Hat tip to Moth Incarnate.
In a brilliant post comparing “climate sceptics” with those who deny the effectiveness of vaccination he nails what it means to be a sceptic:
Later in The Vaccine War, Barbara Loe Fisher, president of the National Vaccine information Centre, said, “… People are taking control of their own health. They want to be more in charge of the way that they live and not simply rely on a doctor.”
When I heard this, I couldn’t help but retort pointlessly at the TV, “Well get a bloody degree on the subject then.”
As with climate change denial and creationism, there is a confusion as to what valid scepticism is. It’s not remaining unconvinced, which is simply a personal belief that goes beyond reason and analytical judgement.
Valid scepticism, or more correctly, scientific scepticism, results from training and is not a native behaviour (in fact, it seems we’re inherently programmed to designate purpose, potentially as a side effect of our large brains and our modern world – see here, nearly 2mins in).
To be sceptical of vaccination, evolution, AGW or any other scientific conclusion is to have developed an understanding of that subject and to be able to analyse the evidence critically – as occurs within scientific community.
Dang, I wish I’d written that!