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Zen . . . And the Art of Debunkery
Revised edition, (C) 1997 by Daniel Drasin. All rightsreserved. May not be reproduced in any form withoutexpress permission from the author,ddrasin@aol.comThis is a revised and expanded edition of an essaythat has previously appeared in various publicationsbetween 1991 and 1997.
So you've had a close encounter with a UFO. Or aserious interest in the subject of extramundane life. Ora passion for following clues that seem to pointtoward the existence of a greater reality. Mention anyof these things to most working scientists and beprepared for anything from patronizing skepticism tomerciless ridicule. After all, science is supposed to bea purely hardnosed enterprise with little patience for"expanded" notions of reality. Right?Wrong.Like all systems of truth seeking, science, properlyconducted, has a profoundly expansive, liberatingimpulse at its core. This "Zen" in the heart of scienceis revealed when the practitioner sets aside arbitrarybeliefs and cultural preconceptions, and approachesthe nature of things with "beginner's mind." When thisis done, reality can speak freshly and freely, and canbe heard more clearly. Appropriate testing andobjective validation can--indeed, *must*--come later.Seeing with humility, curiosity and fresh eyes wasonce the main point of science. But today it is often adifferent story. As the scientific enterprise has beenbent toward exploitation, institutionalization,hyperspecialization and new orthodoxy, it hasincreasingly preoccupied itself with disconnected factsin a psychological, social and ecological vacuum. So
disconnected has official science become from thegreater scheme of things, that it tends to deny ordisregard entire domains of reality and to satisfy itselfwith reducing all of life and consciousness to a deadphysics.As the millennium turns, science seems in many waysto be treading the weary path of the religions itpresumed to replace. Where free, dispassionateinquiry once reigned, emotions now run high in thedefense of a fundamentalized "scientific truth." Asanomalies mount up beneath a sea of denial,defenders of the Faith and the Kingdom cling withincreasing self-righteousness to the hull of a sinkingparadigm. Faced with provocative evidence of thingsundreamt of in their philosophy, many otherwisemature scientists revert to a kind of skepticalinfantilism characterized by blind faith in theabsoluteness of the familiar. Small wonder, then, thatso many promising fields of inquiry remain shroudedin superstition, ignorance, denial, disinformation,taboo . . . and debunkery.What is "debunkery?" Essentially it is the attempt to*debunk* (invalidate) new information and insight bysubstituting scient*istic* propaganda for thescient*ific* method.To throw this kind of pseudoscientific behavior intobold--if somewhat comic--relief, I have composed auseful "how-to" guide for aspiring debunkers, with aspecial section devoted to debunking extraterrestrialintelligence--perhaps the most aggressively debunkedsubject in the whole of modern history. As will beobvious to the reader, I have carried a few of thesedebunking strategies over the threshold of absurdityfor the sake of making a point. As for the rest, theirinherently fallacious reasoning, twisted logic andsheer goofiness will sound frustratingly familar tothose who have dared explore beneath the ocean ofdenial and attempted in good faith to report backabout what they found there.So without further ado . . .
<> Before commencing to debunk, prepare yourequipment. Equipment needed: one armchair.<> Put on the right face. Cultivate a condescendingair that suggests that your personal opinions arebacked by the full faith and credit of God. Employvague, subjective, dismissive terms such as"ridiculous" or "trivial" in a manner that suggests theyhave the full force of scientific authority.<> Portray science not as an open-ended process ofdiscovery but as a holy war against unruly hordes ofquackery- worshipping infidels. Since in war the ends justify the means, you may fudge, stretch or violatethe scientific method, or even omit it entirely, in thename of defending the scientific method.<> Keep your arguments as abstract and theoreticalas possible. This will "send the message" thataccepted theory overrides any actual evidence thatmight challenge it--and that therefore no suchevidence is worth examining.<> Reinforce the popular misconception that certainsubjects are inherently unscientific. In other words,deliberately confuse the *process* of science with the*content* of science. (Someone may, of course,object that since science is a universal approach totruth-seeking it must be neutral to subject matter;hence, only the investigative *process* can bescientifically responsible or irresponsible. If thathappens, dismiss such objections using a methodemployed successfully by generations of politicians:simply reassure everyone that "there is nocontradiction here!")<> Arrange to have your message echoed by personsof authority. The degree to which you can stretch thetruth is directly proportional to the prestige of yourmouthpiece.
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05 / 04 / 2011This doucment made it onto the Rising List!

How true this is, it is true for the paranormal world aa well... There is always the one that wents to prove you wrong anyway they can..

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