Quotes: Arbitrary Skepticism

Explanations exist; they have existed for all time; there is always a well-known solution to every human problem — neat, plausible, and wrong.
H. L. Mencken, 1917

If anyone listened to Jack Bauer, the show would be called 3.


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    anime and manga 

Kirie: So you believe what that clown said?
Shuichi: Tell me, how you can believe a toy clown said anything at all?

Oh come on, there's no such thing as crop circles! What it really was was a ghost. And that dinosaur the principal saw? Ghost dinosaur.
Random fifth grader, Digimon Tamers

    audio plays 

Lt. Sandoz: (at haunted piano) There must be a mechanism in the piano.
Doctor: You really never stop, do you, Lieutenant? But there's a limit to skepticism, you know. You end up cutting your own throat with Occam's Razor.
Big Finish Doctor Who, Winter for the Adept

    comic books 

Hellboy: We're being set up for the real deal — William Grenier.
Kate Corrigan: That's crazy! If he was ever real, he'd be, what, 800 years old?!
Hellboy: Now listen to me. How is that any weirder than the stuff you've already seen today? Right?
Kate Corrigan: Right...
Hellboy: The Wolves of Saint August

Dum-Dum Dugan: Shoulda known you was one o' those weirdos who believe in the 'bom'nable Snowman.
Gabe Jones: Y'know, Dum-Dum, you take the cake. Here we are chasing Godzilla and a zillion-foot tall man-ape and you scoff at something only a few feet bigger than a gorilla.

Funny how I accepted invisible fellas and mad inventors bringing back the dead, but I never really believed in you.
Elijah Snow, Planetary #13

    Fan Works 

"Boy, kids these days. You tell people you’re an emperor from beyond space and time, they just nod. You flap in on a pair of wings, and all of a sudden they forget how to talk."

Harry was no longer sure, at this point, whether this was the sort of thing he ought to be skeptical about, or the sort of thing he should just take in stride.

Light: You're not going to see a single ghost, not even the tiniest little spirit of a brutally murdered fly, because there are no such things.
L: Light-kun is right. Believing in ghosts is like claiming that you own a magical notebook or that you have a pet monster that only eats apples. Don't be ridiculous.
I Won't Say, a Death Note fanfic.

"Potions? Like – magic?" Lizzie said slowly, twisting up her mouth. "But magic's not re–" She stopped, staring down at her blue hands. "What am I saying – I'm dead and sitting in the burnt remains of my family home waiting to see which afterlife will have me. Why not magic?"
Lizzie Liddell, Land of the Dead

    literature 

Peter Hutchings: An alien? Oh, come on.
The Doctor: You're on the moon inside a sentient church, waiting to see if you have any part to play in the rescue of a woman's soul from the clutches of a near-omnipotent being. Broaden your mind.

I never would have thought that a living skeleton would be such a skeptic.
Stephanie, Skulduggery Pleasant

    live-action tv 

I don't believe in ghosts. I know that may sound strange coming from a guy who shoots sparks out of his fingers, but that's what I believe.
Ned, Pushing Daisies

'Cause the thing is, Doctor, I believe it all now. You opened my eyes. All those amazing things out there, I believe them all. Well, apart from that replica of the Titanic flying over Buckingham Palace on Christmas Day, I mean that's gotta be a hoax.
Donna Noble, Doctor Who

Myka Bering: Cavorite doesn't exist...there's no such thing.
Peter Lattimer: Myka, on this job, there's no such thing as "no such thing."

Arya: How did you find us?
Jaqen H'ghar: After all the things you have seen, this is your question?

We're wizards. Why does everyone think it's so crazy that there could be Martians?

Scully, in six years, how often have I been wrong? No, seriously. Every time I bring you a new case we go through this perfunctory dance; you tell me I'm not scientifically rigorous and I'm off my nut. And then in the end, who turns out to be right 98.9% of the time?
Agent Mulder, The X-Files, "Field Trip"

Sam: Dean, there's ten times as much lore about angels as there is about anything else we've ever hunted.
Dean: You know what, there's a ton of lore on unicorns too. In fact, I hear that they ride on silver moonbeams, and that they shoot rainbows out of their ass!
Sam: Wait, there's no such thing as unicorns?

    video games 

What? You fought an army of vamps with magic; you've walked the shadow world in anima form; you've talked to statues and run with fairies. So what's so weird about a grown man talking to a teddy bear?
Dragan Dzoavich, The Secret World

Skyrim is now host to giant, flying lizards and two-legged cat-men... And you're surprised by me? Yes. I just talked. And am continuing to do so.

Lynne: I don't believe in a "sixth sense". It's not scientific!
Sissel: (Says the ghost...)

    webcomics 

GM: The ship has a cooling system.
Obi-Wan: So where does the heat it generates go? It's a closed system; you can't just magically pump it out into space. We're trying to be realistic, right?
GM: Yeah...
Obi-Wan: In fact, didn't you say the hull is polished silver? The thermal emissivity of polished metal is—
GM: This ship hovers with no visible means of propulsion and travels through hyperspace, and you're worried about the air conditioning?

Antimony: You see, I also think Jones is a robot.
Kat: Whaaaaa... Come on! First off, a human looking robot is called an "android" and second, there is no way you could make an android that looks that good.
Antimony: We have seen stranger. Remember that cursed teapot?
Kat: Yeahhhhh... But that was... I don't even know what that was about...

Optimism through stalwart skepticism is a defect not everyone is lucky enough to be cursed with.
Rose Lalonde, Homestuck

"But this is set in the 1930s! Hitler's still alive!"

A guy has just been brought back to life after dying because he picked the wrong cup as the Holy Grail, and you're worried about historical accuracy?

Like all good comic book scientists, Doctor Shark is willing to ignore massive swaths of his own inexplicable universe.

    web original 

Killer monsters that were made through actual science, most likely. Dreams are just thoughts you have while you're sleeping that can be influenced by what was going on around you before you fell asleep. Sorry, but unless I see some proof, I'm just gonna keep rolling with the idea that his dream was influenced by what he saw before he fell asleep.

Now, if you or I saw a naked man drop through a hole in reality and walk through 50 bullets to put his fist through our stomach, we'd die knowing that we've made a robot from the future very happy. A guy in a movie, though, he has no idea what happened. He'll use his dying words to argue how robots don't exist, and even if they did, they wouldn't be able to smile!

I just love that no one in the police department has heard of the Triad except for White and consider him some conspiracy nut. It’s as if White was trying to put out the theory that Bigfoot is a heroin peddler or there is some reptilian conspiracy.
Miles Antilwer on Year of the Dragon (1985)

Matt: Despite the fact they were JUST TALKING ABOUT A VAMPIRE ARMY, (Michelle) Rodriguez suggests they’ve “wasted enough time on fairy tales.”
Chris: She’s pretty skeptical for someone who is the actual daughter of a vampire and literally kills monsters for a living.
—Chris Sims and Matt Wilson on Bloodrayne

Oh, sorry, did we forget to mention that the most rational response in the whole movie to millions of people suddenly vanishing is definitely that guy trying to jump out of the airplane at 30,000 feet to go look for them? Nobody else seems to care much, and they certainly don't remember word one from the Bible about any of this; even the goddamn preacher who likes to get into shouting matches with the Almighty needs a fucking mail-order 'So You've Been Left Behind' infomercial VHS tape to figure it out.

"Several aspects of this case remain unexplained suggesting the possibility of paranormal phenomena, but I am convinced that to accept such conclusions is to abandon all hope of understanding the scientific events behind them…" says Scully. Are you fucking kidding me? This is the story where she witnessed an alien bounty hunter metamorphosing and alien fetuses wiggling about in cocoons and all this evidence forces her to conclude that science is definitely the thing to believe in. Give me strength.
Joe Ford on The X-Files, "End Game"

    web video 

Kakyoin: By the way, Polnareff.
Polnareff: What is it?
Kakyoin: You said he's in the world inside the mirror...but there's no world inside the mirror. This isn't fantasy or the Anime version.
Illuso: Shake my hand at the Pompeii Ruins!
Polnareff: Understood, but let's go for now!

Hinagiku: Stop ignoring me! I am totally serious about this day repeating itself!
Momoko: Don't be stupid, that can't happen.
Hinagiku: We're magical transforming girls who fight devils with love waves and take orders from a mirror! I think this is within the realm of possibility here!

Plinkett: So Count Dooku is rallying star systems to align against the Republic. They say he's just "a political idealist."
Padme: I think that Count Dooku is behind it.
Plinkett: (as Mace Windu) Whoa-hooooooh, hold on, lil' lady! You don't know what yer talkin' about! So shut your mouth, little girl..Jus' SHUT YER FACE. But seriously, though, Yoda's glad you're o.k. Now get back in the kitchen.

"This is the only show I know of where apathy is a constant threat."

"Among your team members is a super-speedster, a living bug-woman, someone with invisible armor, a clone of Superman, and a guy who can create purple energy constructs!!! What is so unbelievable about being from the future!?!"
Linkara, Atop the Fourth Wall: The Culling, Part 1: Teen Titans Annual #1

"Anyway, Mephisto, as the woman in red, explains how different cultures believe that people have 'dream selves...each living alternate lives' and et cetera, and we only encounter them when we're sleeping. (Reading as Spider-Man) 'Sorry, never believed in that sort of thing.' You believe in the Marvel Universe! Alternate realities are an established scientific fact for you people! In fact, I'm pretty sure you've been to alternate universes before!"
Linkara, Atop the Fourth Wall review of One More Day

    western animation 

Pffffffft! Facts are meaningless! You can use "facts" to prove anything even remotely true!
Homer, The Simpsons ("Lisa the Skeptic")

You're pretty close-minded for someone who can break the sound barrier in his sneakers.
Artemis, Young Justice

Gimmick: No! There is no such thing as a woodsprite!
Leota: Oh? And I suppose there's no such thing as a big bag of air stuck in my tree! But there it is, big as life!
The Adventures of Teddy Ruxpin — The Airship (book)

Bruce: These people believe anything they can't explain is magic.
Terry: Naturally, you don't believe in that kind of thing.
Bruce: Of course I do. I've seen it all. Demons, witch-boys, immortals, zombies... But this thing? I don't know, it just feels so... So high-school.
Batman Beyond — Revenant

Laura Carrot: You're a talking weed!
Rumor Weed: I'm a talking weed, you're a talking carrot. Your point was?
Veggie Tales, "Larry-Boy and the Rumor Weed"

Flash: Let's see, after I caught the gorilla, he told me that...
Green Lantern: He talked to you.
Flash: Yeah, right after I stopped his car.
Green Lantern: I'm supposed to believe this?
Flash: Hey, we've both got a Martian's phone number on our speed dial. I think I deserve the benefit of the doubt here.
Justice League — The Brave and the Bold, part 1

Senator Stampingston: Dethklok has summoned a troll.
General Crozier: That's impossible. There's no such thing as trolls.
Senator Stampingston: Then how do you explain the dead unicorns?
Metalocalypse — Dethtroll