David BloombergREALL is three years old this month! So, as a gift for those of you who weren't around from issue number 1, below is a reprint of an article I wrote describing how REALL came to be. I hope you will enjoy this little tour back into our birth as much as I've enjoyed chairing the organization for these past years.
But before we get into that, I have to deal with the here and now. As you probably know, many memberships come due within the next few months. If yours is one of them, (the expiration date is on the first line of your mailing label if your membership is up or almost up, the label will be highlighted as well) please send in your renewal as soon as possible so you don't miss any issues or meeting announcements. Also, we always encourage anybody who has the urge to become a Patron Member. I'd like to thank all the Patrons who have generously given to REALL so we can continue to grow and push for critical thinking in as many ways as possible.
And now, back to the birth of REALL:
In several articles within this newsletter, you have been told about some of our plans for the future of REALL, about the members of the Organizing Committee, and you have read articles that have hopefully given you a flavor of what REALL will be all about. What you may now be asking yourself is how REALL formed, where we came from, and what we did to get here.
It started with a simple call to Barry Karr, the Executive Director of CSICOP. I wanted to ask him about the status of a local skeptics group in Chicago. We talked for a while, and I found that Barry has an incredible filing system when he pulled out a copy of a letter to the editor of mine that had been featured in the Chicago Tribune in July. In our conversation, he mentioned that he had been in contact with another Springfield resident who had talked about forming a local group, Bob Ladendorf.
I talked to Wally Hartshorn, a friend of mine who I knew shared my interest in active skepticism, possibly to a greater degree. Then I called Bob and we met to figure out where to go from there.
The meeting was a success! We found that we shared common goals, and REALL was born. Each of us knew others that were likely to be interested, and they were contacted. Also, help was sought outside our local area, from those more experienced. To detail all the calls would take up more room than I have available to me here, but I would like to thank all those who have helped us, and with whom I hope we will continue to work. I hope that I have gotten everybody in this list, and apologize if I somehow left somebody out. In alphabetical order, they are: Steve Best, Gateway Skeptics; Professor Steve Egger, University of Illinois Springfield; Barry Karr, CSICOP; Martin S. Kottmeyer; Rick Moen, Bay Area Skeptics; Dr. Gary Posner, Tampa Bay Skeptics; Dr. Eugenie C. Scott, National Center for Science Education; Rob Sheaffer, Bay Area Skeptics; Bob Steiner, Society of American Magicians; Ransom Traxler, St. Louis Association for the Teaching of Evolution; and Detective Bruce Walstad, Professionals Against Confidence Crime.