Are you skeptical and inquisitive about the world around you?
Launceston Skeptics is a group of people who are interested in the promotion of critical thinking and helping others to make rational decisions based on evidence. We believe this is especially important when dealing with health, a field in which there are a large number of unqualified people claiming to be able to improve health with untested, implausible and sometimes expensive therapies. This can be particularly dangerous if people forgo proper medical treatment for unproven alternative therapies.
We are open-minded, but will always seek evidence whenever others make extraordinary claims, whether they be alleged psychic ability, healing through various magical or any other supernatural means. We at Launceston Skeptics believe that in the end, the evidence is king and not just faith.
The $100,000 Prize – Australian Skeptics
Do you have psychic or paranormal powers? We don’t mean the illusion or trickery in stage magic, we mean things like extra sensory perception, telepathy, telekinesis, divining for water or metals, clairvoyance and predicting the future.
Since 1980, Australian Skeptics has issued a challenge to people who claim to have extraordinary powers, to demonstrate their ability under proper observing conditions. The first person to do so will receive a great deal of recognition and prestige as well as meeting the requirements for the awarding of A$100,000.
Skepticism Advert: The New Miracle Life-Cure!
“Are you sick of miracle cures that give results no better than a placebo? Sounds like you need SKEPTICISM, the new miracle life cure!”
“Baloney Detection Kit” – ten questions we should ask when encountering a claim
With a sea of information coming at us from all directions, how do we sift out the misinformation and bogus claims, and get to the truth? Michael Shermer of Skeptic Magazine lays out a “Baloney Detection Kit” – ten questions we should ask when encountering a claim.
- How reliable is the source of the claim?
- Does the source make similar claims?
- Have the claims been verified by somebody else?
- Does this fit with the way the world works?
- Has anyone tried to disprove the claim?
- Where does the preponderance of evidence point?
- Is the claimant playing by the rules of science?
- Is the claimant providing positive evidence?
- Does the new theory account for as many phenomena as the old theory?
- Are personal beliefs driving the claim?
Permission to reproduce the “Baloney Detection Kit” – ten questions we should ask when encountering a claim kindly granted by Michael Shermer, Skeptic.com.
A charlatan (also called swindler or mountebank) is a person practicing quackery or some similar confidence trick in order to obtain money, fame or other advantages via some form of pretense or deception. (Source: Wikipedia.org)
Here Be Dragons: An Introduction to Critical Thinking
Here Be Dragons is a free 40 minute video introduction to critical thinking. It is suitable for general audiences and is licensed for free distribution and public display.
Most people fully accept paranormal and pseudoscientific claims without critique as they are promoted by the mass media. Here Be Dragons offers a toolbox for recognizing and understanding the dangers of pseudoscience, and appreciation for the reality-based benefits offered by real science. (Download a Press Kit here.)
The Skeptic in the Room
This song tries to capture that feeling you get when you are forced to confront friends, acquaintances and family members about their goofy beliefs. The video has been viewed over 27,000 times, which ain’t bad for an eight-minute song about skepticism!
Skeptics at the Mind Body Spirit Festival - SkeptiCamp Melbourne 2011 (October 22nd, 2011)
Jin-Oh Choi of the Launceston Skeptics led a group of his fellow non-believers to the Mind Body Spirit Festival. They weren’t just going for a look. They set up a stall! (Download PowerPoint slides here.)
Wolfram|Alpha introduces a fundamentally new way to get knowledge and answers - not by searching the web, but by doing dynamic computations based on a vast collection of built-in data, algorithms, and methods.