After awhile considering and thinking about doing such, I have decided to start a blog. Those who know me know that this by itself is not uncommon, but the subject matter will be quite a unique step for me.
I have been on the outside looking in as far as the skeptic movement has been concerned for quite awhile. My introduction to such a thing came through the weekly podcast The Skeptic’s Guide to the Universe. I went into it looking for cool science stuff (which there is) but was greeted with a line of thinking and discussion that I had not really heard or read elsewhere. Soon I was listening to a large backlog of episodes, and reading supplemental material and challenging myself to think about subjects critically and skeptically.
So, what is the skeptic movement? As one might conclude from the name, the skeptical movement is the collective action and commentary by skeptics. What are skeptics? Skeptics are people who look at issues critically and rationally and attempt to strike down arguments made from faith or false information. The word skeptic has been taken and used for so many things that my initial perception of the word was more in line with contrarianism, that is to say, someone who goes against the prevailing wisdom because is the prevailing wisdom. It has been used incorrectly by a large many of un-skeptical groups ranging from 9/11 “truthers” to global climate change deniers. These groups are un-skeptical by default, because all though they were skeptical of a claim made by someone else, they did not follow through with the evidence to reach a rational conclusion. They started their search to confirm their beliefs. That is not skepticism.
Why does skepticism matter? Initially that was my thought as I was just beginning to look at the skeptic movement. Listening to the SGU, they were tackling issues that just seemed silly and unimportant, like ghosts or ESP and other paranormal phenomenon. My thoughts on that were, who cares? If someone wants to waste their time thinking they’re looking for ghosts, go ahead. The longer I listened, the more I started to see the important issues that were being brought to my attention for the first time on a internet podcast. These issues weren’t things that you’d think would be missing from mainstream debate, but they were.
There is a global movement against vaccinating children for fear of autism that is causing a rise of preventable disease and death amongst children? The government of our country is supporting and paying for research on alternative medicines that have proved time and time again to be nonsense? Various school boards around the country want to change the science taught to our students to weaken evolution and promote their own religion? It goes on from quackery like homeopathy, acupuncture and chiropractic; to more broad ranging issues like climate change which will undoubtedly only be found false once all the scientists have disappeared from the world.
My brief time spent with the skeptics community has convinced me, and shown me, that is is a powerful tool with which to work and put my efforts into. I don’t expect this blog to be high profile, or even viewed by many people at all; in fact, I don’t anticipate it being a shining beacon of knowledge and reason for anyone. It is an exercise in rational and critical thinking for myself which I hope to use to better myself and maybe help steer a few people in the right direction. I don’t know how often I will update, but I will try to make every update insightful and informative.
I also am going to try fusing my love for hardcore and other extreme bodies of music into this somehow. Whether it is analyzing claims made by bands, or just encouraging more critical thought amongst my peers in the community. Hardcore is in love with social and political issues, but topics like those above rarely come up sadly and I think they are just as important as things many other issue oriented bands are singing about.
Until next time,
About this entry
You’re currently reading “Start,” an entry on Reasoned Assault
- April 15, 2010 / 12:11 pm