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Grassroots skepticism

Now here’s one thing we skeptics could use more of:

Imagine you’re moving to a new city, and you want to see what skeptic-themed events or groups are available. Wouldn’t it be awesome if there was one central place you could go, plug in the destination, and get a list of skeptical stuff to do?

Or, say you’re going to be traveling on business, and you want to find some evening entertainment that’s a little more fulfilling than getting drunk at the airport bar watching TV in your hotel room. Wouldn’t it be great if you could pull up a website and see what skeptical events were going on in that city, or put out a call for an impromptu meetup?

Maybe you live in Skunkbutt, South Dakota, and your only option is to start your own skeptics group. Wouldn’t it be cool if there was a place you could read about a variety of group models, topics and events that have worked for other groups?

Finally, what if your group needs advice about a program you’re planning, or help finding a speaker? Wouldn’t it be fantastic to be able to discuss the details with other skeptical organizy-types?

The group is called Grassroots Skeptics, and it’s trying to make it easier for fellow skeptics to meet and network. It sounds like a great idea, although, being a die-hard University of Michigan alumnus, it does irk me that it took people from Columbus, OH and and the Central Ohioans for Rational Inquiry to get something like this started…

By Orac

Orac is the nom de blog of a humble surgeon/scientist who has an ego just big enough to delude himself that someone, somewhere might actually give a rodent's posterior about his copious verbal meanderings, but just barely small enough to admit to himself that few probably will. That surgeon is otherwise known as David Gorski.

That this particular surgeon has chosen his nom de blog based on a rather cranky and arrogant computer shaped like a clear box of blinking lights that he originally encountered when he became a fan of a 35 year old British SF television show whose special effects were renowned for their BBC/Doctor Who-style low budget look, but whose stories nonetheless resulted in some of the best, most innovative science fiction ever televised, should tell you nearly all that you need to know about Orac. (That, and the length of the preceding sentence.)

DISCLAIMER:: The various written meanderings here are the opinions of Orac and Orac alone, written on his own time. They should never be construed as representing the opinions of any other person or entity, especially Orac's cancer center, department of surgery, medical school, or university. Also note that Orac is nonpartisan; he is more than willing to criticize the statements of anyone, regardless of of political leanings, if that anyone advocates pseudoscience or quackery. Finally, medical commentary is not to be construed in any way as medical advice.

To contact Orac: [email protected]

29 replies on “Grassroots skepticism”

If it makes you feel any better, Chelsea and I are both from Philadelphia. Our designer Jen Myers is from Ohio, and she’s graciously donated temporary hosting along with an awesome WordPress design, but the rest of the work is happening in Philly.

And thanks for the link!

I was born and raised in Ohio and still wear my Ohio State sweatshirt on occasion just to annoy Orac. So don’t take it too personally you buckeyes.

Mock all you must, but know that Skunkbutt has a vibrant community of freethinkers and rabble-rousers that dates back to the late 19th century when we were founded by decorated military hero and noted atheist Commodore Ambrose J. Piecrust. Historic Skunkbutt is the jewel of knowledge in South Dakota’s plaid hunting cap.

One thing I’d love to have here in Copenhagen, Denmark, was a real skeptic community, but I haven’t come across any yet. There are a couple of atheist groups, but at least one of them is lead by a global warming denier/transhumanist, so it’s not like those are bastions of skepticism.

Kijiji and craigslist work fine for this already.

Your most efficient bet is just to post a static website telling skeptics groups to advertise on craigslist, and telling anyone looking for a meeting to go check.

No, not craigslist. Craigslist is too busy, especially in your larger cities and states. I’m in Phoenix, AZ. We don’t really have much of a skeptical community in Phoenix or in Arizona as a whole. But Phoenix’s craigslist is chock-full of crap. The thought of having to check craigslist for skeptic-related stuff makes me want to cringe.

I’m with you, Marilove… the thought of having to wade through Craigslist for anything is enough to put me off even trying to find whatever it is I am looking for.

Kismet, there is nothing wrong with transhumanism as such, like there is nothing wrong with e.g. libertarianism as such.

The problem is that transhumanism is a fringe movement which draws in cranks of all sorts. The crank-to-sane ratio is quite high (with the cranks outnumbering the sane), and people who publicly declare themselves to belong to the movement tend to fall into the crank group (and this guy definitely do – talking about freezing down peoples’ heads, and of using transhumanism as a substitute for religion among the general public)

Orac, you haven’t reached that point in life where being part of the Big Ten is more important than Go Blue? Spartan, Hoosier, Wolverine and Boilermaker smiles at you dude.

it does irk me that it took people from Columbus, OH and and the Central Ohioans for Rational Inquiry to get something like this started…

Oh, it’s even better than that – I’m actually an OSU employee. But I’m not a football fan (yes, I’m regularly chastised for that), so it’s okay. 🙂

I’m not from Skunkbutt, but I am from SD and have been trying to start a skeptics group. Thanks for the info. And yes, those crazy-folks in Skunkbutt are very progressive thinkers.

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