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Author Topic: A Topic for LN's: What is a CT?  (Read 3864 times)

Online Colin Crow

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Re: A Topic for LN's: What is a CT?
« Reply #30 on: March 12, 2018, 10:40:41 AM »
Skeptics and scepticism
Should we be concerned that some Skeptics do not seem to understand the meaning of scepticism?
Rebekah Higgitt  @beckyfh
Wed 14 Nov 2012 00.12 AEDT First published on Wed 14 Nov 2012 00.12 AEDT

I was somewhat disconcerted to see something completely erroneous appear in Guardian Science's own Notes & Theories blog. It was this:

"A word about the distinction between sceptics and skeptics. A generic "sceptic" questions accepted beliefs. In this way, we have "man didn't go to the moon" sceptics. (Some people won't believe anything.) Skeptics are different: they espouse the evidence-based approach – and find the world wanting in many respects."

Yikes! As an early commenter rightly pointed out, the sceptic/skeptic spellings are simply UK and US variants, although later commenters denied this and continued to perpetuate the error. Somehow the British spelling now denotes "bad" scepticism (i.e. questioning scientific consensus on topics as varied as vaccination, lunar landings and climate change) and the US spelling is identified only with "the evidence-based approach" to … something-or-other.

It is true that the capital "S" Skeptic movement uses the US spelling even in the UK, but that is an extremely circumscribed use of the word. It is one that is not widely known or understood outside particular communities. Before about 2010, when I started blogging and using Twitter, it's something I had never come across (and I say that as someone who has an interest in science, is an atheist and attempts to make decisions rationally and based on evidence).

To compound matters, this was written by Deborah Hyde, editor of The Skeptic magazine. To not understand the meaning and history of the title of your own publication is a worry.

Scepticism, or skepticism, is neither denialism nor a movement. Based on the Greek skeptomai, which means to think or consider, it usually means doubt or incredulity about particular ideas, or a wider view about the impossibility of having certain knowledge. This uncertainty is a philosophical position, and philosophical scepticism includes attempts to deal with it, through systematic doubt and testing of ideas.

So, let's be clear. In the US you can be a climate skeptic. In the UK you might consider yourself a Skeptic and approach knowledge in a sceptical way. It also appears that it is possible to be a Skeptic and yet not be a sceptic. Hyde's parenthetical "Some people won't believe anything" dismissal of "bad" sceptics suggests very little understanding of what scepticism really means.

This goes to the heart of much recent criticism of Skeptics, often coming from within the movement itself. The charge is that many self-identified Skeptics are not properly sceptical (or skeptical) of the positions that they or their leading figures take up. Rather, a tribalism or group-mentality develops in which – unthinkingly – certain positions are condemned or approved.

It would be wrong to tar every self-identified Skeptic with the same brush. However, all too often what comes over to those on the outside is a rather narrow and repetitive focus on particular topics and, more importantly, a condescending, over-confident tone in engaging with those who disagree or who have given such things little thought.

These things matter if Skeptics are really interested in changing or opening minds rather than getting together and having a good laugh about whacky beliefs. Hyde's article suggests it is the former that now takes precedence:

Many skeptics retain a hobbyist's level of delight in debunking psychic powers or ghost stories, and that's where the movement started. But the subject matter has become more serious and political. In the last decade, the most formidable opponents of alternative medicine have not been government regulators, but skeptics.

She adds vaccination, the teaching of evolution in schools, gay rights and abortion rights. Her claim is that Skeptics, or nerds (or geeks) are "the people with the best intellectual tools to rebut the traditional postulates". I would query that, if her "nerdocracy" means the self-selected (and not necessarily experienced or qualified) group that might identify with the term. As it stands, they also may not be the best (and should certainly not the only) group to attempt to communicate the issues to the broader public.

I'll end simply with a reminder that the etymology of scepticism implies enquiry and reflection, not dismissiveness.

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« Last Edit: March 12, 2018, 10:42:14 AM by Colin Crow »

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Re: A Topic for LN's: What is a CT?
« Reply #30 on: March 12, 2018, 10:40:41 AM »


Offline Bill Chapman

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Re: A Topic for LN's: What is a CT?
« Reply #31 on: March 12, 2018, 01:56:24 PM »
'Simplicity is the ultimate sophistication' - Clare Luce Booth*

Luce's statement ironically renders Colin's plea for a more sophisticated description of CTers somewhat contradictory.

K.I.S.S. =  Keep It Simple Sherlock  =  Lee Harvey Occam-Oswald



*misattributed to Apple, Leonardo da Vinci, and Steve Jobs
« Last Edit: March 12, 2018, 02:42:37 PM by Bill Chapman »

Online Colin Crow

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Re: A Topic for LN's: What is a CT?
« Reply #32 on: March 12, 2018, 09:27:50 PM »
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'Simplicity is the ultimate sophistication' - Clare Luce Booth*

Luce's statement ironically renders Colin's plea for a more sophisticated description of CTers somewhat contradictory.

K.I.S.S. =  Keep It Simple Sherlock  =  Lee Harvey Occam-Oswald



*misattributed to Apple, Leonardo da Vinci, and Steve Jobs

On the contrary Bill.......

You can all become more sophisticated by providing a simple definition of what you deem CT'ers to be. A task so far has yet to be reached by your group.

Thanks for proving my point.

Online Colin Crow

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Re: A Topic for LN's: What is a CT?
« Reply #33 on: March 12, 2018, 11:52:27 PM »
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'Simplicity is the ultimate sophistication' - Clare Luce Booth*

Luce's statement ironically renders Colin's plea for a more sophisticated description of CTers somewhat contradictory.

K.I.S.S. =  Keep It Simple Sherlock  =  Lee Harvey Occam-Oswald



*misattributed to Apple, Leonardo da Vinci, and Steve Jobs

By the way Bill simplicity is not the same as simplistic.....

Offline Walt Cakebread

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Re: A Topic for LN's: What is a CT?
« Reply #34 on: March 13, 2018, 12:04:08 AM »
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Specifically, CTer, here, means someone who believes that there was a successful conspiracy to murder President Kennedy.


In general, CTer means someone who believes in any large conspiracy that successfully kept a secret for a long time, however unlikely this would be. Examples are:

** A worldwide Jewish conspiracy to do evil things to non-Jewish races.

** illuminati

** Freemason’s

** Apollo Moon Landing Hoax

** UFO coverup


A sign of such a conspiracy theory is if the proponents do not provide a list of all the people involved because the list would be too large and make it too obvious that they believe in a large conspiracy.

You've omitted the most obvious....The US Government.....   

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Re: A Topic for LN's: What is a CT?
« Reply #34 on: March 13, 2018, 12:04:08 AM »


Offline Joe Elliott

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Re: A Topic for LN's: What is a CT?
« Reply #35 on: March 13, 2018, 02:02:20 AM »

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Perhaps I am not making myself clear. I have no problem with WC Defender instead of LN because  . . .


And I have no problem with LN or ‘Lone Nutter’. There is a tradition of supporters of Democracy adopting the derisive name the other side gave to them. Like ‘Yankee Doodle’ or Yankees.


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Personally I don’t have a theory that explains the events at this stage. However from what I have read and interpreted I am sceptical about the WC version. I do believe man landed on the moon, that Bigfoot does not exist, that creationism is merely a religious belief and that evolution is scientifically based. I do not believe in the illuminati or conspiracies involving the Freemasons, New Word Order, Skull and Crossbones, that climate change is real.....

I am a sceptic.....someone who is trained to be....that’s how scientific method works.



It doesn’t matter which Large Secret Conspiracy you believe in, which amazingly enough, has kept its secret for a long period of time. If you believe in any of them, Freemasons, New World Order, JFK conspiracy, you are not a skeptic. Or sceptic. No matter what you call yourself.


Holocaust Deniers can call themselves – ‘Conventional History Skeptics’
Moon Landing Hoaxers can call themselves – ‘U S Government Skeptics’
JFK CTers can call also themselves – ‘U S Government Skeptics’

None of them are skeptics. Anymore than ‘Scientific Creationists’ are a type of scientist.



It’s no good to say the JFK conspiracy has not successfully kept its secrets, at least to any thinking man. Because the World Wide Jewish Conspiracy believers will say the same thing.

Online Colin Crow

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Re: A Topic for LN's: What is a CT?
« Reply #36 on: March 13, 2018, 02:53:09 AM »
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And I have no problem with LN or ‘Lone Nutter’. There is a tradition of supporters of Democracy adopting the derisive name the other side gave to them. Like ‘Yankee Doodle’ or Yankees.



It doesn’t matter which Large Secret Conspiracy you believe in, which amazingly enough, has kept its secret for a long period of time. If you believe in any of them, Freemasons, New World Order, JFK conspiracy, you are not a skeptic. Or sceptic. No matter what you call yourself.


Holocaust Deniers can call themselves – ‘Conventional History Skeptics’
Moon Landing Hoaxers can call themselves – ‘U S Government Skeptics’
JFK CTers can call also themselves – ‘U S Government Skeptics’

None of them are skeptics. Anymore than ‘Scientific Creationists’ are a type of scientist.



It’s no good to say the JFK conspiracy has not successfully kept its secrets, at least to any thinking man. Because the World Wide Jewish Conspiracy believers will say the same thing.

So if I don’t consider the conspiracy to assassinate was neccessarily large scale what does that make me?

I hope you appreciated the quote from Shermer regarding the use of labels as pigeonholing....

Offline Tim Nickerson

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Re: A Topic for LN's: What is a CT?
« Reply #37 on: March 13, 2018, 02:57:07 AM »
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In any case, Griffith also believes in Scientific Creationism and that the Theory of Evolution is false. He also argues that the North was wrong to fight the Civil War and that the Confederacy was right to secede from the Union and it was wrong for the North to prevent this.

I'm not sure why you included that. Is there something conspiratorial in that stance of his? Is he denying science with it? It seems to me that he's merely expressing a political-like ideology with it.

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Re: A Topic for LN's: What is a CT?
« Reply #37 on: March 13, 2018, 02:57:07 AM »


Online Colin Crow

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Re: A Topic for LN's: What is a CT?
« Reply #38 on: March 14, 2018, 01:17:26 AM »


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Online Colin Crow

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Re: A Topic for LN's: What is a CT?
« Reply #39 on: March 14, 2018, 06:59:51 AM »
Do you believe that Lee Harvey Oswald acted alone in killing President Kennedy, or was there some larger conspiracy at work?

Lee Harvey Oswald acted alone ………………… 25%.    WC defenders (LNs)
There was some larger conspiracy at work. 51%.    CT's
Not sure ………………………………………………….... 24%.    This includes me.....sceptical

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Re: A Topic for LN's: What is a CT?
« Reply #39 on: March 14, 2018, 06:59:51 AM »