free debate

August 20, 2009

What is Skepticism?

Science is a process. We use this process the understand the natural world around us.  There is a growing group of people who use this process to form their opinions about the world.  Skeptics promote critical thinking and science education.  Skeptics do not just dismiss ideas out of hand, but try to establish if an idea is supported by the evidence.  Skepticism is not a set of beliefs, but a method.  There are issues that multiple reasonable skeptics will hold different opinions on.
Skeptics often rely on the scientific method because it is one that relies on evidence and logic.  In science, anecdotal evidence is below the standard of evidence. This is one of the main reasons that skeptics can often get branded as deniers.  Skeptics will often reject ideas like UFOs and ghosts because the evidence does not support them.  This, however, can lead to the false conclusion that skeptics are close-minded.
Skeptics, as a group, have to remain open-minded.  To be close-minded is to hold a set of beliefs regardless of new evidence.  The evidence we have about the world around us always changing.  Since skepticism is based on evidence, our stances on different issues have to change.
Skepticism is a powerful tool for exploring reality. There are many cases where a dose of skepticism can really help in everyday life.  Skepticism is a way to keep an open mind and still be able to filter out the nonsense.