Iâ€™ve been on hiatus for a few months, finishing grad school, and jumping on the bandwagon of everyone whoâ€™s getting married right now: most notably, Sid & Rebecca (last weekend), but also my brother (June), commenter Kimbo Jones (last week, I think), and a friend of our own Sam Ogden (last weekend) who missed TAM for the first time to be part of the wedding party. Congratulations, everyone!Â (If I missed your contribution to the phenomenon, let me know and Iâ€™ll edit this post.)Â
The comments in the post announcing Sid & Rebeccaâ€™s wedding were mostly congratulatory â€“ I admit to getting teary-eyed when watching it via UStream myself (also oohing, ahhing, and applauding several times in my living room). But some of the comments were critical of the concept of marriage, which got me thinking – and not about the topic of skepticism vs. marriage, which I think was addressed pretty well in the comments of that thread, but about the levels/boundaries of skepticism that differ in each of us.
As Steve Degroof said eloquently in the comments,
To all the Spocks here: Yes, marriage is irrational and ultimately unnecessary but the same could be said of wine, chocolate, jokes, art, cloud-watching, kissing and thousands of other things that make life worthwhile. Even skeptics have to draw the line somewhere.
If I had the authority to award a COTW for saying something insightful, Iâ€™d give it to him this week.
The last sentence of Degroofâ€™s comment is what got me thinking. Much like vegetarians draw the line somewhere with their vegetarianism, each of us also draws the line somewhere with our skepticism.
Letâ€™s say, for argumentâ€™s sake, that a skeptic so rational that he doesnâ€™t eat chocolate or believe in marriage is a vegan skeptic. Thatâ€™s an admirable level of rationality, but that lifestyle is not for everyone.
For example, I think Iâ€™m sort of a pescetarian skeptic. If I check Whatâ€™s the Harm and thereâ€™s no harm, only upside potentialâ€¦I donâ€™t see any reason not to try it. For example, I like to takeÂ a little extra Vitamin CÂ when I have a cold (not this much). And while Iâ€™m not a big wine or chocolate fan, I love caramel and butterscotch, ice cream, love, almost anything with rum, and being married to my husband. None of those may be completely rational, butÂ they allÂ add to the quality of my life.
Iâ€™m not the first to broach the subject â€“ Elyse asked you for your non-skeptical confessions here, to the effect of 146 comments.
So I know Iâ€™m not alone in acknowledging that we are all skeptics of varying degrees.
And IÂ think it’s positive that our boundariesÂ vary, because if we all agreed upon a certain set of beliefs and practices, skepticism might resemble the dogma of religion.