Taking Skeptical Activism to a New Level

April 7, 2009

For those skeptical activist folks out there in the trenches who have longed for a way to better participate in the skeptical “movement” (if indeed there be such a beast), my friend and fellow skeptical Bigfoot buff Daniel Loxton has compiled something remarkable.

In 2007, Daniel (editor of Junior Skeptic, as if you didn’t know) called for renewed focus on classical skeptical activism in an essay entitled “Where Do We Go From Here?” It was well-received and got all sorts of ink from Skeptic magazine, Skeptical Briefs, Skeptic.com, and the Skepticality podcast. Barack Obama himself made a passing reference to it in the second draft of his inauguration speech—but don’t look for it, as it was mysteriously edited out of the final version by suspected Sylvia Browne operatives.

Now comes the follow-up project,   “What Do I Do Next?: Leading Skeptics Discuss 105 Practical Ways to Promote Science and Advance Skepticism.” A panel of 13 (ooh- unlucky!) skeptics contributed almost 30,000 words of impassioned, in-depth commentary to this groundbreaking document.

The result of a truly Loxtonian effort,  “What Do I Do Next?” has been compiled and released as a 68-page ebooklet — available completely free from Skeptic.com. There’s a bunch (105, by one count) of things you can do to promote science and advance skeptical thinking. According to Daniel, who is not known for unwarranted hyperbole, “Whether you’re a bright new skeptic or a long-time veteran, this point-by-point panel discussion is packed with ideas you’ll find provocative and valuable.”

In addition to Daniel, contributors included luminaries such as Dr. Eugenie Scott (National Center for Science Education); Jeff Wagg (James Randi Educational Foundation); D.J. Grothe (Point of Inquiry podcast); Brian Dunning (Skeptoid podcast); Dr. Karen Stollznow (The Skeptic magazine); Robynn “Swoopy” McCarthy (Skepticality podcast); Kylie Sturgess (Skeptic Zone podcast); Tim Farley (What’s the Harm? and Skeptools websites); Dr. Randy Olson (Flock of Dodos documentary); Pat Linse (Skeptic magazine); Jay Novella (The Skeptics’ Guide to the Universe podcast)

… as well as a few half-baked ideas from some amateur asshat named Ben Radford.

The project can be found at https://www.skeptic.com/eskeptic/09-03-25.html. Check it out!