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Proposal: Skeptic Exchange

I'm not sure how the new tags for proposals work but surly Skeptic Exchange should be listed under & .

It will have plenty of science answers.

Is it possible to have multiple tags?

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Proposals are not organized by tags. A proposal can only belong to one "Category."

Don't think in terms of where the proposal should be categorized. Consider instead where the people who are most likely interested in that proposal are going to hang out. That is the main criteria which defines where a proposal should be categorized… the location of the primary audience.

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I would suggest keeping it in Culture since Science is more about objective methodology ("How are telomeres identified in kayrotypes?) whereas “Skepticism” will deal more with epistemological matters where answers will largely be based on ones own presuppositions ("Can David Blaine predict the future"). I'm sure there will be many Scientific questions, just as there are many Math questions in Programming - but the two are still unique.

I don't doubt that discussions of the supernatural will be prevalent within the Skepticism site whereas Science would remain inherently agnostic to those issues since they are, by definition, beyond an objective methodological solution.

I could be wrong here, of course. Most of my conversation at free-thinker gatherings would best be described as a discussion of epistemology, philosophy and a bit of scientific methodology.

  • +1 It's answers like this that will make Skeptic Exchange a vibrant and valuable resource. – rjstelling Jan 29 '11 at 2:38
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    Science can be used to answer questions about the supernatural, if the supernatural entity or effect in question interacts with the natural world. Questions about e.g. ghosts, faith healing, etc. can be answered scientifically. – Mad Scientist Jan 30 '11 at 9:32
  • @Fabian Suppose a man goes forward to "receive a healing," and a cancer goes into remission - have you concluded "scientifically" that God healed him? Not at all, rather you would argue that anybody who makes that conclusion is presumptuous and not allowing methodological naturalism time to find an alternative explanation (unless you share his presuppositions that God exists and is able to heal). Secondly, the manner in which the supernatural interacts is important as well, does rain make the ground wet, or does the supernatural make it wet when it rains? We cannot Scientifically answer this. – Sampson Jan 31 '11 at 3:22
  • Tumors are known to go into remission spontaneously, that this happened close to the time he "reveived a healing" is not sufficient evidence to conclude supernatural intervention. There are some studies on faith healing, but they are either low-quality or show no effect. I would conclude that there is no convincing evidence that he was healed by supernatural means. The healing is a definite claim of an effect in the natural realm, I don't need to care about the supernatural to scientifically examine this claim in a clinical trial. – Mad Scientist Jan 31 '11 at 7:19
  • And what happens when rain hits the ground is very well established scientifically, there is absolutely no need to involve the supernatural here. – Mad Scientist Jan 31 '11 at 7:28
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    @Fabian My point was that you cannot test the supernatural. You cannot conclude that "Yes, a supernatural entity did heal this man" or "No, a supernatural entity did not heal this man" since we have no instrumentation capable of determining this. You may say that it's very well established what happens when rain hits the ground, and therefore you need not involve the supernatural, but how do you determine scientifically that the supernatural wasn't involved every time you observed the results of rain hitting the ground before? We simply can't do so, Scientifically. – Sampson Jan 31 '11 at 22:41
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As far as I know it is not possible for a proposal to belong to multiple categories.

But I would consider a better fit than , in the end this proposal is about asking and answering scientific questions. The proposal description says this site is for answering questions about pseudoscience, and those questions have definite scientific answers.

If you take a look at the example on-topic questions, every one of them can be answered using basic science and evidence from clinical/scientific studies.

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