Be a Skeptic

For this I found a website called skeptic.com.  They are an organization called the Skeptic Society, and also put out a magazine called Skeptic Magazine.  They are a non-profit organization.  They are an educational organization, who are dedicated to enlist professionals from backgrounds such as pseudoscience, paranormal, and fringe science.  They aim to promote critical thinking and act as a tool for anyone interested in a solid scientific angle.  According to their Skeptical Manifesto, ” Modern skepticism is embodied in the scientific method, that involves gathering data to formulate and test naturalistic explanations for natural phenomena.”   They say something will become factual when confirmed by many, and that there is some form of agreement on its credibility.  Things such as water drowsing, ESP, and creationism have failed the tests, so they are therefore false.  When tests come in inconclusive, more research must be done to proof validity.  They give the example of hypnosis and black holes as research that continues to be inconclusive.  They say the basis of skepticism is to always apply the scientific method “to navigate the treacherous straits between “know nothing” skepticism and “anything goes” credulity.”  Since 1992 they have been putting out Skeptic Magazine.  It is a quarterly journal that looks at social and scientific controversies.  They also sponsor lectures.  They are dedicated to teaching controversial claims to the general public.  Their founding publisher Michael Shermer also is a columnist for Scientific American.  He has quite the resume, from college professor to author.  The Skeptic Society investigate a very large array of topics.  From cryptozoology and supernatural beings, climate change, economics, religion, to gay marriage, to out-of-body experiences, and even birth control.  They firmly believe in the scientific method “which involves gathering data to formulate and test naturalistic explanations for natural phenomena.”  And they use it to confront all the claims they investigate.  While I’m sure that each claim needs to be looked at in its own way because of the variety of material they cover, the basis for their research is firmly rooted in the scientific method, as well as proving causality.  The organization promotes critical thinking through several different mediums.  They put out a quarterly journal, they have their website, they send out and e newsletter called eskeptic, and they attend conferences and lectures.  They even have a telephone referral system open to the public, to access their information.  Dr. Shermer has appeared in over 65 television and radio shows, magazines, and public speaking.  They have appeared on Anderson Cooper, Penn and Teller’s Bullshit!, as well as many others.  They have been on radio programs like NPR.  They have lectured at colleges and highs schools all across the country.  You can purchase most lectures on DVD.  They have podcasts, blogs, and forums.  They even give geology tours.  In their section “Skepticism 101” on their website, you can be directed to resources that teach you how to think critically and to look at things skeptically.  They aim to look at things skeptically, not necessarily to disprove someones beliefs.

Dr. Steve Shermer has this to say about the Skeptic Society – “The primary mission of the Skeptics Society and Skeptic magazine is the investigation of science and pseudoscience controversies, and the promotion of critical thinking. We investigate claims that are testable or examinable. If someone says she believes in God based on faith, then we do not have much to say about it. If someone says he believes in God and he can prove it through rational arguments or empirical evidence, then, like Harry Truman, we say “show me.” … ”

http://www.skeptic.com/

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