I know deep in my soul that there exists a magic pink unicorn with green ears, out there in the universe, you can’t exactly pinpoint it down because it’s kinda like everywhere at once and all-encompassing, but I just know it’s there, I have great faith in its existence. The magic pink unicorn with green ears is really really powerful, and it can do anything you see, it answers our prayers, it makes football players kick important goals, and sometimes it saves toddlers in train crashes or earthquakes.
It’s like, totally different from the natural things on earth, and you can’t prove it with science or something, you just have to feel it and know it within yourself, and have faith. The magic pink unicorn with green ears makes us good moral people, and it makes a beautiful sunset beautiful, and gives us love and compassion. I know this to be true. Without our faith in the magic pink unicorn with green ears, we would have none of these things and society would crumble. This has been personally reveiled to me by the magic pink unicorn with green ears, and you can’t prove otherwise.
What’s this you say, mean atheist? Extraordinary claims require extraordinary evidence? That which can be asserted without proof, can be dismissed without proof? If the magic pink unicorn with green ears can indeed make sportspeople kick goals and save toddlers, these would be natural (not supernatural) phenomena that we ought to be able to measure? And if the magic pink unicorn with green ears has no measurable effect in the natural world, we may as well dismiss the whole notion as unneccessary balderdash? Oh, but you new atheists are such meanies!! This makes me really uncomfortable.
What’s this you say, dear organized Skeptic?
I’m not about to accept the controversial positions of handful of atheist activists as representative of the wider view of scientists. (These are, you realize, positions novel enough to them that they felt they were good hooks for controversial books?) But regardless, many skeptics have argued just as you ask: that for reasons of division of labour, skeptics will stick to the testable paranormal claims that we do best.
Such nice people, the organized Skeptics! Just declare that religious claims are untestable, that faith isn’t such a bad thing really and we ought to respect it, that they should be welcoming to everyone in their big skepticism tent(just not to those pesky atheists), and besides, they’re kinda flat out right now with Bigfoot and the moon landing anyway and can’t spare any resources (what’s this you say, atheists, you’d be happy to bring your own resources?).
Much nicer people than the atheists clearly, those organized Skeptics! Come to think of it, I’ve always had my doubts about this Dowsing stuff, so maybe I should shell out 400 bucks and go to TAM some day! At least there I don’t run the risk of having to defend my position, or being asked *gasp* questions about my faith. This makes me feel really comfortable.