*Skepticism vs. Zeteticism

Sun, 30 Jan 1994 21:23:23 CST

Steve/Seeker1 writes:

"The "Skeptical" Inquirer assumes, a priori, that X does not exist, and
therefore devotes its energies to "debunking" all claims of X. Thus
it begins with systematic disbelief, which to me is as dogmatic as
systematic belief."

Although some of the regular writers of SI can be pretty caustic, the
journal as a whole is too eclectic to be dogmatic. Mainly, their attitude
is extraordinary claims require proof, which is similiar to your
definiation of Zeteticism (withholding of belief until evidence is given).
Several of the same people write for both SI and The Zetetic.

I bring up skepticism not be dogmatic but rather to remind readers
that SI is a good, though eclectic, source for information on
altered states of consciousness, lucid dreams, near-death experiences,
etc. that do appear in our anthro-l discussions. Recent research
indicates that none of these are 'paranormal' but rather explainable
in terms of the natural world.

Methodological skepticism (rather than dogmatic philsophical skepticism)
is not a bad thing for anthropology. I know that this sounds old
fashioned in the post-modern age, but anthropology has been burned too
many times by hoax (the Don Juan series) and hokum (the so-called
'Stone Age' Tasadai). A disicipline that increasingly relies on
literary analysis, inner discoveries, etc. is vunerable to hoaxes.

If anyone is interested in specific topic references in SI, feel free
to contact me via e-mail.