Skepticism and Ideological Purity

Skepticisim has a problem. It’s become ideologically polarized. Ideology is not necessirly a bad attribute, but when it affects a person to the point where they refuse to even listen to a dissenting point of view, then it is toxic, especially to those claiming to be skeptics.

When there are politicians and others for instance that want to criminalize dissent on “accepted” views, we’ve wandered into an Orwellian world. Next? How about jailing people for hate speech? But then, how would that be defined precisely? Well, it can’t be as we’ve seen over the past few years on college campuses where a single person can chill the speech of an entire group because that person felt triggered.

Skepticism, as a community, has gone the same way. Most skeptics are either politically or socially (many times, both) ideologically entrenchend to the point where we can’t discuss any topic amongst ourselves. It’s a sad state of affairs where so-called rational people choose sides and battle over what is even an allowed topic for discussion. In some quarters, asking for dialogue will result in being ridiculed and denigrated.

Skeptics, by definition should be more open minded. Not that we should countenance ridiculous ideas, but be able to alter our views based on the evidence presented. We shouldn’t seek to penalize even bad ideas when all that’s necessary is to bring them into the sunshine. At that point, they’ll wither on their own.

Its time to consider being less ideologically pure and becoming more accepting of evidence based ideas that may challenge our worldview.

One thought on “Skepticism and Ideological Purity

  1. Some actual examples would be helpful. I have had many conversations with numerous skeptics (belong to the Cleveland Skeptics in Ohio for example) on many issues and have not encountered the problem you are alleging here. Who are some of the skeptics whom you are charging with abandoning skepticism for ideological reasons?

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