This is a partial transcript of the talk I gave at St. Charles Community College on December 2, 2014.
- Amazing news!
- Nobody loves a critic
- Why skepticism is healthy
- What about religion?
- Evaluating information in the internet age
- Is Skepticism Right For YOU?
- Some advice on community building
Being gullible is a problem that affects everybody. If you think you’re not capable of falling for something, that’s exactly the time when you’re most vulnerable. The world is full of people trying to take advantage of you in some way. It doesn’t even have to be a life or death situation. Any time there is a motivation for significant personal gain, you’re going to find someone willing to delude themselves or lie to others in order to rake in a profit.
With that in mind, you would think it’s just common sense to be careful of how easily you accept what you are told. But you’d be surprised at how many people are opposed to skepticism itself, attacking the very idea that you should be critical of new information.
Deepak Chopra is a new age guru who promotes alternative medicine, and tells people that you can directly manipulate the nature of reality using only the power of your mind. Deepak says:
“I’ve debated skeptics, and am amazed that they mistake self-righteousness for happiness. A sort of bitter satisfaction is what they reap. No skeptic, to my knowledge, ever made a major scientific discovery or advanced the welfare of others. Typically they sit by the side of the road with a sign that reads ‘You’re Wrong’ so that every passerby, whether an Einstein, Gandhi, Newton, or Darwin, can gain the benefit of their illuminated skepticism.”