HAO Newsletter Announcement

The following a piece that I wrote the Humanist Association of Ottawa Newsletter introducing Ottawa Skeptics. It’s the first time that we revealed the new organization to the public.

 

Modern Science is a crowning achievement of human civilization. It has provided us, for the first time, an objective method for determining the nature of our reality. Before science, people used various other means to understand the world. Before we knew that the stars were giant fusion reactors similar to our sun, it would have been reasonable to guess that they existed to give us messages about our fate. Before the germ theory of disease, it would have been reasonable to try magical methods of medical treatment such as acupuncture or ayurvedic. Before the discovery of evolution by natural selection, it would have been reasonable to assume that intelligence had designed life. We are privileged to live in a time when we not only understand our world more accurately than our ancestors, but this more accurate understanding leads to more enriched lives. Astronomy has allowed us to find our place in the universe. We now have medicines that are proven to be effective, as opposed to just exploiting the placebo effect. Evolutionary theory has allowed us to piece together a continuous history of life on Earth. The acceptance and appreciation of science helps not just the human race, but the local community and individuals as well. Unfortunately, not everyone agrees.

Ottawa Skeptics was founded not only because science is regularly under attack, but we believe it could use more defending. It seems that for every field of scientific inquiry, there is at least one form of pseudoscience that exists to deny or exploit it. It is our hope that this organization can make a difference in our local community, and the community at large, by promoting critical thinking and the scientific method. We want challenge purveyors of pseudoscience to prove their claims using scientific evidence.

We cannot do it alone though. The forces of pseudoscience are quite large. All fans of science and critical thinking are invited to join us in our campaign, especially specialists in scientific fields. We are not asking for money (yet!), all we ask is for your participation. Please visit our website at http://www.ottawaskeptics.org/ and sign up for our Google Groups email discussion group. We are also having monthly meetings to discuss the latest skepticism related issues in our community.

-Jonathan Abrams

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17. January 2008 by Jon
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