Sceptical about Scepticism


The book I’m reading , A Guide for the Perplexed by E.F. Schumacher,  contains the following quote:

The modern world tends to be sceptical about everything that demands man’s higher faculties. But it is not at all sceptical about scepticism, which demands hardly anything.

The profoundness of this statement struck a cord with me. On my simple level it appears indeed to be easy to be sceptical. We reject anything anybody tells us with  conviction. “What crap,” we say without really knowing what our objection  is. We don’t know! We just feel it is so. But Schumacher could be right, we object in principle without knowing. It is much easier.

It is so hard to check the veracity of any statement, especially by a scientist. So we are sceptical. We have learnt in the past, that we have been fed misinformation.  Reasons enough to be sceptical?

Take climate change for instance. People on both sites of the fence speak with equal conviction. What are we to make of that? We give up and become sceptical. How can we ever check out the truth of it? I personally believe (here it is, I do not know, but I believe), the people that forecast a hot future for humankind. I don’t need to be sceptical because after weighing up everything I know, I tend to believe they are right. But do I really know? But surely the sceptics know nothing at all. They do not know what to believe.

Perhaps we should confront the sceptics and force them to make up their minds – one way or another.

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2 thoughts on “Sceptical about Scepticism

  1. What if people want nuclear power stations? Do they believe or do they know that nuclear waste is easy to get rid of? Do they truely believe that nuclear waste is nothing to worry about?

    I am not just a sceptic about nuclear power, I claim that I know that nuclear power is highly dangerous and adequate control cannot be guaranteed.

    These people who do not share my views are they sceptics or do they know more than I do?

    It is true some things cannot be adequately understood by non-scientists. Even by scientists not everything can be understood.
    But people should not deny knowledge about the things they can understand.

    If someone is determined to deny climate change, he should at least make an effort to gather information from different sources. It is all right to be sceptical about it as long as you consider all the different information that is available. If the information is too scientific you have to rely on opinions by various scientists and then make up your own mind.

  2. People who want nuclear power station are ignoring the fact that nuclear waste can not being stored safely. They are not even arguing about the costs. They are using the environmental argument to make money. Those people who want to build nuclear power stations don’t consider the costs of decommissioning the station at the end of their usefulness.

    So, those people are dishonest and are just out to make a buck. You can be sceptical about them as you are not sure of their motives. You might be interested to hear that the German industrial giant Siemens will stop building nuclear power plants.

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