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  1. #1

    Default Inherent reactions to skepticism?

    I think we have all experienced being skeptical of something. I could be wrong, of course.

    Think back to something you were skeptical about:
    How did people react to you being skeptical of that something?
    • Did they react by saying you were too close minded?
    • Did they accuse you of nit picking?
    • Did they accuse you of feeling superior to them?
    • Other things?


    How much of these reactions do you believe are intrinsically the reaction to a skeptic by a non-skeptic?

    How much of these reactions comes from me/you, the skeptic in these scenario, being actually closed minded, nit-picky, or feeling superior to the non-skeptic?


    Potential of seeds to remind you of times you've been skeptical:
    Folk remedies, superstitions, cryptozoological entities, get rich quick schemes, cults, main stream religions, conspiracy theories, urban legends, older myths, astrology, typology

    Have you pulled off being skeptical of these things without seeming closed minded, nit-picky, or superior to a non-skeptic?

    How did you accomplish this?

    Accept the past. Live for the present. Look forward to the future.
    Robot Fusion
    "As our island of knowledge grows, so does the shore of our ignorance." John Wheeler
    "[A] scientist looking at nonscientific problems is just as dumb as the next guy." Richard Feynman
    "[P]etabytes of [] data is not the same thing as understanding emergent mechanisms and structures." Jim Crutchfield

  2. #2
    WhoCares
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    I am skeptical of humanity. So far I've been accused of being unrealistic and idealistic because I do not share the common view of humanity. They accused me of blindness by not being able to see what they see. I was also accused of being too focused on the negatives which even though they admitted existed they downplayed their importance.

    The paralells of skepticism to any say mystical subject are vivid. There is the denial of what you see or know as your perspective, then comes the character assassination where it is intimated that you suffer from a deficiency or flaw. There are the true believers who point out all the aspects of their faith in a very general way, like the acts of altruism the subject is capable of and the potential while glossing over the details of where it falls short. And there are a few who admit to the flaws of the subject while still holding to their belief.

    I do not believe I have suceeded in communicating my skepticism on this sujbect. I believe I only succeeded in convincing others I have the deficiencies claimed. But I also think that is a natural consequence of challenging belief. If someone is convinced of the beliefs rightness, they will cling tighter to it in the face of challenge. Others who share your skepticism on some level, even a tiny amount are willing to entertain the ideas, even if they ultimately reject them.

    How much of that is the skeptic and how much the believer? I have to conclude they are both to the measure of their conviction. Since a skeptic is not a non-believer, he is a believer in something else, even if that something else is just the possibility of an alternative. So what you have is two believers of incongrous beliefs pushing against each other. The more entrenched the belief, the greater the assertion. For this reason I tend to think those of less fixed dispositions to be the better skeptic since they will allow for the paradox of incongrous beliefs to be both correct on some level. They therefore have a better chance of coming off in constructive ways and opening a discussion rather than a pissing match.

  3. #3

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    Quote Originally Posted by WhoCares View Post
    I am skeptical of humanity. So far I've been accused of being unrealistic and idealistic because I do not share the common view of humanity. They accused me of blindness by not being able to see what they see. I was also accused of being too focused on the negatives which even though they admitted existed they downplayed their importance.

    The paralells of skepticism to any say mystical subject are vivid. There is the denial of what you see or know as your perspective, then comes the character assassination where it is intimated that you suffer from a deficiency or flaw. There are the true believers who point out all the aspects of their faith in a very general way, like the acts of altruism the subject is capable of and the potential while glossing over the details of where it falls short. And there are a few who admit to the flaws of the subject while still holding to their belief.

    I do not believe I have suceeded in communicating my skepticism on this sujbect. I believe I only succeeded in convincing others I have the deficiencies claimed. But I also think that is a natural consequence of challenging belief. If someone is convinced of the beliefs rightness, they will cling tighter to it in the face of challenge. Others who share your skepticism on some level, even a tiny amount are willing to entertain the ideas, even if they ultimately reject them.
    Thanks for replying. I think the bar of having found a way to relay skepticism without incurring some of those consequences was too high.

    I am mainly wondering if this phenomenon is inherent in being skeptical and/or a believer of something. For instance, I believe that climate change is real and man made, and I get a little irritated at skeptics of this...unless they have a good deal of reliable evidence. But I do tend to have a knee-jerk reaction of having my eyes glaze over before evidence is presented.

    I think the point you made about skeptics often being believers in something else is a good one.


    Quote Originally Posted by WhoCares View Post
    How much of that is the skeptic and how much the believer? I have to conclude they are both to the measure of their conviction. Since a skeptic is not a non-believer, he is a believer in something else, even if that something else is just the possibility of an alternative. So what you have is two believers of incongrous beliefs pushing against each other. The more entrenched the belief, the greater the assertion. For this reason I tend to think those of less fixed dispositions to be the better skeptic since they will allow for the paradox of incongrous beliefs to be both correct on some level. They therefore have a better chance of coming off in constructive ways and opening a discussion rather than a pissing match.
    I think, here you quickly narrowed in on the pertinent ideas, especially the statement I emphasized in bold.

    The question that pops up for me is: When ought one be entrenched vs. not? After all, there is no such thing as a completely open mind. A mind that accepts nothing and rejects nothing makes no distinctions, and has no direction. Nihilism seems like the natural consequence of trying to remain open to everything.

    Accept the past. Live for the present. Look forward to the future.
    Robot Fusion
    "As our island of knowledge grows, so does the shore of our ignorance." John Wheeler
    "[A] scientist looking at nonscientific problems is just as dumb as the next guy." Richard Feynman
    "[P]etabytes of [] data is not the same thing as understanding emergent mechanisms and structures." Jim Crutchfield

  4. #4
    Senior Member Alea_iacta_est's Avatar
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    Skepticism, in all forms, is a sign of rationality, for it deems that some information might not be trustworthy or reliable. I have found that I am most skeptical of ideas that are formulated first and then evidenced later (as my Sherlock Holmes quote details).

    When I've told somebody I was skeptical of their plan, they seemed to regard me as ignorant or in some cases non-compliant, i.e. "You won't believe this because it was my idea.", or "You just can't open your eyes now can you?", to which I reply to the latter of which, "My eyes are open. Your eyes are glazed."

    I would assume that these reactions are based on the fact that if rational skepticism is produced by a party, then there isn't sufficient evidence on the part of the non-skeptic and they are thus reliant on phrases such as the ones above.

    When I hear a skeptical theory, I approach it as open minded as possible, but that open-mindedness carries with it the views of other affiliations. As soon as I see something preposterous or unbased, I immediately become skeptical of all points related to it.

  5. #5
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    .
    Skepticism <<<<<<< Critical Thinking >>>>>>> Dogmatism

  6. #6
    Ginkgo
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    I think fierce skepticism is simply dogmatism masquerading as doubt.

  7. #7

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    Quote Originally Posted by Zarathustra View Post
    .
    Skepticism <<<<<<< Critical Thinking >>>>>>> Dogmatism
    Quote Originally Posted by Ginkgo View Post
    I think fierce skepticism is simply dogmatism masquerading as doubt.
    Can you guys elaborate on what you mean?

    Accept the past. Live for the present. Look forward to the future.
    Robot Fusion
    "As our island of knowledge grows, so does the shore of our ignorance." John Wheeler
    "[A] scientist looking at nonscientific problems is just as dumb as the next guy." Richard Feynman
    "[P]etabytes of [] data is not the same thing as understanding emergent mechanisms and structures." Jim Crutchfield

  8. #8
    Ginkgo
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    Quote Originally Posted by ygolo View Post
    Can you guys elaborate on what you mean?
    Can't speak for Zara, though I'm pretty sure I know where he's coming from.

    I think that persistent skepticism, more often than not, occurs when someone is unable to let go of what they believe to be true. For instance, many who disbelieve in ghosts do so because they already subscribe to the thought that the world is purely naturalistic.

    Critical thinking demands that one literally entertains two (or more) contrary thoughts at the same time, measuring the worth and substance of both, until they come to a learned conclusion. At the end of the day, critical thinking always entails that you've actually learned and digested something about someone else's perspective, even if you don't agree with it. And, in doing so, you may find that the stance your previously held is more justified than you thought.

  9. #9

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    Quote Originally Posted by Ginkgo View Post
    Can't speak for Zara, though I'm pretty sure I know where he's coming from.

    I think that persistent skepticism, more often than not, occurs when someone is unable to let go of what they believe to be true. For instance, many who disbelieve in ghosts do so because they already subscribe to the thought that the world is purely naturalistic.

    Critical thinking demands that one literally entertains two (or more) contrary thoughts at the same time, measuring the worth and substance of both, until they come to a learned conclusion. At the end of the day, critical thinking always entails that you've actually learned and digested something about someone else's perspective, even if you don't agree with it. And, in doing so, you may find that the stance your previously held is more justified than you thought.
    Indeed. But this process you talk about requires a great deal of time.

    If the notion being presented just doesn't carry enough reward for undertaking that process, would you still fault the skeptic?

    For instance, let's take the notion of ghosts.

    To me, the way I answer whether or not I believe in ghosts depends on the what a person means by the word "ghost". No doubt a great many places are haunted by the ghosts of their past influences. But, in this statement, I am using the word "ghost" as almost a synonym for "influence." It is meant symbolically or metaphorically.

    I believe the world of symbols and metaphors has a different sort of reality that I consider quite legitimate. But it is an entirely different, and dare I say, "impractical" reality than what I usually associate with "reality."

    Take again, the notion of ghosts:
    If someone were to say they believe in the corporeal presence of ectoplasmic entities that contain the consciousness of former human beings, then I am unlikely to take the time to investigate this with rigor of an idea that I would find relevant.

    Accept the past. Live for the present. Look forward to the future.
    Robot Fusion
    "As our island of knowledge grows, so does the shore of our ignorance." John Wheeler
    "[A] scientist looking at nonscientific problems is just as dumb as the next guy." Richard Feynman
    "[P]etabytes of [] data is not the same thing as understanding emergent mechanisms and structures." Jim Crutchfield

  10. #10
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    I've always been quite skeptical about everything, so I'm not sure how to answer the questions.

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