From the Chairman

"It’s a very dangerous thing to believe in nonsense." James Randi’s words echoed through my mind when I heard about the Heaven’s Gate mass suicide. My first instinct was to call Editor Bob and ask him to bump our planned cover story for something on this UFO cult. But as the days after the suicide went by, the media actually did quite a thorough job in covering the story -- to the point that I don’t think there is much for us to add.

I’m sure that Skeptics Society Director Michael Shermer will have his own take on the suicide, and you can come hear what he has to say at our special meeting at noon on Saturday, May 10, at the Barnes & Noble store in Springfield. Shermer is in the area promoting his new book, Why People Believe Weird Things. Indeed, his timing is rather appropriate. I hope to see a large crowd of REALL members at this meeting.

Speaking of our meetings, I’d like to thank Doug Pokorski for providing us with a great presentation for our April meeting, the first in a planned series of media lectures. If you missed this meeting, you missed a terrific discussion of how critical thinking works (and sometimes doesn’t work) in the press, not just relating to paranormal and fringe science topics, but to claims of all types. Thanks again, Doug!

I’d like to add a thanks to all of you who have recently renewed your membership in REALL, especially the Patron Members. We’re here because of all of you, and we hope to grow more and get a wider variety of stories into the pages of this newsletter in the upcoming months. Indeed, this month’s cover story is an example, as we have not had very much on alternative medicine in past issues. Stephen Barrett has graciously let us reprint this article, and we hope to see more along these lines as the year goes on. We also have several new members who have expressed interest in writing articles for us (watch for an upcoming article on suburban shamans). If there’s a topic that you feel we haven’t been covering enough of, please feel free to let us know (or, better yet, write up an article about it)! We always want to hear from our members!

Valid HTML 4.01! Valid CSS!