***A Must Read*** On Pseudo-Skepticism - A Commentary by Marcello Truzzi (former Professor of Sociology at E. Michigan U.)
Pseudo-Skepticism is so important for people to understand because it is quite possibly the strongest force preventing 911 truth from breaking wide open (although what an amazing achievement for the movement to have made it this far in the face of such seemingly insurmountable odds). Pseudo-Skepticism is the greatest enemy of 911 truth and as the great Sun Tzu remarked in his classic book, "The Art of War,"
"Know Your Enemy"
There is also a bit of advice at the end of the article that could certainly apply to 911 truthers and how they should conduct themselves when debating "debunkers."
PS - Michael Shermer is perhaps the greatest example of a Pseudo-Skeptic and he has been at the forefront of 911 truth debunking.
A Commentary by Marcello Truzzi*
Over the years, I have decried the misuse of the term "skeptic" when used to refer to all critics of anomaly claims. Alas, the label has been thus misapplied by both proponents and critics of observed anomalies. "Skepticism" properly refers to doubt rather than denial--nonbelief rather than belief--critics who take the negative rather than an agnostic position but still call themselves "skeptics" are actually pseudo-skeptics and have, I believe, gained a false advantage by usurping that label.
In science, the burden of proof falls upon the claimant; and the more extraordinary a claim, the heavier is the burden of proof demanded. The true skeptic takes an agnostic position, one that says the claim is not proved rather than disproved. He asserts that the claimant has not borne the burden of proof and that science must continue to build its cognitive map of reality without incorporating the extraordinary claim as a new "fact." Since the true skeptic does not assert a claim, he has no burden to prove anything. He just goes on using the established theories of "conventional science" as usual. But if a critic asserts that there is evidence for disproof, that he has a negative hypothesis, he is making a claim and therefore also has to bear a burden of proof.
Critics who assert negative claims, but who mistakenly call themselves "skeptics," often act as though they have no burden of proof placed on them at all, though such a stance would be appropriate only for the agnostic or true skeptic. A result of this is that many critics seem to feel it is only necessary to present a case for their counter-claims based upon plausibility rather than empirical evidence.
Showing evidence that is unconvincing is not grounds for completely dismissing it. If a critic asserts that the result was due to artifact X, that critic then has the burden of proof to demonstrate that artifact X can and probably did produce such results under such circumstances. Admittedly, in some cases the appeal to mere plausibility that an artifact produced the result may be so great that nearly all would accept the argument; for example, when we learn that someone known to have cheated in the past had an opportunity to cheat in this instance, we might reasonably conclude he probably cheated this time, too. But in far too many instances, the critic who makes a merely plausible argument for an artifact closes the door on future research when proper science demands that his hypothesis of an artifact should also be tested. Alas, most critics seem happy to sit in their armchairs producing post hoc counter-explanations. Whichever side ends up with the true story, science best progresses through laboratory investigations.
On the other hand, proponents of an anomaly claim who recognize the above fallacy may go too far in the other direction. All of us must remember science can tell us what is empirically unlikely but not what is empirically impossible. Evidence in science is always a matter of degree and is seldom if ever absolutely conclusive. Some proponents of anomaly claims, like some critics, seem unwilling to consider evidence in probabilistic terms, clinging to any slim loose end as though the critic must disprove all evidence ever put forward for a particular claim. Both critics and proponents need to learn to think of adjudication in science as more like that found in the law courts, imperfect and with varying degrees of proof and evidence. Absolute truth, like absolute justice, is seldom obtainable. We can only do our best to approximate them.
*Marcello Truzzi was a professor of sociology at Eastern Michigan University.