So, one thing I hate is the fake skeptic. Because, folks, there are really three kinds of skeptics.
are actual skeptics. Who think, analyze and question things. Even
things that they want to be true. I am a staunch leftest but question
whether Bush's crazy wars led to the Arab spring. I question whether
Free Market Capitalism really would solve a lot of our economic
problems. I do care about the collateral damage that might ensue in the
form of sick and starving children and think the short run is more
important. But I actively question to this day.
There are those who have questioned a thing or two that society
propagates and disagreed but do not question a lot of other things..
Anti-supernaturalists, atheists, anti-quack medicine,
anti-alien-contacters. They find one or two things bullshit but do not
bother to question the others.
Then there are those that I really get pissed off about. Fake
skeptics. They decide to join a club. The atheist club. The anti
superstition club. The republican party. Whatever. They drink that Kool
Aid. They do not actively question anything. They just take the contrary
view that their small sect professes. The religious do this a lot. They
think Astrology is bunk because their religion tells them so. Alien
contact can't exist because it is not in the bible. Oddly it does not
bother me when the religious do this because they are not professing to
I recall at TAM 9, perhaps, (and, no, I did not go) there was an
announcement that the atheists should not challenge the religious views
of theistic skeptics. Try not to offend them.
shenanigans!! A skeptic should be willing to examine any belief. ANY!
Paul and I spent some time a year or so ago doing research on the
Holocaust. I am Jewish and had relatives who died in the death camps.
Still willing to look critically at the story and see how much of it is
supported. We found out a lot. I recommend that you do the same. Our
research revealed some inconsistencies and flaws in the historical story
but supported much and I now am totally justified in defending the
existence and horror that the Holocaust was. Because I questioned it.
I have done the same for slavery, the industrial revolution,
Memetics, Chanukah, Dark matter and many others. By questioning what I
thought I knew I get to do two things. First, I get to correct my
misunderstandings. Second, I get real honest support when I was right to
begin with. I can now argue the areas I have examined. I don't just
assume I am right but now can say I know (as much as we can ever know)
that I am right. I challenged my assumptions, corrected where I was
wrong and supported where I was right. I was a critical thinker and that
The fake skeptics just join a club and accept the doctrine.
Skeptical of what the club is skeptical about and accepting of the
preconceived notions that the club professes. I am a Democrat and still
spend a fair amount of time considering the benefits of Fraking, capital
gains tax policy, affirmative action, socialized medicine and the like.
Just because I join a club does not mean I joined a cult and drank the