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Certainly, the vast majority of critical thinking types are not terribly likely to show the following traits universally, but the more that happen to apply to you, the better the chance that you might be skeptical if…

…you regularly surf forums on the Web looking for arguments to pedantically dissect for flawed reasoning.

…you like to debate fringe-believers because they’re entertaining and amusing.

…you’ve read Carl Sagan’s “The Demon Haunted World” 97 times from cover to cover, and it’s still on your personal ‘must read again’ list.

…you even know who Carl Sagan was.

…you consider Martin Gardner’s “Fads & Fallacies” to be one of the top ten all-time literary classics.

…you remember who Martin Gardner was.

…the words “logical fallacy” don’t instantly make you think about Vulcan adult entertainment.

…you can name all the components and their relations of both deductive and inductive logical arguments.

…you regularly scrutinize the credibility of any information source you read, hear, or watch.

…you have more than twice in your life said, “Extraordinary claims require extraordinary evidence,” and actually remember who is credited for it.

…you hear the words “neurologist,” “magician,” & “psychologist,” and the names and faces of Steven Novella, James Randi, & Ray Hyman come to mind.

…you hear of a paranormal claim, and try to think of all the likely ways it can be explained without resorting to woo.

…once you come up with likely ways to explain something, you start thinking of ways to test each explanation by falsifying them one by one.

…you regularly introspect and test your own beliefs against that most harsh of taskmistresses, Reality herself.

…one of your hobbies, if not a professional psychologist, is learning all the ways that sane, honest, intelligent people can fool themselves, including you.

…you make a habit of obsessively analyzing your most frequently used arguments for specious logic for the next time you use them.

…every time you hear someone argue, the sequence, “Logical fallacy number one, logical fallacy number two,…etc.” goes through your mind.

…you hear the acronym “UFO” and actually remember what the “U” stands for…

…you can think of several very good reasons to conclude that Atlantis is just a made-up place in a piece of allegorical fiction written by Plato.

…when hearing accounts of Near Death Experiences, you are well aware of the medical distinctions between ‘near death’ and actual death.

…when hearing someone talk about faith healing claims, you immediately respond, “But why doesn’t god heal amputees?”

…you know the difference between skepticism and cynicism.

…you take being called ‘a closed-minded debunker,’ or ‘pseudoskeptic’ in stride as an everyday non-event.

…you know that possibility alone is not evidence than something is or ever will be true.

…you know that, “a mountain of anecdotal evidence” is the same thing as “a mountain of crappy, worthless evidence.”

…you can smell the use of loaded language on the Web like stink on a lemur’s tail.

…you know that Carl Sagan never actually said, “Billions & billions..,” but also know who got that ball rolling.

One Comment

  1. …on “Why doesn’t God heal amputees?”,…”…andonce a part has been cut off, it is no longer of God, but by its error has been claimed by the devil, and must be allowed to be lost, unless it corrupt the pure soul.”. RRiigghhtt… anybody who has had medical reattachment is doomed to hell because of their “tainted” limb? Or are they supposed to chop it off again just before death? I don’t know the reference for the above, I heard it late one night, maybe on Coast to Coast, didn’t beleive it then, still sounds silly……


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