What is a “Skeptic”?

A good concise definition of “skeptic” comes from Dr. Steven Novella in his article, Skeptic – The Name Thing Again:

A skeptic is one who prefers beliefs and conclusions that are reliable and valid to ones that are comforting or convenient, and therefore rigorously and openly applies the methods of science and reason to all empirical claims, especially their own. A skeptic provisionally proportions acceptance of any claim to valid logic and a fair and thorough assessment of available evidence, and studies the pitfalls of human reason and the mechanisms of deception so as to avoid being deceived by others or themselves. Skepticism values method over any particular conclusion.

This definition is sometimes called Scientific Skepticism or Methodological Skepticism which emphasizes the methodology to reach conclusions, versus the “old school” of Philosophical Skepticism which questions the certainty of any knowledge.  Modern skepticism as a movement follows the principles of Scientific Skepticism.

The Organization

The North Texas Skeptics was incorporated in 1989 as non-profit corporation within the meaning of Internal Revenue Code Section 501(c)(3) and the Texas Tax Code Section 11.18(c)(1).  The organization was founded with the following mission:

  1. Help people develop better thinking skills so that they may evaluate information and sources more critically and independently.
  2. Promote good science and high quality scholarship for a better understanding of ourselves and the Universe.
  3. Put claims of pseudoscience, the paranormal, and the occult to the test of real science, logic, and common sense.
  4. Act as a source of reliable scientific and factual information on these issues, not only to the organization’s members, but also to the public, educational institutions, and the news media.

2013 Officers / Board of Directors

NTS Officers

  • Erling Beck, President
  • Mike Selby, Vice President
  • John Brandt, Secretary
  • David Price, Treasurer

NTS Board of Directors

  • Erling Beck
  • John Brandt
  • Jamye Carr
  • Barry Diamond
  • Claudia Meek
  • David Price
  • Mike Selby

Directors Emeritus

  • John Blanton
  • Prasad Golla
  • Tony Dousette
  • Ron Hastings
  • Jack Hittson
  • Mark Meyer
  • Curtis Severns
  • John Thomas
  • Joe Voelkering
  • Mel Zemek

Scientific and Technical Advisors

The following people serve as a source of scientific, technical, and legal advice for the North Texas Skeptics.

  • Raymond A. Eve, Ph.D., Professor of Sociology, UT Arlington.
  • Timothy N. Gorski, M.D., Physician.
  • Ronnie J. Hastings, Ph.D., Science Teacher.
  • Anthony P. Picchioni, Ph.D., Licensed Professional Counselor.
  • James Rusk, Director, Russell Planetarium.
  • Lakshman S. Tamil, Ph.D., Professor in Electrical Engineering, UT Dallas.
  • John Thomas, Attorney.