Hayley is a Ghost

I am an angry person with a chip on my shoulder don’t ya know!

Posted on: May 1, 2010

I was sent an email about an hour ago (at the time of writing this) from the ‘A brighter Bradford-on-Avon’ website that I created a while ago. The email was sent by somebody called Teresaphoto23 who said:

‘A brighter Bradford-On-Avon is a web based resource for rational information and advice relating to health and well being’ I am interested by your use of the word rational? I have found your website exceptionally well designed but for the most part irrational. Isnt that one thing you’re that you’re against – false advertising? Having an opinion on any matter is fantastic, airing it – brilliant. Dedicating a whole website for your crusade – your right to do so. You’re obviously passionate about what you believe in which has to be admired. Advertising your site as a rational source of information and advice may be your intention but honestly, the whole thing just comes across as a very angry person with a huge chip on their shoulder on a mission to sound superior to all others who disagree with their opinion. The site is charged with emotion of a negative kind and so i would put it to you, perhaps you could take your own advice and look at your own advertising and! the claims you are making. A very one sided website with links to the ‘sketpics’ website for information – not really a source for rational information.

I felt it was only right that I answer this email piece by piece on my blog where other people with such thoughts can have their questions addressed.

I am interested by your use of the word rational? I have found your website exceptionally well designed but for the most part irrational. Isnt that one thing you’re that you’re against – false advertising? Having an opinion on any matter is fantastic, airing it – brilliant. Dedicating a whole website for your crusade – your right to do so. You’re obviously passionate about what you believe in which has to be admired.

Thank you for the lovely comments. They are genuinely appreciated. However I would like to address the other bits of the email.

Advertising your site as a rational source of information and advice may be your intention but honestly, the whole thing just comes across as a very angry person with a huge chip on their shoulder on a mission to sound superior to all others who disagree with their opinion.

I advertise my website as a source for rational information because the articles I link to have been thoroughly researched by people who are well versed in the subject they are writing about. If you find an issue with any particular article I write do let me know which one and the details you feel are wrong and I will contact the author to discuss the issue to see what their thoughts are. That’s the joy of skepticism – the ability to be willing to admit what you say is wrong when it is.

I’m not an angry person; far from it to be honest with you, anyone who knows me knows how laid back I am. Basically, it takes a lot for me to snap. That’s anecdotal though so I don’t expect you to take my word for it.

I will admit though that I do have a chip on my shoulder; one that is detailed clearly on the ‘A brighter Bradford-on-Avon’ website. I state on the front page of the site “I have lived in Bradford-On-Avon for five years and have become shocked by the amount of alternative health care advertised in the town. I’ve always been vigilant for the promotion of misinformation locally because I host a skeptical podcast and it’s something that we talk about on the show quite often. However, my research in the town led me to uncover some rather shocking misinformation being promoted about health care that I felt needed to be countered with scientific facts.”

That’s the chip I have on my shoulder. People being led astray by misinformation and misleading promotion. I’m not saying that every single alt-med practitioner has the intention to mislead people but this does happen and that’s a fact that can’t be argued. This is the chip I have on my shoulder – guilty as charged.

However, the bit where I am accused of thinking I am superior to other people is completely untrue. I’m not a scientist, I’m not a genius, yet I can still see bullshit when it’s dressed up as fact. If trying to help people understand the pseudoscience involved in alt-med makes me sound smug and as though I think I’m superior then that’s a risk I’m willing to take.

Also, claiming that my site doesn’t have rational information on it is wrong because the articles I like to don’t rely on magical thinking for the treatment to work. Perhaps, Tereasphoto23, you need to research the meaning of the word rational. No, wait, I’ll do it for you:

1.agreeable to reason; reasonable; sensible: a rational plan for economic development.
2.having or exercising reason, sound judgment, or good sense: a calm and rational negotiator.
3.being in or characterized by full possession of one’s reason; sane; lucid: The patient appeared perfectly rational.
4.endowed with the faculty of reason: rational beings.
5.of, pertaining to, or constituting reasoning powers: the rational faculty.
6.proceeding or derived from reason or based on reasoning: a rational explanation.

However, I am genuinely amused that ‘Teresaphoto’ cannot provide an argument to what I have to say that doesn’t result to insults. Isn’t this ad hominen? One of the most comment logical fallacies? I think it is and because of that alone I’m not going to be loosing any sleep over this email.

By all means disagree with what I have to say, by all means write and tell me, but be willing to back your argument up with something and try not to result to insults because when you do, it makes it look like your argument is weak. Just sayin’

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2 Responses to "I am an angry person with a chip on my shoulder don’t ya know!"

Just to put my own oar in, knowing several people that will happily go along with alternative therapies, theories on natural energies etc., my own thoughts is this.

Normally, these are intelligent people. I would never call them dumb, or thick, or stupid. In many walks of life they are pretty rational.

And then on a few things they’re amazingly irrational. They’ll take anything on a certain subject at face value without challenging it. They won’t even consider the subject, they’ll just accept anything if it suits.

THAT’S not being rational.

I’m a doubly angry person with any number of chips on my shoulder, and this is not a situation I created all alone. Other people added a great many of their unsolicited bricks to this structure. And I’m a very unfriendly skeptic as well.

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Hayley is a ghost

Hayley Stevens is an advocate for science-based research into seemingly paranormal experiences and occurrences. With a background in the pseudo-scientific research into ghosts, Hayley offers a unique insight into the strange world of ghost hunting through her experience.

She describes herself as 'a ghost hunter who doesn't hunt for ghosts' and this is her personal blog where she writes about ghosts, people, and other interesting things. Read more here.

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