Skip navigation

Daily Archives: October 19th, 2010

It often pays to be skeptical, to doubt, but there are some things that it pays to normally accept until reasons for doubt present themselves…

We skeptics are occasionally accused by those impatient with us as being true believers in the lies of Big Science, Big Government, Big Pharma, and a veritable host of other wealthy, powerful institutions that present easy targets for criticism by our opposition, or that we are deniers of or naive about the Truth that the antiskeptical hold with such certitude.

Well, I’m perfectly aware of the fact that nobody can be totally skeptical of everything, for if we were, making no assumptions and accepting nothing as true, we’d be unable to interact with the world around us.

I’m also perfectly cognizant of the fact that I cannot be totally rational, but reason is not some ideal I hope to achieve, a goal to reach, an objective — it is a tool, a means of acquiring knowledge and making decisions together with my memory, perceptions, introspection, and when they serve me well, my intuitive faculties — reason is a means to an end, not something I ultimately aspire to.

I let reason and awareness be my guide when I determine if something or someone I trust requires me to exercise my doubt, not mere suspicion, and I’m very conscious — there’s that introspection thingie going on, when it’s reliable — about allowing ideology, my personal belief-system and values to contaminate my assessment.

So, here are a few things, some in all seriousness and some in jest, that this skeptic does not question unless a need to do so presents itself to my scrutiny.

  • my cats, especially Mistykins and our Katrina-refugee mamas-boy, Gumbyman…
  • skepticism, especially when my introspective ability is more acute during moments of mulling over something, like scrutinizing my own ability as a critical thinker…
  • experts in a field with real, relevant, and verifiable qualifications, unless evidence of questionable competence or motivations is apparent…
  • the need for evidence over faith and anecdotes in assessing claims, and the evidence had better damn well be sufficient to the requirements of the claim…
  • factual claims with a consistently successful previous record of verification…
  • the existence of the probable consequences of human activity on global climate change, though with the concession that there is still much room for debate on the matters of the exact effects and what should be done about them…
  • the general human need to have an immediate answer, even if it’s wrong…
  • the existence of delusions, especially paranoid ones, as a real psychological phenomenon in a universe where things can be whole or mixed truths and falsehoods…
  • those limits on what is possible stemming from the laws of the universe, the laws of logic, and the limits of human beings with regard to those laws…
  • quantum mechanics, as physicists understand it, not as mystics or paranormalists claim to…
  • the fact that I too can be fooled, and must stay alert to possible scams and other assorted attempts at deceptions…
  • conventional explanations for allegedly supernatural occurrences, provided that they are both plausible, probable, or better yet, confirmed beyond reasonable doubt…
  • that protecting the biosphere of our only current homeworld is more important than short-term, short-sighted, and inefficient, economic growth…
  • both the fact of evolution and the theory that describes it – not only as Darwin saw it – but as it exists in its modern form today far beyond what he imagined…
  • the fact that the Earth is round, even if not a perfect sphere, and that the Earth revolves around the Sun, not vice-versa, and that we are not at center of the universe…
  • the existence of atoms as the basic constituents of chemical elements, as opposed to all matter in the universe being composed of jesutrons and only four elements…
  • the existence of gravity, even Newton’s theory, even though it was essentially conceptually wrong, but still produced useful working predictions that we make use of today in launching spacecraft…
  • that AIDS is caused by infection by the HIV virus, and not any god’s wrath for a sinful lifestyle or diet, or caused by sitting on dirty toilet seats…
  • that vaccines to not have any causal connection with autism disorders…
  • that astronauts have landed, walked on the moon, left things there and brought back samples…
  • that the ‘face on mars’ is really just a rock formation that looks nothing at all like a face in photos with superior resolution…
  • that conspiracies happen, though the successful ones you never even know exist…until they’re no longer successful, then everybody knows about them…
  • that the alleged evidence for the paranormal even over time just gets bigger, not any better over the years despite claims of proponents…
  • that mainstream astronomers neither ignore nor deny an electromagnetic cause for anything in the universe when observations show this to be most likely the case…
  • that the universe began some 13.7 billion years ago in an explosion of spacetime called the Big Bang, until a better model of the universe’s origin is confirmed and established by future observations…
  • that the establishment is not bad or sinister just because it’s the establishment…
  • that facts we can know about reality are not absolutely yes or no, not really completely true or false, but come in degrees of truth and falsehood…
  • that reason is far superior to irrationality in complex decision making with important consequences…

I’ll finish this in two more parts, part II this Thursday evening, to note a few other things I’m less critical about, and explore different intellectual approaches to doubt, those of denial, credulity, and sound critical thinking in part III. Take care, and I’ll see you then. Fnord.

More astronomy goodness from AndromedasWake, on the question of life elsewhere in the universe. Hopefully, this will inspire future scientists, and in any event, enlarge one’s view of the cosmos with really awesome footage. My view? We might be alone, but I sure as hell hope not.

AndromedasWake | January 08, 2010

When you look at innumerable galaxies in space, does it leave you feeling more or less lonely?
Hubblesite press release:
Full resolution JPEG (6455×2848, 4.11MB):
The music, titled ‘Endless’ is available from

Image credit;
NASA, ESA, R. Windhorst (Arizona State University), P. McCarthy (Carnegie Institution of Washington), R. OConnell (University of Virginia), the WFC3 Science Oversight Committee, S. Cohen, M. Mechtley, and M. Rutkowski (Arizona State University, Tempe), N. Hathi (University of California, Riverside), R. Ryan (University of California, Davis), H. Yan (Ohio State University), and A. Koekemoer (Space Telescope Science Institute).

Massive props to CosmicSpork for rendering me a HD LoR logo on request. A galaxy of your choice for you sir.

Join us at League of Reason:


The adventures of a natural science curator

Why? Because Science.

Combating Stupidity Since 2012

Violent metaphors

Thoughts from the intersection of science, pseudoscience, and conflict.

New News Narrative

A more in Depth Explanation of what's on the News

Teagan's Books

Now available: "Atonement, Tennessee"

piso project

Everything "Piso Project" Related


A voice from outside the herd.

Glenn Hates Books

Brutally Honest Book Reviews

Welcome to my world

It is all about words that remained unspoken, feelings that remained unexpressed and the secrets that remained unrevealed.

A Narcissist Writes Letters, To Himself

A Hopefully Formerly Depressed Human Vows To Practice Self-Approval

Enrique Zeleny's Blog

Complexity, Science, Physics, Mathematica, Computer Science, Recreational Math, Education.

Ajoobacats Blog

Saving the world one book at a time

Explore ideas worth spreading, every weekday

Anjali Menon

filmmaker | writer | audience


life in the not-so-fast lane

Singapore Maths Tuition

Patient and Dedicated Maths Tutor, NUS Maths (1st Class Honours), Dean's List, Rafflesian

The Science Geek

Astronomy, space and space travel for the non scientist

j.r. thomason


Tara B. Dobbs

Where my writings come to play.


confessions are self-serving

Double U

The Poetic Journey of John White, writer

Romance Novels for the Beach

Find out which sexy books to bring with you, or leave behind, on your next beach vacation.


Take a walk inside my mind.


Mostly poems & things to get me thinking about writing a book.

glimmer of happiness :)

Just anything under the sun that makes me happy. :)


4 out of 5 dentists recommend this site

Elan Mudrow

The Ridges of Intertextuallity

chester maynes

Poetry and Poems

Liberated Way

Action in harmony with nature

GYA today

Give Yourself Away


Just another site

Crystal eyes

books in createspace, kindle

Tell me a story

book in createspace and kindle

Spirits of darkness and light

books in createspace, kindle

Books by Sharmishtha Basu

My (e) Books in Amazon Kindle n Createspace

"Black Mist and other stories"

I dreamt for stars, gathered stardust in my soul, sprinkling some to earth now, waiting for them to grow up in dream wood.

HotDog on ACID

Comics and Doodles

Rare Horror

We provide reviews and recommendations for all things horror. We are particularly fond of 80s, foreign, independent, cult and B horror movies. Please use the menu on the top left of the screen to view our archives or to learn more about us.

Michelle M. Welch

author of speculative fiction


In the world of Literature, Anything Is possible. Poetry/ literature is the express expression of the heart and soul.

Write With Warnimont

Write for fun. Write to inspire. Write to change the world.

Echo LaVeaux

...mystical musings from a magical mind...


Living a flip flop life!


Get every new post delivered to your Inbox.

Join 3,523 other followers

%d bloggers like this: