When ‘Skepticism’ Makes Me *Headdesky* – Not-So-Much A Jefferson Quote After All

From the Friendly Atheist:

The Backyard Skeptics in Orange County, California — no strangers to controversy— just put up this billboard yesterday afternoon:

“I do not find in Christianity one redeeming feature. It is founded on fables and mythology” – Thomas Jefferson.

…Just one problem with the quotation… Jefferson never said it.

Oh bloody hell.

Anyway. Today is Friday, I’m thinking of spending a little time checking out the Conscious Living Expo in my town (mostly because the Australian Vaccination Network are there, and I might find out some other interesting things about what constitutes ‘conscious living’ at the same time).

If you have any suggestions as to how to do some proactive skeptical activism rather than… *sigh*… the kinds of stunts where you wish they did a little reading ahead of time? Like the full version (PDF) of “What Do I Do Next?: Leading Skeptics Discuss 105 Practical Ways to Promote Science and Advance Skepticism” or checked out the Grassroots Skeptics Skeptical Activism Campaign Manual.

What, you didn’t know about those two things? Now you do! Have a great long weekend reading! :)

Unholy Trinity Australia Tour Video
Unholy Trinity Melbourne Review (AKA From Up The Gods Without God)
AstroFest Perth (Video From Previous Years)
ATHEIST / SKEPTIC EVENTS – Perth, Melbourne, Bookclubs, Podcasts, Oh My…
About Kylie Sturgess

Kylie Sturgess is a Philosophy teacher, media and psychology student, blogger at Patheos and podcaster at Token Skeptic. She has conducted over a hundred interviews including artists, scientists, politicians and activists, worldwide.
She’s the author of the ‘Curiouser and Curiouser‘ column at the Committee for Skeptical Inquiry website and travels internationally lecturing on feminism, skepticism, and science.

  • Randomfactor

    No problem; just cover over the “Thomas Jefferson” part. The rest remains true.

    But yeah, nice to check these things out ahead of time…

  • had3

    Proactive, the facial cream? Or did you mean “active,” as in active skeptical activism? Or are you reacting to the lack of activism? I remember when “active” meant what “proactive” now means. I’m old. I mean, I’m pre-owned.

    • Kylie Sturgess

      Damn, did I leave out a word? Sorry about that. Edits tend to get lost rather than re-post.

  • http://larianlequella.com larianlequella

    Oh the comments on that page…


  • http://Templeofthefuture.net James Croft

    This question is music to my ears – we desperate need to become more proactive and less reactive as a movement. Why constantly define ourselves through responses to religious ideas we do not believe are true, and by reacting to whatever it is the religious right does?

    Here are some proactive ideas off the top of my head:

    Do service work in the name of Humanism, perhaps in service of a science-related cause (donor card drive? Giving to support research?)
    Sponsor a bill to promote funding for science in your area. Perhaps start with a petition.
    Host a free educational event with some skeptical thinker talking about how great critical thinking is in an accessible way.
    Do a book drive for local schools, and make sure to request books about evolution, freethinking etc.
    Take part in Pride parades and other cultural festivals where shared values are in evidence.
    Make sure you have a space at the interfaith table if it’s popular where you are, because if you don’t others get to define us.
    Give an award to a skeptical figure WHO IS WELL-LIKED BY MOST PEOPLE.

    With all these ideas, remember:

    We set the agenda, not our opponents.
    We promote our values, not respond to theirs.
    Speak to the things people care about – their families, their livelihoods, their loved-ones – and show how our values will benefit them.
    As well as providing statistics and srguments, pull on people’s emotions with vivid storytelling dripping with specific details.