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The Association for Skeptical Enquiry

Casting a critical eye over suspect science, dubious claims and bizarre beliefs

Introduction to Skeptical Thinking

Lumping everything together

Why do skeptics lump all these things together - astrology, homeopathy, acupuncture, the Loch Ness Monster, UFOs, sightings of Elvis Presley, etc.?

Strange beliefs and mental illness

If someone believes that 2+2=5, are they suffering from a delusion or simply misguided?

Scientists should be skeptical about science

Good scientists should adopt a skeptical approach to reports of scientific observations and research findings that have important consequences for our understanding of the world.

Science, power and religion

This essay examines the nature of the scientific method and notes how scientists' power and influence have grown over the centuries. It is natural and healthy that people are free, if they wish, to oppose this, but they are often motivated to seek power and influence of their own without the accountability that science, when undertaken properly, inherently demands.

The blogs here are by Michael Heap and summarise and discuss important principles and themes of skepticism. You may find these useful if you are new to skepticism and wish to know more. They are composites of, and additions to, blogs written some years ago. Some of the content may be a little dated now; for example, the material in the blog 'Lumping all these things together' generally refer to subjects (see the list) that were the main focus of skepticism in the period 1970-2000, when skeptical societies and skeptical literature were establishing themselves. These are still amongst the issues that receive skeptical attention, but in the last 20 years there has been greater focus on the growth of such phenomena as conspiracy theories, climate change denial, anti-vaccination propaganda, 'fake news', misinformation in politics and the social media, corruption in scientific research, including medical science, and other matters of serious concern.