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Rupert McWiseman
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"Extraordinary claims require extraordinary evidence". This is quoted so often by hardline materialists (a.k.a. fundamaterialists) that it has become little more than a kneejerk reaction - not one iota different from Christian fundamentalists quoting Scripture. The beauty of it is that it allows the materialist to cease thinking. No need to engage with the existing evidence - just move the goalposts, and convince yourself that this constitutes critical thinking. Here's the thing: "Extraordinary claims..." is usually, and incorrectly, attributed to Carl Sagan. In fact it was coined by Marcello Truzzi, co-founder of CSICOP - an organisation which he left in disillusionment, realising that it had become a meetingplace for militant atheists and fundamaterialists, not genuine skeptics. In his last years, Truzzi realised that his "extraordinary claims" mantra was "a non-sequitur, meaningless and question-begging", and planned to write a debunking of this particular piece of materialist Holy Writ. Sadly, he died before he was able to do so. Two minutes critical thought should enable the fundamaterialist to realise that one has neither defined what constitutes an "extraordinary claim", nor what would constitute "extraordinary evidence" - hence the phrase is a meaningless cop-out. My own defintions are as follows: Extraordinary claims = those which make a fundamaterialist feel uncomfortable. Extraordinary evidence = that which is sufficiently unrealistic, and far enough distant in the future, to enable the fundamaterialist to slip back underneath his scientistic comfort-blanket. It's nothing to do with EVIDENCE, you see - it's all about allowing fundamaterialists to live peacefully in their consensus reality tunnel.
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Jul 22, 2012