Skepticism is KING
Sometimes, to be a true-believer in something (anything for that matter) is a good thing… And, sometimes to be a NON-believer is a good thing. But being a Skeptic is ALWAYS a good thing. Here’s why…
On either side of any issue there is room for doubt — arguably at times only a little room, but room nonetheless. For example, take climate change (formerly known as global warming, before that global cooling, etc.) I shouldn’t have to go further on here, but I will. You see, depending upon which set of offered facts that you choose to believe, it’s easy to say that either climate change is a real thing and that our world is in desperate shape… OR that climate change is made up by pessimistic progressives just trying to control our lives and that the proposed evidence is either not accurate or at the very least is completely blown out of proportion.
Simply put, there are facts that can support both sides of this argument (and like I mentioned before, any argument). So, who do you believe? Which side do you take? Is anything ever true or provable? This, is where skepticism comes in.
The definition of a skeptic is: a person inclined to question or doubt accepted opinions. Period. Nothing more, nothing less. In other words, a person willing to question the Status quo when it doesn’t quite sit well with them. So, what’s wrong with that? Nothing, unless of course you’re hell-bent on forcing everyone around you to accept your opinion as fact at all costs. Then, in such instances, a skeptic is your worse enemy. Why? Because your opponent — the one who actually takes the opposite stance as you — is easy to vilify: they are wrong and misinformed; they are uneducated or undereducated or just flat-out stupid; but a skeptic is not taking an antithetical stand, but rather simply questioning your argument, or even worse, part of your argument. When that happens, if you’re proven wrong, even if only partially, this can unravel your entire viewpoint and the cause for which you’ve worked so hard for. That’s why.
In other words, your enemy is your enemy, but a skeptic could be a friend or a foe, and potentially, your downfall. They can and should scare anyone, regardless of who you are, whichever cause you believe in and whichever side you find yourself on in any debate. Skeptics are not bad, but they are dangerous.
Now, does this mean that skeptics are the enemy of all and that whenever you see a skeptic coming you should either hunker down and prepare to fight or turn tail and run? Of course not. If a skeptic is a true skeptic, and you have all the facts needed to back up your claim, then you should welcome them with open arms, because all they are truly looking for are answers to their questions and doubts. If they are really a skeptic, and you have the evidence they seek, then not only can you put their concerns to rest but you might even possibly be able to win them over to your side.
That said, before moving forward I need to take a second to point out the 600 lbs gorilla in the room. In the previous paragraph I mentioned not only “true skeptic” but also being a “real skeptic”. Why? Because not everyone you encounter who either carries themselves as or claims to be, is a skeptic, but rather just an opponent, in sheep’s clothing. This distinction is not always easily discernible, but there are ways to tell. For instance, when an alleged skeptic makes a counter point, do they do so calmly or are they overrun with emotion? This is not the only way to expose them, but it’s a pretty good litmus test. Now, back to our regularly scheduled article…
I must warn you, many skeptics are talented at their craft and when their “doubt-radar” goes off, they are usually prepared for battle. The end result could look one of three ways: you win (doubt it, but anything is possible), they win and completely blow your argument up leaving nothing for you to cling to (more probable than the previous option), or you survive the encounter but they poke some holes in your “bulletproof” presentation (this is the most likely outcome of the three options).
Now with that said, losing a debate of this nature is not necessarily a bad thing to happen. You see, if someone is able to destroy your viewpoint that might just show that you were wrong in the first place and this person has just saved you from further embarrassment. And if you were able to regroup and lick your wounds after the battle, that means that you still have a leg to stand on and though your weaknesses have been exposed, you’ve learned where your case seems to be lacking, allowing you the opportunity to improve your defense going forward.
Finally, does this mean once a skeptic, always a skeptic? YES! But it’s not that simple. Yes, they will always be a skeptic (generally speaking), but that’s not to say that skeptics don’t ever chose sides or that they don’t change their minds, because they do. Their opinions usually follow the facts of the case and their “doubt-radar” usually only goes off only when something doesn’t sit right with them. Ultimately, skeptics don’t walk around looking for a fight.
Furthermore, I believe it can be argued that not many debates would ever be settled without skepticism. Sure, the fully proven and strong argument doesn’t need skepticism, and same goes for the opposite, easily disproven and weak arguments, but for the middle of the road, the long drag-out, beat-down debates that to seem to go on forever and ever, those could never be settled without a little skepticism interjected to force one side or the other to prove their cases beyond a reasonable doubt and settle something once and for all. Well, at least as closely as we can get…for now.
In closing, what should be understood about skeptics is that a skeptic is only skeptic of something, when there is something to be skeptical about…
Thanks for reading…