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 The difference between skepticism and sciene?
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Philo
Skeptic Friend

66 Posts

Posted - 12/19/2010 :  14:11:54  Show Profile Send Philo a Private Message  Reply with Quote
The subject line pretty much has it, but let me elaborate.

Sometimes, people seem to treat them as being the same, sometimes not.

For instance, in a recent debacle, Jeff Wagg ( http://indieskeptics.com/2010/11/16/are-atheists-delusional-thoughts-on-skepticon3 ) stated that if you equate skepticism with anything else than science, you're missing the point. Blag Hag ( http://www.blaghag.com/2010/11/why-atheism-is-most-skeptical-position.html ) equates skepticism with the application of the scientific method, as does Michael Shermer ( http://www.skeptic.com/about_us/manifesto.html ) ( http://www.newscientist.com/article/mg20627606.000-living-in-denial-when-a-sceptic-isnt-a-sceptic.html ).

However, this viewpoint doesn't seem to be shared by everybody. At this forum, Wagg's equation of skepticism and science is rejected ( http://www.skepticfriends.org/forum/topic.asp?TOPIC_ID=13726&whichpage=1#186238 ), and Blag Hag was also criticized ( http://www.blaghag.com/2010/11/why-atheism-is-most-skeptical-position.html#comment-101179382 ) for making that equation.

So which one is it? Is skepticism the same as science (or the application of the scientific method), or is it something else? If so, what is it? How exactly are the two interrelated anyways? How would you define "skepticism" (not philosophical skepticism)?

Sorry for bad linking, but this forum seems to be differently coded than others.

Dr. Mabuse
Septic Fiend

Sweden
9677 Posts

Posted - 12/19/2010 :  16:04:06   [Permalink]  Show Profile  Send Dr. Mabuse an ICQ Message Send Dr. Mabuse a Private Message  Reply with Quote
Originally posted by Philo
So which one is it? Is skepticism the same as science (or the application of the scientific method), or is it something else? If so, what is it? How exactly are the two interrelated anyways? How would you define "skepticism" (not philosophical skepticism)?
This is how I currently view your question:

Skepticism is broader than just science.
I'd like to think of the scientific method as an implementation of skepticism, just not the only one possible.

Science is the systematic exploration of the natural world. The scientific method is the tool for collecting and processing information for this end. Skepticism is the guiding principle of the scientific method.


There are disagreements on what skepticism really is, and where/when it should be used.
I subscribe to Skeptic Friends Network's mission statement, which can be found at the bottom on every SFN-page. According to it, you can employ skepticism without really doing science.
You're not a scientist just because you're a skeptic.

I'm really not a philosopher, nor do I have any education in philosophy or spend much time thinking about it.

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H. Humbert
SFN Die Hard

USA
4574 Posts

Posted - 12/19/2010 :  16:08:11   [Permalink]  Show Profile Send H. Humbert a Private Message  Reply with Quote
Skepticism is a subset of philosophy, and I see science as a subset of skepticism, namely applied skepticism. But, no, I don't think science is the same thing as skepticism, since skepticism encompasses more than just science (like logic, reasoning, critical thinking skills, etc.) Also, while some people do think of science as merely an empirical tool detached from a skeptical worldview, I'd argue that those people lack an epistemological justification in which to ground the scientific method, making their claim to science philosophically dubious. In other words, I think there is a real and marked conflict between science and any faith-based worldview, regardless of the rationales offered.


"A man is his own easiest dupe, for what he wishes to be true he generally believes to be true." --Demosthenes

"The first principle is that you must not fool yourself - and you are the easiest person to fool." --Richard P. Feynman

"Face facts with dignity." --found inside a fortune cookie
Edited by - H. Humbert on 12/19/2010 16:12:24
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filthy
SFN Die Hard

USA
14408 Posts

Posted - 12/19/2010 :  16:16:33   [Permalink]  Show Profile Send filthy a Private Message  Reply with Quote
Hi Phlio and welcome to SFN!

To hyperlink, do this:
How to make hyperlinked text, insert a URL-link

Example 1 (starting from scratch):


How to hyperlink a word:

Start with finding the hyperlink-icon next to the other Format text icons.
The forum tag hyperlink is the Globe-looking hyperlink icon

This causes the url formatting tag to be inserted in your text where the cursor is located. It looks like this:




After that you need to manually add these characters: ="" to that tag




Next you insert the link (in blue) between the quote-signs and the text (in red) between the start- and end- url-tag:
Awesome website


The result:
Awesome website

As for science/skepticism, the one depends on the other. Skepticism is a search for fact as is science. For one to be successful, it must please the other, all the while remembering that science is often wrong or incomplete, and requires skepticism to keep it honest.

Again, welcome!




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Kil
Evil Skeptic

USA
13467 Posts

Posted - 12/19/2010 :  19:27:19   [Permalink]  Show Profile  Visit Kil's Homepage  Send Kil an AOL message  Send Kil a Yahoo! Message Send Kil a Private Message  Reply with Quote
Creating a Hyperlink in your message

Uncertainty may make you uncomfortable. Certainty makes you ridiculous.

Why not question something for a change?

Genetic Literacy Project
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Philo
Skeptic Friend

66 Posts

Posted - 01/06/2011 :  13:49:23   [Permalink]  Show Profile Send Philo a Private Message  Reply with Quote
Thanks for the replies everyone, and sorry for my late reply to this thread, I've been on vacation.

As for the topic at hand, it seems (as someone said) that it is disputed what skepticism really is. At the other hand, exactly what science is seems not to be clearly defined. For instance, there is not one single "scientific method".

I suspect that kind of disagreement is natural as there is no Platonic realm of "real" meanings of words.
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Philo
Skeptic Friend

66 Posts

Posted - 06/25/2011 :  06:54:55   [Permalink]  Show Profile Send Philo a Private Message  Reply with Quote
For some reason, I stumbled upon this today, and since I asked this question (admittedly more than half a year ago), I thought it would be fair to share it.


(From How we fit together: humanists, nontheists, skeptics, and scientists.)

At least this diagram makes sense to me. I'm a skeptic and nontheist, but not a scientist. I'm undecided about humanism.
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Kil
Evil Skeptic

USA
13467 Posts

Posted - 06/25/2011 :  10:09:22   [Permalink]  Show Profile  Visit Kil's Homepage  Send Kil an AOL message  Send Kil a Yahoo! Message Send Kil a Private Message  Reply with Quote
I doubt that all humanists are skeptics. But the drawing above seems to suggest that all humanists are. And I'll grant artistic license because the theist oval is much much larger than the diagram would suggest.

Uncertainty may make you uncomfortable. Certainty makes you ridiculous.

Why not question something for a change?

Genetic Literacy Project
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Dave W.
Info Junkie

USA
26012 Posts

Posted - 06/25/2011 :  19:14:23   [Permalink]  Show Profile  Visit Dave W.'s Homepage Send Dave W. a Private Message  Reply with Quote
It's just a Venn diagram, Kil. It's not drawn to scale.

Also, I'm positive that there are many non-skeptical humanists out there.

- Dave W. (Private Msg, EMail)
Evidently, I rock!
Why not question something for a change?
Visit Dave's Psoriasis Info, too.
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marfknox
SFN Die Hard

USA
3739 Posts

Posted - 06/25/2011 :  20:48:46   [Permalink]  Show Profile  Visit marfknox's Homepage  Send marfknox an AOL message Send marfknox a Private Message  Reply with Quote
In response to Kil, if we're talking about philosophical Humanism, then all Humanists are skeptics because skepticism is a major part of the Humanist philosophy. Although you are probably right that there are people who call themselves "humanists" who are not very good at practicing skepticism. Edited to add: That said, there are a lot of people who call themselves "skeptics" who are not very good at practicing skepticism! (End edit)

Also, I assume the "Humanism" meant by this diagram is only secular humanism, because there are humanists who are deists and theists. But I think the diagram is accurate enough since my understanding is that modern philosophical "Humanism" is secular humanism.

"Too much certainty and clarity could lead to cruel intolerance" -Karen Armstrong

Check out my art store: http://www.marfknox.etsy.com

Edited by - marfknox on 06/25/2011 20:49:50
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Philo
Skeptic Friend

66 Posts

Posted - 06/26/2011 :  06:20:02   [Permalink]  Show Profile Send Philo a Private Message  Reply with Quote
Originally posted by marfknox

In response to Kil, if we're talking about philosophical Humanism, then all Humanists are skeptics because skepticism is a major part of the Humanist philosophy. Although you are probably right that there are people who call themselves "humanists" who are not very good at practicing skepticism. Edited to add: That said, there are a lot of people who call themselves "skeptics" who are not very good at practicing skepticism! (End edit)

Also, I assume the "Humanism" meant by this diagram is only secular humanism, because there are humanists who are deists and theists. But I think the diagram is accurate enough since my understanding is that modern philosophical "Humanism" is secular humanism.


I too think it refers to secular humanism. Anyways, I'd say that Kil has a point. In this introduction to humanism, it says that the "basic principles of humanism -- skepticism of supernatural claims and an emphasis on living a fulfilling and ethical life without religion -- have been embraced by a wide variety of thinkers in different cultures for thousands of years". I think people here would argue that you should be skeptical of non-supernatural claims as well.

Oh, and of course the diagram is not intended to be on scale, at least I guess so (I didn't make it). There also other artistic freedoms, for what theists believe in are not (necessarily) unicorns, but gods.
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