Skepticism about science and medicine

In search of disinterested science

Organized so-called “Skeptics” groups

Posted by Henry Bauer on 2021/08/04

Those of us who have been seriously and open-mindedly interested in such controversial topics as Loch Ness Monsters, UFOs, parapsychology, etc., etc., are quite familiar  with the dogmatic attitudes of individuals and groups that designate themselves as Skeptics. The earliest and iconic such groups were CSICOP: The Committee for the Scientific Investigation of Claims of the Paranormal and its analogous group in Germany, GWUP: Gesellschaft zur Wissenschaftlichen Untersuchung von Parawissenschaften.

When they were first established,  some individuals took seriously the mission statements of investigating scientifically these controversial topics; but as it became clear that these groups aimed not at unbiased investigation but were concerned to ensure that such pseudo-science would not ever find acceptance in the wider society, a few prominent individuals resigned from the groups amid a certain amount of public to and fro. Marcello Truzzi resigned from CSICOP and Edgar Wunder from GWUP.

A wide-ranging  retrospective and updated discussion of the dogmatic character of the so-called “Skeptical”  groups has been published in the Zeitschrift für Anomalistik (Journal of Anomalistics), 21 (2021) issue 1; it is freely available at https://www.anomalistik.de/zeitschrift/inhalt/zfa-21-1 (my thanks to Harry Kriz for this information). It is well worth reading by anyone interested in these matters, and much of the issue is either written in English or accompanied by a translation into English.

 Edgar Wunder writes about past and present and clarifies his own position, which has often been misdescribed. All the commentaries are well worth reading, including an introductory editorial by Gerhard Mayer (Science, faith, faith in science). I was particularly impressed by the brief, cogent, insightful piece by Dean Radin (On pathological skepticism).

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