Thursday, February 12, 2009

Skeptics: Sophisticated Lazy Thinkers

Part I

I need to take a break from the maniacal political environment to talk about more substantive issues pertaining to our culture, primarily our decaying, decadent Western culture. One of the contributing philosophical strands, broken strands that is, that have been woven into our culture is Skepticism. This is a philosophy in epistemology that states in general, that we cannot know the truth of things for certain. There are different forms, or perhaps ranges in skepticism that people subscribe to that prevent them from making any statement or doctrine that speaks of reality that is without any doubt.

What I am addressing is something different than the healthy skepticism that all of us should exercise when it comes to judging the integrity of people's character, advertisements, unproven but persuasive arguments; etc. What I am referring to is the thinking that says that any truth claims, especially in the arena of morals, ethics and religion cannot be made with any certainty since it is impossible for us to know truth with certainty. It is this belief that allows for the rampant relativism that many people use to justify actions which were at one time considered immoral.

What makes for a skeptic? Psychologically, I cannot say, although I can hazard a few guesses. First, if one is fearful of rejection of others, skepticism is a haven that allows for the differences in beliefs in others without engaging in arguments to prove who is right or wrong. The average modern or post-modern sees the arena of "right and wrong" the main cause of the world's ills, fighting, wars and racial battles. Remove the need to be "right or wrong", and you eliminate the fighting. It is a Utopian desire for peace that is primal in all of us. Perhaps the second reason is the need to be admired for embracing a very sophisticated philosophy, that seems to act like Teflon in any philosophical discussion. Skeptics have this way of wiggling out of any argument raised against them, unless one finds the basic of assumption of Skepticism. Then, the skeptic is in denial. Third, though the Skeptic is shown to be inconsistent in his skepticism, to him, it is immaterial. Why pursue this line of thinking when it doesn't matter if Skepticism is true or not? It is a useless endeavor to the skeptic, and he'll tell you so.

Steering clear of the psychology, I want to focus on the morality of a skeptic. Now mind you, I make generalizations, which means there can be exceptions, though I contend they may be few in number. The main moral reason the skeptic is what he is is pure laziness. It does not take much thinking energy to be a skeptic. You don't have to do the hard work of reasoning, determining what premises are true or not, which arguments are valid or invalid, if terms are clear definitions or ambiguous, or uni vocal or equivocal, if you are a skeptic. You simply economize your energy by stating it is unnecessary; why bother with finding the truth when it is difficult to know for certain?

It also allows for the ease of debunking classical arguments in morality in religion. You don't have to face the concrete logic that under girds classical morality. Your thinking allows you to do an end run and say these arguments are moot. You can subvert or debunk any moral claim and literally ignore it. You can leap frog over Metaphysics, and deny the existence of God, and therefore ANY accountability to God because it's impossible to know if he/she exists. And if this God does exist, he/she has no moral claim to be a just God and judge properly when it is impossible to know this god and his moral criteria. It seems to be philosophically impregnable, and therefore a very well used philosophy. In fact, it is a deep commitment to refuse to work at reason. This is not the result of thinking, but a lack in moral conditioning.

Skepticism then can become very favorable to anyone who is given to laziness, immorality, or fear--one who hates any accountability other than to oneself. This isn't to say that all skeptics are completely immoral or lazy. Skepticism is standard fare in education regarding morals or ethics, and because of this, it is considered the norm in thinking. To deviate from Skepticism is considered a slide into arrogance. Only those who are close-minded and arrogant think they know what is true. Thus, a hedge is built around this philosophy that leads to variant moral and ethical conclusions.

If you end up arguing with a skeptic, it is important to identify the main premise of Skepticism; all knowledge is uncertain. This does not necessarily apply to science, which is why often the skeptic leans on science as means to determine whether God exists or not. But, generally, all knowledge is uncertain is the active premise in Skepticism. And, if you notice, it is an absolute, which refutes the whole scheme of skepticiswm.

Now, don't be too optimistic that you can identify and counter-argue this point if your intent is to convince him or her. Remember, a skeptic is a skeptic because it is not based on anything logical. Plus, any refutation of Skepticism is immaterial, since the mind of the skeptic cannot bring himself to accept certainty in the first place. There are moral and psychological forces inside that prevent him from doing so. Therefore, he may agree with you that his argument is illogical. He can see that he refutes himself. It doesn't matter. In a twisted way, he considers this as proof of his philosophy. Thus, the credo of the Skeptic remains intact.

To appeal to a skeptic, one must have a two pronged approach that will address his lack of reasoning and also his morality. This will not be easy and we'll have to cover Part II tomorrow.


At 10:08 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.

At 9:13 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

The last thing skeptics are is sophisticated. Sophists, yes, but not sophisticated. Usually they're geeky teenagers who are half-assed about their skepticism, who fail to apply it thoroughly to their own positions and who think they're finally cleverer than everyone else and have discovered something that'll give them power over the world or something equally ridiculous.

The retards are many. They come in all shapes and sizes.


Post a Comment

<< Home