Edinburgh Skeptics Book Group – The Scope Of Skepticism (With Bonus Discussion Questions)!

Wahhh! How to cheer me up, lesson one – hold a book club about my book! People in Edinburgh, check it out!

Book Group – The Scope of Skepticism

Sunday, 11th November, The Counting House, 36 West Nicolson Street, Edinburgh.

Kylie Sturgess writes for a number of skeptical organizations and publications, teaches philosophy at the high school and college level, and serves on the JREF’s educational advisory panel… 

She recently compiled various interviews and transcriptions from her podcast, and made them available as a book: The Scope of Skepticism. For folks interested in the important conversations skeptics have among themselves, this is a good read. Featuring scientists like Bruce Hood, Caroline Watt and Pamela Gay, skeptic journalists and writers like Sharon Hill and Daniel Loxton, investigators like Ben Radford and Hayley Stevens, and celebrities such as Tim Minchin and Stephen Fry, the book compiles some of the best content from the nearly 150 video and audio programs that Sturgess has produced over the years.

Here is what Ed Skeptics regular Helen Dale made of it.

Note that this is an eBook – if you don’t have a Kindle, you can still dowload it to a Kindle app on an iPad, iPhone, android phone, Mac or PC.

I’m currently in the first stages of reading Ben Goldacre’s new book (which I’m certain will pop up on book clubs very soon, if it hasn’t already), and drafting some questions about the content. Which got me thinking – what kind of questions might people like to pose about my book?

Book Club / Discussion Questions for the Scope of Skepticism

1) The author claims that she stopped believing in an unskeptical claim because they “fell in love”  - what would be your answer as to an important factor in leading you to think skeptically and is an emotional response a valid one?

2) “The type of people who are going to come to my shoes will tend to be the kind who don’t mind swearing and don’t mind talking about the non-existence of God. So mostly, you’re not going to change anyone’s opinions. But just like all art, cumulatively it has an effect… I think if you keep putting out your ideas, you’ll attract like-minded people and hopefully make some almost-like-minded people more like-minded.” - Tim Minchin. How important is the delivery of skeptical ideas?Can skepticism be “like art”?

3) Both Daniel Loxton and Dr Pamela Gay discuss issues involving faith and skepticism – how do they compare?

4) Professor Bruce M. Hood argues for a more “subtle approach” when it comes to challenging placebos; are there any other paranormal or pseudoscientific claims that you think should be approached in a different way?

5) Desiree Schell and Lyz Liddell discuss activist strategies – what are some of the standout points that they make and do you see any issues with implementing them in your own community?

6) Edinburgh’s own Dr Caroline Watt is interviewed, on the topic of parapsychology. Should skeptics study parapsychology?

7) If you had to add or remove an interview or element from this book – what would it be and why? Is there any contributor who particularly stands out as irrelevant or off-topic to the theme of skepticism or any that is an oversight not to include?

Oh – and happy birthday to Eugenie Scott of the NCSE!

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