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Why Skepticism is important

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Why Skepticism is important
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Blog of ReasonHelperUser avatarPosts: 240Joined: Fri Apr 10, 2009 2:28 pmLocation: League of Reason

Post Why Skepticism is important

Discussion thread for the blog entry "Why Skepticism is important" by rabbitpirate.

Permalink: http://blog.theleagueofreason.co.uk/reason/why-skepticism-is-important/
Fri Sep 03, 2010 4:38 pm
lrkunUser avatarPosts: 3831Joined: Wed Jun 23, 2010 8:37 pmLocation: R. Gender: Tree

Post Re: Why Skepticism is important

Five points worth considering in this article:


1. What is skepticism?

2. Why is it important?

3. What is the sniff test?

4. Why is the credulousness of the people in that scenario a failure and on who's part?

5. How does one make others aware of skepticism?


Commentary

The topic is about why skepticism is important. However, that was not addressed clearly in the article. Instead, what was addressed is a scenario in which some persons did not use their critical thinking skills. Consequently, the result is panic.

I outlined some of the points which I think are important.

What do you think?
Unsupport unthink.
Fri Sep 03, 2010 5:44 pm
JosanUser avatarPosts: 426Joined: Wed Feb 25, 2009 10:56 pm

Post Re: Why Skepticism is important

RabbitPirate! I've missed you! =D You coming to TAM London?

Oh and btw... nice post =)
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Fri Sep 03, 2010 7:26 pm
doctormoUser avatarPosts: 11Joined: Tue Aug 31, 2010 1:18 pmLocation: Boston, MA Gender: Tree

Post Re: Why Skepticism is important

It's not just due to naivety and lack of critical thinking. It's also very human to assume the worst, judge the cost of warning others to be low and replicate the harmful meme.

Plus you only really get those in panic communicating, a lot of the critical thinkers switch off and don't send out messages saying it's a hoax.
Fri Sep 03, 2010 7:52 pm
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lrkunUser avatarPosts: 3831Joined: Wed Jun 23, 2010 8:37 pmLocation: R. Gender: Tree

Post Re: Why Skepticism is important

doctormo wrote:It's not just due to naivety and lack of critical thinking. It's also very human to assume the worst, judge the cost of warning others to be low and replicate the harmful meme.

Plus you only really get those in panic communicating, a lot of the critical thinkers switch off and don't send out messages saying it's a hoax.


What is your basis and what do you suggest as a solution?
Unsupport unthink.
Fri Sep 03, 2010 7:55 pm
rabbitpirateLeague LegendUser avatarPosts: 101Joined: Thu Jul 23, 2009 11:29 pm

Post Re: Why Skepticism is important

Josan wrote:RabbitPirate! I've missed you! =D You coming to TAM London?

Oh and btw... nice post =)


Thanks man, and yeah I will be there. Are you going this year as well?
Thetis: What if courage and imagination became everyday mortal qualities? What will become of us?
Zeus: We would no longer be needed. But, for the moment, there is sufficient cowardice, sloth and mendacity down there on Earth to last forever.
Sat Sep 04, 2010 9:06 am
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Aught3ModeratorUser avatarPosts: 4290Joined: Fri Feb 27, 2009 3:36 amLocation: New Zealand Gender: Male

Post Re: Why Skepticism is important

In Korea death by fan is a big fear. Not from huge fans with trashing metal blades, just desktop plastic fans designed to keep you cool.
Wanderer, there is no path, the path is made by walking.
Sat Sep 04, 2010 9:16 am
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rabbitpirateLeague LegendUser avatarPosts: 101Joined: Thu Jul 23, 2009 11:29 pm

Post Re: Why Skepticism is important

lrkun wrote:Five points worth considering in this article:


1. What is skepticism?

2. Why is it important?

3. What is the sniff test?

4. Why is the credulousness of the people in that scenario a failure and on who's part?

5. How does one make others aware of skepticism?


Commentary

The topic is about why skepticism is important. However, that was not addressed clearly in the article. Instead, what was addressed is a scenario in which some persons did not use their critical thinking skills. Consequently, the result is panic.

I outlined some of the points which I think are important.

What do you think?


Great questions. Let me start by appologising for these quick answers. I had written out long and detailed answers but my computer has been playing up and I lost them. As such this is my second attempt to address them and I am now running short on time before I need to go out. Seriously this happens to me all the time, I really need to get my computer looked at. Sorry about that.

1. What is skepticism?

For me skepticism is a way to view the world based upon science, logic, reason and evidence.

2. Why is it important?

Short answers. Because the truth is important and I believe that a skeptical approach is the best way to get to that truth.

3. What is the sniff test?

Sometimes things just don't smell right, like when you get a bottle of milk out of the fridge and a quick smell tells you it is off. The sniff test is basically that. You hear a story and even before investigating further you know that something about it is off.

4. Why is the credulousness of the people in that scenario a failure and on who's part?

To my way of thinking, and this is just me here, but the answer is it's everyone's fault. Be it us skeptics for not get the message out, the governments or educators for not making critical thinking something taught to children, the culture for putting value in supernatural forms of thinking. I have an over developed sense of guilt and stories like this make me feel guilty that I haven't done more.

5. How does one make others aware of skepticism?

Great question, no simple answer. Better minds than mine are working on this. For my part I think that we all have something to offer, even if it is just being the voice of reason amongst our friends and family. Again the short answer is education, but how we bring that about is a whole other matter.

Again sorry for the quick answers. I had spent a good half hour addressing the points you raised and then lost them all. I now have five minutes before I have to go out but wanted to at least acknowledge your questions before I did.

I think it would be worth posting these questions as a topic on the forum so that others can address them as well. I am sure that they will have better answers to them than me.
Thetis: What if courage and imagination became everyday mortal qualities? What will become of us?
Zeus: We would no longer be needed. But, for the moment, there is sufficient cowardice, sloth and mendacity down there on Earth to last forever.
Sat Sep 04, 2010 9:49 am
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lrkunUser avatarPosts: 3831Joined: Wed Jun 23, 2010 8:37 pmLocation: R. Gender: Tree

Post Re: Why Skepticism is important

I thank you. You addressed most of the questions. Therefore, to us readers, some mystery is revealed.

A simple answer is often the best. A wise man can always make it difficult. However, it is more difficult to give a simple answer than a complex one.
Unsupport unthink.
Sat Sep 04, 2010 10:37 am
JosanUser avatarPosts: 426Joined: Wed Feb 25, 2009 10:56 pm

Post Re: Why Skepticism is important

rabbitpirate wrote:Thanks man, and yeah I will be there. Are you going this year as well?


Yupp, see you there mate! =)
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Sat Sep 04, 2010 6:12 pm
ZeroNeutralUser avatarPosts: 1Joined: Sun Sep 05, 2010 8:34 pm Gender: Cake

Post Why Knowledge is important

I'd just like to interject a bit.

I do think that a healthy skepticism is important, but if the people in the context of this story have no idea about the electromagnetic spectrum, and how it propogates, then how could they possibly have anything to test their, 'sniff,' against? They would read the story, and, 'sniff,' it, but their, 'sense of smell,' has never encountered that scent before.

In this case, their, 'sense of smell,' is the person's knowledge of cell-phones and how they work. At the basis of knowledge on the subject, there is a signal that goes from somewhere to the phone and you can hear the person on the other end, as well as send messages. For all they know, it is possible to give someone a brain hemorrhage since they hold the phones so close to their heads.

What I've said is pretty obvious, but I don't think you touched on the importance of knowledge in your article. With the proper knowledge, or 'sense of smell,' it's much easier to tell when the milk is bad ;)
Sun Sep 05, 2010 8:56 pm
rabbitpirateLeague LegendUser avatarPosts: 101Joined: Thu Jul 23, 2009 11:29 pm

Post Re: Why Knowledge is important

ZeroNeutral wrote:I do think that a healthy skepticism is important, but if the people in the context of this story have no idea about the electromagnetic spectrum, and how it propogates, then how could they possibly have anything to test their, 'sniff,' against? They would read the story, and, 'sniff,' it, but their, 'sense of smell,' has never encountered that scent before.


Completely valid point. It is why I do not think that the responsibilty for events like this rests completely on the shoulders of those who fall for the scams. You are completely right. Without good education then people have nothing against which to measure the validity of claims. This is why I feel that every skeptic has a role to play in educating the people they know on critical thinking skills.
Thetis: What if courage and imagination became everyday mortal qualities? What will become of us?
Zeus: We would no longer be needed. But, for the moment, there is sufficient cowardice, sloth and mendacity down there on Earth to last forever.
Mon Sep 06, 2010 6:28 pm
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