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danydandan

Skepticism!

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joc
11 minutes ago, danydandan said:

I think us scientific skeptics value reality and truth far more than 'believers'.

Then why on God's Grey Earth are we the skeptics?  Obviously because we are skeptical of claims based on nothing but belief.  However...those who are 'believers' of This or That are actually skeptical of truth.  

Science is given a bad name and in many ways totally misconstrued by Skeptics of the Truth.  It's all so much about what one 'believes' the truth to be...rather than what the truth actually is.  Well...you are correct of course...for some of us it is about the actual truth.

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danydandan
17 minutes ago, joc said:

Then why on God's Grey Earth are we the skeptics?  Obviously because we are skeptical of claims based on nothing but belief.  However...those who are 'believers' of This or That are actually skeptical of truth.  

Science is given a bad name and in many ways totally misconstrued by Skeptics of the Truth.  It's all so much about what one 'believes' the truth to be...rather than what the truth actually is.  Well...you are correct of course...for some of us it is about the actual truth.

I think it all gets mashed into this conspiracy driven anti-intellectualism and anti-scientific movement that seems to be growing all over the world. 

My definition of skepticism is obviously coloured by Carl Sagan (my hero) and my educational background, I also find Irish people in general are skeptical about things in general. 

So yeah I guess you could definitely be skeptical but it could be philosophical skepticism, which basically asks and reaches an inevitable conclusion of how can we know anything. Thus I can't know anything so I'm skeptical about everything.

Edited by danydandan
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eight bits

Maybe, but the perception bound to the term skeptic is, well, comically unflattering:

 

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XenoFish

Doubt has become a foul word. Anyone who doubts will automatically be assumed to be a materialist and adhering to some form of scientism. 

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Will Due

 

The truths of faith are never at odds with the truths of science. 

 

 

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danydandan

Can we please keep this on topic? 

Thanks!

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Ozymandias

I am a sceptic in the strict philosophical sense of thinking that certain knowledge or truth is unknowable because the evidence is either not available, is not recognised or is simply not sufficient, to make a definitive judgement. My scepticism is an automatic stance or attitude taken which says that I will have to be convinced. If the truth of something is not validated by evidence then it is not true for me.

However, because of my reason I am even sceptical of my own scepticism! There are truths which I buy into that have no physical empirical evidence to support them! I accept them because reason alone convinces me they are true. For example, I find it hard to completely reject the existence of God yet there is no empirical evidence to say he exists.

It gets worse! My reason causes me to wonder about everything. For example, we all know that forces exist but what is a force? What is it physically? It is defined only in terms of its effect but we don't know what it actually phsically is. The definition of a force is 'that which causes, or tends to cause, a change in a body's state of rest or motion'. We know that gravity is a force but only because it has the effect of pulling things towards the centre of the earth. Other forces are recognised to exist because they move matter about or damage structures. You can't see or touch a force. It is defined in physics but is it physical? It is NOT energy. Etc, etc, etc, ... :)

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third_eye

My general rule of the thumb around this edge of the boards practically begins with attempting to extricate the Deism from the Theism, if there are no separations in sight then it becomes quite safe to pot it into the bubbling stew of false premises, which will inevitably leads nowhere else but false conclusions. Skepticism usually doesn't even needs to be sprinkled over anything at all.

To me skepticism is quite the potent element with any recipe, I normally use it with the utmost care.

~

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danydandan
15 minutes ago, Ozymandias said:

I am a sceptic in the strict philosophical sense of thinking that certain knowledge or truth is unknowable because the evidence is either not available, is not recognised or is simply not sufficient, to make a definitive judgement. My scepticism is an automatic stance or attitude taken which says that I will have to be convinced. If the truth of something is not validated by evidence then it is not true for me.

However, because of my reason I am even sceptical of my own scepticism! There are truths which I buy into that have no physical empirical evidence to support them! I accept them because reason alone convinces me they are true. For example, I find it hard to completely reject the existence of God yet there is no empirical evidence to say he exists.

It gets worse! My reason causes me to wonder about everything. For example, we all know that forces exist but what is a force? What is it physically? It is defined only in terms of its effect but we don't know what it actually phsically is. The definition of a force is 'that which causes, or tends to cause, a change in a body's state of rest or motion'. We know that gravity is a force but only because it has the effect of pulling things towards the centre of the earth. Other forces are recognised to exist because they move matter about or damage structures. You can't see or touch a force. It is defined in physics but is it physical? It is NOT energy. Etc, etc, etc, ... :)

I fear you've gone down the rabbit hole and are both a philosophical skeptic and scientific skeptic. The philosophical path, is a path a dare not walk you're a brave man. But your doubt is entirely evidence based, I like your definition.

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Will Due

 

I'm a skeptic. I'm very skeptical of skepticism. 

Why?

Because it's not logical to only look for and concentrate on the negative things in life. To stay focused on the bad spots that happen to appear against a background of good.

 

 

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ouija ouija

Strictly speaking, scepticism is expressing doubt ..... nothing more, nothing less. Unfortunately, in so many threads/topics here, the doubt becomes "I doubt what you are saying, so you are wrong "! (With the implication that "I am right").

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danydandan
3 minutes ago, Will Due said:

 

I'm a skeptic. I'm very skeptical of skepticism. 

Why?

Because it's not logical to only look for and concentrate on the negative things in life. To stay focused on the bad spots that happen to appear against a background of good.

 

I

How is it negative, go back and read my OP. There is nothing negative about scientific skepticism.

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danydandan
4 minutes ago, ouija ouija said:

Strictly speaking, scepticism is expressing doubt ..... nothing more, nothing less. Unfortunately, in so many threads/topics here, the doubt becomes "I doubt what you are saying, so you are wrong "! (With the implication that "I am right").

Yes that happens alot, 

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XenoFish

If you begin applying the scientific method to a great deal of the subjects here. Many of them are less "magical", they become demystified. 

Edited by XenoFish
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MERRY DMAS

I try my best not to be in error with my conclusions.

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ouija ouija

There's no need to be alarmed when phenomena appear 'magical' to us ..... science hasn't got all the answers yet! :D

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seanjo
4 hours ago, danydandan said:

I did a thread search and was hoping to find a thread dedicated to defining who Skeptics are and what they do or why they think a certain way. But there was none, so in this thread I'll try and define what it means to me to be skeptical, and so we as a community can discuss what it means to be Skeptics. In doing so hopefully we can shed some light on our mental processes, hopefully individuals who don't consider themselves skeptical can gain insight too. 

So let's begin shall we:

What am I even talking about when I say the word skeptical or skepticism or skeptic? Unfortunately the term has been hijacked, in a way to mean a negative world view. This is far from the truth however, the skeptical view I'm going to describe in a bit isn't negative. Skeptics are often seen as being in a state of permanent doubt or bring cynical about everything or being contrarians. 

If I can define my understanding of being a skeptic more specifically. I'd say I'm a scientific skeptic, this term was coined by Carl Sagan. It means us scientific skeptics rigorously apply the scientific method and logic to reach our conclusions or beliefs. Often this means our conclusions are preferably more valid and not convenient nor comfortable. We only accept claims proportionately, in accordance to the claims support both from valid logic and a fair assessment of all evidence available. So our method for reaching our conclusions is often far more important than the actual conclusions themselves. 

Kinda branching out from the above I think us scientific skeptics value reality and truth far more than 'belivers'. We endeavor to be as reality based as possible, this means we subject claims to a rigorous well-founded method of evaluation. We promote science because it's the only valid method of evaluating reality, we promote freedom from ideological perspectives because these perspectives encourage biased opinions and we promte logic and above all else critical thinking.

The word skeptical is not scary nor depressing nor cynical nor contrary. It's just a logical and scientific based approach to evaluating certain claims made. 

Edit: Perhaps I should have asked. What does skepticism mean to you? Would you define yourself as a skeptical minded individual?

I see it as critical and/or Logical thinking.

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XenoFish
1 hour ago, ouija ouija said:

There's no need to be alarmed when phenomena appear 'magical' to us ..... science hasn't got all the answers yet! :D

No need to assume something is 'magical' just because you/we don't know the actual cause of it either.

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papageorge1
5 hours ago, danydandan said:

 What does skepticism mean to you? Would you define yourself as a skeptical minded individual?

As a spokesperson for what the OP probably labels a 'believer', I would like to chime in here. I actually consider myself an open-minded skeptic. I use the best analysis of the  evidence and argumentation in forming my views on everything. I do not use blind faith at any point as a believer is held to do. Skepticism is a good thing.

In the current debate I believe the word 'skepticism' has been hijacked by a group that are not really open-minded fair skeptics at all but have grown into just being no-holds-barred defenders of atheism, anti-paranormalism, anti-alien, anti-cryptozoological, etc. I believe they have developed an attachment to these negative positions to the point that they are  not really any longer interested in fair consideration of the whole body of evidence and argumentation but their interests have morphed into just defending those positions I stated above. They are better described as defenders of an ideology than fair-minded skeptics. I see an emotionalism in the so-called 'skeptics' that doesn't fit the scientific attitude they are claiming.

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danydandan
51 minutes ago, papageorge1 said:

As a spokesperson for what the OP probably labels a 'believer', I would like to chime in here. I actually consider myself an open-minded skeptic. I use the best analysis of the  evidence and argumentation in forming my views on everything. I do not use blind faith at any point as a believer is held to do. Skepticism is a good thing.

In the current debate I believe the word 'skepticism' has been hijacked by a group that are not really open-minded fair skeptics at all but have grown into just being no-holds-barred defenders of atheism, anti-paranormalism, anti-alien, anti-cryptozoological, etc. I believe they have developed an attachment to these negative positions to the point that they are  not really any longer interested in fair consideration of the whole body of evidence and argumentation but their interests have morphed into just defending those positions I stated above. They are better described as defenders of an ideology than fair-minded skeptics. I see an emotionalism in the so-called 'skeptics' that doesn't fit the scientific attitude they are claiming.

How do you apply your skepticism?

Do you have preferred method of evaluation?

Edited by danydandan

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Imaginarynumber1
6 hours ago, danydandan said:

It means us scientific skeptics rigorously apply the scientific method and logic to reach our conclusions or beliefs. Often this means our conclusions are preferably more valid and not convenient nor comfortable. We only accept claims proportionately, in accordance to the claims support both from valid logic and a fair assessment of all evidence available. So our method for reaching our conclusions is often far more important than the actual conclusions themselves. 

Those of us rigorously trained in the sciences can't help but think this way.

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Liquid Gardens
1 hour ago, papageorge1 said:

In the current debate I believe the word 'skepticism' has been hijacked by a group that are not really open-minded fair skeptics at all but have grown into just being no-holds-barred defenders of atheism, anti-paranormalism, anti-alien, anti-cryptozoological, etc. I believe they have developed an attachment to these negative positions to the point that they are  not really any longer interested in fair consideration of the whole body of evidence and argumentation but their interests have morphed into just defending those positions I stated above. They are better described as defenders of an ideology than fair-minded skeptics. I see an emotionalism in the so-called 'skeptics' that doesn't fit the scientific attitude they are claiming.

I have the opposite view actually.  I don't think 'skepticism' has been hijacked by biased skeptics, I think rather that the term has been poisoned by anti-skeptics who don't like or are uncomfortable with what the application of skepticism does and doesn't do for their pet beliefs.  Imputing psychological deficiencies ('no longer interested in fair consideration', 'defenders of an ideology', 'emotionalism', etc) on opponents is very easy and kinda empty as it avoids the core issue which is almost always lack of good evidence. And lord knows that some theists, paranormalists, crypto-believers, etc, are even juicier targets for this psychological projection that they are biased and guilty of motivated reasoning.  Of course all of this discussion of bias is besides the point; the only reason the debates tend to involve these psychological projections is because of the lack of good evidence to analyze and discuss.

I'm not saying there are no biased skeptics but this approach of 'we shall know them by their worst members' when discussing 'skepticism' is a standard that would also absolutely destroy believer categories of various stripes as far as adherence to rationality and open-mindedness.  I think it's important also to realize that 'annoying' is not the same as 'biased'; although I find Dawkins annoying and prickish, I don't think much of his reasoning is incorrect with regards to theism/atheism for example.

Edited by Liquid Gardens
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danydandan
9 minutes ago, Liquid Gardens said:

I have the opposite view actually.  I don't think 'skepticism' has been hijacked by biased skeptics, I think rather that the term has been poisoned by anti-skeptics who don't like or are uncomfortable with what the application of skepticism does and doesn't do for their pet beliefs.  Imputing psychological deficiencies ('no longer interested in fair consideration', 'defenders of an ideology', 'emotionalism', etc) on opponents is very easy and kinda empty as it avoids the core issue which is almost always lack of good evidence. And lord knows that some theists, paranormalists, crypto-believers, etc, are even juicier targets for this psychological projection that they are biased and guilty of motivated reasoning.  Of course all of this discussion of bias is besides the point; the only reason the debates tend to involve these psychological projections is because of the lack of good evidence to analyze and discuss.

I'm not saying there are no biased skeptics but this approach of 'we shall know them by their worst members' when discussing 'skepticism' is a standard that would also absolutely destroy believer categories of various stripes as far as adherence to rationality and open-mindedness.  I think it's important also to realize that 'annoying' is not the same as 'biased'; although I find Dawkins annoying and prickish, I don't think much of his reasoning is incorrect with regards to theism/atheism for example.

I agree, that's what I meant by saying that skepticism has been hijacked. 

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papageorge1
49 minutes ago, danydandan said:

How do you apply your skepticism?

Do you have preferred method of evaluation?

Reasoned evaluation of all the evidence and argumentation from all sides with the accumulated knowledge and wisdom of a lifetime. 

Edited by papageorge1
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