Are you a cynic, or simply skepticky? Perform steps I – III below and rate yourself on the Cynic Scale. You might be surprised at what you discover.
Skeptic or cynic? You might be surprised at what you find.
Scepter means in Latin, to ‘palm’, hold, touch or examineCynic means in Latin, ‘dogged’, doglike in denial, doubting, scoffing
Step I – Rate your agreement with each of the following statements from 1 to 5, with 5 indicating most agreement that this statement represents your sentiment or usual actions as applicable.
2. I think that skepticism should be employed to evaluate most likely conclusions on an issue, especially if it aids the effectiveness and focus of science or scientists. 1 2 3 4 5
3. I sometimes identify myself to others as a skeptic when in an online discussion in which claims are made which are questionable, but I am not a cynic. 1 2 3 4 5
4. I am wise to apply doubt or critical thinking to any subject or claim before I have the access or time to research it more. 1 2 3 4 5
5. When examining evidence behind a claim, I often start with a certain set of reliable reference resources then branch out from there for more depth. 1 2 3 4 5
6. I apply doubt, critical thinking or skepticism and it has made me a more trustworthy person whom to ask about challenging issues. 1 2 3 4 5
7. If I spend too much time among the believers I tend to get weary and need to reconnect with my peers, if not for simply a little comic relief. 1 2 3 4 5
8. If we are to start the process of science, I like to ask a question as the first step. After all, that is the scientific method. 1 2 3 4 5
9. My powers of perception or discernment are above average. 1 2 3 4 5
10. With some exceptions, my peers in skepticism tend to agree with most of my positions and I agree with most of theirs. 1 2 3 4 5
11. I can name a couple forums/subjects where conspiracy theorists seem to gather in higher number. 1 2 3 4 5
12. When hit with a challenging claim, my first thought is to examine the evidence behind it, if any. 1 2 3 4 5
13. Agents for various irrational beliefs are at times now posing as ‘skeptics.’ 1 2 3 4 5
14. I sometimes am aghast at the level of bunk accusations targeting our corporations, medical and food producers. 1 2 3 4 5
15. All things being equal, I will pretty much always tend to side with the consensus of scientists on a controversial matter. 1 2 3 4 5
16. I think that people who believe irrational things and/or mislead others should be held to some form of public or humorous example. 1 2 3 4 5
17. I think in terms of skepticism when the contentions of a pseudoscience come up, but I am not a cynic about it. 1 2 3 4 5
18. I am usually more comfortable when citing the conclusions of science, than swallowing bunk without evidence. 1 2 3 4 5
19. I don’t regularly read pseudoscience research; it would for the most part be a waste of time. 1 2 3 4 5
20. I regularly apply doubt and critical thinking on subjects outside my field(s) of expertise. 1 2 3 4 5
Now tally up the total of points you earned on questions 1 – 20.
Step II – Now, add 20 points to your score tally from Step I.
Step III – Now find your position on the Scale of Cynicism above.
Skeptic (20 – 65) – You have a healthy perspective on knowledge and the pitfalls of human nature and knee jerk thinking. You are skeptical of self first, then skeptical of claims to represent truth and official knowledge. Yes you are skeptical of extraordinary claims, but you understand that this is not the only domain for its application. You do not seek to control or deceive self or others – rather seek to simply find out what is going on through proactive investigation, without a prejudiced desire for specific outcomes. You don’t see evidence as a thing to be brought to you on a silver platter, and recognize that most of science does not operate on ‘proof.’ You can spot a cynic a mile away and well before they can even spot themselves.
Skepticky – (66 – 87) – You have heard all the propaganda regarding skepticism and what it is, and some of it was sticky. You put on this pretense like a fashionable coat and wore it – but didn’t think too much through what you were actually adopting as a character and life’s philosophy. Inside, you have a sincere desire to follow the evidence, yet are hampered by exempting self and other ‘skeptics’ from your skepticism, thoughts about ‘proof’ and the burden of ‘claims’ being brought to you. Because this seems to sound right, right? This renders you vulnerable to being used as a functional cynic as opposed to a real skeptic. Real cynics would not even give you the time of day, save for your spouting off the familiar one liners. So you do. Shake loose these shackles and learn what real skepticism is about.
Social Cynic – (88 – 120) – You are a full-on cynic, but being acutely aware that such an approach to life is both bad science and bad character, you seek to hide this flaw from both yourself and those around you. Your ‘skepticism’ comprises a set of mandatory beliefs couched inside a few key good sounding thoughts you overheard from allies in forum arguments or from celebrities about skepticism. Try and find even one thing you disagree with social skeptics on. I bet you can’t. That is a sad state of affair. Try and tell yourself that you don’t have a target group which you disdain for their beliefs. Your self won’t believe you. You need a skepticism and possibly a character overhaul. A life spent anesthetized through code phrases, blinded from understanding its own cynicism, is a life which is very less likely to result in any benefit to mankind.