By Kshiteeja Tomar
“In science, keeping an open mind is a virtue—just not so open that your brains fall out”, said James Oberg, an American space journalist and a historian. Giving credits to science is something which is very common in our lives, but the part where Sceptics constitute a major part of the scientifically proven theories is very often forgotten.
What is Skepticism?
Not giving in to the infamous definition of skeptics, skeptics or critical thinkers are not people who disbelieve or criticize things. They are not your average movie critics who speak even when they are not asked to. Skepticism has nothing to do with negativity and doubt. It is an art which makes one follow the correct path of discovery with reason and proof. Critical thinking is the key. And believe it or not each one of us is a skeptic. Remember the times when you couldn’t believe that someone is better than you or the times when you thought you were always right in front of your parents. You’d know what we are talking about.
Cue drum rolls.
Welcome vampires and werewolves. Tarot cards and long dark alleys. The originals and the avengers. The poltergeist and the The exorcist. Magic, myths, music and drama. The Loch Ness, the Yeti and the The Medusa. Palm reading and face reading. Astrology and Mythology. What do you suggest all of these are? How about a mix of reality and psychology, fiction and non fiction, proven theories and long lost dreams? And not some shows of the stupid idiot box.
- Philosophical: The type of skepticism based on the denial of knowledge. It firmly denies the certainty of knowledge but holds if the proof is “good enough” to be acted upon as if they were true. They need not be the same as the results are achieved.
- Moral :When there is no faith in morals and natural law.
- Methodological and Scientific : This one seeks to determine the truth and the false claims with the help of beliefs and evidences. Application of all of these in science results in scientific skepticism.
It is definitely not wrong to ask for a proof when you want to believe in something now or is it? Because you know not all of us can believe that instant noodles take 2 minutes to be made or fairness creams can definitely make you as fair as snow. Skepticism is all about taking away attention from worthless knowledge and information and superstitions. It aims to direct our mind and attention on things which are important to the society and the world. This generally means extraordinary evidences and proofs are required for extraordinary claims and some age old books about various superstitions do not constitute that.
One of the major mysteries that science is yet to answer is the existence of multiverse. According to a theory, all the universes were together and constituted the multiverse before they came to become what they are today. This is something which is not yet proved but then so isn’t the existence of God. If we can define God as something which doesn’t need to be created than so can be the Multiverse. So to stop the world from conjuring and giving into such theories, skepticism plays an important part.
Opposition to skepticism:
Due to the nature of skepticism in which no one can be trusted without proper evidence, skeptics are often termed as “killjoys” and people who do not appreciate humor because of their need of evidence to trust everything.
Although some critics have suggested that only because there is no evidence or something cant be proved, it does not mean that it is not justified. And so came up the theory that if something cannot be proved without evidence, the methods that a skeptic used can be unreliable too. So a skeptic can never be right either. Because if he is right, that means we cannot rely on your ability to reason and hence the skeptic’s conclusion can’t be trusted either or if he is wrong, that again means we cannot trust his conclusion.
Learned enough about not accepting? Now know the flip side… Accepting can sometimes lead to Happiness.