Tuesday, October 28, 2008

Gullible

I'm not sure I can truly be classified as a skeptic even now, since I still have quite a few pesky little irrational beliefs that aren't going anywhere, but I have to admit that I was far from it as a little kid. This provided great entertainment for those around me.

I was always the first to believe that Girl A was dating Boy B, even if they were the most unlikely pair on the face of the earth -- it wasn't faith in the power of love, just being utterly willing to believe anything.

My father had me convinced for years that the Mima Mounds (an odd geological feature in the south Puget Sound area) were Indian burial grounds. I didn't find out until many years later that nobody actually knows where they came from, but since the explanation seemed to get longer and scarier every time, it perhaps should have clued me in to the fact that this was an elaborate story.

I seem to have blocked out the worst incidents of people telling me long and complicated stories just to see how long I'd believe them, but I have many vivid memories of a burning face, tears coming to my eyes even as I shamefacedly laughed, "Well, I didn't know."

I guess it's not too surprising for a woman to turn to at least low-level skepticism in simple self-defense, if you're talking about a woman who did not stop to think until her twenties that they didn't really have to go out looking to find a real Wookiee to play Chewbacca.

(And yes, "gullible" IS in the dictionary. I looked.)

3 comments:

Jeremy Rice said...

I've been pretty hard-core as a skeptic since 1995 or so... and I've even just now shedding off some of my irrational beliefs.

It never ends.

DrASK said...

Skepticism is not a thing your wear, it's a thing you do. It's something you learn and apply. We all come by it unnaturally through learning.

steveisgood said...

For my money, the real journey that a skeptic makes is to figure out the irrational beliefs they carry, then try to put them through the intellectual ringer. If they survive, great. If not, it's time to let them go.

As a human, I'm fairly certain that I carry more than one irrational belief/set of beliefs, and I'm been trying to figure out what it is.

In the words of Penn Jillette, "Everybody got a Gris-gris". A Gris-gris (pronounces greegree) is a voodoo talisman that people carry around with them. I'm still trying to find what my gris-gris is.

Out of curiousity, what's yours?