Skeptics can’t afford to be skeptical about skepticism, #456
From the “Bad Astronomy” blog at Discover Magazine, we learn about the “Skeptic’s Dictionary for kids” (August 12, 2011), setting forth the teachings of secular humanism (defined forthe purpose as “scientific skepticism”). Most interesting is the definition of scientific skepticism, which we are all enjoined to read:
In a nutshell: Scientific skepticism holds that science is the best way to find out things about the world and ourselves. Scientific skeptics don’t trust claims made by people who don’t think that science is the best way to learn about the world.
No, we thought not. The Skeptics for Kids sound so much like another group UD News is familiar with, the local chapter of the Blatchstonians, named in honour of their foundress, Emma Blatchstone, psychic, space alien channeller, and hat shop clerk (1919-2007),
In a nutshell: Blatchstonianism holds that Blatchstonian channelling is the best way to find out things about the world and ourselves. Channellists don’t trust claims made by people who don’t think that alien channelling is the best way to learn about the world.
What feels similar between the two groups is that neither will ever encounter a question that gives them much difficulty – because they can always resort to mistrusting the source of the information.
Prof interjects: A truly formidable intellectual tool doesn’t do everything and doesn’t easily explain everything. It just does some things really well. Just as you would not buy a utensil whose makers claim it can do anything, you should not buy an idea whose developers claim it is the single best way to understand everything, with all others set aside. Of course, people are free to teach their own children any non-criminal, non-health-endangering idea that they wish, including secular humanism and Blatchstonian channelling, but ….