Big Red Car here on a slightly cloudy, cool ATX morning. Still, it is the ATX and it is on Earth as it is in Texas, y’all.
Today we get a bit cerebral on you meaning we are going to talk about the difference amongst skeptics, deniers, and opponents.
Not a particularly inspiring topic but a useful one.
A skeptic is a person who doubts the validity or authenticity of something that is represented as being factual.
A denier is a person who believes something to be untrue and who disavows or disbelieves it.
An opponent is a person who has undertaken the opposite side in an argument or on an issue perhaps to a degree approaching hostility or obstruction.
Skeptics are the Big Red Car’s favorite people.
Being skeptical in business, politics, the military, and life can be a worthy characteristic of a thoughtful person. It is not necessarily a final resolution of a matter as a skeptic might become a proponent or an opponent as they learn more about a subject.
[The Boss is a well known skeptic about any tale told by his children that started with, “Dad, it was two o’clock in the morning . . . . . ” Luckily they are all grown up and lived through their two o’clock tales.]
The Boss is skeptical about the future of bitcoin and the blockchain. Moreso about bitcoin and less so about the blockchain.
The Boss is skeptical about the magnitude of global warming/climate change. Not so much that humans influence the environment in some manner but that the magnitude of that influence is the most important element of the long term prognosis for the planet.
Being a skeptic allows one to find common ground with part of an idea while being inquisitive and curious as to the balance of the idea as the musing continues.
We have allowed the word “denier” to become a pejorative.
This is particularly true in regard to the issue of global warming/climate change wherein the proponents (zealots, one might say if trying to be a bit provocative, no?) castigate anyone who is not a proponent as being a denier based on the canard that the subject is “settled science” — one of the truly most unfortunate phrases ever uttered.
Opponents are to be admired as they have made a final determination. This is just fine. Liberating in many ways, really. Why not take a stand on something particularly if you think you know the answer or are comfortable with your conclusion?
One can be skeptical of the secret, global trade TPP (Trans-Pacific Partnership) agreement solely because it was negotiated and passed in secret. Nothing wrong with that. That skepticism may morph into opposition (or support) as the details come to light. Thank you, Wikileaks?
A proponent is simply the other side of that same mirror and the person is a supporter of a particular conclusion.
In the startup world, it is useful to be skeptical but at some point in time — unique to the startup business, perhaps — one has to make a decision to either support or oppose an idea or hypothesis. That is not necessarily true about politics, as an example.