Hayley is a Ghost

My blog post and… the AVN?

Posted on: December 30, 2010

It would seem my blog post about being disillusioned with skepticism had been discussed in great length on the Stop The AVN facebook page and I wanted to point a few things out that people don’t seem to be understanding.

It was also mentioned by the AVN on twitter. (oddly enough)

It seems (seems) Meryl Dorey understands the points I was making more than a handful of skeptics do, even though she knows I think the AVN is wrong and dangerous.

I want to answer a comment left on the SAVN facebook page:

Meryl bitches about people not being polite to her whilst she happily spreads lies and misinformation about vaccines. If people pay attention to her, they could put their own lives, or the lives of their children, at risk. Here’s an offer: you stop telling lies about vaccines, and I stop calling you a liar.

Calling someone a liar is different than mocking someone, and I do believe that what the AVN does is dangerous and based on nonsense. I think I may have even said nasty things in the past about the AVN on a podcast but I regret that because I personally feel that the moment you call someone a bitch or a crackpot you’ve lost the strength of your argument.

When I became more skeptical and stopped using pseudoscientific ideas on paranormal investigations, the people that I worked with who still wanted to use those ideas and still had misinformed beliefs called me all sorts of names, they threatened me with violence and even phoned the place I worked and told lies to my boss to try and get me into trouble.

They had no argument, they had no valid point to make and I personally will never stoop that low.

I wanted to address another comment too, this one:

Hayley is great. This we can agree on. I think, however, that the lure of “Don’t Be A Dick” has rubbed off in the wrong way, Hayley’s involvement and closeness with the paranormal “community” has caused some wear and tear, and Hayley has made an unclear blog post in the wake of it.

I knew when I wrote my blog someone would bring up the ‘don’t be a dick’ thing. My blog has sod all to do with that – I am able to think for myself, thank you very much.

As for my blog post being unclear – I don’t agree – it’s only unclear to those who are looking for further meaning to it. The biggest mistake anyone can do is read my blog and see it as an attack on them personally because rather than absorbing what I’m saying they just go on the defence and show how I am wrong and they are right.

I quite clearly pointed out in the original blog post I’m not preaching about what I think others should do and that the blog post wasn’t navel gazing, and wasn’t me passing judgement on others.

There is no convincing a true believer. No chance whatsoever. Meryl will not change her tune. Even if she received a divine revelation from the deity of her choice.

She will not change. She is a lost cause. Being nice to her is wasted goodness, and as Nietzsche once said (and I paraphrase) “There is not sufficient love and goodness in the world to permit us to give some of it away to promulgators of imaginary nonsense”

I haven’t suggested we be nice to people, I just said we shouldn’t mock them or call them names and then pass it off as skepticism. Cos it aint. Just make your points and move on, you don’t have to have tea with people you disagree with, but you also don’t need to get personal and mean. I don’t see any point to that.

I also do not agree that ‘true believers’ are a lost cause. You’re looking at an ex-true believer in ghosts, an afterlife, reincarnation and all sorts of nonsense.

Phil Plait actually started a thing on twitter yesterday where skeptics were encouranged to use the hashtag #skeptictale to tell others how they became skeptical – there were lots of ex-true believers there.

All we can do with Meryl is marginalise her and make it clear to onlookers that she’s not sane.

This we’re doing, and it’s working. The media don’t go to her for balance. The media look on and shake their heads.

It’s working.

Which is great. I agree that the AVN is dangerous and needs to be treated as such – but I would also point out that the onlookers that you want to convince are also onlookers who will see both sides of an argument, possibly without any knowledge of the situation.

If someone is giving rational information on something the AVN has said they’ll see that, if someone is slagging off Meryl Dorey (or Sylvia Browne, or any so-called WOO you can think of, for that matter) they’ll see that too.

I don’t want to be judged by that, but I am. Often, and as I said in my original blog post – that’s crap.

I can see Hayley’s point for a subset of the paranormal crowd, but it just doesn’t work with people entrenched in madness and pushing it on others.

Wrong. In so many ways. I’m not just a ‘paranormal skeptic’ (and I know this isn’t what is being claimed), and when I wrote the blog post I wasn’t talking just about the subset of the paranormal crowd. I was talking about all the topics and people I deal with (hello! I cohost the Righteous Indignation Podcast. I’ve interviewed JIM HUMBLE, I’ve interviewed people from all backgrounds and ‘subsets’! Give me some credit!)

p.s. I didn’t want the blog post to become about the AVN, it applies to everything I do and think and deal with and I want to clarify once more that this blog post isn’t me telling others how I think they should act and behave, I’m past caring. This isn’t navel gazing, it’s just my thoughts written on my blog.

However, if not calling people names takes something away from skepticism for you, what did you really have in the first place?

I’ll leave the comments open this time, then you can ask me things directly rather that speculating.


4 Responses to "My blog post and… the AVN?"

Weren’t there comments here?

They were all removed due to a conflict that I didn’t want beind dragged onto my blog that would take things off topic.

With respect, it may have been a little… naive… not to expect that.

But best of luck, hope you’re not pulled into anti-vaccine shenanigans again.

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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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