Skepticism is not a position; it's a process.
Dr. Michael Shermer, Founding Publisher of Skeptic
The problem of blind belief
The psychic convinced the female victim that Thomson needed to cleanse her money of a curse.
Deceivers like Thompson depend upon uncritical believers, who seem to exercise no rational thought before giving up a fortune to a stranger. Such crimes happen frequently if you monitor the news, and the victims lack the skepticism that would detect the absolute nonsense of curses, spiritual conversations, and the like.
Such uncritical believing is prevalent in our culture, and sometimes journalistic bloggers fall into the same trap, following a story on the internet or a post idea that has no foundation in logic or reason.
I consider myself an objective blogger. I mean that, while I share personal experiences, I ground my articles in solid research, reason, and skepticism. I am a skeptic.
Some people consider skeptic to mean that one simply doesn't believe in anything or disbelieves everything. However, "believers" just twist the definition in order to dismiss skeptics. But, skeptics are essential in life and journalistic blogging.
Bloggers who consider themselves journalists must assume a mantel of skepticism to maintain integrity and objectivity. Some writing will always be skewed by opinion, but a spectrum exists between total subjectivity and objectivity. Journalists should tend towards the objective end of that spectrum.
Not all bloggers must be skeptics, but those that write in a journalistic style need skepticism to provide a check on their subjective opinion. If not, people are swayed and manipulated by persuasive language to believe errors, just like the woman in Florida stripped of her money. Skepticism and the scientific method aim to determine validity and eradicate error.
Defining skepticism and the scientific method
You do a service to your readers by providing critical thought about information and ideas. Journalistic bloggers must have a higher standard than others because you bear a responsibility to your readers to provide critical writing and argument.
You want to have authority and integrity, to be an influencer, and skepticism is the perspective that will help you achieve that goal.
The second definition of skeptic in the Merriam Webster Dictionary provides a solid definition:
a : the doctrine that true knowledge or knowledge in a particular area is uncertain
b : the method of suspended judgment, systematic doubt, or criticism characteristic of skeptics
The true meaning of the word skepticism has nothing to do with doubt, disbelief, or negativity. Skepticism is the process of applying reason and critical thinking to determine validity. It's the process of finding a supported conclusion, not the justification of a preconceived conclusion.
So, if you aim to be an influential blogger, you better be prepared to employ skeptical, critical thinking to your writing. Consider the ideas in the following infographic as you prepare to adopt an objective approach to blogging.
Skepticism and the scientific method are the solution to problems plaguing journalism
The problem is that this process takes longer than just spewing ideas directly out of your brain. But, you don't want to be part of the problem for your readers. You want to be their solution. If you are, they will return to your site, and they'll bring their thinking friends with them.
You will also enjoy these related articles:
- How you can avoid ignorance [infographic and review]
- Secrets of the successful, introverted blogger
- How to find your place in the web jungle
- (We)Blog: The new, hyper-social blog
- Blogging on the edge: How to release your demons
- Resistance blogging: For independent bloggers and thinkers only [explicit lyrics]
- The Skills and Process You Need to Write a Powerful Blog Post [infographic]
What do you think about this approach to journalistic blogging?