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About the Skeptics Society

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Subject: About the Skeptics Society
   The Skeptics Society is a member-supported organization of
   scholars, scientists, historians, magicians, and the
   intellectually curious, that sponsors a lecture series at Caltech
   and publishes the quarterly magazine Skeptic, for the purpose of
   promoting science and critical thinking, and disseminating
   information on pseudoscience, pseudohistory, the paranormal,
   magic, superstition, fringe claims and groups, revolutionary
   science, proto-science, and the history of science and
   pseudoscience, in articles, essays, reviews, and letters. The
   magazine is an international publication, available to all
   members, as well as institutions and university, college, and
   public libraries, and is available in most bookstores and
   magazine outlets. Transcripts of Caltech lectures are reprinted
   in Skeptic, and videotapes of the lectures are available through
   the magazine. The Skeptics Society also holds an annual Awards
   Ceremony to recognize those who have made significant
   contributions toward the goals of the Society and the magazine.
   In addition, as a Society, the Skeptics hold social events, take
   trips, and make field excursions related to science, for both
   educational and social purposes.
   The Skeptics Society and Skeptic magazine investigate claims by
   scientists, pseudoscientists, and pseudohistorians on a wide
   variety of theories and conjectures including but not limited to:
   evolution and creationism; cults and religion; Holocaust
   revisionism and extreme Afrocentrism; conspiracy theories;
   near-death and out-of-body experiences; cryonics, life after
   death and the quest for immortality; witchcraft and witch crazes;
   mass hysterias and urban myths; the relationship of science and
   science fiction; hypnosis and altered states of consciousness;
   the difference between science and pseudoscience and the
   difference between history and pseudo history; magic and the
   paranormal; the use and abuse of theory and statistics in science
   and pseudoscience; the role of skepticism; medical and
   psychiatric claims; the scope and limitations of science and
   technology; gender and race issues in science, society, and
   history; cultural influences on science and scientific influences
   on culture; the capacities and limitations of the human mind and
   body; scientific and academic fraud and hoaxes. The question the
   Skeptics Society asks about all claims it investigates is this:
   How well do they hold up under scientific scrutiny?
   With regard to statements, hypotheses, theories, and ideologies
   considered by the Skeptics Society, the organization adopts the
   posture of the 17th-century Dutch philosopher Baruch Spinoza:
     "I have made a ceaseless effort not to ridicule, not to
     bewail, not to scorn human actions, but to understand them."
   With regard to its procedure of examination of all claims, the
   Skeptics Society adapts the scientific method developed in the
   16th and 17th centuries. It recognizes the limitations and
   socio-cultural influences on science, yet adopts the philosophy
   of Albert Einstein:
     "All our science, measured against reality, is primitive and
     childlike--and yet it is the most precious thing we have."

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