Roger Knights sent me this post. I think it's an interesting idea, though I'm not sure I'm sold on it. Here it is:
Almost five years ago MP said (see below) that he was going to refer to professional skeptics (or "card-carrying skeptics") as "debunkers," because that word conveys their dismissive mission, while not being insulting like "scoffer" or "cynic." But that word still conveys a lot of disdain when our side uses it. I think we should reserve it for use in our angrier moments, and select a more neutral term for cool-blooded mentions such as were made in the recent "Monsters of Florence" thread.
That word, I suggest, is "Skeptics"--i.e., "skeptics" capitalized. It is polite, but everyone will intuitively grasp its subtext: that they are capital-S skeptics. IOW, that they are overdoing it.
I suggest that MP add a guideline to a masthead above each thread recommending this spelling.
[Excerpt from this post:]
Too many of the so-called skeptics–I mean professional skeptics, not laypeople–operate like defense attorneys who are determined to muddy the waters, confuse the jury, exploit technicalities, and game the system in order to win debating points at the expense of the truth. Their approach all too often consists of tendentious hairsplitting and obvious logical fallacies, like personal attacks, question-begging, and appeals to emotion.
As many people have pointed out, the term skeptic is not really appropriate for people who operate this way. Skepticism implies neutrality, a willingness to look at the evidence without prejudice and follow it wherever it may lead. A great many of the self-styled skeptics clearly have an agenda, usually rooted in materialism and secular humanism, and have made up their minds long before they began their “investigations,” which consist mainly of cherry picking the weakest examples or focusing on a few dubious details in an otherwise impeccable case. Like the defense team in the O.J. Simpson murder trial, they subject each drop of blood to endless analysis and speculation, creating a climate of doubt and a fog of confusion, without troubling to notice that there is a trail of blood leading directly from the murder victims to the suspect's car and from the suspect's car to his house. They pick apart each leaf on the branch of a particular tree, but never acknowledge the forest.
Though I've called them skeptics in the past, I think from now on I will call them debunkers. The word debunker is neutral, not insulting like other some options (denier, scoffer, etc.). The so-called skeptics themselves often describe themselves as engaged in debunking, so they can't reasonably object to the term. But unlike the word skeptic, the word debunker suggests an agenda; it suggests that the person is actively seeking to invalidate a certain claim. And this is true of most of the so-called skeptics most of the time.
I might add that debunkers are not always wrong. Far from it. Some of the cases really are weak and deserve criticism. I've played the role of debunker myself, particularly in regard to some (though not all) claims of materialization mediumship. Debunking can be a perfectly legitimate and useful activity, but it is an activity dictated by an agenda, and the word captures this connotation in a way that the word skeptic does not.