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"Debunkers typically accuse others of being credulous, childish, duped, etc. Clearly this is the characterization they are most eager to avoid....I think there’s also an element of phony toughness, almost a macho thing"

Probably true to some extent, but IMO the debunkers/skeptics play an important role. Most of the time, they're right. I mean look at all the goofy new age types gazing into crystals and channeling Cleopatra, etc etc etc etc. The typical purveyor of paranormal goods and service is a fraud or delusional nut.

Then there's all of the conspiracy theories (e.g. 911 "truthers").

Of course the atheist/debunkers/skeptics go too far and toss out the grain of wheat with the chaff, but honestly, if you look around the pile if chaff is massive. So I think they need to be handled fairly.

I think they can be a mix of things. I was simply discussing the younger ones. I think you are certainly correct with your description of debunkers who come from a former fundamentalist background. They certain feel duped and certainly don't want to be duped again.

These types tend to be your Jesus Mythers and deniers that Christianity ( or any other religion) has ever done anything good. They simply excluded all information relating to anything spiritual or religious and declare it to be all bunk. Of course the real world is rarely this neat so they create a view that simply does not reflect reality well. But it works for them.

Of course studying parapsychology requires one to listen to the experiences of others. Much of it requires one to accept the notion of a soul. It also requires one to make judgement calls that could be mistaken. Basically it opens one to being a "dupe" all over again.

One can avoid being a " dupe" by staying with what one knows. But if one does that they will never learn. They are like the divorcee who will never ever be in a relationship again to avoid the pain. They will avoid the pain. But they will also avoid love.

I have no truck with materialists or hedonists. The large number of them does sadden me however because I think they miss out on the wonderful miracle---almost mystical---that physical existence on earth can be. They have been duped by commercialism and people, including teachers, who are just not too smart. I feel alone in my experience of life and that saddens me.

For me this reality---this world is a beautiful meaningful place for my consciousness to experience. I see miracles everywhere around me in form, function and color. Unexplained creations intricately designed which for me seem impossible to have come about without some guiding divine intelligence.

Starting with chlorophyll and blood, basically the same molecule with an exchange of iron for magnesium, then the cell membrane, the nucleus, chromosomes of DNA and protein synthesis, mitochondria for energy production and continuing on in the development of a multitude of unique forms in which consciousness resides, such forms all initially developed from a single cell. Those are all true miracles! Sexual reproduction, especially in the higher animals seems to me to be almost impossible to have developed just by survival of the fittest or adaptation to the environment. The perfection of the Universe does not seem to me to have developed by chance since everything is precariously balanced and if there were one minute change, our solar system and maybe the universe would not exist.

On one level I think I agree with Alfred Russel Wallace who thought that our reality, including everything on earth was divinely formed for the benefit of the human experience. It sometimes seems that way to me too. - AOD

"IMO the debunkers/skeptics play an important role. Most of the time, they're right. I mean look at all the goofy new age types ..."

You have a point, but Skeptics focus an awful lot of attention on things like psi, NDEs, and mediumship without presenting the evidence in a responsible way. And by lumping a well-studied phenomenon like telepathy or NDEs with "goofy" stuff like crystals and pyramid power, they do a disservice to decades of serious research by people like J.D. Rhine and Bruce Grayson. So I'm not quite as inclined to cut them a break, even though they're undoubtedly right about some of the things they inveigh against.

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