In this Edi1on:
u What is skep1cism 2 u Teaching kids about skep1cism 10 u Special interview 13 u Games 14
What is skep1cism? is the constant ques1oning Skep1cism of your beliefs and conclusions. It is the
A video link is provided below for furthermore elucida1ng about skep1cism: www.youtube.com/watch?v=wtCsstLXL9M&feature=player_detailpage
process of applying reasons and cri1cal thinking to determine validity. It is the process of trying to ﬁnd a supported conclusion to your conclusions and beliefs. Skep1cism is, or should be, an extraordinarily powerful and posi1ve inﬂuence on the world. Skep1cism is not simply about "debunking" as is commonly charged. Skep1cism is about redirec1ng aNen1on, inﬂuence, and funding away from worthless supers11ons and toward projects and ideas that are evidenced to be beneﬁcial to humanity and to the world. (Dr. Shermer) link added and Written by Ahmed Yousry Article edited by Shahd Abdelkader
Some very basic fun facts about skep1cism •
skep1cism is the same thing as cri1cal thinking :
The wik1onary gives a deﬁni1on of skep1cism as “ a methodology that starts from doubt and aims to acquire certainty” This is a form of cri1cal thinking
Extraordinary claims requires Extraordinary Evidence :
This famous quote was popularized by Carl Sagan and is a paraphrase of a quote by Marcello Truzzi
In order for an idea to be considered science it must be testable and falsiﬁable:
The most important thing about science is tes1ng hypotheses.
the belief in something in spite of lack of evidence in it, or even with the presence of strong evidence against it is called faith : Skep1cs try to avoid taking things on faith
by Ahmed Yousry Page edited by Ahmed Yousry
Some of the popular misconcep1ons about skep1cism and skep1cs
Skep%cism is a belief system. It’s not; it's a methodology. In fact it is quite the opposite of a belief system. Of course skep1cs, people who use the skep1cal method, oden have opinions that are at odds with many people's beliefs; however, that does not make skep1cism merely an alterna1ve belief system.
Skep%cism is the posi%on of non-‐belief. It is very common for people to refer to themselves or others as 'skep1cs' when they don't accept or believe something: 'global-‐ warming skep1cs', for example. This is not the correct usage of the word regarding scien1ﬁc skep1cism however. As explained above, skep1cism is a methodology and as such, claims that are supported will be accepted by skep1cs.
Skep%cs are closed-‐minded.
This cri1cism is normally made by those who believe in things that have been disproved or are unproven. Concluding that a claim is false when it fails to stand up to scru1ny is not being closed-‐minded -‐ quite the opposite, in fact; and assuming or holding the provisional posi1on that a claim is false un1l proven otherwise is also the correct approach to take (see Burden of Proof above). Forming conclusions based upon the best available evidence does not make one closed-‐minded simply because this logically-‐sound posi1on disagrees with someone's belief or desire that their belief were real.
Skep%cs do not believe in anything. This misconcep1on probably comes from philosophical skep1cism; a branch of philosophy that ques1ons whether absolute knowledge and certainty are possible. Modern skep1cism is ra2onal or scien2ﬁc skep2cism; the method of doubt and inquiry explained above. Many people also make a fallacy of equivoca1on and confuse the word skep2cal (to be doubgul) with skep2cism (the methodology) and assume that skep1cs are simply doubters or disbelievers.
Skep%cism is about opposing claims. Skep1cism is about examining claims, not opposing them. As Written by Ahmed Yousry explained, skep1cs will doubt claims un1l they can be scru1nized; this, however, is the correct way to deal with new claims. There's no Article Edited by Shahd Abdelkader logical reason to accept or reject a claim before it has been examined -‐ hence the suspension of judgments. Page Edited by Ahmed Yousry Of course skep1cs do oppose many claims, such as many involving the paranormal and pseudoscience; this is not simply an automa1c opposi1on to such claims however, it's because such claims have been examined and the suppor1ng evidence does not stand up to scru1ny. Skep%cs are debunkers. Bunk is another word for nonsense and means the opposite of something that is true or factual. To debunk something means to remove the nonsense from it and reveal what is true. Skep1cism is not about debunking per se, but debunking is a consequence of cri1cal inquiry. In fact, contrary to popular understanding, the best way of showing that something is true is that it can resist a:empts to prove it false: aNemp1ng to prove something false is a robust way of tes1ng its validity. The misconcep1on here is not that skep1cs some1mes end up debunking claims; but that the word 'debunker' is oden used as a pejora1ve term. Debunking nonsense ideas, scams, hoaxes and misleading claims is of posi1ve, not nega1ve, value. It should be made clear, however, that skep1cs do not set out with the purpose of debunking claims (i.e. holding a preconceived and unjus1ﬁed posi1on of a claim's falsity). Some claims will simply end up being debunked as a consequence of skep1cal inquiry. That's an important dis1nc1on to understand.
CHECK IT BEFORE !
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The situa%on: someone posted on Facebook that "yesterday, I was watching TV show and they brought a person who can bleed from his eyes. Then someone came to analyze that person is possessed by ghost. Applying skep%cism: Read Carefully Decide if the issue is worth genera%ng skep%cism
– Does it aﬀect your life? – Does it worth to spend 1me searching for it. – Will it nega1vely aﬀect others? – When, Where, in what context? – "Ask for the source".
Check the source.
Don't like it or share it, if it isn't reliable.
– Collect some informa1on about the author – Is it from a well known newspaper or channel which always has a reliable news. – Wikipedia isn't a good source.
Written by Eman Khreba Page edited by Ahmed yousry
Believe the media (They say) Television is one of the most credible sources of informa1on, they say. News presented in media in all forms is credible and they have very well known sources, they say. The oﬃcial government newspaper never published any faulty informa1on, they say. You are probably wondering why am I using this tone in my wri1ng? Well, as a person grows up, he/she is taught that media in its many forms is the most credible source of informa1on; because informa1on being published has gone through series of inspec1on and falsiﬁca1on and they are published because they are believed to be true. This is a common mistake we as a popula1on make. We tend to seek informa1on and once we stumble across a source, no maNer how reliable it is, we claim that the informa1on presented is a fact, or most of us do. We need to ques1on the informa1on presented, we need to be “skep1cal” about what we hear and see. How reliable is the informa1on presented is called ethos. Readers, viewers and even interviewers need to skep1c about the ethos of the informa1on presented. Before we go on and pass informa1on to the public we need to make sure that it is not faulty, this simple statement is actually what skep1cism is all about. It is about not believing everything right away and making sure the informa1on is correct by many means.
Written by Abdulrahman El-sobki Page edited by Ahmed yousry
When do children develop Skep1cism?
Children have diﬀerent quali1es in them, but the most adorable is their credulity. Children they seem to believe everything that has been told to them, from Santa Claus to the Tooth fairy. But if one stops to think about it, children’s enthusiasm to believe even more ordinary facts conveyed through language is preNy amazing. Why should children take your word for it that they live in place called “Egypt,” or that the a tall necked animal that eats trees is called a “giraﬀe.” Studies showed that a three year old is more likely to believe what they have been told then the same informa1on that is given to them but told in a diﬀerent way. There has been a study that explains this theory, there were some kids who heard an adult say that a some sort of s1cker was in one cup when the truth was it was actually in another; the rest of the kids saw the adult put an arrow on the cup without the s1cker in it. The ﬁrst trial, all the children looked in the cup that was indicated by the adult. This reﬂects a general and appropriate expecta1on that shows that adults are normally helpful in these types of situa1ons. In a later trial, the kids who saw the adult who used an arrow to mark the empty cup quickly switched to searching in the opposite cup. But the rest of the kids who heard the adult say that the s1cker was in the empty cup con1nued to look there. Some children did this about eight 1mes un1l they ﬁgured it wasn’t in the empty cup. This shows that when kids hear something they believe what has been told to them rather then using their minds. Researcher’s argued that in addi1on to whatever trust a 3 year old has the others will behave in helpful ways, and shows that they have developed a speciﬁc bias to trust what they have been told.
Some children did this about eight 1mes un1l they ﬁgured it wasn’t in the empty cup. This shows that when kids hear something they believe what has been told to them rather then using their minds. Researcher’s argued that in addi1on to whatever trust a 3 year old has the others will behave in helpful ways, and shows that they have developed a speciﬁc bias to trust what they have been told. This is actually good. Adults usually try their best to tell children the truth (or what they believe is the truth), so a default bias of this type is adap1ve: If children can just believe what they are told, they don’t have to go through the process of ﬁnding evidence to compare with argument, they don’t have to go through the 1me consuming process of evalua1ng and veracity of everything that has been told to them. Researchers have pointed out that without this kind of bias, communica1on would break down for adults, too. We would have never been able to learn about things outside of our own experience, for an example. Dan Gilber a graduate form Harvard University suggested that adults do originally accept as true informa1on they are presented, but not like children they can later go back and “unaccept” the informa1on that has been given to them. The ques1on is, when do children develop the skill skep1cism, or the ability to not believe everything that is told to them? It’s quit complicated, but could be explained. Lets go back to the s1cker experiment, instead of three year olds, the researchers got as well 4 years old, they have liNle diﬃculty ignoring or doing the opposite of that they are told in this kind of situa1on. But of course, there is a huge amount of variability in how gullible children and adults can get. A few of the 3 year olds in the study have stopped believing what the adults have told them ader being misled. In fact, using other techniques, Melissa Koenig of the University of Minnesota and Cathy Echols of The University of Texas at Aus1n have iden1ﬁed what might be considered skep1cism in some infants as young as 16 months. In that work, an adult referred to a dog as a “ball,” for example, and some infants objected in various ways (e.g., shaking their heads, looking quizzically at their mothers, saying “no”). Written by Shahd Article edited by Ahmed yousry
Page edited by Ahmed yousry
Teaching kids about Skep1cism Those who are raising their children without any religion or believing in God, they should teach them how to be skep1cal, how to employ in cri1cal thinking, and how to apply the standards of skep1cism to religious and paranormal claims that they may encounter. They should be able to do so, but with respec1ng others and not aNacking those who hold these beliefs. Some1mes in life there will be those who should be cri1cized personally, but it should not be the ﬁrst tac1c, they must listen to others and be able to take in their argument. The reason why children need to learn to be skep1cal is because in their life 1me they will encounter a large number of claims, ideas, and opinions that they can’t assume that they are all true. On the opposing, most are probably false or at least somewhat false. It would be wrong to accept all the claims a face value, and a reliable, reasoned, “skep1cism is a good way to separate the wheat from the chaﬀ.” The best way for inves1ga1ng claims is going through the scien1ﬁc checklist (also known as the scien1ﬁc method) this is to be used to inden1fy if a claim is true or not. Teaching children to become skep1cal isn’t as easy as teaching them how to do math or learning about history. There aren’t any lists to memorize or following any types of procedures that can be repeated the same way. On the other hand skep1cism can be more about the astude and peoples perspec1ve rather than knowledge. Children need to learn cri1cal, skep1cal, and scien1ﬁc habits, it’s a way of look at claims and being able to reason through the ideas they hear. These kind of habits have to be developed over 1me and taken in small steps for it to grow gradually.
Luckily for atheist parents, their kids are naturally skep1cs and always asking ques1ons. Their fondness for asking ques1ons about everything has driven more than one parent to distrac1on. It may get annoying but a child’s desire to ask ques1ons should be encouraged rather than discouraged. Parents love to appear to know everything, but they should know its important for them to be able to say “I don’t know” to some of the ques1ons. Saying “I don’t know” allows each parent to teach their own children that no one knows everything and it isn’t always necessary to know all the answers. This gives the parents the chance of teaching their children how to use diﬀerent kinds of resources such as the encyclopedias and dic1onaries to research ques1ons in order to arrive at their own answers. It teaches them how to become skep1cal and to become independent. This is one of the most important lessons for parents teaching their own children to be skep1cal in their approach to life. People must know that its okay not to know everything, but its not okay to pretend you know something or making up an answer simply because it ﬁts in with your preconcep1ons. It’s all right to ask ques1ons and wan1ng to know more, but it isn’t ok to assume you know enough and having nothing new to learn or understand about the world. This is the type of astude one must have to be able to exercising skep1cism and cri1cal thinking, or applying the scien1ﬁc methods to learning about the world. Simply teaching kids about how to research ques1ons and learn their own answers, weather through the Internet of in books or their own experiments, you will also be teaching them many accepts of skep1cism, cri1cal thinking, and science. To become skep1cal and cri1cal, it means taking responsibility for what you believe and being ac1ve in life. Teaching children to become independent and taking responsibility for researching the answers to their own ques1ons means, it teaches them not to simply rely on what authority ﬁgures tell them. You’ll be teaching them to become more independent. Written by Shahd Article edited by Ahmed yousry Page edited by Ahmed yousry
These photos are a funny and very natural way to explain what skep1cism is. Since words are a bit boring for some people, I have made a video that would basically show what is the concept of skep1cism in less than a minute. Video Link: www.youtube.com/watch?feature=player_detailpage&v=ZYvKVTSREBw
Video made and posted by Abdulrahman El-sobki Written by Abdulrahman El-sobki Page edited by Ahmed yousry
Special Interview We had the chance to meet with Dr. Aziza el Lozi, she Agreed to answer some of our ques1ons about skep1cism and many of it’s related subjects. Dr. Aziza is a professor at the American University in Cairo. Link to the video : www.youtube.com/watch?v=lUaoXn0yF5s&feature=player_detailpage
Games sec1on Words Puzzle
I E U X F N S K E P T I C S P
A D J Q O O C R P F X J S M Z
U P E F E I Y C U X S N F S H
M T A A N T J Z B J E C B I E
F X W C C U R V V I E E J C I
S A E S U L V F L P L E S I D
O E L J Z O G A X K F K A T A
D V S S N V L S D I J T O P R
I K E E I E W X L G K S F E D
P K I L H F E N U S U T E K E
Puzzle solu1on :
G E N E S T I G R X M A R S Q
D A R W I N O A I N P R O V T
K E J F V P O P B M P S P M H
E C N E D I V E Y L T H N V Y
E L B A T S E T V H E Y W C X
ALIENS DARWIN EVIDENCE EVOLUTION FALSIFIABLE GENES HYPOTHESES IDEA LIFE SKEPTICISM SKEPTICS STARS SUN TESTABLE
Phrase solu1on :
Extraordinary claims requires Extraordinary Evidence
Games added by Ahmed Yousry Page edited by Ahmed yousry
Ø Ahmed yousry Ø Shahd Abdelkader
Ø Eman Khrieba
Ø Abdulrahman El sobki
Magazine design and Edi1ng: Ø Ahmed Yousry