The Skeptics Apprentice

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Pubmaster
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The Skeptics Apprentice

Postby Pubmaster » Sat Jun 09, 2018 1:59 am

Hey all,

Anyone ever read "The Skeptics Apprentice: astonishment at the crumbling edge of reality"? Seems super woo to begin with, given that the author (about whom I can find next to no information) claims to have been the protege of the Amazing Randi himself, along with conversations with the likes of men like Daniel Dennett, Douglas Hofstadter, and Raymond Smullyan just for ----- and giggles. He then claims to have "challenged the core beliefs of Randi and the entire skeptic community, compelling the worlds greatest minds to question the very nature of reality" (how exciting!). Obviously big talk for a guy I can't find anything about. As far as I can tell, he is proposing some neo-version of esotericism, based on interpretations of philosophers like Plotinus and calling it "an ancient mystery" all the while excepting personal "revelation" as an excuse to remove critical thinking from his world view. The book is here:

https://www.amazon.com/Skeptics-Apprent ... VN2EAVT6P9

If anyone has read it, or has further information on the book of author let me know, I'm interested in his particular claims of nonsense.

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Re: The Skeptics Apprentice

Postby TJrandom » Sat Jun 09, 2018 10:16 pm

Are you the author?

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Gawdzilla Sama
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Re: The Skeptics Apprentice

Postby Gawdzilla Sama » Sat Jun 09, 2018 11:19 pm

Some drooling idiot wrote a steaming pile of elephant {!#%@} and we're supposed to be interested for what reason?
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Re: The Skeptics Apprentice

Postby Aztexan » Sun Jun 10, 2018 4:02 am

I usually go to aisle 6, towards the back on the left-hand, middle shelf. I prefer the 9-pack, Ultra Soft, double roll 2-ply package.
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Re: The Skeptics Apprentice

Postby Gord » Sun Jun 10, 2018 6:19 am

Hmm. Yep, looks like a crap website, too: https://www.jamesplath.com/
"Knowledge grows through infinite timelessness" -- the random fictional Deepak Chopra quote site
"Imagine an ennobling of what could be" -- the New Age BS Generator site
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Re: The Skeptics Apprentice

Postby bobbo_the_Pragmatist » Sun Jun 10, 2018 8:57 am

Pubmaster wrote: .....compelling the worlds greatest minds to question the very nature of reality" (how exciting!).

HEY!!!!.....back atchya!!!! No, I lost interest right there. Such words are ALWAYS BS.

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Re: The Skeptics Apprentice

Postby Pubmaster » Tue Jun 12, 2018 6:17 pm

TJarndom - No I'm not the Author. I literally can't find anything about him/her.

Gawdzilla Sama - I didn't ask you to be interested, actually I can't for the life of me wonder why you would even bother writing back about something you profess no interest in and know nothing about (other than the obvious fact that the book is BS). If you are interested why I'm interested about the book, it's because I'm part philologist, I am interested in understanding the "critiques of skepticism" without having to waste time of money on the book. I simply thought someone out there may have read it with a critical eye instead of the all 5 star reviews the book gets on Amazon, which I suspect were written by the author him/herself.

Aztexan - Thanks so helpful - don't bother replying if you have nothing useful to say, you waste my time, your time and everybody else's time.

Gord - Yeah it's a garbage website, looks hastily thrown together to promote the book. I think all it says is what is written on the back cover.

boboo_the_Pragmatist - I'm well aware that the book and all the claims this guy makes are BS, I'm looking for people who have read the book so they can tell me the exact contents thereof.

Note to everyone reading - if you're not interested in this topic, just move one and don't waste my time. There is a reason I'm interested in it and it is mostly for philological reasons and an exploration of epistemic systems (I study why people invest in particular forms of epistemology) I am not looking for comments like "this guy is full of %$^# ... I already know that. I'm looking for people who have actually read the book - hopefully people who aren't woo and wouldn't give it a 5 star review. I know it is unlikely that I will find a person (as I doubt most skeptics would waste their time reading this) but maybe there is someone out there who, like myself, is interested in what people who directly or indirectly oppose skepticism are saying.

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Re: The Skeptics Apprentice

Postby OlegTheBatty » Tue Jun 12, 2018 7:33 pm

Pubmaster wrote:. . . someone out there who, like myself, is interested in what people who directly or indirectly oppose skepticism are saying.


We don't need to read a book for that.

Fox News
Most politicians
Gwynneth Paltrow
CT's

etc

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Re: The Skeptics Apprentice

Postby Monster » Tue Jun 12, 2018 8:17 pm

Pubmaster wrote:He then claims to have "challenged the core beliefs of Randi and the entire skeptic community, compelling the worlds greatest minds to question the very nature of reality"

That right there really jumped out at me. It seems very likely that the book is a work of fiction. And I don't just mean that this guy is lying about James Randi. I mean that this is basically just a drama book. Perhaps "fictional autobiography" would be the genre.

The amazon user J. Falen wrote a colossal review of the book with this title for his review: "is one with the mystics and those poets who tell us of the great cosmic oneness that is beyond understanding (or at least ...". After reading that review, you can guess that the book is just woo.

Link to the review:
https://www.amazon.com/gp/customer-revi ... VN2EAVT6P9

This line from the review makes it look like J. Falen is a user on this very forum:
Ultimately, Plath suggests, this is a means of submerging the illusionary self into the true, apparently infinite, eternal and imperishable one, the cosmos or what he calls pure imagination, primal and primary consciousness, the all..
Listening twice as much as you speak is a sign of wisdom.

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Re: The Skeptics Apprentice

Postby Aztexan » Tue Jun 12, 2018 9:24 pm

Noob wrote:
Aztexan - Thanks so helpful - don't bother replying if you have nothing useful to say, you waste my time, your time and everybody else's time.


Thanks for the advice but I don't follow advice or rules.
Wasting time is impossible since we define what time is and how we use it so :P
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Re: The Skeptics Apprentice

Postby Gawdzilla Sama » Tue Jun 12, 2018 10:31 pm

Pubmaster wrote:
Gawdzilla Sama - I didn't ask you to be interested, actually I can't for the life of me wonder why you would even bother writing back about something you profess no interest in and know nothing about (other than the obvious fact that the book is BS). If you are interested why I'm interested about the book, it's because I'm part philologist, I am interested in understanding the "critiques of skepticism" without having to waste time of money on the book. I simply thought someone out there may have read it with a critical eye instead of the all 5 star reviews the book gets on Amazon, which I suspect were written by the author him/herself.

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Re: The Skeptics Apprentice

Postby gorgeous » Wed Jun 13, 2018 12:37 am

he's right-----"Everything we call real is made of things that cannot be regarded as real." - Niels Bohr
Science Fundamentalism...is exactly what happens when there’s a significant, perceived ideological threat to one’s traditions and identity.

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Re: The Skeptics Apprentice

Postby TJrandom » Wed Jun 13, 2018 1:42 am

Glad you`re not real... :roll:

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Re: The Skeptics Apprentice

Postby Pubmaster » Wed Jun 13, 2018 2:19 am

Monster wrote:
Pubmaster wrote:He then claims to have "challenged the core beliefs of Randi and the entire skeptic community, compelling the worlds greatest minds to question the very nature of reality"

That right there really jumped out at me. It seems very likely that the book is a work of fiction. And I don't just mean that this guy is lying about James Randi. I mean that this is basically just a drama book. Perhaps "fictional autobiography" would be the genre.

The amazon user J. Falen wrote a colossal review of the book with this title for his review: "is one with the mystics and those poets who tell us of the great cosmic oneness that is beyond understanding (or at least ...". After reading that review, you can guess that the book is just woo.

Link to the review:
https://www.amazon.com/gp/customer-revi ... VN2EAVT6P9

This line from the review makes it look like J. Falen is a user on this very forum:
Ultimately, Plath suggests, this is a means of submerging the illusionary self into the true, apparently infinite, eternal and imperishable one, the cosmos or what he calls pure imagination, primal and primary consciousness, the all..


Yeah, I read that review as well, but to me it sounded like the book was another in the installment form "I had a mystical experience once and therefore all this material stuff isn't 'real' and everything that has ever existed isn't really 'real' and therefore don't be sad ever because it's all not real" concept that new-age thinkers/prepackaged "wisdom of the east" purveyors seem to be hocking all the time.

I'm interested in why someone, who supposedly counts James Randi among their intellectual influences, would rightly assent to such a dismal epistemology, and what that epistemology precisely entails. I suspect the only way to get this information is to just read the dumb book.

I don't understand what you mean when you say "this line from the review makes it look like J. Falen is a user on this very forum:" ...

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Re: The Skeptics Apprentice

Postby scrmbldggs » Wed Jun 13, 2018 2:40 am

He probably means any of the helpless selfless self-less nondual proselytizers that occasionally show up here.
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Re: The Skeptics Apprentice

Postby Monster » Wed Jun 13, 2018 6:20 am

scrmbldggs wrote:He probably means any of the helpless selfless self-less nondual proselytizers that occasionally show up here.

Yes, that’s what I meant.
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Re: The Skeptics Apprentice

Postby Poodle » Wed Jun 13, 2018 10:54 am

Pubmaster wrote:..... I suspect the only way to get this information is to just read the dumb book .....

Well, yes - although you appear to have already formulated your opinion, so maybe not. I'm not advising anyone to actually read it - but if you want to criticise the thing, it's normal to make an effort to find out what it actually says rather than depending upon the blurb.
Me? I stopped reading stuff 'challenging the very nature of reality' some time ago. It's time someone got down and did it rather than guessing for money.


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