Examples of Skepticism in Different Fields

, Staff Writer
Updated December 1, 2020
woman receiving crystal healing as examples of skepticism
    woman with healing crystal on forehead
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    Used under Getty Images license

Skepticism, simply put, is doubt. This disbelief can be based on the lack of scientific evidence to support a claim, or it can be based on religious beliefs. Sometimes people are skeptical just because they don't believe something, in spite of scientific evidence.

Types of Skepticism Examples

Before diving into skepticism examples, it’s important to understand that historically skepticism falls under different types. While skepticism can be broken down differently, a few common types of skepticism to explore are philosophical, religious and scientific.

Philosophical Skepticism in Everyday Life

Can one ever be completely certain about anything? According to philosophical skepticism, no, you can’t. Philosophical skepticism is an ancient view from Greek times which calls for you to question claims or truths. See how this type of skepticism can work in real life.

  • The police officer was skeptical that the driver, who was weaving in and out of traffic, only had two beers.
  • The sales pitch seemed too good to be true, so he was skeptical.
  • The teacher was skeptical when Timmy told her the dog ate his homework.
  • After the politician said he would not raise taxes, the voters were skeptical.
  • John was skeptical when the television ad said the cleaner would take out all stains.
  • I was still skeptical even after the word "natural" was printed on the food label.

Skepticism in the Sciences

Scientific skepticism, also called rational skepticism, states that truths need to be put through scientific research and inquiry to be claimed true in all areas of science. This applies to unexplained phenomena and theories like paranormal activity. Therefore, the certainty of something being true can be backed up by evidence. Some examples of skepticism in sciences include:

  • astrology - the belief that celestial bodies affect a person
  • Big Foot - a larger than life beast in the Pacific Northwest of the U.S.
  • Chupacabra - a blood-sucking animal that attacks livestock
  • lunar effect - full moon affects human behavior
  • global warming and climate change - the heating of the Earth due to carbon dioxide and air pollutants
  • ancient alien theory - aliens have visited the Earth in the past
  • Bermuda Triangle - an area of unexplained occurrences
  • hollow earth theory - the belief that at least some of the interior of the Earth is empty space
  • Yeti or the Abominable Snowman - an ape-like creature, taller than a human, that inhabits the Himalayan Mountains in Tibet
  • UFOs - some do not believe in their existence
  • crop circles - patterns in crops are created by aliens
  • dowsing - a way to find water or minerals under the ground
  • feng shui - Chinese system for locating a place for a tomb or shrine
  • psychoanalysis - theory formulated by Sigmund Freud
  • subliminal advertising - visual or oral information below a person's consciousness
  • ESP - Extra-sensory perception
  • EVP - Electronic voice phenomenon
  • polygraphy - lie detectors
  • psychokinesis - moving objects with the power of the mind
  • face on Mars - a sign of intelligent life
  • Aryanism - claim that the Aryan race is superior
  • flat earth theory - the Earth is flat and disc-shaped

Skepticism in Medicine

A major area of scientific skepticism is medicine. This is skepticism that applies specifically to the field of medicine, typically experimental or holistic medicine. Check out a few areas of medicinal skepticism.

  • acupressure - alternative medicine treatment based on pressure points and energy flow
  • acupuncture - traditional Chinese medicine using thin needles
  • aromatherapy - holistic medicine theory that specific plant extracts can promote health
  • biorhythms - human bodies are subject to specific rhythms
  • chiropractic - manipulative treatment of bones and joints
  • colonics or colon hydrotherapy - colon irrigation treatment to remove body toxins
  • craniosacral therapy - using touch to elevate pain in the central nervous system
  • crystal healing - energy healing using gemstones
  • homeopathy - using plants and natural cures to allow the body to cure itself
  • magnet therapy - using magnets to alleviate pain
  • meridians - energy flow areas in the body
  • natural supplements - the value of natural supplements
  • NAET allergy elimination technique - natural method to alleviate allergies
  • naturopathic medicine - mixes natural therapies and traditional medicine
  • organic food - foods without toxins and substances and their value
  • qi - energy in the body
  • rolfing - soft tissue manipulation
  • hypnotherapy - therapy while the subject is hypnotized

Religious Skepticism Examples

Religious skepticism relates to the existence of religious beliefs, gods, deities, and practices. Religious skeptics question events and specific practices in religions. A few different examples of religious skepticism include:

  • channeling - communication with a spirit
  • creationism and creation myths - disbelief that the world was created by a God
  • Bible - events of the Bible are believed to be true
  • Jesus resurrection - Jesus coming back to life
  • Jesus existence - Messiah and son of God existed
  • curses - certain people or objects can cause bad luck
  • voodoo dolls - belief that if you hurt the doll you hurt the person it resembles
  • Gods - religious deities
  • heaven - supernatural place “garden of Eden”
  • reincarnation - people being reborn

Understanding Skepticism Meaning

Skepticism was a theory ancient Greeks came up to question pretty much everything. However, over the decades, this theory has been refined to cover the rejection of theories and knowledge that isn’t backed up by evidence. People considered skeptical have a hard time believing anything that’s not backed up by hard facts. Now that you've explored skepticism, try core value examples out.