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At NPR: Why mere skepticism misses the mark

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From psychology prof Tania Lombrozo at NPR:

Skepticism is supposed to reflect a willingness to question and doubt — a key characteristic of scientific thinking. Skepticism encourages us to look at the evidence critically; it allows for the possibility that we are wrong. It seems like a win, then, to learn that courses in skepticism can decrease belief in the paranormal or — as reported in an article forthcoming in Science & Education — that teaching students to think critically about history can decrease belief in pseudoscience and other unwarranted claims.

But taken too far, skepticism misses its mark. It’s important to avoid the error of believing something we ought not to believe, but it’s also important to avoid the error of failing to believe that which we should. If the aim is to detect signal — and not merely to reject noise — then an educational win would require greater differentiation between warranted and unwarranted claims, not merely rejection of the unwarranted. This point is sometimes lost in praising skepticism and skeptical thinking, with its emphasis on what we reject rather than what we uphold. More.

None of what Lombrozo wants can happen because the current educational system is in no way capable of – or even especially interested in – finding facts. Facts are rapidly becoming the enemy.

See also: The war on intellectual freedom How political correctness morphed into a monster.

The war on freedom is rotting our intellectual life In a world governed by naturalism, power is its own justification. That is the single hardest thing for opponents of rampant political correctness to grasp.

and

When professors stifle freedom of thought: These protest movements are not 1960s retro; they are a flat-out war on reality, conducted by seasoned veterans with a lot at stake.

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3 Replies to “At NPR: Why mere skepticism misses the mark

  1. 1
    asauber says:

    ought

    You done messed up, Tan-ee-a.

    Andrew

  2. 2
    kairosfocus says:

    News, What we need is critically aware, fair minded thought. Too often, what skepticism boils down to is not honest, humble awareness of limitations and prone-ness to error, but instead the game of ideologically driven, deeply polarised selective hyperskepticism driven by evolutionary materialistic scientism, which actually turns established error into the yardstick used to judge what is acceptable. Meanwhile, genuine truth is already aligned to reality and will never align with a crooked, inaccurate yardstick. So, too often, we enable marches of folly that only end when we go over the cliff. KF

    PS: In that context, AS is dead right to highlight the IS-OUGHT gap, and by implication the challenge that we are under moral government, requiring that we have a world-root that is adequate to ground oughtness, through being an IS that inherently, inextricably is fused with OUGHT. We need not elaborate on the only serious candidate.

  3. 3
    LocalMinimum says:

    If you aren’t able to turn your skepticism back on your own beliefs, you aren’t practicing skepticism. Materialism and “scientific skepticism” is some flavor of Epicureanism, whose practitioners were antagonistic with actual skeptics.

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