Skepticism is a questioning attitude or doubt, especially towards a belief that claims to be truth. Skepticism is often applied to dogmatic religious beliefs, to scientific inquiry or philosophy, or to conspiracy theories.
Skepticism: the mark and even the pose of the educated mind.
The problems of the world cannot possibly be solved by skeptics or cynics whose horizons are limited by the obvious realities. We need men who can dream of things that never were.
New opinions are always suspected, and usually opposed, without any other reason but because they are not already common.
Skepticism literally means a thoughtful inquiry, the looking at a problem in a disinterested spirit, the surveying of a question from many sides. In this sense it is the very essence of philosophy and science.
Nevertheless, a distinction must be made between skepticism as a philosophical thesis and skepticism as an attitude in life. As a philosophical thesis, it is a contradictory one, since it affirms the impossibility of knowing truth, although this affirmation itself claims to be true. Thus, skepticism as a thesis refutes itself in the very act of being formulated. The other aspect is different: this is the abstention from all judgments, skepticism in life, which neither affirms nor denies. This skepticism appears in history time and again, although here, too, it is doubtful whether human life can remain floating in this abstention without taking root in convictions.
It is a good morning exercise for a research scientist to discard a pet hypothesis every day before breakfast. It keeps him young.
It would seem to me… an offense against nature, for us to come on the same scene endowed as we are with the curiosity, filled to overbrimming as we are with questions, and naturally talented as we are for the asking of clear questions, and then for us to do nothing about, or worse, to try to suppress the questions…
When an old and distinguished person speaks to you, listen to him carefully and with respect — but do not believe him. Never put your trust into anything but your own intellect. Your elder, no matter whether he has gray hair or has lost his hair, no matter whether he is a Nobel laureate — may be wrong. The world progresses, year by year, century by century, as the members of the younger generation find out what was wrong among the things that their elders said. So you must always be skeptical — always think for yourself.
Do not let yourself be tainted with a barren skepticism.
No idea is above scrutiny and no people are beneath dignity.
Distrust your judgment the moment you can discern the shadow of a personal motive in it.
You cannot depend on your eyes when your imagination is out of focus.
The easy confidence with which I know another man’s religion is folly teaches me to suspect that my own is also.
When even the brightest mind in our world has been trained up from childhood in a superstition of any kind, it will never be possible for that mind, in its maturity, to examine sincerely, dispassionately, and conscientiously any evidence or any circumstance which shall seem to cast a doubt upon the validity of that superstition. I doubt if I could do it myself.
The capacity to combine commitment with skepticism is essential to democracy.
Given the power and influence that science increasingly has in our daily lives, it is important that we as citizens of an open and democratic society learn to separate good science from bunk. This is not just a matter of intellectual curiosity, as it affects where large portions of our tax money go, and in some cases even whether people’s lives are lost as a result of nonsense.
Skepticism is not a position that you stake out ahead of time and stick to no matter what.
The skeptic does not mean him who doubts, but him who investigates or researches, as opposed to him who asserts and thinks that he has found.
Skepticism is a virtue in history as well as in philosophy.
I view my role now as providing more of a macro-level skepticism, rather than saying this poll is good or this poll is evil.
The catchword I use with my classes is: The authority of the writer always overcomes the skepticism of the reader.
Skepticism is the beginning of Faith.
In science, a healthy skepticism is a professional necessity, whereas in religion, having belief without evidence is regarded as a virtue.
A universal skepticism is limited by its own criteria. If we assume it to be true, then it is false.
The logic of validation allows us to move between the two limits of dogmatism and skepticism.
Every reporter inhales skepticism. You interview people, and they lie. You face public figures, diligently making notes or taping what is said, and they perform their interviews to fit a calculated script. The truth, alas, is always elusive.
Reflect on everything you hear, but believe only on proof.
I simply haven’t the nerve to imagine a being, a force, a cause which keeps the planets revolving in their orbits and then suddenly stops in order to give me a bicycle with three speeds.
Skepticism is unbelief in cause and effect.
Everyone — pantheist, atheist, skeptic, polytheist — has to answer these questions: ‘Where did I come from? What is life’s meaning? How do I define right from wrong and what happens to me when I die?’ Those are the fulcrum points of our existence.