From the Richard Dawkins Foundation Newsletter.
Richard Dawkins is quite possibly the world’s most famous atheist, so it follows that the Foundation that bears his name would be assumed to be an “atheist organization.” And truly, the Richard Dawkins Foundation (with its umbrella organization the Center for Inquiry) passionately champions the rights of atheists and vigorously challenges the claims of religion. But there is so much more to it.
We also investigate and refute claims of the paranormal, superstitions, and pseudoscience and publish Skeptical Inquirer magazine, now into its fifth decade. But we are not merely a “skeptic organization” either.
What we care about is the truth. And we believe that only in pursuit of the truth, using the tools of science and guided by humanist values, can we truly make the world a better place for everyone. So whether we’re talking about fighting religious privilege in the courts, fake medicine in the pharmacy, junk science in the media, or atheist persecution around the world, all our pursuits are unified under these foundational principles.
Of course, there are die-hard skeptics who know that there is no evidence for psychic powers or alien visitations but still believe that a supreme being will usher them to the afterlife when they die. And there are atheists who think religious beliefs are silly but consult with naturopaths and psychics. (And believe me, we hear from them.) Not every member of the reality-based community spends all of their time within it.
Our dedication to reason, science, and humanism is what unites all these seemingly disparate topics. Claims about haunting ghosts are as baseless as those about holy ghosts, and the promises made by alternative medicine gurus are as empty as those made by televangelist prophets.
In this edition of our newsletter, we see this unity of purpose in a new article for Skeptical Inquirer by, who else, Richard Dawkins, in which the author of The God Delusion aims his intellectual cannons not at religion but the fakest of the snake oils, homeopathy. Further into the realm of quackery, we’ll hear from our brand new columnist, physiologist Dr. Nick Tiller, who takes us on a tour of pseudoscience in the worlds of sports and fitness, beginning with a chilling subject: cryotherapy.
Another groundbreaking, famous atheist, actress and comedian Julia Sweeney, is very much in tune with our mission … so much so that she’s a member of our Board of Directors! She recently guest-hosted an episode of our long-running podcast Point of Inquiry, and we can’t wait for you to hear it.
From being in tune we move to the tone-deaf. Creationist carnival barker Ken Ham, who represents so much of what we oppose, invoked the recent death of our beloved colleague, secular humanist luminary Tom Flynn, to raise money for his theme park.
The hostility of the current U.S. Supreme Court toward our core issues is well established, as it seems hell-bent on delivering victories for “religious liberty” cases. CFI Legal Director Nick Little will show us just how shallow its commitment really is when the plaintiff is someone the Justices simply don’t approve of.
A wonderful example of the richness of reason and science comes from the world of magic and illusion, as has been practiced by such masters of the art as Harry Houdini and James Randi. The latest Skeptical Inquirer Presents online event brought together what might seem an unlikely duo: superstar magician David Copperfield and skeptic, scholar, and jokester Richard Wiseman.
As you’ll see, critical thinking, skeptical investigation, and a sense of awe and wonder are all of a piece.
Robyn E. Blumner,
CEO and President, Center for Inquiry
Executive Director, Richard Dawkins Foundation for Reason & Science