A friend of mine recently suggested that, if one is going to criticize Dr. Oz where he is wrong, one should also praise him where he is right.
No. Oz is lying to people. His education and intelligence are such that he cannot use ignorance as an excuse. He is lying to people and he surely must know what he is doing. His defence is that he is trying to give people hope. False hope. That is, he is lying to people.
Is skepticism negative? Wouldn’t it be nicer just to believe what people tell us.
No. Skepticism is the practical application of critical thinking. It’s a vital aspect of science and it can save lives. Not being sufficiently skeptical can cost lives.
Here’s an example:
Yesterday, the federal government of Canada announced conditional approval for Enbridge‘s proposed Northern Gateway pipeline which would move diluted bitumen from Alberta’s tar sands to Kitimat, where it would be loaded onto tankers which would then navigate the winding Douglas Channel, then go on to China.
This project has been opposed by hundreds of scientists, most of the First Nations in British Columbia, every environmental organization with an interest in the province, and a majority of British Columbians. Why, then, has it been approved? Alberta has bitumen to sell. China wants it. Canadian Prime Minister Stephen Harper has promised it to China. The fastest and most most direct way to get it from Alberta to China is a pipeline across northern British Columbia.
I often see my fellow atheists saying or implying that Christian apologists are all necessarily morons, idiots, etc.. No. That’s stupid. People like Michael Behe, William Lane Craig – and, yes, even Ken Ham – are obviously very intelligent human beings. The mistake you’re making is that you think it’s about intelligence. It’s not. It’s about values. A fairly dim-witted person can understand that religious claims are without rational basis and a very intelligent person can choose to ignore that fact. Some people value reason and evidence above tradition, comfort, and dogma. Some don’t.