I’ve had some annoying feedback on my last blog post regarding my thoughts about the problems with ‘believers vs. Guerrilla Skeptics’ and I wanted to address some of the misrepresentations people are making of my position as it’s getting pretty annoying. I was simply writing my observations of why people were hostile towards a group that had a combative name who were open about the fact that they are mass editing Wikipedia, but people seem to think I am claiming that people should be able to make any claims they like without being challenged when there is no evidence to back up their claims.
That’s a good observation on their part, except for the part where they are completely fucking wrong.
Also incorrect is the idea that I was suggesting the Guerrilla Skepticism group were editing Sheldrake’s Wikipedia page, despite the fact that I linked to an article where this was shown to not be true and even pointed out this had been denied. However, why let reading a blog post you’re commenting on get in the way of commenting on it, hey? Hey?
It has also been suggested that I am affording Rupert Sheldrake respect I am not affording other skeptics. This is, quite frankly, bullshit and feels like an attempt to dismiss me and my points.
I thought I’d blog again to make my exact points a little clearer, as people seem to be innocently and accidentally reading between the lines.
People – sometimes people who identify as skeptics – have been fact checking Wikipedia articles long before the Guerrilla Skepticism on Wikipedia project came around. Sometimes these edits have dismissive of research into paranormal cases with a heavy bias towards the position of skeptics. Believe it or not skeptics are biased too, being human and all.
I was not suggesting the the Guerrilla Skepticism on Wikipedia project were guilty of this, or even that they caused this problem. I was pointing out that they have entered an arena where this problem already exists and have done nothing but fan the flames some more. I did not suggest they did this on purpose, but if they were not aware that this would happen when they started their work, then this was very shortsighted of them. I do not believe it is unreasonable for them to address these issues, or to try and build bridges.
Despite what people have said to me in response to my last blog post, not everyone involved in paranormal research is a closed minded bumbling idiot who is opposed to ensuring claims are well sourced, and building bridges works. It is important to enter into dialogue with people from opposite sides of any argument or debate you are involved with and to consider their feedback or criticism otherwise you start working inside of an echo chamber.
If you claim otherwise, as many have, then that is problematic.
Acting as though all of those who disagree with you are doing so because they are all blinded by their own biases and don’t like not being allowed to promote those biases without being challenged is pretty disingenuous and is an easy way to avoid listening to them.
The fact is that many people I have observed being critical of skeptics who edit Wikipedia – Guerrilla Skeptics or not – are pretty open minded individuals despite what they personally believe, and have good points worth listening to. It’s infuriating to see their thoughts being dismissed as though they’re ‘closed minded believers’ who have an agenda.