Reams of information shooting at us via searches, social networks and email often make it hard to tell whether information is accurate. Expat Aussie writer and intellectual Clive James offers a thought-provoking summary on BBC News on why scepticism remains a useful value on nearly every occasion.
Picture by ronhogan
In typically discursive fashion, James addresses the issue by discussing the way in which golf balls can accidentally get introduced into the potato crisp manufacturing process. However, he quickly extends that to more topical issues such as climate change, and the crucial importance of realising that as more facts emerge, you may have no choice but to change your mind:
A conjecture can be dressed up as a dead certainty with enough rhetoric and protected against dissent with enough threatening language, but finally it has to meet the only test of science, which is that any theory must fit the facts, and the facts can't be altered to suit the theory.
For more of James' thoughts, check out his views on how clutter can help build tolerance.
In praise of scepticism [BBC News]