True vs Psuedo Skepticism

Thoughts on true skepticism versus pseudo-skepticism:

True skepticism does not carry an undertone of anger, ridicule, and
derision. It is even-tempered, clear-minded, and full of equanimity,
satisfied with showing what’s illogical or incorrect in the argument it

A true skeptic does not use emotionally charged language in an effort to
portray the person whose argument he’s critiquing as a stupid fool.

A true skeptic has no attachment to proving that she is smarter than and
superior to the person whose argument she is critiquing, but rather is
content to have her argument win the day purely on the strength of its
elegant reasoning.

A true skeptic is willing to consider the possibility that there is some
Skepticmerit, however small, in the argument of the person he’s critiquing. He is
not afraid that acknowledging this merit will undermine the absolute truth
he purports to possess.

A true skeptic is not consumed with the certainty that she is always right.
In other words, she resists the temptation to become a fundamentalist.

A true skeptic has a respect for the fact that many questions don’t have
final answers. She recognizes how much about the world is mysterious.

A true skeptic is skeptical of his own skepticism.

A true skeptic is as likely to be a woman as a man. (97 percent of the
pseudo-skeptics are men.)

A true skeptic shows humility, in the spirit that Carl Sagan demonstrated
when he said this: “An atheist is someone who is certain that God does
not exist, someone who has compelling evidence against the existence of
God. I know of no such compelling evidence.

“Because God can be relegated to remote times and places and to
ultimate causes, we would have to know a great deal more about the
universe than we do now to be sure that no God exists.

“To be certain of the existence of God and to be certain of the
nonexistence of God seem to me to be the confident extremes in a
subject so riddled with doubt and uncertainty as to inspire very little
confidence indeed.

“A wide range of intermediate positions seems admissible.

“Considering the enormous emotional energies with which the subject is
invested, a questing, courageous, and open mind is, I think, the essential
tool for narrowing the range of our collective ignorance on the subject of
the existence of God.”

— Robert Breszny

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Posted by | Paul Reynolds
Paul has been a yoga teacher on the Island of Kauai for many years and is the facilitator of the weekly Living the Question Blog - a repository of wisdom and inspiration. Paul also produces and hosts Le Guru is You Radio Show, showcasing everyday gurus.

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