Sunday, September 6, 2009

Don’t Get Fooled Again: The Sceptic’s Guide to Life

Dr John Ray introduces this review from Spiked Online: A new book on the importance of questioning received wisdom leaves out one area of life where scepticism is frowned on today: climate change. Some things are too sacred to doubt. I once gave a talk to the local skeptics group and told them that I might well be the most skeptical man in Brisbane because I didn't believe in Jesus Christ, Karl Marx or global warming. They liked the first one on that list but were decidedly cool to the second and third

When Karl Marx was asked by his daughter to fill in a ‘confession’, a light-hearted Victorian questionnaire, he declared that his favourite motto – usually attributed to Rene Descartes – was De omnibus dubitandum. Or, to put it another way, ‘question everything’. These are wise words. Any serious inquiry into the truth should start with this pithy formulation of scepticism in mind. So when Richard Wilson’s book Don’t Get Fooled Again: The Sceptic’s Guide to Life arrived in the spiked office a few months back, I was looking forward to an illuminating exploration of the role of scepticism today.

Yet while there are some sensible restatements of the basic principles that should steer readers through the modern world, Wilson’s guide seems a little trite. It’s the kind of book that might be an entertaining read for a student heading off to university rather than a sage treatment of an important idea. Judging from the book itself and Wilson’s writings elsewhere, it seems he is unwilling to follow through on the logic of his pro-sceptical approach when it comes to the central issues of our day.

Full review here.

Posted via email from Garth's posterous

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