"Skeptics" are generally people who don't take conclusions drawn from evidence presented. Legitimate reasons to question conclusions is both lack of credulity of the premises and logic flaws in the analysis which are used to go from the premises to the conclusions. Here my answer to a question was deleted because it showed that analysis was flawed.

It was deleted by a moderator. So it would seem that the "skeptics" site does not wish to subject its questions to skepticism. This begs the obvious question. Should this site be named something else? A different answer (by a different author) to the same question received both downvotes and a request for references. But critique of analysis of a question should not need references. Simply pointing out logical flaws is sufficient to demonstrate that the reached conclusion deserves skepticism. So I ask again: "should this site be named something else?"

Edit: is "fact checking" a better name for the site's true intent?

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    @Sklivvz, it is inappropriate to mark this question as a duplicate. I am accusing the naming of this site as "skeptics" to be deceitful. The other questions are simply calling the name inaccurate. I don't think it's inaccurate just because there is a FAQ which narrows the site's intent to be much less than what its name implies. I think a site named "skeptics" which rejects many forms of skepticism is highly hypocritical. Perhaps I was too polite by using the word "merit"? But the question was really whether this site is worthy of its name. Commented Feb 3, 2017 at 18:33
  • 1) Your accusation of "deceitful" implies deliberate effort to mislead. This is defamatory, and without any evidence. The previous discussions show it to be false - name changes were discussed but consensus was unable to be reached. The fact that we have a FAQ and description clarifying it belies any claim of deceit. 2) Skepticism has many meanings - we cannot support every form of skepticism, and your personal definition doesn't get special privilege.
    – Oddthinking Mod
    Commented Feb 6, 2017 at 7:37
  • 3) The site remains dedicated to the application of (rather than discussion of) scientific skepticism. Whatever "worthy of its name" could possibly mean, I think it meets the criteria. I'm sorry this site isn't what you were looking for when you typed skeptics.stackexchange.com into your browser, but it remains a very useful resource despite your disappointment.
    – Oddthinking Mod
    Commented Feb 6, 2017 at 7:39
  • I insist that the name is deceitful. It is defamatory. But defamation is an appropriate response to those spreading lies publicly. It is not without evidence. The abound evidence is provided both in this thread and, additionally, by the fact that the very FAQ of this site states that its intent is to deny platform for asking many types of questions which are inherent to deciding on whether skepticism is merited on any one particular issue. If anything, this site serves to shut down many types of skepticism. And does so knowingly and, therefore, deliberately. This rightfully deserves derision. Commented Feb 6, 2017 at 22:26
  • @Oddthinking, to clarify, I am saying that it is defamatory. But it is not libelous because it's true. Commented Feb 6, 2017 at 23:23
  • It's only deceitful because you've re-defined or chosen a narrow definition of the word. The claim that "'Skeptics' are generally people who don't take conclusions drawn from evidence presented." is not the generally accepted definition. Now, you may often see conspiracy nuts and people who champion ignorance try to CLAIM they are just "skeptics," but that's not what the word means, in general use. Commented Apr 3, 2017 at 13:49

2 Answers 2


There are two issues here.

1) You have misunderstood the nature of the site. Please see our FAQ entry that attempts to address this common misunderstanding (and others too).

(I find your definition of "skeptics" to be confusing, but that FAQ entry helps define that too.)

2) The name of the site may have helped lead to that confusion. This has been discussed before:

No consensus for a name change was reached.

  • Well, from the FAQ it would seem that the site is specifically dedicated to providing factual support to counterpoints to well-known claims. But that is much more narrow than what is entailed in skepticism. I wouldn't say that a site which brands itself "skeptics", but which, in fact, rejects many forms of skepticism, is a sight which can make the claim that its intent is misunderstood. The intent is first and foremost in the name. Having a misleading name is one thing. Doing so knowingly is deceptive. Commented Feb 3, 2017 at 2:36
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    Rather than "Citation Needed", it seems like "fact checking" is the best way to describe what the site attempts to achieve. Commented Feb 3, 2017 at 3:46
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    Where by "no consensus reached", you mean three answers against it with no or negative votes vs. one answer for it with ten or so upvotes? What would it take to have consensus?
    – Brythan
    Commented Feb 20, 2017 at 0:12
  • That's probably a question for the appropriate Stack Exchange staff member. I have no authority on this.
    – Oddthinking Mod
    Commented Feb 20, 2017 at 10:13

simply pointing out logical flaws is sufficient to demonstrate that the reached conclusion deserves skepticism.

Finding a logical flaw in an otherwise iron clad argument is a necessary condition to disprove its conclusion, if the premises are valid, but not sufficient.

If you look at a proof of Fermat's last theorem, and you find a mistake you haven't proven Fermat's last theorem is false, only that that particular proof is logically inconsistent. However, were Fermat's theorem false, we'd expect any claimed proof to contain a logical error.

Formally: If the proof is correct (X) then Fermat's theorem is correct (Y).

∴ X ⇒ Y

¬X /⇒ ¬Y

¬Y ⇒ ¬X

See negating an antecedent does not invalidate a consequent.

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    But skepticism, as such, is not proving that a certain well-accepted assertion is false. It is a position that it is not conclusively demonstrated. So, in your example of finding a mistake in a proof of Fermat's Last Theorem, whoever found the mistake would show (assuming only proof exists) that the conclusion of the theorem deserves some degree of skepticism. Also, your assertion that showing a logical flaw is necessary to disprove a factoid is wrong. Disproving the premises is also sufficient. Given wrong premises, wrong conclusions can be reached with iron clad logic. Commented Feb 3, 2017 at 2:54
  • @DmitryRubanovich I don't think we are talking about the same "skepticism". Scientific skepticism is the philosophical position of accepting as true (or false) only what can be proven (or disproven) by empirical evidence, the rest being accepted as temporarily true or false based on the null hypothesis. In my example, Fermat's theorem would be accepted as temporarily true (inductively, because no one could find a counterexample either) until it was actually proven true. Regarding the second point, I'll correct my answer.
    – Sklivvz
    Commented Feb 3, 2017 at 3:06
  • BTW: I think that your "some degree of skepticism" is what I call "temporarily accepting the null hypothesis".
    – Sklivvz
    Commented Feb 3, 2017 at 3:08
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    Using math to discuss what is "skepticism" is asking for trouble. Math studies conclusions which can be reached from assumptions. The assumptions need not be right or wrong. They just can't be demonstrably self-contradicting. Scientific skepticism recognizes that conclusions are the "output" from the observations (inputs) and deductions (processing of inputs). So showing a problem with either observations or with deductions puts conclusions in question (even though it doesn't disprove them). Skepticism is the position that conclusions have not been solidly proven. Commented Feb 3, 2017 at 3:41
  • Mathematical definitions are the foundation for determining whether logical statements (x or y, a and b, if M then N, Q if and only if R) are true or false, as a whole, based on what you know about the component parts. To pretend that math is unrelated to logic and evaluation of statements is asking for a lot more trouble. Commented Apr 3, 2017 at 13:53

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