Thursday, October 10, 2013

Wikipedia, Rupert Sheldrake, Susan Gerbic and Guerrilla Skepticism: The online methods for Wikipedia control of pseudoskeptics and atheist ideologues. The need for guerrilla anti-pseudoskepticism

 Susan Blackmore with Susan Gerbic in a "guerrilla skepticism" combat posture... do you dare to fight them? Intimidating, isn't it?

Rupert Sheldrake has recently complained about the manipulation and biased information posed about him in Wikipedia by trained atheists and "skeptics":
This summer, soon after the TED controversy, a commando squad of skeptics captured the Wikipedia page about me. They have occupied and controlled it ever since, rewriting my biography with as much negative bias as possible, to the point of defamation. At the beginning of the “Talk” page, on which editorial changes are discussed, they have posted a warning to editors who do not share their biases: “A common objection made by new arrivals is that the article presents Sheldrake’s work in an unsympathetic light and that criticism of it is too extensive or violates Wikipedia’s Neutral Point of View policy.” Several new arrivals have indeed attempted to restore a more balanced picture, but have had a bewildering variety of rules thrown at them, and warned that they will be banned if they persist in opposing the skeptics.
...The Guerrilla Skeptics are well trained, highly motivated, have an ideological agenda, and operate in teams, contrary to Wikipedia rules... They have already seized control of many Wikipedia pages, deleted entries on subjects they disapprove of, and boosted the biographies of atheists. 
As the Guerrilla Skeptics have demonstrated, Wikipedia can easily be subverted by determined groups of activists, despite its well-intentioned policies and mediation procedures. Perhaps one solution would be for experienced editors to visit the talk pages of sites where editing wars are taking place, rather like UN Peacekeeping Forces, and try to re-establish a neutral point of view. But this would not help in cases where there are no editors to oppose the Guerrilla Skeptics, or where they have been silenced.
If nothing is done, Wikipedia will lose its credibility, and its financial backers will withdraw their support. I hope the noble aims of Wikipedia will prevail.
Instrumental in this "guerrilla skepticism" approach is "skeptic" Susan Gerbic (who's the co-founder of Monterey County Skeptics). In this talk, you can wacth Gerbic explaining the methods of this approach.

As a rule, "skeptics" and atheists are highly motivated.  They create a lot of websites, manipulate the google search machine in order to get the better positions about paranormal or fringe topics or alternative medicine and other unorthodox proposals (just write, for example, "applied kinesiology" and you will get the "quackwatch" entry about it in good positions; or write "Dean Radin" and you'll find some skeptical websites in good positions too).
Greg Taylor, of the Daily Grail, complains: "Personally I'm not sure what the solution is..." and me either, but here some possible suggestions for blocking such atheistic pseudoskeptical strategy.

Guerrilla anti-pseudoskepticism

1-Understand Jime's Iron Law

I'm sorry to suggest such self-centred advice, but I'm sure that we cannot handle atheists and skeptics if we ignore their mindset. It is key to understand their worldview and how it affects their  psychology and moral integrity.
We are not dealing with the "normal", next-door guy sort of people, but with people with their cognitive faculties severely affected and strongly biased in the direction of strong hostility towards God as the ultimate spiritual reality and (as consequence) towards any topic which are suggestive of such trascendent spiritual reality (spirits, "energies", aftelife, souls, spiritual laws, intelligent design in the universe, etc.).

Emotionally, we're dealing (in many cases) with extremely hostile and angry people, since they (tipically) come from some religious background in their early years (mainly Christianity), and left it with strong resentment and negative feelings of vengance. They have an axe to grind against anything connected with religion.

When they direct such negative feelings against you, you get the harsh "treatment" that Sheldrake has received. They will try to destroy you.

Their ultimate project is destroying belief in God and religion (their attack of the paranormal is a secondary byproduct of it, because parapsychology studies things which have tipically been connected with religion, like the existence of an afterlife, souls, etc.). They're obsessively fixed on this.

If you want to test this claim, just attack the Darwinian theory of evolution, and you'll get the accusation of being a "creationist" (even if you are an atheist!).

2-Understand the true nature of the problem

The problem with "organized skepticism" has to do with a struggle for cultural dominance of competing metaphysical worldviews (basically, atheistic materialism/naturalism vs theism).

Not realizing that the "war" is posed in such terms is to miss the actual nature of the problem.

Atheistic naturalism is comfortably dominant in academic circles, but the overwhelming majority of people on Earth have been and are theists. This is a dilemma unacceptable for atheists.

This is uncomfortable for atheists, since society regards very negatively atheism and atheists. They want to make atheism acceptable in society, and the way to get this (in their minds) is to transfer the atheism of academy to society in general, convincing people that popular beliefs about God, spirits, alternative medicine, morphic fields, ghosts, etc. (all of which are rejected or seen with suspicion by academic atheism) are false.

3-Learn and use the same "guerrilla" methods, against them!

In a war, you cannot be passive. And "guerrilla skepticism" is a kind of informative war whose purpose is to make people, progressively, sympathetic to atheism and naturalism. 

As consequence, the way to block this is to use the same methods against them, specially against atheism and naturalism.

4-Public debates with professional skeptics

Debates are useful because people can hear the best arguments of each side. Moreover, it is easy to expose the skeptic's dishonesty in these exchanges.

Interestingly, parapsychologists have been largely "passive" in this regard. They tend to be largely "defensive", replying to "skeptics" only when the skeptic attacks parapsychology or the character of the researcher (like Sheldrake is doing above). They debate "skeptics" only in academic journals, but in the public's eye the "skeptics" tend to appear as getting the upper hand and talking in the name of science.

Contrast this with Christian/Muslim debaters who rutinarely kick the butts of skeptics and atheists in public debates. With some rare exceptions, it is sure to say that almost no atheist has ever won these debates (as proved by the post-debate cards). The theistic debaters tend to win even in places culturally dominated by or sympathetic to atheism.

Moreover, a lot of "damaging concessions" by professional and leading atheists/skeptics (which expose their irrationality, absurd beliefs, dishonesty and actual views on morality) have been produced in these debates, for example:

If it were not by these dialogues/debates with theists, we didn't know that such atheists believed and have claimed such ridiculous things.

Public debates in universities (posted online: youtube, etc.) are a good oportunity to expose pseudoskeptics.

Sadly, parapsychologists and other "paranormalists" have missed such useful opportunity.

Of all these suggestions, I think the last one (public debates) is the most effective in undermining the credibility of atheists/skeptics in the eyes of the public in general, and blocking/destroying their agenda of preaching atheistic naturalism to society.

Skeptics are a very tiny minority. It would be very stupid to us to allow these individuals to control society.

Perhaps we have to reflect a little more and think hard about the insights of modern empiricist philosopher Francis Bacon (who alse realized the strong atheistic need for getting recognition, what explains their strong motivation and unstopabble debuking efforts):

For none deny, there is a God, but those, for whom it maketh that there were no God. It appeareth in nothing more, that atheism is rather in the lip, than in the heart of man, than by this; that atheists will ever be talking of that their opinion, as if they fainted in it, within themselves, and would be glad to be strengthened, by the consent of others. Nay more, you shall have atheists strive to get disciples, as it fareth with other sects. And, which is most of all, you shall have of them, that will suffer for atheism, and not recant; whereas if they did truly think, that there were no such thing as God, why should they trouble themselves?...