We are a group of people with a common interest in using scientific inquiry, reason, and critical thinking to evaluate claims and answer questions about our universe and everything in it.
Members of the skeptical movement mean something fairly specific when they identify themselves as skeptics, however, the general population often has a different perception or understanding of what it means to be a skeptic. So what follows is a brief outline of what to expect of Perth Skeptics members.
Many of us are not scientists, but we are familiar with the tools needed to evaluate knowledge claims, evidence, and the logic of arguments. While we recognise that absolute knowledge or certainty isn't possible, we can certainly make meaningful decisions about accepting or rejecting claims based on their probabilities. Unfortunately, evaluation of all the evidence is often impossible, so where necessary, we rely on scientific consensus for answers. However, some questions may not yet have science-based answers or may not even be answerable. Being a skeptic means that we acknowledge these limitations, but in some cases it means being comfortable when there is uncertainty. It also means that we don't make up answers when there are none, but instead acknowledge that the answer is not yet known and remain open to credible evidence.
Skeptics do not believe in conspiracy theories for the simple reason that they rely on a complex web of assumptions (defying Occam's razor – the principle that among competing hypotheses, the one that requires the fewest assumptions should be selected), including a presupposition that all of those supposedly involved in the conspiracy are perfect secret keepers. This means that we DO accept that man landed on the moon, humans have caused global warming/climate change, the “9/11” terror attacks were caused by terrorists, that fluoride is beneficial in drinking water and that vaccines are beneficial and as safe as any other form of medical treatment.
Because of our appreciation of the self-correcting nature of science, we accept evidence-based medicine as the best form of health care and DON’T accept so-called “alternative medicines”. Acupuncture, Reiki, naturopathy, Chinese medicine or any other form of supplementary/complementary/alternative medicine is, in fact, no better than placebo and, in some cases, actually dangerous.
However, as skeptics closely follow the scientific method, we are always eager to reconsider the veracity of currently accepted claims if credible new evidence indicates they are wrong.
What sort of events do we have?
Our regular events include monthly Skeptics in the Pub events and bi-monthly Skeptics Book Club meetings.
Additional activities, get-togethers and events happen on an ad-hoc bases and there's even a few science events we like to support!