Analyst vs. Critic: What is a Skeptic?


I thought this was an interesting video to examine skeptical concepts. Here are a few good quotes from the movie:

“Proper skepticism begins with a mind open to the possibility that the claim could be true, we just need to see that the compelling evidence that the claim is true before we believe it.”

-Michael Shermer

When claims have been tested, and the results are inconclusive, we withhold judgement, and continue to formulate hypotheses and theories until we gather the evidence needed to reach a provisional conclusion.”

– Michael Shermer

I’m not going to take these on today, but as the months go on I’ll be examining the work of notable skeptics and we’ll refer back to these quotes to see if the reality matches the claims.

But being somewhat of a skeptic of skeptics, I have to question the skeptical method. If the method requires compelling evidence, but we are study phenomenon that are potentially so unique they are difficult to record under controlled conditions, how do we prove the paranormal through the skeptics own method? Read Why Skeptics Fail in the Study of the Paranormal for more on that topic.

As a community we need to point out bias where-ever it exists. The skeptical community exists in modern form to disprove claims of the paranormal. They label themselves as critical thinkers and followers of logic but their actions repeatedly show an interest in putting scientific answers to suspected claims of the paranormal, even when the shoe doesn’t fit.

As a former intelligence analyst, bias meant lives could be lost. Objective thinking was critical to the mission. We always questioned ourselves and each other to ensure the highest quality of information. Coming from that background and looking at the skeptical community, the self-labeled voice of reason in the paranormal debate, I am saddened at what I see. It is time for objective investigation to replace old methods. Objective investigators should be leading the debate in the study of the paranormal! Read What is an Objective Investigator?