Monday, June 20, 2011

What it is not.

The term Guerrilla Skepticism was coined by mentalist/skeptic Mark Edward who writes for Skepticblog about his adventures getting into the faces of con artists.  He advocates that skeptics should stop complaining about the woo and start DOING SOMETHING (yes, this is how he formats it). 

Tim Farley (now a Fellow with the JREF) is an advocate of getting skeptics involved by using the resources already existing on the Internet like Wikipedia.  He is the one that taught me to use Wikipedia for skeptical reasons.

What I wanted to write about on this blog is what Guerrilla Skepticism on Wikipedia is NOT.

Very often sites are vandalized by skeptics and woo hoping to make a statement for their side.  I'm not sure what their motivation is, because in the end their edit is usually taken down quickly.  Maybe they think that by making the edit no one will notice and it will remain?  If so they are completely ignorant of the "watchlist" tool that all editors use (I check mine many times a day).

If they are trying to get attention like a graffiti artist well then that is a lost cause as again it is quickly taken down.

If making a point is what they are trying to do then their time would be better spent actually looking for some kind of citation to back up their claim.  Editing it correctly and then it should "stick".

Here is an example that popped up on my watchlist today.

Edward has denied ever using hot or cold reading techniques, because he is a liar. 

Really not helpful.  The red writing was what was added to a blurb on John Edward.

I remember one recently where a half-ass attempt was made at advertisement for a ghost hunting site.  They put their website in the article and said something like "...for example this group (name of group) charges reasonable rates and is available for investigations in the Los Angeles area."

I reverted the edit (this is a one-click action on the watchlist that reverts to the version right before the last edit).  And then made a note of it on the "discussion" page.  Then out of curiosity I went to the website (yes, I know that only gave them the attention they were seeking) and found out that it was a group of 15 year old boys who probably launched their group that day.  I emailed them and told them that if they really wanted to do real scientific investigations with the Big Guns they should attend an IIG meeting.  I gave them the IIG contact info and never heard from them again.  These boys may have grown up watching the ghost hunting shows and it never dawned on them that there is any other alternative or possibility of ghosts NOT existing.  If you don't get them when their young...

No comments:

Post a Comment