January 13 is International Skeptics Day (or is it?)
Reality is that which, when you stop believing in it, still exists.
Philip K. Dick
I’m not sure how he’d feel about International Skeptics Day since there’s no evidence that it’s an official holiday anywhere. If you consider the number of skeptical organizations worldwide, almost 100 according to one source, maybe it should be.
The sticklers among us might point out that Skeptics Day is also listed in some quarters as occurring on October 13.
Others might say the dearth of critical thinking calls for as many reminders of the need for skeptical inquiry as possible.
Perhaps the weirdest thing about this holiday is that we seem to need it at all.
To learn more:
- Watch the Youtube channel of the James Randi Foundation. Many tried and failed to win Randi’s years-long Million Dollar Challenge, which promised the prize to anyone who could show proof of the paranormal. The challenge ended recently, the money unclaimed.
- Plumb the resources of the Committee for Skeptical Inquiry.
- Find like-minded skeptics in your neighborhood at meetup.com.
- Consult Snopes.com, the Web’s Google search for hoaxes and misinformation, before you forward that chain email about how the government is poisoning us all with cheese.
- Watch an old episode of Mythbusters, a show that made testing urban legends entertaining. (After the series wrapped, it became clear that the biggest myth was that the two hosts got along.)
- Read A Practical Guide to Critical Thinking, which is sure to help you resist that midnight infomercial, win an argument, and separate fact from fiction in almost any situation.
No matter how or when you choose to celebrate International Skeptics Day, have fun!
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