Are you a skeptic?

If you’re like me, you probably have two types of friends on social media that post (potentially) controversial materials. The first group are the parrots, those that simply re-post or re-tweet anything that seems to have a political or religious slant that leans in a similar direction as their own. Then there are the skeptics:

skep·tic also scep·tic  (skptk)

n.

1. One who instinctively or habitually doubts, questions, or disagrees with assertions or generally accepted conclusions.
2. One inclined to skepticism in religious matters.

3. Philosophy

a. often Skeptic An adherent of a school of skepticism.
b. Skeptic A member of an ancient Greek school of skepticism, especially that of Pyrrho of Elis (360?-272? b.c.).

When a skeptic posts something (potentially) controversial, they’ve likely done their due diligence on the issue. They’ve verified their source, and are ready to debate the issue with an armoury of facts and evidence. This doesn’t mean they’re right, it means they’re worth conversing with. I strive to be an open-minded skeptic, I don’t necessarily go into a debate with the intent on winning, but more productively to learn a different perspective. In order to have a rewarding conversation, the other side should have done their own due diligence on the issue so there is some common baseline of understanding.
Think about the last thing you posted that may have pushed someone’s buttons, did you do so as a parrot, or a skeptic?
While searching online for the definition of skeptics while writing this article, I noticed that the YYJ Skeptics, a group of local self-proclaimed skeptics, is in the top 5 on Google,  and they’re meeting this evening.
If you’re in Victoria, you’ve likely heard about the dangers of wifi debate over the last couple years, that mostly seems to make headway in the school systems. I had the fortune of meeting one of the champions of the “wifi is killing us all” stance at an Ideas – Victoria meeting. Our heated discussion ended when she told me that Walmart has embedded RFID tags into all clothing there. I told her I work in privacy and am familiar with RFID, and have the technical tools to test such. I told her if she could provide me any factual/scientific evidence of RFID in their clothing, I would go with her to test it. She never showed up again. Again it’s important to distinguish being right from being a skeptic. Wifi maybe dangerous, but the last I checked, the British Colombian, Canadian, and World Health Organizations (WHO) all have no evidence of it causing cancer as is alleged. I came across this article done by the YYJ Skeptics which says the WHO doesn’t even mention wifi, but RF magnetic fields, and even those it puts at a possible risk, like coffee or nickel. I appreciated this article, as I did similar research a few months before and posted an article on it. YYJ Skeptics, people who do their research and are willing to discuss it. I like it. I see they have a meeting this evening at the James Bay Inn pub at 6pm, I hope to see you there. If not, the next time you’re bringing up something that may have polarized views, are you willing and able to discuss it with evidence, or are you parroting something with no basis in fact?
If you’re reading this after the day the article was written, check out the YYJ Skeptics Facebook page for their next event.

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