-5

I don't see any reason to be skeptical of any exaggeration, so I'd say "no, it hasn't been exaggerated".

from Has the Holocaust been exaggerated? Apparently that sort of statement is worth +30 around here.

Ironically, this so-called "skeptics" stackexchange:

1. Provides "answers" (that are popular opinons).

Where are these so-called answers supposed to come from if not from popular opinion? Science doesn't provide answers, it only provides statistical evidence to reject hypotheses. Engineers don't provide answers, they only provide useful models.

The possibility that most scientists break the scientific method and agree about something doesn't make it anything more than a popular opinion, either; rather, that suggests to a skeptic that scientists who engage in such behavior need to be scrutinized for their ability to do their job properly.

Skeptics, by definition, question things. For every piece of evidence a skeptic will have another question or doubt. For skeptics to accept "answers" shows that their skepticism was limited and easily appeased. If they pride themselves on the label that is the name of this stackexchange, that would almost be an attack on their character.

2. Promotes the fallacy of popular opinion.

Via karma, up-voting, or whatever you call it around here, popular opinions are reinforced and given validity/credibility while unpopular, minority ones are killed off. Ironically, skeptics tend to be in the minority and are usually questioning the very popular opinion that you're promoting (and usually consider popular consensus a poor or fallacious argument).

3. Engages in censorship.

Nothing screams lack of credibility like overt censorship. Censorship makes a place hospitable for only a certain group of individuals. Often, and indeed it is the case here, the censorship is pro popular opinion/belief/morality.

4. Appears to have quite low quality answers that parrot mainstream views.

This is not surprising given the above points. Here's another example of a low quality answer to a controversial issue that receives a gold star on [skeptics]: Do human activities contribute to climate change? Cartoon diagrams that appear to have been sourced from grade-school textbooks are hardly "evidence" to support causation between climate change and human activity.

Here's a skeptic's first impressions of [skeptics]: This looks like a nice site for kids to ask questions and receive popular, mainstream, "science-based" answers that they were too lazy or incompetent to find themselves using Google, Google Scholar, or wikipedia.

marked as duplicate by Sklivvz Mar 26 '15 at 9:45

This question has been asked before and already has an answer. If those answers do not fully address your question, please ask a new question.

migrated from skeptics.stackexchange.com Mar 22 '15 at 3:56

This question came from our site for scientific skepticism.

  • 'For skeptics to accept "answers" shows that their skepticism was limited and easily appeased.' -- Understanding that knowledge will always be refined and improved and replaced does not mean we can't consider a question to be solved to the best of our current knowledge. Otherwise why bother ever asking any question? – Doug Kavendek Mar 22 '15 at 5:07
  • There are several entire areas of philosophy relating to this. Why bother ever asking any question is certainly a valid question, but why stop there? Why bother doing anything at all? – user35358 Mar 23 '15 at 4:03
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    You seem to be trying to disparage scientific mainstream answers because they're promoted by scientists, because they're mainstream, and because they're answers: some might characterize that as 'Wronger than wrong'. Also you say, "This looks like a nice site for kids to ask questions" ... that sounds to me like a good thing, i.e. that's indeed inline with people's intentions in posting to this site. – ChrisW Mar 23 '15 at 13:07
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    "Engages in censorship" -> Not having an "anything goes" site is not censorship. It's having a quality standard and sticking to it. – Sklivvz Mar 23 '15 at 13:51
  • Censoring based on your subjective "quality" assessment is still censorship. It's a more modern, politically correct form of censorship. – user35358 Mar 23 '15 at 17:40
  • @ChrisW You seem to be trying to disparage non-scientific, non-mainstream answers because they're discredited by scientists and they're unpopular: some might characterize that as whatever-the-hell-they-want-to-characterize-it-as.... Your bias is clear. I'm not trying to disparage anyone; I'm merely trying to minimize my own bias. If you treat the scientific establishment as infallible, then I suppose maybe you view me as "disparaging" your beliefs, but in my view all that I'm doing is being a proper skeptic -- ironically, the title of this place. – user35358 Mar 23 '15 at 18:27
  • It is interesting that the quote given above was edited closely enough to leave out the links to the evidence in the preceding and subsequent sections. Perhaps user35358 should ask themselves why they did that. – Dikran Marsupial Mar 24 '15 at 11:34
11

The Essence of the Skeptical Position.

  1. Extraordinary claims demand extraordinary evidence. The more conterintuitive a claim, or the more it seems to contradict existing, easily demonstrable knowledge, the more one needs to be convinced that the new report is not due to error or fraud on the part of the claimant. It is just as important to look at what else we must reject if we accept a cotroversial claim as it is to examine the evidence in its favour.

  2. The burden of proof lies with the claimant. The claim stands or falls on the quality of the evidence the proponent can provide. It is not the skeptic's job to prove him or her wrong. It is also quite alright for the skeptic to say, "I don’t know." He or she needn't feel obliged to offer a counter-explanation unless there is a plausible and well-supported one at hand. It is sometimes the best strategy, when confronted with a dubious claim, simply to point out its logical improbability and the paucity of evidence in its favour, and then adopt a "wait-and-see" attitude.

  3. To be taken seriously, claims must be testable, at least in principle. Above all, claims must be falsifiable. In addition, they must be stated clearly and in a logically rigourous manner. It must be explicitly stated what will count as evidence, for and against the claim, and what will constitute an adequate amount of evidence.

  4. The evidence must be public and accessible to all competent critics. Science is a public activity based on trust. With very few exceptions, any researcher who cannot or will not allow serious competitors to observe his or her methods or apparatus, or to have access to the raw data from an experiment, must surrender the presumption to be believed merely on his or her own say so. Over and above the possibility of fraud, there is the more likely probability that egregious results could be due to subtle, uncontrolled variables that the experimenter may not have noticed.

    Beyerstein, B, Distinguishing Science from Pseudoscience.

Simple, really.

  • Check this instead. en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Skepticism – user35358 Mar 23 '15 at 2:53
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    Or more appropriately, en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Pseudoskepticism – Rusty Mar 23 '15 at 3:55
  • "There are some members of the skeptics’ groups who clearly believe they know the right answer prior to inquiry. They appear not to be interested in weighing alternatives, investigating strange claims, or trying out psychic experiences or altered states for themselves (heaven forbid!), but only in promoting their own particular belief structure and cohesion." -- Good quote from your link. Sorry, Rusty, I just find your idea about "the essence of skepticism" far too limited. Maybe it's the essence of scientific skepticism, but not of skepticism in general. – user35358 Mar 23 '15 at 4:55
  • Never feed the trolls. – Rusty Mar 23 '15 at 13:09
  • "Troll" = a popular ad hominem attack on one's character so as to be able to ignore their arguments in good conscience. – user35358 Mar 23 '15 at 16:40
  • @user35358 - see if you can find any evidence on this site of people rejecting the ideas of things like psychic experiences without empirical evidence. You will only find (among positively-viewed answers) references to various experiments done. Meanwhile, you have taken the word of a single person, in a single quote, to be more important than the entire rest of the article. That is not skepticism. And while Susan Blackmore is right that there are pseudoskeptics who assume the answer before inquiry in favour of the mainstream, that doesn't mean it's not pseudoskepticism if done against it. – Glen O Apr 11 '15 at 4:50
  • The skeptic says "a single scientific study that says that grass is green is fine, but a single scientific study that says that people can talk with the dead needs further verification through additional study". The more extraordinary the claim, the greater the burden. That's the point of skepticism. It is not cynicism, which would reject the former. It is not pseudoskepticism, which takes a single study challenging the mainstream to be of greater weight than all studies supporting it (including meta-analyses that incorporate the single study). – Glen O Apr 11 '15 at 4:55
  • That is the fundamental nature of pseudoskepticism - it incorrectly places the burden on the status quo, rather than on the extraordinary claim (irrespective of whether it's the status quo or the challenger). Pseudoskeptics will point to a single data point of "cooling" and say "see? Global warming is fake". They will point to a single data point of "psychic connection" and say "see? Psychic abilities are real!", and they will point to a single data point of "holocaust question" and say "see? The holocaust was clearly faked!" – Glen O Apr 11 '15 at 4:58
10

Thanks for your feedback and opinions. We should be just as questioning about our own activities as those of others - more so, because we have a greater capacity to fix them.

However, I think the issues you raise have been considered before and/or are not really issues.

Holocaust Answer

You take this statement out of context. The sentence right before it says:

There appears no shortage of sources for evidence on the numbers killed, see also the excellent answer by @RedGrittyBrick above.

Note a reference (admittedly to Wikipedia) was provided, and this wasn't the key aspect of the answer, which addressed a different part to the question as @RegGrittyBrick. The opinion here was a judgement on whether this reference should be trusted. Ultimately, we need to make that judgement on every reference. As a general rule, we try to provide the best references we can - but at the least, we need to see higher-quality resources than the original claimant provided.

How do we define higher-quality? We have had stabs at this, but ultimately, it is difficult not to start with some a priori higher trust in some sources than others - if you want to categorise that as "opinion", then opinion ultimately cannot be eradicated from any scientific argument.


Do good scientists ever reach consensus?

You write:

The possibility that most scientists break the scientific method and agree about something doesn't make it anything more than a popular opinion, either; rather, that suggests to a skeptic that scientists who engage in such behavior need to be scrutinized for their ability to do their job properly.

I reject that this is going against the scientific method. I reject that this is a sign of poor form by a scientist. See Thomas Kuhn's work on consensus and paradigms.

However, I accept that scientific consensus, reached by experts based on theories surviving experimental tests, is not an absolute 100% guarantee that something is right. (It is merely the best source of the best answer we could hope to achieve, to date.) As a result, Skeptics.SE cannot guarantee to offer 100% perfectly correct answers, at any time.


Do good skeptics ever reach conclusions?

You write:

Skeptics, by definition, question things. For every piece of evidence a skeptic will have another question or doubt. For skeptics to accept "answers" shows that their skepticism was limited and easily appeased. If they pride themselves on the label that is the name of this stackexchange, that would almost be an attack on their character.

This doesn't make sense to me, and suggests we are using different definitions of the words.

For example, Skepticblog [via Wikipedia explains:

A skeptic provisionally proportions acceptance of any claim to valid logic and a fair and thorough assessment of available evidence, and studies the pitfalls of human reason and the mechanisms of deception so as to avoid being deceived by others or themselves

So, it isn't against the basic tenets of a skeptic to provisionally accept a claim.

Your definition reads more like nihilism than skepticism.


Do we promote the fallacy of popular opinion?

Via karma, up-voting, or whatever you call it around here, popular opinions are reinforced and given validity/credibility while unpopular, minority ones are killed off.

Here, you make a good point, that has been considered before.

There is an assumption that underpins all of the Stack Exchange sites: that the best answers will get the most votes. Indeed, is similar to the fallacy of popular opinion.

Where voters on a site are subject-matter experts, this can be seen as a type of peer-review, and can be defended. What about the voters on Skeptics.SE? The hurdle to upvote is relatively minor (15 reputation points) - nothing like what is required to review a paper in a high-quality journal. It is fair to say that some questions and answers get more than their fair share of upvotes, because they are popular topics among Stack Exchange users and appear in the Hot Network Questions list. We also have limited subject-matter expertise in the topics being asked about. Nonetheless, we have a solid community of people who understand the nature of evidence, and we seem to have enough expertise for bad arguments and evidence to be quickly revealed as such.

In short, I cannot argue that Skeptics.SE voting system is necessarily ideal. I can only say that it is a necessary part of this venture, and that historically, I think we, as a community, have done an excellent job. I point to the evidence of our answer-base as evidence that we produce good answers at a high rate.

Ironically, skeptics tend to be in the minority

Again, this seems to be a different definition of skeptics to the one we use. I think skeptics agree with the majority a majority of the time - so often, that it is the exceptions that are more memorable. Skepticism is not contrarianism, cynicism or denialism.


Do we censor?

Unfortunately, this claim is wrong, tiring and offensive.

It is wrong becauses Skeptics.SE is not censored. Skeptics.SE is moderated. It is moderated hard. It is moderated to keep questions on-topic. (e.g. this one, which had to be moved, because it wasn't) It is moderated to avoid spam and abuse. It is moderated to ensure answers are backed by empirical evidence. We try to follow processes that are open.

What the mods don't do is delete answers just because we disagree with them, or think they are wrong in fact. (Although, I won't hesitate to rip apart an answer in the comments if I see errors, and I downvote frequently.)

It is tiring because we have had this claim levelled at us before, but no-one ever provides an example of genuine censorship - just cases where answers violated the rules and were dealt with.

It is offensive, because this dismisses the effort we go to avoid stepping into censorship. (Man, if I could delete answers just because I didn't like them, there would be far fewer answers!)

To me, the real questions whether I have any subconscious biases. For example, do I tend to copy-edit answers I agree with disproportionately often than answers I disagree with, and hence give them a little boost? It is a question I can't answer, but try to keep a look out for.


Do we have have quite low quality answers that parrot mainstream views?

Given your views of skepticism above, I am not surprised that you think that answers that echo scientific consensus are the same as "parrotting mainstream views". However, that is not how we measure quality. We measure quality based on whether the statements are supported by published empirical evidence.

You object that the site is doing research for people who are too lazy or incompetent to search for it themselves. YES! Popularising scientific discoveries is pretty much what we do here. (We don't do original research. We share what scientists have already discovered.) Hopefully, we can do it in way that makes it easier for the next person with the same concern about a claim to find an answer faster.

Textbooks have the same goal. The question you challenge uses text-books to explain basic scientific concepts to a general populous. It seems completely appropriate to use textbook images to explain uncontroversial concepts, like how the Greenhouse Effect works.


Conclusion

We seem to have different understanding of the word "skeptic". I wonder if it is brought about by the adoption of, and watering down of, the prestigious title "skeptic" by vaccine denialists, HIV denialists and climate change denialists.

Your concern that voting by the general public is not the way to find the truth is a fair one, and one that I share. There was a risk when this site started that the voting system would be unable to sort the wheat from the chaff. Strangely, it does work. Like Wikipedia, the general concept behind it seems to have no right to work, and yet it continues to produce a high-quality product in the face of these theoretical objections.

  • "There appears no shortage of sources for evidence..." isn't providing evidence, either. Again, it's just an opinion. He doesn't actually provide any of said sources. Granted he does refer to someone else's answer, but that answer is far from satisfactory either, IMO. – user35358 Mar 23 '15 at 3:24
  • "How do we define higher-quality? We have had stabs at this, but ultimately, it is difficult not to start with some a priori higher trust in some sources than others." -- This is indeed the crux of the issue. I am very skeptical of placing higher trust in scientists since it's a closed field. Not anyone can become a PhD in a scientific field; they have to be friends with the establishment to get in, and they can be kicked out if they do something that the establishment doesn't like. – user35358 Mar 23 '15 at 3:27
  • "I accept that scientific consensus, reached by experts based on theories surviving experimental tests, is not an absolute 100% guarantee that something is right. (It is merely the best source of the best answer we could hope to achieve, to date.)" -- I believe that the best we can achieve is to understand the various viewpoints and the premises underlying each of them and to let everyone come to his own decision. Unfortunately, providing an "answer" with lots of votes will convey a false confidence in that answer (via bias towards popularity), even if unintentional on your part. – user35358 Mar 23 '15 at 3:32
  • "Your definition reads more like nihilism than skepticism." -- en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Philosophical_skepticism Scientific skepticism sounds like a specialized form of skepticism. You are skeptical about individual facts, but not about the value of the scientific method, for instance. – user35358 Mar 23 '15 at 3:36
  • "It is tiring because we have had this claim levelled at us before, but no-one ever provides an example of genuine censorship - just cases where answers violated the rules and were dealt with." -- You have a narrow definition of censorship. Your rules don't have to say "you must agree with us" for it to be censorship. You can censor on all sorts of criteria. In the modern internet, censorship based on opinions would be unlikely to fly, but censorship based on political correctness and things like "providing evidence" and "following the rules" are thought of positively.... – user35358 Mar 23 '15 at 3:46
  • "It seems completely appropriate to use textbook images to explain uncontroversial concepts, like how the Greenhouse Effect works." -- Uncontroversial = mainstream, popular opinion. If someone is skeptical of the popular opinion, providing them textbook images demonstrating that opinion in diagrams easy enough for a child to understand is hardly an appropriate answer. :-P – user35358 Mar 23 '15 at 3:49
  • "Like Wikipedia, the general concept behind it seems to have no right to work, and yet it continues to produce a high-quality product in the face of these theoretical objections." -- What you really mean to say is that it continues to promote popular, well-established and well-believed opinions and answers. In your mind, that is high-quality and a definition of success. To someone who is skeptical of popular opinion, information on wikipedia cannot be trusted. – user35358 Mar 23 '15 at 3:52
  • The reason I'm skeptical of popular opinion: I don't believe that the ability of someone to get something popularized relates to its truth or validity. Popular opinion is created by a small group of people with a lot of power and influence. To the extent that we can't trust them to be unbiased, we ought to be skeptical of what they tell us and to consider alternative perspectives. Their perspective being ubiquitous and drowning out alternative ones makes this difficult. – user35358 Mar 23 '15 at 3:57
  • By the time a viewpoint gets popular enough that anyone who thinks otherwise is discredited as a "conspiracy theorist", "denier", or "crackjob", there is little hope left for truth. Popular opinion is quite dangerous because most people believe in it and are repulsed by the thought of questioning it. If we lived in a more scientifically-minded world, we would routinely question everything, repeat past experiments to verify them, and think positively of never accepting anything categorically, knowing that anything can change with one new piece of evidence. – user35358 Mar 23 '15 at 3:59
  • P.S. - "It is moderated to keep questions on-topic. (e.g. this one, which had to be moved, because it wasn't)" -- Just FYI, mine had to be moved because posting in meta.skeptics isn't allowed for someone with 0 (now -1) reputation. Users aren't allowed to do much of anything on this site without first becoming liked by other members (winning some popularity). ;-) – user35358 Mar 23 '15 at 4:59
  • @user35358: If you define deleting off-topic spam and nonsense as censorship, then I shrug and say "We 'censor' to maintain quality, by your peculiar definition." – Oddthinking Mar 23 '15 at 5:29
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    If we can't agree on the definitions of "skepticism", there is little value in continuing the discussion as to whether what we do is skepticism. The type of skepticism we apply is defined in the FAQ. The community standards for on-topic is predicated on that definition. – Oddthinking Mar 23 '15 at 5:30
  • If you declined to accept the scientific consensus of appropriate experts as the best we can do in finding the truth, there is really very little meaningful discussion we can have about the world. This doesn't seem a productive conversation. – Oddthinking Mar 23 '15 at 5:30
  • I don't decline to accept scientific consensus -- I just remain skeptical of it and consider the possibility that it can be wrong sometimes. It's completely possible and legitimate to form opinions ("answers") that are contingent upon certain underlying premises (such as the validity of certain scientific experts, articles, etc). Indeed, it would be impossible to do anything or to have any meaningful discussion without accepting any of these premises. But the important part is being consciously aware of what premises have gone into our reasoning. – user35358 Mar 23 '15 at 16:55
  • @user35358 writes "Granted he does refer to someone else's answer" O.K., so you didn't read the sentence properly which was "There appears no shortage of sources for evidence on the numbers killed, see also the excellent answer by RedGrittyBrick above." note I presented the evidence ["killed" was an URL] and then later extended the sentence to refer the reader to RedGrittyBrick's more complete answer. However the facts remain, I did give links to the sources and two more in the last sentence of the paragraph. – Dikran Marsupial Mar 24 '15 at 11:39
7

Skeptics is about following evidence and logic, not popularity. Popularity has nothing to do with what the evidence is.

skeptics tend to be in the minority and are usually questioning the very popular opinion that you're promoting

That is not true. Skeptics are committed to a method, not a particular conclusion. If the method (scientific skepticism) supports a particular viewpoint, that is the one accepted here. Whether it is also the mainstream view is irrelevant.

When we say "skepticism" here, we're talking about scientific skepticism (roughly). I think you're talking about contrarians, rather than skeptics.

  • There is a heavy bias towards the mainstream view due to its popularity. Scientists are not immune to this bias -- by far. Popularity is what makes them experts and gives them credibility to begin with. The difference between a well-respected scientist and a "crackpot" is that the scientist has friends, schools, and the government behind him. If he doesn't support their viewpoints and ideals (which may not be solely the scientific method), then he's unlikely to gain and keep that support. – user35358 Mar 23 '15 at 3:17
  • Two examples to think about: 1) scientists who have been ostracized and discredited because they admitted that they didn't believe in the Holocaust story or in anthropogenic climate change, and 2) scientists who have admitted to manipulating data, or who use scare tactics, and who are still well-thought of or at least not ostracized by their peers. There's a strong pressure in this world not to break the status quo. – user35358 Mar 23 '15 at 3:21
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    Sources please. – Rusty Mar 23 '15 at 3:56
  • Example of a scientist being ostracized for questioning the status quo opinion: en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Germar_Rudolf Examples of scientific misconduct: en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Scientific_misconduct (Think about all those that haven't been caught.) According to this study, 2-15% of scientists may falsify research: journals.plos.org/plosone/article?id=10.1371/… Finally, how about the public presentation of data by "scientists" -- is it held to the same standards as journal articles? en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Hockey_stick_controversy – user35358 Mar 23 '15 at 4:36
  • Now, I'm sure you can find a way to discredit anything if you want to badly enough -- maybe quote some experts who say that scientists are infallible machines, for example -- but I hope you'll rather stop and think about why scientists couldn't be wrong and politically motivated and under what circumstances we'd be wrong to place too much trust in them. I hope you'll think about all the ways that they could be biased by popularity and the mainstream rather than simply reject the thought. That's skepticism. Defending your existing viewpoint to the death is the opposite of skepticism. ;-) – user35358 Mar 23 '15 at 4:38
  • @user35358 - being a scientist doesn't increase the value of your opinion. It's the testing of ideas that is relevant to a skeptic. And while I suspect most here would consider laws banning Holocaust denial to be atrocious, it's a peculiarity of Germany, not some broader conspiracy across the world. Furthermore, a scientist dedicated to finding truth doesn't join a society whose sole purpose is to assert a particular worldview. Meanwhile, scientific misconduct does happen... but the skeptic doesn't assume every uncertain result must be misconduct, they ask for evidence of misconduct. – Glen O Apr 11 '15 at 4:32
  • The skeptic doesn't assume that there must be something wrong with a study because its conclusion seems counterintuitive - it asks whether there is something wrong, and looks to see if any empirical evidence contradicts it. Skepticism is the healthy questioning of assumptions and conclusions, not the automatic questioning of any "mainstream" idea just because it's popular. It's driven by empirical evidence, not by a position or extrapolation from other situations. Skepticism doesn't even pay attention to popularity or mainstream-ness, it asks for the evidence. – Glen O Apr 11 '15 at 4:35
  • Those who assert that the claim should be put under extra scrutiny because it's popular or mainstream aren't skeptics, they're cynics, contrarians, or hipsters (depending on context). You mention the infamous 'hockey stick' - did you read through the whole wikipedia article? Because it covers scientific response to it. What the PR people say is irrelevant to skeptics - we don't listen to Al Gore, or to Michael Moore, or to Republican legislature, or to religious organisations, except where appropriate (and scientific information doesn't come from any of those sources). – Glen O Apr 11 '15 at 4:41
2

Obligatory reference (Larian is one of our mods)

enter image description here

This site is actually the opposite of what you would like.

  • We do not like opinions, mainstream or not.
  • We represent mostly the current mainstream evidence. We expect evidence, and hate theories, opinions and speculation.
  • We do not represent niche points of view unless they have valid evidence. Like opinions.
  • We don't really care we might be wrong. We don't claim to be right in the first place! "Right" or "wrong" are opinions, which, you guessed it, we don't like. Verifiable evidence is what it is.

The problem with your standpoint is that you ask us to not apply skepticism equally. Not all opinions are born equal. Mainstream theories generally have evidence behind them. Competing theories generally do not. Most of them are wrong, and, by consequence, can't have concrete believable evidence...

We apply skepticism equally to all sides, and that is why we only accept evidence-based answers. We have no problem having answers who reach different conclusions, as long as there's evidence and the answers tries its best to be objective. We describe the evidence, we don't have to "take a side" if things are unclear. Of course, cherry-picking evidence is also not going to win anyone friends here.

Regarding historical questions: we present the evidence we have. If there's evidence of alternative possible historical scenarios, that's what you'll get here... unfortunately when there are two opinions:

  1. The mainstream one (this one has actual evidence)
  2. The alternative one (this one has no believable evidence).

In this case we will only accept "1" and not "2".

  • The problem is that "current mainstream evidence" is heavily biased by popular opinion, as I've described in the other comments here. So basically what this site boils down to is a very limited form of skepticism within a framework that is accepted by mainstream opinion ("science", "experts", "evidence", "crackpots", etc). Skepticism of that framework itself is, ironically, not tolerated here. Therefore, [skeptics] is a poor name for this stackexchange. – user35358 Mar 23 '15 at 16:48
  • @user35358 evidence is evidence. It's not normally fake or biased. If you don't accept evidence, then what would you accept? – Sklivvz Mar 23 '15 at 16:56
  • That evidence is "not normally faked or biased" is your opinion: "Evidence isn't normally faked, therefore I don't have to be skeptical of it." My own opinion is that evidence is likely occasionally fake and quite often biased. I still accept evidence, but I remain skeptical of it and don't write off any opinions or claims simply because they don't have "evidence". As I said, science is a closed community, so it's not as open and unbiased as some would like to believe. – user35358 Mar 23 '15 at 18:20
  • P.S. - See my comments above for examples of scientific misconduct and of scientists who were discredited simply because they try to apply scientific method to things that were against popular opinion. The scientific community is indeed closed and heavily influenced/controlled/regulated/biased by popular opinion. I wonder how many have had their reputations ruined for being too scientifically-minded. Then we have "scientists" who lobby with scare charts and carefully selected data who are clearly being biased and the world is OK with that and even gives awards and increases their reputation... – user35358 Mar 23 '15 at 18:35
  • Please move this to Skeptics Chat. – Sklivvz Mar 23 '15 at 18:42

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