Scientific skepticism is the opposite of science denial

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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 is the opposite of science denial


Scientific skepticism means demanding evidence for questionable claims, but accepting claims supported by evidence.


Both scientific skepticism and science denial involve demanding evidence for claims, but science denial rejects solid evidence because of ideology and uses a wide range of dishonest tactics to obscure the facts. Scientific skepticism, on the other hand, defends scientific models that are well-supported by evidence.

How do we know that something is factual? Scientific skepticism is an approach to questionable claims. It critically evaluates these claims using science and reason. If many independent lines of evidence converge to the same general conclusion, then scientific skepticism would encourage the provisional acceptance of this conclusion. It would not be an absolutist fanatical belief, but merely the understanding that this is the most well-supported model of the world that currently exists in a certain area. Scientific skepticism questions claims, but when provided with solid evidence, accept those claims.

However, anti-science activists often falsely claim that they are “skeptics” for rejecting mainstream science. This is nonsense because although anti-science activists question claims, they also refuse to accept the massive amount of evidence for mainstream scientific models such as evolution, climate change, the safety and effectiveness of vaccines and so on. Anti-science activists are not skeptics, they are fanatics who deny science.

– Carroll, R. T. (2011). Scientific skepticism. Mysteries and Science. Accessed: 2017-02-18.
– Gorski, D. (2011). Science-based medicine, skepticism, and the scientific consensus. Accessed: 2017-02-18.
– Shermer, M. (1997). A skeptical manifesto. Skeptic Magazine. Accessed: 2017-02-18.

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