View Full Version : Before I was a Skeptic

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7/31/2007 11:13am,
Originally published October 2005.

<i>This is taken from a forum post in which I responded to a very misguided youth that went by the name "Chrono", and was at the time trying to come to terms with his grip on reality in the face of misguided notions about mystical forces and such.

I am reposting it here because it briefly chronicles my journey to become a Skeptic</i>

Since this is the Internet it pays to be skeptical of anyone's intentions, but I'll take Chrono at his word for now.

To put this all in perspective:

I haven't always been a Skeptic, nor have I always been pro-science. Being a bored, introspective youth of 15 with above-average intelligence and stuck in a small hick town, I myself started studying the paranormal/supernatural. My mom worked two jobs, and I pretty much raised myself, so I didn't have anyone to call bullshit on my newly forming beliefs. And the fact that I seemed to be smarter than everyone I was around only fed my teenage ego to the point where I started assuming I knew better than everyone else, including Science.

For five solid years and tapering off slowly after that, I absorbed everything I could get my hands on. I had a collection of books which included original texts dating back to the 19th century and spanning topics from just about any paranormal/supernatural/occult philosophy you could imagine. For example, I had an original edition of "The Secret Science Behind Miracles" which detailed how following the religious practices of the Hawaiian Kahunas could (and let me see if I remember this correctly) allow you to connect with a universal superconscious and use it to perform miracles. I had copies of medieval manuscripts on ritual magic, and more contemporary books by Aliester Crowley and Israel Regardie. I read Yeats just because he was a member of the Golden Dawn, and I can still recite the words of the "Wiccan Rede" from memory. Hell, I'm a walking encyclopedia of obscure occult bullshit.

But as I got older (and started to get laid more often too), it became more and more obvious that there was a reason all of this stuff and the people who believed in it existed on the fringes of society: they were fucking fruitcake nujobs, every last one of them. Seriously, go to a spiritual/metaphysics/type convention sometime. You will see the bottom rungs of the social ladder coming together like an oversized support group. It's not hard to draw the conclusion that many people are attracted to the occult because it gives them the illusion that they are somehow special and different (better) than the rest of society that they have difficulty interacting with. Many of these people aren't "misunderstood", their problem is that they're very well understood as kooks, freaks, and geeks who are socially inept.

So as I got older, I grew out of more and more of the bullshit. "Chi" was one of the last bits of bullshit that stuck with me. After all, it's not unreasonable for someone who's not a doctor to assume that there could be something to the electrical energy produced by the body. But that changed when I decided to pay $350 to a Qigong "master" to heal my knee which was hurting from doing jumping kicks in WuShu. The "treatment" involved him putting a poultice of 11 secret herbs and spices (which resembled something between tree bark, and dog ****) on my knee, grunt and groan for a while holding his hands along side my leg, and staying off the knee for two weeks.

Two days into the two week rest period, take a wild guess at which of the three modes of treatment I realized was the only one that caused any positive effect?

That's when I became a Skeptic. It would be several more years before I started Bullshido with a few like-minded companions, but this incident sticks with me as one of the driving factors in my decision to keep this place running despite the headache and expense. And to tell you the truth, I don't think I've ever mentioned it here. We're going on three years now, and this movement to improve standards and root out the bullshit in Martial Arts, despite occasional setbacks, keeps moving forward.

My point in all of this, to you Chrono, is this:

Don't feel bad because circumstance and a lack of guidance conspired to have you believing in nonsense; it happens to the best of us. How you handle coming out from under it is what demonstrates your character and maturity. The Internet is a neutral resource; there's just as much good information as there is complete garbage. But with a little digging, a little introspection, and a little self-honesty, anyone with a reasonable amount of intelligence should be able to come to grips with the difference between reality and fancy.

And don't forget this either: you might think for a while that the world is less colorful, less romantic without a belief in the supernatural. But the more you seek to understand the natural, and start to appreciate what we really have going here, the more you'll realize that a belief in the supernatural is not necessary for the world, universe, and life itself to be adventurous and exciting. This world, and life on it, is more precious to those who realize it's all that we really have.

10/10/2007 2:17pm,
LOL at you for believing bullshit. I'm glad I'm so above that kind of ****. Just kidding, I was raised bible thumping x-tian so I feel your pain...

10/29/2007 4:57pm,
That was one of the best "articles" I've ever read. Bravo.

10/29/2007 5:03pm,
I miss Chrono . I wonder what he is doing now that a couple years have past .

* On Topic *

Very touching Phrost .

Airman Kai
10/29/2007 5:05pm,
He went where all forgotten characters go... they become cheap tricks.

10/29/2007 5:08pm,
He went where all forgotten characters go... they become cheap tricks.

So I should be able to rent him cheaply for evening ?

( hey ! ltns )

Airman Kai
10/29/2007 5:12pm,
You can actually lease him... he's fallen on particularly hard times.

10/29/2007 5:37pm,
The fact that you capitalize skeptic is somewhat bothersome.

Matt W.
10/29/2007 6:26pm,
At least he didn't refer to himself as a Bright...

10/29/2007 6:41pm,
For some reason this reminds me of an old saying I once heard: "every convert ends up fanatic"

Or something like that.

11/15/2007 7:13am,
Hmm Good article
(I went through the Whole Golden Dawn/Crowley phase when i was a teen also.)

Still, at the end of the day is it really better to be sceptical about things?
Im not soo sure.

11/25/2007 11:49pm,
I went through the whole supernatural phase back when I was a "preteen". I had purchased an Ashida Kim book entitled "Ninja Mind Control". It was in part thanks to this site, and the investigation of that wackjob, that helped me realized that it was bullshit (the book itself is also a good indication of this guy's insanity. If anyone has the displeasure of reading this "book", be prepared for hand signs taken straight out of a Narutard's wet dream). I have a pretty extensive book collection of about 200 or so books I have bought and read, and "Mind Control" is the only book I ever threw out. Thank you Phrost for creating Bullshido and helping me see the light.

2/17/2008 6:36pm,
Great!! Good!! But... I´m not sure if I can agree...

I mean, excuse me, but i "believe" in Chi, Ki, Qi ...whatever you call it.

...or at least it worked for me once, even considering the possibility of pure suggestion, I have to say that deep abdominal breathing (often associated to the practice of Mumbo Jumbo Energy Development) took me alive far below of what a doctor would consider the lowest your body temperature can go in life.
Don´t misunderstand me please (this is not my language) I did n´t put my temperature down no purpose, I fell through a cascade and got trapped in it during a trip through Norway (18th July 2001) and got rescued after 1h 45min of cold shower ...water was falling on my back so hard I had a huge bruise from the top of my ass to over the half of my ridge ...and I had a body temperature of 27.6ēC, 2litres of water in my lungs but hyperoxigenated blood, and perfect blood pressure.
Doctor told me people "usually" die when they go below 33ēC and "always" when they go below 30ēC, and here I am boring you (if you ever read this ask a Cardiologist).
Worse of it all is that what kept me breathing that way, like for a Yoga Ohm and after the hysteria part of "mom i dont wanna die" was repeating over an over again my exam for the 1stdan black belt of Krotty (kiai ;) )
Concentration, suggestion... maybe Faith...
might have been Ki/Qi/Chi/The Force...
whatever, but if you guys creators of Bullshido are hard trainers might would be able to explore that weird part of martial arts without the asian "mumbo jumbo". In my opinion there´s only need of a strong will (not obssesion) and a bit of innocent Faith.

Thank You for this site, the sense of humor, the skepticism, the videos, and the healthy attitude towards Fighting that you have here, I am learning a lot. But Martial Arts, in my poor and humble opinion of a KrottyKid, really are a Way for a better self understanding and blah blah blah.

Alfredo R. Vera 1stdan Krotty WadoRyu Spain

Could anybody tell me the address of the grocerie spamming in bullsido´s formus??


9/05/2008 9:19pm,
This post sounds very similar to the way my beliefs slowly evolved towards being more and more skeptical or paranormal claims. frikifu, my bet is that your temperature was taken improperly.

5/07/2010 6:42am,
I dont remember because of the shock, but I recall I was told body temperature was taken from my ass and from my ear. So yes it was taken properly.

I stayed five days in Bergens Haukelund Avis. I was walking less than 24 hours after the fall. And went partiying with a spanish medicine student of the erasmus program, Gema, the day after. Then came my "Vieja" and my Karma was broken again...

Bergen is expensive.

P.S. Can anyone help me to actualize the stats from my frikifu account?.edit [PLEASE] edit I insist there is absolutely no intention of "sockpuppeting".


Matt Phillips
5/07/2010 8:56am,
HM... never read this one before. Glad it got Necroed.

Let me make a couple of comments while this is revived:

It is very important to distinguish between not scientific and not True. If there is a rational, empirical basis for believing something then one could say that belief is scientific; if there is no such basis, then maintaining that such a belief describes some true feature of the world is irrational. That does not mean that the world lacks such a property. Chi (for example) may, in fact, be a real thing which has not been adequately characterized. Science, by necessity, takes an extremely conservative view of what does and does not exist, by demanding a rational basis for any concept before giving (provisional) support to it.

Modern popular skepticism runs the risk of becoming just another pre-canned, uncritical way of looking at the world; one that uses Scientific American instead of the Bible. What is important is not accepting only scientific ideas as ture, but understanding the arguments that support belief in each Idea.

On the subject of the tendency to want to believe in the supernatural, I think that the root cause may be as much a feeling of powerlessness, as it is social ineptitude. I think there is a reason why so many here have a common background in things like d20 gaming (or any form of role playing) and Wing Chun, and that reason is the desire for control. To a person whose social life feels out of control, the illusion of control (and understanding) is a serious temptation, whether it takes the form of belief in incantation, obsession with "alternative identities" in RPG's, subcultures, or internet fora. Or it can take the form of belief in alternative strategies for self defense. There is a reason why arts like Wing Chun that promise to deliver skill with which to overwhelm our antagonists are so seductive: They offer the illusion that practicing and refining skills like speed hitting, simultaneous attack, interception, redirection, and delivering an oversaturating flurry of blows will overwhelm and confuse our antagonists, who, being of limited curiosity, and being ignorant of the secret theoretical knowledge will finally experience the fear and disorientation the "believer" feels when subjected to their brute aggression. It is worth noting that the goal is almost always to confuse, and overwhelm rather than to simply win the fucking fight. IMO the seductive part of this SD scenario is that it is an exercise in emotional revenge. It also helps that "FOOM" stands for "Friends Of Ol' Marvel (comics)"

Also @ Phrost: Do you have any of Manly P Hall's stuff?

Excellent article.