I am a Muggle


As this blog’s resident Eldritch Entity from beyond Time and Space™, my Troythuluness holds as provisionally true the absurdly irrational, completely ridiculous and totally indefensible ideas that…

  • …fierce skepticism of science is endlessly recursive, ironic, and ultimately nonsensical, for science is a domain that emphasizes skepticism. One would be skeptical of skepticism…
  • …the worst thing you can do to those who might be mentally ill is to dismiss the possibility and feed into delusional thinking by telling them that they are psychic. It’s irresponsible and unethical..
  • …philosophical relativism is self-refuting and therefore logically impossible, since its truth implies its falsehood by necessity. It also poorly, to say the least, explains the evidence of our senses…
  • …the arguments that psychic ability is scientifically proven or that evolution is scientifically disproven without citations of the evidence thus implied are just rhetorical handwaving and in any event fallacious…
  • …freedom of speech is a Good Thing, but does not carry with it freedom from criticism, nor automatic and unquestioning acceptance of one’s crackpot theories…
  • …psychics, intuitives, sensitives or what-have-you don’t really possess paranatural powers, no matter how sincerely or strongly they may believe they do…
  • …when people in third-world nations are being killed because of belief in, and fear of, magic and witchcraft, yes, superstition and magical thinking IS unhealthy and dangerous…
  • …no one has ever been killed by the direct actions of a demon, but plenty of people have been killed by botched exorcisms…
  • …modern science is still in its infancy, its findings necessarily incomplete, but it delivers the goods…
  • …it is within the power of the human intellect and reason to uncover useful knowledge about reality…
  • …there’s no need to see magic and miracles where none in fact exist: For me, cats, starlit nights and the faces of my niece and nephew in a video chat are magic and miracle enough…
  • …understanding the psychology of belief, from credulity to denial, is at least as interesting and important as investigating and explaining certain nonscientific concepts and claims…
  • …it is neither virtuous in a moral sense nor beneficial to one’s health or finances to be easily persuaded by clever words and flattery, with false appeals to open-mindedness…
  • …those believers who enjoin skeptics to question their own beliefs would do well to take this challenge themselves instead of resentfully complaining about their critics…
  • …unlike with the pseudosciences, it’s the process used to reach a conclusion, rather than the conclusion itself as revealed Truth, which is important in science…
  • …stupidity and dysrationalia are two separate problems: believers are not drooling morons: many are brilliant, though they can be trying to one’s patience in a discussion…
  • …we all want to be different, but merely for wishing and believing that one have special powers does not mean that one actually does. Wishing and belief alone don’t make it so…
  • …any claim of fact that requires a suspension of disbelief to accept it should rightly be regarded with suspicion, and is by my Troythuluness…
  • …most supernatural claims with few exceptions are not just unproven, they’re structured to be unprovable, though the testable ones have been falsified in every valid study to date…
  • …there is little good evidence for a life beyond this one, no matter that I might wish it were true, but the Universe does not abide by what I wish…
  • …the Anthropic Principle would more appropriately be called the Anthropocentric Principle, for it attempts to reinstate the old conceit that we humans are the centerpiece of the Cosmos…
  • …regardless of another skeptic’s reasons for their skepticism about a claim, which may not be the same as mine, the upshot is remain skeptical until evidence appropriate to the claim is in before rendering assent…

I am a proud, card-carrying member of a species that has reached out a quarter of a million miles to set foot on the surface of the Moon, no longer a mere disk hanging in the sky, but a place, a world that we’ve actually been to. I’m under no illusions that science will solve all our problems, but it’s made us potentially the most formidable–and dangerous–species in the history of the planet. That’s something to consider.

It’s my understanding that rationality, conscious or unconscious, isn’t just a personal value of mine, an idiosyncratic preference unique to skeptics–it’s a necessity for making sound, sensible, and most importantly, successful decisions, even for those who intellectually deny reason and objectivity. Irrationality is just that–senselessness–and not conducive to good decision-making.

Peddlers of woo would rather people not think for themselves, to ‘just accept, with an open mind’ that all one desires to be will magically come to pass–to ‘just believe.’ They would pooh-pooh the very notion of an external reality not directly amenable to wishful thinking or intent. They would have us happily and mindlessly skipping back to the dark mists of prehistory, of superstitious ignorance and fear, of shamans, witch-doctors, and tribal sorcerers when instead, if we can avoid killing ourselves off or bombing ourselves back to the stone age, we can reach for the stars.

I’ll opt for the stars any day…feel free to join me if you like.

Yes, I believe in the validity and power of the scientific method, and I challenge any paranormalists and other proponents of fringe claims out there to demonstrate something, anything, that allows us to understand and explain the world and ourselves better than science does, with at least as much power, utility, and precision. If you can do that, then I’ll renounce my advocacy of science and skepticism and devote myself and this blog to the new paradigm whatever it may be.

Expect to be disappointed though, if you have no real evidence and only excuses to cover for that lack, for I have a higher bar for evidence than paranormalists have shown themselves to possess, and have very little patience for the typical sorts of logical fallacies and rhetoric used in lieu of facts by many believers I’ve met and read in person and online. I’m also not impressed with the seemingly clever use of statistics as ‘evidence’ for occult phenomena.

One’s use of these fallacies and arguments has the unfortunate effect of making me less likely to take the claimant’s statements seriously, and though a noob, my ability to assess arguments for their worth is improving.

Yes, my Troythuluness does read paranormal blogs–often useful for finding out what believers believe–or at least, what they say they believe…

My ‘attitude’ as a skeptic is completely irrelevant to what I accept as true: I have no problems with being shown when I’m wrong; no need for control; no fear of mystery, of the novel, of the unusual; no fear of the truth; I simply don’t leap to a paranormal conclusion when weird things happen as I have no need to. Those who would presume to psychoanalyze skeptics have no clue what they are talking about.

I just find scientific, real scientific explanations, and not those of pseudosciences like parapsychology, creationism, or electric universe theory, much more adequate in terms of parsimony and usefulness: observation, measurement and reason according to standard criteria of adequacy are far better judges of the probably real than what I might want or need to believe.

In terms of my acceptance of science, its underpinnings, methods, purpose, and findings, and what those last tell us at the moment about the Cosmos and ourselves, I’m a believer, not a nonbeliever. To paraphrase Bad Astronomer Phil Plait, I likes reality just the way it is, and I aims to keep it that way! I am a proud mundane…I am a Muggle.

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4 thoughts on “I am a Muggle

  1. Sweet list. I love it. You’ve posted this position quite succinctly. As an atheist blogger, I could highlight more than a few of those as tenets I also stand by. It’s a marvel of human ingenuity for how gullible our species is willing to be. We should challenge it every day, and yet so many of us don’t. It blows my mind to think of all the crackpot ideas people clutch like lifelines.

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  2. Sadly, I must disagree. YOU are NOT a muggle. Further, it is my fault. I have committed the crime of making you aware of the hobby of geocaching, and as such you are no longer a muggle. You are “caching aware”. So you are not a muggle anymore, at least not when being refered to by cachers. Why do I bring this up here? I really can not think of any one thing that more demonstrates the advancement possible using logic and scientific principles, than geocaching. Using multi-bilion dollar sattelites to find tupperware in the woods.

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