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Male Number of posts : 520
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Registration date : 2008-06-18

PostSubject: On scepticism   Sat Apr 18, 2009 7:57 pm

Saturday, 18 April 2009

On Scepticism

Scepticism - To believe that nothing is certain.

As a sceptic this is my motto in life, I walk a fine line between the dogmatists (who claim to have the whole truth) and the Sophists (Who claim there is no truth or that it is beyond our reach).

The dogmatic lifestyle has been hijacked by many of the new age sceptics that merrily post on forums about how something has been scientifically 'proven' and therefore is absolutely correct, as if to question it's validity is heresy.

These people waffle on with talk of scientific journals such as nature and scientific America as though they were the bibles of truth, unquestionable above reproach truth. There are also some high profile sceptics that slip in to the dogmatic category also, feeling thay have achieved a cult like following and if they are questioned on the validity of their claims, they have a pack of baying hounds, dogmatic 'fans' of sceptics ready to tear apart anyone that has the audacity to question the authority of their leaders.

I know this from personal experience!

Of course most of these sceptics are not scientists, they have no background in the knowledge area they are sceptical about, yet they rip people apart if their comments and views do not exactly match their materialistic viewpoint of the world. These sceptics know absolute truth, apparently.

They also show a distinct lack of knowledge concerning scientific history, scientific theories have been wrong or partially wrong, built upon, updated as knowledge sytems improve and ultimately tweaked and changed. Dogmatists knew absolutely the world was flat and proved this scientifically and there are many more examples throughout history of scientifc mistakes as well as frauds.

We then have the Sophists, commonly termed 'pseudosceptics' by the current sceptic movement that believe there is no truth, or at the very least it is beyond our reach. They do have a fair point, there are many things science can not and likely will never be able to explain, using their tools and measurements.

Certainly Descarte's 'Here is a hand' argument has been used against Sophists, all to no avail, you can not make a sophist believe that there is truth to be found as you cannot categorically prove that.

The best argument I can posit against there being no truth is that the statement 'there is no truth' is in itself by default false. To believe there is no truth is to falsify your own belief.

Then we come to scepticism, the middle road between Dogmatism and Sophism. Sceptics believe you can achieve truth to a certain point where you absolutely believe it to be true, but at the same time accept that your belief could be overturned by the next advance of knowledge that becomes available.

Montaigne's 'What do I know?' and Kant's 'What can I know, how and in what circumstances?' shows the idea of truth is at least attainable. For if it weren't how could we reason?

I feel scepticism is very important to all of us, to seek truth with all ones soul, as Plato said, but at the same time accept we can never know absolutely, no truth is absolute and never will be.

We can get close, close enough to believe it with all our hearts, close enough to prove by examples, to show what must be true, however at the same time we must leave that kernel of doubt, maybe just maybe we could be wrong, yet follow the evidence wherever it leads and no matter how painful it is.

Regards,

Den.

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Skepticism is the agent of reason against organized irrationalism - and is therefore one of the keys to human social and civic decency.
Stephen J Gould

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