Tuesday, May 15, 2007

The Skeptics' Guide to the Universe

I live in a world neither of great believers or of great skeptics. I grew up in a world of believers though, especially in alternative medicine, and when I made it to university I began to lean towards skepticism, even if I let my mom drag me to cold readings on Tuesday evenings. However, leaning towards skepticism is sometimes not enough. Much of alternative medicine has taken on a patina of credibility and consequently the larger public, though no great believers, forget to be skeptic. The same goes for the wide arrange of self-help books and workshops that are delivered. Hence, I think many good people need a skeptic wake up call and the academics, tooled with healthy doubt and skilled in method, should be less lax in bringing this to average person at large.
What is more, skepticism has become a political need. Claims of creationism 'to be heard' in the secondary schools seem a prima facie evidently justified, so that one loses sight on the threats this implies for the quality of education. The next step is that 'to be heard' can be claimed by alternative ideas of history that are just as poorly founded as creationism, like all sorts of conspiracy theories or even Holocaust Denial. Before you know it, Science will be viewed as just one of many perspectives on truth and reality. Democracy as a justification of just any opinion, grading irrefutable religious, esoteric and wildly fantastic ideas in the same class as those that are collective, conventional and connected and those that are arrived at methodically and open to scrutiny at all times.

So, it is very good that some people take up the challenge and send around the skeptical wake up call. One such call is the weekly podcast: The Skeptics' Guide to the Universe. Especially when the podcast features an interview with a professional in one field or another (even of pseudo-sciences), such as this week's issue, #94, are in my opinion especially worthy.

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