So my fine skeptical colleague, Bob Blaskiewicz, has written a terrific blog post that deserves wide circulation, entitled “What’s Right With Skepticism.” In recent weeks, if not indeed the last couple of years, there are voices in the wilderness that would have us believe that there’s not much right with skepticism these days, but in fact, that’s a pretty distorted view. Bob does a great job of reminding us of some of the great features of our movement and community, including Skepticamp, the Science-Based Medicine site, Doubtful News, JREF’s The Amazing Meeting, and much more. This is well worth a read by newbie skeptics and veterans alike. We are doing great work, we are having great conversations on the web and in person, and we are constantly informing and enlarging one another and our ever-growing community.
In addition to all that, Bob gave me one of the most delightful shout-outs of my career, and really made me laugh. You should read the piece to find it yourself in context, but it caused a bit of conversation in the Twitterverse, and JREF presenter and pal Miranda Hale suggested somebody make it into a tee-shirt. My date-for-life, Kandace, is a designer among her many professional skill sets, so she jumped on that fun idea and came up with this:
Maybe we’ll put these out and see some folks wearing them at TAM 2014!?!
In other news, JREF Prez, DJ Grothe mentioned in his recent blog post the lengthy feature article in Newsweek entitled “The Bullshit Police,” which features Randi, JREF, TAM, and a number of JREF colleagues, including yours truly. [Find the story HERE in case you missed it.] Although the conflicts between atheism and skepticism often seem a self-defeating distraction to me, at least in this case the writer, the accomplished journalist Michael Moynihan, did his homework and presented a fair-minded view of some of the philosophical issues, and only devoted a portion of the broadly conceived piece to that subject. Much to the credit of his reportage, he points out that internecine philosophical battles can seem distracting when one wades into them up close, but that a clearer view demonstrates the pressing and incomparable values of the movement, such as in the realm of consumer protection against costly and even dangerous pseudoscientific claims. And he reaches a conclusion, drawing a connection between skepticism and positive social change, which produces a profound insight that should reinvigorate any skeptic who ever doubts the value and importance of our movement.
Jamy Ian Swiss is Senior Fellow at the JREF. He blogs regularly at randi.org.