Can You Be ‘Too Skeptical’?



Is it possible for someone to be “too skeptical”? Or as I have referred to it as being “hyper-skeptical”? I’m not sure simply because my understanding is that someone that is too or hyper-skeptical is someone thst questions everything, even the most simple, obvious of assertions. I’ve never met anyone like that. I’m not saying that person doesn’t exist, just I have no experience in interacting with anyone like that. I’ve certainly met people that were, in areas, more skeptical than I am, but then, I may have been the same with them. Is there a line to be drawn or is it just a personal perception that we may have of another person? I tend to lean toward the latter.

I do think there are people that lack a sense of skepticism; those too willing to believe most anything presented to them, especially from an authority figure, without having the slightest question. Because I, or another, may question that same authority does not make either of us hyper-skeptical. If that same authority cannot countenance doubt, then maybe that’s a good reason to doubt. In fact, for me, that’s the first indication that I should doubt.

Asking questions isn’t a bad thing to do, ever. In fact, that’s exactly how we learn isn’t it? If we all took as fact everything we heard, we’d never know anything. We have an obligation to ask about those things we’re unsure of and hold to account those same that claim to be authoritative.

Here’s an example: Around this time of year, more late spring or early summer than now, but not unusual for this time of year, I occasionally will see what is commonly known as a Roadrunner,  a bird indigenous to my area. No, I’ve never heard it go “beep-beep”, but I have seen  it on my concrete block wall, scurrying from one end to the other. Not everyday, in fact maybe only once or twice per week when I happen to be outside. No one that I mentioned this to has ever doubted that I’ve seen this bird. I might refer to someone that doubted me, a resident in my area, as overly skeptical, but more likely, agoraphobic. I’m not positive, but I think there’s medication available for that.

Of course there may be those rare occurrences, but the majority of people (I won’t say all) tend to believe without having to have extraordinary evidence, ordinary, everyday, things. That’s all skepticism really is about, being able to discern the ordinary from the extraordinary, and question those claims for which there doesn’t seem to be a logical explanation.

There are those claims that may seem extraordinary to us that in fact are not. We can’t know everything. We shouldn’t be embarrassed asking about it, and the person making the claim, should not attempt to shame the person inquiring simply because  it happens to be outside their knowledge base or experience.

We should never be afraid to question anything, well, within reason. Not knowing is the first step towards knowledge. We could all use a little more of that.


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