Are tulpas fake?

Pseudo-skeptics

And those who are with him
are tough on the unbelievers,
yet merciful to one another.
Quran, sura 48, verse 29

Web of lies are sold as truth. That’s always been there. Today this is done particularly effectively via the Internet, where the classic gatekeepers are missing: the journalists and moderators. The conspiracy theorists may still be easy to see through, but it is more difficult with the self-proclaimed “skeptics” who see themselves as guardians of “scientific truth”. What appears to them to be untrue is rejected.

Skepticism means doubt and not rejection. Critics who take a negative instead of an agnostic point of view and who nevertheless call themselves “skeptics” use this title simply to take advantage of it. In reality, they are pseudo-skeptics. This is how a co-founder and later dissident of the skeptic movement sees it: MarcelloTruzzi.

To get in the mood for the cultural environment of these people, we look at the vocabulary that these supposed skeptics use against the way of thinking they despise and fight: bullshit, nonsense, weakness, stupid, stupid, oath. That's malice - not very funny; I took the words from the relevant blog.

We can already see from this: there are “those in there”, those are the owners of truth, and “those out there”, to whom one really has to show their stupidity. This attitude goes hand in hand with a flawless self-image and behavior that is grossly contrary to the self-image; What is striking is the aggression that is directed against “those out there” as well as against dissidents within their own ranks.

But let's take it slowly and one after the other. I present the pattern of a club that deceives the public about its true nature. You can mistake the narrative for a caricature or a fiction if it is for your comfort. However, I recommend the skeptical method: look carefully and examine.

The propagated self-image

This is the self-portrayal of the association that I have in mind: Our group is made up of critically thinking people from various professional and social groups. Our fields of work, worldviews and political views are different. However, we all believe that science and critical thinking are more important than ever for the societal challenges of today and tomorrow. We call ourselves skeptics - that is, we view unusual claims with skepticism, but do not reject them prematurely, but check them with recognized scientific methods and the instruments of critical thinking.

This noble project was probably at the beginning of the skeptic movement, founded in 1976 in the USA and 1987 in Germany. Traces of this thinking have persisted to this day. Upright men like Ray Hyman hold the flag high. But overall the movement has moved away from its roots. This led to the departure of some of the founding members - prominent in the USA: Marcello Truzzi; prominent in Germany: Edgar Wunder.

The discrepancy between self-promotion and reality is due to the growing influence of dogmatic atheists. These fanatics have hijacked the label "humanism" for themselves. A German variant of this movement, the Giordano Bruno Foundation, was already mentioned in this web log.

What is left is a tight group, one Community of indignation: Its members know the truth, or at least are close to it. Their outrage applies to all those who are wrong and do not want to learn anything: homeopaths, psi believers, vaccine refusers, astrology believers, right up to those who distrust the blessings of modern agriculture or, more generally, are reserved about the belief in technical progress.

A member of the association expressed his disgust for these backward people and, in his opinion, those living in a delusional state with this Wikipedia quote: “Delusion is a conviction that hinders the way of life, to which the patient persists despite the incompatibility with the objectively verifiable reality. This can lead to impaired judgment. ”He writes:“ I am a skeptic because I hate stupidity ”. This “skeptic” knows “the most important (and perhaps only?) Method to be able to distinguish between true and false”. In his view, it is “critical thinking and allegation verification” that can accomplish this. That, of course, is the method of science. It is about progress in knowledge, but never about the truth.

The community of indignation

The community of indignation only knows inside or outside, friend or foe, black or white. Grays are despicable. Such a group is welded together by custom, strange language or a narrative as they say today. Naturalism offers such a meaningful and community-promoting narrative: “There is only one world, it is uncreated, there is right things going on in it, and we can recognize it.” This narrative provides the “skeptics” with exactly the binding effect that it has into a group, a movement of right-wingers.

The meaningful narrative of naturalism is full of contradictions. As soon as the question of whether our thoughts about the world belong to this world or not, the naturalist falls into a skid, just like the believer in the theodicy problem. But such inconsistencies do not diminish the binding effect of such narratives.

Actually, the content (better: the consistency of the content) of a community-building narrative is irrelevant; all that matters is that everyone in the group follows him. One can explain the striving of some people to admit to a basically absurd story with the Costly Signaling Theory: “Only the truly believers accept such nonsensical impositions. In doing so they prove to each other that they mean business with the group. ”(Der Spiegel 30/2020, pp. 104-106: The Apocalypse after Q)

While preparing for this article, I came across a document in my filing with the title “The Skeptic Syndrome”. This paper by one of the dissidents reminded me of how and when my suspicions about the pseudo-skeptics must have arisen. I don't know when the paper was written. I got my hands on it on April 10, 2013 at the latest, because my comments are from that day.

At that time I was still enthusiastic about these “skeptics” and the sometimes violent criticism of this document aroused my opposition; I take that from my comments at the time. But some of the paper also described quite well the feeling that had gradually crept into me. Today I know that the skeptic syndrome correctly describes the situation in the following points:

  • Most "skeptics" are dogmatic unbelievers when it comes to the paranormal.
  • The own group - at least its hard core - is understood as a conspiratorial community.
  • The own group is always in a fight, internal differences of opinion are perceived as a hindrance.
  • The predominant ingroup-outgroup polarization is that “we” have to compete against “them” and stick together.
  • The common indignation at something is felt to be particularly community-building.
  • It's always about “true” or “false”.
  • These “skeptics” hardly start from open questions, but rather from fixed answers.
  • If anything is investigated at all, then it is relatively easy to debilitate and already very questionable cases, for example the obvious charlatanism in the esoteric area.
  • For many members it is a matter of winning over their already established convictions and prejudices in the social security group, and of having them confirmed socially by a group.
  • The “skeptics” tend to grasp their subject area very broadly and also to extend it to questions of religion and belief.
  • They have got used to always emphasizing their "fundamental openness", but possible findings that contradict their belief system are hardly seriously considered.
  • The target group of the association's publications are skeptical people in the sense of the association. The target group definitely does not include people who cannot be assumed to switch to the “skeptical camp”. The editors always have to ensure that only the “correct” opinions and information in the sense of the “skeptic” appear in the magazine and, if there are any deviating opinions, they are only commented “skeptically”.
  • The skeptic movement cannot be reformed for structural reasons.
  • By Purges the questioning of the group identity is prevented.

These characterizations, which can already be called historical and are still valid, expose the alleged “critical thinking” of this community as an empty advertising phrase.

The ideology

A dogmatist is someone who is looking for a reason for his worldview and who evades the infinite regress or circular reasoning by setting an unquestionable ground.

The dogmatism of the German skeptic movement is based on that Naturalism. The only stupid thing is that skepticism and dogmatism just don't go together - they form a pair of opposites. As a result, the “skeptics” also object. The following passages from the most recent work of the leading dogmatist make it clear that my judgment is justified and that the “skeptics” do not deserve this label.

"Metaphysical naturalism [is] neither dogmatic, nor does it represent any choice or position: we must presuppose it because it alone establishes the possibility and success of the scientific method in a coherent and systematic manner." The dogmatism becomes even clearer in the final chapter ( “Conclusion”): “The metaphysical naturalism is a necessary condition of the real sciences. In this respect it is non-negotiable. "

Describing what is and in the same breath denying it - that is a prime example of rabidism. The fact is that naturalism serves to justify and evaluate the activities of the association; that is what makes naturalism Ideology. In any case, that is not skepticism, no matter what type of game.

The staff

An ideologically founded organization needs committed leadership. Voluntary work cannot do that. The chairman retains the role of breakfast director. He takes care of the friendly face of the club.

A permanent management is necessary for the tight regiment. This implements its agenda and does not care about legitimation through statutes or majority resolutions. She uses the specially created instruments of control and power.

The managing director of the association, a fanatical dogmatist, is the ideological driving force. He holds all the business-relevant threads firmly in hand. The mail traffic runs through it. Before forwarding them to the board of directors or advisory board, he already inserts his comments into the letters in order to prevent these representatives elected by the association from getting wrong ideas. This is how I imagine the work of totalitarian regimes.

"Critical thinking", conjured up in the association's mission statement, doesn't have the slightest chance. Should a member of the community, otherwise regarded as quite docile, give a slightly different opinion, his ears will be pulled out by the manager. A seasoned university professor was humiliated after such an offense with this remark disguised as a joke: "I would like to see an extra portion of ash on your head tomorrow on Ash Wednesday!" The scientist apologized - like a scolded acolyte.

There is a magazine and a blog in this paradigmatic association. Their chief reporter has little to do with science and ideology, but much with the outrage against those who think differently. His specialties are malice and contempt, which he apparently confuses with humor. Among other things, he invokes the “unchangeable laws of nature” for his attacks. He counters the objection that the idea of ​​unchangeable natural laws is ultimately a matter of faith with: "Sure, I'll have a break soon, I'll jump off the fourth floor - I'm sure that gravity is only a matter of faith."

Anyone who dares to criticize the given direction is a troll, a pester, a wrong-way driver. He is bullied. The bite dogs are responsible for this job. Anyone who joins this internal discussion group and criticizes the given direction quickly notices who belongs to this pack. He will run away. Order is then restored.

I repeat, you can think of this as a caricature. This is your business. I recommend skepticism: look carefully and check - without prejudice.

This post was filed under humanism, skepticism, science and pseudoscience and tagged fanaticism, conspiracy theories. Set a Bookmark the permalink.