The Skeptic System

By Miles Leicher

Like most Americans, I’ll always remember what I was doing at the moment I heard that Osama bin Laden had been killed. But unlike most Americans – or at least the ones on TV – I’m not going to tell you about it. Because, really, nobody gives a crap. Just once, I want somebody to tell Wolf Blitzer that, when some historic event happened, they were smearing peanut butter on their balls – as people do – and that will be the end of it. Well, maybe.

Worse than the people who volunteer too much information, though, are the ones who constantly demand more of it. The people who, no matter the quality or quantity of evidence presented to them, say it isn’t enough. We have “Truthers,” “Birthers” and “Schoolers,” each part of a larger category that I like to call “F**kers.” If they were wizards, their only spell would be casting doubt.

Whether it’s President Obama telling us that bin Laden is dead or a panel of scientists insisting that climate change is real, the response always seems to be “show me a picture” or “more study is needed.” Which is problematic, because Americans suck at studying.

Nevertheless, scientists continue to issue report after report on climate change, each one increasingly dire. This week, the international Arctic Monitoring and Assessment Program sounded the alarm that – once again – ocean levels are rising way faster than anyone thought. And not just because we keep dumping bodies into it.


“As reflective ice and snow shrink, they expose ever bigger areas of darker water or soil. Those dark regions soak up ever more heat from the sun, in turn stoking a melt of the remaining ice and snow.”

That’s pretty straightforward. In fact, there’s even a term for it called the “snowball effect.” Which is ironic, because in this case it means that we’re running out of snowballs. It would be great if, for once, a prominent Republican looked at these facts and, instead of saying “I think this needs more study,” said, “I think I just crapped my pants – let’s fix this.”

But they don’t – and won’t. Because that’s what happens when you fancy yourself a “skeptic.” The Greek philosopher, Pyrrho (the O.G. of skepticism), argued that, “happiness comes from suspending judgment because certainty of knowledge is impossible.” He lived around 300 BC. If you still hold onto that philosophy today – when certainty of knowledge is possible – you’re not a skeptic. You’re an a**hole.

Now where’d I put that peanut butter?