Inamorata Question #19 - Skeptics

by Joseph Gangemi

Moderator: Liz

User avatar
Liz
ONBC Moderator
Posts: 12971
Joined: Thu Jun 24, 2004 2:13 pm
Location: The Left Coast

Status: Offline

Inamorata Question #19 - Skeptics

Unread postby Liz » Sun Feb 19, 2006 11:45 am

The epigraph in the front matter of the book:

“Don’t worry, my dear—I am quite used to skeptics—they generally turn out to be the most vulnerable and receptive in the long run.” ~ Noel Coward, Blithe Spirit

Do you agree or disagree?


Thanks Gilly, for giving me the idea for this question.
You can't judge a book by its cover.

The only thing that matters is the ending. It's the most important part of the story.

User avatar
Bix
Posts: 687
Joined: Sat Apr 16, 2005 2:14 pm
Location: Austin, TX

Status: Offline

Unread postby Bix » Sun Feb 19, 2006 4:47 pm

This question has put me over the edge into Mort-land (which is even farther out than Planet Delusion!) and I've about worn out my Slinky thinking about it. I mean, some of us spent yesterday positing that the most skeptical would make the best investigators, would be steeled against that secret hope of being proved wrong. And now, here comes the reminder that the book is prefaced with Noel Coward's perfectly believeable statement that the skeptics are often the most vulnerable and receptive!

So, with absolutely no further thought whatsoever, I am now going to say, "Yes, I agree with Coward." So there. . . that was easy. *Tightens bathrobe sash and heads for the couch, Slinky abandoned on the keyboard*
Live! Life is a banquet and most poor suckers are starving to death! ~Auntie Mame

User avatar
Theresa
JDZ Webmaster
Posts: 26861
Joined: Sun May 01, 2005 1:21 am
Location: Houston, Texas

Status: Offline

Unread postby Theresa » Sun Feb 19, 2006 6:30 pm

Disclaimer: I have no idea what I'm talking about here...

Okay, I'm going to try and tackle this question, and Bix...hold a spot for me on the couch.

First I went to the encyclopedia to look up a good definition of skeptic and skepticism, and came away more confused than ever. The Columbia University Encyclopedia states: To some degree skepticism manifests itself in the scientific method, which demands that all things assumed as facts be questioned.

So then I just looked at the quote and though about what it might mean. Since skeptics don't hold to any firmly held beliefs, they don't have any platform to fall back on when questioning, and they are more receptive to believing things they think they see proved as fact. Now I think I've confused myself even more....

In my searching I found this great quote: "Keeping an open mind is a virtue—but not so open that your brains fall out", James Oberg.

So do I agree or disagree with the Noel Coward statement? Maybe...and maybe not. I'm trying to keep an open mind.

Do you have the Doritos and Mountain Dew ready, Bix?

User avatar
suec
Posts: 1381
Joined: Tue Jul 06, 2004 1:57 pm
Location: uk

Status: Offline

Unread postby suec » Sun Feb 19, 2006 6:48 pm

I think maybe I agree. In trying to explain it though, I tied myself up in knots and so deleted what I had written.
Start again. On the basis that a skeptic at least implies that some thought has been given to the topic, if an opnion has been formulated (though I admit it doesn't automatically follow), so possibly, the person may be willing to give it even more consideration and reconsider. Not much of an argument.
OK start again. That quotation is taken from the film where the dead wife is sure of her eventual win over her living husband, and haunts away merrily at him. She gets her man in the end, if I remember rightly, too one way or another. Correct? (It is a very long time since I saw it, so I cheated and looked it up.) First Line: words on a Victorian sampler: "When we are young / We read and believe / The most fantastic things. / When we are older / We learn with regret / That these things cannot be". I like that quotation. It seems to fit. Scratch a cynic and underneath is the idealist. Scratch the skeptic, and the believer is revealed, because of that secret hope of being proved wrong, if I may quote you, Bix. It seems so appropriate!
So, yes I agree. But I am not relating my answer to the novel, except that the ladies get their men.
"Luck... inspiration... both only really happen to you when you empty your heart of ambition, purpose, and plan; when you give yourself, completely, to the golden, fate-filled moment."

User avatar
Liz
ONBC Moderator
Posts: 12971
Joined: Thu Jun 24, 2004 2:13 pm
Location: The Left Coast

Status: Offline

Unread postby Liz » Sun Feb 19, 2006 7:22 pm

I had to look up the other key words here (all from Wikipedia) so that we could break this down scientfically, as it were. :lol:

Vulnerable: susceptible to criticism or persuasion or temptation

Receptive: open to arguments, ideas, or change

Skeptic: One of the seven attitudes. Its positive pole is investigation; its negative pole is suspicion. Skeptics view the world with doubt.

And just to recap the definition provided by Theresa for skepticism:

To some degree skepticism manifests itself in the scientific method, which demands that all things assumed as facts be questioned.

To me this says that a skeptic questions, but isn't necessarily precluded from having an open-mind. I think that a skeptic is just not willing to accept anything at face value.

One more more definition:

The Skeptics Society is a nonprofit organization devoted to promoting scientific skepticism and resisting the spread of pseudoscience, superstition, and irrational beliefs. The group was founded by Michael Shermer, who as of 2004 remains one of the chief officers and publisher of the society's periodical, Skeptic magazine.

I'm not using the above to support my beliefs, but I have to agree with the general feeling of all of you so far--which seems to be a gut feeling, that it is a true statement. And I think that this is because it comes from a human nature perspective and from my own experience. I consider myself to be a skeptic but at the same time gullible. I'm not a trusting sort, but at the same time I want to believe. Thus I can initially be skeptical about something or someone. But because of my stronger desire to believe, I can ultimately allow myself to be deceived. Does that make any sense at all?


BTW, Theresa, I like that quote.
You can't judge a book by its cover.

The only thing that matters is the ending. It's the most important part of the story.

User avatar
Bix
Posts: 687
Joined: Sat Apr 16, 2005 2:14 pm
Location: Austin, TX

Status: Offline

Unread postby Bix » Sun Feb 19, 2006 7:25 pm

theresa wrote:So then I just looked at the quote and though about what it might mean. Since skeptics don't hold to any firmly held beliefs, they don't have any platform to fall back on when questioning, and they are more receptive to believing things they think they see proved as fact. Now I think I've confused myself even more....

In my searching I found this great quote: "Keeping an open mind is a virtue—but not so open that your brains fall out", James Oberg.

So do I agree or disagree with the Noel Coward statement? Maybe...and maybe not. I'm trying to keep an open mind.

Do you have the Doritos and Mountain Dew ready, Bix?[/color]
I love that quote, Theresa! I think that may be what has happened to us all here - our brains have fallen out! And yes, I have the Doritos and Mountain Dew ready. . .and I'm considering Marlboros as well!

"When we are young / We read and believe / The most fantastic things. / When we are older / We learn with regret / That these things cannot be". I like that quotation. It seems to fit. Scratch a cynic and underneath is the idealist. Scratch the skeptic, and the believer is revealed, because of that secret hope of being proved wrong, if I may quote you, Bix. It seems so appropriate!
So, yes I agree. But I am not relating my answer to the novel, except that the ladies get their men.
I'm not sure I ever saw the movie of Blithe Spirit, but I have seen it on the stage a long time ago. Don't really remember it, though I do like the quotation also, suec. Would you care to join Theresa and me on the couch? It's strictly BYOB (bring your own bathrobe)! :lol:
Live! Life is a banquet and most poor suckers are starving to death! ~Auntie Mame

User avatar
Liz
ONBC Moderator
Posts: 12971
Joined: Thu Jun 24, 2004 2:13 pm
Location: The Left Coast

Status: Offline

Unread postby Liz » Sun Feb 19, 2006 7:29 pm

Bix wrote:
theresa wrote:So then I just looked at the quote and though about what it might mean. Since skeptics don't hold to any firmly held beliefs, they don't have any platform to fall back on when questioning, and they are more receptive to believing things they think they see proved as fact. Now I think I've confused myself even more....

In my searching I found this great quote: "Keeping an open mind is a virtue—but not so open that your brains fall out", James Oberg.

So do I agree or disagree with the Noel Coward statement? Maybe...and maybe not. I'm trying to keep an open mind.

Do you have the Doritos and Mountain Dew ready, Bix?[/color]
I love that quote, Theresa! I think that may be what has happened to us all here - our brains have fallen out! And yes, I have the Doritos and Mountain Dew ready. . .and I'm considering Marlboros as well!


Don't do that, Bix.
You can't judge a book by its cover.

The only thing that matters is the ending. It's the most important part of the story.

User avatar
Liz
ONBC Moderator
Posts: 12971
Joined: Thu Jun 24, 2004 2:13 pm
Location: The Left Coast

Status: Offline

Unread postby Liz » Sun Feb 19, 2006 7:31 pm

I forgot to add, thanks Suec, for giving us a little background on Blythe Spirit. I knew nothing about it. :thanks!:
You can't judge a book by its cover.

The only thing that matters is the ending. It's the most important part of the story.

User avatar
Bix
Posts: 687
Joined: Sat Apr 16, 2005 2:14 pm
Location: Austin, TX

Status: Offline

Unread postby Bix » Sun Feb 19, 2006 7:36 pm

Liz wrote: I'm not using the above to support my beliefs, but I have to agree with the general feeling of all of you so far--which seems to be a gut feeling, that it is a true statement. And I think that this is because it comes from a human nature perspective and from my own experience. I consider myself to be a skeptic but at the same time gullible. I'm not a trusting sort, but at the same time I want to believe. Thus I can initially be skeptical about something or someone. But because of my stronger desire to believe, I can ultimately allow myself to be deceived. Does that make any sense at all?[/color][/b]

This makes very good sense, Liz. I'm not sure you even need to come to the couch! :lol: And, you're right - nix the Marlboros.
Live! Life is a banquet and most poor suckers are starving to death! ~Auntie Mame

User avatar
nebraska
Posts: 29227
Joined: Tue Jul 06, 2004 8:15 pm
Location: near Omaha

Status: Offline

Unread postby nebraska » Sun Feb 19, 2006 8:38 pm

I think I agree with the general tone of this thread.........don't I? :-O To me a skeptic is not firmly in either camp, he thinks he might not believe but he isn't really convinced and therefore he can be swayed to the believing side. Otherwise, he would be a non-believer who would be firmly on the side of non belief. So yes, I think I agree with the statement..... don't I? :-?

User avatar
Betty Sue
Posts: 1430
Joined: Fri Mar 25, 2005 7:37 pm

Status: Offline

Unread postby Betty Sue » Sun Feb 19, 2006 8:48 pm

Well, thanks, ladies, for your intellectual and comical responses! I took one look at the question, looked up Blithe Spirit and found no enlightenment there, and headed straight for the couch while you guys really went to work first. :cool: Didn't think I'd ever decide if I agreed or not till I came to this from Liz:


I consider myself to be a skeptic but at the same time gullible. I'm not a trusting sort, but at the same time I want to believe. Thus I can initially be skeptical about something or someone. But because of my stronger desire to believe, I can ultimately allow myself to be deceived. Does that make any sense at all?

Sure does to me!! Thanks for figuring it out for me while I vegetated! :thanks!:
"I never wanted to be remembered for being a star."

User avatar
Bix
Posts: 687
Joined: Sat Apr 16, 2005 2:14 pm
Location: Austin, TX

Status: Offline

Unread postby Bix » Sun Feb 19, 2006 10:10 pm

nebraska wrote: So yes, I think I agree with the statement..... don't I? :-?
Okay, Nebraska, we've all scootched over so you can fit on the couch too. It seems that Betty Sue already has her own couch going.:lol:
Live! Life is a banquet and most poor suckers are starving to death! ~Auntie Mame

User avatar
Liz
ONBC Moderator
Posts: 12971
Joined: Thu Jun 24, 2004 2:13 pm
Location: The Left Coast

Status: Offline

Unread postby Liz » Sun Feb 19, 2006 10:22 pm

That couch is looking awfully appealing right now. :mort3:
You can't judge a book by its cover.

The only thing that matters is the ending. It's the most important part of the story.

User avatar
DeppInTheHeartOfTexas
Posts: 10378
Joined: Mon Jun 21, 2004 10:43 pm
Location: Austin

Status: Offline

Unread postby DeppInTheHeartOfTexas » Sun Feb 19, 2006 11:56 pm

Having given this some tought today while comptemplating my slinky,

Image

I think a skeptic would be the person to have on your side if you could convince said skeptic to take sides. Since as skeptic is, by definition, skeptical and questions everything, if you could actually convince that person that what you were trying to prove was correct that would be a feather in your cap, yes?

Is the couch full?
Life is not a journey to the grave with the intention of arriving safely in a pretty and well preserved body, but rather to skid in broadside, thoroughly used up, totally worn out, and loudly proclaiming -
Wow! What a ride!

User avatar
Gilbert's Girl
Posts: 163139
Joined: Sun Oct 03, 2004 3:14 am
Location: UK

Status: Offline

Unread postby Gilbert's Girl » Mon Feb 20, 2006 4:15 am

I shall answer this even though my brain definatly has fallen out long ago, thanks Theresa I love that quote.
Skeptics, will only believe in something if it is proved to them, but its trying to prove it that is the problem.
I don't believe it makes them more vulnerable or receptive in some ways quite the opposite. After all if there is no proof whats to believe in?


Return to “Inamorata”

Who is online

Users browsing this forum: No registered users and 1 guest