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Advocatus


  • Marcello Truzzi defined a skeptic as someone who was 100% Neutral, 100% Agnostic on the paranormal. A believer can believe in the paranormal, but a skeptic who doesn’t believe in the paranormal isn’t really a skeptic according to him; he’s a “pseudoskeptic”. That sounds good in theory, but in practice if you study a topic for long enough, you come…[Read more]

  • Sofista wrote:  “From time to time, science discovers that something is trustworthy and
    true, even if scientists do not know precisely how or why
    it works. Let’s consider the law of gravity. We experience it all
    days when we jump from a vehicle or down a ladder. Physical and
    engineers made tremendous progress in studying the effects of gr…

    [Read more]

  • I would go along with the conclusion that the “cause” is more psychological than hormonal, but I would hesitate to use the word “illness”, unless you’re willing to say that nearly EVERYBODY is psychologically ill to some degree or another.

    Although I am trying to accept transgendered individuals, I am old-fashioned enough to ask them to cut us…[Read more]

  • Ah, so you’re a disciple of Marcello Truzzi!  Sofista, I have a funny feeling that you have a point to make with this, but you’re doing it in a roundabout way.  Please just come right out and say what you think.

  • Skeptics in general are not very much interested in a person’s religious beliefs.  If it comforts you to think that the spirits of your loved ones continue to exist on some other plane, that’s perfectly fine.  Some skeptics — most notably Harry Houdini — have looked into séances, mediums, and other physical manifestations, and have generally co…[Read more]

  • Sofista wrote: “we can’t see radio waves, electromagnetism, air, gravity, magnetic force, etc. but they exist anyway, it is logical to assume that there are other things that could exist but aren’t yet measurable. Our technology may not be up to the level to measure other things that could be there.”

    That’s a good point.  But all the things you…[Read more]

  • That is a really good article, Lausten.  At my age, it has been very difficult to grasp the idea that sex and gender are not the same thing, but I am slowly coming around.  Sex is basically the physical equipment you’re born with, but gender is more the sexual role you identify with, and the two may not coincide, or they may coincide sometimes b…[Read more]

  • To me the strangest thing about the so-called Nimitz incident is the fact that the Navy apparently had no interest whatsoever in investigating it.  They didn’t even debrief the pilots on what they saw!  The incident was totally forgotten until 13 years later a documentary suddenly appears.  By the way, I unintentionally misstated the case ab…[Read more]

  • I used to play several role-playing games years ago — Dungeons and Dragons, Marvel Superheroes, James Bond — but I don’t have enough friends these days who enjoy that kind of thing.  I agree that it’s no fun playing with somebody who memorizes the rules and calculates his moves for optimum advantage.  The rules of a role playing game (or the i…[Read more]

  • Even so, we’re always up for an interesting conversation.  If you glance down at the “Paranormal” section, you’ll see we have a few topics on UFOs.  Feel free to add your thoughts.

  • I agree that the Nimitz incident seems totally puzzling.  I have a hard time believing that the Navy has super-advanced technology that they would be testing out there without telling their own pilots about it.  I also have a hard time believing that a Navy officer would cooperate with some civilian making a documentary about the incident (15 y…[Read more]

  • Back when I was making the transition from agnostic to full-fledged atheist (which is just a state of mind really), I used to worry about this.  What if, without meaning to, I had closed my mind to the evidence for God’s existence? What if I had hardened my heart too much?  But then I reasoned this way — even if I was no longer sure what it w…[Read more]

  • I think LoisL is absolutely right.  Trumpkushka’s supporters would LOVE it if he was impeached.  It would prove how “desperate” his enemies are to stop him from “fixing the country”.  I think that’s the main reason Ms. Pelosi is soft-pedaling that idea.

  • Sherlock Holmes wrote: “The example does not allow you to conclude that every “thing” exists because of a preceding “more complex thing” it doesn’t lead to that nor did I say that.”

    Yes you did.  I was sitting right here.  You were so eager to prove that Lausten and I were “wrong” about something that rather than simply point out the slight ambi…[Read more]

  • Don’t let Player bother you, Xain.  Most of us have learned by now to ignore 80% of what he says, and take the rest with a grain of salt.

    This idea reminds me of a beautiful story by Borges, “Tlon Uqbar Orbis Tertius”.  It’s about a totally fictional planet that was invented by a group of scholars.  The language of Tlon was said to have no no…[Read more]

  • Congratulations, Sherlock!  You’ve just landed yourself in the Infinite Recursion Trap!  Where did God come from, Dad?  “Well, son, if we follow Sherlock Holmes’ sterling logic, God must have been created by an even more intelligent creator.”

  • Talking about the video you mentioned, my reaction is that it looks like a hoax.  The blobs of light look semi-transparent and just judging from the way they move, they move like camera artifacts.  I’m not an expert in optics though.  That’s just my gut reaction.

  • Sherlock Holmes wrote: “If it’s OK to posit that the laws of physics gave rise to the universe without knowing where the laws came from why is it not OK to posit a non-material creative agency without knowing where that came from?
    Can you really not see the fallacies in your position here?”

    It’s not a fallacy at all.  In the one case, you are si…[Read more]

  • Indeed it is more complex than that.  When we see an image that brings us pleasure, it’s not so much the image as the chain of associations that the image triggers in your brain.  And this chain of associations depends upon the context, the way you’re already feeling, whether or not you’re in a receptive mood, a myriad of other things.  For th…[Read more]

  • I think that creativity is largely a matter of practice and a matter of habit.  People get random ideas all the time, but usually they’re too busy to pursue it as more than an idle fantasy.   Creative people have a habit of acting on those ideas, chasing them, developing them in more detail, writing them down, filing them away for future r…[Read more]

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