Stepping up with something to say

Been a weird week. I don’t know how I feel about having my own category on a contentious blog. But, you have to sometimes say things that other people might find… inflammatory.

Take for example my guest post yesterday on Bigfoot Lunch Club. I have eschewed most Bigfoot blogs because they are fed via unsubstantiated rumors, lame videos and pictures and ridiculous tales. But BFLC doesn’t do that so I give Guy my support. It’s important that skeptics with an alternate view to the paranormal or similar topic go out to these communities and see what they are talking about. You can learn a lot. Here is a link to the post, take a look at what I said, determine for yourself if I did it the right way or not, and look at the responses.

Bigfoot News | Bigfoot Lunch Club: The skeptical eye on Bigfootery

I also had a discussion with a friend. You can tell this is a casual and comfortable chat about the Doubtful News website and some of the stories from this past year. Kylie and I always have a good time talking.

Token Skeptic Special Episode – On The End Of 2012 With Doubtful News

I need both communities – one for support and learning and one for challenge and learning. If we just talk to the choir all the time, that’s too sheltered. When we venture outside that, it’s uncomfortable, and it sets us up for criticism and sometimes downright rudeness but I do think that getting that feedback means you’ve done SOMETHING. Offended someone’s personal views possibly made them think about it. I try hard not to offend the PERSON, but to just press specific buttons.

About idoubtit

Fluent in science, animals, paranormal culture. Expert in weird news.

0 thoughts on “Stepping up with something to say

  1. As to your comment about talking to the choir, I don’t necessarily see it as a problem on the level of blogging — on it’s own. However, I personally believe people’s real action should be behind the scenes. That is, writing lettters to the editor, writing local politicians, and so on. Of course, Bigfootery isn’t exactly the best topic for real activism but, as I’ve pointed out in the past a “harmless” pseudoscience like cryptozoology actually undermines an understaning of science and the scientific method — cases in point: the rise of ghost and Bigfoot hunting groups based upon television shows. They all are playing scientist but not actually doing anything. Naturally, you are well aware of this phenomenon seeing how you’ve actually written academically on the subject.

    With other topics, like anti-vaccination and alt-med, people can be activists without necessarily being seen as such. Writing letters may take time but, based upon my experience in my union, politicians do pay attention to them — at least on the local level. I’ve received phone calls from politiicans and personal letters (and I’m not talking about form letters either). I believe a personal, written letter from one person to another can often do much more good in certain instances than hundreds of blog posts could ever do but this should not be viewed as a dismissal of blogging. Hell, I’m a blogger too. I just think we as skeptics (and as a society as a whole but that’s a more literary issue — I swear people wrote better prose in the 1800’s) should be writing more letters.

    1. Writing letters only does so much. I write letters to my MP and to regulatory bodies all the time – such as the Advertising Standards Authority in the UK. However, there are frameworks they work within that only solve so many issues.

      In the mean time skeptics and educators can get out there and communicate with people, inspire them to think critically for themselves, plant seeds of doubt, and counter pseudo-scientific claims in the very communities they are being made in.

      Behind the scenes activism is great, but it takes all sorts to counter all sorts of claims. Writing to MP’s is great, but what does that mean to the person who believes there’s a ghost in their house and is scared? Not a lot.

      You also put “harmless” in quotes, and I hope it’s because you realise that belief in cryptozoological and paranormal ideas isn’t harmless. It can be harmless most of the time, but there are instances where harm is done by ghost hunters, or to those who think they’re haunted. This is where skeptics and educations can make a real difference by being vocal in a non-confrontational manner, like Sharon does.

      If you find writing letters a more successful way of achieving what it is you want to achieve then that’s great, but please don’t underestimate the reach that other actions and methods of communication can have.

  2. I would say, if the only information people get is from their own choir…. what choice do they have but to believe what they say? Also, it helps us not demonize people with different beliefs. Helps them also understand where we are coming from. I jokingly had “Take an atheist to lunch” day when I was at work. It was a big hit (many people claimed to know atheists only via TV or history books). Atheist parents volunteered to be “taken to lunch” (the school is heavy on doctors and many of them were atheists). Most asked questions “Why would an atheist choose a profession where they deal with death and dying, how do they keep from being depressed?”

    I think once you reach out, most people are happy to listen if you first listen to them. The more mean paranormal people I’ve dealt with usually have a financial interest in their “belief”.

  3. I have been following some of the Bigfoot blogs over the last few months. Yes, I do have too much time right now. Based on my observations, I thought what you wrote was fair and certainly not inflammatory. It was a little surprising that there was an “inter-dimensional” Bigfoot advocate there, as I have only encountered those who believe it to be an animal of some kind. I would like “Bigfoot” to exist, although I doubt that it does. I think there is a lot of pent up emotions within that community with all the DNA talk and the hope that proof will soon come.

  4. I really didn’t see anything inflammatory about your guest post. I did read some of the commentary and thought it was mild compared to other responses I’ve seen before expressing doubt about the existence of bigfoot. The people that need to read your blog aren’t reading it so if some of the ghost and bigfoot hunting blogs invite you to guest post, take advantage of it.

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