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September 2017

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Boobquake and "Skeptics"

Jen McCreight compares her Boobquake action to the homeopathy overdose by the Merseyside Skeptics Society.

First, taking an "overdose" of homeopathic remedies to protest their sale is like defiantly eating vegetables to protest PETA. It just doesn't make sense. Any homeopath will tell you that you can't overdose on homeopathic remedies, unless you are a diabetic.

Second, a "skeptic" is a person who has doubts. Someone who is certain is a fundamentalist. The Merseyside Skeptics Society are not skeptical about homeopathy, they are certain about it. They have the faith of fundamentalists.

I support the Boobquake because I support freedom against tyranny.

By demanding that women "dress modestly" to prevent earthquakes Hojatoleslam Kazem Sedighi wants to force his beliefs on others. By protesting the sale of homeopathic remedies the The Merseyside Skeptics Society are trying to force their beliefs on others. If you don't believe in homeopathy don't do it. No one is forcing you.

Comments

Re: The Merseyside Skeptics Society

So, in that case, in what way is it OK to be certain about the lack of causal link between clothing and earthquakes, but certainty about homeopathy (based on over-whelming evidence) is fundamentalist faith? I think both cases are skeptical positions - scrutinise the evidence, and neither the claims of homeopaths nor mad Iranian clerics stand up. If certainty in one is OK, then the other has to be too, I think.

(And by certainty, just to clarify, I mean based on current evidence - if someone produced reliable evidence that clothing and earthquakes were linked, or that homeopathy worked, I'd change my mind on either or both. That's the skeptical position - follow the evidence).

Re: The Merseyside Skeptics Society

Skepticism is doubt. Certainty is not doubt. I have no problem with you being certain, I just think you should be honest about it. You aren't a skeptic. Or you have changed the word skeptic to mean something other than "someone who has doubts"

Re: The Merseyside Skeptics Society

Ah, OK, I see what's happening here - we're actually employing scientific or philosophical skepticism:

"Scientific skepticism or rational skepticism (also spelled scepticism), sometimes referred to as skeptical inquiry, is a practical, epistemological position in which one questions the veracity of claims lacking empirical evidence."
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Scientific_skepticism

Doubt is often a good thing, but where a claim is factual in nature ('the world is flat', 'water has memory') then continued doubt is irrational. I still have doubt as to whether life exists elsewhere in the universe - we don't have the evidence to come to a reliable conclusion on that one. But with homeopathy, the evidence is in, so continual doubt would be irrational at this point.

Re: The Merseyside Skeptics Society

It would be less confusing with the popular definition of the term if you would not use words like "question" and "doubt" when your definition of "skeptic" really isn't about questioning or doubting.