Sunday, October 17, 2010

Anti-psychic Kitty: Always be critical!

Note: Due to a legal settlement with the James Randi Educational Foundation, we are required to give occasional column space to Anti-psychic Kitty, the most skeptical creature on Earth. The views expressed in this column do not reflect the views of The Babbler.

Some times, a skeptic like myself needs to take a break from The JREF web site, and Indie Skeptics, and visit a public forum. Because it is important to interact with the “general public.” So this week I decided to check out Topix.

Topix is supposed to be a web page that collects news articles from around the web about a community. The service is OK, but the forums are something else. Their Bolingbrook forum seems to be divided between people who insult Bonnie Kurowski-Alicea and people who make insinuations about Mayor Roger Claar. It’s kind of like a human hissing match.

Now I don’t care for local politics since I can’t vote, but this post from Mr. Washington caught my attention:

Tell me Joe, do you believe what your parents or guardians have told you over the years? Do you believe what your Preacher has to say? Did you believe what your teachers told you? Or do you not trust these people that have/had your best interests in mind?

Bonnie has or best interests in mind and some of us feel no need to question her actions.

As a pet, I do understand the sentiment. I am dependent on humans for my food and water. As a skeptic, however, I feel that this post is very flawed. It relies on the argument from authority fallacy.

Now, as The Skeptics Guide to Universe points out, you should consider a person’s expertise, and the consensus of scientific community does hold considerable weight. Still, an individual can be wrong, even if they are an expert. Having a degree does not automatically make everything you say correct.

It is true that Kurowski-Alicea may have the best interest of Bolingbrook in mind. However, that does not mean everything she says will be correct. She could make a mistake, or her ideas for what is best for the community may not match what the community wants.

The same goes for Mayor Claar. He completed his PhD and has over twenty years of experience as mayor. Yet The Brook Report is filled with articles criticizing his policies. Even though I’m sure he feels that he has the best interest of Bolingbrook in mind, he still has critics, and those critics feel that they have the best interests of Bolingbrook in mind.

Now I don’t care who you vote for in next year’s trustee election. I just urge all the good residents to critically examine all the claims of the candidates. Even if they say the things you want to hear, they may not be right for Bolingbrook. Because it is your tax money that they’ll be spending, and your safety and your services that they’ll be administering. You need to be as critical as possible. If any one of these candidates says to blindly trust them, hiss at them. Oops. I mean climb the nearest tree. Oops.  I mean run away as fast as you can.

Just remember, in the Internet forum of life, there’s only one post that won’t get you flamed: IMSOCUTE!

Also in The Babbler:

Bears players blame pink towels for loss
Source: Weekly World News faked Michy capture
Cats to hold convention in Lisle
God to Smite Bolingbrook on 10/21/10

Please note: All articles on this site are works of fiction.

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