What does Doubt Mean to a Humanist, Atheist or Freethinker?

I have to disclaim that topic isn’t fully developed…

Most Humanists I’ve met have no end of opinions, nearly all of which are based on science or similar principles.  But where’s the doubt?  It shows up in the skeptical stance that Humanists take towards claims of the paranormal, but even there it’s not so much doubt as a reliance on hard science in an effort to debunk dubious claims.

So where’s the doubt?  There isn’t much doubt in the hallmark of Humanist perspective, the scientific method.  That’s a given for most humanists.  It is founded on reason, which we cherish.

Doubt is present when we consider claims of rationality, particularly when we detect the scent of lingering mysteries, if not outright falsehoods.  Maybe that’s the home of doubt for Humanists – at the gate where new ideas come in, when we examine them to see if they pass muster.

There are people who make more out of doubt than the typical Humanist does.  I’m thinking of people I’ve heard dismiss the strength or validity of mathematics because of Godel’s Incompleteness Theorem, or who dismiss physics because of Heisenberg’s Uncertainty Principle and the idea of Indeterminacy in Quantum physics.   They throw out the baby (the body of science) with the bath water (the mystery).   This is a case of unfettered doubt.

I’m left wondering what room Humanists have for doubt, beyond the gatekeeper for accepting knowledge.

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