January 13, 2012
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This post will serve as an index post to the series covering topics regarding the problems with pseudoskepticism and debating tactics.
While this particular series is complete for now, I intend to write a new one on basic and not so basic concepts in scientific skepticism.
August 21, 2011
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Note: This is the fourth installment in the series on debating tactics and pseudoskepticism. For other posts in this series, see the index entry.
In a recent video entitled Hedgemon I choose you, Michael Payton, a cognitive scientist formerly at York University, strongly suggests that the debating tactic of mockery and ridicule is not only contradicted by the scientific evidence, but is probably harmful in that it makes opponents even more entrenched and that it should really be cast upon the heap of pseudoscience that we should not take seriously, comparing it with homeopathy and creationism. Although this does not, perhaps, directly contradict the discussed thesis that mockery and satire may be useful for convincing the undecided public, it seems to show that it is a bad idea to use it as means of trying to convince opponents. Payton’s argument is, in my mind, persuasive and it has the evidence to back it up. I have complained earlier about the fact-free nature of the discussions on debate tactics, so this has some real promise. Therefore, I feel that it may be useful to expand the discussion and evidence presented by Payton and look at it in more detail. Read more of this post