At what moment did you become a skeptic?

I’m curious about your personal stories about the moment you realized what science is all about and what it meant to think critically.

For me, it was in second grade. It was the first science experiment I had ever learned. We were talking about flies and maggots, and how a long time ago people used to think that living things could spontaneously generate out of the flesh of something dead. Until someone decided to test it. Some guy took three pieces of rotting meat and put them in three jars. One without a lid, one with a mesh cover, and one with a sealed lid. The open jar was the only one to get maggots, and from this he concluded that maggots must have had to travel to the meat from the outside, but must have been carried on something larger than the holes in the mesh. At this moment I had become a skeptic, I had a “full” understanding of the scientific method without ever being taught it. I realized that a long held belief may appear to be true from an idle observer (spontaneous generation of life), but that it could hold no merit without being tested. I remember being very excited when I was taught about this experiment. It was a kind of slap on the forehead “of course!” moments. This was the moment I had learned the value of reliable and controlled evidence.

So tell me about the moment science clicked with you.

Posted: February 25th 2011

brian thomson www

I had two parents with two different nominal religions, but neither seemed to take it all that seriously – so while I was taken to Catholic church, I didn’t take it seriously either. It was more like weekly theatre, an event I went to on weekends, then went back to school during the week. I had long stopped going before I was old enough to ask skeptical questions about it. So I can’t pinpoint a single event that “turned” me, my attitude evolved naturally at school and beyond. I did very well at Science, went to work in the Engineering industry, and religion stood no chance, basically.

Posted: February 28th 2011

See all questions answered by brian thomson


It was my interest in geology—a rough stone could become smooth through weathering, that there was no craft person involved in natural changes.

However, a few years before that, I had asked who made god. That is when I realized, at age seven, that god is just a gap in our knowledge. Armed with that realization, I was ready to see reality for what it is and looked to science for that help.

Posted: February 28th 2011

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