Tuesday, 1 September 2009

Good skeptical questions and personal beliefs

Yesterday I watched a video on "how to ask good skeptical questions". When someone makes a claim, it's a good idea to be able to think about it from a number of angles before swallowing it whole. However, the last of the 10 example questions seemed slightly off to me: "Are personal beliefs driving the claim?"

The problem with that question, as I see it, is that personal beliefs are inseparable from fact interpretation. If you're doing science, you're observing and interpreting facts, and all fact interpretation starts with a set of expectations or a world view. If you think the universe came about a certain way, you will naturally interpret your observations that way. Your observations are empty without interpretation, and your interpretation will always come from your world view. So personal beliefs drive every scientific claim, whether past, present or future.

Mokalus of Borg

PS - I enjoy debating this kind of thing.
PPS - But I prefer to do it face to face, not online.

No comments: