Skeptical Thinking.


Owen here…

Skepticism is one of those frames of mind that we frequently apply but rarely think about. Everyone I know, believers and atheists alike, applies a healthy degree of skepticism to almost all aspects of their lives. When we’re driving, we don’t always assume that everyone will stop just because there is a stop sign. When we teach children how to cross a street we teach them to look both ways because it’s never safe to assume that a vehicle might be traveling in the wrong direction. Being skeptical doesn’t mean being pessimistic or doubtful, it just means that before we accept that something is true we make sure that the evidence in favor of it (whatever it might be) outweighs whatever evidence there might be against it.

But there is one part of life where, for some reason, even the smartest people sometimes set aside the completely normal skepticism that helps us all to make rational decisions in our day-to-day lives, and instead to accept a proposition not because of any evidence but because they *want* it to be true. And that part of life is sports teams. Got you! Trust me, that was funny!

Ok, it turns out that a lack of skepticism can come in several parts of our lives and while the teams we support in sports might be a good example, another one can be how we think about religion. At least in the sports context we usually admit to ourselves that supporting the home team is really a preference rather than a rational choice. Most religious believers do exactly the same thing with religion, but in that context they are frequently unable to admit it.

All the best! Go Cowboys! Go Rangers! Go Stars!

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