Skeptics breed closed minds. I hate trying to discuss non-physical things with extreme skeptics (I don’t think you are extreme Polycarp, you just reminded me of other people whom I have talked with under that one specific example). Without doing research, they believe that anything paranormal in any way whatsoever does not exist. I can agree with that, but then they assume that everything is false eventhough one type of phenomena was proven false. That is faulty logic if I’ve ever heard it. Look in the Great Debates for Polycarps psychic thread, where we argue completely different things but he basically says I am wrong without actually listening to what I am saying. This version of closemindedness does not work well. I was saying that I read Tarot, but I don’t consider myself psychic. I don’t think the tarot is magical in any type of sense. (I believe that you can make it magickal, but I don’t want to go into a theory of what I think magick is here; although, it is not what most people think magick is. Magick is ritual.) Anyway, back on topic. If you think of it as a device that can give you an opinion that makes sense (interpretive devices can do that) it is not magical. Think about Sister Wendy. She is someone that many people know about. She interprets art. One function of art is to display hidden meanings/emotions/actions et cetera through pictures. Markes perfect sense right. If you put a stream of these pictures together it could make a cohesive thought, but it is how you interpret it that gives it meaning. No, there is not magic in what Sister Wendy does. She knows what she is talking about. With tarot you can do the same thing but apply to specific questions and people. It gives them a fresh perspective on things that they nor the reader necessarily thought about beforehand. Any psychic that tries to get you to pay to remove curses is a con-person. They play on fear. Most of the people whom I know that actually do readings of any kind, do situational readings, like I do. They are not false, nor are they any type of psychic power. It is just a skill that you develop.

BTW, learning to do good tarot readings helps in art history, literature, and English classes. Interpretation is wonderful.


Move over Satan. :wink: Now there’s something meatier.


Sqrl, I refer you to my Pit thread on making assumptions. You might find it (and the thread it refers to) interesting reading!

FTR, I was asking a question, in hopes of provoking a debate. I personally believe in very limited applications of psychic abilities, for the very good reason that I have had a number of apparent psychic phenomena happen to me.

Nor was I casting aspersions on your use of the Tarot for focusing your attempts at self-guidance. My analogy, in fact, was precisely targeted at trying to parallel it.

I have never heard of Sister Wendy, and would ask that you post regarding her, or link to a Website with info on/about/by her.

In fact, I have gotten into quite a bit of hot water in GD for taking stances that the skeptics find irrational, especially as regards the supernatural.

So I find it deliciously ironic to be the butt of a thread you start on skepticism.

I think you were a little hasty here, Sqrlcub. I can’t figure out where you got the idea that Polycarp assumed a psychic powers were BS. (having a lousy day or something?) Poly would be one of the last people I would consider overly close-minded.

“Happiness is nonetheless true happiness because it must come to an end, nor do thought and love lose their value because they are not everlasting.”

  • Bertrand Russell

SqrlCub, you write:

May I diffidently remind that you there is a difference between having an open mind and having a hole in one’s head?
Skeptics are not perfect (that is reserved, I believe, for certain Christians). They make logical and factual mistakes. Sometimes, indeed, they undoubtedly get so tired of dealing with the likes of Contestant #3 that they blow people off. However, their track record is a darn sight better than that of mystics.
I do not know how your posts get onto this board, but, for the sake of argument, I shall assume that it is in the same way mine do; i.e., a computer with a web browser is used. Now, that computer and web browser imply a certain theory of materials, and a structure of mathematical logic, that recede, step by step, into that morass that we dismissively describe as “science”. None of the pieces are isolated; perhaps two hundred years, one could have gotten away with making such a statement, but no longer. Science is a seamless garment that meshes imperceptibly with reality.
Now, if it can be shown that so-disant “psychic powers” are compatible with this web of fact and deduction, I will believe. Indeed, if it can merely be shown that there is evidence, albeit not conclusive, I will look. But, when it is asked of me to take as a matter of faith something that completely contradicts that long- and carefully-developed picture of the universe, I will simply ask, “What about this computer?”, and, whilst the credulous fool asked that question is still scratching his head, walk quietly away at my normal pace.

Maybe so, I was not posting about Polycarp per se, I was posting about skeptics in general and gave Polycarp as an example because he was the person who reminded me of the skeptic mentality. He was by no means as severe as I have been forced to endure in the past. I was actually talking about skeptics in general and unfortunately I used Polycarp as an example. I like him and think he is a knowledgeable and interesting poster. He always posts interesting topics. (strokes Poly’s ego) I stand by what I said, but it is meant to go out to all the skeptics in the world not Poly in particular.

And since this is the Pit, you are a stinky doody head, who likes Small Wonder the website of evil.


Move over Satan. :wink: Now there’s something meatier.

"And the wizard took his magic wand, and with a flourish and gestures with his fingers waved it at the palantir, and lo! images of a place far away appeared.

"And he repeated the gesture numerous times, and there appeared the image of men running, and then a spirit of wisdom spake unto him diverse lore of faraway places, and men bearing swords clashed in deadly duel, and lastly the image of strange beasts appeared within that magic crystal.

“‘Pah!’ spake he. ‘Sixty channels, and nothing worth watching!’”

LOL Polycarp!

Or perhaps Clarke’s Law of Technological Civilization?

Sqrlcub, I consider myself to be a skeptic, but I don’t consider myself close-minded. In fact, I could turn the ‘close-minded’ around and claim that it is the psychics and their friends who are ‘close-minded’ because they refuse to accept the scientific method, and refuse to accept the need to actually be able to prove an extraordinary claim.

I had an argument like this with a psychic one time. She said that psychics and other believers in the paranormal were searchers for the ‘truth’, and her mind was open to any ideas. So I asked her if her search for the truth ever took her near a math or physics textbook. Of course not, becaus HER mind is already closed to believing that the answers are contained therein.

So who is correct? Well, us science weenies actually have a track record of improving the human condition. Why are there no psychic architects? Or psychic power plant engineers? Because in the harsh realities of the physical world where decisions have serious consequences, it takes a discplined, skeptical person to make things work properly and safely. There is no room here for ‘feelings’, or tarot card readings to give you a fresh look at how thick that support beam has to be. It’s hard science.

And you know what? Until these damned skeptics came along with their annoying ‘scientific method’ and demands for ‘proof’ before accepting explanations for things, mankind lived a hellish existence of backbreaking labor and routine early death.

So now the psychics are back in force on late-night TV, and we all have a good laugh about it. We are rich enough now, thanks to the advances of science brought forth by skeptics, that we can afford their little psychic foibles. In the past, reliance on the advice of psychics and other people who refused to use the evidence of science to make their decisions cost people their lives. En masse.

I consider myself a skeptical mystic. I was raised by scientists, yet have had a great deal of experience outside of those rules. At this point, I find that I’m led by my heart, but still apply the rules of logic.

Akatsukami: “science is a seamless garment that meshes imperceptibly with reality”—mighty beautiful poetry, but in whose factory are those garments manufactured? Research is dictated by the needs of those who fund it, so a lot of worthy subjects have been left out or ridiculed. I don’t think it would be a far hike back into the last century to find many currently accepted modes of thought that were once thought of as preposterous. One that comes immediately to mind is the recommendation of one Dr. Ignatz Semmelweiss, who had the gall to suggest that doctors wash their hands(after dissection of corpses) before helping women give birth. Diagnosis: dissrespectful upstart. Outcome: death by banishment from the scientific community. But, now, we all know to wash our hands before coming to the table.

The scientific mode of knowing is one of the glories of the human mind, but it is just that ; our ongoing search to explain things in ways we can comprehend. It would be ignorant to assume that we have mastered an understanding of the universe. Or, at least, I hope that is the case, in light of our inummerable problems in making this a better place to live for all.

For the skeptical mystic, that means pulling at the little thread hanging up the sleeve…

He who skepts last, skepts best.

Hey Akatsukami,

You posted:

“May I diffidently remind that you there is a difference between having an open mind and having a hole in one’s head?”

I read this a couple of times. After I figured out that you transposed the words “you” and “that” I realized that you, like some of the other obnoxious, full of themselves “skeptics” out here were merely taking a swipe at those of us that are opened-minded enough to ponder the questions in this world that traditional science has not yet solved.

As far as “holes in the head” I assume you were insulting me and others because I’m sure that you know that a normally formed human being has multiple holes in their head and that’s not a bad thing.

You further post:

“Indeed, if it can merely be shown that there is evidence, albeit not conclusive, I will look.”

…is that so? People “like” me have provided you and the other readers of this board with at least inconclusive evidence and too often it is dismissed unread out of hand by you skeptics.

I can only conclude that you are in fact, close-minded…totally unwilling to open your mind to anything not pronounced as acceptable by YOUR science gods. That’s Ok…I’m not trying to convert the likes of you.

Contestant #3

Some people believe that people who post lengthy paragraphs without a carriage return nor a topic sentence in sight can be intelligent. But I’m skeptical, I believe they’re morons.

As is so often the case in highly sophisticated debate, true wisdom may be found in the words of Julius Marx:

When taken to a mystic by, as he put it, “an early wife”, Groucho expressed total disbelief in the concept of the hereafter. The meeting was centred around a woman who, once in a trance, welcomed questions of any sort. “What’s the capital of North Dakota?” asked Groucho, before being thrown out.

From “The Marx Brothers Encyclopedia”

Lex Non Favet Delictorum Votis

SqrlCub writes:

What’s the problem? It sounds like SqrlCub and the skeptics (of which I am a mostly lurking one) agree 100% except for confusion about the meaning of words.

Example: SqrlCub says “Tarot works.” Skeptic A says “Tarot DOESN’T work.” The problem is that they apparently don’t agree on what the word “work” means. Skeptic A is saying “There is no magical power of Tarot to give you insight into something you don’t already know, therefore it doesn’t work.” SqrlCub is saying the same thing, and then adds “But, if you use it as a mirror to ask yourself deep questions, you’ll find the answers within yourself - therefore it does work.” Both these statements are absolutely correct.

Even the most hardened skeptic would agree that you can use anything (magic 8-ball, tarot, tea leaves) to get you thinking about stuff, as long as you realize that the answers are coming from your psyche and not from the mystical powers of the magic 8-ball.

Depressed about your divorce? Any card you see will get you to tell yourself something you need to hear. Happy you finally got your GED? The magic 8-ball says “Future promising”.

Just don’t believe it is the spirit of your dead sister Sandy come back to give you advice and you agree 100% with the skeptics.

Oh, and I forgot to add - never use one of these weird-ass mechanisms to make a decision that should be made by logic. Use them only as auto-therapy and you’ll do just fine. What do you think about that definition of ‘works’, SqrlCub?

Contestant #3 spews:

Got it in one, cupcake.

Let me give you a subtle hint, schmuck: when a poorly-written diatribe was debunked before you were a gleam in your mother’s mouth, it is not necessary to do the heavy lifting involved in hauling up the entire Library of Congress to refute it each time you take it in passes for your mind to spew it on to this web site.
elelle writes (in a mode much more worthy of my respect:

The nature of “funding” has changed greatly over the past four centuries, though, as has the amount needed (we may say in respect of the last that all of the easy discoveries have been made). Few, if any, areas have been left without research; indeed, we may say as a general rule that those areas that have not been examined thoroughly are those that have shown no hope of ever replaying their researchers with actual facts.
As an example: in the last century, a fair amount of energy was spent on trying to determine if the human soul has mass. Alas, nothing came of it; for this reason, it is perhaps less well known than research into, say, the highly profitable field of organic chemistry (it was also in the last century that research and experiment showed that “organic” is not synonymous with “biological”).
There might, I agree, be a lesser amount (on a relative, if not an absolute, scale) of time and effort going into unobvious fields of research now. However, I would suggest that this is not merely due to the anticipated paucity of results, but in part due to the current mindset that negative results are invariably a sign of waste.

But that, of course, was not due to revelation, intuition, or a message left coded on an aluminum pyramid by ancient astronauts: it was due to both clinical evidence (women really were dying shortly after childbirth from puerperal fever spread by lack of hygiene by doctors) and scientific research (the germ theory of disease suggested that it was more beneficial for doctors to wash their hands than to, for example, fumigate them with aromatics to ward off curses).
It may be pointed out that truth may certainly be rejected, or falsehood accepted, due to lack of the kind or amount of evidence needed. One example is that of Alfred Wegener’s theory of continental drift. Current-day gulliblites like to point out that his theory, actually correct, was rejected when proposed in favor of dubious hypotheses of “land bridges”. Yet, Wegener was not only unable to explain why continental drifts might occur (and the less the evidence, the more appeals to current theory must be made), but completely misinterpreted the evidence available; he thought that drift speeds were orders of magnitude higher than they are, and actually proposed the basis of the Atlantis legend in a memory of the Americas being with the range of primitive boats (the Atlantis legend was probably made out of whole cloth by Plato, but that’s another story).
I certainly do not insist, as I said previously, that science and skepticism will immediately and invariably come up the correct answer; I merely point out that no other disciplines do any better than we would expect of blind chance.

I think scientists are far more open-minded than the supposedly ‘open-minded’ psychics and their believers. For example, when the meteorite theory of dinosaur extinction came along, most scientists discounted it, or at least paid it little attention. But when hard evidence appeared in the form of iridium in the KT boundary layer, scientists looked at it again, and now it is considered as a leading probable cause.

As I said in another thread, Einstein’s theory of Relativity was accepted remarkably quickly, considering how radically he changed our worldview.

In contrast, the flakes are STILL harping about the Loch Ness Monster and Bigfoot, two phenomena that have long since been proven to have originated through fake movies and photos. Uri Geller gets caught with his hand in the cookie jar, and the true believers attack the people who unmasked him. James Randi offers a million bucks to anyone who can show ANY kind of psychic ability, and it bothers none of the true believers that no one has managed to get the money. In fact, they turn to ad-hominem attacks and spend their energy talking about what a scumbag Randi is.

So who is being open-minded?

Well, I must be one of the close minded ones. I read the OP twice and it makes no sense to me.
What is it that you’re trying to say, Sqrlcub? You admit that Tarot cards are not magical, but you use them for interpetation.
There’s another way of interpeting, without cards. It’s called thinking.

This space for rent.

The direction I was going in my post was the middle ground. It irritates me when those of a scientific bent scoff at all things labeled “majick” or “psychic”. And it irritates me when others feel threatened by scientific method and expect people to just believe things “because they are”.

Examination of all phenomena is to be encouraged, by many different methods. Skepticism helps to examine things thoroughly. I try to be skeptical of my own skepticism, too.

A well developed middle ground can be found in the Tibetan culture. All Shangri-la hoopla aside, the Tibetans have explored the workings of the human mind in a rigorous, disciplined manner, including possibilities that our science tends to dismiss. And with heart, too.

A book I recommend : “MindScience: An East West Dialogue” by The Dalai Lama, Herbert Benson,Robert Thurman, and participants in The Harvard Mind Science Symposium. Wisdom Publications ISBN: 0-86171-066-5

That old right brain-left brain war keeps a-goin’. Here’s to the corpus callosum!

Akassukami scribbles:

“Let me give you a subtle hint, schmuck: when a poorly-written diatribe was debunked before you were a gleam in your mother’s mouth, it is not necessary to do the heavy lifting involved in hauling up the entire Library of Congress to refute it each time you take it in passes for your mind to spew it on to this web site.”

Geesh, talk about poorly written…“gleam in your mother’s mouth”…???..your weak attempts at wit come up short grasshopper and further, isn’t it like an overwhelmed skeptic to exagerate with phrases like “hauling up the entire Library of Congress”…???

The likes of you have not once offered an intelligent response to a single one of my posts. Your mention of my handle in your post was cowardly at best.

…you better call for reinforcements if this is the best you can muster.

Contestant #3