Positive skepticism…involves much more than the negative disposal of false claims. In fact, the word "skeptic" comes from the Greek skeptikos, for "thoughtful." According to the Oxford English Dictionary, "skeptical" has also been used to mean "inquiring," "reflective," and, with variations in the ancient Greek, "watchman" or "mark to aim at."
…Positive skepticism is a way of thinking that leads to deeper understanding, and it is a vital tool in the science kits of practicing scientists… there is more than one way to be spiritual in this world… spirituality is the quest to know the place of our spirit within the deep time of evolution and the deep space of the cosmos… In skepticism we have two canonical sayings: "Extraordinary claims require extraordinary evidence" and "Keep an open mind, but not so open that your brains fall out."
The skeptical fences are there for a reason – to keep the borderlands of science from shading too far into pseudoscience, non-science, and nonsense. For every Copernicus, Newton, and Einstein, there were a thousand cons, cranks, and quacks with their revolutionary theories that turned out to be flummery and flapdoodle. The Power of Positive Skepticism:
By this definition, of positive skepticism, I have been a skeptic all my life, but as it turns out, I have not been skeptical enough. Hence, I have just had the rug pulled from underneath me AGAIN in discovering another fake guru in the New Age world. Again, I did not pay much attention to the character, but was enamoured with their "research". I assumed that it had all been vetted by others. What's more since the first book in a series was published by a major US publishing house, I thought I was on safe territory. Again wrong. I have a few books, but in checking for research references, they are suspiciously missing, others have struggled to find anything either. Sigh! I am wondering how much more of this I can take.
OK, after Climategate, which has exposed some extremely dubious scientific mythmaking, bordering on outright fraud, maybe the perspective to take is that we are in final vestiges of a dark age, the light of truth eventually shows up deceit but I am still disappointed. I actually don't want to write about people with Narcissistic Personality Disorder, it's been done elsewhere, but this is the explanation for people who can create brilliant and elaborate systems of lies and then maintain the illusion for decades. Even when some realise straight away that the devised system is false, the "think positive" mentality of many overides objections by more critical thinkers, hence the bandwagon starts to roll and the system of lies is replicated like a virus.
I suppose the more fakes and frauds I discover, the more it becomes obvious why when we are experiencing the greatest transition in the history of mankind -- another lifeform appearing on mass is a major deal -- there is a rather suspicious silence from the New Age community.
The truth has been told but it can be compared to an orchestra with lots of people playing different compositions. An orchestra has many different instruments playing different parts and together we hear a coherent musical composition, but if some are playing completely different compositions then the effect is a racket, disharmonious and not worth listening too. What's more, some people are getting huge amplification and the music being played is simply variations on a theme.
In my search for truth and to help myself understand what happened with James Ray, I found some true skeptics and I read what they had to say and compared it to my own experiences of sociopaths that I have come across. I believe the impact has been to destroy some of my bad programming that amounted to taking responsibility for the behaviour of sociopaths, psychopaths, malignant narcissists and predators. The belief that we can discern at all times, ultra devious types that are so clever that they can fool trained professionals is laughable. For me, it's been about dealing with my assumptions and realising that the most successful devious types blend truth with lies, hence it can be continuous hard work sorting this out, work that most people are not prepared to do. As a researcher, covering many different subjects in order to come up with 'The Big Picture', it's a hard hard slog trying to work out the truth when others have specialised and spent many years perfecting their arguments. Spotting mistakes or deliberate storytelling and falsehood, is a slow and thankless task, especially when many are less interested in accuracy and prefer entertaining or being entertained.
Susan Joy Rennison
12th March 2010