I, Skeptic

I am a skeptic and use skepticism in my every day life. It is a part of my thinking and my decision-making processes. This does not mean that I doubt everything I read or hear. It also does not mean that I look for what is wrong with the things around me. Skepticism is the critical thinking and logical inquiry that Is used to make informed decisions. It is a skill set that I will always be improving upon and one that you should be building upon too.

We all need to be better skeptics. We all should be forming conclusions based on reasonable evaluations and asking necessary questions. Discerning fact, from speculation, and pure fiction is the essence of skepticism. Recognizing common flaws in our logic sharpens our critical thinking. Understanding the nature of perception allows for a clearer view of reality. The decisions you make every day are based on what you have determined to be the truth about the world. They are the choices you make based on your judgment.

Something as simply as going to the grocery store and choosing a meal requires you to make decisions. If you have decided you will select a healthy meal, you already have made determinations as to what a healthy meals consists of. The knowledge that you draw upon was imparted upon you by some means. Is your idea of a healthy meal really what your body requires to function properly or are their flaws in your version of “healthy?” When you select products, you are chosing items that conform to your idea of healthy. Do the products contain the nutrition you believe they do or are you being misled by the packaging? The notions that you have and the practical application of those ideas require you to make decisions amidst many choices. Some choices we make may be based on false ideas or flawed thinking.

We all are susceptible to false information and errors in our conclusions. Our brains are designed to make rapid decisions with as little information as possible. This allows us to navigate through the world and recognize the things around us virtually instantaneously. If you see a tree that is of a variety you’ve never encountered before, you are capable of recognizing it as a tree even though it is a novel object. If part of the tree is obscured, you are still likely to know it is a tree. Shadows formed from its placement and other objects surrounding it are used to determine the tree’s size and relative distance from you. Your brain only needs certain characteristics, or pieces of information, to make a determination as to what an object is and where it is. The sensory inputs from our body are only part of the process of our perception of reality. Previous experiences and expectations are used as references. As your brain is deciding what the object is, it is also making conclusions about your safety and how you should react. Recognition happens through the brain’s subconscious interpretation of many pieces of collected information. Our brains decide what information is important to make rapid conclusions and allow for quick responses. The nature of these process, which allow us to function so efficiently, can also lead to an altered or skewed perception of reality.

The natural tendency for us to make rapid associations also affects our higher consciousness, or things that we are actively contemplating. As you read this blog, the act of reading, in itself, requires a recognition of words and understanding that draws upon your knowledge and previous experience. The information or ideas that I wish to impart upon you are dependent upon my ability to express ideas and your willingness to accept the ideas. Everyone who imparts an idea is subject to biases, misinterpretation of supporting data, and false conclusions. We, as recipients of information, are susceptible to the same errors in our thought processes. We are bombarded with information daily. Being a passive recipient of things you are told will, undoubtably, give you false ideas about the world. The better you are at separating fact from fiction, the better your judgment will be. You are the one who needs to decide what information is true, false, or simply unknown at the time. The tools of skepticism are the key to unlocking your own doubt. If you have taken the responsibility of evaluating information you are given, you own your truths about the world.

About Edie Kendel

An analyst with a passion for science. Seeking truth through logical deconstructions and skepticism.
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6 Responses to I, Skeptic

  1. Reg says:

    Experience has taught us that the length of the shadow cast by a tree or chimney is only equal to its height when the Sun is 45 degree above the horizon and the ground is flat. Conclusions drawn by measuring the shadow when the Sun is directly overhead, or the ground is sloping upwards or downwards will not be nearly as accurate.

    Information Manipulation: Yes it is undoubtedly true that we need eight glasses of water a day but that’s NOT what the research showed and stated. It showed that we needed to ingest the equivalent of eight glasses of water a day, most of which would come from the food we ate leaving the rest to come from the three or four glasses of what-ever else we choose.

    The promoters of bottled water chose to take the “eight bottles of water a day” out of its original context.

    So the skeptical eye also needs to be cast in the correct direction. Not at the scientific research and conclusion, but at the commercial manipulation of the results in order to promote one of the most unworthy products of this modern day, commercially bottled water.

    • Edie Kendel says:

      Regarding shadows, yes, that is a great point about how our perception of reality differs depending in many factors.

      I think a big part of skepticism should be evaluating the commercial claims and the validity of statistics in news articles. I often see data misrepresented and sometimes not even match the original study.

  2. Working in a Cop Shop says:

    Skepticism is good.

    A skeptic won’t sent $10,000 to a complete stranger in Nigeria just because he was notified that he won $3 million in a lottery and he’s been told to pay the taxes in order to receive it.

  3. Wingrider says:

    I noticed one of the misrepresentation of facts by Stphen Hawking on one of his shows aimed at addressing if there was a God. His claim that there could not be a God, because at the instant of the Big Bang there was no time, therefore, no time for the ’cause’ of God to create the ‘effect’ of the Universe. The fallacy in the scenario of whether God exists or not is starting the assumption that God is part of this Universe. As there is no way to create yourself as part of creating something else, this assumption should be restated. Then we can address the issue of our invisible friends.

    • Edie Kendel says:

      I agree. I don’t think Hawking’s reasoning is sufficient when “god” is allowed to be anything and can be from anywhere, which could include a theoretical alternate universe. From the practical standpoint, it is useful to eliminate the possibility of a god within the confines of the physical laws of matter and energy in our universe.

      • Reg says:

        God Time could be 90 degrees phase shifted from Creation Time of course. Then there is the infinite magnitude of any differentiation pulse produced by this infinite rate of change.

        OMG my mind is boggled. God astride the crest of an infinite differentiation pulse.

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