Author Topic: General critical thinking and debunking specific claims  (Read 571 times)

0 Members and 1 Guest are viewing this topic.

Online Johnny Slick

  • "Goddammit, Slick."
  • Poster of Extraordinary Magnitude
  • **********
  • Posts: 11869
  • Fake Ass Skeptic
Re: General critical thinking and debunking specific claims
« Reply #15 on: March 09, 2017, 07:32:58 PM »
Well, yes, but that's the religious *right*. They don't make up all or even really a majority of religious people. So there is no need to necessarily be overly wary of creationists there either. In fact, if you just assume that religious folks are creationists you not only miss out on hearing what it is they actually do believe about evolution but you run the risk of pushing them over to positions they don't actually hold (or at least didn't before you started in).
Speak what you think now in hard words, and to-morrow speak what to-morrow thinks in hard words again, though it contradict every thing you said to-day.

- Ralph Waldo Emerson

Offline Quetzalcoatl

  • Frequent Poster
  • ******
  • Posts: 2447
Re: General critical thinking and debunking specific claims
« Reply #16 on: March 11, 2017, 05:11:39 PM »
The skeptical movement is only unique insofar as it teaches you how to think, not what to think.

I agree. This facet is what makes the skeptical movement truly distinct from various political ideologies and religions and belief-systems out there, including skepticism's "sister movements", i.e humanism and atheism.

Steve has also emphasized on various occasions that skepticsim is more about method than about conclusion, and I agree:

Bigfoot Skeptics, New Atheists, Politics and Religion: "You will also notice the distinct absence of any particular belief or position. A skeptic is not someone who doubts the existence of alien visitors specifically, but rather someone who follows certain methods in assessing any claim."

Dr Steven Novella On Scientific Skepticism And Activism – NYC Skeptics: "It’s very important I think to present skepticism as a method of inquiry not a set of conclusions, not a set of beliefs. The other good thing about that is that it frees you from tying yourself, either your reputation or your ego to any conclusion. Because from day one you are up front saying “Hey, anything I have to say is subject to revision. I will change what I believe if the evidence warrants it.” I think that’s a necessary position to have."
"Large skepticism leads to large understanding. Small skepticism leads to small understanding. No skepticism leads to no understanding." - Xi Zhi

Offline werecow

  • Cryptobovinologist
  • Frequent Poster
  • ******
  • Posts: 2936
  • mooh
Re: General critical thinking and debunking specific claims
« Reply #17 on: April 12, 2017, 12:04:09 PM »
From Spreading Skepticism:

"However, the goal of the skeptical movement was never—or not for me—to debunk specific beliefs. Instead, it should be to spread critical thinking on whatever subject is shoved in front of us."

Do you agree or not? I agree. Do you think anyone would disagree?

I think spreading critical thinking should probably be the message we carry out into the world, and it is the most uplifting and empowering part of the movement. And in the long term, it's probably the most important way of combating nonsense. But I do think debunking or picking apart specific arguments is an important social function well-versed skeptics are in a better position to fulfill than most people, and unfortunately the world is in dire need of more of that, not less. Can you imagine if there was no one at all out there countering pseudoscientific claims? I think that would be a catastrophe. In other words, I think we should probably do both, but perhaps with more focus on the former than is currently the case.