You know you’re in trouble when

You start visiting sites like “The Skeptical Enquirer

“Skepticism ultimately leads to knowledge…which leads to effective action…which leads to success…which leads to optimism concerning one’s ability to deal with the world. It is faith, not skepticism, that leads to a childish reliance upon unproven notions…which leads to ineffective action…which leads to failure…and, ultimately to pessimism, cynicism, and bitterness.”

Skeptical Enquirer

In order to redress this problem, we need look no further than Master Yoda.

Yoda: How feel you?
Anakin: Cold, sir.
Yoda: Afraid are you?
Anakin: No, sir.
Yoda: See through you we can.
Mace Windu: Be mindful of your feelings.
Ki-Adi-Mundi: Your thoughts dwell on your mother.
Anakin: I miss her.
Yoda: Afraid to lose her I think, hmm?
Anakin: What has that got to do with anything?
Yoda: Everything! Fear is the path to the dark side. Fear leads to anger. Anger leads to hate. Hate leads to suffering. I sense much fear in you.

Jedi Council


Cynicism v Skepticism

This follows on from are-you-cynical-you-suck-its-official/#comment-8 (vide ante. Thanks Charlie!)

Take Al Gore, for our purposes, a perfect example, but for him, an unfortunate situation to be in. Poor Al.

Al Gore is under fire because his leccy bill was US$30,000 in one year. I think we can all agree that this is on the high side (even for an American :p). This “story” was leaked the day after poor Al won an Oscar for his film about global warming. Ironically and amusingly, this is, and the film is called, An Inconvenient Truth.

So let us examine this, as one might, through skeptical spectacles. As a skeptic, you may not believe in global warming, or you may not believe that you can do anything to stop global warming. You doubt the science of it. The truthfulness of it. For the skeptic, all is not lost, they only require evidence, reason, they acknowledge that it is a problem of belief.

As a cynic, you call Al Gore a hypocrite, denounce him as a liar and proclaim that he’s a fraud and everything that he says is horse manure. As a cynic, you cannot believe in anything good, you cannot accept that anyone could do anything good. For the cynic, all is lost, their perspective is not completely at odds with the truth, there is some validity to the view that Al Gore has behaved hypocritically. However the problem for the cynic, is that he doesn’t stop there, his cynicism eats at everything he sees, and the world appears to be a sad and wicked place.

Pity the poor fool.

I’m ending this here because I have something more fun to write about.