Sunday, November 25, 2012

We Skeptical Few: it's time to reach into that change purse.

We (are) the few.  We scientific skeptics are the imperfect few who strive to employ rationalism and reason to a world that is complex beyond our individual comprehension.  Our main tool is science.  Our main foible is our humanity, but the reason we do what we do is our common humanity.  Skeptics are spread thin across the world.  Technology has given us a bark far more effective than our bite, and has allowed us to connect with one another and grow our tribe despite being spread from London, England to Denver, Colorado, and from Hershey, Pennsylvania to Perth, Australia.  Yet, in overall numbers we are a scant few.  

Try not and be this guy
As the holiday season comes to the global community, I always like to remind my kind readers to take a moment this time of the year to donate to a few of the podcasts, blogs, organizations, or websites that have a donation system in place.  Some of these institutions can make donating fun and have swag for sale.  The majority of the scientific skeptical media are run by people who have day jobs, and do what they do out of a desire to make the world a better place, and not get rich.  Sure listening and increasing listenership or web hits is nice for a site.  Yes, writing a review on iTunes or similar aggregator is helpful I am sure.  Somethings cannot replace cold hard cash.  Cash to pay for bandwidth, or the web host, or new equipment.  All of this takes not just time, but money.  I am not suggesting to give until your children have nothing under the tree other than a note that says "a donation to the JREF has been made in your name."  (That is likely to go over like a ton of bricks with a kid whose heart was set on a new iPod touch.) However, whatever one can comfortably donate to a few enjoyable and educational websites and podcasts is something we can do to help each other to increase the sound of our bark and even give us a bit more bite.  

I ask the reader to consider one more thing to do this year.  Instead of bestowing some generosity upon your favorite skeptical media that you just adore, consider giving at least a small amount to something else too.  I may be naive or just be plain goofy, but I suggest one give to that skeptical someone or something you have had a disagreement with over the past year.  If there is a podcast, which you deep down one must admit does some nice work, but has some aspect that gets under your skin donate to them anyway.  If there is a individual who you strenuously disagreed with on a topic, but you also know that skepdom would be a poorer place without them, consider a small donation.  

You need not be this generous, but if
you can swing it . . . Mr. Gates . . .
Donate to something (someone) who have disagreed with in the past year because sometimes a bit of slack is necessary to keep peace.  Donate because being magnanimous can make yourself feel better.  Donate to get into the swing of the season.  Donate because as a skeptic we are well aware that people are fallibility, and you just might be wrong and the other person might have a valid point after all.  Donate to get the year off on the right foot and frame of mind so less energy and effort can be spent with internal squabbles, and more time fighting woo woo.  

Below is a list of podcasts/sites that take donations, and there are many other fine podcasts and blogs that take donations as well.  Take a moment to give a little donation, or buy some swag and surprise that special someone with a Doubtful News coffee mug, or perhaps an SGU tote.  

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