Skepticism is a dynamic attitude to the world around us. It is not a dogmatic approach restricted by “accepted wisdom”, but a serious and sincere appraisal of claims of how the world works.
In the case of Australian Skeptics, that appraisal concerns claims of the paranormal and pseudoscience – claims that often seem to contradict how we understand the way the world around us works and apparently conflict with established scientific knowledge. This is not to say that such claims are rejected out-of-hand; far from it. Such an attitude would be cynicism or dogmatism, not scepticism.
Seek the evidence
Skeptics sincerely assess claims of the paranormal, but always with the understanding that extraordinary claims require extraordinary evidence. It is largely up to the claimants to provide such evidence. If someone tells you they can fly, Skeptics would respond “Show me … but under controlled conditions which rule out any chance of fakery or mistaken understanding.”
Skeptics undertake their own research – whether in the field or desk-bound – as well as assess the claims of others. They partake of constructive dialogue and discussion. They share ideas and experiences through a wide range of media. And they do so with an attitude that is not influenced by existing (and often restrictive) religious or philosophical beliefs, priorities or desires.
Overall, scepticism is a common sense and positive approach that allows us to enjoy our position in the world without the blinkers of fear or ignorance, but with a positive and informed attitude that comes from true critical thinking.