Who can be a Sandehakari?
The word ‘Sandehakari’ (सन्देहकारी in Nepali) simply translates to ‘Skeptical Person’ in English.
A Sandehakari is anyone who has an outlook on life based on Scientific Skepticism and Empiricism and moral and ethical positions drawn from a consequential examination of human history, social disputes and human behavior and not from any set norm or pre-existing consensus.
Sandehakaris never stop questioning anything, be it their own perception of reality or beliefs. Some people are born with good skeptical skills whereas some are not. To be a Sandehakari, one needs rigorous practice of critical thinking, intellectual humility, needs to have confidence in reason and the courage to question anything no matter the level of sensitivity.
To become a Sandehakari is a hard thing to do, but still not impossible! Just like you use your logical thinking skills on other subject matter (like buying a used car or electronics where you are skeptical from the start and do not conform to the seller’s claim immediately without scrutinizing their claims yourself), a good Sandehakari uses the same set of skills, though enhanced, on every subject matter that they face in life!
A Sandehakari is anyone who thinks for themselves remaining within the sane boundaries of reason and evidence.
Sandehakaris together can change the way the world thinks! Hence even one Sandehakari is a potent force for change!
What is Skepticism?
“Skepticism or scepticism is generally any questioning attitude towards unempirical knowledge or opinions/beliefs stated as facts, or doubt regarding claims that are taken for granted elsewhere.”
“A scientific (or empirical) skeptic is one who questions beliefs on the basis of scientific understanding. Most scientists, being scientific skeptics, test the reliability of certain kinds of claims by subjecting them to a systematic investigation using some form of the scientific method. As a result, a number of claims are considered “pseudoscience” if they are found to improperly apply or ignore the fundamental aspects of the scientific method. Scientific skepticism may discard beliefs pertaining to things outside perceivable observation and thus outside the realm of systematic, empirical falsifiability/testability.”
“Skepticism is not a position; it’s a process.”
– Michael Shermer (Professional Skeptic)
The popular misconception is that skeptics, or critical thinkers, are people who disbelieve things. And indeed, the common usage of the word skeptical supports this: “He was skeptical of the numbers in the spreadsheet”, meaning he doubted their validity. To be skeptical, therefore, is to be negative about things and doubt or disbelieve them.
The true meaning of the word skepticism has nothing to do with doubt, disbelief, or negativity. Skepticism is the process of applying reason and critical thinking to determine validity. It’s the process of finding a supported conclusion, not the justification of a preconceived conclusion.
Skepticism is, or should be, an extraordinarily powerful and positive influence on the world. Skepticism is not simply about “debunking” as is commonly charged. Skepticism is about redirecting attention, influence, and funding away from worthless superstitions and popular misinformation, and toward projects and ideas that are evidenced to be beneficial to humanity and to the world.
The scientific method is central to skepticism. The scientific method is about the study and evaluation of evidence, preferably derived from validated testing. Anecdotal evidence and personal testimonies cannot be tested, so they generally aren’t useful to the scientific method, and thus won’t often be accepted by a responsible skeptic; which often explains why skeptics get such a bad rap for being negative or disbelieving people. They’re simply following the scientific method.
– Brian Dunning, skeptoid.com
What is Critical Thinking?
‘Critical thinking is the ability to think clearly and rationally about what to do or what to believe. It includes the ability to engage in reflective and independent thinking.”
“Critical thinking…the awakening of the intellect to the study of itself. “
“Critical thinking is a rich concept that has been developing throughout the past 2500 years. The term “critical thinking” has its roots in the mid-late 20th century. We offer here overlapping definitions, together which form a substantive, transdisciplinary conception of critical thinking.”
What are Logical Fallacies?
Understanding Logical Fallacies is the most important step in Critical Thinking. Important in a sense that we refrain from committing them while making an argument or a judgement.
There is a pretty long non-exhaustive list of logical fallacies all over the web, but for a start we just need to be familiar with the ones that are most commonly used or likely to be used.
“A logical fallacy is, roughly speaking, an error of reasoning. When someone adopts a position, or tries to persuade someone else to adopt a position, based on a bad piece of reasoning, they commit a fallacy. I say “roughly speaking” because this definition has a few problems, the most important of which are outlined below. Some logical fallacies are more common than others, and so have been named and defined. When people speak of logical fallacies they often mean to refer to this collection of well-known errors of reasoning, rather than to fallacies in the broader, more technical sense given above.”
-Logical Fallacies (logicalfallacies.info)
“A fallacy is an incorrect argument in logic and rhetoric which undermines an argument’s logical validity or more generally an argument’s logical soundness. Fallacies are either formal fallacies or informal fallacies.”
“A logical fallacy is a flaw in reasoning. Logical fallacies are like tricks or illusions of thought, and they’re often very sneakily used by politicians and the media to fool people.
-Thou Shall Not Commit Logical Fallacies (yourlogicalfallacyis.com)