My friend Tim Farley is a tireless promoter and advocate of critical thinking. He writes the What's The Harm? website, categorizing the appalling harm done by antiscience. He created a This Day in Skeptic History app. His most important work is probably the development of Skeptical Software Tools that make it easier and more efficient to be a skeptic.
He spoke at TAM 2012 about these tools, and what each of us can do to make the world a more reality-based place. That video is now available online:
He makes a lot of excellent points; in fact, I find really nothing there to disagree with. We do waste a lot of effort and time online - in many cases trying to score cheap points when there are far more effective things we could be doing. And there are tools that can help make that happen - Tim talks about quite a few in his TAM talk. I use Web of Trust myself, and I've been meaning to look more into rbutr. You should take a look yourself.
When you find something attacking reality, it's easy complain about it on Twitter or Facebook. It feels good and makes you think you've accomplished something. But there's a reason this is called slacktivism. One of the most important things we can do is follow through. That's why when I talk about antivaxxers I almost always tell people to talk to their board-certified doctor and see if they need to get their boosters, and put my arm where my mouth is. That's why I will often tell people to contact their representatives in government about issues - and then do so myself. That's why I went into Boulder a few weeks ago and helped get people to send letters to Congress in support of NASA's planetary exploration... and that worked.
What issue burns in your mind? And what exactly have you done about it?
- Pamela Gay: Make the World Better
- Followup: Antivaxxers, airlines, and ailments
- How to get kids to think critically
- It must be true. I heard it on the Internet.