I often find it beneficial to look back over what the various groups and organisations I associate with are doing, and what they stand for. This morning while preparing for an opportunity to talk skeptical to the mainstream media, I found myself reading the Our Aims section of the Australian Skeptics website. It’s been awhile since I’ve stopped to read this page, but I was glad I did today. Feeling compelled to share this with all of you; I’m also going to ask something in return. If you find yourself agreeing with these aims, if you want to do something to help out or want to find out how, why not join? You don’t even have to be Australian, but you get to be an informed part of something great. Bargain!
The following aims were drafted in 1989 at a national committee meeting
The aims of Australian Skeptics are:
* To investigate claims of pseudoscientific, paranormal and similarly anomalous phenomena from a responsible, scientific point of view.
* To publicise the results of these investigations and, where appropriate, to draw attention to the possibility of natural and ordinary explanations of such phenomena.
* To accept explanations and hypotheses about paranormal occurrences only after good evidence has been adduced, which directly or indirectly supports such hypotheses.
* To encourage Australians and the Australian news media to adopt a critical attitude towards paranormal claims and to understand that to introduce or to entertain a hypothesis does not constitute confirmation or proof of that hypothesis.
* To stimulate inquiry and the quest for truth, wherever it leads.
These aims will be pursued by:
* Establishing a network of people interested in critically examining claims of the paranormal,
* Publishing a periodical, the Skeptic and distributing relevant information.
* Publishing articles, monographs and books that examine claims of the paranormal.
* Maintaining a library.
* Preparing a bibliography of relevant published material.
* Encouraging and commissioning research by objective and impartial inquirers.
* Conducting meetings, seminars and conferences.
* Acting as a public information resource by making informed members and relevant expertise available to the news media and other interested groups.
The sceptical attitude involves:
* Seeking all relevant evidence concerning any extraordinary or putative paranormal event, claim or theory.
* Keeping an open mind and not rejecting paranormal claims a priori.
* Refusing to accept as true theories and explanations for which there is insufficient or ambiguous evidence and recognising that withholding belief is a preferable position to accepting claims for which there is insufficient evidence.
* In seeking explanations, to prefer the ordinary to the extraordinary, the natural to the supernatural and the simple to the complex.