I’ve noticed over the past year, many changes in the skeptical community. There has been a huge surge in communication, podcasts and internet activity that allowed for growth and exchange among the 3 groups – Center for Inquiry (Skeptical Inquirer/CSICOP/CSI), Skeptics Society (Shermer’s Skeptic) and JREF (Randi’s). I always thought they each provided a different perspective and approached the philosophy with different tools and, certainly, different personalities. That is a great thing. What felt even greater was the recent sense that the cross-pollination could make for a united, more influential movement. Old wounds were being forgotten.
I’ve met lots of great skeptics over the past 10 years that I have been following these groups. It’s pretty awesome for us to be able to frequently come together in the same place. That’s becoming more and more frequent. We now visit each others neighborhoods (mostly in Las Vegas, I think) and mingle. Nice.
I don’t know what is going on at CFI these days. I’m skeptical of both sides (multiple sides, perhaps). See Hemant’s post on this. But, in this case, change is good. CFI needs a freshening up. Dr. Kurtz has great influence and vision but the guards must change. (25 years is the limit at any one job.) I firmly believe that organizations like this are HARD to manage. The ideas spark disputes and the opinions are contentious with all those geniuses in the room.
All I can say is, this is a fantastic community. I think we might have just turned and faced the same direction – forward. I hope so.
Edit: fixed some typos. 6/5/09