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What is Skepticism?

by Phil O'Kane on October 8th, 2010

skep·ti·cism
[skep-tuh-siz-uhm]
–noun
1. skeptical attitude or temper; doubt.
2. doubt or unbelief with regard to a religion, esp. Christianity.
3. ( initial capital letter ) the doctrines or opinions of philosophical Skeptics; universal doubt.
[dictionary.com]

n.
1. A doubting or questioning attitude or state of mind; dubiety. See synonyms at uncertainty.
2. Philosophy.
1. The ancient school of Pyrrho of Elis that stressed the uncertainty of our beliefs in order to oppose dogmatism.
2. The doctrine that absolute knowledge is impossible, either in a particular domain or in general.
3. A methodology based on an assumption of doubt with the aim of acquiring approximate or relative certainty.
3. Doubt or disbelief of religious tenets.
[Answers.com]

“Contemporary skepticism (or scepticism) is loosely used to denote any questioning attitude, or some degree of doubt regarding claims that are elsewhere taken for granted.” [wikipedia]

Skeptics groups, having adopted the American spelling, have sprung up across the world, bringing together people who are interested in discussing the issues which surround blind faith, dubious claims, and ideas of reality versus that which we are told to believe. Simply put, the Skeptics in the Pub group is a gathering of critical thinkers, those with an interest in science, who think logically, don’t take anything at face-value, and generally prefer “facts” being backed up with reputable evidence without dubious claims purporting to be so.

The premise of the group is to meet like-minded individuals and discuss these ideas and prevalent issues in current news and media, as well as a range of general topics and commonly accepted ideas and norms.

Skepticism is a state of mind, relating to having a questioning and doubtful mind; looking at evidence before deciding.

Skeptics are not simply debunkers, automatically ruling out the existence of the paranormal, the extraterrestrial, or the supernatural. Instead, a skeptic reserves judgment until the evidence is gathered. If the clues points to a mundane explanation, skeptics will accept that conclusion. If the available evidence suggests an extraordinary phenomenon, skeptics will accept that conclusion as well. The difference is in the strength of the evidence required. The more unusual a claim is, the more challenging to accepted science, the more skeptics will demand that the supporting evidence be extensive, thoroughly documented, and objectively verifiable. — K.O. Myers.

Further definitions will be discussed in future posts.

Skepticism covers a range of topics including: [list after the fold]

  • Alternative health
    • Acupuncture skeptics
    • Alternative health skeptics
    • Alcoholics Anonymous skeptics
    • Complementary medicine skeptics
    • CAM skeptics
    • Feng Shui skeptics
    • Homeopathy skeptics
    • Magnetic therapy skeptics
    • Memory regression skeptics
    • Past life regression therapy skeptics
    • Psychic surgery skeptics
    • Reiki healing skeptics
    • Regression hypnosis skeptics
    • Traditional Chinese medicine skeptics
  • The Paranormal
    • ESP skeptics
    • Extra-sensory perception skeptics
    • Ghost skeptics
    • Hauntings skeptics
    • Medium skeptics
    • Paranormal skeptics
    • Psychic skeptics
    • Remote viewing skeptics
    • Telepathy skeptics
  • Religion skeptics
    • Astrology skeptics
    • Bible skeptics
    • Creationism skeptics
    • Scientology skeptics
    • Spiritualism skeptics
  • Aliens
    • Alien abduction skeptics
    • UFO skeptics
  • Conspiracy theory skeptics
  • Dowsing skeptics
  • Holocaust denial skeptics
  • Pseudoscience skeptics

From → General

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