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.