This is a far cry from modern misconceptions of the word as “cynical” or “nihilistic”, although a history of the word gives us some insight into how “skepticism” has become synonymous with “cynicism” or “nihilism”. The Oxford English Dictionary, our finest source for historical word usage, offers as its first definition of “skeptic”: “One who, like Pyrrho and his followers in Greek antiquity, doubts the possibility of real knowledge of any kind; one who holds that there are no adequate grounds for certainty as to the truth of any proposition whatever”. This may be true in philosophy, but it certainly is not true in science. There are more than adequate grounds for the probability of the truth of propositions, but here I play with words a bit, substituting “probability” for “certainty”, because there are no uncontrovertible facts in science, if we define fact as a belief held with 100 percent certitude. I cannot improve on Gould’s definition of a fact in science: “confirmed to such a degree that it would be perverse to withhold provisional assent”.
Fuente: Skeptic. Michael Shermer. Henry Holt and Company. New York. 2016.