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[See also the Skeptical Checklist v1.1
I’ve had a couple of conversations over the last few days which have reminded how hard it is to be a skeptic. Perhaps this is misleading, it is not necessarily hard to be a skeptic, but rather it’s hard to become a skeptic.
Scientists, by training, are skeptics. In my mind they have a few clear advantages:
1. They clearly understand, both intuitively and explicitly, what evidence is;
2. They have a process for determining the quality of evidence / information;
3. They have practise in generating alternate explanations;
4. They understand parsimony;
5. Scientists are comfortable with not knowing, and accept that not knowing is normal and healthy;
6. They’re opinions / beliefs are frequently subjected to scrutiny; and
7. They are often surrounded by people who also share these characteristics.
Though it would be narcissistic of me to call myself a ‘scientist’, I do believe that I conform to these characteristics even though I am still earning my education. Additionally, I try to actively engage . . . More