THE MODERN SKEPTICAL MOVEMENT is a fairly recent phenomenon dating back to Martin Gardner’s 1952 classic, Fads and Fallacies In the Name of Science. Gardner’s copious essays and books over the past four decades debunking all manner of bizarre claims, coupled to James “the Amazing” Randi’s countless psychic challenges and media appearances throughout the 1970s and 1980s (including 36 appearances on The Tonight Show), pushed the skeptical movement to the forefront of public consciousness. The philosopher Paul Kurtz helped create dozens of skeptics groups throughout the United States and abroad, and his Committee for the Scientific Investigation of Claims of the Paranormal (CSICOP) inspired me to found the Skeptics Society and Skeptic magazine,
Scientific Skepticism Bridging the gap between fact and fiction LAI 531 John Brodnick
Areas for Skepticism UFO’s Ghost Psychics Witchcraft Astrology Crop Circles Bigfoot
First a few definitions The term Scientific Skepticism can be broken down a bit in order to Find its proper context for our usage
First a few definitions SCIENCE 1. the state of knowing : knowledge as distinguished from ignorance or misunderstanding 2 a : a department of systematized knowledge as an object of study <the science of theology> b : something (as a sport or technique) that may be studied or learned like systematized knowledge <have it down to a science> 3 a : knowledge or a system of knowledge covering general truths or the operation of general laws especially as obtained and tested through scientific method b : such knowledge or such a system of knowledge concerned with the physical world and its phenomena http://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/science
First a few definitions EMPERICAL 1 : originating in or based on observation or experience <empirical data 2 : relying on experience or observation alone often without due regard for system and theory <an empirical basis for the theory 3 : capable of being verified or disproved by observation or experiment <empirical laws>with the physical world and its phenomena http://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/empirical
: an attitude of doubt or a disposition to incredulity either in general or toward a particular object2 a : the doctrine that true knowledge or knowledge in a particular area is uncertain b : the method of suspended judgment, systematic doubt, or criticism characteristic of skeptics3 : doubt concerning basic religious principles (as immortality, providence, and revelation) http://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/skepticism
New Skepticism Encompasses inquiry rather than doubt Positive and constructive The transformation of negative critical analysis of claims to knowledge into a positive contribution
Skeptical Inquiry The key principle of skeptical inquiry is to seek, when feasible, adequate evidence and reasonable grounds for any claim to truth in any context
Scientific Skepticism:-is a method of inquiry used to evaluate claims and determine their probable validity -Relies on Scientific empiricism-May be used to evaluate both mainstream science and those claims that are considered on the outside realms of science-Used in everyday life to evaluate claims
The Beginnings of Skeptic movement Benjamin Franklin Was know for his role in experimenting with electricity and role in independence movement in the 1700’s -Debunked claims in Paris of “Mesmerism "and “Animal Magnetism”
The Beginnings of Skeptic movement Harry Houdini Magician Best at detecting fraudulent claims by spiritualist as they use the same “tricks” as magicians
The Beginnings of Skeptic movement Martin Gardner’s 1952 classic, Fads and Fallacies In the Name of Science.
The Beginnings of Skeptic movement James “the Amazing” Randi
Basic Steps to Skepticism Occam's razor: when you have two competing theories that make exactly the same predictions, the simpler one is the better.
Basic Steps to Skepticism Carl Sagan’s Baloney Detection Kit Wherever possible there must be independent confirmation of the facts Encourage substantive debate on the evidence Arguments from authority carry little weight Spin more than one hypothesis Try not to get overly attached to a hypothesis If there are two hypothesis that explain the data equally choose the simpler. Ask whether the hypothesis can be falsified
Why be skeptical ? Pseudoscientific claims and the Para normal Consumers Media Politicians Children and education
Politics G W. Bush Vetoes stem cell research Has Staff “Scientists”“edit climate reports Many Federal agencies required to submit information through censors Liberal Democrat Conservative republicans
Education Creationism and Intelligent Design In Kentucky, a bill recently introduced in the Legislature would encourage teachers to discuss “the advantages and disadvantages of scientific theories,” including “evolution, the origins of life, global warming and human cloning.”
Scientific Skepticism Many additional Topics Anti science Food safety Food labeling Health claims on food and supplements Religions influence on science The Mayan calendar and 2012
Further Study Podcasts: Point of Inquiry http://www.pointofinquiry.org/ Complete List of Scientific Skepticism podcasts http://www.csicop.org/si/show/skeptics_guide_to_podcasts
References Kendrick Frazier, (2009). Science under siege : defending science, exposing pseudoscience Amherst, N.Y. : Prometheus Books Kurtz Paul, (2010) Exuberant skepticism Amherst, N.Y. : Prometheus Books Shermer Michael (2001). The borderlands of Science New York, NY Oxford press Kurtz, Paul, The new skepticism : inquiry and reliable knowledge Buffalo, N.Y. : Prometheus Books, 1992.
Hall, H. (2009). Homeopathy: Still Crazy After All These Years. Skeptic, 15(1), 8-9. Retrieved from Academic Search Complete database. Retrieved 04/10/2010
Nardi, P. (2010). Magic, Skepticism, and Belief. Skeptic, 15(3), 58-64. Retrieved from Academic Search Complete database. Retrieved 03/28/2010 Grothe, D. (2009). Skepticism 2.0. Skeptical Inquirer, 33(6), 51. Retrieved from MasterFILE Premier database. Retrieved 03/22/2010 Stollznow, K. (2009). Skepticism and Blogging. Skeptical Inquirer, 33(6), 41. Retrieved from MasterFILE Premier database Retrieved 03/28/2010 Galef, J. (2010). Uncertainty in Science. Humanist, 70(1), 10. Retrieved from MasterFILE Premier database. Retrieved 04/10/2010 Gooding, J., & Metz, B. (2010). Connecting the Dots between Consumer Protection, Skepticism, and Science. Science Activities, 47(2), 41. Retrieved from MasterFILE Premier database Retrieved 03/28/2010 (2009). Skepticism. Columbia Electronic Encyclopedia, 6th Edition, 1. Retrieved from MasterFILE Premier database. Retrieved 03/28/2010