Skepticism Is For Everyone


Last month I was in Atlanta for the Georgia Renaissance Festival. Hubby is a big renn faire junkie and that’s his home festival. So we went and got to see a bunch of people we only get to see once a year. We both love the Tortuga Twins – all three of them. In the past they were kind enough to loan me one of their wireless mikes when I performed a wedding at the North Carolina Renaissance Faire.

The way it used to work a few years ago is that, for the last performance, people would bring them beers and things would get pretty rowdy. It became an R-Rated show. Or at least as R-rated as a Ren faire performance can get. Sadly the management <cough-douchebags-cough> won’t allow them to drink on stage anymore. So we met them at the pub at the end of the day and bought them beers.

While I was talking to the gentleman who plays Scaramouche, I noticed a wristband he was wearing. It read “Think Critically”. I was thrilled out of my tree. Here’s a guy who plays a flaming, airhead poof every weekend for about 40+ weeks a year. Not someone I would ever think of as a skeptic (if you read this – sorry hon. I shoudn’t have judged the book by the pretend cover). And yet, sure enough, he listens to SGU, Skepticality and other skeptical podcasts and calls himself a skeptic. That was the little gem of the weekend.

What surprised me is that after he left I mentioned something about skepticism to one of his fellow performers and he held up both his hands waved them in a warding gesture and said “Oh no. That’s all his thing.”. I tried to explain what skepticism works but the man acted as though I had the plague, making excuses that he had to go and then he hurried off as though I had just suggested that he and I have a three way with his grandmother.

Is it possible he was just sick of hearing about skeptical things from his co-worker? Although the skeptical community is smaller, is it possible that we proselytize as bad as religious people do? Was it a deodorant FAIL?

What do you think? Does the skeptical community proselytize?

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2 Comments

  1. MaryLynne said,

    May 14, 2010 at 6:22 am

    Since I never heard there was such a thing, not enough! I can’t quite get what evangelizing “think for yourself” and “look for evidence” would be.

    I suspect what happened is the anti-skeptic man didn’t like having his beliefs challenged. When he said something like “I believe that ghosts exist because I was thinking about my grandma the other day and she hated being cold, and just then the furnace kicked on! That can’t be a coincidence – that must have been grandma!” The skeptic asked how often the furnace kicked on without thoughts of grandma, how often he thought of grandma with it starting, and if there is corroborating evidence for other explanations for the furnace turning on. I bet he waved off skepticism because he doesn’t want to have to prove what he says, he just wants to believe stuff.

  2. sgerbic said,

    May 14, 2010 at 11:05 am

    We don’t talk about it enough. Like the commeter above, I had never heard of the term (except in a nasty way) even while I was an adult. There are ways of dealing with non-skeptics and maybe this guy wasn’t smooth enough to get his message in.


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