Why Skeptics shouldn't have Heroes

By Michael Edmonds 21/07/2014 4


While there are some skeptics who I admire for their contribution to skepticism there are none who I would describe as my heroes. Assigning someone “hero status” implies that they can do no wrong, and more importantly, that their decisions or behaviour is beyond question.  This is not a valid skeptical position, as we are all capable of making mistakes.

The danger of treating prominent skeptics as heroes is that they(and their fans) may start to believe they are beyond reproach. And this has caused issues in skeptical communities overseas, as is well described in the following video.

 


4 Responses to “Why Skeptics shouldn't have Heroes”

  • > Assigning someone “hero status” implies that they can do no wrong, and more importantly, that their decisions or behaviour is beyond question<

    Really?! I would challenge this "convenient" definition. A hero is simply someone whom one admires and aspires towards. There is no implication of infallibility or perfection. So, nice straw man argument!

    • Stephen,

      You are most welcome to challenge my convenient definition of hero. In the same way that I would question your definition – does one always “aspire towards” their heroes?
      Perhaps another term would have been better. However, I think the main point is clear – some “skeptics” have “heroes” who they choose not to question when they do questionable things and that this is not skeptical behaviour.

  • I dunno. Looks like a few pots calling the kettle black to me. Dawkins is merely an athiest (and skeptic) male “authority” calling out the multitude of religious male “authorities” isn’t he? Fight fire with fire is a pretty good ploy.