New Zealand Skeptics
||This article appears to be written like an advertisement. (November 2011)|
The New Zealand Skeptics comprises a network of New Zealanders from all walks of life, who hold a variety of worldviews. What they have in common an interest in examining what objective scientific support there is for potentially pseudoscientific claims. The main areas of interest to the New Zealand Skeptics are debunking the claims of psychic abilities, alternative medicine, and creationism.
Skeptics question the kinds of practices that can be used prey upon the general public by exploiting their lack of specialist knowledge and any pre-existing vulnerability. Where the potential for harm exists many sceptics consider it unethical not to challenge the claims that are being made.
The New Zealand Skeptics were co-founded (as the New Zealand Committee for the Scientific Investigation of Claims of the Paranormal) by David Marks, Denis Dutton and others in 1986. Other similar organisations exist in the USA (Committee for Scientific Inquiry), Australia (Australian Skeptics), and India (Indian CSICOP). Denis Dutton was the first chair, Vicki Hyde the first chair-entity (a title devised by Hugh Young both to be all-inclusive and to parody inclusiveness) from 1997–2010; the present chair-entity is Gold (his only name), who founded New Zealand Skeptics in the Pub, but Hyde continues as media spokes-entity.
The New Zealand Skeptics hold an annual conference, usually in August–September during the school holidays. There is roughly one conference in the South Island for every two in the North Island. Each year the New Zealand Skeptics give awards, notably the 'Bravo Awards' for "critical thinking in the public arena", and a 'Bent Spoon' award for "the most gullible or naive reporting in the paranormal or pseudo-science area". The name "bent spoon" is a reference to the psychic power claimed by Uri Geller.
On 30 January 2010, members in Christchurch participated in a mass overdose, a protest against the selling of homeopathic remedies in pharmacies. The protest was in line with similar activities held on the same day by the 10:23 campaign in the UK.
- NZ Skeptics Officers and Committee New Zealand Skeptics. Retrieved 7 August 2011.
- New Zealand Skeptic Number 97, Spring 2010
- New Zealand Committee for the Scientific Investigation of Claims of the Paranormal (Inc.) Newsletter Winter 2003
- "Skeptics' prize goes to education group". New Zealand Herald. 2005-09-24. Retrieved 2008-05-21.
- "Skeptics: Critical Coverage Needed at the Listener". Scoop. 2006-09-20. Retrieved 2008-05-21.
- "TV3 wins praise and criticism from Skeptics". New Zealand Herald. 2007-09-19. Retrieved 2008-05-21.
- "Plea for pharmacists to ditch stock". Stuff.co.nz. 2010-01-30.
- "Liverpool anti-homeopathy campaigners stage protest". BBC News. 2010-01-30.
- "Mass "overdose" in Leicester city centre". Leicester Mercury. 2010-01-30.