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The Humanist Community of Central Ohio Message Board › Skeptics in the Pub

Skeptics in the Pub

user 44893502
Columbus, OH
Post #: 4
Hi everyone! I would like to thank the group that attended Monday nights gathering of discussion and inquiry at Skeptics in the Pub. I would like to introduce myself with a little background and without trying to be too pedantic, what it means to me to be a "skeptic". For me, it is not so much the philosophical skepticism that claims you can never truly know anything, but rather if you make a claim, you better have some empirical evidence to back it up, which usually falls under what some call scientific skepticism. Being a child of the 70's, I was raised on Star Trek, Gilligan's Island, In Search Of, Uri Geller, Alien Probing, Carrie, Betty and Barney Hill, Star Wars, and Chariots of the Gods. My Dad would wake me up to watch the moon landings and I thought by the time I was an adult, I would have my own moon buggy jumping craters and playing golf on Mars. I remember looking at cutlery and pens and trying to move them with my mind. I also remember the Columbus Poltergeist and this weird dude named James Randi wanted to talk to the haunted girl Tina Resch to see what was really happening. I was raised Roman Catholic, so believing in supernatural BS was drilled into me from everywhere. Skepticism started when my best friend wanted me to visit a Fellowship of Christian Athletes meeting to meet girls. Most of these kids weren't Catholic, but I didn't care, I was just along for the ride. A few of them started telling me that I wasn't in the one true religion because Catholics prayed to statues, believed in infallible popes, and a bunch of other stuff. I never really thought about that before, my parents dragged me to church every Sunday, so I was Catholic, end of story, I never really gave it much thought. This caused me to start examining my belief system, and slowly over the years it all unraveled. Of course no one comes back from the dead, has babies without sex, or is infallible, why does anyone believe this crap? Then I realized what if everyone has been lying to me about everything? Heck, I've lied to people so what if, even if they did it unknowingly, everything I learned might be wrong? Naturally, I majored in Psychology at OSU and noticed that half of my education was wasted learning about Freud, Maslow, Jung, and theory, while the other half was Pavlov, Skinner, Watson, statistics, biology, classical conditioning and conducting controlled experiments. Strangely, at no point did any of my professors say, "Oh by the way, all that stuff that Freud, Jung and Maslow said was just stuff they pulled out of their ass from observation. L. Ron Hubbard used more science than those jokers." It was taught with equal credulity. So what I learned was that anybody at anytime can believe anything, and in human psychology you can use mathematical probability and influence to predict and control certain human behaviors, (though it is not guaranteed), and I embarked on a career in sales. I have been fascinated by persuasion techniques, influence, human psychology, and science ever since, and I have also been accused by my wife and kids of being a manipulating little bastard, which is mostly true, but it paid for the house and food. So that's me, I would love to hear your stories and opinions on living a "skeptical" life and I intend on posting some discussions on things like acupuncture, reiki, Bigfoot, et. al. Hopefully, we can do some outings of a skeptical nature as well. I would like to do more things like seeing Neil DeGrasse Tyson in Dayton, and meeting Jon Ronson, Richard Wiseman, and Rebecca Watson of the SGU podcast at Barleys, hats off to the inimitable Carl Tracy and Ashley Paramour for that one! If anyone hears of anything please post it. See you next month....maybe. biggrin
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