advanced over time. The failed hypotheses, by contrast, remained static, and consist largely of what we know by terms like “occult,” “alt med,” and so on.

            Once magic works and becomes science, it becomes vulgar and mundane (for most people). You want your pain to be healed by a witch in a hut who gives you a potion she concocted from the bark of the willow tree, not from a bottle of Advil you got from the CVS. We look to unscientific to find the sacred, not because it works, but because it doesn’t (at least, not in a palpable way); if it did, it would just be another product on a store shelf, another “invention.”

            I know you won’t agree with this. My point is just that one can reasonably look at the issue both ways.

          • Ittabena

            Actually I have had this massive stye on my left eyelid for about three weeks now. During the last two nights it has reduced greatly.

            My demeanor and sense of humor should be returning to normal soon now.

            I actually do not disagree with this last. Working with the public “most people” are a thorn in my side, but on the other hand I must bear in mind that all of them contain a spark of God.

            Sometimes the two can be very hard to balance. I am overdue for another viewing of the old but great film Harvey. It always lightens the load and gives me a better perspective on folks.

            Very fond of rum pots, crack pots and how are you Mr. Wilson?

            And good morning!

          • Calypso_1

            I always appreciate the pithiness of your wit & wisdom.

          • Haystack

            Aww, thanks!

        • Cyprus Mulch

          That’s one way of looking at it, but it strikes me as similar to stating that, “Poetry is failed mathematics.”

      • Monkey See Monkey Do

        I’ll throw this into the ring. ‘Magick we haven’t been able to understand has always been labeled science, until we understood it.’

        • Ittabena

          Without an example you haven’t really added anything to the conversation, have you?

          • Monkey See Monkey Do

            In essence magick lies outside the province of natural science. But that doesn’t mean the two don’t integrate at certain junctures.

          • Ittabena

            Have to disagree. Although it may lie outside that province at the moment, once the way something works is understood, whatever way that is, the mystery and esoterica must diminish and evaporate. If for no other reason but by definition. Are you saying that science will never understand it? Or that they cannot ever?

            “Magick is the science and art of causing change to occur in conformity with will.” ~ Aleister Crowley, Magick in Theory and Practice

            and

            “Indubitably, magick is one of the subtlest and most difficult of the sciences and arts. There is more opportunity for errors of comprehension, judgment and practice than in any other branch of physics.” ~ Aleister Crowley

          • Monkey See Monkey Do

            The mystery and erotica doesn’t diminish once we understand how something works. If we look at ourselves for instance, intelligence examining intelligence. How we work is less important than why we work, what purpose do we serve and from which did we originate.

            If we wish to use rational discourse in explaining ultimate realities than we have to put natural sciences within the framework it was designed to explore.
            I agree with Crowley’s assessments too btw.

          • Ittabena

            >”I agree with Crowley’s assessments too btw.”

            So do I, but note that he classifies it as a science and an art. Indeed a form of physics. if you look at Hawking’s books as he explains Quantum Physics to the layman, I can see correlations between it and what we previously termed the unknowable.

            I think if magic teaches us anything it is to remove the restraints that we instead invest with belief. I also think we should finally take the lesson that we are still much more primitive than we care to believe, and do not really know enough yet to impose such limits on our future.

            Some of the work of the CIA in the 70s touched a bit on this realm, and we know they aren’t sharing the results of their research with anyone. Who knows what they have figured out by now, but guard as though a jealous child.

            Remember too that there has also been a long history of governments down through the ages who have employed those who practiced the dark arts.

            At any rate, that is my take on it.

  • Anarchy Pony

    BEHOLD! THE ONE COMMANDMENT!

  • HCE

    I forget who it was here who said it, but they summed it up beautifully: “Unless skepticism is all-inclusive and unrelenting it’s merely prejudice in disguise.”

    And James Randi was as Prejudiced as they come. I wish he weren’t dead yet, so he could die trapped in a burning car. That’s actually meant somewhat tongue in cheek…

    • echar

      He ain’t dead yet, unless you know something the rest of the world doesn’t know. In that case you may be psychic.

      • HCE

        Thought I’d heard he died. Never mind. I hope dies in a car fire.

        • echar

          Knowing is half the battle!

  • Darren Prosser

    Ironic, considering Randi is a giant dick who actually helps create doubt in science. Example…John Doe hears footsteps on his roof, sees orbs and apparitions , hears his name called and his animals are frightened in his apartment. Randi, Mr. Science, says it is all bunk…..individual then begins to doubt science and see it more as a tool for control of the dominant reality paradigm.

    • mike_93

      Um… how does this create a doubt in science? There has NEVER been any proof or evidence or reason to think ghosts or paranormal explanations for those things exists. Science saves the poor sap from believing in nonsense like this, by explaining that there is probably a rational explanation for the things the guys thinks he hears and sees. The truth is that SCIENCE casts DOUBT upon your RELIGIOUS beliefs in ghosts and magic and pixies and leprechauns and whatever other new ag garbage you can dream of.

      • echar

        I can show you to the door.

        • mike_93

          Cast a spell, we’ll see if it works.

          • echar

            So many assumptions.

          • astrofrog

            “Cast a spell” seems to be mike_93’s go-to insult. Is that, like, a thing for skeptics? Or is it just this one profoundly unimaginative troll? Maybe I’m being too hard on the kid? His handle implies he’s only 20, although his behaviour implies he may be significantly younger.

          • echar

            For all we know it may be someone’s sock puppet, and to stay in character they have to remain one demensional. Either way, there’s not much to mike_93.

          • echar

            For all we know it may be someone’s sock puppet, and to stay in character they have to remain one demensional. Either way, there’s not much to mike_93.

      • echar

        Others here and I have probably colored over lines that you are most likely oblivious of. This instance you are attempting to create is something we use on a daily basis. These concepts you appear to be so sure of, we shit out for breakfast. Do us all, and yourself a favor and fuck the fuck off with this act.

        • mike_93

          Hahaha! Seriously? “I shit out paranormal for breakfast bro, you don’t even know” You are ridiculous! That’s not even a response…

          Just because I’m not gullible enough to draw the same conclusions as you, does not mean that I have not had my share of “spooky” hallucinatory day dreams. I’ve had many a psychedelic experience. Still don’t believe in god.

          • echar

            Got any more assumptions?

      • Darren Prosser

        Yep, the millions of people over the centuries who have had paranormal experiences are all wrong. If you have had it you believe it. In reality, you and your skeptic brothers are the ones that are wrong, deluded and living in a fairy tale of your own making. If you have ever had a demonic/negative entity experience you know just how preposterous the skeptic debunker sounds as they say it all bunk and how it is just a manifestation of your desire to believe in fairies, pixies and leprechauns. Yeah, right …sure it is jackass.

        • Mike_418

          Your talking about cavemen who didn’t have anything close to a modern understanding of how the brain works. They were just making explanations up as they went along… they had no idea what causes a hallucination, or what the nature of a hallucination even is. Your talking about primitive people throughout time who have been mistaken about lots of stuff. The shape of the earth, the cause of weather and diseases, the nature of the sun, etc.. These are things they were all ignorant to, and had no possible way of knowing the truth of these things. I don’t give a shit if you think skeptics are bunch of meanies. Right is right, and wrong is wrong. Time will tell who is wrong.

        • Mike_418

          Your talking about cavemen who didn’t have anything close to a modern understanding of how the brain works. They were just making explanations up as they went along… they had no idea what causes a hallucination, or what the nature of a hallucination even is. Your talking about primitive people throughout time who have been mistaken about lots of stuff. The shape of the earth, the cause of weather and diseases, the nature of the sun, etc.. These are things they were all ignorant to, and had no possible way of knowing the truth of. I don’t give a shit if you think skeptics are bunch of meanies. Right is right, and wrong is wrong. Time will tell who is wrong.