Skeptical thinkingWhat does effective skepticism require?
Thinking can be classified as narrative or analytical. Narrative thinking, which is holistic, requires creativity, logic and a database of stories. Hopefully many of the stories are historical and not fiction. Analytical thinking, breaks things into components and then reassembles them. It requires science and math skills along with a database of scientific knowledge. Effective skepticism requires analytical thinking along with the desire and ability to obtain the best current information.
Reliance on narrative thinking leaves one with an appealing story, which may be only rumor. Careless logic can lead to highly idiosyncratic stories. Scientific illiteracy impedes analytical thinking and places the best available information out of reach. Effective analytical thinking requires a comprehensive database. One may compensate for a limited database by recognizing and relying on the best available professional advice.