Chronicling the follies of religion and superstition, the virtues of skepticism, and the wonders of the real (natural) universe as revealed by science. Plus other interesting and educational stuff.
"Tell people there’s an invisible man in the sky who created the universe, and the vast majority believe you. Tell them the paint is wet, and they have to touch it to be sure."
“If people are good only because they fear punishment, and hope for reward, then we are a sorry lot indeed”.
“Skeptical scrutiny is the means, in both science and religion, by which deep thoughts can be winnowed from deep nonsense.”
1) Let’s get one thing straight, you messaged me, I didn’t message you. So don’t sit there acting like I should be honoured that you’ll “listen” to me.
2) I am not sure why it is necessary for you to be rude when I took the time to respond to your vague anonymous message and was trying to paint a better picture of where the world came from, and follow that up with how evolution has shaped us to what we are today. Evolution is a very extensive subject, and the fact that you are sending me a message asking me to “explain evolution” in a one line message shows how little understanding you have of it. This is the reason I took the time to explain all the other points that you need to understand before getting into evolution.
3) The fact that you made this same very common assertion that many creationists make further proves my point. You insinuated that I said “our ancestors were monkeys”, which only indicates your lack of understanding of evolution. As I said very clearly, humans did not descend from modern apes, but humans and apes share a common ancestor that ultimately gave rise to both modern apes and modern humans, which explains the existence of modern apes.
Our civilization is built on the innovation of scientists and technologists and engineers who have shaped everything that we so take for granted today. So some of the science deniers or science haters, these are people who are telling that to you while they are on their mobile phone.
They are saying, ‘I don’t like science. Oh, GPS just told us to go left.’ So it’s time for people to sit back and reassess what role science as actually played in our lives. And learn how to embrace that going forward, because with out it, we will just regress back into the caves.
Neil Degrasse Tyson
You will often hear “I’m a skeptic” or “I’m skeptical” from people who are not sure about or who doubt some concept. That is a common, casual use of the term. Simply calling oneself a “skeptic” is not the same as practicing it. It’s easy to “doubt” things; everyone is “skeptical” about something. Good Skepticism involves understanding why one might or might not doubt the claim.
A Skeptic subscribes to a number of tenets.
Respect for the evidence. The application of reason to evidence is the best method we have to obtain reliable knowledge.
Respect for methods, conclusions and the consensus of science. Science is a particular way of obtaining information that is designed to reduce the chances of coming to an incorrect conclusion. Using a scientific process will minimize errors (but not eliminate them entirely). So, Skeptics are often vigorous advocates of science – in medicine, in schools, and for informing policy decisions. Fake, junk and pseudo-science is called out as a ruse. Logic and math are also components of science that can be valuable in assessing claims.
Preference for natural, not supernatural, explanation. Natural laws give us rational boundaries in our quest to determine explanations. Miracles are an example of using a supernatural agent (a god, saint or angel who operates outside of natural laws) as part of the explanation. A Skeptic will look for a natural explanation that does not call for a supernatural, unproven (and possibly unprovable) entity to be included.
Promotion of reason and critical thinking. Many Skeptics are good at identifying mistakes in arguments and reasoning.
Awareness of how we are fooled. People routinely fool themselves and are fooled by others. This is most commonly seen in our over-reliance on our senses and memory – for example, “I know what I saw,” or “I remember it like it was yesterday.” Skeptics are wary of eyewitness testimony because observation is fallible and memory is malleable. Stories of events, even from trustworthy people, make for very poor evidence on their own. Even collectively, anecdotes don’t tell us much about the validity of the claim. Skeptics also understand that people tend to look for, remember and favor the evidence that supports their preferred conclusion.