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Read the 2009 post. Very interesting.

Here's what I posted over there:

"Are self-described skeptics championing critical thinking, or are they simply defending one particular worldview? The late Marcello Truzzi came to think so: despite being the co-founding chairman of the influential skeptical group CSICOP (the Committee for the Scientific Investigation of Claims of the Paranormal), Truzzi soon became disillusioned with the organization, saying they “tend to block honest inquiry, in my opinion… Most of them are not agnostic toward claims of the paranormal; they are out to knock them.” Truzzi claimed that by using the title of ‘skeptic’, biased debunkers had claimed an authority that they were not entitled to, opining that “critics who take the negative rather than an agnostic position but still call themselves ‘skeptics’ are actually pseudo-skeptics and have, I believed, gained a false advantage by usurping that label.”"

Truzzi also called them "scoffers posing as skeptics." Hence the proper name for them is my neologism, "scoftics," whose general adoption I urge.

I also urge Greg, or someone, to edit a book of this and additional anti-scoftic essays, containing material from Winston Wu, Michael Prescott ("Why I Am Not a Skeptic"), etc. I've got a great title for it: "No Fool Like a Wise Fool." It ought to sell a million copies. (As should its sequels.) As Mencken said, "people love to read abuse."

This is absolutely wonderful stuff, Michael! I knew all along that Gardner was a highly bigoted person, a pseudo-skeptic of the worst kind. This is a telling confirmation.
Thanks so much for presenting this.

Regards - Rudolf

Michael, I really appreciated this information. I read your previous posts, too. Great stuff. I must say I'm not surprised by how fast and loose Gardner played with the facts. He seems to almost have established the template for the modern skeptical approach, which tends to play very fast and loose with the facts. I read something Gardner wrote many years back on A Course in Miracles (which is my area of expertise) and it displayed little regard either for the facts or for anything more than a cursory acquaintance with the subject matter.

Such exercises in debunking seem to rest on the beginning premise of "this is all so ridiculous." If we start with that premise, we don't really need to do careful investigation of the subject material. We just need to pull out (and distort) whatever nuggets will make it look ridiculous and thus confirm our beginning premise.

For a long time I was surprised at how under-informed and/or willing to distort the facts the "skeptics" were. Given their role as defenders of reason, you'd think they'd be absolutely impeccable on that level. After enough exposure to it, though, I slowly realized that disregard for factual thoroughness and accuracy was part of the bedrock of the whole project. It is very odd, isn't it?

Since the comments to Chris Carter's NDE book are closed I want to share this neat NDE story that I just read. It is about a little 4 year old boy that had a near death experience and what he said to his parents. It is very uplifting and positive and I'm sure some on this board will love it. Oh yeah, there is some evidential stuff in it too.

Four year old met his mother’s miscarried child in Heaven

This is Great Micheal (can we call you Mike?) This is great!


Hi, Michael

I tried to insert Greg Taylor's article in wikipedia, but the reviewer blocked. Look the discussion I had with him:

Wikipedia isn't a very reliable source at the best of times. A friend of mine has tried for years to correct an error that credits her for work done by another artist. She believes the actual artist should be given credit for his work, and has contacted the wiki people numerous times in an effort to correct the error. They just refuse to help her out. She tried to edit and correct the mistake herself, but someone else keeps deleting her edits. The wiki people don't care. It isn't about providing useful (or even factual) information. It's about being a popular source of information for the college student too lazy to read primary sources.

Depending on Wikipedia is a popular, easy and fast way to fail college.

"A friend of mine has tried for years to correct an error that credits her for work done by another artist."

Sandy, that's disappointing. For a site that's supposed to be of, by, and for the people, their refusal to accept a correction from the subject of the article herself astounds me.

I think I read somewhere (could be wrong) that Wiki's policy is specifically not to accept editorial suggestions from someone who is the subject of the article! I guess I can see a rationale for this, but still ...

It seems very silly to my friend. She just wanted the credit to go to the right person. She actually gets fan mail for someone else's work. (It was a graphic novel.) The wiki page has become a bit of a joke now. I'll always think of wiki that way, as a bit of a joke.

Just as an aside...there's a series on the "Bio" channel debuting December 5th 10 p.m. East Coast, "I Survived...And Beyond" that will feature interviews of people experiencing NDEs.

Michael, if that is the case, then technically does that mean Gardner's article shouldn't be in Wikipedia for Piper, alongside Greg Taylor's and your own opinion on the issue?

Back to the Wikipedia thing. Sandy, has your friend tried to edit the article herself? From the following Q & A from the Wikipedia site, it looks to me that she can. They're saying they advise against it, but not that it's impossible or forbidden.

Q: The information in your article about me is wrong. How can I get it fixed?
A: Wikipedia is the encyclopedia that anyone can edit, but we generally ask people to try to refrain from editing articles about themselves.

They also say: "Be careful in your edits [of an article about yourself]. If people think you are misrepresenting the truth or trying to self-promote, that can sometimes provoke backlash."

That would hardly apply to your friend! Maybe she should have done this herself instead of contacting the Wikipedia people.

I got that stuff from this page:

The more I look at it, the clearer it gets that anyone CAN correct bad information about themselves—it it's truly inaccurate.

Bruce, yes, my friend has tried to correct the error herself. But someone keeps deleting her edits every time. She goes back and fixes it every so often, and we make bets on how long it will take to be incorrected again.

I think wikipedia is reliable for non controversial topics, but be cautious when using it for more controversial areas.

I don't know about that Kris. Last year when I TA'd Oceanography (hardly controversial material), I marked quite a few papers that were pretty much copied right out of wiki. What surprised me was just how badly written the wiki pages were. (I'm not surprised by students cheating, sadly enough.)

Sandy, I just checked out a Wikipedia page, and I see that you can actually find out who has made editing changes to a page, and contact them.

There are also "discussion" pages where you can discuss controversial aspects of a page. Has your friend tried talking to the person who keeps incorrecting it—I like your word!—and asking them why the hell they're doing it?

By the way, I found all that out by going to a page I suspected might have a wee bit of controversy attached to it—"psi". :o)

Yes, my friend tried that too. That's the really funny part. The guy who keeps incorrecting it doesn't believe that she is who she says she is, and he is one of those fanatical fans that thinks he knows everything about a graphic novel. He is absolutely positive that he's correct and she is wrong.

That's so funny, Sandy. Some comedy writer could make good use of material like this!

I am thinking even less controversial, say a battle analysis from the civil war.


Wikipedia's reviewer - Lucky Louie - said that "Darklore", a journal promoting itself as "Forteana, hidden history, the paranormal" etc. is not a reliable or objective source of facts. It's the same problem with the previously submitted "Irreducible Mind". There's no shortage of fringe authors who believe in paranormal powers.

For me it is very clear that Lucky Louie is a fan of CSICOP.

Today on the BIO channel on Unexplained Mysteries at 11:00 am (eastern) they will be talking about angels and then at 12:00 noon on Unexplained mysteries they will be talking about near death experiences.

Vitor, I saw the discussion on Piper. I read Wikipedia's policy on fringe theories, and unfortunately I think he might have a point with regards to bias. That being said, I find it interesting he is trying to wave away the fact Gardner's article is not peer-reviewed when I've seen so often on Wikipedia "pro" sources not being accepted because they were not peer-reviewed in a mainstream source.

I think you make a good point, it shouldn't be about whether the source is sound but whether the content itself is sound. This is why I'm not a fan of people saying we should ignore them because they are not an expert in the field, because in my opinion if their analysis is sound, then there shouldn't be a problem. On the other hand, if we have someone who is an expert in the field but makes blatant mistakes or observations, should we still trust or listen to that person just because they are an expert in that area?

Hey Guys, speaking of lying skeptics I have caught Dr Woerlee doing his normal thing with his horrid review of Van Lommel's book on NDES

Woerlee's review is titled Suggestive pseudoscience.

I have pretty much handled Woerlee but would some other people like to get in there and thrash him some more. We do not need people thinking that Dr Woerlee is anything other then a crank.

Thanks Kris, for your comment about Woerlee.
As you probably know, I have had some not so pleasant dealings with him, also on this blog (see item Cut to the Chase).

As for that, both his critique on my Dentures Man story, and our (i.e. Smit & Rivas) rejoinder are now published in the most recent Journal of Near-Death Studies.

I will post the Smit & Rivas rejoinder shortly on the website of Merkawah Foundation. I will provide the link asap.

Regards to all - Rudolf Smit

From Rudolf Smit

I have now posted the sequel (a PDF) to the Dentures Man story on

You will then be directed to our English-language page, where you will find a brief introduction to this sequel and a referral to Woerlee's site.

You can also go direct to the article:

You will see that Woerlee has accused us of all sorts of things, for example that we did not represent correctly the statements given by nurse TG. Careful reading will show that, on the contrary, it is Woerlee himself who has blatantly misrepresented TG's statements.

Regards to all

PS - This may be considered off topic, in which case I hope that Michael will turn it into a separate blog item

Dr Woerlee and I are thrashing it out right now on Amazon. For a laymen I think I doing pretty well against him, but this is because he defends the impossible. He does not think it is a big deal that the earplugs used in Pam Reynold's ears created a clicking noise 10,000 times louder then conversation tone and he does not think it is a big deal that the earplugs were custom fitted to her ears.


This is an excellent article. You will be happy to know your blog reaches a wide range of audiences. I am a 28 year old who was raised strict catholic. With a combination of serious concerns (ie flaws) in the Catholic Dogma and attending a liberal arts college, my mind was opened up and I became a purely cynical skeptic for most of my 20's. Over the past 3 months my soul was aching for some nourishment and I did many hours of research on mediums, spiritualism, historical authenticity of Jesus, etc and I am now a converted spiritualist. I can tell you as a former skeptic (a dark and souless time in my life for sure) I was guilty of cherry picking arguments that suited my belief system. I know how these people think, I was one of them! I came across your blog and admire your fair analysis of all information you come across. It appears to me (yes I am over generalizing) that many people who claim to have open minds actually are closed minded bigots. They hold a central theme in their belief system and try to formulate arguments around that are overly convenient and far from the truth. The Piper case is just another example of this flawed logic. I appreciate you being a logical "watch dog" if you will for the good of all free thinkers.

I just wanted to let you know that not everyone in my generation is Reality TV watching mindless zombies of consumerism :) I really appreciate and look forward to your articles.

Thanks for the kind words, Ray. I don't know if everyone would characterize me as a logical watchdog, though. Some people would say I'm a gullible lapdog! (Or just a sick puppy ...)

"many people who claim to have open minds actually are closed minded bigots. They hold a central theme in their belief system and try to formulate arguments around that are overly convenient and far from the truth."

That's true, but in fairness you can find the same mentality among some pro-psi people. In fact, probably all human beings are prone to this kind of thinking to some extent, so it may just be a matter of degree.

Life is so complex and mysterious that we almost can't avoid oversimplifying it through one "system" or another.

God Bless you Michael, you truly are a bright shining light on this Planet, thank you for all the work that you are doing. Thank God we have you to save us from the Pseudoskeptics.

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