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The Skeptics Society

The Skeptics Society
Skeptic Magazine.png
Formation 1992; 25 years ago (1992)
  • Worldwide
c. 50,000 (magazine circulation)
Executive Director
Michael Shermer
Website Official website

The Skeptics Society is a nonprofit, member-supported organization devoted to promoting scientific skepticism and resisting the spread of pseudoscience, superstition, and irrational beliefs. The Skeptics Society was founded by Michael Shermer as a Los Angeles-area skeptical group to replace the defunct Southern California Skeptics. After the success of its magazine, Skeptic, introduced in early 1992, it became a national and then international organization. The stated mission of Skeptics Society and Skeptic magazine "is the investigation of science and pseudoscience controversies, and the promotion of critical thinking."

The Skeptics Society was formed in 1992, it has 50,000 members worldwide. Shermer states as context for the founding of Skeptic Society "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,"

Explaining the organization's name, the Society states: "Some people believe that skepticism is the rejection of new ideas, or worse, they confuse “skeptic” with “cynic” and think that skeptics are a bunch of grumpy curmudgeons unwilling to accept any claim that challenges the status quo. This is wrong. Skepticism is a provisional approach to claims. It is the application of reason to any and all ideas—no sacred cows allowed. In other words, skepticism is a method, not a position. Ideally, skeptics do not go into an investigation closed to the possibility that a phenomenon might be real or that a claim might be true. When we say we are “skeptical,” we mean that we must see compelling evidence before we believe."

  • Worldwide
  • Skepticality was adopted as the group's official podcast. It is a top-rated audio talk show dedicated to the promotion of critical thinking and science. Each episode is an audio magazine featuring regular segments by contributors who are specialized in specific areas of critical thought followed by featured content which is, usually, in the form of an interview with a researcher, author, or individual who is helping promote skeptical thought and/or science.
  • MonsterTalk is the science show about monsters. It is free audio podcast that critically examines the science behind cryptozoological (and legendary) creatures, such as Bigfoot, the Loch Ness Monster, or werewolves. Hosted by Blake Smith and Dr. Karen Stollznow, MonsterTalk interviews the scientists and investigators. It received "The Best Fact Behind Fiction" award in 2012 from Parse.


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