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Ed Lantz

Jon – I see no reason why we cannot have parallel conversations as long as we are not distracted from addressing the points you are making.


You say: “Martin Gardner looked for evidence for claims, and rejected those that did not have it.  That is being “evidence based”, and that’s what it means to be a scientific field.  Being that you called me “closed-minded” for using a dictionary, I’m not sure what basis you are using for calling Martin Garnder “closed minded”.  If  you have evidence of a claim that Martin Gardner rejected, which was later shown to be correct in peer-reviewed journals, then please present it.  Otherwise, you section above sounds like simple name calling.”


Then you go on to say: “Since  you are asking for evidence beyond Gardner, I can supply some as well, though it isn’t necessary.  Feynman also pointed out Bohm’s gullibility, in this article:  http://www.indian-skeptic.org/html/fey2.htm, and you can see plenty of co-presentations by Bohm and charlatans like Krishnamurti, Sheldrake, etc, on sites like this:


With all due respect, it sounds to me like you are now the one who is name-calling 🙂


I have followed Sheldrake for years, and while his theories certainly do not follow the “status quo” of science, he has indeed put forth testable and falsifiable hypotheses – unlike most “new age” philosophers – and I have found his approach to studying unusual phenomena be consistent with the scientific method. He should be praised for this and does not deserve the vitriol that has been directed towards him. Personally, I suspect that he has been targeted so heavily exactly because he is attempting to progress science – real science – in a direction that is quite uncomfortable for skeptics because it challenges their worldview. 


The problem I have with extreme skepticism is that is promotes a faith-based worldview that purports to be scientific but in fact is not.  I found Gardner to be one of the more rational and balanced skeptics, and for the most part I found myself agreeing with him, however he still promoted the smug faith-based certainty of scientism. An honest and open-minded scientist would consider his certainty unjustified and extreme when seriously reviewing the evidence at hand.


Colin Wilson said it better then I could when he commented on Gardner:


“He writes about various kinds of cranks with the conscious superiority of the scientist, and in most cases one can share his sense of the victory of reason. But after half a dozen chapters this non-stop superiority begins to irritate; you begin to wonder about the standards that make him so certain he is always right. He asserts that the scientist, unlike the crank, does his best to remain open-minded. So how can he be so sure that no sane person has ever seen a flying saucer, or used a dowsing rod to locate water? And that all the people he disagrees with are unbalanced fanatics? A colleague of the positivist philosopher A. J. Ayeronce remarked wryly “I wish I was as certain of anything as he seems to be about everything”. Martin Gardner produces the same feeling.”

– Colin Wilson, in The Quest For Wilhelm Reich (1981), p. 2