Sunday, January 2, 2011

500 journeys to skepticism

Phil Plait at Bad Astronomy asked readers to tweet their own journeys to skepticism - and got 500 replies! But take a look. They're very brief (of course), and I doubt you'll want to read all 500 of them - I certainly didn't - but I thought they made fascinating browsing.

I was surprised at how many skeptics believed in woo before finding the tools to separate reality from fantasy. But I guess I'm the same way. I remember reading The Search for Bridey Murphy when I was a kid. Could they really publish a book like that if it wasn't true?

Yes, unfortunately, they can. In fact, there's a real economic incentive to push things like that. And it's always very easy to believe what you really want to believe.

Hmm,... I don't know when I became a skeptic. Well, I've always been a skeptic when it comes to religion, so maybe it's just my nature to doubt. But there were always a lot of neat things I wanted to be true. As I learned more about them, I realized that the evidence just wasn't there. Too bad, really.

But my own journey to skepticism was a gradual thing, I think. And not at all recent. So I can't pick out anything in particular that changed my mind. I'm more of a life-long skeptic.

But for other people, it wasn't like that. I thought that was quite interesting. And it's good to know that some minds, at least, can be changed by rational arguments and evidence (or the lack thereof).

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