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UK-Skeptics

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UK-Skeptics

Post by Guest on 6th May 2011, 15:07

A great site and wealth of information.

http://www.ukskeptics.com/
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Re: UK-Skeptics

Post by Kitkat on 6th May 2011, 18:35

John wrote:A great site and wealth of information.

http://www.ukskeptics.com/

Exskeptits Except it's closed now. Ooh ... the sight of that site makes me go all tongue-tied. giggle
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Re: UK-Skeptics

Post by Guest on 6th May 2011, 19:38

Kit-Kat wrote:Except it's closed now.
No, it's still there.




Added: yes, the forum is closed but the website is still active and doing its intended job.
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Re: UK-Skeptics

Post by Kitkat on 6th May 2011, 19:58

John wrote:No, it's still there.

I know that really ... I was just trying to be witty. cleverclogs sidestep
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Re: UK-Skeptics

Post by Kitkat on 7th May 2011, 14:22

John wrote:the forum is closed but the website is still active and doing its intended job.


I like this bit in the Newsletter for May 2010, in the write-up re the UK-Skeptics Conference in Muncaster. Very Happy toast

Some might have questioned the wisdom of
mixing ‘skeptics’ and’ believers’ in an enclosed place, but
we had no problems- even the lady visitors from the
Spiritlove web forum found things to like about Skeptics
(and vice versa).
http://www.ukskeptics.com/newsletters/2010-1.pdf

Are there going to be any more Newsletters?
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Re: UK-Skeptics

Post by Guest on 7th May 2011, 15:59

Kit-Kat wrote:Are there going to be any more Newsletters?
No, and there's unlikely to be any more new content as I don't think publishing stuff under the banner 'skeptics' is a useful way of communicating effectively.

I do have a few half written or planned articles that I may write up at some point and add them but it's not a priority. I have one on the psychology of psychic readings which I think would be informative and probably well positioned on a skeptics' website so I might do that one.
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Re: UK-Skeptics

Post by Kitkat on 7th May 2011, 19:23

John wrote:I have one on the psychology of psychic readings which I think would be informative and probably well positioned on a skeptics' website so I might do that one.

Oh aye. That sounds interesting. albino From where did you garner the material for your article?
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Re: UK-Skeptics

Post by Guest on 7th May 2011, 20:47

Well, I tend to read primary academic research as my source of information as well as other scholarly work and I have enough information to write a pretty informative article.

This has been in the pipeline for a long time now. I just can't get motivated to write anything.

In fact, I remember talking to you at the conference about my ideas for structuring how we think about alternative medicine, placebo effects, etc. That stuff has been 'in the pipeline' since about 2006. I haven't been overly motivated by 'skepticism' since then. Sleep
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Re: UK-Skeptics

Post by Kitkat on 8th May 2011, 10:15

John wrote:That stuff has been 'in the pipeline' since about 2006. I haven't been overly motivated by 'skepticism' since then. Sleep

Huh? So when was UK-Skeptics (the forum) actually formed then? I joined there in 2007 - when 'motivation' for skepticism was pretty noticeably active there.
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Re: UK-Skeptics

Post by Guest on 8th May 2011, 12:33

The forum opened early in 2006.

2006 was the peak year for website activity but the forum peaked in 2009.

The main problem with a site like that one is that it could only ever operate successfully with a very narrow remit. That's because almost everyone, including those who call themselves skeptics, don't actually understand what skepticism is at all.

e.g. if you want to set up a website to oppose paranormal or alt. med. claims then using the label 'skeptics' will probably work OK as it fits in with most people's idea of skepticism (non-belief, opposition, denial) but if your idea of skepticism is true to its original meaning (inquiry, pursuit of knowledge) then you're wasting your time - particularly if you want to communicate a message.

UK-Skeptics could have a future if its remit is narrowed to just dealing with the paranormal and alt. med., but if people have different goals such as being educational or promoting science/critical thinking/etc., then a different approach is needed.

The label 'skeptics' is a huge hindrance to any form of effective communication (other than preaching to other skeptics - which is all they tend to do).
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Re: UK-Skeptics

Post by Feather on 8th May 2011, 13:44

You were thinking about starting a new project, John. How's that going, or have you changed your mind about it?



I'D RATHER PURR THAN HISS!  
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Re: UK-Skeptics

Post by Guest on 8th May 2011, 15:58

I'm actually working on something else at the moment. It's going to be a light-hearted community website but the main thing is that I'm working on a bespoke website design for it. That website code will be reusable so if I ever do go ahead with the CT stuff I'll have a properly designed and optimised website for it (as opposed to crappy blogs etc.)*

I have a really, really good idea for how to promote critical thinking that incorporates the ideas I was postulating (a businesslike approach: defined purpose and goals, targeting an audience, etc.) and the good thing is that no one else is doing it.

My former colleagues rejected the idea. The only problem I had with that is that they didn't actually know what the idea was before they rejected it.

The main drawback with doing this sort of altruistic stuff is that you get no thanks for it, you make nothing from it and it takes a great deal of time and effort to do. That's why it really does need to be effective.

Skepticism, as it's currently practised**, is almost completely ineffective as it's almost exclusively about attracting people in (i.e. those who are already likely to be sceptical) than engaging with others. Even when they do try 'outreach' they're turning to blogs, podcasts etc. The problem being that these new Web2.0 technologies are highly effective in helping people to filter out what they're not interested in. So not only is the type of message they are trying to get over done in the wrong way (mostly) to begin with, the method of delivery is very poor also.

This is why anyone wishing to communicate ideas needs to do something different. A new approach might not work either but I say that trying something new is a better option than continuing with something that's already known to fail to deliver.






* I have research papers that have looked into the communication of science and what 75% people do when they're looking for information on something these days is to log onto the internet and use a search engine. So the best place you can have your content is on a website that is well ranked by the search engines therefore delivering your content to those who are actively searching for it. Search engines don't rate blogs highly at all (as they're largely full of crap) so you're not reaching your target audience with a blog.

Blogs, podcasts, facebook, twitter, and such like are useful for capturing a like-minded audience. They're not the tools of delivering information to a non-captive audience - they're the tools for preaching to the converted.




** Practised as it's something that's being done?
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Re: UK-Skeptics

Post by Guest on 8th May 2011, 16:00

Oops, a bit of a rant there...

The answer is that I haven't done anything about the CT project but I haven't rejected it either. I guess it will just have to wait for a time when I have the time and inclination to make the effort to do it as I personally get nothing in return.
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Re: UK-Skeptics

Post by Kitkat on 8th May 2011, 16:33

John wrote:** Practised as it's something that's being done?

study ......... :thumb:
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Re: UK-Skeptics

Post by Feather on 8th May 2011, 17:43

Sorry, John, I don't know much about blogs, websites etc. I don't even know what much of the jargon about/on computers means but I accept what you are saying. You obviously know a lot. I wouldn't know where to start. I hope it all goes well for you.

As kk indicated, your spelling is perfect. cheers



I'D RATHER PURR THAN HISS!  
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Re: UK-Skeptics

Post by Guest on 9th May 2011, 17:13

@Feather wrote:I hope it all goes well for you.
Thank you very much!

I'm designing and programming a new database-driven website system that I can use. Initially it will be used for the community project I have on the go but it will also be able to be used on more serious projects too.

It's all coming together beautifully and I'm extremely pleased with it.

As for communicating information. Well, while I was studying psychology I also looked into things like the psychology of persuasion, making effective arguments and that sort of thing and what I discovered, by examining the research and evidence, is that the way skeptics (and no doubt many other groups) go about things is often ineffective or even counter-productive.

For groups that aim to be 'educational', the psychology literature is not a very encouraging read. Most approaches don't work; and if anything, only make things worse! It's a waste of time.

If you see arguments about this subject (what to do about irrational thinking) the experienced skeptics and educators tend to say that the only thing that can be done is to increase people's awareness of and use of critical thinking. It's the old adage of teaching people how to think rather than what to think.

Of course you have to be realistic with this. I have an idea for a project that I think would work but I know it isn't going to change the world - it's just something that might make a small contribution in addition to other people's work in the same area. A small group with no funding or income is never going to have much clout, but if its efforts are channelled into the right areas in the right way, then it could still make a difference.
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Re: UK-Skeptics

Post by Feather on 9th May 2011, 22:01

How long is it likely to take to complete it?



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Re: UK-Skeptics

Post by Guest on 11th May 2011, 11:42

I've been busy working on the site this week and I expect it will be ready for testing in a few days.

I'm writing the code for the integration of the website with the database now and it's a phase where you do a lot of work but nothing much seems to change. Then you put the last bits of code in place and the whole thing springs to life!

I'd like to have it operational by next week.
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Re: UK-Skeptics

Post by Kitkat on 11th May 2011, 20:48

It all sounds terribly complicated and technically testing. confused. drunken but exciting though. I'm sure it'll all be worth it. Are we all invited to the site-warming party? :twisted:
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Re: UK-Skeptics

Post by Guest on 12th May 2011, 12:04

Web programming is basically just problem solving - that's why I love it!

I might send you the URL for it but it won't be what you're possibly expecting.
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Re: UK-Skeptics

Post by Feather on 12th May 2011, 12:26

That's just made it more intriguing. cheers



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Re: UK-Skeptics

Post by Kitkat on 15th May 2011, 22:47

John wrote:I might send you the URL for it but it won't be what you're possibly expecting.

How do you know what I might be expecting?

You just might, eh? Rolling Eyes What does that mean exactly? You mean if we're on good behaviour or something?
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Re: UK-Skeptics

Post by Guest on 16th May 2011, 01:34

Well I wasn't sure whether you'd be interested, particularly as I'll be implementing a system of forum apartheid against believers in superstitions such as mediumship. Wink

It's not going to be a skeptics' site. It's going to be a light-hearted community place (with a forum) that will largely be fun based (satire etc.) but I guess some of it will be a bit more hard-hitting (at least when I get writing it will be! ).

Now my next project (based on this web application what I wrote) will be the CT one. Then I can get truly anal and immensely analytical and boring. 8)
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Re: UK-Skeptics

Post by Feather on 16th May 2011, 09:32

That former one sounds like a revenge attack on believers for The Hideaway on SL but you wouldn't be so petty, would you, John?? Nah. giggle



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Re: UK-Skeptics

Post by Kitkat on 16th May 2011, 12:30

John wrote:Well I wasn't sure whether you'd be interested, particularly as I'll be implementing a system of forum apartheid against believers in superstitions such as mediumship. Wink

Don't start me off. judge woohoo

    Current date/time is 21st July 2018, 14:34