Tackling what scepticism is and explaining how to recognize pseudo-scepticism is one of the main driving forces for articles on Real Sceptic. A lot of the misinformation and incorrect scientific claims you’ll see originate from pseudo-sceptics, and knowing how to recognize them and their unsupported claims is important. Without the proper tools you’re vulnerable to the misinformation they spread.
It’s also important to distinguish between scientific scepticism, pseudo-scepticism, and the common colloquial usage of scepticism. If you don’t differentiate between these three you won’t be able to recognize what and who you’re dealing with. Something pseudo-sceptics often ruthlessly exploit in the media to give a ‘counter point’ to valid science.
[S]cepticism doesn’t start with the viewpoints and claims of others, and being sceptical about those does not make you a sceptic. Being a sceptic starts with examining your own viewpoints, the positions you hold, the claims you make and the quality of evidence you use for those.
It’s a recurring theme in my content ever since. It was the inspiration for my very first article The Skepticism In Skeptical Science on Skeptical Science in which I really dive into the difference between the three types of scepticisms. With the follow-up Judith Curry: What Is Skepticism, Anyway? published here on Real Sceptic after the strange response from Judith Curry to the original article.
Which didn’t surprise me, considering how she only seems to be sceptical about anything that doesn’t affirm her own position. This one-way street kind of ‘scepticism’ is what defines pseudo-scepticism and is a far cry from what you normally see in science. When I interviewed Michael Mann he gave a very to the point explanation about the difference between science and pseudo-scepticism:
It’s finding moments like these in the footage that we captured that really makes me glad that I had realsceptic.com on my AGU badge.