Well, religion is fun to trounce but there are also other extraordinary and unsubstantiated claims out there.  Aliens is a big one these days.  From the History Channel's "ancient alien theorists" to your Billy Bob abductees and even some politicians.  Take this guy:

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=W-0Ebn3qrBE

 

Are we skeptics only where religion is concerned?

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Comment by Christopher Cosgrove on August 21, 2013 at 5:49am

This reminds me of the Woody Allen joke about a superior race coming to earth to get their laundry done. If a race had the ability to get here, dealing with the puny human race would be neither here nor there to them. Very hard to take seriously or even watch to the end. Looking at how complex it is just to get to Mars, we can see that any civilization capable of getting here would certainly be capable of communicating or taking us over. People have been looking for proof for 50 plus years so skeptical until that is found.

Comment by Luara on August 19, 2013 at 8:30am

Aliens are a possibility, but there is zero proof of them at this time. We tend to make them up just like we did God. It makes us feel important and not alone.`

One also needs to consider the plausibility of the skeptical explanations.  How good is the "hallucination" explanation in psychological terms?

Stories of alien abductions sound like re-enactments of abuse experiences or dreams and that's why they're so dubious to me.

Like Whitley Streiber with his stories of aliens inserting rectal probes and performing various experiments on people.  He's an excellent writer by the way!

If we met an alien intelligent lifeform, above all we would want to communicate with it.  Their culture and ways of thinking and their technology would be far more interesting than their rectums.  If we wanted to know about alien biology, a nonintelligent alien species would do just fine. 

If the aliens are so interested in Earth biology, why wouldn't they abduct animals rather than risk alienating us?  Anthropologists try NOT to alienate the people they study.  Much safer to traumatize animals. 

Altho maybe the aliens want to exterminate us based on the TV programming that is beamed to outer space :)  With TV, we are giving any aliens within hearing range an very negative picture of us!

I don't see that alien visitations would make us feel unduly important.  We likely would be interesting to intelligent aliens. 

Comment by Michael Penn on August 19, 2013 at 7:19am

Aliens are a possibility, but there is zero proof of them at this time. We tend to make them up just like we did God. It makes us feel important and not alone. Belief also sells books and videos.

Human:  "Hey, Splitfoot, are you there?"

Splitfoot:  "I see by the way you have called me that you believe already."

Comment by Luara on August 18, 2013 at 10:36am

Be careful what you label "woo" though.  That label is a cognitive shortcut like other labels and it has a peer pressure aspect, so it's not a shortcut to truth.  There aren't any shortcuts to truth that I know of. 

Some "alternative medicine" is actually experimental medicine that turns out to have merit. 

Some crypto-creatures may exist. 

Otherwise I don't see any credibility in things commonly labeled "woo". 

Comment by Stephanie Morgan on August 18, 2013 at 6:45am

I believe there could be aliens, but as with most things, I need proof, some kind of actual sound proof, as far as I know, there is none, at least not of intelligent biological forms.

Comment by Ruth Anthony-Gardner on August 17, 2013 at 9:09pm

Atheist Nexus is specifically for nontheists, but being a religious skeptic is often just one aspect of a skeptical outlook. Most of us have a low tolerance for woo as well.

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