SkepticismSpontaneous Philosophical Tea Party™

Spontaneous Philosophical Tea Party™

I like observing people’s reactions when I tell them I am into skepticism. There is usually some confusion involved, and often a hint of dismissiveness. As if skepticism is not important, despite all the items in the news every day which could benefit from a skeptical eye. (Facilitated communication returns? The health insurance bill covering prayer for Christian Scientists? EVERY single article about antioxidants?)

I also often feel like people think poverty or hunger are nobler causes, and those are the sorts of things a concerned teen ought to focus on. You can probably tell that this irks me.

Anyway, there are some people that respond positively to the whole idea of skepticism. I do appreciate their interest and open-mindedness.

How do your friends or peers respond to the idea of skepticism? Why do you think they react that way? I’m curious to know how receptive or apathetic your friends might be.

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Vy is a recent graduate working in a neuroscience lab with children and monkeys. She likes sewing, knitting, lifting weights, and reading in her free time. Especially reading about science!


  1. November 30, 2009 at 8:33 pm —

    They’re not very receptive to the amount of time it takes to explain why something’s wrong. They’re more sound-byte oriented.

    “There are more things in heaven and earth…”

    “The Catholic Church is a force for good…”

    “Why do you want to get rid of religion when it does so much good?”


    There’s also my dual blessing and curse of my usage of the vocabulary words they teach in schools. I can’t use the word “derogatory” without someone saying “oooh, so you like to use big words, eh?”

    It comes across as elitist.

    And what really pisses me off is the usage of “skepticism” and “cynicism” as being synonymous. Or that either mean dismissing stuff out of hand. I should write a post…

    *scurries off to type angrily*

  2. November 30, 2009 at 11:22 pm —

    I have a friend who automatically thinks skepticism=atheism=bad.
    I’ve given up debating religion with him because it never goes anywhere, but somehow he’s decided that skepticism and atheism are the same thing. Sure, there’s a connection, I’m skeptical of religion, but that’s not all it is.
    The thing is he’s actually pretty smart, he just has a habit of putting things in a little box in his brain labelled “Do Not Touch” and he gets very angry when you try to tamper with it.

  3. vreify
    December 5, 2009 at 9:08 pm —

    @ Elles: I once used the word “verbose” in class and everyone was like, “Ooh, big words!” And then I said, “No, it’s not. It’s 7 letters. Your name is 7 letters.”
    Sigh…the burdens of having a vocabulary.

    @Merchickety: Ah, the Do Not Touch box. I like that phrase better than Sacred Cow.

  4. vreify
    December 5, 2009 at 9:09 pm —

    Please forgive all my grammatical errors; it has been a long day of reading.

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