Our modern culture depicts the iconic “skeptic” as the curmudgeonly nay-sayer, the grumpy old man, or the annoying conversational partner who just wants to stir the pot. Those people CERTAINLY exist. But that’s not at all what this site is about. Practical skepticism is for EVERYONE. And it’s greatly needed in our modern society.
Balderdash! [This image of Dana Carvey’s “grumpy old man” ranked high when I googled “grumpy skeptic”.]
Skeptics are not cynics or denialists. All we want is sound evidence that your claim has merit. There is nothing wrong with that, and that quality should have no gender or age boundaries.
From the Skeptic Magazine campaign, “I’m a Skeptic”.
Practical skepticism is a virtue. Who wants to go through life being overly gullible? You’d get taken at every turn these days – watching TV, reading the news, listening to people around you, following social media. It’s VERY foolish to ignore critical thinking skills when everyone seems out to get you to buy their product, invest in their business, and go along with their story.
All practical skepticism really requires is that you pause to really think about the evidence you have been presented with.
- Does it sound too good to be true?
- Does it go against what the majority of people accept as valid?
- Is it meant to persuade you towards a certain belief or action?
This line of internal self-questioning is not natural! In fact, it’s more natural that we trust people and believe what we are told. Trusting what you are told is a fairly reliable way to get through life, until it isn’t. Ask those who have been scammed out of their money, dreams, health, or happiness. You can bet they wish they thought about their choices more skeptically.
Tall tale-tellers, tricksters, frauds, and charlatans have existed for as long as people have interacted with each other. It’s even more lucrative to fool others today where you can get away with it almost without a trace. While giving hoaxers and fraudsters their “just deserts” is necessary, prevention is preferable.
The content on this site is meant to be informative, relatable, shareable, and entertaining. We will touch on subjects from the most serious (medical claims) to the silly (“I saw Bigfoot in my backyard! Seriously!”)
I hope you find it useful. If you do, PLEASE tell a friend. That’s the way it works best, if you share.
Please consider contributing your story about practical skepticism.