So Donna (aka writerdd) doesn't consider herself a skeptic? Heresy! Shun the believer! Wait, no, that reaction makes no sense.
The skeptical movement is and isn't about "evangelization". It promotes critical thinking and science literacy, but it doesn't really care about maximizing its numbers. Skepticism is not an identity movement, but rather, a certain flavor of science popularization advocacy. By contrast, the atheist movement is out there to encourage people to call themselves atheists. This is because there is a lot of social prejudice going on; people fear the word, and anyone who could possibly be described by it. However, no such thing is going on with skepticism, so why should we care?
There are a variety of definitions of "skeptical" ranging from the colloquial to the philosophical to the ones used by the skeptical movement. It's perfectly understandable that anyone would want to avoid a word with so many connotations. For example, I do not consider myself a "humanist" despite the fact that I fit under most definitions. I happen to like the word "skeptic" enough to put it in the title of my blog, but that's just me.
But I've got to nitpick with Donna's reasoning here:
While I do agree with this basic definition, it’s the nit-picky attitude of many skeptics, the tendency to turn every discussion into a debate, and the way many skeptics have to be “right” that makes me uncomfortable attaching myself to the name or the subculture. I am more interested in exploring how to think than I am in being told what to think — even about religion, homeopathy, psychics, and other topics that seem to enthrall many skeptics.Me? Nitpick? I want a point by point defense of this allegation! What's next, skeptics are too heavy-handed with their self-referential irony?
Hey, but I'm also much more interested in "exploring how to think". I can't actually make much comment on homeopathy, psychics, cryptozoology and all the other canonical skeptical topics. Then I'd have to do research. Research is hard! When I research, I feel like I might as well simply link to my source--but that would be boring. I'd much rather consider general critical thinking skills. And I make it no secret that I occasionally disagree with the popular skeptical view on said critical thinking skills.
However, I am guilty as charged of seeing everything as a debate in which claims are put forth and defended. I'm probably also guilty of viewing everything with cold emotionless eyes. Look upon the lifeless black dots of this smiley... :-) ... That's me.
But there's no reason you have to be exactly like me in order to think critically. Have I ever mentioned how little is required to think critically? You don't need to agree with me or my approach. You don't need to be a freethinker. You don't need to call yourself a skeptic. You just need a brain. So easy, yet so important--and so fun!