Skeptics Society


Also found in: Acronyms.

Skeptics Society

(religion, spiritualism, and occult)

In 1991 a second organization devoted to the scientific refutation of miraculous and paranormal claims joined the Committee for the Scientific Investigation of the Claims of the Paranormal (CSICOP) in a program of public education. The Los Angeles-based Skeptics Society was founded by scholar/writer Michael Shermer, who was assisted by Pat Linse and Kim Ziel Shermer. Much of the rationale behind locating the new society at its west coast base was to be close to the many media outlets there; this complemented the resources available to the upstate New York base from which CSICOP had been operating. Shermer has effectively and aggressively used radio and television as a major component in the Skeptics Society’s educational efforts. The society’s magazine, Skeptic, has over 40,000 subscribers.

The society sponsors an annual conference and a variety of programs throughout the year. For several years it had a weekly national cable television show, and Shermer is a frequent guest on shows that deal with psychic and supernatural issues and events. As a building block of the skeptics’ pseudoscience debunking movement, the Skeptics Society operates from a position that assumes that most, if not all, supernatural and paranormal claims may be reduced to either baseless speculations on matters beyond the realm of science, or that they are fraudulent or simply misunderstandings of extraordinary but mundane phenomena.

Sources:

Carroll, Robert Todd. The Skeptic’s Dictionary: A Collection of Strange Beliefs, Amusing Deceptions, and Dangerous Delusions. New York: Wiley, 2003.
Shermer, Michael. Science Friction: Where the Known Meets the Unknown. New York: Times Books, 2005.
______. Why People Believe Weird Things: Pseudoscience, Superstition, and Other Confusions of Our Time. New York: W. H. Freeman & Company, 1998.