This straightforward advice—try not to take people’s word for stuff, especially when we’re promoting a position in public—is a core skeptical concept. It underpins all of skeptical scholarship, for responsible skeptical outreach demands the due diligence exercise of checking everything twice. Someone says they saw something? Maybe they did, and maybe they didn’t. We ought to try to find out. Someone says they know something? Well, maybe they do—and maybe they don’t. If skeptical sources (for example) confidently assert that a case is solved or a paranormal topic debunked, we ought to ask ourselves, “I wonder if this topic is really understood, and how well?” —and then try to find out before repeating assertions from the sources we admire. Sometimes it turns out that the best available scholarship is preliminary, or incomplete, or even downright speculative.
Congratulations California – Prop 8 banning gay marriage was ruled unconstitutional:
Komen VP Karen Handel Quits Over Planned Parenthood Dispute – mind, I have my doubts as to how much of what went on hinged on the efforts of one person within Susan G. Komen for the Cure charity…Then – later on the Token Skeptic podcast today – an interview with Dr Rob Morrison, who is the National Vice-President of the Australian Science Communicators, a patron of National Science Week South Australia and a Freelance Science writer / Broadcaster and Professorial Fellow Flinders Uni. What will it be about?
New York Times: Friends of Science in Medicine — a recently formed group that includes more than 400 prominent scientists, doctors, academics and consumer advocates from Australia and overseas — wrote to the vice chancellors of Australian universities last month. They outlined their concerns about what they called the “diminishing of the standards applied to the teaching of science in our universities” and “the increased teaching of pseudoscience.”
You’ll be able to download the whole show at Episode One Hundred and Six: On Friends Of Science In Medicine – Interview With Dr Rob Morrison on the Token Skeptic podcast, out later today!