What It Means To Be A Skeptic
The Sheaf writer Tyrel Eskelson has this concise article on what it means to be a skeptic:
It is perhaps a common misconception that one who defines him or herself as a skeptic could also interchangeably be labelled a contrarian or a disparager.
A skeptic is not someone who is cynical, close-minded or rejects new ideas. In fact, it is quite the opposite.
A skeptic is someone not in a fixed position but rather one who adopts a process. Skepticism uses the application of reason to evaluate all claims and requires compelling evidence before something is believable.
Modern skepticism is embodied in the scientific method, which gathers data to formulate and test natural phenomena. With the use of this tool a claim becomes factual when it is confirmed to such an extent that it would be reasonable to offer a provisional agreement.
via the JREF