Saturday, May 17, 2014

The Case for Scientific Skepticism

The reason scientific skepticism developed is that the world is complicated. It’s subtle.
Everybody’s first idea isn’t necessary right. Also, people are capable of self-deception. Scientists make mistakes, theologians make mistakes, everybody makes mistakes. It’s part of being human.
So the way to avoid mistakes, or at least reduce the chance you’ll make one, is to be skeptical. You test the ideas. You check them out by rigorous standards of evidence.  
I don't think there is such a thing as a received truth. But when you let the different opinions debate, when any skeptic can perform his or her own experiment to check some contention out, the truth tends to emerge. That’s the experience of the whole history of science. 
It isn't a perfect approach, but it’s the only one that seems to work.

Except from Carl Sagan's Contact