Sceptics do not argue that there are no beliefs.  There are.  They argue that there are no justified beliefs and there is no such thing as knowing anything or knowing that something is likely to be true.  Scepticism is the belief that there are no proper beliefs and that nobody really knows anything or knows what they believe.  Oddly enough it accuses all who have beliefs of lying that they really believe something.  It believes that people lie or are stupid and think they do believe.

Sceptics argue that the senses can fool you, your reason might be wrong for your brain might be like a badly programmed calculator and that evidence leads you down the garden path.  We use reason to work out if our senses are perceiving correctly.  Reason tells us if evidence points to something.  So to say reason is wrong or unreliable to to say you don't really believe you have a head on your shoulders or that evidence really is evidence.  It is possible to argue that reason is only good for telling us that we know nothing for sure.  So you could be a rationalist who thinks the senses and evidence are futile as helps to truth.

It cannot be denied that there is a problem knowing how we know what we know or that we really know what we think we know.  But it is important not to make too much of the problem - it is not a big problem.  The bottom line is that something can be as good as proven even in the absence of perfect 100% proof.  Sceptics go too far.  You can know what a jigsaw that is assembled depicts though a third of the pieces are not there.


Suppose sceptics are right.  Then the more important you say what you know is the more scepticism you call for! The more you think you know then the worse it is. The more you say you need to adopt a belief as a fact the more sceptical you need to be!  So a big doctrine like God deserves deeper scepticism than a small doctrine that the cat has a tail.

If scepticism is unassailable or even just a stance that is understandable if one takes it then there are still things that deserve more scepticism than others. Scepticism is by degrees. For example, the supernatural only makes the problem of knowledge worse.  To reject the supernatural is not about bias but about helping us to see we know what we know.

So if a sceptic doubts all around her the supernatural is not a part of the mundane and thus will deserve more doubt than it.


Let us look at a sceptical argument.

1 A force could be giving us an illusion.

2 You say you know you have a book in your hand but you do not.

Conclusion: What if it is an illusion? So you don’t know that you have a book at all. You only know that you think you do.

Turri tried to to refute such scepticism. He pointed out that human nature tends to doubt and distrust suggestions or beliefs that something that appears to be the case in fact is not. He says that most of the time we are right to go with things as they appear.

So he says though we could infer that there could be a deceptive force tricking us all the time we have no reason to think it so we should not bother.  Believing that you do not really know anything for sure is a mistake for there is no reason to.  It would be different if evidence appeared.  But just to assume those things out of thin air is silly.  You cannot disregard what seems to be the case.  There is such a thing as thinking so much that you cannot see the wood for the trees.

Critics say Turri is doing the very thing he says sceptics do - assuming.  Assuming is a symptom of scepticism or ignorance.  He is doing what sceptics do to refute scepticism and that cannot work for it makes him a sceptic himself.  He is a sceptic about scepticism and so open to the same criticism he levies against it.  But not all assumptions are bad.  If we cannot assume that our faculties are okay what else can we assume?

There is no way to know 100% if scepticism is right or wrong. All you can do is try to give evidence but what if the evidence is incomplete?  It does not matter.  Evidence only points to things but it does not prove they are true.  The critics seem to be right for Turri fails to see assuming that what seems to be the case is the case is unhelpful for assuming is not knowing.  But he knows he is assuming and it is the best option.  He gets good results from doing so - why would he sit a maths exam if maths is just mere opinion and not really factual?  His assuming brings good results and lets him function in the world.  That is enough.  Assuming fire is hot without evidence means you get to realise  you were right when you try to touch it.

Some say that paradoxes, seeming contradictions which are not really contradictions make reason futile for you cannot tell the difference between a paradox and a contradiction.
A paradox is p=non p in a way we cannot understand while a contradiction is p=non p is a way that makes no sense, that cannot be reconciled. Since reason is the avoidance of contradiction and reason leads to paradoxes, it is sometimes thought that reason is fraud for we cannot tell the difference between paradox and contradiction. This argument is wrong for reason can lead us to paradox and be true for we just aren’t smart enough to solve the paradox. Paradoxes sanction reason rather than abolish it. When a reality is proven to be paradoxical it must somehow fit reason for it would not be a reality if it did not.

A paradox is only an effective abrogation of reason as a tool when there is insufficient or no evidence that the paradox is true. Then you have no way of telling if it is a contradiction or not. Then it is dishonest to say you are reasonable for how can you really be reasonable when you don’t know if you are? You must only accept paradoxes when you can’t avoid them. So, the fewer you have the better.

Religion is heavily steeped in paradoxes which rest on guesswork or on evidence that is so feeble that the religionists should be ashamed to present religion to the world.
Everything one says when one accepts such alleged paradoxes is unintelligible though it may look intelligible for when reason is rejected so is meaningful language. That is to say, you can call a cat a dog. Your talk might make sense but as far as your perception of reality goes you are talking nonsense in your own mind.

Argument: "Suppose it is true that correct reason leads to contradictions. The danger is that some would say that when reason is sometimes wrong it is always wrong for it is really just the rule, A is A. If A is ever not-A then you cannot be sure that A is A. If reason leads to contradictions it does not always do that so it should be accepted as valid when it leads to coherence. It should be accepted as right most of the time. In case we are wrong we will have to obey it all the time. There is nothing else we can do."

This argument calls for resignation.  But it does not alter the fact that if the simple rule A is A is wrong ever it must be the case that we never know if a cat is a cat or two is two.  The argument confuses the usefulness of reason with the rightness of reason.  For example, if we think some contradictions are true then we cannot say reason is okay with other things just because it works.  In fact even if it works it is still wrong.  A broken clock is right twice a day.
Perhaps perception of the contradictions should be put down to innate mental derangement or inability of the intelligence to go any further. We could even say that reason should only be listened to when it works and should not be listened to when it contradicts itself but it is best not to.

Sceptics tell us that errors refute reason. Errors support reason because they wouldn’t be errors if reason is wrong.

Sceptics who say they believe in nothing at all or that nothing can be known or believed boast that they have disproved reason with reason. This is self-contradictory for if reason is wrong it can hardly prove that itself is wrong! This proves that we should assume that reason is right if we have to.
The sceptic might reason that reason is rubbish.  Thus the sceptic’s argument both uses reason and then makes it contradict itself.  There are two sides.  The affirmation side and the contradicting side.  Does the affirmation or rejection of reason count?  But both are in fact made to oppose and exclude each other.  To reject is to affirm and to affirm is to reject.

If the affirming and rejecting could be both separated then which one if the weaker?  Does the person affirm more than reject more?  The affirming is the answer for it is what the sceptic starts with.

We see it is impossible to completely divorce reason.  It is reasonable to just accept reason.  That is not a vicious circle for it is not reason makes us accept reason.  We just do.

Some state that since the sceptic is finding reason to be both true and false and therefore incoherent, he is not making reason valid by turning reason against itself. But the sceptic cannot just say, "Reason is wrong for reason is wrong." If reason is wrong then he cannot reason that this is so with confidence. He has to say, “I cannot prove that reason is valid therefore reason is nonsense for what use is it if it cannot prove anything?” This idea is based on bad logic. Failing to prove that reason is right fails to prove that reason is nonsense. That is why it collapses as a critique of reason.
Sceptics can disbelieve in anything and still live a normal life just in case what they perceive is real. We all tend to live a certain way no matter what we believe. The sceptic can still be a good scientist.

Reason consists of one law: A is A. It is most likely that this law is correct. It speaks for itself. Thus the sceptic’s argument, “Every argument for something depends on another argument and that one on another and so on … to infinity”, stands refuted.


Reason must be right to a sufficient degree to prove itself wrong. For example, you cannot refute reason unless you agree that A is A. The sceptic then cannot get away from belief in reason and he only pretends that he has refuted it to himself and to others.
I cannot doubt that I am aware and not unaware now. This proves that this law is self-evidently true. It is the thing I can be most sure of. Some would object that if it is right that I can’t be unaware and aware at once it could be true that a could be non-A in other cases. But if that were true then we could be non-existent and yet aware of our existence at the same time, which would be impossible. Reason is proven which is why it must be put first.  It is put first by taking nothing for granted and putting all things to the test.  The important things will be top of the list. 

It is commonly presumed that determinism (that we simulate being free agents but are not in reality free), and we know determinism is true, denies the validity of reason. If we were produced without an all-truthful God and are programmed by chance it seems that our reason might be unreliable. But if you assume that reason is right for a God of truth exists and that God exists for reason says so then you are using circular reasoning which denies the authority of reason. And if you forget the circle and say God exists and made reason therefore reason is true you are just assuming that reason is true and are saying God exists without reason which is irrational. It may be called non-rational or beyond reason by those who refuse to say it is against reason.  But it is against reason to assume there is such a major thing as God. 

It would be more reasonable to simply assume that reason is right without bringing a God into it for the hypothesis is only a guess itself anyway. This is yet another of the countless proofs that believing that God should be put first and therefore that reason should be subjected to him is ethical nihilism or just plain nasty.
Also if God exists then reason is probably delusion for he made deception and tolerates it and says he cannot abide temptation and has made our bodies to tempt us to sin.
There is no evidence or proof that human reason is useless so we ought to trust it though it is its own witness and is its own evidence and I witness to myself that it is true and I know what I experience is true for me so it is me who testifies to reason and reason testifies back to me so though it is its own witness I am a witness too. Not to trust it is more irrational than to trust it for it does no harm to trust it. If reason is blind faith it takes more blind faith to disbelieve in it.

If everything is really blind faith masquerading as unblind faith, blind faith is unavoidable so it is best to have blind faith in reason.


The idea David Hume had that we have as much reason to think material things are real as we do spirits or vice versa is wrong.  The fact that the material could be an illusion does not alter the fact that we sense it and thus it makes more sense to believe it is real than to believe in spirit.

Hume was led to skepticism about the existence of anything by the thought that it could be an illusion.  But it is a fact that possibilities such as that do not count. 

For Hume, nobody knows what the truth about anything is. Rather than try to find a flaw in this sceptical reasoning he just cast it into the bin. Hume said that life cannot function if we think we know and believe nothing and that was why he wrote, “nature is too strong for principle.”

To argue that life cannot function if we think we have no information about anything is to say you do have information after all!


The sceptical position is not really a position for it is a contradiction.  It is self-defeating while saying it is not self-defeating.  The sceptic claims to know a contradiction is true.  If it is denying that we in fact think we know then it is pure self-deception and harmful. 

It is true that reason and everything else may be a deception but when there is no evidence that they are there is no need to care about what they might be.  It is irrational to care.  Reason then supports itself.  Even sceptics use reason to refute reason so it follows that they and everybody else believe in it after all.

The sceptic who says he has no reason to believe in anything at all even that he has a thumb on his right hand forgets he has no reason to believe he may not believe.

Though you could be dreaming your life you don’t need hard proof that your life is real. You have enough warranted belief to get by.  But you may say that the absence of evidence for your life being real is not evidence that it is real.

Suppose we cannot find a truth test that works or is useful.  All we can do is try to see the truth as best we can do it. This means that if anything we believe is true then that is down to luck and we don’t know which of our beliefs is true or false. But at least we know the truth is out there and the truth is not about us.


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