Oh man, it’s winter. Where is the sun?
I’ve been busy reading and watching monster movies and documentaries. I’m going to write up some notes from my readings and share some gems.
In an update from last D&A, I’ve closed down my public Facebook page for now. I’m more interested in working in the background. Speaking of that, I am still maintaining the social media accounts for the JREF but am focusing on helping to organize TAM#13 for 2015 this summer in Las Vegas. That’s a tremendous job but I’m absorbing what it means to put together a major conference event. I’m sure not doing the heavy lifting. But, people are so often quick to criticize without knowing what it entails.
I’m getting more and more jaded with silly ghost and monster stories in the news. So, the content on Doubtful News has been less frequent. I’m becoming more picky about what I put up there. I no longer can manage to list every big questionable claim made in the media. It’s often so ridiculous, I get a bit depressed I have to even mention that’s portrayed VERY inaccurately and quite dubious of a story. Or, it takes a considerable amount of effort to research and digest a story (like the latest Pew research on science and the public). I didn’t expect to get burnt out from it but, now that I think about it, it’s inevitable. Meanwhile, I’ve had another new project idea.
I’ve started the site Practical Skepticism. It’s what I think the public needs – to see how critical thinking processes can help ANYONE make better decisions in life. My goal is to show the inherent value of the skeptical process, that it’s not cynical, it’s not just for groups of old, atheist men, and it is tremendously valuable to have as a life skill.
I’m moving away from aiming efforts at the fractionated, unorganized, “skeptic” community but focusing on everyday useful stuff that can improve society for all ages and lifestyles. If you would like to contribute to Practical Skepticism, drop me a line. I’ll be posting more in the near future when I populate the site with more content. But I sure hope I can get some other contributions posts in these beginning stages.
The public MUST be the audience for the message. I feel very strongly about that; I hope you see why and join me in this effort to refocus the goals of the skeptical community to be education and outreach. My main interest is in the relationship between science and the public. There are many factors involved in science appreciation and acceptance that are separate from the ‘don’t be fooled’ lesson of general skepticism. We have a lot of work to do to make forward strides but according to some thoughtful messages I’ve received, people will get behind such goals and show support.
Coming up on my agenda for face to face outreach this year, besides TAM in July, is the Skeptical Classroom event in March at Northern Arizona University. I’ve never been in Flagstaff so I’m very excited. I’m bursting with ideas for my talk about applying skepticism in the natural sciences classroom.
I also got my first invitation to speak at a “paranormal” type event – the Albatwitch Festival in Columbia, PA next fall. I wrote about it here. I’m still thinking about how to address what will likely be a crowd of those greatly invested in paranormal beliefs. That will be a challenge.
Tell me what YOU think. I read all comments posted here even if I don’t make them public.