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Maybe we should all place a higher priority on non-Internet activities and then we'd read less blogs and the writers wouldn't need to bother writing them!!

Translation: I want to be able to write whatever horse manure I like and not worry about being called to task for it. ::Michael puts fingers in ears and sings, "la, la, la, I can't hear you"::

Wow Paul, that is really immature. Perhaps you should look through all the previous posts to se that Mr. Prescott has been replying to alot of posts. Who could blame someone for having a life. I wish I had better things to do today rather than reply to this, but frankly, I have come to respect Mr. Prescott's dedication for opening up communication on different subjects. Don't take this as a personal attack, because as far as I know, you could be the coolest person in the world, but maybe you should do some searching on how much he has replied to people though his archive before making childish comments.

Hey! Where did everybody go?

Silly, silly, girl, Jess. If you had been paying attention, you would know that Michael and I have had several discussions in comments here over the past year. The problem is, his retreat comes at a time when he's getting called on the carpet for his gross inaccuracies in reporting on the challenge. What we skeptics recognise is that he hasn't got an original thought in his head. He is merely repeating all the other misinformation about the challenge on the net. And when we call him on it, he suddenly needs to spend more time IRL...

...which makes him exactly the same as any other proponent of the paranormal when faced with demands for real evidence: scarce.

Well, I am not a girl. But I will assume that you were not meaning it to be an insult but just assuming such because of my unisex name. (Not that being a girl would be an insult. My ex girlfriend was one) Something that has plauged me much of my life. I was actually named after a girl. I think we will just have to agree to disagree on this one. I don't personally know the guy but I don't think anyone who posts a blog about this sort of stuff for this long really is afraid to discuss it. I don't know though. I don't know James Randi either, but I bet he is a nice guy. However, my point is that the challenge is not proof of existence or non existence of anything. Each to their own I guess. Maybe your right, maybe I am. Doesn't matter. I still get to eat my pancakes in the morning and watch M.A.S.H. before school. Baby steps. Little t's

Jess,
I apologise for being misled by your name. Truth be told, you throw like a girl, anyway. (That's a joke, of course. I have never seen you throw.)

Here's the thing. Nobody is saying that James Randi is Proof of anything. Listen, "proof" is for mathematicians anyway. In the real world nothing is ever proven. Many things are accepted as if they are fact based upon significant evidence supporting them.

The problem occurs when some people accept things as "fact" in the absence of evidence supporting them. All James Randi, and the skeptical community are saying is, "show me the evidence." In Randi's case he is asking for a personal demonstration of that evidence, and all he says about it is that, to date, no one has ever provided one. In the comments to the previous entry, you stated that there was extant evidence supporting things paranormal. Would you be so kind as to provide some of it for our perusal?

But what's the sense of proofing James Randi anything he's closed-minded there is an enormous amount of evidence supporting the survival hypothesis he is stuck in his materialist worldview. Most of his scientists behind misterpreted all information not relevant to his cause to put the blindfold over people's eyes to see the fact that there really is life after death. Deceiving and fooling the public is a dangerous game to play and when they finally realize this it will be game over for the skeptical communities. I was once a closed-minded skeptic myself but I soon realize that the materialist worldview is wrong.And no James Randi is not a nice guy he even sent an e-mail to me from one of his guys saying thanks for the laugh.

Leo, I suspect English is not your first language, is it? I apologise, but I cannot understand what exactly you are trying to say with your comment. Not your fault, but perhaps you could get a friend who speaks English to translate for you.

English is my first language

Well, I'm violating my own (new) policy by reading these comments and then commenting on them!

Paul's comments above illustrate exactly why I have gotten bored with this aspect of blogging. I wouldn't want to talk with someone who was rude, insulting, sarcastic, and hostile if I met him on the street, so why should I waste valuable time arguing with him online?

That's not to say that Paul is representative of most commenters on this blog - if he were, I would have shut down the comments long ago - but there are enough people like him in cyberspace to make it difficult to engage in serious discussions. Unfortunately, the Web tends to attract hostile, antisocial, emotionally stunted people in disproportionate numbers. (So does the skeptic movement, by the way.) Such people, being narcissists, assume that everyone else has nothing better to do than to "respond" endlessly to every question or challenge or debating point they raise. It becomes an endless process that accomplishes nothing except to feed their insatiable egos.

As for why I decided to (mostly) stop participating in comments now, it's because I spent four hours putting together the four-part series on the Challenge FAQ, and then realized I would need another four hours to reply to all the comments. And I'm not getting paid for this. It's a sideline, nothing more. I simply can't - or rather, won't - spend that much time on something unremunerative when I have other, higher priorities.

Btw, if Paul thinks I'm getting a lot of heat over the Challenge, he should have been here when I wrote a multi-part series about Ayn Rand's infatuation with the child-murderer Ed Hickman!

What, I'm rude because I tell it like it is? That's always the position of you believers in silly stuff. When we demand you provide evidence, you call us rude. How rude of us to expect you to back up your claims. We're such awful, nasty people, living here, in the real world. It's so much more pleasant inside your little fantasies.

You want to know why Randi is a curmudgeonly old coot? It's because he's been doing this for decades, and no one has ever surprised him. Every single person who has criticised James Randi in the last thirty years has trotted out the same dusty old canards as you have. They weren't true then, and they're not true now.

All we're asking for is a little bit of credible evidence. You don't have any to offer us.

I logged back on intending to revise my previous comment, which, on reflection, struck me as unduly negative. Too late. So let me just say that I apologize for being so irritable. It was uncalled for.

But yes, you are rude. Of course you are. You called another commenter a "silly, silly girl." Even if the commenter had in fact been a girl, this is still a rude thing to say. Try calling Hillary Clinton a silly girl!

And no, you're not living in the real world, Paul. You're living in the narrow prison of your worldview - as are we all, I'm afraid. All of us have preconceived ideas about how the world works or doesn't work, and these preconceptions color and sometimes skew our interpretation of new evidence. We can't get around it, which is why absolute objectivity is impossible.

It's also why debates between people with fundamentally opposed worldviews are not productive. I'm sorry, but they just aren't. Arguing may feel enjoyable and worthwhile to you, but that's only because - and I honestly do not mean this as an insult - it's only because you are operating on the basis of ego. We all get caught up in ego sometimes, but we should resist it. Ego is unhealthy. It's a parasite that drains us of positive energy and inculcates hostility and anger and fear. For details, read Eckhart Tolle.

It's because of reading Tolle that I've lost my appetite for what he calls "drama" - the endless exchange of argument and counterargument, all for the sake of puffing up the ego. It simply isn't a worthwhile use of one's time.

Just reading and responding to these comments has now consumed more than an hour of my time. And what has it accomplished? Have I persuaded you of anything? Have you persuaded me? All I've done is lash out and possibly hurt your feelings, for which I'm sorry. Nothing positive has come of it.

Aren't there more productive ways I could have spent this hour? Even sitting and meditating would be more productive. And the same is true for you. It's your time that's being wasted, too! Is it in your interest to argue with me or with Jess and Leo? Then why do it? (Hint: The ego doesn't care about your actual interests.)

Now I've already spent too much time on this, and I'm not going to continue the drama. You can have the last word, or as many last words as you like.

Michael,

Spot on with your analysis. It's obvious that you go out of your way to be fair, and wish to allow all viewpoints an open forum. As you well know, this approach becomes an exercise in futility, once the hard core narcissists stumble in to the discussion. Most bloggers who deal with subject matter that attracts this group, are finding that it's an absolute necessity, to maintain some sort of moderation policy. Of course, once you resort to that, the blocked commentors, will go back to their regular haunts, and claim that you can't take the heat etc, but they do that anyway after you tire of endlessly engaging them.

I enjoy your blog very much, I hope you stay with it.

Hugh Williams

There is a difference between demanding the evidence and bullying someone with insulting remarks.

There were some skeptics here who commented on this blog who were to the point, and without insults. I respect those people for their critical thinking.

Thank you, Michael, for sharing your thoughts with us. I wouldnt waste any more time with Paul either. We shouldnt be pressured into responding to his belligence.

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