Definitions Ponderings

Skeptics…. Gotta love ‘em

Skepticism is a word used to refer to a variety of positions.  There are three main types of skepticism: Philosophical skepticism (Pyrrhonism), scientific skepticism, and religious skepticism. Sometimes these different varieties of skepticism may overlap.  In common use, the word “skepticism” most often refers to scientific skepticism.

I love skeptics… believe it or not… I am a skeptic… I have a really hard time believing all of this new age, new thought, new “stuff”…  As I have written about before… I thought it was “normal” to see auras, ghosts, spirits, wooga-wooga, etc.  I didn’t realize most people don’t see the way I see.  I am left brained… I cannot prove to you what I see, hear, smell, etc.  Nor can you “prove” to me your 6th senses… this puts us all in a quandary… it actually shattered my world for a bit.  I am left brained… I am science-minded, yet I used to play with the fairies and walk into trees when I was little… I thought everybody did that.

Scientific skeptics question certain claim by testing them through experiment.  Common claims targeted by scientific skeptics includes the efficacy of homeopathy and other new age therapies, the existence of ESP/telekinesis and telepathy, the plausibility of supernatural being (ghosts, poltergeists, angels, and gods), cryptozoology such as the Loch Ness Monster and Bigfoot, alien visitations and associated phenomena, creationism, conspiracy theories, claims of pop psychology and more.  The task of the scientific skeptic is to debunk “cherished nonsense” —  claims that continue to be believed despite ample evidence that all these skeptics try to prove “bunk”.   I really think this is a funny funny area….  I am one of the skeptics who can’t prove what I see… and try my hardest not to see…. Funny, funny, ha, ha…. (right!)

Philosophical skepticism has a more formal and abstract meaning than scientific skepticism.  Philosophical skeptics refrain from making any statements about the absolute truth of things, believing that anyone can be wrong.  The originator of philosophical skepticism is the ancient Greek philosopher Pyrroh of Elis (360-275 BC), and it is sometimes called Pyrrhonism in his name.  Philosophical skepticism can even be turned on itself, meaning philosophical skeptics may reserve judgment on whether the entire platform of philosophical skepticism is valid or not.  Now, these guys – I like… always having an “out”.

A religious skeptic is a person who doubts certain religious claims, such as miracles, the appearance of angels, the omnipresence of God, etc.  A religious skeptic need not be an atheist or agnostic; he or she may simply be a believer doubtful of certain religious claims, for instance, many Christians are skeptical that the Virgin Mary would really reveal herself in a tortilla and blame such sighting on overactive pattern recognition.  This is a fun area, also.

Guess the ones I have an opinion (remember I get opinions) are the scientific skeptics… oh well…  There are activist skeptics who consider it their duty to debunk fraudulent claims.  These guys I like…. and I watch… comedians Penn and Teller, the magician James Randi, and the hosts of the TV series Mythbusters…. So I still remain a skeptic who happens to have some unprovable 6th senses, huh? Oh, well…. Coffee —- I can prove exists…..  thanks for joining me this morning…..

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