If nobody believed in superstition it would be unable to hurt anyone
REPLY TO ATTEMPT TO DEBUNK PARANORMAL DEBUNKERS
Paranormal Debunker's Main Principles Cannot Be
A miracle is a supernatural event and distinguished from a paranormal one. Only a power outside nature can do the supernatural. A power within nature can do the paranormal. The Church says only God is truly outside nature. Satan may be able to do paranormal things but he will be within nature in the sense that God made him. The Church's miracles are hostile to science. Only God can create (assuming creation is possible which it is not) thus you cannot be sure a miracle is from God unless it involves creation. A miracle such as a communion wafer bleeding cannot be verified because you cannot show that the blood was created from nothing there and then. What if some paranormal force did some trick and the blood was not miraculously created? If you have to assume the blood was created then the miracle is is not about giving evidence for God. It is no good and it is insulting to God to say he does miracles to show off. The advantage of limiting miracles to acts of creation is that it weeds out a lot of fraudulent and ignorant claims. However, only God can know if an example of a creation miracle really happened. It is no good to us.
We will look at the work of a man who wrongly thinks supernatural and paranormal mean the same thing. For the purpose of replying to him I do the same.
It is important to note that if you need exceptionally good evidence for a paranormal claim, you need even bigger for a supernatural claim. But sadly religion and paranormal researchers keep the bar too low.
The more paranormal claims a person makes the better the evidence that is needed.
A Reply to:
Debunking PseudoSkeptical Arguments of Paranormal Debunkers by Winston Wu. Available on Amazon and as an ebook.
The Core Problem: Are sceptics of miracles and the paranormal rejecting or at least ignoring the evidence for the paranormal because they have made assumptions that these thing are not real? If they are they are not inquiring after truth. They are following dogma not the truth.
My Comment: Are they pseudo-sceptics? A pseudo-sceptic is not a sceptic. A sceptic examines claims to find the truth and avoids any bias. A pseudo-sceptic assumes that the paranormal doesn't happen and bends the evidence and its interpretation and reason to suit this assumption. Its about them defending their faith that these things don't happen and is not about the truth. There is a danger that pseudo-sceptics and sceptics will be confused together. Pseudo-sceptics masquerade as sceptics.
A pseudo-sceptic will:
1 Ignore any evidence that the paranormal exists.
2 If somebody shows miracle knowledge of the future for example they will say it was coincidence even though it cannot be. They force ridiculous rational or materialistic explanations on the facts. For example, if a miracle statue bleeds they will say that it must be fraud even though fraud has been definitely eliminated.
3 They demand evidence under laboratory conditions and when it is given to them they say it is insufficient so they are never content. They always manipulate the goal posts.
4 Double standards - they will use hearsay and anecdotal evidence when it undermines paranormal claims but when it supports them they dismiss it. For example, the woman who says that she heard a miracle worker admit to using trickery all the time will be believed and the testimony of cancer sufferers and cripples that they were cured will be ignored.
5 Use character assassination against witnesses of the paranormal in order to take away their credibility.
6 They will say that if a science experiment shows evidence of the paranormal that the test was not controlled properly. So they assume that automatically just because the test threw up a result they don't want to believe in. The proper approach is to look for evidence that the controls were improperly implemented.
A real sceptic will:
1 Admit that evidence for the paranormal exists. This does not necessarily mean that the sceptic may start to believe. The evidence might be too weak or there might be other evidence that contradicts it.
2 Will not force ridiculous rational or materialistic explanations on the facts. For example, if a miracle statue bleeds they will not say that it must be fraud even though fraud has been definitely eliminated. They may point to space warps as identified in physics to explain the wonder. They say then that unknown or unexplained natural laws are doing it. After all, nobody knew why penicillin worked but took it for granted that it could be explained by natural laws yet to be understood.
3 Will demand evidence under laboratory conditions and specify what conditions they need. When they get it they will be happy. They will not manipulate the goal posts. They will not get what they have asked for and then say its not enough.
4 Understand that anecdotal evidence is fine but only if coming from a reliable source. And even then it may be reasonably believed or disbelieved.
5 Will not use character assassination against witnesses of the paranormal in order to take away their credibility. The point is not if the person is good or bad but if they are reliable. A liar can be telling the truth that they saw a vision of Mary for example.
6 They will only say experiments were not controlled properly if there is evidence that they are or could have been. They will not make assumptions. The proper approach is to look for evidence that the controls were improperly implemented.
7 We all make assumptions. The real sceptic will make the assumption that miracles and magic do not happen because the person who says that they do is left with nowhere to draw the line. Anything can be believed. The sceptic cannot be condemned for making an assumption that is so necessary. It is just like how we assume that we are not dreaming that the world and others is real.
It is dishonest of paranormal supporters to go on as if point 7 did not exist. If a sceptic casts doubt on an alleged miracle and a paranormal investigator says it was possibly true then I'd prefer to trust the sceptic. The latter will say this is ad hominem or character assassination. It is he or she who is guilty of these not me.
PARANORMAL DEBUNKERS DOGMA: It is irrational to believe anything that cannot be proven.
No thinking sceptic holds that dogma. Its not a dogma of scepticism at all.
The Paranormal Debunker who teaches and accepts this dogma is being unfair. You can be a rational person and believe in what cannot be proven. As long as you have good evidence for it and have checked that evidence for errors and don't close your mind there is no problem. I agree with believers in the paranormal that this dogma should be rejected.
Paranormal Debunkers do not believe the dogma. Those that do only believe in it in relation to paranormal claims. That is unfair unless they come up with a genuinely logical reason why miracles do not happen or at least should not be believed in. If miracles logically cannot happen then there is no need to even consider any evidence in their favour. It is the same if they do happen but for some reason we should not believe in them. If most people in the world start saying that the world is an illusion and that they have some kind of experience saying as much, we should ignore this testimony and this evidence. This example proves that we are not necessarily being biased or bigoted by saying that if miracles happen we must not believe.
When we say a teaching is irrational we cannot mean that we are totally irrational in believing it. We may be partly rational. If a geography question for example is answered badly in an exam it can't be totally bad. If it were it would be gibberish. When we believe something rational it does not follow that our thinking and motivation for believing is entirely rational. You can believe in the truth for example not because it is the truth but because you want to believe in it.
The more we examine the evidence we have the more rational we become.
It seems we are saying a man should always be examining the evidence that his wife loves him. No. The man has his own way of getting this evidence. Her being with him can be evidence enough.
Believers say, "It may be that I experience an alien abduction. The reality of this is proven by my experience. It can be proven to me but to nobody else." But this has nothing to do with the dogma at all. Sceptics are speaking for people who have not experienced the supernatural. The fact that I think I have experienced the supernatural does not mean anybody else is obligated to agree with me.
We see that the believers claim that the paranormal is unbelievable and irrational to me does not mean that it is unbelievable and irrational to others. But they must agree that it is okay if I find it irrational and my neighbour does not or vice versa. If both views are okay, then should one of them be encouraged or neither? The believers only encourage their own point of view!
PARANORMAL DEBUNKERS DOGMA: Extraordinary claims require extraordinary evidence. The stranger and the more unusual the claim is the more evidence you need to justify accepting the claim as true.
The critics of this dogma say the problems with this are,
* Sceptics say they want amazing evidence for an amazing claim and then when they get it they are still not satisfied and demand even more evidence and on and on it goes and they are never happy. The paranormal believers say sceptics need to define what they need and how much of it and not keep shifting the goalposts.
The truth: That has nothing at all to do with debunking the dogma. The principle is right though the application of the principle may be flawed. Many sceptics in fact accept miracle claims on insufficient evidence. Others seek too much evidence and are never satisfied. Getting it right is hard. The abuse of the dogma does not refute the dogma.
Critics argument is ad hominem - it says you do not need huge evidence for magical claims because needing that evidence means you want too much and will never be happy! An ad hominem argument attacks the other person not his arguments.
I am glad the critics use the ad hominem because what else can they say? It proves that faith in magic is not harmless - it is potentially slanderous to honest seekers who have sceptical minds.
* Sceptics forget that what is an extraordinary claim differs from person to person and depends on the circumstances. So what is called extraordinary depends on what you believe is extraordinary. For example, Jesus instantly healing the sick would have been ordinary as far as his disciples were concerned for they were so used to seeing those miracles. But they are extraordinary to us.
The truth: This objection fails to distinguish between a claim being found to be extraordinary in its nature and extraordinary in the sense that it provokes a sense of awe and wonder and astonishment. The apostles got used to Jesus' miracles (if they happened as the example says!). The miracles were still extraordinary despite them failing to feel and see how wonderful they were. Extraordinary claims require extraordinary evidence means when a claim is bizarre even if people start forgetting how bizarre it is it needs an outstanding and very high level of good evidence.
* Sceptics forget that the extraordinary evidence may be there but what happens is people confuse the issues with their, usually incorrect, interpretations so the evidence is not seen for how powerful it is. For example, a birthmark that appears as a result from a spaceship's radiation will get a normal interpretation even though the person carrying it may know different.
The truth: All evidence is a matter of interpretation. We should accept natural non-supernatural interpretations and eschew supernatural ones. Why? Because if we don't we will soon be in the psychiatric ward. For example, if it is your twentieth birthday and you win twenty dollars in a draw you will hold that this means nothing instead of arguing that its a miracle how you got twenty on your twentieth.
As for the person with the burn knowing different, do they really know? Are they lying or deluded?
* Extraordinary things can be true and there can be no hard evidence for them. Perhaps the evidence will be got one day. Thus we should believe in the paranormal without extraordinary evidence.
The truth: True sceptics agree that extraordinary things might have happened and left no evidence. True sceptics are willing to wait for evidence but until it is got they cannot believe. To say we must believe on the basis of evidence that we may get one day is actually a ridiculous statement.
Anyway, say if Mary appeared miraculously at Lourdes in 1858. No matter how long we wait we will never get hard extraordinary evidence for that for its in the past. Their point does not help us.
* The claim is based on the assumption that anything supernatural or paranormal will be either impossible or extremely unlikely. Just because sceptic A was never abducted by aliens does not mean that Jane couldn't have been abducted by aliens. Those who reject the supernatural assume that the paranormal and supernatural are very improbable and impossible and near-impossible. This is not proven. It's only an assumption. It is not fair to demand incredible evidence over an assumption.
The truth: Believers themselves have to hold that the paranormal is unlikely. To say anything else means we should not even bother investigating it. You don't investigate the prices in the local supermarket in case they are all overpriced to an illegal or insane degree. You take it for granted that it is likely that the prices are acceptably accurate and that errors are unlikely. Believers must want us to ignore evidence of the paranormal and supernatural. To say, "Don't bother checking it out", is the same as saying, "Damn the evidence!"
Those sceptics who insist on having excellent evidence for magical claims, are accused of ignoring the evidence. They are said to hold on to their sceptical beliefs despite the evidence for the paranormal and that they are wrong. If I find loads of evidence that miracle cures really happened at Lourdes and I still am undecided that the miracles were supernatural I am not ignoring the evidence. The accusation is false and unfair. It proves that belief in the supernatural is implicitly rude and arrogant. And even more so when the believers are alerted to their own arrogance and won't desist. If sceptics are arrogant then they are less arrogant than the believers. We should all be sceptics in that case.
Believers issue the following attacks on "extraordinary claims need backing up with extraordinary evidence".
BELIEVERS: Science does not use that rule. Science has discovered some bizarre things and not required extreme evidence for them. For example, where are the double blind tests and the controlled tests to back up the big bang?
THE ANSWER IS THAT THERE ARE TESTS BEING DONE. THEY DO NOT TEST THE BIG BANG BUT HOW IT HAVE HAPPENED. THE EXPERIMENTS AND OBSERVATION OF THE COSMOS SHOW THAT THE BIG BANG HAPPENED. THE BELIEVERS SEEM TO EXPECT SCIENCE TO MAKE A UNIVERSE IN THE LAB THROUGH A BIG BANG!
BELIEVERS: There are extraordinary evidences of the paranormal. The White House Merry Go Round Incident of 1952 is evidence for the paranormal reality of UFO's. It has never been refuted.
ANY MIRACLE CAN BE MADE IRREFUTABLE IF YOU GET AT THE EVIDENCE AGAINST IT AND HIDE IT OR DISPOSE OF IT. OR IF THE EVIDENCE FOR A NATURAL EXPLANATION IS LOST OR OVERLOOKED.
BELIEVERS: Mystical experiences mean that you gain supernatural knowledge in your heart and no longer depend on faith. They are extraordinary evidence for the paranormal because they change lives. Ordinary experiences do not do that.
MYSTICS ARE KNOWN TO HAVE AN EXPERIENCE AND THEN DOUBT IT LATER. THEY HAVE TO GO BACK TO FAITH AGAIN. AND A RELIGION OR SUPERSTITION THAT IS A PACK OF LIES IS NOT MADE TRUE IF IT IS GOOD AT CHANGING LIVES.
PARANORMAL DEBUNKERS DOGMA: When there are two or more competing explanations of the evidence, accept the explanation that is the simplest for the simplest one is most likely to be true and reject any inadequate ones. NOTE: This is Occam's Razor. It is essential if one wants to be sane or stay sane. Life would be worse than Hell if we keep inventing explanations for things instead of seeking out the simplest explanation.
It is said that Occam's Razor can only work if you stick with natural explanations if you hold that the Razor has no relevance except in the physical world. Once you bring in the supernatural it becomes useless. That is true if you are open to both natural and supernatural or paranormal as well. To find the simplest interpretation means you have to disbelieve in the possibility that some simple paranormal or supernatural explanation is involved. You have a complex pile of evidence about a murder. The simplest explanation for the evidence is that person Z did it. If you bring in the paranormal then you could say any of the millions of entities in the spirit world could have possessed him and forced his hand. Or maybe they took the knife from him and killed the person. Thus the simplest natural explanation is ruined and left with no force. If Z knows you are willing to believe in such entities without evidence or just because he says they took the knife he will take advantage of you.
To use the Razor, you have to be closed to the supernatural or paranormal because if the latter exists then both natural and supernatural/paranormal work together. The Razor is a method not a doctrine. We have no choice but to accept it. Thus it is unfair to accuse its supporters of bias against the supernatural or paranormal.
Believers in the supernatural and paranormal strongly object to trying to explain reports of such events by finding the simplest natural explanation. They say that if you try to explain a non-natural event as a natural one you only distort the truth. But the Razor does not say you must use a natural explanation in the face of a clearly supernatural occurrence! That would be dishonest! It says you wait to see if any more evidence will appear or simply say you don't know what the explanation is.
Is the answer to use the Razor separately for natural matters and supernatural? Why the separation?
What if you think you can use the Razor in regard to claimed supernatural or paranormal events? Suppose a spate of apparitions took place in Ireland of the Virgin Mary. What happens if you look for the simplest paranormal explanation? You could say it is not a medical hallucination but a paranormal one. That is simpler than holding that Mary rose from the dead and has been in Heaven for centuries and comes down to visit people. That is too many magical assumptions when one would do. The apparition whether it is Mary or not is deceiving for anything that calls you away from making do with the simplest explanation has something to hide and does not respect your reason.
And we have seen in the introduction that the miracle and the paranormal is not the same thing. They are radically different. If a miracle happened, you would not be able to say it is one and have to settle for saying it is paranormal and only seems to be a miracle.
Occam's Razor urges you when you have a number of natural possibilities to explain something you pick the simplest of them. Believers in religion and the paranormal say that it is not relevant to religion or to the supernatural/paranormal. They argue that we only experience, not test, the paranormal world and don't know it that well. We just know its there but don't know how it works. For all we know, maybe salt has psychic powers and if there is enough of it in a house that house will never get haunted by a ghost or by an apparition of the Virgin Mary.
Their objection actually means, "If anybody says they saw or experienced something supernatural then you have to believe them. Natural standards don't apply. Don't do tests to see how many people lie about such experiences. The tests contradict the fact that natural ways of working things out don't apply." The objection then is advocating great danger and madness. Occam's Razor is about promoting a method that is best to protect people from lies and chaos and error. Therefore it DOES apply to the supernatural. If a drug cures a chest infection, most people will agree that it did. Some might say that the drug does not work for everybody but only for those who are in tune with some kind of supernatural energy that is activated by the drug. Natural explanations must be preferred. If we deny that then we have nothing to say to the weirdo who goes, "The drug does not work at all. There are invisible forces and energies that help some people that take it."
The believers put the magical outside the reach of the Razor for they fear the Razor. But the Razor seeks to ensure that you are well grounded in this world and tries to protect you from wrong ideas about it. The believers oppose the Razor for they do not want to keep you safe. The reality is, the Razor says natural explanations come first and the believers don't like that. They don't want you choosing a natural explanation for the supernatural or paranormal. The supernatural or paranormal can never matter like the natural does for unlike them the natural can be tested.
Paranormal believers say that "Another problem is that what is simple to one person is not simple to another. It's relative. Sceptics lie that their natural explanations are necessarily simpler than the supernatural or paranormal explanations."
The simplest explanation is not necessarily the correct one. But Occam's Razor does not tell us that we will get the correct answer. It gives us a method for increasing our chances of getting the right one. It tells us what the most rational assumption is under the circumstances.
Paranormal believers say, "Sceptics think that when people testify to the paranormal, the simplest explanation is that they are conspiring and lying."
But whether you believe in the paranormal or not, the fact remains that it IS an explanation. It is not necessarily the only explanation or the biggest. Only the evidence can measure.
Once you discard the Razor, the potential for error becomes very great. People can apply the principle wrongly but the principle in itself is flawless. Even if the principle could make you err, not having it would make you err more!
PARANORMAL DEBUNKERS DOGMA: You have no proof for me that God or the supernatural or miracles exists. I have no proof that unicorns exist either. I don't believe in unicorns. You don't blame me. So why should I believe in God or the supernatural? Why blame me for not believing in God and praise me for not believing in unicorns?
Believers say the "problem with this is that it puts everything that cannot be proven into the category of made-up or invented. What people experience as true is not an invention. A person sincerely believing in God even if there is no proof does not mean that the person is fictionalising God. There are millions who experience God and miracles but the unicorn comparison is unfair for hardly anybody says they saw one. The more people experience something the more likely the experience is to be real. I can't prove to anybody else that I was thinking of Spain this morning but that has nothing to do with indicating that others should not believe I though of it if I say so. They do not need proof to reasonably believe this."
Sceptics reply: The believers are setting up a straw man argument. The true sceptical position is, "You have insufficient evidence for me that God or the supernatural or miracles exists. I have insufficient evidence that unicorns exist . Therefore I don't believe in unicorns. You don't blame me. So why should I believe in God or the supernatural? Why blame me for not believing in God and praise me for not believing in unicorns?"
PARANORMAL DEBUNKERS DOGMA:
Anecdotal evidence for the paranormal or for anything supernatural or magical is invalid and unreliable. That is all the kind of evidence there is for the paranormal.
"Some sceptics go as far as to say that such evidence is worth zero. They are definitely pseudo-sceptics. The correct view is that there could be evidence for an against an event being miraculous but admitting that won't stop you agreeing with the evidence that it is false provided the evidence in favour is not stronger and better."
"If we automatically dismiss human testimony in relation to the paranormal then how could we think it could be any good in relation to other things?"
The validity of testimony and anecdotal evidence can be tested as follows:
1 Is the person reliable and telling their story with reasonable consistency?
2 Is the person normally truthful
3 The more witnesses the better if they are all consistent
4 Is the testimony clear and fresh? The nearer the testimony is to the fervent it describes the better.
5 Where the witnesses or witness in the right state of mind - e.g. not drunk
6 Could the person have a strong motive for lying or not? Weak motives may be dismissed.
These tests should be applied whether the person says a miracle event is fake or real.
The anecdotal evidence is not necessarily invalid or unreliable.
Sceptical Reply: Sceptics accept all that. We do deny that anecdotal evidence is enough for justifying belief in a miracle. It may be valid and reliable but because it is anecdotal it is unsatisfactory. Again the believers are accusing sceptics of holding positions they do not hold at all. And believers themselves do not believe every miracle anecdote they hear.
The believers confuse good testimony with anecdotal evidence. The two are not the same. A testimony is rigorous while an anecdote is not and each anecdote has opposition from rival anecdotes too!
PARANORMAL DEBUNKERS DOGMA: People who report paranormal experiences and miracle depend on memory. Memory is unreliable and people distort their memories without even realising. Therefore paranormal reports are based on mistakes and misperception if not lies.
Believers say, This really means that we should listen to memory and the memories of others for we cannot live if we don't but we must make an exception when the memory is about paranormal experiences. This is biased and unfair.
Memory is usually right in the big things and can be right or wrong in the details.
The truth: It is correct about memory being less reliable than people would like to think. It is indeed unfair to claim that if a person remembers the supernatural then its NECESSARILY a memory error. It is okay to say it is not enough for you to believe them for they MAY be wrong and sometimes errors and mistakes can come across as magical when they are not. It is not true that its a sceptic's dogma that a paranormal claim is always rubbish just because it is paranormal. If it were a dogma, could it be that it is the truth and what the evidence says?
The dogma is useless by itself. It is fine if we have evidence that the paranormal is not real. If the evidence casts doubt on the miracle story we can then surmise that the witnesses' memory is in error.
PARANORMAL DEBUNKERS DOGMA: Those who report paranormal experiences or miracles are mistaken or lying or they have had an illusion or hallucination.
The Sceptics reply, We should not assume this. We should only believe this if we find the evidence that they are somehow wrong is the best.
If sceptics are right that such reports are irrational that is different. We don't need the evidence simply because the irrationality is evidence itself.
PARANORMAL DEBUNKERS DOGMA: There is no evidence that miracles have ever happened or that the paranormal is real.
The Sceptics reply, This assumption should be rejected by believers and sceptics alike. But if the evidence says that there is no reason to believe then that is not a dogma but an evaluation of the evidence.
Evidence conflicts. There is often at least some evidence against even things that we know are true. Even if evidence pointed to a magical event being real it would not be enough unless it were very good evidence.
PARANORMAL DEBUNKERS DOGMA: Science is the only reliable method for finding out what is probably true or what is true.
Critics of this dogma assert that there are other ways to know things. This is true.
But science matters more than all these for it always tests and re-tests and is open to changing its mind if the evidence is good enough. It is pure reason that some testable method matters more than methods that are less testable.
Critics say that sceptics accept scientific test results that refute the paranormal and ignore the ones that show that it is real. But they forget that the sceptics look at the evidence for those things and find holes. They never ignore real cases for there are none as far as can be ascertained. And how can a sceptic know which cases to ignore if he does not look at the case and the evidence?
The argument is simply ad hominem. It implies that there are cases that are so obviously supernatural that anybody who does not believe is guilty of ignoring the evidence. That is nonsense.
It is possible that you can test the best mediums in the world and find no evidence of genuine supernatural abilities and then hear of other tests on them that give different results and which seemingly point to out of this world powers. The believers say, "Maybe supernatural powers are erratic. That way you could say they did not show up in your tests but could have showed up in the other tests. " Thus the believer could accept that both sets of tests are valid. The notion that the powers do not work all the time makes it sound like an excuse is being made for the failure to show abilities in some tests. Thus it is more rational to hold that the tests that argue for scepticism or doubt are valid. If you have a supernatural power, why can't you use it to stop whatever it is that blocks your powers sometimes? The believer is just making excuses for believing in gods and psychics and witches who have been caught cheating and faking their abilities. It is deranged to think that good powers and good spirits would use people like that to get in touch with the poor clients. And irresponsible.
PARANORMAL DEBUNKERS DOGMA: Paranormal and miraculous events do not happen for they contradict what we know of science.
Believers say that we take to be the laws of nature is based on observation. We are always updating this knowledge. So what we believe to be a law of nature today may change tomorrow.
The truth: That is true only of more unusual or unimportant laws. We know that hollow oaks cannot have kittens. Suppose blood comes from a statue of the Virgin Mary. Even then believers themselves do not want to get people to reject the law that statues do not bleed. The point is, believers and sceptics and pseudo-sceptics all want to believe in the laws and indeed do for they cannot function in life if they start holding that nothing is regular and nobody knows say if the car will come to life tomorrow morning. The dogma is extremely important and implies that it is best not to agree that miracles happen.
Believers exaggerate how much science changes its mind.
They go as far as to say that as the laws of nature are not laws as such that maybe the supernatural is possible. In other words, the "laws" are really observations so you might expect a second sun to appear in the sky tomorrow. That is too loose. The laws are observations yes but FIRM OBSERVATIONS. That believers would abolish that firmness in order to believe in magic or to allow for belief in it is extreme. They are like faith heads - spiritual addicts.
PARANORMAL DEBUNKERS DOGMA: When we cannot explain something, that does not mean that it is paranormal. There are natural laws we know nothing about and which may come into play very rarely.
Believers in the paranormal respond that "something can happen although we think or thought it can't. If we think something impossible happened, we automatically should not assume that there is a mistake or lie somewhere."
Sceptics see that in fact we should assume there is a mistake or a lie. We need to believe that certain things are impossible. Marble statues do not bleed.
Believers reject the dogma because they say, "Just because we cannot explain something, we must not assume that whatever the explanation is, it is non-paranormal."
They are saying then that when confronted with what we cannot explain then we should assume that there could be a paranormal or supernatural explanation as well as some unknown natural explanation. True sceptics agree with this. We are not going to be able to tell then if the event was paranormal or not. The sceptic may say, "I don't know how it happened but I don't believe that it is supernatural just because I see no reason to go that far." The believer will say, "I don't know how it happened but I believe it is supernatural." The sceptic makes the most sense.
Believers say, "Deniers of the paranormal are assuming that that inexplicable events do not have a paranormal explanation. They have no evidence or proof of this. They are only guessing."
We don't need evidence. No matter what happens there could indeed be a natural explanation that we have perhaps not found yet.
PARANORMAL DEBUNKERS DOGMA: Sceptics do not go by beliefs but by reasoned judgments of the evidence. Instead of beliefs they look at the evidence.
Beliefs and assumptions are often confused. Too many people think they believe something when they only assume it. Real belief comes from looking at the evidence. True sceptics would correct the wording of the dogma to: Sceptics do not go by assumptions but by reasoned judgments of the evidence. Instead of assumptions they look at the evidence and may form reasonable beliefs.
PARANORMAL DEBUNKERS DOGMA: Scepticism is not based on cynicism but is a method of getting at the truth.
True scepticism is all about that dogma. Too many who claim to be sceptics actually ignore it in practice if not in theory.
To see that a claimed supernatural event may not be supernatural is not cynicism.
PARANORMAL DEBUNKERS DOGMA: Believers in the paranormal and miracles are at least a bit stupid or good at deceiving themselves and or others.
The Sceptic says: Not necessarily. Most miracle claims involve people who do not have the competence to know if it really is a miracle or not. Most irrationally refuse to admit that the alleged miracle might have strange natural causes - unknown laws can do strange things.
Smart people can be manipulated to think they have experienced the supernatural for the psychic knows how to press the buttons and make it look intelligent. A person with good observation can be fooled by a psychic who knows how to manipulate somebody who sees and hears all.
PARANORMAL DEBUNKERS DOGMA FOR SOME: We do not say that God and the supernatural and miracles are fiction. What we say is that we simply do not believe. We do not say unicorns are fiction but that we simply do not believe. It is not up to us to disprove these things but up to those who assert these things to prove them.
The believer's response is that deep down the sceptics say that God and the supernatural are fiction.
Some debunkers say the dogma is absolutely correct and they embrace it with enthusiasm.
But deep down, you may think that say God is fiction or that you don't know if he is or not.
You could then be disbelieving - denying God's existence - or misbelieving - just failing to believe.
Belief in the supernatural is harmful to truth and to people. It is better to just not believe, at least. Many of us prefer to go further and disbelieve. That is good too.
THE OBJECTIONS TO UNBELIEF IN THE SUPERNATURAL FAIL DISMALLY AND IN FACT PROVE THAT THE UNBELIEF IS THE ONLY RATIONAL AND SANE AND FAIR AND INTELLIGENT POSITION.