Skepticism

Skepticism is Beautiful

Image from “A Rare and Beautiful Thing,” Daniel Loxton’s main stage talk at The Amazing Meeting 2014 conference (video)

Daniel is a participant in a tradition called “scientific skepticism”—the practice of studying paranormal and pseudoscientific claims through the lens of science and critical scholarship, and then sharing the results with the public. This modern version of the “debunking” genre has been a vibrant hub of research and activism for decades. It can trace its roots back centuries, or even millennia. (There is even a case, probably apocryphal, of skeptical investigation described in some versions of the Bible—see Daniel 14: 3–22)

Daniel’s research and educational work with the nonprofit Skeptics Society follows a path blazed by countless fascinating figures in history, including Lucian of Samosata, Harry Houdini, Rose Mackenberg, and Martin Gardner.

In addition to Junior Skeptic, Daniel’s contributions to the skeptical literature include a number of reflections on aspects of skeptical history and these larger projects published by the Skeptics Society as free PDFs:
 

Where Do We Go From Here cover

DOWNLOAD “Where Do We Go From Here?” (PDF)

“Where Do We Go From Here?” (2007)

In this substantial op-ed article, Daniel responded to what he saw as mission drift in the skeptical movement, arguing that “the attention and energy of the skeptical movement should remain sharply focused on consumer protection in fringe science areas.” According to Daniel, “somebody has to do it. I can’t drive that point home hard enough. The job isn’t done. It will never be done.”

 

“What Do I Do Next?” (2009)

What Do I Do Next cover

DOWNLOAD “What Do I Do Next?” (PDF)

This 30,000 word project gathered together thirteen leading skeptics from a variety of organizations and independent projects to brainstorm and discuss “105 practical ways to promote science and advance skepticism.” Contributors included Dr. Eugenie C. Scott (then Executive Director of the National Center for Science Education), Skeptics Society co-founder and Skeptic magazine co-publisher Pat Linse, Tim Farley (What’s The Harm?, INSIGHT at Skeptic.com), and filmmaker Randy Olson (Flock of Dodos: the Evolution–Intelligent Design Circus).

 

“Why Is There a Skeptical Movement?” (2013)
Cover of Why Is There a Skeptical Movement?

DOWNLOAD “Why Is There a Skeptical Movement?” (PDF)

When did the tradition of scientific skepticism begin? How did it blossom into a modern movement? What happened before there was a Skeptics Society—before any of us were even born? When top hats or Roman togas were the latest fashions, who spoke then for the victims of paranormal fraud?

Almost two years in the writing, these two meticulously-researched chapter-length explorations dig deeply into the roots, founding principles, and purpose of scientific skepticism.

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