List of Hot Air Skeptics

Alan seemed to insinuate in my last thread that I didn’t explain WHY I think skeptics are full of hot air.  So, in order to do so in a manner in which hopefully he can better understand, first I think I should start with a list of who these skeptic mouthpieces are, and then I can perhaps later fill in some of their statements, some of their backgrounds, and some of their beliefs.  I hope this will ease Alan’s concerns.  So, off the top of my head, here are some of the top ones I can think of.  Sort of a Hall of Fame of atheist windbags. Guys who know everything about the universe, because they tell you so. Should be a useful database that we can refer back to later in other conversations. More added later:

In no particular order of annoying windiness.

  • Neil Degrasse Tyson
  • Sean M. Carroll
  • Steven Novella
  • Brian Greene
  • Brian Cox
  • Lawrence Krauss
  • Michael Shermer
  • Brian Dunning
  • Phil Plait
  • Jerry Coyne
  • James Randi
  • Cara Santa Maria
  • Seth Shostak
  • Richard Dawkins
  • Sam Harris
  • Robert Sapolsky
  • Rebecca Watson
  • Eugenie Scott
  • Bill Nye
  • PZ Myers
  • Karen Stollznow

Well, its a good start.  These are just sort of the most obvious, but its helpful to see where the tentacles grow from.

 

 

 

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239 thoughts on “List of Hot Air Skeptics

  1. J-Mac: As are the creative powers of bolt of lighting and thermal vents

    Whereas, of course unnamed designers who acted sometime, somehow, somewhere who promulgate a moral code that is unknowable by mere morals should be credited instead?

    The creative powers of invented beings have no bounds, I’ll grant you that.

    Is your god so weak and unimaginative it cannot create a universe where life as we know it arises ‘naturally’ as a part of the system? Is there not something inelegant about the idea of a constantly tweaking designer, who cannot simply create and then let that creation unfold?

    It seems to me you are worshipping a drooling simpleton in the pantheon of gods.

    The god who can never get it quite right.

    Probably got laughed at at god school.

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  2. Hey there were a couple of people on that list I had not heard of before, and they seem like really interesting and rational people. Thanks for making this list phoodoo.

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  3. Rumraket,

    They will probably be having a meeting near you sometime soon you can join, where everyone who believes the same thing can talk about how they believe the same things.

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  4. phoodoo: They will probably be having a meeting near you sometime soon you can join, where everyone who believes the same thing can talk about how they believe the same things.

    Ahh you mean like church. Cool.

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  5. phoodoo: They will probably be having a meeting near you sometime soon you can join, where everyone who believes the same thing can talk about how they believe the same things.

    Oddly not everybody at church believes the same thing. Some believe that children should not be abused, some do. Can’t think of any atheist organisation that’s been hiding child abuse, can you?

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  6. dazz: If the laws of physics are predicted by there being a God, why didn’t anyone in your camp figure them out using only theology?

    It’s worth pointing out that the concept of there being any laws of physics at all took shape in a theological context — God as divine law-giver.

    Nancy Cartwright, who has argued for anti-realism about laws of nature, has a nice article arguing that the idea of God and the idea of laws of nature really do stand or fall together.

    There’s a nice theological response to Cartwright (I have just now learned) arguing that realism about causal powers (which is one of Cartwright’s central commitments) requires God. I can certainly see how that would work in Spinozistic terms — but for Spinoza, realism about causal powers just is realism about God, since he is a pantheist. What I wonder if whether realism about causal powers gives us an argument for a genuinely transcendent God and not the purely immanent God of Spinoza — whereas laws of nature very clearly do presuppose a transcendent God.

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  7. Kantian Naturalist: It’s worth pointing out that the concept of there being any laws of physics at all took shape in a theological context — God as divine law-giver.
    What I wonder if whether realism about causal powers gives us an argument for a genuinely transcendent God and not the purely immanent God of Spinoza — whereas laws of nature very clearly do presuppose a transcendent God.

    Maybe I am not reading you right, but this sounds like nonsense. Sure, in a thoroughly theological society EVERY concept, no matter what, must take shape in a theological context. Note that a Christian context is not implied – science in India, China, etc. also took shape in theological contexts. How else could it be, when magical powers of some sort were for 200,000 years the sole source of “explanation” needed to satisfy human curiosity, in all cultures?

    But you seem to be saying that a theological context is required for the laws of physics to be even thought up, much less noticed by anyone observant. And for this, I would need some good reason why a scientific approach to observation and test could NOT have arisen in a purely secular context. After all, scientific approaches and ideas were violently opposed by the Christian church where they did arise. As I see it, the theological underpinnings are fading, from direct magic to indirect (the gods made the rules) to doubly indirect (the gods made it possible for there to be rules) to nonexistent (eliminate all gods and the universe would be as it is anyway).

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  8. Flint,

    I wasn’t making a point about scientific practices as such — I was making a point about the understanding of scientific practices as the search for laws of nature. Aristotle didn’t understand science in that way, and he was the best natural historian of ancient Greece. The scientific revolution was a rejection of Aristotelian science, in part because Aristotelian science was descriptive (not experimental) and qualitative (not quantitative) but also because Aristotelian science did not look for progressively more inclusive and encompassing laws. A law like d=r*t or F=m*a could not have occurred to an Aristotelian scientist.

    That said, I will admit my complete ignorance of Indian and Chinese science, so I cannot speak to whether the idea of laws of nature was part of their scientific practice. If it was, and they developed it without any Abrahamic theology, then clearly I was mistaken.

    Flint: After all, scientific approaches and ideas were violently opposed by the Christian church where they did arise.

    This is not quite true. Some were, and some weren’t. Bruno was burned for his heretical pantheism which was really quite mystical and esoteric, not just because he was an astronomer. Galileo was sentenced to house arrest for challenging the authority of the Church to decide which parts of Scripture were allegorical and which parts were literal. I don’t know what the initial Catholic response to Darwinism was, but they’re OK with now as long as one believes that a soul created in the image of God was inserted into the hominid lineage at some point. (I believe Vincent Torley once argued that this happened with Homo antecessor, for whatever that’s worth!)

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  9. dazz,

    Just a note of surprise at the source of that doc (I didn’t realise the site was still up, as the ‘institute’ is long closed). ISN was formed by Mark Ryland, not long after he left the Discovery Institute. For a time it looked like a group of them would take a stand against IDT through this org. I attended the 1st ISN summer event at MIT in 2008, the very week before going to the DI’s summer program in Seattle. One of the early helpers of Collins’ BioLogos Foundation was there in Boston as well. Such a different group of scholars & students, largely Roman Catholics at ISN, with almost entirely evangelical Protestants at the DI. The ISN conference, hosted among others, Michael Denton, though his particular talk at that event was one of the least interesting.

    People here trying to escape from hot air skepticism might want to check this one out too, on the same site: http://www.themoralliberal.com/2011/08/27/the-questions-science-cannot-answer/

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  10. phoodoo: Who knows?

    Not sure what your point is. Are they atheists? Is their meeting billed as a meeting of atheists? Child abusers exist there is no disagreement there, the point is that there is no organisation like the church hiding it.

    https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Catholic_Church_sexual_abuse_cases

    3 Sexual abuse cases in North America
    3.1 Canada
    3.2 United States
    4 Sexual abuse cases in Central America
    4.1 Costa Rica
    4.2 Dominican Republic
    4.3 El Salvador
    4.4 Honduras
    5 Sexual abuse cases in South America
    5.1 Argentina
    5.2 Chile
    6 Sexual abuse cases in Europe
    6.1 Austria
    6.2 Belgium
    6.3 Croatia
    6.4 France
    6.5 Germany
    6.6 Ireland
    6.7 Italy
    6.8 Norway
    6.9 Poland
    6.10 United Kingdom
    7 Sexual abuse cases in India
    8 Sexual abuse cases in Australia

    Quite the list. And your response is what, exactly?

    https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Jeffrey_Epstein

    Epstein was born in 1953 in the New York City borough of Brooklyn to Jewish parents

    So given he was ostensibly Jewish your point is what again? That atheists act like members of a church and hide child abuse?

    The point is somewhat missed on you it seems. Yes, abusers exist but only organisations like the church systematically hide that abuse when they find out about it. Epstein had money, just like the church, and that’s how he managed to hide his crimes.

    The difference is if his boss had found out about his crimes and then covered them up, as happened in the church.

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  11. “Just a reminder that life evolves opportunistically, that is what natural selection is all about. And what makes the conronavirus particularly diabolical, is not how deadly it is, but how symptomless it can be, before you even notice you have it, to then take precautions.

    Neil Degrasse Tyson, windbag who can’t remember what he did in college.

    I don’t know who I dislike more, Tyson for pretending he is an expert on viruses, or the interviewer for asking him.

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  12. ‘I think people are in denial of how much it actually manifests [the role of genetics in intelligence]”

    Neil Degrasse Tyson, trying to remember when he got his dual majors in genetics and sociology.

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  13. phoodoo: Neil Degrasse Tyson, trying to remember when he got his dual majors in genetics and sociology.

    Yet you claim to make decisions in a special non-causal realm, claim that the FBI uses physics and on and on and never produce any backing for your claims and you don’t see any irony in what you are doing here?

    Frankly it seems like jealousy to me. You spout shit and only the people who bother to read this site see it, he spouts shit and an audience of millions laps it up.

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  14. phoodoo: I don’t know who I dislike more, Tyson for pretending he is an expert on viruses, or the interviewer for asking him.

    Was there a misstatement in what he said? Was any of that wrong?

    Remind me what qualifications Dembski has to talk about biology? Did you kick up a stink about that? I guess not, with your double standards being what they are. I mean, Uri Geller ffs.

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  15. OMagain: Frankly it seems like jealousy to me.

    You mean like the kind when someone won’t tell you about the FBI, that kind of jealousy?

    Ha!

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  16. phoodoo: You mean like the kind when someone won’t tell you about the FBI, that kind of jealousy?

    Ha!

    phoodoo, that isn’t jealousy but rather a recognition that you have nothing to present. Omagain pointing out, repeatedly, that you haven’t supported your claim makes that observation all too evident for all too view and underscores that reality.

    Sorta like your inability to provide a denominator for your Covis-19 stat on cancer patients mortality/morbity rate or your inability to provide the ‘correct’ measles death statistics since posting your objections to the provided statistics. Everyoe knows why you don’t provide the info….you don’t have it.

    Surprised you haven’t added your lying anti-vaccination church leaders to your list. Where are the Robert Kennedy Jr quotes or those from the Griers or any of the numerous other ‘leaders’ you worship?

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  17. phoodoo: You mean like the kind when someone won’t tell you about the FBI, that kind of jealousy?

    That does not even make sense. You realize I don’t actually believe you right? So the idea that I would be jealous about something I don’t even believe in the first place is just absurd.

    Am I jealous you can’t provide the proofs to back the claims you make? Perhaps I’m jealous about the fact that you don’t see that as a problem for your interactions with your usual interlocutors.

    Yes, tell yourself that if you like phodoo. I know there’s no way I’ll get you to acknowledge you are in error nor get you to believe that in the first place in any case. It’s par for the course.

    People who believe that Uri Geller has physic powers even after he admitted he did not, well, it’s never going to be point counter-point is it?

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  18. OMagain: Was there a misstatement in what he said? Was any of that wrong?

    What phoodoo ignores is more informative then what he pays attention to. No problem with Dembski help start the Intelligent Design movement as someone without any qualifications in biology, but should someone phoodoo does not like do the same, well he’s a windbag speaking out of turn and with a lack of expertise.

    One day that weasel will pop I’m sure.

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  19. phoodoo: “Just a reminder that life evolves opportunistically, that is what natural selection is all about. And what makes the conronavirus particularly diabolical, is not how deadly it is, but how symptomless it can be, before you even notice you have it, to then take precautions.

    Neil Degrasse Tyson, windbag who can’t remember what he did in college.

    I don’t know who I dislike more, Tyson for pretending he is an expert on viruses, or the interviewer for asking him.

    Hey for once I actually agree with you, Tyson shouldn’t be the go-to public source on anything outside of astrophysics. And at a time like this, specialists in pandemics are the only people who should be allowed to speak authoritatively on television.

    But in this particular case what he’s saying isn’t wrong. There really is a problem with people thinking they aren’t sick, or simply don’t caring because their symptoms are mild, and running around spreading the disease.

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  20. OMagain,
    More interesting is what it takes for phoodoo to not like you.
    It seems to be “people who tell phoodoo that he is not super-duper special” whether they be philosophers, writers, cosmologists, biologists, or illusionists.
    Curious as to what his dual major is in…

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  21. OMagain: So the idea that I would be jealous about something I don’t even believe in the first place is just absurd.

    Can you prove you don’t believe it? All I see is your writing you don’t believe it, you could just be saying that. In fact, I know you are just saying that. Why aren’t you saying the truth?

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  22. DNA_Jock,

    Why that amazing, that’s exactly it. In fact, I was just having this conversation with Tyson the other day. He said, man, you know, you are not special. In fact, you know all you are is really just a bunch of wet chemicals sloshing around in bag like some garbage, with no purpose whatsoever. My fucking kids, my wife, same thing, just bags of useless chemical trash. He said, “I tell my daughter this all the time. She asked me if she could go to this school dance, I am like, hey, bag of trash why are you asking me this nonsense, does the trash ask if it can mold?”

    He said, “You know, when I was accused of drugging and raping my colleague, I said, We are all drugs, how can a drug drug a drug, that is idiotic.”

    I said to him, “No, no, Neil, you are wrong, everyone is special, because, well, you feel special, so that’s special, right?” He was just like “Feelings? Fuck off!”

    So you nailed it Jock. That’s why. I just hated Neil telling me that. For a bag of useless chemicals you sure got that one right.

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  23. phoodoo:
    DNA_Jock,

    Why that amazing, that’s exactly it.In fact, I was just having this conversation with Tyson the other day.He said, man, you know, you are not special.In fact, you know all you are is really just a bunch of wet chemicals sloshing around in bag like some garbage, with no purpose whatsoever.My fucking kids, my wife, same thing, just bags of useless chemical trash.He said, “I tell my daughter this all the time.She asked me if she could go to this school dance, I am like, hey, bag of trash why are you asking me this nonsense, does the trash ask if it can mold?”

    He said, “You know, when I was accused of drugging and raping my colleague, I said,We are all drugs, how can a drug drug a drug, that is idiotic.”

    I said to him, “No, no, Neil, you are wrong, everyone is special, because, well, you feel special, so that’s special, right?”He was just like “Feelings?Fuck off!”

    So you nailed it Jock.That’s why.I just hated Neil telling me that.For a bag of useless chemicals you sure got that one right.

    Let me get this straight ,life is useless unless a deity gives your life meaning and purpose?

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  24. phoodoo: Can you prove you don’t believe it? All I see is your writing you don’t believe it, you could just be saying that. In fact, I know you are just saying that. Why aren’t you saying the truth?

    It’s telling you can’t differentiate between an opinion I might hold and an objective fact, such as the measles death rate or if the FBI uses physics.

    You can prove either way if the FBI uses physics and what the true measles death rate is, so you say. But you choose not to. Whereas I can never prove that I really hold an opinion or not.

    Conflating the two just shows how desperate you are to avoid addressing the root cause of the problem – you cannot back up the claims you make.

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  25. Alan Fox: reluctantly.

    Oh, reluctantly was it? How so Alan? What was the reluctance about? Because it was a marginal post? Barely breaking the rules?

    Or you say reluctant, because it just pains you to have to guano posts that so echo your own rule breaking tendencies when directed against anyone not in your camp?

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  26. “People want to say that Aliens built the pyramids. No, Africans built the pyramids!”

    “Africa is 5 times the size of the United States. Five times! ”

    Neil Degrasse Tyson, archaeologist, who is also not very good at math.

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  27. newton: So you don’t think that?

    I don’t believe there is no deity, so it is not relevant to my beliefs.

    I think the idea of laws and life, without any plan or force to create it is just silly. I also think those who say there is ZERO evidence for a creator are delusional.

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  28. Didn’t Steven Weinberg describe evolution as “breedings and weedings”? How did he fail to make the list?

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