Friday, July 3, 2015

Perpetual Denial of Evidence and Cognitive Dissonance

"People are not stupid.
They believe things for reasons. The last way for skeptics to get the
attention of bright, curious, intelligent people is to belittle or
condescend or to show arrogance toward their beliefs." - Carl Sagan

PseudoSkeptics are always saying, "There's no evidence for any paranormal or psychic phenomena" no matter how much
evidence is shown to them. That's because this statement is a religion
to them, not an objective statement. So no matter what evidence you give
them, they will always deny it and raise the bar, simply because "there
is no evidence" is a fixed belief to them.

So, if you give them stories and experiences,
even from credible sources, they will reject it as "anecdotal" and
inadmissible as evidence. If you give them scientific studies that show
positive results for psi, they will argue that those studies did not
have proper controls (since, if they did, they'd only get chance
results, so their fixed logic goes). And they will argue that the
studies must be replicable. Then when you show them replicated studies
(e.g. Ganzfeld), they will raise the bar again
and argue it was not replicated enough times (until a debunker
disproves it is what they mean), ad infinitum. So no matter how many
stories or replicable research studies you cite, it's NEVER enough.
There is no clear bar to meet to qualify as "real evidence" to them,
because essentially, there is NO EVIDENCE in their mind, thus there is
no real criteria to be met. That gives them the license to deny ad
infinitum. It's like playing a shady game of three shells with a con
artist. You can never win because the conclusion has already been
decided from the get go. That's what makes these Pseudoskeptics
dishonest and not what they claim at all.

But the reality is that for some common paranormal
phenomenon such as ESP, there is plenty of long standing evidence of
both types - anecdotal and scientific. Controlled scientific experiments
have yielded positive results for ESP for many years. From the 1930's
with JB Rhine, to the current day with Dr. Charles Tart, Dr. Gary Schwartz, Rupert Sheldrake,
and many other scientists, positive and consistent results for psi have
been found to exist far above chance under controlled conditions. And
series of psi experiments that have been repeated for years known as The Ganzfeld Experiments, Autoganzfeld Experiments and PEAR (Princeton Engineering Anomalies Research) have yielded  statistically significant and consistent results above chance as well.

In addition, the anecdotal and experiential
evidence is overwhelming.  Studies show that at least half the
population of the world has had paranormal experiences, and according to the National Science Foundation, "60% of American either AGREE or STRONGLY AGREE that some people either possess psychic abilities or extrasensory perception".
That's A LOT, no doubt.  Common sense would tell you that if half the
people in the world have experienced something, then it's pretty much
certain that there's something to it other than fraud,
misperception and fantasy, especially since a good number of these
experiencers include credible down-to-earth people as well.  Likewise,
large percentage of people of all types from all walks of life have
experienced ghosts too.

So you see, the evidence for such common paranormal phenomena is huge.  As Parapsychologist Author Dean Radin has said, the evidence for psi is so solid and robust that if the same quality of evidence existed for something non-paranormal, it would definitely have been accepted as proven.  But because the paranormal
is considered taboo in the scientific establishment, there is a sort of
censorship and knowledge filtration toward it.  There is an automatic
negative stigma and bias toward it that assumes that only crackpots
believe in such things.  So any scientist who openly supports the
legitimacy of paranormal phenomena seriously jeopardizes their career and image among their colleagues.  Thus, most scientists who believe in some paranormal
phenomena will not declare it publicly, but become close enthusiasts. 
Mr. Radin discovered this, as many scientists confided in him their
secret unofficial interest and belief that some of the paranormal is real.

Even in regard to UFO's, there is plenty of
evidence for them of several types.  UFO photos and videos are
controversial and vague of course, but many credible eyewitnesses,
including Air Force Pilots and Astronauts, have seen them.  They've also
been tracked on radar doing
aerial maneuvers that man-made aircraft could not do.  (And as you know,
hallucinations do not appear on radar.)  In one famous official
incident known as the Washington Merry Go Round Incident of 1952, jet fighters were scrambled to intercept UFO's after they had been tracked
on radar.  Afterward, to quell public panic, the incident was quickly
dismissed though never fully explained.  Nevertheless, something
significant happened to trigger the alarm and scrambling of fighters,
and it wasn't "zero evidence" for sure.   But if you think that UFO
evidence is strictly confined to obscure sightings, think again.  The famous Bentwaters UFO Incident that occurred on an American military base in England in 1980 involving two dozen military witnesses, including Colonel
Halt, of an up-close UFO sighting, remains an undebunked and compelling
case.  And after years of extensive investigations and interviews with
Alien Abductees by Budd Hopkins and John Mack, who wrote books on the phenomenon, they concluded that there was more to the abduction experience than mere hallucination or sleep paralysis.  In addition, public coalitions such as The Disclosure Project
have brought forth a large pool of high ranking government, military
and intelligence officials and insiders, over 400 currently, who have
confessed to personal knowledge of government involvement with UFO's and
ET technology, and the cover ups and secrecy surrounding it. See videos of their testimonies at press conferences here:

Now, that's certainly NOT "zero evidence"! To watch some compelling films about UFO's, see James Fox's Out of the Blue and I Know What I Saw which you can see on YouTube.

Nevertheless, pseudoskeptics who claim to
only want evidence continue to declare that "there is no evidence" when
they get plenty of it from credible sources.  Obviously, they are in a
state of perpetual denial and cognitive dissonance.
They deny and filter out anything that doesn't fit into their
materialistic reductionistic view of reality, especially anything that
has to do with paranormal or conspiracies, no matter what evidence is presented, even if its documented and scientific.  One thing they are they not open to is possibilities.  Any possibility that challenges the views of the establishment is simply not possible to
them, even if the claims of the establishment  itself are not
scientific or contradicted by facts.  It doesn't even have to be paranormal,
it can be ANYTHING that opposes the official version of events,
including conspiracies and lies by corrupt government officials or even
the existence of shadow governments (which were acknowledged to exist in
the 80's with the Iran Contra Scandal).  Thus, their bias and blind
faith in authority as dogma is revealed.

Even if a highly credible source with a long history of accuracy suddenly makes a paranormal
claim or a claim against an established view, they automatically
dismiss it as bunk before even looking into it.  If they do look into
it, it will not be to learn the truth about it, but to debunk it.  They
will even deny evidence from scientific experiments as well.  All the
while, they tout, "Show me the evidence.  Where's the evidence?"  Yet
when they are shown the evidence, they merely dismiss it or ignore it,
acting as though they heard nothing, then go back to repeating that
there's no evidence.  I've seen them do this for years, in the media, on
websites, in forum discussions, and on my own mailing list.  It's as
though they were deaf and totally belief oriented, seeing only what they
want to see.

The problem for pseudoskeptics is that their denial and cognitive dissonance does NOT erase the evidence from reality.
It may erase it from their own minds, but it does not the erase the
evidence itself.  Thus, it can be said that they are deluded and do not
face up to reality.

Some examples of pseudoskeptics' denial of evidence and cognitive dissonance:

  • If a psychic or medium gets an amazing hit,
    either something highly unusual and specific that doesn't apply to
    everyone or a deep dark secret about you that no one knows, which could
    NOT have been due to cold reading or guessing, then it means nothing to
    the pseudoskeptics, who will say that it must have been a lucky guess,
    or due to fraud or your own faulty memory, because no one has psychic
  • If witnesses experiences a ghost, they must
    have been hallucinating, have an active imagination, or lying.  Ghosts
    don't exist, so it must have been something else.
  • If people see UFO's, including trained Air
    Force Pilots and Astronauts, then they must have misidentified natural
    phenomenon, because alien ships don't exist, at least not near Earth. 
    And this is so even if radar picked up objects performing maneuvers
    impossible for man-made aircraft.
  • If psychic abilities are demonstrated under
    controlled conditions (e.g. PEAR, Ganzfeld, SRI), then there must have
    been flaws in the protocols or lack of controls, because psychic
    abilities are not possible.  Pseudo-skeptics then demand repeatability
    and peer review.  But when they get that, they then ask for more
    repeatability, from skeptical scientists as well.  The bar is
    continually raised until a skeptical scientist finds or imagines any
    flaw in the experiments and declares them debunked.  Only then are they
    satisfied.  Clearly, they only want a particular result (only chance
    results), not the truth.  If it doesn't get debunked, then they accuse
    the experimentors of improper controls or deceit, as Randi is infamous
    for doing.
  • They claim that no psi study that shows
    positive results has ever been published in credible scientific
    journals.  Yet when they are shown citations that they have, they simply
    become deaf and ignore them.  Then they have the nerve to simply repeat
    their lie again, as if they never even heard you!  This is very
    infuriating and dishonest
  • If a resuscitated patient has an NDE or OBE
    where he/she sees details that they could not have known about, then it
    must have been lucky guesses or unconscious memories, because there is
    no soul that can leave the body..
  • Even if a non-paranormal claim simply
    challenges the official story, it is denied and dismissed. For example,
    all vast the evidence in the JFK Assassination pointing to more than one
    gunman is automatically dismissed and denied, no matter how strong it
    is, despite the fact that the House Select Committee on Assassinations
    concluded back in the late 70's that "President Kennedy was probably
    killed as a result of a conspiracy."  Yet when some author publishes a
    book supporting the lone assassin theory that distorts the facts, lies
    and obfuscates the issues, the skeptics are quick to praise it without
    any objective open review, for it supports their view. 
  • Likewise, when thermite/thermate chemical
    residues are found in the World Trade Center dust from 9/11 by
    scientists through scientific means, which constitute hard forensic
    evidence, the pseudoskeptics simply ignore it, because it goes against
    the official 9/11 story therefore it can't exist.  Or they look for ways
    to explain it away, using even the most improbable assumptions.  Even
    when key witnesses at Ground Zero such as William Rodriguez testify that
    they heard huge booming explosions coming from the BASEMENT level of
    the World Trade Center Towers, and occured BEFORE the planes hit the
    towers, totally contradicting the official story, they completely ignore
    and censor it out of their heads.  In fact, all the compelling evidence
    presented by on their site and videos that makes sense
    to open-minded people is completely ignored and dismissed because simply
    put, if it contradicts the official version, then it must be false.
    That is NOT skepticism, science or open-minded investigation at all,
    period, but blind-fanaticism.
Here is an interesting example of denial of evidence.  I found this blog
which misrepresented what SCEPCOP is about, labeling it "kooky" as
well.  So when I tried to clear up her misunderstanding, she replied
that she just wanted to see evidence, that's all, insinuating that no
one so far had been able to give her any evidence for any paranormal or
psychic phenomena.  She even wrote in her blog, "If SCEPCOP wants to be taken seriously, all they need to do is present some evidence for the paranormal."
This requirement was a sinch, so to get her informed me and other
SCEPCOP folks sent her a host of links, resources, books and videos with
the evidence she asked for.  In response she became overwhelmed and
went to the JREF forum to ask how she can dismiss so much evidence being
directed at her, thus demonstrating that her true agenda was not that
of an open minded truth seeker, but of confirmation bias, seeking only
that which supported her belief, or disbelief, in anything paranormal,
regardless of facts or evidence. That was a bit deceptive of course, but
it's typical behavior of pseudoskeptics to claim one thing and do another.

Here are her exact words on the JREF forum, revealing her true agenda and mindset:

  • "Phew I'm glad there's a thread about this
    here! I have a blog and I made a post about SCEPCOP awhile back...they
    recently found it and a bunch of them have started making massive
    comments on it, so many LINKS!!! They even made a thread about me on
    their forum, which I was stupid enough to's exhausting reading
    the threads there so I have no desire to go back.

  • Maybe you guys could help me out with
    something...they've been giving me all of this "evidence" and
    recommending books etc. but I have no inclination to read it. They've
    said that I'm not being skeptical because I haven't looked at their
    stuff and because I won't read the books...really it's because it bores
    me...but they say in order to be truly skeptical or whatever I have to
    look at everything, and I know that's not true, it's ridiculous that
    they would expect that of me, but how can I respond to this???"

She later admitted that she had no interest
in examining the evidence after all, and so didn't feel like investing
the time in it.  So you might be wondering, why did she ask for evidence
then if she wasn't interested in it?  That makes no sense of course, is
illogical and does not compute.  But then again, pseud-skeptics are not
about logic or making sense, but about faith based disbelief and

Afterlife researcher Victor Zammit, a SCEPCOP committee member and author of A Lawyer Presents the Case for the Afterlife, explains the psychology behind the Pseudoskeptic's cognitive dissonance:

"1. Psychology: Rationalization through Cognitive Dissonance

Let's borrow a page from traditional
psychology. When a skeptic receives information - say, scientific proof
for the afterlife - which is fundamentally inconsistent with his or her
entrenched cherished beliefs, the skeptic tries to rationalize his/her
beliefs to reduce and to offset the intense biological, emotional and
mental anxiety. The intense anxiety is created by the information that
the afterlife exists.

The skeptic's mind tries to resist and
reject this new information (even if the information is the absolute
truth) - hence the cognitive (the mind) 'dissonance' - between the new
information - (i.e., the positive evidence for the afterlife) and the
skeptic's own personal beliefs that the afterlife cannot exist.

Closed-minded skepticism is extremely
difficult to shift because his/her skepticism is 'electrically wired'
into the skeptic's neurological, psychological, intellectual and
emotional belief system. Thus with absolute certainty, this skeptic
inexorably loses all sense of empirical equanimity.

Then the skeptic tries to rationalize
his/her own personal beliefs and will try to rubbish, denigrate, dismiss
and destroy the new information (including scientific proof of some
psychic phenomenon) which gives the skeptic a lot of intense anxiety.
This skeptic cannot allow his lifelong deeply cherished beliefs against
an afterlife to be proved wrong, to be totally incorrect. So this
skeptic will use every trick, every bit of energy and every means to try
to rationales i.e., to reduce cognitive dissonance. She will defend her
skepticism and ridicule and viciously attack any positive evidence for
the afterlife - which is causing the anxiety to the skeptic. I repeat,
all sense of scientific objectivity will be lost."