Scientific skepticism can help persuade people who are undecided

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Knowledge Base: Skepticism

Scientific skepticism is an approach that is based on evaluating questionable claims using scientific evidence, logic, reason and critical thinking. Many people and groups do not like to have their ideological beliefs questioned. A common reaction they have to skeptical investigation is to make up myths about skepticism. This section aims to refuse those claims.

Fact: Scientific skepticism can help persuade people who are undecided


Scientific skepticism can promote evidence and reason to convince people who are unaware or undecided.


Proponents of science and reason primarily attempt to persuade the large mass of people who are either unaware of some pseudoscientific beliefs or those that have heard about it, but are not yet so committed to science denial that they cannot take in reasonable objections.

Scientific skeptics often take the combat against pseudoscientific nonsense to the Internet generally and social media in particular. Although it might seem as if it is only skeptics versus hardcore science deniers, this is not always true. Scientific skeptics focus on undecided people or people who are unaware about the issues. There are many people who have never heard about chlorine bleaches as fake treatments for cancer or some convoluted conspiracy theory about the WHO. These are the people that scientific skeptics want to reach and persuade.

Some people who do not appreciate the value of scientific skepticism will scoff and say that skeptical activism is meaningless since it will never convince the true believers anyway. This is an irrelevant distraction because the goal of scientific skepticism is not to convince the hardcore fanatics, but those that might be persuaded. Debates against science deniers have an audience and that audience is the main target for rational persuasion.

– Karlsson, E. (2013). Skeptical Blogging: What’s the Point?. Debunking Denialism. Accessed: 2017-02-26.

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