Saturday, January 31, 2015

#1276: Vinstonas "Winston" Wu

Ok, so I am not entirely sure this one’s really worth covering, but here you go. Vinstonas “Winston” Wu is the guy behind the admittedly sporadically updated website The Scientific Committee Exposing Pseudo-Skeptical Cynicism of the Paranormal, or “SCEPCOP.” The website seems devoted to championing every crazy idea for which there is no evidence whatsoever, and seems to be loosely based on a rant Wu wrote in 2001 on why standard skeptical arguments against the paranormal are wrong. According to Wu, the document seems to be, as rationalwiki puts it, “the single greatest thing to happen to the anti-reality movement since hallucinogenic drugs.”

Wu, who according to himself “is considered by his fans to be the most freethinking Asian since Bruce Lee, and arguably of all-time as well” combats what he deems to be “pseudoskeptics”, which seems to be supposed to denote anyone who doesn’t take personal testimony, anecdotes, and idle speculation as proof of the paranormal, in particular James Randi. His website appears not to be particularly active, however, and part of the reason we had some qualms about giving Wu an entry here is this.

The website promotes several individuals as SCEPCOP committee members, though it is a bit unclear whether these have agreed to serve on the committee.  The individuals in question include (apparently Australian) Victor Zammit, a lawyer and fan of near-death experiences who has offered a “million dollar prize” to any skeptic who can refute his claimed evidence by convincing a committee of true believers apparently appointed by him that you have refuted the evidence “beyond any doubt” (he doesn’t seem to see the problem with that criterion), and Internet-famed homeopathy promoter John Benneth.

Diagnosis: Well, let’s be kind and just conclude that Wu’s arguments seem, at times, to be somewhat misguided, and that he lacks a clear understanding of the significance, value and nature of evidence.

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