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 Do sceptics always think logically?

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ukskeptic
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PostSubject: Do sceptics always think logically?   Sun Jul 13, 2008 10:10 pm

Well I have to say I don't. For example, sometimes I want to buy things (e.g. gadgets) and I find all sorts of justifications for doing so, but are they based on logic? Well they feel like they are but I think they owe a lot to more to emotion than I like to admit.

One well documented issue
that many sceptics don't believe in is global warming. Personally I choose to believe it because science seems to say that it's real and definitely happening but is that sufficient reason? I heard recently that Penn Gillette, when asked why he didn't believe in GW, said that if Al Gore believed it then it almost certainly wasn't true (or something along those lines). This is just a variation of an ad hominen attack and not worthy of someone supposedly supportive of critical thought. Okay it may have been just a cheeky quip from a showman but I can't imagine Randi saying anything similiar.

How about 'Peak Oil' theory? This may be true and it certainly uses scientific data to back up its case but it isn't that easy to decide whether it's true or whether it's just a variation of one of 'the end of life as we know it' type theories.

How about food? Are pesticides and insecticides harmful? Should we all eat organic? What about GM? Not everything can be resolved by simply applying critical thought. Do trace elements have an effect on our health? One example of science (or perhaps technology) trying to duplicate a real food is breast milk. It has all the right ingredients except time after time we hear breast milk is better.

Of course most things that sceptics disagree with, UFOs, mediums, psychics, etc. have no scientific credibility
but sometimes things are not so clear cut.

So, back to my original question, do sceptics always think logically - or critically?

Best to all,

ukskeptic
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PostSubject: Re: Do sceptics always think logically?   Mon Jul 14, 2008 12:19 am

An excellent question and one which I would like to re-phrase as ' Can sceptics always think logically?'

Is it even possible to apply scepticism or logical thought processes to every little thing?

I have to agree the big things are easy, someone says they have seen a UFO, science does not support the alien spaceship theory so we probably look for the logical conclusion.

However sometimes we believe things posited by the 'experts' without necessarily applying logical thought processes, in the simple belief that they are the expert in their field, we are not.

Yes we could do a little digging, perhaps read new scientist or do a wikipedia search, but the expert has access to cutting edge information in their field of study!

Sometimes we blindly trust, whether by our genes programming us this way or the way society has cultivated us to blindly follow authority, I'm not totally sure, but I know I do not, even can not apply logical thought to all areas of my life.

A big emotional pull s the third world adverts, depicting young children starving to death, logically I know my money is dissipated long before it reaches that childs mouth, but emotionally I am driven to act.

A very thought provoking question UKSkeptic,

regards,

Den.

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Rob
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PostSubject: Re: Do sceptics always think logically?   Thu Jul 17, 2008 2:20 pm

Good question...

Well, I think we'd all like to try and apply are critical analysis skills to everything we do and ingest. However, as were humans we tend to be "hardwired" in a certain way, and sometimes can be swayed by emotions, wants and needs. Or even buy clever marketing tactics (guess that's why they're payed so much).

I've often heard it said by other skeptics - that every skeptic has a "golden calf", basically something that they believe in, and that that most other skeptics don't. I haven't found mine yet... Smile

I guess the answer to your question is not black and white as I'd like. So it's probably "most of the time". But I'm sure I stray form the path the even though I try to look at everything in a an objective manner - I'm only human. Smile
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