The death of skepticism


I was raised with the belief that if something is too good to be true, it probably is. To some this is a bad thing because measures of faith do not come easy to me.

Skepticism is defined as the doctrine that absolute knowledge is impossible, either in a particular domain or in general. Today, in many ways, we see the death of the skeptics, replaced by the destructive philosophies of cynicism and dogma. Cynicism is defined as an attitude of scornful or jaded negativity, especially a general distrust of the integrity or professed motives of others. Dogma is an authoritative principle, belief or statement of ideas or opinion, especially one considered to be absolutely true.

A healthy dose of skepticism, to me, is a good thing. You take ideas whether they are political, religious, or economic and you work with them until you get a good sense of how they will work and affect the world around you. This leads to reason and reason is always a good thing. If we accept doctrines and tenants on faith alone we shut the door to our ability to reason. Benjamin Franklin said, "The way to see by faith is to shut the eye of reason."

Today we live in a world of dogmas. We are bludgeoned into the truth and told to drink from its well, regardless if it is poisoned or not. We are not given much choice by the dogmatic.

We will either accept what is considered true or the cynics will publicly ostracize us. It doesn’t matter if you are conservative, liberal, Christian, agnostic or atheist. All sides will want to bloody your nose with their version of the truth. What this does is take away your freedom to reason, your freedom to choose, and your ability to be an individual.

When we give up our skepticism and stop seeking the truth for ourselves and leave it up to other "more knowledgeable" enterprises, we will cease to be a free society and be enslaved by those who "know." Once we become a nation of lemmings; any cliff will do. I respect your right to believe whatever you wish, as long as you can accept my right to disbelieve it.

Yet it seems we have, however, accepted dogma and cynicism at face value. If true, we can herald the dawning of a new Dark Age. Like it or not!

Paul Jensen



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