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It's hard being a skeptic, don't you think?

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posted on Nov, 20 2007 @ 07:38 AM
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Hi everyone! This is officially my first post on ATS, I've been lurking here a bit reading some great threads so I thought I'd finally join the community and contribute.

I hope this post comes off alright and I've used the correct forums and everything - feel free to move it if I haven't!

So, to refer to the title, its hard being a skeptic isn't it sometimes?

To get down to the real problem, I feel that once you start questioning everything it never ends and you can never find any truth in anything. I think of myself as a fairly logical person, I certainly don't just believe 'crazy' claims without evidence to back it up anyway. That said I keep myself open to the possibility that I'm wrong too and I will always alter my viewpoint if new evidence arises to contradict my old opinions.

However, where does it end? How do you narrow things down to what is most likely true?

I'm finding that this is a problem arising for me in many aspects of life, even down-to-Earth problems are difficult to take a view on if you try and consider all viewpoints fairly. Maybe it's a sign of the times, of 'post-modernity' or whatnot, but it seems a fairly prevalent issue now for me.

How do I know that aliens don't exist? The government could cover it up, or brain wash us or whatever else you can think up. Then again, have I seen *anything* that would lead me to think UFO's are flying around my home? Not really.

I think its hard to sift through the garbage and find the truth. Doubt seems to be everybody's favorite product nowdays.
Its hard to stop using a lack of evidence as direct evidence for a conspiracy now too. Eg. Do I not see aliens because they don't exist or do I not see them because they're covered up so well?

Anyway, I've gone on long enough. What do you think? Since I assume most members of this board 'question everything' (as New Scientist suggests we do
) - how do you deal with it? How do you find truth and is it even worthwhile being so skeptical all the time?

Hell, as I write this I'm even skeptical that ATS might be set up to confuse me furthur or give me misinformation, I mean who knows right? Ahh paranoia.



Oh, PS: I'm not trying to debate the existence of extra-terrestrial life or anything, I'm just using them as general examples. Don't read too much into it.




posted on Nov, 20 2007 @ 07:59 AM
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Hello, Duality. First of all, let me welcome you to ATS and compliment you on a fantastic first post. Reading your post I find myself agreeing with most if not all of it, so that's a good start.


I'd have to agree that being sceptical can be taxing. But I find that it is a necessary component if one is to arrive at the truth, especially on the Internet. To be otherwise is to be naive and gullible, in my humble opinion. The Internet is home to all kinds of crazy theories, so one needs to be wary.


Originally posted by Duality
However, where does it end? How do you narrow things down to what is most likely true?


In situations like this, I find that applying the principle of Occam's Razor works best -- the simplest explanations are usually the most likely. You asked if it's worthwhile to be sceptical all the time. In my opinion, a moderate amount of scepticism all the time is indeed worthwhile.

If the evidence presented is flimsy or lacking, then fall back on logic. Should the hypothesis presented be logical, despite the lack of supporting data, then I say it's reasonable to assume it is true, until the evidence proves otherwise. Of course, if the hypothesis is logical but convoluted, then I'd fall back on Occam's Razor and shave it off to the simplest explanation.


Hell, as I write this I'm even skeptical that ATS might be set up to confuse me furthur or give me misinformation, I mean who knows right? Ahh paranoia.


Hahah, you're definitely ATS material. We're all paranoid tin-foil hatters


Again, welcome to ATS



posted on Nov, 20 2007 @ 08:00 AM
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Originally posted by Duality
Hi everyone! This is officially my first post on ATS, I've been lurking here a bit reading some great threads so I thought I'd finally join the community and contribute.


Hey welcome to wonderland, it's a really cool place, but beware of trolls, but really they taste just yummy with salt and catsup. I dig the name you have chosen.




So, to refer to the title, its hard being a skeptic isn't it sometimes?

To get down to the real problem, I feel that once you start questioning everything it never ends and you can never find any truth in anything. I think of myself as a fairly logical person, I certainly don't just believe 'crazy' claims without evidence to back it up anyway. That said I keep myself open to the possibility that I'm wrong too and I will always alter my viewpoint if new evidence arises to contradict my old opinions.


I drove my parents crazy with all my questions about Everything.


However, where does it end? How do you narrow things down to what is most likely true?

I'm finding that this is a problem arising for me in many aspects of life, even down-to-Earth problems are difficult to take a view on if you try and consider all viewpoints fairly. Maybe it's a sign of the times, of 'post-modernity' or whatnot, but it seems a fairly prevalent issue now for me.


Most answered questions just lead to more questions, it's the great puzzle of life.


How do I know that aliens don't exist? The government could cover it up, or brain wash us or whatever else you can think up. Then again, have I seen *anything* that would lead me to think UFO's are flying around my home? Not really.


Just the probability factor life exists all over this Earth, there has to be more planets in the universe that have life. If .01% of all planets have life and just .01% of those have intelligent life, then there are millions of planets with intelligent life IMHO. As for not seeing anything, all you have to do is look up.


I think its hard to sift through the garbage and find the truth. Doubt seems to be everybody's favorite product nowdays.
Its hard to stop using a lack of evidence as direct evidence for a conspiracy now too. Eg. Do I not see aliens because they don't exist or do I not see them because they're covered up so well?


Excellent questions, if you find the answers do let me know.


Anyway, I've gone on long enough. What do you think? Since I assume most members of this board 'question everything' (as New Scientist suggests we do
) - how do you deal with it? How do you find truth and is it even worthwhile being so skeptical all the time?


I like to think that someday the puzzle will be clear enough to see.


Hell, as I write this I'm even skeptical that ATS might be set up to confuse me furthur or give me misinformation, I mean who knows right? Ahh paranoia.


LOL




[edit on 20-11-2007 by LDragonFire]



posted on Nov, 20 2007 @ 08:04 AM
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I am with with you on that one, Beachcoma. There is nothing wrong with belief, only with allowing yourself to be deceived. Occam's Razor is a valuable tool, and helps to bring logic into an otherwise illogical situation.

On the other hand, unexplainable things happen every single day. However, it is important to realize that just because we do not know the definitive answer does not mean that it is supernatural, extraterrestrial, or magical. It is my firm belief that science rules the roost right now, and through it we can learn to make the incredible understandable, and not have to resort to storytelling and making up legends to explain phenomena. I think we owe it to ourselves to stop shooting for fanciful explanations right off the bat.



posted on Nov, 20 2007 @ 08:13 AM
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Wow, fast replies!


Thanks guys, I appreciate it and I'm glad you like the name LDragonFire.
Took me a while to decide on it. I'll stay on the look out for trolling too.

I think the mention of Ockham's Razor is a good point so far, I'm familiar with it but I haven't been conciously applying it to these sort of matters, I might start using that in the future.

Its nice to see realistic and logical methods for dealing with confusing, overwhelming or 'crazy' information being presented here. I can't wait to see what other members add - I'll check back in the morning though as I'm absolutely exhausted.


Nice to meet you all again and thanks, keep the suggestions or opinions coming!



posted on Nov, 20 2007 @ 08:41 AM
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nah, its simply applying logic and practical experience and keeping a clear head

i want very much for the world we live in to be as interesting as the true believers claim it is, but i see very, very little evidence that it is so

its fascinating and fun, though

i'm very open minded, which does not equate to gullible...

i think the hard part is suffering the true believers, who claim that every film smudge is clearly an alien/ghost/shadow person/leprechaun...

they're easy prey to mischeif makers and very excitable... which is entertaining sometimes, exasperating other times...



posted on Nov, 20 2007 @ 08:51 AM
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Originally posted by planetfall
i think the hard part is suffering the true believers, who claim that every film smudge is clearly an alien/ghost/shadow person/leprechaun...

they're easy prey to mischeif makers and very excitable... which is entertaining sometimes, exasperating other times...


And this is where the hard part comes in -- when you try explaining something to them rationally you get labelled 'debunker'. :shk:



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