What then in the last resort are the truths of mankind? They are the irrefutable errors of mankind.Friedrich Nietzsche
Skepticism is a method of intellectual caution, suspended judgment, and pursuing knowledge through systematic doubt and continual testing.
- Scepticism is the first step towards truth.
- Denis Diderot, Pensées Philosophiques (1746)
- History is replete with examples of what happens when any group of authorities do not have to answer to empirical evidence but are free to define truth as they see fit. None of the examples has a happy ending. Why should it be otherwise with therapy?
- Robert Todd Carroll, The Skeptic's Dictionary, entry on "repressed memory therapy (RMT)"
- THE SKEPTIC'S HOROSCOPE for Capricorn, Aquarius, Pisces, Aries, Taurus, Gemini, Cancer, Leo, Virgo, Libra, Scorpio, and Sagittarius (Jan 1, 2007 – Dec 31, 2007):
The coming year is likely to present challenges; these trials are when your true character will show. Trusted friends can provide assistance in particularly pressing situations. Make use of the skills you have to compensate for ones you lack. Your reputation in the future depends on your honesty and integrity this year. Monetary investments will prove risky; inform yourself as much as possible. On the positive side, your chances of winning the lottery have never been greater!
- You can get into a habit of thought in which you enjoy making fun of all those other people who don't see things as clearly as you do. We have to guard carefully against it.
- ...The chief deficiency I see in the skeptical movement is its polarization: Us vs. Them — the sense that we have a monopoly on the truth; that those other people who believe in all these stupid doctrines are morons; that if you're sensible, you'll listen to us; and if not, to hell with you. This is nonconstructive. It does not get our message across. It condemns us to permanent minority status.
- Carl Sagan
- If you are only skeptical, then no new ideas make it through to you. You become a crotchety old person convinced that nonsense is ruling the world. (There is, of course, much data to support you.) But every now and then, a new idea turns out to be on the mark, valid and wonderful. If you are too much in the habit of being skeptical about everything, you are going to miss or resent it, and either way you will be standing in the way of understanding and progress.
- Carl Sagan
- There is a principle which is a bar against all information, which cannot fail to keep a man in everlasting ignorance — that principle is contempt prior to investigation.
- A danger sign of the lapse from true skepticism into dogmatism is an inability to respect those who disagree.
- Dr. Leonard George
- Wat baten kaars en bril, als de uil niet zien en wil.
- English: The candle and glasses are useless, if the owl doesn't want to see.
- a Dutch aphorism on skepticism and belief