Skepticism

Skepticism is slow suicide.

Life itself is a bubble and skepticism, and a sleep within a sleep.

Skepticism, riddling the faith of yesterday, prepares the way for the faith of tomorrow.

The truth survives, the untruth perishes. Men have but little capacity for the recognition of truth at first sight, and of a hundred things which seem plausible, it is fortunate if one be true. Hence it is well that all things should be held at arm’s length and stand the scrutiny of our prejudices and interests, of our religion and our skepticism.

Skepticism means, not intellectual doubt alone, but moral doubt.

The improver of knowledge absolutely refuses to acknowledge authority, as such. For him, skepticism is the highest of duties, blind faith the one unpardonable sin.

So I say that civilizations begin with religion and stoicism: they end with skepticism and unbelief, and the undisciplined pursuit of individual pleasure. A civilization is born stoic and dies epicurean.

Neither acquiescence in skepticism nor acquiescence in dogma is what education should produce. What it should produce is a belief that knowledge is attainable in a measure, though with difficulty; that much of what passes for knowledge at any given time is likely to be more or less mistaken, but that the mistakes can be rectified by care and industry... Knowledge, like other good things, is difficult, but not impossible; the dogmatist forgets the difficulty, the skeptic denies the possibility. Both are mistaken, and their errors, when widespread, produce social disaster.

The fear of God is not the beginning of wisdom. The fear of God is the death of wisdom. Skepticism and doubt lead to study and investigation, and investigation is the beginning of wisdom.

Regardless of their prior attitudes [on near death experience] - whether skeptical or deeply religious - and regardless of the many variations in religious beliefs and degrees of skepticism from tolerant disbelief to outspoken atheism - most of these people were convinced that they had been in the presence of some supreme and loving power and had a glimpse of a life yet to come.

The capacity to combine commitment with skepticism is essential to democracy.

Religion and science wage together an incessantly continuing, never slackening fight against skepticism and dogmatism, against disbelief (Unglaube) and superstition (Aberglaube) and the guiding slogan in this fight is from times immemorial and into the whole future: Up to God! (Hin zu Gott)

I prefer credulity to skepticism and cynicism for there is more promise in almost anything than in nothing at all.

In childhood our credulity serves us well. It helps us to pack, with extraordinary rapidity, our skulls full of the wisdom of our parents and our ancestors. But if we don't grow out of it in the fullness of time, our ... nature makes us a sitting target for astrologers, mediums, gurus, evangelists, and quacks. We need to replace the automatic credulity of childhood with the constructive skepticism of adult science.

Machines are designed not to be random. When you call up a word processing program on your computer, you don't want it to be different every time you call it up. You want it to stay the same.

Unfortunately, at present, practically no one under thirty goes to workshops. It's a system of education entirely for the middle aged.

The proper method of philosophy consists in clearly conceiving the insoluble problems in all their insolubility and then in simply contemplating them, fixedly and tirelessly, year after year, without any hope, patiently waiting.

Skepticism's bad rap arises from the impression that, however necessary the activity, it can only be regarded as a negative removal of false claims. Not so... Proper debunking is done in the interest of an alternate model of explanation, not as a nihilistic exercise. The alternate model is rationality itself, tied to moral decency--the most powerful joint instrument for good that our planet has ever known.

Though I shall for convenience often speak of two standpoints, the subjective and the objective, and though the various places in which this opposition is found have much in common, the distinction between more subjective and more objective views is really a matter of degree, and it covers a wide spectrum.