ericbarbour wrote: ↑
Sat Oct 24, 2020 5:05 am
Strelnikov wrote: ↑
Sat Oct 24, 2020 2:27 am
No, I take no pleasure in Randi's death, mostly because it makes more work for me. I considered him an annoyance because people who should have known better treated him like the scientist he wasn't.
Frankly this is not an unusual thing in the little world of pro-science skepticism. Somehow during the 1970s and 80s, it went from actual skepticism as a "movement" (with actual scientists!) to more of a personality cult revolving around a few narcissist types. Weirdly similar to the Scientology scene, which many early skeptics were fans or even members of.....extreme obsessiveness, paranoia, and intolerance of disagreement. Seems a bit cultic to me.
plus I still suspect the connections to WIRED magazine and the Boing Boing blog/whatever drew in some flakes who should really have been discouraged. Being a hard-science critic of crackpot medical practices, religions, flat-earthing etc. should be serious business and isn't a good "scene" for narcissistic dweebs looking for attention. But here we are.
No, it started in the post-Vietnam 1970s as a reaction to all the outpouring of interest in occult subjects during the 1960s-early 1970s. A lot of stone-cold materialist types like Issac "Handsy" Asimov, Carl "I believe in alien robots meeting us first" Sagan, etc. were royally P.O.ed about it, they contacted the American Humanist Association and Paul Kurtz and that's where CSICOP got off the ground. It was a lot of drama, the actual academics in the group got shuffled around thanks to the "Mars Effect
" mess, some people left (Dennis Rawlins and Marcello Truzzi) and CSICOP and their magazine Skeptical Inquirer
became a journal of quick debunkings and harsh words for any media that depicted science in any less than a glowing light (they hated The X-files
and Fox's Sightings
show). Blame the internet for the rise of the un-tenured, sometimes non-academic skeptic -- they are Randi's children (he never graduated Canadian high school). It started off with blogs, then YouTube channels once streaming video was a thing, and it has grown into a mass of Joe Rogan wannabees or bearded, Ent-like men like Thunderf00t
(Phil Mason) or the totally unqualified T.J. Kirk ("The Amazing Atheist.") Hell, I'm having arguments on Twitter with a goober convinced of Randi's essential decency right now, and nothing will break them.
Ever noticed that despite the CSI having existed for more than 40 years, today we have more flat-earthers, anti-vaxxers, UFO conspiracy freaks, antisemitic "jewish banker" paranoiacs, essential-oil pushers, quack medical practitioners, etc. than ever before? And they have a wonderful friendly home....on Facebook, the most popular social website of all time. God I could go on for days about Zuckerberg. Randi and co. have had almost NO effect on that situation.
Flat Earthism was a fringe belief since the 19th century, it took off as an Internet joke and went serious like the Klan in the 1860s. Most FE'ers are now QAnon idiots. Anti-vax is the product of wine moms terrified of having autistic children, a flawed study, and a lot of blather from fading "famous" people (cough--Jenna McCartney--cough). UFOs are two things: a phenomenon of "something that hasn't been nailed down yet" that looks like spaceships and allied issues ("alien" sightings, crop circles, lost time, abductions or "screen memories", "high strangeness" of multiple sub-phenomena too complicated to list here).....and the bizarro subculture of conspiracists, people selling junk at UFO conventions, towns with any UFO history riding that for what they can; in other words what Saucer Smear
(aka Saucer News
and Saucer Glues
) editor James Moseley covered from the 1950s to his death more than ten years ago. The junk culture of UFOs buries the fact that serious researchers exist and they are still puzzled by the 1 to 2 percent of cases that can't be solved quickly.
going away in the West, then the Trump-splosion brought it roaring back. I could talk about antisemitism and Israel, and how legit criticisms of how that state acts towards its neighbors and the stateless Palestinian population have been denounced as antisemitism, but it would be a blog. Go find Richard Silverstein (Tikun Olam
blog) for more information. The oils are just the crystals of the 21st century. Remember the '80s thing of crystals? Same deal. Fake medicine was what Randi's JREF was focused on before DJ Groethe "transgressed the unspoken law" and they lost an office. Fake medicine has been around since real medicine and until real medicine is cheap or free everywhere, you won't see the fakers go away.
Facebook and Google should be broken up as companies, like Ma Bell was.
(I'd post the Guerrilla Skeptic article but I'm out of town for a couple of days dealing with a friend's medical issues. Surgery early Monday morning. Which may not matter anyway, as PG&E is threatening to shut off the electrical grid in most of Northern California starting Sunday, because of "high winds and extreme fire conditions". So I might be getting home early. With such problems, this stuff about Randi and his followers is quite damn trivial to me. Sorry.)
Actual real life takes precedence over this stuff.
Still "Globally Banned" on Wikipedia for the high crime of journalism.