Relaunched and Rebranded: Introducing Skeptical Sundays
So it’s been a while since I wrote…well, anything here, much less a Secular Sunday post. I’m hoping to get back in the groove of things, but as I do, I wanted to put a new face on it.
A few commenters have made the point that my focus with Secular Sundays has been a little bit narrow, and having taken some time away, I have to agree. I want to broaden the focus out from religious nonsense, to encompass all manner of weird and unsubstantiated claims and beliefs. Secular Sunday doesn’t encompass UFOs, or homeopathy, or 2012 predictions, or the Zeitgeist movement, and I want to be able to talk about all that and more as it comes up.
Additionally, I’ve determined — like others before me — that I don’t wish to be defined solely by what I don’t believe. “Atheist” implies that “theist” is a baseline from which one deviates (when in fact the reverse is true, we are all born without god-belief and must have it taught to us), and only expresses one particular claim I do not currently accept. Instead, I prefer to define myself by something I do hold to be true: I am a skeptic.
Being a skeptic doesn’t mean doubting everything and never holding a solid belief, as seems to be the popular connotation (weirdly, the same connotation is applied to the word “agnostic” and in neither case is it appropriate). What it means is that I have a certain standard of evidence that must be met before I will accept a claim as true — and, more importantly, I apply this standard consistently across all aspects of life. I cannot accept a claim just because I would like it to be true, and I cannot dismiss a claim just because I would not. The claim must stand or fall on its own merits.
I considered rebranding this to “Scientific Sundays,” as usually an unsupported claim crumbles when confronted with science and so there’d be a lot of that. I also want to be able to post about scientific discoveries that have nothing to do with debunking false claims — other than the fact that every success of science proves the efficacy of the scientific method, and implicitly debunks any claim that the scientific method is empty or unreliable. Not being a scientist, however, I feel that calling it “Scientific Sundays” would be hubris on my part.
So, the best catch-all name that maintains the alliteration on which I’ve become fixated is “Skeptical Sundays.”
To kick things off, I wanted to share this video of scientist Richard Feynman, expressing, with elegance, the rational view of the universe.
More to come!