Monday, 21 March 2011

Where next for Reading Skeptics?

...In which I try not to become Martin Bryce.

If you live in or around Berkshire, this is for you. I gave a little speech at the Reading Skeptics in the Pub social last Tuesday night, the main thrust of which I'll reproduce here.

As I blogged earlier, we now have two regular events for skeptics in Reading:

Reading Skeptics In The Pub host a different guest speaker each month at Copa. (Frequently on a Thursday but check for upcoming dates).

We also meet for relaxed banter and drinks at RISC Global Café from 7pm on the third Tuesday of each month.

I'm clearly biased but it seems both these events are terrifically successful and popular, and set to become yet more so. They provide a great opportunity to meet people of a like mind and to learn a thing or two.

Yet many of us committed to promoting skepticism know there needs to be more than just Skeptics In The Pub. There's no doubt we've added something new to Reading's social scene but really our aim is to have a more significant impact, politically and culturally.

Around and about Berkshire recently I've met lots of people who are pursuing the skeptical agenda - getting involved with national campaigns, lobbying their MPs, complaining about quacks to Trading Standards - mostly people who have been in the movement for much longer than I have. And yet their efforts appear to go almost totally unnoticed by the majority of the community.

I feel we would have greater visibility locally and a stronger political voice if we had a unifying banner and degree of coordination.

And so, to this end, I have resolved to found the Berkshire Skeptical Society, with the express aim of promoting skepticism and critical thinking within the ancient bounds of the Royal County.

As well as lending its voice to the various local, national and international campaigns that concern skeptics, this organisation should provide support and resources to groups and individuals in Berkshire who are doing their own thing to further the cause. Now we've got some good things going in Reading, I'd like to think we could give a bunk up to groups in other parts of the county. We might even (and I know this is a hard sell) organise some events somewhere other than a pub.

I don't know the form this this society should take (although I'm greatly inspired by the lovely people at the Hampshire Skeptics Society), nor what my own ongoing involvement might be, but I think such a society could perform a vital role and I will do what I can to get it off the ground.

Thank you to all who have already offered your support. I intend to organise a meeting soon with some willing volunteers to bash out details and to elect the society's officers. Watch this space.

In the meantime, if you have any ideas or suggestions then please share them below. If you have some time to spare and feel you could help in running this thing then drop us a line at readingsitp[at]gmail[dot]com. Or better yet, come and say hello at Copa on Thursday night.


  1. Oi! Martin Bryce is *my* job ;-)

  2. My aims exactly. We CAN do it better in Berkshire. Inclusiveness and Coperation is the way we can do it without ( and I am sorry if I stress this too much) altering the soverign aims of each group that works together. Reading Skeptics have hit on the format that most people want and perhaps Humanists have the deeper connections to what is ill with society. We need each other, we need all each others links and bright ideas, we need each others discussion points and to help each other get over each others difficulties.

    The future is Bright

    NB this is not an invitation to join either the Brights or Orange, although both of these could be useful. ALL SPONSORS WELCOME?

    Skeptics has already changed my outlook -why not yours?