Wednesday, August 4, 2021

A Case For The Open-Minded Skeptic: Protecting Ourselves From Superstition

What thoughts are conjured if someone described themselves to you as an "open-minded skeptic"?  One may feel that this depiction can be viewed as an oxymoron, meaning that these terms viewed separately are in complete contradiction of themselves.  Having an open mind often connotates that an individual is able to view opposing ideas without rigidly attaching to their own.  Open-mindedness can also be described as being receptive to new ideas and procedural methods which pertain to our society.  On the other hand, the word "skeptic" or "skepticism" may evoke assumptions of doubt and even the lack of rationality.  So how can this term have any place in science? How can becoming an open-minded skeptic protect us from supertions and false narratives?

Lets take a look from a scientist's perspective.  A good scientist must be curious.  If we don't have curiosity, how can we formulate questions? Our questions are basically rooted in doubt or , in another word, skepticism.  Furthermore, if we can't form questions from our doubt, how can we ever develop a hypothesis and contrive different ways of testing?  This is the point where our skepticism comes into the lime light.  It is imperative that we posses doubt so that we are able to prepare various forms of testing. Test the question at hand! All of this ultimately leads to experimentation, which is the pinnacle of formulating truths in science.  Does any of this sound familiar?  It should if you are a purveyor of scientific information.  This is basically the tenants of scientific procedure or what is commonly known as the scientific method. By using this method, even in our daily lives, we can delinate the truth from the false. 

If you are reading this, I encourage you to question everything with an open mind!  Be curious with a smidge of doubt!  This is where science is created. This is also how we can protect ourselves from forming superstions and biased beliefs.  Become an open-minded skeptic!

Please take a moment to watch this short Youtube video on open-mindedness as it relates to skepticism, the attainment of pure knowledge and protection from forming superstions:

1 comment:

  1. Hi Chris, I love that you bring up the phrase "open-minded skeptic" and I think you did a very good job of explaining what that really means and why it is important to have that mindset and I am in total agreement with you. It is definitely very beneficial to go through life questioning and exploring different things and different possibilities with an open mind and a good deal of skepticism because this is how progress is made and new things are discovered.