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Cults - 30 Years Ago and Today
Joseph Szimhart attended the first meeting of New Mexicans for Science and Reason in 1986. At the time, he began a long career as a cult interventionist or “deprogrammer” on an international scale making most of his living in that contentious field through 1998. He has published book reviews and an article in the Skeptical Inquirer and has been a regular contributor to the Cultic Studies Journal and ICSA Today, the magazine published by the International Cultic Studies Association. At an annual conference in Dallas Texas in 2016, ICSA presented Szimhart with a Lifetime Achievement Award. Joe works full time at a psychiatric emergency hospital in Norristown as a crisis caseworker. He maintains an art studio at his home in Stowe, PA and continues to exhibit paintings in the region. He has a bachelor’s degree in arts and sciences from the University of Dayton and completed a certificate program at the Pennsylvania Academy of the Fine Arts. His novel, Mushroom Satori: The cult diary, was released through Aperture Press in 2013. Website:

Center for Business and Industry, Community College of Philadelphia

18th and Callowhill Streets · Philadelphia, PA


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    What we're about

    Critical Thinking - the ability to sort out good information from bad information, myths, scams and magical thinking. We have 8 activities per year (usually 7 lectures and 1 outdoor excursion) featuring topics about science, paranormal, healthcare and more. PhACT is a 501(c)3 non-profit as defined by the Internal Revenue Service. Contributions and membership dues are tax-deductible as per IRS regulations.

    PhACT encourages people to think critically about their beliefs and about the validity of the information presented to them. PhACT does not presume to tell people what to think but it does give guidance in how to think. Like Josh Billings, we believe that what hurts you more is not what you don't know but what you know that isn't so. We do not arbitrarily reject anything unexamined. Instead, we encourage the responsible scientific investigation of paranormal and fringe-science claims. Our aim is to promote scientific inquiry, media responsibility, critical thinking, and science education.

    To carry out these objectives, PhACT:

    • Publishes a newsletter for communication between its members.

    • Holds educational meetings and lectures (

    • Investigates paranormal and fringe-science claims of local interest.

    • Urges the media to adopt high standards of critical thought.

    • Encourages needed research by rigorous and impartial inquiry.

    Join us.

    Membership in PhACT is open to anyone who supports our aims.

    The annual membership of $15 includes email delivery of our newsletter, "Phactum" (usually four issues per year).

    For more information, please visit our "Join PhACT" page (

    Or you can contact PhACT (

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