Resources For New Skeptics


So I’ve decided to become more skeptical. NOW what? Where can I go for good skeptical blogs and information? Fledgeling Skeptic is here to help. This blog can be a great jumping off point for your journey as a skeptic but there is a whole great wide world out there just FULL of skeptical resources. The following are just a few of them.

Skepticism is as individual as the people involved. There are SO many different aspects. There’s Joe Nickell who is a prominent a paranormal investigator. You can read his blog here. I had the pleasure of seeing Joe speak at DragonCon last year. His investigations deal with cryptozoology, UFOS, ghosts, psychics and other paranormal phenomenon.

If you want to read  the skeptical viewpoints of women there’s Skepchick. They cover every topic under the sun. The daily briefs have links to the articles they talk about. With Skepchick there is also a shorthand to learn. You’ll see an acronym – COTW. This stands for Comment of the Week. Usually the readers will choose a comment that they like the best and the winner gets public recognition for their wit and wisdom.

Another great collection of skeptical ideas is Skeptic Blog. This multi-author blog covers a wide range of topics from Brian Dunning, Phil Plaitt, Stephen Novella, Kirsten Stanford and more. One of the authors, Mark Edward, appeared in the very first episode of Penn & Teller’s Bullshit. It was the episode I linked to before that changed my life. Here’s a link to the article Mark wrote about me.

If you’ve decided that even though you’re a skeptic now, it’s harmless for others to believe in astrology, homeopathy, psychics and more, Tim Farley’s What’s The Harm might change your mind. Tim presents news articles about people who have been hurt financially and physically by non-skeptical thought and practices. Tim’s page has other resources that I highly suggest you investigate further.

Another excellent medical web site for skeptics is QuackWatch. Dr. Stephen Barrett talks about various types of practices that people might THINK are medical or have a basis for healing the body. His website is where I found out why those foot baths you find at New Age shows turn brown and gunky. It has nothing to do with “toxins” coming out through your feet. It’s actually a chemical reaction between the salt that is added to the water and the copper rod they use in the machine.

If you’re interested in taking a step into the larger world of the Skeptical Community, visit the forums at the James Randi Educational Foundation website. Those forums can be a little bit intimidating but the people are really great. Ask questions just be prepared for the occasional abrupt or blunt answer. If you’re new to that forum, my suggestion is that you lurk for a while before you make your first post. Read, read and read some more.

Another excellent community forum site is here at The Center For Skeptical Inquiry. Unfortunately my only experience with CFI is hearing people talk about it. I understand that CFI does good work in the realm of investigation. They also have a podcast called “Point of Inquiry”.

If you like podcasts, I highly recommend the Skeptics Guide to the Universe. They have a website and forums here. It’s an excellent cast that covers timely skeptical news. Plus the intereaction amongst the panelists is pretty entertaining. I’ve learned a great deal just from listening regularly.

These are just some of the available resources for new skeptics. I highly suggest following links on those pages. They’re you’re guide down the rabbit hole.

Welcome to Wonderland, Alice.

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1 Comment

  1. Sgerbic said,

    April 3, 2010 at 12:30 am

    Well done. I don’t think I would add anything more here. The JREF forums can be a bit scary as everyone does seem to know each other. But as she says Lurk for awhile and get the hang of it. In time they will become old friends as well.


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