A conversation in the comment section of last Thursday’s post brought this question up in a round-about way:
At what point does skepticism go too far?
I’ve wondered about this before in passing but have been brainstorming about it more intently over the weekend. Any set of beliefs (ethical, moral, religious, political) can be taken to the extreme, of course. I’ve read many well-written critiques of various religions and philosophies but can’t think of any similar works about skepticism that have been worth reading.
Maybe skepticism is taken too far when:
You can no longer see the good in an idea. Most of the belief systems I’ve come across are a mixture of beneficial and harmful advice. A handful of ideas don’t seem have any redeeming qualities but for everything else spit out the stem and seeds and digest the good stuff.
The most important thing is being right. This isn’t to say that there’s anything wrong with vigorous debating or correcting untrue statements. It just isn’t necessary for every conversation to end with footnotes. 🙂
It leaks into areas where it doesn’t belong. Unless someone else’s beliefs are negatively affecting the rest of us I don’t have any interest in critiquing their claims from my agnostic and fairly skeptical point of view. Belief is an intensely personal experience and I’m not interested in proselytizing. Whether you believe in faeries, healing crystals, mediums, ghosts, demonic possessions, or miracles I may think there’s some merit to it, I may diagree vehemently, but I will not belittle whatever it is that keeps you going.
What has been your experience with skepticism? What are its greatest weaknesses?