Thursday, March 13, 2008

I'm quickly becoming a fan of Captain Disillusion. He's clever, thorough and entertaining, as I think this clip exposing the "Haiti UFO" demonstrates:

There's just one thing about this post that annoys the hell out of me: the fearless Captain repeatedly misuses the word "skeptic," assuming it's synonymous with "debunker." (And even this would be a mistake, as legitimate debunking entails exposing hoaxes and misconceptions that really are bogus, not subscribing to the convenient fiction that anything "weird" must invariably yield to mundane explanations.) In any case, authentic skeptics aren't automatically "anti-UFO," as Captain Disillusion seems to think.

Sure, pop skepticism has been hijacked by thinly veiled zealots like the SETI Institute's Seth Shostak and the Skeptic Society's Michael Shermer. But just because you proclaim yourself a skeptic doesn't necessarily make UFOs go away -- or "ghosts," for that matter. Despite the efforts of committed would-be debunkers, there are scads of UFO cases that remain not only unsolved but stubbornly bizarre -- one reason I like Paul Kimball's recent "Best Evidence," a UFO documentary that presents ten such cases for the viewer to puzzle over (or ignore, depending on one's bias).

I'll leave you with links to Dan Drasin's "Zen and the Art of Debunkery" and my own "Skeptics, Debunkers and Believers." You make the call.

In the meantime, let's hope Captain Disillusion learns the difference -- and continues to make great videos.


Bruce Duensing said...

Captain Dillusion is in the delusion of consensus illusion which leads to the the conclusion to his collusion with the phenomenon that is confusin.

Anonymous said...

Of course this should be sung to the tune of "I'm a lumberjack and it's okay I work all night and I sleep all day" by the Python brothers especially young Monty.

Anonymous said...

The Navigator bit was cute :)


Bruce Duensing said...

I was thinking rap but that will do.
I was thinking of the irony that the digital age has progressed to where the more accurate the technology becomes, the more illusive it is to discern proof from truth. The entire field is apparently arranged to be viewed as an edict based upon circumstantial evidence in relation to consensus reality. Bad fit.

W.M. Bear said...

The true skeptic is skeptical of his skepticism and delights in debunking the debunkers. This is what separates us true skeptics from the Seth, Shermer, and Amazingly Randy One types.