Skepticism (from the Greek skeptikos, or thoughtful) is an important and integral part of my life. It helps to guide my reasoning, beliefs, and thought-processes.
But what is Skepticism? It takes on many definitions. But here are some things that Skepticism is and is not:
Skepticism is a questioning attitude towards knowledge, facts, or opinions/beliefs stated as facts.
Skepticism is DOUBT regarding claims that are taken for granted elsewhere.
It is NOT a position.
It is NOT cynicism.
Skepticism is an overall approach that requires all information to be well supported by evidence.
It is NOT about negativity.
Skepticism is as affirmative as it is questioning.
It is NOT a religion. Nor is it atheism.
Skepticism does not come naturally. It takes a lot of work to develop.
It is NOT rigid, dogmatic, hypercritical, or closed-minded.
Skepticism encourages us to think for ourselves.
It is NOT gullibility.
Skepticism recognizes that human beings are imperfect in their ability to gain and evaluate evidence.
It does NOT claim absolute truth or knowledge.
Skepticism is open-mindedness.
I think one of the best ways to think about skepticism is to enjoy the quote from the late, great Carl Sagan. “Extraordinary claims require extraordinary evidence.” Things should not be taken on face value, or from authority, or on emotion. To finish, here are a list of common Logical Fallacies. Using arguments that fall into these categories is dangerous to our critical thinking and reasoning skills and should try to be avoided at all costs.