The Importance of Skepticism
This blog is named The Perpetual Skeptic. Why is that? And why is the tag line “Behold the Power of the Question”? What question?
First off, this is not specifically an anti-religion blog. Skepticism is closely associated with the atheism/religion debate, and rightly so. I will write about religion. However, this is not specifically an anti-religion blog. This is a blog about skepticism, or about the skeptical mind-set in general.
Someone once said “skepticism is the sadism of embittered souls”. I don’t think so. I think there is a big difference between “skepticism” and “cynicism”. I know the difference first-hand, for I was once a True Believer. When I found out my particular religion was false, I was very bitter. For a time I was cynical. Now, after several years, I’ve calmed down and have learned simply to be skeptical.
Skepticism is an honest search for knowledge. It is an approach to claims akin to the scientific method. It is a powerful and positive methodology (a collection of methods of inquiry) that is used to evaluate claims and make decisions. It is used to search for the (provisional) truth in matters and to make decisions that are based on sound reasoning, logic, and evidence. Skepticism is based on a simple method: doubt and inquiry. The idea is to neither initially accept claims nor dismiss them; it’s about questioning them and testing them for validity. Only after inquiry does a skeptic take a stance on an issue. –UK Skeptics
But really, does there need to be a new skepti-blog? Aren’t there enough? In all likelihood, yes, there are enough. However, there are enough instances where I see automatic acceptance, or denial, of a particular idea that I feel I must speak out. For example, I know an older man who claims to not just believe something, but requires some evidence! Thus, he claims skepticism about Global Warming. However, at the same time, he thinks it is likely the United States has a secret facility in Alaska that controls the weather–so as to give the illusion of GW so that governments have another excuse to put more controls on us. Of course, that gets into the realm of conspiracy theories, which is another topic for another post…but his claims to skepticism are clearly shown to be hollow.
Skepticism is a way of looking at the world: is the Sour Sop (a fruit from the Graviola tree) really 1000x more effective against cancer than chemo like I saw on my FB feed today? Are big pharmaceutical companies keeping this natural miracle a secret to protect their profits? Possible. Money is just about the biggest motivator known. That might be a good post one day. But the point is neither to believe, nor disregard, things upon first hearing them. And there are dozens of things we hear each week that could be true, or that a person might want to be true, or might want to be false, that we should actually try to look into and educate ourselves on. That is the skeptical approach to life.
In that spirit I write this blog. I will put up well-researched articles. They will likely not contain the answer to the debate they deal with, but will at least try to ask the right questions and be a platform for further searching–as well as give some answers, hopefully. Because once we start accepting things on faith, or denying things because they are inconvenient to our preconceived notions about life and how the world works, then those that peddle snake oil, spam, and scams of all types win.