Tuesday, December 10, 2013


From an old newspaper (well over a hundred years old) came this little illustration of what a skeptic is:

"I don't believe in anything I can't see," said the young man who aims to be considered a skeptic.
The middle aged man with overalls on looked at him pensively for a moment and then inquired:
"Young feller, did you ever ketch hold of a 'lectric wire?" - Washington Star.
A number of years ago I had almost that same conversation with young man on my job. I asked if he had ever had the displeasure of smelling a foul flatus.
Now the truth is, I like good old-fashioned skepticism. I think of myself as skeptical. But I like to be an open-minded skeptic, always willing to expand my understanding of things if more information comes to light.
Contrary to the young men I mentioned above, skepticism in not to be equated with simple closed-mindedness. The annals of history are large with masters of knowledge who were proved wrong in their dogmatic understanding of the nature of things. (The Experts Speak, by Christopher Cerf & Victor Navasky, in one collection of these examples, and is highly recommended by me.)

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