Archive for the 'Skeptical' Category

01
May
11

A Quick Note on a Skeptical Thought

I received one of my monthly bills today and noticed at the bottom a quick plug for recycling.  Now before I go into what it says and why it inspired me to post this I want to establish context.  I’ve described the idea of a skeptic as a person who uses a scientific approach to all aspects of life instead of just for science.  One of the effects of this is that the critical thought process is always running in the background of a skeptic’s mind just waiting for something to trigger it.  We are always on the prowl for something that just doesn’t add up.

So what my bill said was this:  “Recycling one can provides enough energy to run a TV for three hours.”  Now I have no issue with recycling; in fact I encourage it and one can for 3 hours seems like a good deal.  But the implication here is that one can saves a lot of energy.  This is point the critical thinking part of my brain takes over and forces me to ask “What are the other possibilities?”  One other explanation is that a TV doesn’t require much energy.  And to be fair, it doesn’t.  Depending on models and other factors, I’ve found numbers online that indicate that using a hair dryer for 6 mins will use ~15 times more energy than running a TV for 24 hours a day.

Now this example is harmless.  But if you’re not prepared to notice when someone is potentially misleading you can fall for anything.  My next post will actually deal with possibly the most harmful area to be fooled in.  Medicine.

19
Aug
10

I can’t believe I’m writing about 2012…

But I am.  When I initially decided to start this blog I never would have thought that 2012 would be a potential topic, but after hearing it brought up once again I decided that I needed to.  Why?  Because some people feel quite strongly on the subject one way or the other.  Because it is a great example of people knowing “just enough to be dangerous”.  And because I’ve noticed that many people that will strongly say that they know 2012 won’t happen often can say why not.  It is very easy to have this knee-jerk reaction to something like doomsday scenarios just because of the frequency with which they come around.  But we should not dismiss something without considering it first.  If you can’t defend your stance on a topic you probably shouldn’t state it so strongly.

Continue reading ‘I can’t believe I’m writing about 2012…’

26
Jul
10

Skepticism

In my first post I tried to give a very brief notion of what science is in my eyes.  I’ve also said that science and skepticism are really the same process just applied in a different context.  In this post I want to take a moment and justify that comment and say what skepticism is and how it is applied in daily life.  I warn you though I am writing this at nearly 2:30 in the morning while continuing to observe a white screen in 5 nanometer increments…not the most riveting observing that I have done!  Then again I’d observe a dust mote and still love this trip!

I put a disclaimer on my “Nature of Science” post and I do the same here.  I do not mean to give a total and definite definition of skepticism but rather my view of it.  This topic has also been covered far more throughly and elegantly than I can hope to do.  There are many great resources out there but I highly recommend “The Demon Haunted World” by Carl Sagan for a great introduction to the subject.

Continue reading ‘Skepticism’




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