(Last Update: 2:05 pm, 2011/01/03 — clarifications made)
Earlier in my life, when I began identifying myself as a skeptic, I had seen what a rough time it can be for people, even to the point of making them throw up their hands in despair and giving up, disappointed both with the contentiousness of the skeptical community and the seeming futility of attempts to ‘stop the madness’ in an increasingly irrational world.
I decided early on, that there was only one way to avoid this: To develop a robust, informed skepticism, to look upon other, more experienced skeptics and scientists as teachers, not infallible authorities, and indeed, this is what most of the better known skeptics encourage — to question within reason what they say, to find out the truth myself, and not to just take them at their word.
I had to develop, to the best of my ability, even if I didn’t like what I found out at first, a skepticism based upon knowledge and not naivete, to understand what it’s about and what it really is.
To find out what it really means, and to learn to do it well…
Well, here I am, 4 years into my skepticism, and though I cannot definitively predict the state of attitude and mind I’ll be in into the future, since that would be pretending to knowledge I don’t have, I remain to this very day a modern rational empiricist of full conviction, and I see at present no reason to think that I’ll ever be burned out, to up and call it quits as what I am.
Skepticism, reality, and science activism are what I am, what I’ve become, and truth to tell, I’m getting too old to go back to credulous belief in religion and the paranormal. I’ve learned too much, found out too many things about them to make going back to believing their claims a serious proposition, to ever again take them seriously.
I have really no reason to believe in gods, in ghosts, in telepathy, in psychokinesis, in ancient astronauts or loch monsters, in aliens pressing complex designs in wheat-fields, or any of a number of other odd notions without any proven factual basis.
Unless of course, I one day lose my freakin’ mind…
I’ve argued and questioned things ever since I was a kid, even during my ‘believer’ stage when I accepted both creationism and the paranormal, and maybe I’ve always had it in me to be a skeptic, though you’d never have noticed it then.
I know that I didn’t, but look where I am now…Hah! *Gotcha!*
Some of my online friends, like the awesome =^skeptic cat^=, have experienced the aforementioned contentiousness of other skeptics, or the fans of skeptics on some of the more popular blogs, first hand. Some of us are a bit more cruel to each other than we are to the fringe-claimants, and this is shameful.
We skeptics should know better than to deride our own, we who value truth and reason.
Still, to me, skeptical activism is too important, to be a tiny quantum in a worldwide Wave of Reason, to do what little I can, with those of like mind acting together, to try to turn the tide of darkness back a little further, to brighten the candle of science against the encroaching night just a bit.
There are no rewards for independent rationalist bloggers…
As insurmountable as this seems, I believe it can be done, and this is what keeps me going on this blog, to do my tiny and seemingly insignificant part to work at chaining the demons of ignorance and irrationality, of confusion and fear, or at least try to minimize the harm they do in conjunction with other rationalists.
What can I say? I can do no more nor less. Fnord.
- Things I’m NOT Overly Skeptical About: Part II (kestalusrealm.wordpress.com)
- Tweet your skeptical journey (blogs.discovermagazine.com)
- How to Be a Skeptic Without Being an Atheist (atheistrev.com)
- What is a Skeptic? What is Skepticism to Me? (kestalusrealm.wordpress.com)
- I’m Baaack. (kestalusrealm.wordpress.com)