The Fledgeling Skeptic


I have been writing this blog for almost a year now. As a matter of fact it will be a year on August 5 that I posted my first article. I admit that I have had plenty of stops and starts. That’s a polite way of saying that there have been plenty of times when I wrote articles that just plain sucked. Like the time I didn’t check my sources on the meat article I wrote. or the time I said that eye witness testimony wasn’t used in court because it was flawed.

Yeah, I’ve written a few downright dumb statements. BUT that’s why I called myself the Fledgeling Skeptic.

After a year of writing and investigating and learning how to evaluate sources and information, I have to wonder if I can still call myself a fledgeling skeptic. At DragonCon this year I will actually be speaking about skepticism and its application in daily life. Granted it’s not a paid gig, but I’m still speaking at one of the bigger skeptical gatherings in the US. That’s a pretty long way for a fledgeling.

I also started a science-based educational nonprofit, The Great Experiment Scholarship. The GES funds small-scale science experiments at home or in the classroom. This is a project that is near and dear to my heart. My goal is to encourage critical thinking by inspiring the fulfillment of curiosity. Want to know the “why” of something? Run your own experiment and let us make you a Science Rock Star. Is that something a fledgeling does?

As far as articles go, while I have written some real stinkers, I’ve also written some good pieces: She Double-Blinded Me With Science and my quick reference series, among others.  All of those took lots of work and I learned SO much writing them. I’ve also learned that I still have SO much more to learn.

I want to understand evolution better. I want to know more about climate change and how much impact human activity REALLY has. I want to learn about aerodynamics and particle physics and cosmology. I understand the tiniest bit of so many things and I want to know and understand so much more.

I understand the basics of skepticism. I understand how to evaluate resources and what constitutes a good resource. That was one of the hardest things for me to learn in the beginning. I had a few stinkers there once or twice, too. So I still have to ask: Am I still a Fledgeling Skeptic? At what point does one become fully fledged?

Perhaps, in this one instance, it’s a personal judgment. Perhaps you are a fledgeling for as long as you feel that you are still learning. Or is it only while you’re still learning the basics?

I think that we spend our entire lives learning. That, I believe, makes us all fledgelings at something at every point in our lives. I still call myself a Fledgeling Skeptic because I still have so much more to learn. Perhaps one day when I am as knowledgeable as James Randi, Steve Novella or Richard Dawkins, THEN I will consider myself to be fully fledged.

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2 Comments

  1. sgerbic said,

    August 1, 2010 at 12:35 am

    I love viewing the skeptical world from your eyes. I read most of your blogs but not always comment.

    We are all fledging skeptics in some way, (accept maybe Novella).

    You’ve come a long way since I met you in March and it is fascinating. I was under the impression that this blog was for you as you came “out of the woo” but also for those people who were trying to learn about skepticism without having a science background. And that is what this blog is for, people who aren’t ready to be thrown into the fire, and need to take baby steps towards reaching their critical thinking goals.

    Keep up the great work.

    • August 1, 2010 at 1:05 am

      Perhaps I’m going about it the wrong way at times. This blog IS meant to be a reference for those who need to take their skeptical journey slowly. From my perspective, much of what I have written is in bite-sized easy to understand pieces. That’s why I keep my posts to around 500 words…so that it’s not too overwhelming to the reader.

      Since it’s very easy for me to get sucked into the old ways of thinking, I try to stick with science rather than woo. I mentioned in a post about a month ago or so that I had gotten sucked in to a discussion about “energies” and Reiki with an essential oils client and before I knew it, I was right back where I was before becoming a skeptic. It’s a bit like being an addict…really easy to get sucked into old, comforting habits even though there is no scientific basis to it.

      If you have suggestions for topics I’m completely open to them. Just let me know.

      ~M~


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