Saturday, 4 October 2014

SKEPTICAL ACTIVISM - A CALL TO ARMS



If your goat has been got by a scam, fraud, or woo then please read on.

Some of you may have attended the Birmingham SitP talk by Michael Marshall of Merseyside Skeptics Society, and Project Director at Good Thinking Society.

For those who weren't there, amongst other achievements, Michael was instrumental in organising the 10:23 campaign, which successfully spread the word about the ineffectiveness of homeopathy.

You can find out more about Good Thinking at:

http://www.goodthinkingsociety.org

That talk inspired me to want to develop an idea that has been been running around in my head since I started attending SitP a couple of years ago.

Having taken part in a few skeptical activist activities myself (e.g. carrying out a survey of attendees at a Colin Fry show in London; campaigning against Gary Mannion , 'psychic surgeon'; and establishing a campaign in the U.K. to expose and help bring an end to the fake explosives detectors trade - see ADE651 and GT200; I am interested in setting up Birmingham Skeptics Activists as a spinoff from the main group.


B.S.A (Bull Shit Annihilators; just kidding!) will be a group of people who are prepared to take part in campaigns to combat the panoply of nonsense that surrounds us. It may be pseudoscience, quackery, 'psychics', or creationism in schools. One example that still resonates with me was the talk by one of the speakers at the first open mic night on cancer quackery, and how her dad was sadly taken in by people in the area offering false hope via quack 'cures'. Targeting, exposing and bringing people like that to justice is a compelling motivation. Campaigns may involve anything from emailing your M.P., protests, leafleting, blogging or other coordinated action.

I recognise that not everyone has the time or the inclination to take part in skeptical activism, but I am sure that some of you will want to get involved.

What we need:

What we need is a bit of your time every now and then.

What we don't need:

We're not after your cash, in fact we'll be looking to cover any expenses and you don't even have to be close to the centre of Birmingham as there are plenty of things going on almost everywhere. We're also not looking to drag you along to a load of committee meetings either.

Depending on the level of support, over the next couple of months we will look to establish Birmingham Skeptics Activists and agree how best to move forward with this initiative.

If you are interested please let me know. I will also be at next SitP featuring Chris French on the 8th of October, or feel free to email me on rgns(at sign)hushmail.me.

Richard Sutherland

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