2 January 2015
Skepticism Killed the Sapien (Rough Draft)
Everyone knows the saying: curiosity killed the cat. Since humans have a natural instinct of skepticism, this saying can relate to us as well. It should not be a goal to have a more skeptical outlook on everyday life because humans already have a certain level of skepticism embedded in their brains. To be more skeptical can cause a person to become paranoid, uncomfortable and irrational. Skepticism can also lead to believing unbelievable things. Humans are naturally a certain level of of skeptical, so having a more skeptical outlook on life can be dangerous.
What is skepticism? Skepticism is a state of mind that allows humans to naturally question things that do not seem right. It also is the driving factor of wanting answers to things that are unknown. As Carl Sagan says in Joseph Calabrese’s book, skepticism is esoteric or “we encounter is every day” (Calabrese 5). This makes it a common practice to question things that happen. Skepticism is a positive quality because it is what gives us answers scientifically or in just every day situations like buying a car. Being too skeptical can be a negative attribute. This can drive someone crazy. People should not be more skeptical in life because humans already are naturally skeptical creatures.
There are many reasons why humans are skeptical, but the main reason why is because we want to acquire maximum knowledge about everything. Sagan says the reason why humans are so skeptical is because “we are
Homo sapiens,” so “we’re supposed to be smart” (Calabrese
5). The human race has a complex brain, therefore the level of intelligence should be high, but even then not all questions are answered. Science is one way that questions can be answered.
Science is there to prove or disprove things. “Science serves the human urge to inquire and the human need to understand” (Calabrese 180). Michael Shermer says it is problematic that most people are more comfortable with answers whether they are correct or not instead of living with unanswered questions and mysteries (Shermer 53). False answers and no answers at all can lead to being too skeptical.
Skepticism is good until it becomes overbearing in life. Skepticism needs to be limited because if someone is “only skeptical, then no new ideas make it through to you. You never learn anything new,” but “if you are in the habit of being skeptical about everything, you are going to miss or resent it, and either way you will be standing in the way of understanding and progress” (Calabrese 10). Being too skeptical limits the amount of understanding and can lead to irrational thinking. It can also decrease the line between reality and imagination. When reality is not accepted, the next thing for the brain to do is to use its imagination. In Michael Shermer’s story “ The Dragon in my Garage,” he tells someone there is a dragon in his garage. When the other person questions him and asks to take physical test, he is told none of them can be done.
Does this mean the dragon is not there? Some would argue that if the tests were not able to bring proof of the dragon, then the dragon would not exist; others would claim that even though there is no proof that the dragon exists, but there is also no proof that the dragon doesn’t exist. This can cause people to “fall back on the unexplained is not inexplicable fallacy” (Shermer 53).
Michael Shermer’s writes an article about how skepticism how can lead to irrational thinking called “How Thinking Goes Wrong.” He write this to share his opinion of skepticism with his audience. By reading his article, the audience can infer that having a more skeptical outlook on life is not good. Shermer writes twentyface ways of how skepticism can make thinking go wrong. Shermer says that humans tend to think that when different