Author Topic: Skeptoid  (Read 20354 times)

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Offline estockly

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Skeptoid
« Reply #300 on: July 16, 2017, 11:41:20 AM »
I'm not sure on the timeline. My understanding was that the arrest was for things that happened long before the arrest, and the "fraud" had ended before he started the podcast. (But my memory may be faulty).

2006 was the year the FBI first began investigating Dunning and it was also the year he founded Skeptoid.

Do you think he had already terminated his Ebay Affiliate account and stopped receiving any profits by then?

Why would he have done such a thing? One of the key points of his defense was the allegation that Ebay knew all about the fraud and never told him to stop, so he assumed they were okay with it. His partner Shawn Hogan and he were already the world's #1 and #2 top earners in the Ebay Affiliates program. What reason would they have had to halt such an effortless and lucrative gravy train?

But who knows, maybe he did. We could give him the benefit of the doubt about that. 

But as I pointed out before, that Skeptoid episode where he made a bunch of lame excuses to justify ripping people off by knowingly promoting lies was enough for me to decide to stop wasting any more attention on him.

I think you're right. Dunning had laid out in a couple of posts the timeline of events, but those seem to have been taken down (apparently at the Government's request), but it seems the FBI raided his home in 2007, and he was still engaged in the eBay scam at that time.
« Last Edit: July 16, 2017, 07:17:07 PM by estockly »
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"Well, sometimes the magic works. Sometimes it doesn't." -- Chief Dan George, "Little Big Man"

Offline John Albert

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Re: Skeptoid
« Reply #301 on: July 17, 2017, 05:43:43 AM »
What I took away from it it is that we as skeptics shouldn't be sweating the small stuff.

"Small stuff" like ethical behavior.


That we should be more worried about the real harms that are done from pseudoscience and not about Grandma who isn't hurting anyone.

The fallacy of relative privation appears to be quite popular around these forums.


What I took away from it is that not all pseudoscience is harmful.

Yeah, that's where I think Dunning is wrong. Pseudoscience is harmful because it's dishonest, and because it promotes false beliefs and magical thinking, which do impede people's ability to think critically. Also, Dunning actually said that he thinks it's okay to con people out of their money by lying to them.

Which is something we already know he thinks is okay, because he actually served time for wire fraud, for spreading malware on the Internet in order to receive monetary rewards under false pretenses.


What do I care if Granny thinks her poodle talks to her dead goldfish? She wants to buy a product, the free market allows her to buy that product, even if that product is nothing more than someone saying soothing words. Who is harmed by that?

It's not just "someone saying soothing words." It's someone capitalizing on her grief and gullibility by lying to her in exchange for money.

That's unethical. It was unethical when Sylvia Browne and Uri Geller did it, it's unethical when John Edward does it, and it would be just as unethical if some self-described "skeptic" does it.
« Last Edit: July 17, 2017, 08:40:47 PM by John Albert »

Offline arthwollipot

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Re: Skeptoid
« Reply #302 on: July 17, 2017, 07:07:05 PM »
Well, I think that's merely your own opinion that you're finding words in someone else's work to support. I'm pretty sure that Dunning wouldn't hold the view that you attribute to him - and I base this opinion off several unrecorded direct face-to-face conversations with the man.

Offline John Albert

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Re: Skeptoid
« Reply #303 on: July 17, 2017, 07:50:36 PM »
I'm going by what he said in that podcast.

I'm willing to give him the benefit of the doubt that perhaps his own views have changed since he wrote and recorded that. If that's the case then he really ought to remove that episode from his website because it reflects very poorly on his character.

Offline arthwollipot

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Re: Skeptoid
« Reply #304 on: July 17, 2017, 08:00:47 PM »
I'm going by what he said in that podcast.
What I'm saying is that you're judging him based on one example of his language, which I contend you have misinterpreted.

Offline John Albert

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Re: Skeptoid
« Reply #305 on: July 17, 2017, 08:33:52 PM »
I remain unconvinced that I have misinterpreted it.

I've listened to the podcast and read the transcript several times now. I strongly disagree with what he literally said. His entire line of reasoning is based on a fallacy of relative privation, and proposing flimsy pretenses to justify taking people's money in exchange for lying to them.

You even paraphrased his position in your own words, and I disagree with that wording as well. 

Offline arthwollipot

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Re: Skeptoid
« Reply #306 on: July 18, 2017, 04:48:30 AM »
Fair enough. It's not important enough for me to want to try and convince you otherwise.

Offline moj

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Re: Skeptoid
« Reply #307 on: July 18, 2017, 09:27:54 AM »
I remain unconvinced that I have misinterpreted it.

I've listened to the podcast and read the transcript several times now. I strongly disagree with what he literally said. His entire line of reasoning is based on a fallacy of relative privation, and proposing flimsy pretenses to justify taking people's money in exchange for lying to them.

You even paraphrased his position in your own words, and I disagree with that wording as well.

Agreed, his apologist seem like the are really stretching credulity to validate him. I've also meet him and it did not change my impression of the situation. 

Offline John Albert

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Re: Skeptoid
« Reply #308 on: July 18, 2017, 01:48:17 PM »
It doesn't require good ethics or morals to be personable and charming.

Offline Swagomatic

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Re: Skeptoid
« Reply #309 on: July 18, 2017, 02:24:13 PM »
He's trying to reconcile his libertarian economic beliefs with his skepticism.  It's kind of a lame argument, for sure.  While I disagree with this idea, it does not invalidate his other episodes.  I still listen to the show, and mostly enjoy it.

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Offline arthwollipot

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Re: Skeptoid
« Reply #310 on: July 18, 2017, 06:03:54 PM »
He's trying to reconcile his libertarian economic beliefs with his skepticism.  It's kind of a lame argument, for sure.  While I disagree with this idea, it does not invalidate his other episodes.  I still listen to the show, and mostly enjoy it.
And this is the thing. Is the quality of the show compromised because of his brief imprisonment? Does it somehow make his research and his conclusions invalid? Even if you think that he is an unrepentant fraudster by nature (which is an accusation that I have definitely seen levelled), does it change the facts that he reports? Is the show any more unreliable because of it?

I contend that it is not. Good evidence-based research is good evidence-based research even if it's done by the most awful person.

Offline estockly

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Re: Skeptoid
« Reply #311 on: July 18, 2017, 06:31:41 PM »
He's trying to reconcile his libertarian economic beliefs with his skepticism.  It's kind of a lame argument, for sure.  While I disagree with this idea, it does not invalidate his other episodes.  I still listen to the show, and mostly enjoy it.
And this is the thing. Is the quality of the show compromised because of his brief imprisonment? Does it somehow make his research and his conclusions invalid? Even if you think that he is an unrepentant fraudster by nature (which is an accusation that I have definitely seen levelled), does it change the facts that he reports? Is the show any more unreliable because of it?

I contend that it is not. Good evidence-based research is good evidence-based research even if it's done by the most awful person.

I used to listen to his show religiously, so to speak, and participated in his forum (I think I'm still a member but haven't been back in some time) I may have written something for his web page.

But when he went away, I wasn't thrilled with his interim replacements and just kind of gradually stopped listening. I don't think I've listened to more than a few seconds of any of his new podcasts since he's been back.
and Donald Trump is President of the United States.


"Well, sometimes the magic works. Sometimes it doesn't." -- Chief Dan George, "Little Big Man"

Offline John Albert

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Re: Skeptoid
« Reply #312 on: July 18, 2017, 06:41:09 PM »
I contend that it is not. Good evidence-based research is good evidence-based research even if it's done by the most awful person.

There are plenty of other places to hear paranormal and supernatural claims examined and debunked by people whose ethics I trust.

I avoid other libertarian podcasts for the same reason.

Offline Ah.hell

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Re: Skeptoid
« Reply #313 on: July 19, 2017, 10:16:43 AM »
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I avoid other libertarian podcasts for the same reason.
So libertarians are unethical then?

Offline John Albert

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Re: Skeptoid
« Reply #314 on: July 19, 2017, 07:44:29 PM »
I avoid other libertarian podcasts for the same reason.

So libertarians are unethical then?

Not necessarily, but I find it to be a common thread that runs through the ideology.

 

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