Friday, April 13, 2012

Fighters on the frontlines

I wanted to take a moment to shine a light on some of my favorite organizations.  These are men and women working tirelessly in various arenas to defend and emphasize the importance of critical, rational thought.  Links are provided so that you can learn more about each of these wonderful groups.  Please take the time to read and consider offering your support.

James Randi Educational Foundation

For decades, James Randi has been a vanguard in the war against pseudoscience and the intellectually dishonest.  He successfully executed epic takedowns of faith-healer Peter Popoff, spoon-bender Uri Geller, and many others.  In 1996, the James Randi Educational Foundation was founded.  The organization has a general focus on promoting critical thought by providing free resources and tools to teachers and skeptics.  As a social service, the JREF continues to protect us all by debunking charlatans of all stripes (psychics, homeopaths and other snake oil salesmen, etc) who would seek to profit by deceiving and taking advantage of the unwitting.
Learn more about the James Randi Educational Foundation by clicking HERE
Click HERE to support the James Randi Educational Foundation.

National Center for Science Education

The National Center for Science Education has been at the forefront of the battle to keep religious teachings out of science classrooms since its inception in 1981.  Publics schools and textbooks have become a battleground, wherein creationists continue to try new, ever sneakier ways of furthering their religious agenda while casting unreasonable doubt on the science of evolutionary biology.  More recently, the NCSE has taken on the issue of defending the science of climate change.  With this new branch of defense and advocacy comes an increased need for funding.  
Learn more about the National Center for Science Education by clicking HERE.
Click HERE to support the National Center for Science Education.

The Richard Dawkins Foundation for Reason and Science

To anyone even slightly interested in science and skepticism, Richard Dawkins needs no introduction.  As one of atheism's "four horsemen", Dawkins has become a hero in some camps and a villain in others.  Hero or villain, one thing remains true:  this man is committed to preserving the importance of intellectual honesty.  Along lines similar to the JREF, The Richard Dawkins Foundation for Reason and Science's mission statement is "to support scientific education, critical thinking and evidence-based understanding of the natural world in the quest to overcome religious fundamentalism, superstition, intolerance and suffering".  They provide a great news resource for pertinent current events, including political issues and petitions, found at
In association with the Richard Dawkins Foundation for Reason and Science, Richard also heads the Out Campaign for atheists.  The campaign serves as an outreach program, urging atheists to fly their colors proudly as a means of squashing taboo and encouraging other non-believers to feel comfortable "coming out".  The Out Campaign has adopted the scarlet letter "A" as its logo and offers shirts, pins, patches, and other items to help atheists express their worldview proudly.
Learn more about the Richard Dawkins Foundation for Reason and Science by clicking HERE.
Click HERE to support the Richard Dawkins Foundation for Reason and Science.
Learn more about the Out Campaign by clicking HERE.

The Skeptics' Guide to the Universe

This one is very near and dear to my heart.  The Skeptics' Guide to the Universe (or the SGU, as it is commonly called), is a weekly podcast hosted by Steve Novella.  Steve is president and co-founder of the New England Skeptical Society (the NESS), as well as an academic clinical neurologist at Yale University School of Medicine.  For the SGU podcast, he is joined by Rebecca Watson, Evan Bernstein, and the two younger Novella brothers, Bob and Jay.  Together, they deliver a well-formatted, highly entertaining podcast experience filled with news, games, and interviews -- all with a scientific and skeptical bent. 
The Skeptics' Guide is so important to the cause because of its fun, friendly, and easily accessible nature.  With thousands of listeners from all over the globe tuning in each week, the SGU is making serious progress in promoting critical thinking and educating society against deceivers and quacks.  Check out the Skeptics' Guide to the Universe podcast at their website or download from iTunes.  Do yourself a favor and listen all the way back through their mountainous library.  You'll be glad you did.
Learn more about the Skeptics' Guide to the Universe by clicking HERE.
Click HERE to support the Skeptics' Guide to the Universe.

Center for Inquiry

The Center for Inquiry seeks to foster a secular society, wherein public policy is based on humanist values and not influenced by religious dogma or pseudoscience.  Their position is that all claims, regardless of their nature, should be subject to scrutiny.  Through extensive outreach programs, the CFI aims to unite secularists, humanists, skeptics, atheists, and freethinkers from all communities into a powerful network in order to share resources and increase impact.
The CFI Institute, founded 25 years ago, offers formal education through on and offline courses for those interested in learning about science, secularism, humanism, and skepticism.  They also run a NY-based program called Camp Inquiry.  This week-long summer camp teaches children between the ages of 7-16 how to face the challenges of living in today's religious and pseudoscientific society.  This style of education is an invaluable gift that is sorely lacking in the lives of most children.
Learn more about the Center for Inquiry by clicking HERE.
Click HERE to support the Center for Inquiry.

This article is, by no means, an exhaustive list.  These five represent just a handful of the organizations working toward the common goal  of creating a world where rational thought is championed, evidence-based science is demanded, and charlatans are not afforded any of our esteem or our money.  Their work is of the utmost importance and can only be accomplished with the support of donors.

Please note that I do not own the rights to the logos of these organizations.  I am not officially affiliated with any of these groups -- I am only a fan and supporter.  Thank you for reading.

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