12
Jul

The Virtue of Skepticism



this this video would kind of make me appear to be lying I believe I said in my first video that I wasn't going to update that often but you know disorganized personnel probably some days where I upload several videos and other times it might not be a week at least before I upload a video it'll just be whenever I have a good idea for a video that's what I'll do it um this video today is entitled the virtue of skepticism and I'm going to be explaining what i mean by skepticism now this is not philosophical skepticism Wow are you putting a link over in that area to Wikipedia article on skepticism while i'm talking about is scientific skepticism now i see scientific skepticism as a virtue others say that those who are skeptics are just closed-minded now in this video I'm going to lay out arguments as to why I think that's a load of crap skepticism is the best of both worlds it is a hybridization of open-mindedness and incredulity skepticism is the state of assuming the null hypothesis until one gets better evidence until one gets any evidence at all absent any evidence the null hypothesis is always assumed and then without any evidence of any form the null hypothesis remains in effect the assumed position after all there are many many positions which can be claimed such as magical flying unicorns above my head they're invisible and you can't see them and you certainly can't disprove them but that doesn't mean they're there it's sort of uh that's that's sort of how skepticism works it's the idea of not refusing to accept the possibility of a situation but simply refusing to accept automatically that what somebody tells you is true now somebody who is scientifically skeptical is skeptical about things for which there is little empirical evidence which means a little scientifically what will be accepted as scientific evidence armed psychic phenomenon paranormal phenomenon supernatural phenomenon all those things are into question until some sort of valid experimentally verifiable evidence is produced to support them now that is skepticism in a nutshell skepticism in a nutshell firming the null hypothesis and staying with it until you get good evidence and as a side note also carl sagan's i believe it was carl sagan correct me if i'm wrong um Carl Sagan was quoted as saying extraordinary claims require extraordinary evidence so the amount of scientific evidence the amount of empirically acceptable evidence which sign us scientific skeptics prefer to have over any other type of evidence the amount of that type of evidence that is required for the acceptance of a claim depends on how extraordinary the claim is how out there the claim is compared to normalcy claims of ghosts and psychic phenomenon far greater than claims that oh we were slightly off about the rest mass of an electron of course you have to provide evidence for either one but the evidence for the rest mass of an electron would be substantially less rigorous or at least it would be substantially less extraordinary proof you couldn't get away with no evidence at all and it would still have to be peer-reviewed but in general extraordinary claims require extraordinary evidence so that's what skepticism is now why is skepticism of virtue well I said before that skepticism is the middle ground between pure open-mindedness and absolute denial of anything or solipsism of some philosophy like solipsist more nihilism now people claim that it's not open-minded but it is open-minded a great quote by somebody I actually don't know who this quote is from be open-minded but not so open-minded that your brain falls out and that's sort of what scientific skepticism preaches it's sort of its basic idea um it is open-minded you show scientifically acceptable proof of telekinesis or of that that homeopathic medicine actually works and is not a load of crap I mean you you show evidence for these claims and I'll accept them immediately it's just that I have not been met with any good evidence I've been met with a lot of flawed logical reasoning and a lot of emotional Appeals when I've heard about people defending it there was the water memory controversy and that pretty much was blown out of the water with a little thing in nature magazine and apparently there's a another study going on right now trying to test the memory of water but anyway I'm going off on a tangent the point is that there's no experimental evidence to even suggest that homeopathic medicine works and I'm the kind of guy not going to accept it you show me good evidence that anybody can accept good objective impersonal evidence that something is true and i will accept it immediately i'm incredibly open to changing my worldview I've done it many times I'm ashamed to say there was a time in my life where I was very religious I I believed in the talking snake Noah's Ark I actually think Noah's Ark happened I'm really really ashamed of that that I believed a number of other absurdities I don't anymore I accept evolutionary theory I have a non theistic worldview um and I really just start reading about science those ideas are comforting but I see truth I've destroyed my world view before and there's nothing wrong with your worldview changing um just make sure that it changes for the better and when the guides of skepticism which allows you to be open-minded to changing your world view but it has guiding procedures such as the the closing off or refusal to accept of any arguments lacking evidence it's a good way to change your mind about something without worrying about whether or not you're just going to accept some other stupid idea it's a very good way to guide yourself toward changing your world view so yay

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4 Comments

  • What I meant by virtue is that skepticism is a personal trait to be admired. Also, just because it is not listed as a virtue by wikipedia does not mean that I can't consider it a virtuous thing. Wikipedia is far from having a monopoly on morality.

  • null hypothesis. It is not indecisive. If there is no evidence for a proposition, then it is assumed to be incorrect until acceptable evidence is provided. When I said skepticism is open-minded, I meant that a skeptic is ready to change his mind about something the instant he is provided sufficient evidence. Skepticism is a virtue because credulity is a character flaw.

    P.S. I am not attacking you personally, I'm simply having a friendly argument, so please don't think that I'm angry.

  • In science and philosophy, it is considered better to say "we don't know the answer yet," than it is to BS an answer. Admitting that you don't know something is not a character flaw, in my opinion. That "skepticism" and "scruple" have a negative connotation in our society is no more to the point than saying that atheism is a character flaw because atheists are distrusted in our society. And besides, I fail to see how skepticism is necessarily scrupulous, as it automatically assumes the…

  • Thanks, I figure that in these first few videos I'd better explain who I am and what my world-view is, so people will understand my philosophy and science rantings. I tend to do things rather stream-of-consciousness, so I'm a little hard to follow if you don't know me.

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