In a community as diverse as Nelson there are a multitude of beliefs and theories, but a group is emerging that has doubts about what some people believe.
“Being in Nelson and this area there is a lot of people who believe in certain things that aren’t necessarily evidence based,” said Nina George, local organizer for the Centre for Inquiry. “You meet people who think people are poisoning them by the chemtrails or think you can eat certain things and you’ll be cured. There’s lots of things that people believe in and they don’t necessarily look at the evidence for. People will just believe stuff as soon as they hear it.”
The Centre for Inquiry is a non-profit organization that started in the US with the mission “to foster a secular society based on science, reason, freedom of inquiry, and humanist values.”
George became involved with the Centre when she was living in Kelowna.
“They were having some speakers so I was just interested. They have this thing called Skeptics in the Pub so I went to that then I went to one of the speakers groups. I met with a guy that organizes it in Kelowna,” she said.
The speaker that George saw was Chris DiCarlo, a professor from Ottawa who wrote the book How to Become a Really Great Pain in the Ass.
“It was a book on how to speak to people about their different belief systems and just kind of how to challenge people in four different ways,” said George.
On Friday, the Kelowna branch of the Centre for Inquiry hosted leading skeptic James Randi.
“He’s actually a magician. He challenges psychics and quacks. He says that if anyone can prove they’re a real psychic he’ll give them a million dollars.”
In addition to the lectures George attended in Kelowna, she also went to a Skeptics in the Pub meeting.
Skeptics in the Pub is an informal and social setting where skeptics can gather and discuss their thoughts and concerns.
“It’s good to talk about and see what everyone’s ideas are and what they think about it,” said George.
“I’ve always been a skeptic,” she added. “If you’ve studied a lot of science you’ve learned how to do that but I’ve always been very skeptical. It’s very self defining. People who are anti-government will say that they are skeptics, but being anti-government and anti everything doesn’t make you a skeptic.”
The first Nelson meeting of Skeptics in the Pub will be on October 5 between 7 and 10 p.m. at Bogustown. The meeting will include a presentation about the Centre for Inquiry.
For more information about the Centre visit cficanada.ca