50 Things You Can Do to Encourage Critical Thinking: Think Skeptically, Act Locally

Article excerpt

HAVING A SKEPTICAL MIND IS great. But if your idea of encouraging skeptical thinking is to argue with anybody you can find, you might not be using your critical reasoning abilities to their fullest potential. There are a lot of opportunities out there to help other people develop an understanding of science and an awareness of skepticism. Here are a few ways you can can have a positive impact on your community. My thanks to the many people who have offered their input and examples of what they've done. With your suggestions, SKEPTIC will publish a follow-up article on the ways the skeptic community can further encouraging skepticism and science appreciation. Please email me your suggestions: andrew@maynestream.com

1. Donate your back issues of SKEPTIC and other free thought, humanist, and skeptical magazines to hospital and medical waiting rooms.

2. Let your friends know when skeptic-minded shows are going to air.

3. Invite health care professionals to speak to senior centers about medical quackery.

4. Start a skeptic book club at your local bookstore or college.

5. Put together fax numbers and email addresses of local news reporters and radio personalities. Forward them info debunking the latest nonsense.

6. Start your own skeptics group for the purpose of sending out press releases.

7. Help organize community events that support science centered around astronomy, zoology or health.

8. Volunteer to put together a display at your local library on great books of skepticism and science.

9. Start your own public access TV show. Invite local scientists, educators and writers to discuss good skepticism.

10. Submit book reviews to local papers and newsletters on important skeptical books.

11. Create flyers on important relevant skeptic topics and distribute them to teachers.

12. Volunteer your services as a speaker to local schools

13. With the co-operation of your local university science departments, create a science telephone line for the media to call with questions.

14. Create a similar line for the general public.

15. Start a skeptics club at your school.

16. Get some friends to contribute and create a skeptical espy scholarship award for local high school students.

17. Give your friends SKEPTIC magazines, books and videos for their birthday whether they'll read them or not.

18. Get a booth at community fairs and events and fill it with information about being a skeptic.

19. Instead of writing to the editor to complain, write to individual reporters to compliment them when they do something good, and make story suggestions.

20. Prepare fact sheets on health fraud and quackery and give them to doctors' offices, hospitals and church groups to distribute. …