Friday, 8 July 2005

New Term for those Pesky Skeptoids. . .

Just for fun, I made up a new word for all those pesky annoying skeptics who aren't really sketpics, but maybe not quite "randi bots" either. Words like skeptoid, randi bot,etc. have been used in attempts to distinguish the seemingly long dead true skeptic from the more rabid pathological skeptic, or debunker. Problems with that though, as we know. Not all irrational
rationalists are debunkers, not all skeptism is debunkery.

No skeptic, skeptoid, debunker, randi-bot or skepti-bunny likes the suggestion of using skeptic to mean the more rigid militaristic type, and sceptic, with a c, to denote the gentler skeptic, as Fortean Times suggested a few years ago:

"We forteans could be characterised as benign sceptics, taking nothing on trust but tolerating the surreal fringes of explanation until they are supplanted by more convincing evidence. We use 'sceptic' in this sense and distinguish it from the word skeptic (with a 'k') which can usefully be employed to cover the militancy (exemplified by CSICOP) which starts from the premise that most unexplained phenomena area priori impossible. Of course, current dictionaries don't make this distinction; perhaps we need a new word." ~ Fortean Times 1/02

I'm fine with this very sensible solution, but just try bringing it up on skeptic forums, such as the JREF. They'll hunt you down and kill you. I speak from experience. I had to go into the woo-woo protection program after bringing it up over there.

So how about skCeptic? skCeptic to denote the more linear, black and white, rigid rationalist, who may or may not at times be about all out debunkery, but is certainly no peaceful and agreeable sceptic either.

Is Tom Cruise "Nuts?"

Not so much, maybe.

He seems like a terribly gamey and guarded person, with an ego the size
of the Western Hemisphere, but "nuts?" -- hmmm.

I'm not a big fan of his -- never thought he was sexy ( I like 'em taller, darker, and that ethnic big nose thang going on) and his acting was pretty so - so, until fairly recently. ( I thought he was amazing in both Magnolia, and Eyes Wide Shut.)

He's gotten a lot of flack lately, and a lot of it is justisfied. (Of course, it's easy to play
armchair pundit on someone you don't even know! lol, but hey, he's a big time
rich celebrity, so suck it up, Tom!) His whole "he loves Katie" routine -- gawd,
dahlings, gag me!

And, of course, he's a Scientologist, and they're a scary bunch. I've known a few people who have been involved with them; one person I knew ended up moving *way* out in the hills of L.A. and changed his number, etc. to avoid them. He wasreally very freaked by them after he left.

Tom's pontificating on Brooke Shield's post partum depression and her being helped by medication was *so* fucking out of line. Who asked him? Not to mention, has he given birth? No. Didn't think so. Asshole male superior bullshit religious fanatic.

So, a lot of people are throwing the baby out with the bath water: in other words, Tom is nuts. He's nuts because he's going through a mid life crisis with the younger Katie. Okay. He's nuts because he went way off in regards to someone else's struggle with depression.

While I don't agree with Cruise's assesment of psychiatry, there is some truth to what he says. Drugs are pushed upon the public right and left. I know, I've been there. I was just commenting to my dh the other day that many a doctor has tried to push an anti- depressant at me to cover up real physical problems. I had the will to keep at it until I found a decent doctor who said, "yea, it's this, der, you don't need anti - depressants" and now I'm fine. (Well okay, the doctor didn't say "der.") Anyway...

They're also saying he's nuts because he "believes" in aliens. Now, this is interesting. A lot of people "believe" in aliens. But because he's 'Tom' it's fair game to pile on the attacks. Hey, ol' Tom is nuts because, not only does he jump up and down on
furniture because he's so in luuuuuuuuuuuuvvvvvvvvvvvvvvvvvvvvvvv, he's a Scientologist, but wait,
there's more, he --- gasp -- believes in aliens too! That proves he nuts!

There seems to be a weird juxtaposition dance going on in mainstream culture and media regarding UFOs. Polls are constantly coming out with stats that say, roughly, 50% of the population "believes" in UFOs. Yet reports come out that "there are less UFO sightings than ever." We still make fun of people who "believe" in aliens and/or UFOs, yet movies and tv
programs about UFOs are *way* popular. And the documentries on the cable channels keep coming: the History channel, Discovery, Travel, etc. As well as the Peter Jennings special on mainstream televison that aired a few months ago. (Which was a dismal piece of crap, but that's for another entry.)

Tom Cruise may be arrogant, a jerk, an egomaniac, guarded and suspicious, and a Scientologist, but he isn't "crazy" because he believes in UFOs. In fact, given the controversy swirling around him, he's pretty brave to admit such a thing. Of
course, he's rich and famous, so what does he care what the rest of us think?