The Lost Art of Skepticism

Discussion in 'Philosophy' started by Rasta_Man, Aug 8, 2007.

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  1. Education has failed in a very serious way to convey the most important lesson science can teach: skepticism

    - David Suzuki

    Discuss, if you will.

    I think that skepticism, and intellectually honest critical thought is horrendously vacant from the average human and totally absent from western media and even western education.

  2. I would perhaps even go so far as to say that the skills required for skepticism, such as reasoning and intellectual curiosity, are nearly absent from western popular culture.
  3. I would concur with you
  4. I believe the government has instilled so much fear into us, that america no longer questions authority, or really anything in general, but rater except it.

    Mother Should I Trust the Government ? -Pink Floyd
  5. Skeptics are like the grain of sand that enters an oyster. The oyster gets irritated as hell by the sand, then realizes its made a pearl to defend itself against the invader. The result of skepticism is usually the purification of the thought in question, or the start of its undoing.

    I don\'t think it\'s a lost art, look at all the skeptics around here! Maybe I\'m just being skeptical...
  6. Look at all the non-skeptics and \'believers\' around here. ;)

    I thoroughly enjoyed your analogy, though, thankyou for that contribution
  7. if people are cozy with their tv and bank account why would they become skeptical of anything? people like to live from satisfaction to satisfaction, ignoring reality, covering up insecurities and believing whatever is thrown at them.

    i would like to revise that quote to \"Education has failed in a very serious way\"
  8. i was once complimented here in grasscity that mine \"is a most powerful combination of tollerence and skepticism\". :D

    i\'m drawn to skeptics though. nearly all my friends have to some degree a strong questioning streak. and its great, i love it. though i often wonder what it would be like to live in a world where skepticism was unecessary, y\'know, where no one had ever lied, where there was no reflection of lies to the people who had lied, and all could be trusted. wouldnt that be nice? how do we get outta this hole then?

    well, we keep standing at the foundations, shaking them as much as possible, if the structure fails, it wasn\'t true. rock the boat, baby. :D

    where\'s that aristotle quote when ya need it?
    ah.... found it...
    It is the mark of an educated mind to be able to entertain a thought without accepting it.
  9. Personaly I think that skepticism is a good thing, until so-called \"skeptics\" give themselves the authority to judge and dismiss ideas instead of simply questioning them in a detached and objective way.
  10. personally, without applying a healthy dose of skepticism myself, i honestly dont think i would feel so strongly about my beliefs, specifically regarding spirituality. as a matter of fact, i think that without being constantly skeptical, being faithful wouldnt even be possible.

    for example, the Word of God is in almost complete contradiction to the world. it requires oneself to constantly question how the teachings and practices of the world relate to those of the Bible. therefore, skepticism is my friend, and helps make contrast possible. it allows me to distinguish the light from the dark.

    ...i guess you could say that im a full-time skeptic. :smoking:
  11. Yeah I\'m being more of a skeptic now(way to go (R_M),next thing you know I\'m going to turn athiest,which is happening now as we speak....:rolleyes:

    Skepticsm=Common sense

    thats my 2 cents,also dont forget the questioning of everything around you......

    Skeptism Rocks:metal:

    But dont think you won yet,I still strongly believe in the Spirit/Underworld....That will never stop......(don\'t forget aliens):D
  12. Good thread. Be skeptical of everything and everyone.

  13. Wow, I hear a lot of \"Yes, I am a skeptic, but....\" which is totally hypocritical and obviously not true. With some of the beleifs floating around here, obviously the onus of evidence and demand of logical consistency is totally absent.

    Let us clarify the skepticism I am talking about.



  14. If you would have expressed the variable properly the misunderstanding would not have happened.

    They are talking about philosophical skepticism, not scientific skepticism. Your position of claiming it\'s

    Does not take into account the lack of producing a thread with the proper definition of what you wanted to discuss in the OP.

    They would be hypocritical and wrong if the OP was clear. However their takes are valid in a philosophical sense of skepticism, as you yourself cut and pasted about.

    This makes it wrong to call them hypocrites and make it out like they should have known exactly what you were talking about. People are not mind readers.

    Now as far as scientific skepticism like you have now cleared up for all of us as being the true topic of discussion here-

    Logical consistancy can only take you so far until things start contradicting themselves. Evidence can only take you so far when you know it\'s an illusion. Deep down I know there is a reason I am the way I am and people are the way they are. I just don\'t want to compare us in a way that makes someone out to be better than another.

    We all have a point to make.
  15. Well if you actually read the original quote, it\'s pretty obvious that we\'re discussing scientific skepticism. Notably the bit about \"the most important lesson science can teach\".

    You don\'t need to be a mind reader to get that bit of it, just thoughtful and reflective in response.

    I\'m not quite sure what you\'re talking about. Logical consistency only helps us make sense of the evidence and information, it shouldn\'t innately lead to a contradiction, the contradiction arises from flawed logical and/or flawed and/or incomplete information.

    Evidence is an allusion? That is possibly the weirdest cop-out I\'ve ever heard. If you\'re refering to reality as an illusion, then let us just keep in mind that an illusionary evidence can help us make correct inferences about our illusionary world. Kay?

    I\'m confused, that statement seems like a major non-sequitur to me. Either that or you\'re jumping to something wholly more specific and not stating it.

    Why not? The best way to improves one\'s reasoning, and critical thinking is to admit that it is flawed and in need of improvement.

    Seriously, you would cackle if you heard some of the shit I used to believe in the past. The only way I overcame it, is I entertained the possibility I was wrong. Given that hypothetical concept, I applied various forms of logical, reason and critical thinking. In the end, I realized how erroneous, although deceptively incorrect my logic and reasoning had been.

    A meritocracy brings about no thoughtful epiphanies of inquiry. It is innately corrosive concerning any kind of consensual truth.

    And my point is that many people simply lack either the ability or willingness to appropriately use adequate critical thinking skills.
  16. Sorry,man, I just read the \"Skepticism For Dummies\", I didn\'t know there were correct levels and styles of doubt. I simply doubt first, ask questions later.

    I just found out about the \'P\' factor the other day, I didn\'t even know that there was away to check the reliability of research. So much to learn!

    I\'m re-reading my copy of \"Everything You Know is Wrong\", hopefully it\'s not wrong too.
  17. It\'s not a lost art, it\'d say it\'s thriving now more than ever.
  18. i find it quite hypocritical of you, rasta, that you havent applied some critical thinking and \"skepticism\" yourself. if you did, you would know that some of us here who share these \"beliefs floating around here\", surprisingly enough, do in fact use these elements on a daily basis.

    maybe someday you will come to the realization that \'believers\' are capable of this oh so hard-to-reach level of thinking that requires skepticism and critical thinking, just as much as \'non-believers.\'

  19. Perhaps you\'re correct in that \"totally absent\" wasn\'t the right phrasing. \"mostly absent\" is more accurate. Thankyou.
    Sure, the dichotomy is never so cut and dry. But I think in order to believe some of the more outlandish things, one can claim to apply critical thinking, but is obviously extremely highly compartmentalized, biased, or incredibly flawed.

    TAM, JREF, NESS, Skeptic\'s Society, etc. are all fine examples about how appropriately used critical thinking can lead to neigh-unanimous conclusions.

    It kind of makes it thought debating this, because I\'m not sure what belief you are referring to, I would be glad to debate one in a thread, if yo like.
  20. If they did reach this \"level of thinking\" they would not be believers, because they would realize, that their beliefs are unsupported by evidence. If I believe in the Loch Ness monster but never see it or find any evidence to suggest it actually exists, and I continue to believe in it, I am ignoring reason and logic. Spitting in the face of skepticism, as it were. People enjoy thinking good things about themselves, even if those good things are not true. Take the average Christian for example. They have a sense that they are righteous, humble, and Christ like. For the most part however, they are none of those things. That does not stop them from judging everyone around them while holding them to a false standard they themselves cannot live up to, nor does it stop them from believing that they know the truth and everyone else is ignorant or foolish for not agreeing with them.

    Take a look at that thread about the 20/20 episode dealing with atheists in a small Christian town. The behavior those Christians exhibit is so unlike Christ you have to start wondering if they are actually following the religion they profess to believe in. That is the average Christian, that is the majority right there. That video did a good job in summing up the attitudes people deal with when a Christian finds out they do not subscribe to the fairy tale of choice.

    Still these people believe they are good Christians and God supports them in what they do. Why would they believe this? Because people enjoy believing good things about themselves, even if those things are not true. A healthy does of skepticism is good, most everyone agrees on that, so most everyone believes that is something they make use of, even if that is not the case. Put someone in authority before the average person, have that person spout off nonsense, and eight times out of ten, the average person is going to accept whatever the person in authority is telling them. Everyone is skeptical to a degree, if I asked you to give me $3000 with the promise that I would ensure you lived a happy life, I am almost positive you would ignore me and not believe what I had to say. Put the word Pastor in front of my name, and I could tell you about an invisible magical man in the clouds who will give you whatever you want if you pray to him - unless of course it goes against what the invisible man wants - and by just believing in him you will spend the rest of your days (after you die) in blissful paradise, all for a low donation of 10% of your income for the rest of your life, and you might believe me. Many have, and people used to have to pay the Church in order to get a place in Heaven.

    Why is skepticism used when I tell you something, but ignored when an old book backed by a preacher tells you something else?
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