Skepticism Writing is Tricky

I don’t write this blog to become popular. And as most of you are aware, none of us on this network receive any sort of renumeration for anything we write.

We write because we believe in what we’re saying. Hell, if I really wanted to become popular, do you believe I would’ve called this blog Conservative Skeptic? I’m actually content that this blog is read at all. Sometimes I hit a nerve with some people and my hit rate goes way up. Mostly though, I’m just another skeptic out here on the Internet, blogging about issues that all, or at least most, would agree with at any point in time.
The reason I’m saying this is that I really believe that there are so-call Skeptics out there that are only in it for the money.
Let me give you an example I saw today on Twitter.
I didn’t know until this afternoon that Rebecca Watson blogs for one of my favorite magazines, Popular Science. In fact, I was, well, skeptical until my Twitter friend @skepteaser, sent me the link.
Go ahead and look. There’s nothing out there that’s outrageous of course. It’s pretty much mundane skepticism topics that’s we’ve seen everywhere, especially Doubtful News. No I’m not saying that Doubtful News is mundane, but I find it interesting that Ms. Watson blogs about some of the same things, at the same time, that our friend Sharon Hill writes about.
It made me think about a tweet Ms. Hill recently sent out concerning people taking her content and making it their own. I wonder. So did my Twitter friend. I also wondered, in a reply tweet, whether Ms. Watson was getting paid for her mostly weekly blog. My information about her, which is admittedly little, is that Ms. Watson doesn’t do anything for free. So I can see Popular Science paying her a small stipend for each of her entries.
I normally would have no problem with that if the content is original. I have no idea. I can look back at some of the entries Ms. Hill has written in the recent past and find some similarities, but no, I’m not accusing plagiarism or even “lifting content” from someone else. That’s for the original author(s) to do.
When I write about Skepticism, I attempt to take any personal bias out of what I’m writing about. Well, as you can see here, I’m clearly biased about anything Ms. Watson writes concerning Skepticism. The reason is that she performs cursory research, and it appears from what she writes that she already has a point of view and therefore doesn’t perform the most perfunctory analysis of what her topic is about. She’s already decided whether what she’s writing about is true or not, before she ever starts typing on the keyboard.
And damn you if you happen to have a different opinion! Or maybe you can present actual facts, with peer reviewed papers to back up your account. For some in the so-called “Skeptical Community”, facts mean nothing. Peer reviewed journal articles? Meaningless.
We find this all the time in what’s called “Science Journalism”. We see those “Science Reporters” that will take the most amazing claims by some and print them as if they were fact. No checking of those “facts” are performed, even on the most basic level. Some “scientist” will make a claim, the next day it’s in the newspaper.
I don’t know about the rest of the world, but here in the U.S. We seem to be fascinated with ll sorts of woo-related topics. Hell, even our T.V.’s are chock-full of ghost, alien, bigfoot, etc. shows. Being a skeptic has become less a matter than the producers of these shows making astounding claims to bring in the profits.
Some online “Skeptics” are the same. I said many times before that we all need to look to see if the person writing the blog has a specific agenda. If they do, then we all need to look at those authors with a very skeptical eye. Hey, maybe they’re right!
Just because someone is “famous”(in their mind) does not make them an authority. Check the references, if any are given. If there are none, be wary of what you’re reading. It doesn’t necessarily mean that the information is bad, but there’s a chance that that what you’re reading is just an opinion. Poor Skepticism is just that.

2 comments on “Skepticism Writing is Tricky

  1. It’s almost as if you suggest “skeptics” practice skepticism instead of using their platform to advance whatever agenda or woo they feel the need to spout. A novel thought, that.

  2. コストのインベントリを保持していない単一のセントを逃していることを確認することは、多くの作業を伴う。しかしながら、このタスクは、ビジネス·クレジットカードの助けを借りてはるかに簡単行われる。

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