skeptic

Definitions

  • WordNet 3.6
    • n skeptic someone who habitually doubts accepted beliefs
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Webster's Revised Unabridged Dictionary
  • Interesting fact: When potatoes were first introduced to Europe, people were skeptical and only ate the leaves, which made them sick. They would then throw away the rest, including the actual spud.
    • Skeptic (Metaph) A doubter as to whether any fact or truth can be certainly known; a universal doubter; a Pyrrhonist; hence, in modern usage, occasionally, a person who questions whether any truth or fact can be established on philosophical grounds; sometimes, a critical inquirer, in opposition to a dogmatist. "All this criticism [of Hume] proceeds upon the erroneous hypothesis that he was a dogmatist. He was a skeptic ; that is, he accepted the principles asserted by the prevailing dogmatism: and only showed that such and such conclusions were, on these principles, inevitable."
    • Skeptic (Theol) A person who doubts the existence and perfections of God, or the truth of revelation; one who disbelieves the divine origin of the Christian religion. "Suffer not your faith to be shaken by the sophistries of skeptics ."
    • Skeptic (Theol) Doubting or denying the truth of revelation, or the sacred Scriptures. "The skeptical system subverts the whole foundation of morals."
    • Skeptic Of or pertaining to a sceptic or skepticism; characterized by skepticism; hesitating to admit the certainly of doctrines or principles; doubting of everything.
    • Skeptic One who is yet undecided as to what is true; one who is looking or inquiring for what is true; an inquirer after facts or reasons.
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Century Dictionary and Cyclopedia
    • skeptic Same as skeptical.
    • n skeptic One who suspends his judgment, and holds that the known facts do not warrant a conclusion concerning a given fundamental question; a thinker distinguished for the length to which he carries his doubts; also, one who holds that the real truth of things cannot be known in any case; one who will not affirm or deny anything in regard to reality as opposed to appearance.
    • n skeptic One who doubts or disbelieves the fundamental principles of the Christian religion.
    • n skeptic An adherent of a philosophical school in ancient Greece. The first group of this school consisted of Pyrrho and his immediate followers (see Pyrrhonic); the second group formed the so-called Middle Academy, less radical than Pyrrho; and the third group (Ænesidemus in the first century, Sextus, etc.) returned in part to the doctrines of Pyrrho. Ueberweg.
    • n skeptic One who doubts concerning the truth of any particular proposition; one who has a tendency to question the virtue and integrity of most persons.
    • n skeptic Synonyms Unbeliever, Free-thinker, etc. See infidel.
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Chambers's Twentieth Century Dictionary
    • adj Skeptic pertaining to the philosophical school in ancient Greece of Pyrrho and his successors: doubting: hesitating to admit the certainty of doctrines or principles:
    • Skeptic =Sceptic; Skepsis=Scepsis.
    • adj Skeptic (theol.) doubting or denying the truth of revelation
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Quotations

  • Robert Lindner
    Robert Lindner
    “Authority has every reason to fear the skeptic, for authority can rarely survive in the face of doubt.”
  • Hosea Ballou
    Hosea%20Ballou
    “Preaching is to much avail, but practice is far more effective. A godly life is the strongest argument you can offer the skeptic.”
  • Edwin Hubbel Chapin
    Edwin%20Hubbel%20Chapin
    “Skepticism has never founded empires, established principles, or changed the world's heart. The great doers in history have always been people of faith.”
  • Ralph Waldo Emerson
    Ralph%20Waldo%20Emerson
    “Skepticism is unbelief in cause and effect.”
  • Robert Frost
    Robert%20Frost
    “Skepticism, is that anything more than we used to mean when we said, Well, what have we here?”
  • Friedrich Nietzsche
    Friedrich%20Nietzsche
    “Great intellects are skeptical.”

Etymology

Webster's Revised Unabridged Dictionary
Gr. skeptiko`s thoughtful, reflective, fr. ske`ptesqai to look carefully or about, to view, consider: cf. L. scepticus, F. sceptique,. See Scope
Chambers's Twentieth Century Dictionary
L. scepticus—Gr. skeptikos, thoughtful, skeptesthai, to consider.

Usage

In literature:

The prevailing tone of Ecclesiastes is skepticism, that of the "Thoughts" is faith.
"The Atlantic Monthly, Vol. 12, No. 72, October, 1863" by Various
He takes people and events with a saving grain of skepticism.
"Slippy McGee, Sometimes Known as the Butterfly Man" by Marie Conway Oemler
We had the almanac's word for it and years and years of precedent, but still the Weather Man was skeptical.
"Love Conquers All" by Robert C. Benchley
He said their attitude should not be called skeptical, but merely ignorant.
"The Unpopular Review, Volume II Number 3" by Various
For a moment this master skeptic, Guy, felt that he was committing the greatest folly of his life.
"His Excellency the Minister" by Jules Claretie
He was a skeptic; he believed in Jeanne, but not in the legends about her.
"The Broken Soldier and the Maid of France" by Henry Van Dyke
Although of excellent character, he was a skeptic, reading the writings of Ingersoll, Paine, and others.
"American Missionary, Volume 44, No. 6, June, 1890" by Various
Skepticism and even atheism became a fashion in our infant republic.
"Preaching and Paganism" by Albert Parker Fitch
A well-known skeptic arose and openly renounced his infidelity.
"American Missionary, Volume 43, No. 4, April, 1889" by Various
He is hard, and domineering, and uncompromising, and skeptical.
"The Gun-Brand" by James B. Hendryx
For it is not the life of a great skeptic, but the work of a great believer, which is brought before us in these volumes.
"The Atlantic Monthly, Volume 13, No. 75, January, 1864" by Various
As a fact, Jan's skepticism was amply justified.
"Jan" by A. J. Dawson
To have clashing and contradictory instruction is a sure way to sow the seeds of doubt and skepticism.
"The Way of Salvation in the Lutheran Church" by G. H. Gerberding
What, cries the skeptic, what has become of all the hopes of the time when France stood upon the top of golden hours?
"The Art of Public Speaking" by Dale Carnagey (AKA Dale Carnegie) and J. Berg Esenwein
They came forward, the believer with a business-like air, which showed practice, and the young skeptic blushing and ill at ease.
"The Bread-winners" by John Hay
Skeptics and men of the world as they are, they know that they must have a Religion.
"The Profits of Religion, Fifth Edition" by Upton Sinclair
Finally, Uncle Jim remained the only frankly skeptical member.
"The Killer" by Stewart Edward White
It may be that some of you are skeptical about things like these.
"Life and Labors of Elder John Kline, the Martyr Missionary" by John Kline
Life, with him, was a concerto of skepticisms.
"Never-Fail Blake" by Arthur Stringer
Thus another blow was struck, both at my faith in skeptics, and my faith in skepticism.
"Modern Skepticism: A Journey Through the Land of Doubt and Back Again" by Joseph Barker
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In poetry:

"And thou, in these wild, troubled days,
Misjudged alike in blame and praise,
Unsought and undeserved the same
The skeptic's praise, the bigot's blame;—
"The Chapel of the Hermits" by John Greenleaf Whittier
I smiled with skeptic mocking where they told me you were dead,
You of the airy laughter and lightly twinkling feet;
"They tell a dream that haunted a chill gray dawn," I said,
"Death could not touch or claim a thing so vivid and so sweet!"
"Realization" by Lucy Maud Montgomery

In news:

The late Austrian economist offered good reasons to be skeptical of government action.
Are global warming skeptics anti-science.
Global warming skeptics as knowledgeable about science as climate change believers, study says.
Bennett advised us to obtain a copy of History of Man and decide for ourselves whether Scientology is fact or fiction, but he sensed our skepticism.
We should be more skeptical.
Sewage skepticism, casino concerns, California liquor laws .
Skepticism surfaces about photos purported to be 'Gay Girl in Damascus' blogger who disappeared this week.
After a certain age, we all acquire a degree of skepticism as our first line of defense against being taken advantage of.
Companies claim to pair couples based on genes, but experts are skeptical.
Single-Use Systems Make Headway with Skeptics.
Mechanization meets with skepticism.
Sharon DeWitte, a member of Dr Poinar's team, was one of several skeptics who had doubted the microbe 's role.
They might get multiple questions, coupled with a side dish of parental and administrator skepticism.
On Monday, we had a Skeptics meeting with 13 present.
The WSJ Is Needlessly Skeptical of GM's Deleveraging.
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In science:

However, in their paper Deutsch and Candelas [212] expressed a certain skepticism about the validity of the result of Ref. for the spherical shell case (described in part in section 4.4) where the divergences cancel.
The Casimir effect: Recent controversies and progress
That skepticism was reinforced in a later paper by Candelas [217], who criticized the authors of Ref. for omitting δ function terms, and constants in the energy.
The Casimir effect: Recent controversies and progress
Given the failures of ordinary “Euclidean dynamical triangulations,” one might normally be quite skeptical of such a method.
Quantum Gravity in 2+1 Dimensions: The Case of a Closed Universe
The results of (2+1)dimensional quantum gravity indicate that such claims should be treated with skepticism; as discussed in section 3.11, the sum over topologies is generally dominated by an infinite number of complicated topologies, each individually exponentially suppressed.
Quantum Gravity in 2+1 Dimensions: The Case of a Closed Universe
But we could easily use testing to enhance our understanding about the inner working of cipher systems.” There will always be a couple of skeptical students who feel that testing should be as good as proving.
Learning by Test-infecting Symmetric Ciphers
Although our manipulations are formally exact, at this point the reader is perhaps rather skeptical whether they will turn out to be useful to obtain truly non-perturbative information about the interacting many-body system3 .
Bosonization of Interacting Fermions in Arbitrary Dimensions
While this is an important check of rooted simulations, it will not convince a skeptic, since one does not obtain a physical understanding of the observed behavior.
Rooted staggered fermions: good, bad or ugly?
Initially, there did not seem to be a need to bring in the Segal categories from this point of view, but further investigation led to skepticism that his functor had the necessary adjoint to give a Quillen equivalence.
A survey of (\infty, 1)-categories
The method used by Parisi to solve the SK model is far from mathematical rigor, to say the less, and it took time to convince the skeptics that it does give the correct result.
Some aspects of infinite range models of spin glasses: theory and numerical simulations
Answering the skeptics: Yes, standard volatility models do provide accurate forecasts.
Parametric and nonparametric models and methods in financial econometrics
We hope that this review has convinced even the most skeptical reader that it is now possible to strongly constrain Planck-suppressed effects motivated by QG scenarios.
Lorentz Violation: Motivation and new constraints
Capital process and optimality properties of a Bayesian Skeptic in coin-tossing games.
New procedures for testing whether stock price processes are martingales
While the magnetic interferometry experiments ultimately proved to be correct in their qualitative conclusion that the cuprates had predominantly d x2−y2 pairing symmetry, they were initially met with skepticism in some quarters [28, 29].
Probing the order parameter symmetry in the cuprate high temperature superconductors by SQUID microscopy
There was at least some rational basis for this skepticism: This class of experiments depends on conservation of Cooper pair momentum across the tunnel barrier.
Probing the order parameter symmetry in the cuprate high temperature superconductors by SQUID microscopy
While the interpretation of molecular emission in these conditions warrants skepticism (§2.4, Garc´ıa-Burillo et al. 2012), the highest inferred surface density also corresponds to the densest parts of cluster forming clumps and the theoretical threshold of 1 gm cm−2 for efficient formation of massive stars (§4.3).
Star Formation in the Milky Way and Nearby Galaxies
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