Skeptic » eSkeptic » October 18, 2017

The Skeptics Society & Skeptic magazine


Click the play button above to watch our short video introduction.

WE SKEPTICS CAN ALL REMEMBER that one moment when we began to think like skeptics. In honor of the 25th anniversary of the Skeptics Society and Skeptic magazine, we asked a few of our favorite friends to tell us about that moment. (Click the play button above to watch our short video introduction.)

Card-Carrying Skeptic friends

SKEPTIC FRIENDS FROM TOP LEFT TO BOTTOM RIGHT: Lawrence Krauss (Theoretical Physicist); Rachel Bloom (Crazy Ex-Girlfriend TV show); Randy Olson (Scientist turned Filmmaker); Tracy Drain (NASA Flight Systems Engineer); Aron Ra (Atheist Activist); George Hrab (Musician, Skeptic, Geek); Brian Brushwood (Magician, System Hacker); Richard Dawkins (Evolutionary Biologist); Shelley Segal (Singer Songwriter)

We’ll be releasing their incredible stories on YouTube over the next few months. Now, we would like for you to join us in celebrating our 25th anniversary by telling us your story of when you knew that you were a Card-Carrying Skeptic.

Step 1: Film your story.

How Can I Become a Card-Carrying Skeptic?

  1. Film your story.
  2. Make it public on YouTube.
  3. EMAIL A LINK to your video.

In return, we’ll send to you your very own, genuine Skeptic Card in the mail. Be sure to tell us your mailing address when you email your video link to us. We promise we won’t share your mailing address with anyone (except the post office).

Proudly, let the world know that you are a Card-Carrying Skeptic!

Let the world know that you are a Card-Carrying Skeptic.

We may even feature your video in a future eSkeptic, embed it on our website, and/or share it on our social media platforms!

To inspire you to film and submit your own story, check out this story that we recorded of our friend Rachel Bloom (creator and star of the American romantic-comedy-drama Crazy Ex-Girlfriend:

Thank you for being a part of our first 25 years. We look forward to seeing you over the next 25.

—SKEPTIC

American Goblins—Part 3
MONSTERTALK EPISODE 138

Our final part of our three-part look at the Kentucky Goblins case of 1955 concludes with an interview with the hosts of Astonishing Legends, Scott Philbrook and Forrest Burgess. We discuss the facts of the case, possible explanations, and the problems with the Wikipedia entry and the scholarly journal article cited within it. This episode’s topic is also discussed in a blog post by Blake Smith: Astonishing Legends, Questionable Facts.

If you missed them, be sure to listen to Part 1 and Part 2 of American Goblins.

Get the MonsterTalk Podcast App and enjoy the science show about monsters on your handheld devices! Available for iOS, Android, and Windows. Subscribe to MonsterTalk for free on iTunes.

Astonishing Legends, Questionable Facts

In conjunction with episode 138 of MonsterTalk mentioned above, MonsterTalk host, Blake Smith, explores whether a family in Kentucky got drunk and mistook owls for ‘space-goblins,’ or did something much more complex happen on that hot August night in 1955?

Read the Insight

DEBATE: THURSDAY, OCTOBER 19

How Do We Know What’s Right?

Full details

12 Comments »

12 Comments

  1. Bad Boy Scientist says:

    I will watch the posted videos with interest. I enjoy hearing the stories of how people come to accept naturalism as a personal philosophy. I like “Road to Damascus Stories.” if you will forgive me.

    My awakening spanned a few decades, starting as a child when I first noticed how faithful relatives of different denominations picked and chose which passages to take literally and which to take figuratively in their quest to ‘prove’ their Religion is True.

    By college I determined that by taking most of scripture metaphorically, I could easily reconcile it with the science I was studying. This made sense because the cultures that wrote ancient holy books communicated in a more metaphorical style than today’s scientists do. Then I could metaphorically agree with each relative – achieve ‘Peace in Our Time’ (or at least for Thanksgiving) – and we could talk about non-controversial things like the ‘latest science.’ Most of the evils of religion stem from arguing about it rather than quietly believing you are right and they are wrong.

    BTW: I arrived at SJG’s Non-Overlapping Magisteria position independently (of SJG). If Faith relies on bending facts to fit belief then what can science possibly say about it – other than, “Uh … O.K. If you say so.”

    I am afraid I won’t post my story on YouTube – because the Internet is public and permanent. I prefer having anonymity to exercise control over how much of my personal philosophy is known to friends, family, co-workers, and students. (I’m better at introducing people to the wonders of the natural universe if I am ambiguous about my personal philosophy – sharing the wonders of the Universe matters most to me)

    • Kurre Manilla says:

      I cannot say I’ve ever experienced a moment of skeptical satori, and I cannot recall any “path to enlightment”. Growing up in a thoroughly secular working class environment, with parents who transmitted their ideological and political views only through a general outlook on ethics, never explicitly, I probably was unintentionally fostered from birth to be a skeptic, but nevertheless there is a very special moment.

      I was eleven years old and thus tall enough to access all of my parents’ books on their shelves. That’s how I got hold of a translation of Joseph Jastrow’s Wish and Wisdom. In one fell swoop that gem of a book both made me conscious of my skepticism and confirmed that it was entirely justified. That is probably the book that’s made the deepest impression on me ever. I ‘ve kept that same copy for almost sixty years and I still remember the first joy of seeing all that bullshit, much of which I didn’t know of beforehand, exposed for what it is, at the same time as the stories about Kaspar Hauser, madame Blavatsky, Hans the counting horse and all the rest, were highly entertaining. Something like this should be bestowed on every child at an early age, but alas the world isn’t that simple.

  2. Douglas T. Hawes says:

    I don’t mind telling my story but at 82 I am not technically proficient to film it, put it on YouTube and then sent you a link. Now I would gladly pull out the pertinent material on conversion to atheism from the 60 to 70 page book I have roughly put together (MY LIFE). I distributed a 2013 edition to my classmates at my 60th high school reunion, and have added to it since. Do you have a younger more proficient member willing to assist in the Plano, TX area?

  3. Lester F. Lomax says:

    I became interested in the Skeptics, when I found an article in their magazine about Ted Serios eliciting thoughtographs in the presence of a Skeptics Magazine article writers. I am very interested in how humans can know that ESP and PK are real, and still vehemently claim that they are not real. My associates and I found our images in several thoughtographs; identifiable and identified. Aren’t we humans puzzling and interesting? I feel that Skepticism is a nice, clean, helpful temporary vacation from reality. See: Skeptic Magazine (Altadena, CA), summer 2005, Vol. 12, issue 2, page 40 (4 pages). Such type puzzles usually lead to understanding, and advances in science.

  4. John Whitton says:

    I was hazed after a sports ending injury in 1971 at 13 years old that led to a nervous breakdown 4 years later that my Alumni took advantage of by turning it into a long convoluted over extended mental and physical metaphor. They did not even ask me about career and family at 3 Reunions I attended. It has been totally off the wall. Good story for those skeptical about sports producing good role models. I got over it, but my cry outs and losses have been many and the denial has been embarrassingly vast to me, my Alumni and the community. Where are the basic values this country once embraced?

  5. Tony Hudson says:

    My Mother believed in Fortune Tellers and was very superstitious. When I was 12 years old I began to ask ‘why?’ It seemed to me very restrictive organising your day by what some ‘horoscope’ said, what some ‘psychic’ told you, or by the movement of a black cat.
    I began looking things up, researching. I trawled through libraries trying to learn something of the origin of these beliefs – are they real? Are they true? Is everything really preordained? If so, by whom? What are the rules?
    I had numerous discussions with my Mum, and eventually convinced her that she was believing in nonsense. But that was only the beginning…
    I am now 66 years old and have never stopped researching the Paranormal, the New Age, the Occult, Pseudoscience, and Alt Med. I’ve probably forgotten what many people will never know.
    For me, there was no momentous epiphany; it was a gradual climb.
    I have subscribed to the Australian Skeptics since the 1980’s.

  6. innaiah Narisetti says:

    The idea is dynamic and will inspire for further research and probe into scientific quest.

  7. Mario Andreatta says:

    I will not do a video because it’s too permanent on YouTube. Seven years ago a bad COPD exacerbation resulted in a hospital stay where, for the first time in many years, I had some ‘me’ time. Cortisone keeps me awake 24/7 so this was good quality time. The more I thought, the more skeptic of all things unproveable I became. As simple as that! The mag and the superb books listed, helped me focus and become an even greater skeptic.

  8. mario rodríguez says:

    I am afraid I won’t post my story on YouTube, I prefer having anonymity to exercise control over how much of my personal philosophy is known to my students.
    Congratulations for your first 25 years.

  9. edwin kariuki says:

    got a mysterious permanent symbol on my finger came about in 2003 at an age of 22.being actively pursued by close to 100 persons,captured thrice somehow escaped..two other strange personal phenomenon with me

  10. Steve Eylar says:

    I can’t recall “that one moment when we began to think like a skeptic”. I do remember that one moment when I realized that not everyone thought like a skeptic.

    I had some free time so looked up atheist meetup groups in Atlanta. I went to a meeting and it wasn’t my cup of tea. As I investigated further, I discovered an Atlanta-based podcast: Skepticality. I researched further and discovered that “skepticism” is a thing.

    Thus, I knew I had been a skeptic all along. I can remember being a skeptic a far back as 45 years ago. You obviously need good reasons to believe what you believe. Isn’t that obvious? I assumed it was obvious. Apparently not.

  11. Susan says:

    I would appreciate any comments- actually, advice is what I really need- about being a skeptic married to a believer. I am finding it more and more difficult. My husband is not conventionally religious but believes in lots of new age ideas like tarot, astrology, ancestor interventions, synchronicity, angels, etc.. He thinks I am closed minded and rigid. I try to be respectful of his beliefs, he is a good man and a seeker, but secretly I hold those beliefs in contempt. It is becoming increasingly likely that the contempt will leak out into my feelings for him. Any ideas appreciated.

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