|Skeptical About Splitting Hares?
Toward this end I'd like to clarify terms between cynicism, skepticism and doubt. These terms are often conflated in conversation, in spite of there being clear differences to their core approach. (to be sure there are fuzzy overlaps in these terms, alas my desire is to solidify the core position behind these abstractions to enable a better understanding)
Skepticism might be better phrased as scientific skepticism. Essentially, skepticism tends to be a mindset that requires that proposed claims provide statistically significant, supporting evidence to be taken seriously. In effect, skepticism rejects claims that have not stood up to honest examination, accepts claims which have stood up to scrutiny, and generally remains agnostic to positions that have insufficient supporting data and premises.
Cynicism, on the other hand, tends to be a mindset which preemptively sees the motives and outcomes of people, organizations and the world at large as overwhelmingly negative. In effect, cynicism rejects ideas and their pursuit an interal framework which perceives ill intentions of people and the general futility of positive progress.
Doubt, on yet the third hand, is a slightly different creature. Doubt tends to be a gut level seed of curiosity that questions a reality claim, a moral stance, or the motives of people and organizations. Hope, in fact, could be considered doubt's quintessential complement, each aspect entangled with the other in a spinning, dualistic dance. As such a healthy curiosity will exhibit both doubt and hope alongside a desire to navigate toward the best, most honest answers to these explorations.
|I'd Buy That For a Dollar!
In my opinion, skepticism also tends toward seeking a mindful, understanding of why many might be won over by a claim as outrageous as a promise of immortal youth. Alas I'll leave sympathy and empathy for another hair splitting blog!