One thing skeptics exert a lot of effort doing is explaining exactly what a skeptic is, why we're skeptical, what we're skeptical of, and what a skeptical organization is all about.
Another part of this is all of the baggage people bring to the word 'skeptic.'
This usually causes skeptics to start out by saying what a skeptic is not. For example, skepticism is not cynicism, we are not a bunch of nay saying curmudgeons. Many think that skeptics are bitter defenders of the status quo, and that we are closed minded to anything new or strange. These accusations crop up especially when we're in the midst in of investigating something. The moment you begin to pick apart something that someone believes in dearly, they become offended. Believers in belief join them in their anger and protest our inquiry as well - I suppose we should not ask answers and dig around simply because it will offend someone.
Some don’t want their beliefs overlooked, but also don’t want their beliefs looked over too much. So, skeptics prod a little and ask questions attempting to get to the heart of a matter and we hit nerves along the way. This gets us names like bullies, party-crashers, pompous, etc...
It seems to me that this all stems from a fundamental peice of beliefs - and that is the personal attachment. Psychics and paranormal beliefs will tear up with excitement when you doubt them, Christians will be offended by the questioning of Jesus Christ and the existence of their god, Muslims shun apostates, conspiracy theorists will scream and rant and rave about we're all fooled by [whatever], and apologists will join them all in their dissatisfaction with non-believers and skeptics.
So, whats the deal?
Why is this case? Why is it not more appealing to challenge beliefs, superstitions, and ideas? Why stiffle intellectual curiosity? In the history of skeptics coming into the public eye to challenge liars, con artists, and even just beliefs in gerenal - I've yet to really see a person who is a part of the skeptical community do anything purposively offensive. If you are called out on something, and that call is true, and you get offended, well - thats on you. It is bizare that the response to the truth is never admittance, but special pleading and name calling (you're a bully, this only doesn't work because you're so skeptical).
Why is it the case that skeptical and critical thinking is not the norm? And rather, it is is seen as a negative way of thinking about the world.... any thoughts?