General Question

wundayatta's avatar

Taking religion off the table, what are you skeptical about?

Asked by wundayatta (58604points) May 17th, 2009

Please describe it, and how you became skeptical, and why you are skeptical.

No skepticism about religion; that’s been covered all too well elsewhere.

Observing members: 0 Composing members: 0

46 Answers

lefteh's avatar

(looks at topics) Objection Your Honor, leading the witness!

Simone_De_Beauvoir's avatar

I am skeptical that countries will stop producing nuclear weapons even if they say they will; I am skeptical that world peace is possible; I am skeptical that the end of the world is upon us and that in 2012 something will happen; I am skeptical that alien abductees were really abducted by aliens; I am skeptical about lots of things but love ain’t one of them

Aethelwine's avatar

Politicians and the media.

Do I really need to explain why?

AstroChuck's avatar

Everything. Question everything.
Why? Life experience.

nikipedia's avatar

1. I’m skeptical about non-Western medicines. I feel like in general Western science and medicine have a pretty good idea of how things work, and when I hear a treatment that introduces something that doesn’t fit into my understanding of the body or of biology in general, I get skeptical. I guess because the two options are either: (1) my understanding of biology is flawed, or (2) that the treatment in question doesn’t actually work. It’s a lot easier to discount a single foreign treatment than an entire body of knowledge. (There is, of course, a third option—that the treatment does work, and it does fit into our understanding of the body, and I just didn’t see the connection right off.)

2. Right now I’m skeptical of the dual process theory of recognition memory, and explaining why would involve the 1200 words I’m about to write for a takehome exam on the topic.

3. I’m increasingly skeptical of people’s ability to form happy long-term relationships. Beyond personal experience and specific examples, it just seems like people are generally stubborn, unwilling to compromise, fundamentally unkind to each other, lacking in understanding, dishonest with themselves and with others, and filled with contradictory desires and intentions.

Blondesjon's avatar


It’s way too stretchy and gooey for me.

rooeytoo's avatar

Statistics. Someone is always quoting them and they always sound iffy!

evelyns_pet_zebra's avatar

Ghosts, the paranormal in general, ESP, UFOs, Homeopathic cures, the existence of certain figures from a historical standpoint, and most importantly, hillbilly intelligence.

Ain’t no evidence for any of those things that passes scientific muster. Either give me extraordinary evidence for your extraordinary claims, or shut the fuck up. heh heh

Ivan's avatar

AstroChuck beat me to it, but if I had to be slightly less general, I would say I am skeptical of anything supernatural.

DarkScribe's avatar

Anything that is told to me by a person above the age of five if they are wanting something. Any claim in advertising to “care” about others. Any claim that a food product is healthy.

KatawaGrey's avatar

I’ve always been skeptical about the motivation of certain nice guys. You know the ones I’m talking about. I’m talking about those guys who whine about never having a girlfriend and claim they are such nice guys because they listen to their female friends complain about boyfriends, because they go shopping with their female friends, because they are just oh so wonderful. Yeah, I’m not sure if any of them are nice guys or if they’re just horny guys who are trying to take a passive approach to getting laid.

Aethelwine's avatar

@KatawaGrey Go with your gut on that one. Trust me!

KatawaGrey's avatar

@jonsblond: Voice of experience: I do now. And they are assholes.

girlofscience's avatar

Infomercials, get-rich-quick plans, pyramid schemes.

janbb's avatar

I’m skeptical about Dick Cheney’s claims that his methods of interrogation kept the country safe from further terrorist attacks. In fact, I’m skeptical about anything he says.

Gobbles's avatar

Pilgrim’s rights.

ccbatx's avatar

I’m skeptical that the government tells us everything. I mean really, everyone has secrets, especially politicians

RedPowerLady's avatar

If I say what I’m skeptical about I’ll likely be attacked and I can even guess by whom…

But here it goes, I suppose I can be brave for the sake of the question:

1. Blind faith in Science. And some science itself. I believe in non-Western sciences that often contradict Western Science. I’m okay with that ;)

Ivan's avatar

“faith in Science”

Somewhere, logic just exploded.

KatawaGrey's avatar

@RedPowerLady: We’ll fight back the hordes together.

evelyns_pet_zebra's avatar

@RedPowerLady blind faith in anything is bad. I for one will NOT attack you for expressing your honest opinion. We may not agree on everything, but we can still get along like civilized folks.

RedPowerLady's avatar

@KatawaGrey Haha. Oh good!

@evelyns_pet_zebra thank you!

@Ivan proving my point… but thanx for making it a short quip, lol

ABoyNamedBoobs03's avatar

Midgets… they seem up to something…

DarkScribe's avatar

The term “Medical Science”. If any other branch of science knew so little and made so many errors it would ridiculed into oblivion. They still haven’t cured a cold or even worked out what causes cancer.

bright_eyes00's avatar

I think the biggest thing that I have ever been skeptical about is people and their involvement with “love”. Its to the point where its different than it used to be. I see my grandparents and how they love each other, i’m told stories about my great-grandparents and their parents and so on. I look at my mother’s failed marriages and the number of romantic disasters that my uncles have had and its just something that has DEFINITELY altered my perception. Sadly…now I’m just too hesitant of the word and its random affiliations.

augustlan's avatar

Any and all conspiracy theories. And salesmen.

NaturalMineralWater's avatar

I have to agree with Astro… everything.

syz's avatar

(Skeptical or beyond skeptical?)

Alien visitors
Ghosts and other things that go bump in the night
Conspiracy theories (nobody’s that Machiavellian)
Homeopathy and other medicine wannabes
Lottery tickets (hey, I took statistics in college)

KatawaGrey's avatar

@DarkScribe: The “common cold” is actually not so common. Every time you get a cold, it’s a different strain. Also, the cause of cancer is mutated cells that begin multiplying out of control. That’s what tumors are.

CMaz's avatar

Everything! Human emotion, insecurity and paranoia will destroy yaaaaaaa.

Gundark's avatar

Some great answers here; I agree with a lot of them. UFOs / ghosts / get rich quick plans / “nice” guys / that world peace is possible.

I’m skeptical about a lot of stuff that is billed as “supernatural” but can’t be proven, just as I’m skeptical of any theory from any source that is asserted frequently, but supported with evidence infrequently or never. I’m skeptical that any economic or political model will result in world peace, a fully sustainable way of life, or a significant reduction in human suffering. Thousands of years of recorded history seems to teach us otherwise.

Gundark's avatar

@daloon: And furthermore, I’m skeptical that your avatar is what it looks like at a first quick glance.

janbb's avatar

I’m skeptical that people are going to come up to me in parking lots after having put a piece of paper on my windscreen and will steal my car (or worse) when I get out of the car to remove it.

I’m pretty much skeptical of anything I get in an e-mail that starts with “This is very important” and ends with “Please forward this on to as many people as you can.”

wundayatta's avatar

@Gundark My avatar is exactly what it looks like. No more, and no less. Now, I’d appreciate it if you’d get off my ass! You’re a bit heavy, and I’m not as strong as I look! ;-)

Gundark's avatar

@daloon Hey, no jokes about my weight! I’m a bit sensitive about that right now. These tiny avatars put on at least 15 pounds, I swear.

And personally, I think you’re as strong as you look. Perhaps you just don’t look as strong as you think you do.


wundayatta's avatar

I’m skeptical that this little side conversation will actually go anywhere.

LostInParadise's avatar

I am skeptical of scientific statements, particularly anything regarding nutrition or mental health. The scientific process will eventually weed out incorrect statements, but along the way there is a lot of false information that seems to come out. I had accepted that komodo dragons kill their prey by infecting them with bacteria, as odd as this seemed, but now this has been corrected to say that komodo dragons kill their prey using poison.

RedPowerLady's avatar

@LostInParadise I had accepted that pluto was a planet…. :)

Anyhow. GA

Ivan's avatar


The conclusion that komodo dragons kill their prey using poison is also a scientific statement. Science progresses, and that’s a good thing.

Critter38's avatar

In general, I’m skeptical about anything that embraces faith as a necessary component of deciding whether something is true or not.

I’m skeptical that homeopathic cures can alleviate anything but dehydration.

I’m skeptical that just because something is alternative, Asian, new, ancient, secret, unique, rare, exotic, natural, herbal, contains gel crystals, aloe vera, honey, cinnamon or a unique blend of plant extracts, it is therefore good for you.

I’m skeptical of any diet book that is sold for profit.

I’m skeptical that astrology can tell you anything about your personality other than you are prone to being gullible.

I’m skeptical about the ethical consistency of any group that supports right to life arguments for human cells in a petri dish concurrently with the use of war and capital punishment as a reasonable tool for instigating social change.

I’m skeptical of any group that see unregulated sex between consenting adults as a greater threat to society than unregulated markets.

I’m skeptical of anyone that isn’t willing to use Occam’s razor to castrate an argument from authority.

Unfortunately I’m skeptical that humanity and the societies we have created are capable of averting more than 2 degrees Celsius of global warming.

Jeruba's avatar

If we can put superstition into the class of irrational beliefs and take it off the table, then I won’t need to mention it.

In that case, I’d say…

— Anything seductive.
— Advertising of every kind.
— The word of any who have something to gain by withholding information or misleading others, which includes most politicians, business executives, and legal professionals.
— The view of the world shown on commercial television and through commercial media.
In short, anything done for profit, where the interests of gain might conflict with open disclosure of the truth, and anything that makes promises that sound too good to be true.

DarkScribe's avatar

@KatawaGrey > _The “common cold” is actually not so common. Every time you get a
> cold, it’s a different strain. Also, the cause of cancer is mutated cells that begin
> multiplying out of control. That’s what tumors are._

Not disputing any of that with regard to colds, at least the Flu variety – what I said was that they have yet to cure one.

With regard to cancer, they don’t know what causes it. I have cancer currently in remission. The cancer tumour is caused by mutation in response to an immune reaction, but they still don’t know how it starts – just how it continues. They know about some carcinogens, but not why they ARE carcinogens. It isn’t science, it is theory and guesswork.

AstroChuck's avatar

To honestly think that the majority of grammarians have a true grasp of the English language.
That’s right. I just split an infinitive. Deal with it!

Sparky_'s avatar

I’m in agreement with jonsblond, ccbatx, & Jeruba regarding politicians.

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