During my brief encounter with Evolution FairyTale, one of the members called me, "Skeptic!" in the same sense that you might call somebody, "Murderer!" It was plain that he considered skepticism a belief - and an evil one at that.
But I took the intended insult as a compliment. I consider skepticism the natural starting point for any inquiry. First you ask the question; then you look for possible answers; then you ask if the answers are adequate.
It's a never-ending process that may get you closer to truth/knowledge but it never gets you "there".
Edited by ringo, : Inflated my ego by capitalizing "I".
The Truth was before Abraham, before Jesus, and before you or I.
You say The Truth and I say the "truth". In case it isn't already clear, I'm mocking the concept of Ultimate Truth. If there is such a thing as The Truth, it's pretty near certain that you don't know what it is.
Skepticism is the habit of always asking, "Is that true?" not thinking you alreay have all of the answers.
And all this you ask for was resolved when the Scientific Method was devised in the 18th century. Scientists thens began gathering facts about Reality which everyone (willing to set up the exact same laboratory conditions) would observe.
Yes, but the scientific method can only approach "truth". It can devise an image that resembles reality more and more closely but the image can never be reality. Thus, it makes no difference whether "Absolute Truth" or "Ultimate Truth" exists at all. It is irrelevant to our understanding of reality.
So skepticism is the understanding that Truth, if it even exists, can not be known and therefore we must continuously keep looking for approximate truth.
If the model fits reality better - i.e. predictions made from the model "work" - then the tweaks made it better. Otherwise, we untweak the tweaks.
Random fiddling would hardly be strictly speaking scientific -- what events cause tweaking to be considered?
I don't think the tweaking is caused by "events" per se. I think it's a natural human behaviour to want to know "more".
There's a survival advantage in wanting "more" of something - e.g eating more than you need because tomorrow you might not have enough, or hoarding for a time of famine. (Unfortunately, overeating and hoarding have disadvantages too in a situation where resources are practically unlimited.)
Wanting more food extrapolates easily to wanting more information.
So a trial-and-error approach to getting more information seems natural enough. Science is just a refinement of that trial-and-error method.
What about "events" that force tweaking, wholesale revision or discarding of the model?
Nothing "forces" tweaking. That's why models like "God" still exist.
Aren't they important in the scientific process?
We're not talking about the scientific process specifically. We're talking about scepticism in general. In the more rigourous form of scepticism, known as science, an objective consensus may "force" major tweaking.
And yet, technically, in the field of science, does not invalidation of an hypothesis "force" tweaking, wholesale revision or a complete discarding of the model?
If that is true\valid in science, then isn't that same approach valid\rational outside science?
It can be a valid approach but the rigor of science isn't necessarily applicable to every question. There may be some areas where a "Scepticism Lite" approach is more useful.
So should we be more or less skeptical of concepts that are in discord with other concepts or evidence, when compared to ones with no (or less) discord?
I'm not sure that scepticism is something that can be measured. We can look at something scientifically when there is a significant amount of evidence pointing in one direction or another. However, we can be sceptical even when there is no evidence.
We know objectively that wolves exist and we can infer from the villagers' fear of wolves that they exist in the vicinity. The failure to find evidence of a wolf on any particular occasion or series of occasions does not change the fact that wolves do exist in the vicinity. The failure of any or all attempts to find a wolf has no effect on the probability of the next wolf report being accurate.