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SYFY WIRE Bad Astronomy

The Philip J. Klass Award for 2013

By Phil Plait

I am honored to say that I received the Philip J. Klass Award from the National Capital Area Skeptics. This award is in recognition of “… outstanding contributions in promoting critical thinking and scientific understanding.” We had a bit of a comedy of errors and scheduling, but eventually I was able to receive the award (which is a beaut) and give a short speech. It was presented to me by my old friend and astronomer David Kaufmann, and the video was recorded by Stuart Robbins.**

I get torn in situations like this between acknowledging an honor and seeming self-serving. This time I figure it can be both. My sincere thanks to the folks at NCAS for this. Being a skeptic is hard, it really is. It’s so much easier to simply accept a warm, fuzzy lie than it is to embrace a cold, sharp-edged truth, and it takes a long, long time to learn how to do it. I’m still on that road, and it’s a rocky one,* but I’d rather see the Universe for what it is than what we wish it to be. It’s vast and beautiful and complex and mysterious, and that’s good enough for me.

And let me also thank you, the people who take the time to read what I write here. You can agree with me or disagree or everything in between, but as long as you’re willing to listen and be open to new (evidence-based) ideas, then that too is good enough for me.

*And apparently also one laced with mixed metaphors.

**Correction, March 30, 2014: This post originally misspelled David Kaufmann's last name.

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