Bay Area Skeptics

The San Francisco Bay Area's skeptical organization since 1982

From the Chair


Bob Steiner

Originally published in BASIS




December 1982

How do you judge the strength and health of this new organization known as the Bay Area Skeptics? Let me count the ways:

Public reaction has been enthusiastic. People come forward wanting information, wanting to participate, wanting to meet other people interested in our organization and in our ideas, and wanting to do something — anything — to further the interests of the organization.

This enthusiastic reaction has been supported by words, deeds, and money. And it includes people in the Bay Area, throughout the country, and around the world.

Organizations have contacted us for information and for speakers.

The media have reacted warmly and are much interested in covering the views and progress of Bay Area Skeptics. When mystics come along, the media have shown a considerable inclination to contact us: for appearances, for confrontations with the mystics, and for information regarding mystical claims.

People contribute both letters and articles to “BASIS”.

Many people have come forward volunteering their time, skill, and information in examining the claims of mystics. We have been able to build a cadre of skilled scientific consultants and investigators in a wide variety of fields.

When the founders found ourselves inundated with paper and short of money, a cry for help went out. It is a healthy organization when that cry is answered. Mike McCarthy has agreed to be Editor of “BASIS”. I’ve known Mike for some time now. He has participated in presentations to the public, on skepticism as well as on other topics.

Mike is a Scientific Consultant for BAS, and is a skeptic by any definition of the word. Speaking of words, Mike has considerable skill and experience in their use, both spoken and written, and in the editing of them. With the increased contacts with the media and the public demanding my time, and with the increased correspondence that crosses my desk concerning Bay Area Skeptics, it is indeed a comfort to find such an able person willing to do the editing of “BASIS”. Mike’s considerable knowledge of and access to a computer/word processor is the icing on the cake.

Earl Hautala, a skeptic, subscriber, and alert thinker, has stepped forward to share some of the burden and joys of handling much of the paper that comes our way. Earl has been instrumental in bringing Bay Area Skeptics to the attention of many, including having it and me introduced at a meeting in San Francisco where a “clairvoyant” was the speaker.

Others have also volunteered their help. Hang in there — we’ll find a use for your talents.

The Board members and others continue to contact the media with ideas and reactions about the possible existence of mystical powers, and about the positive existence of Bay Area Skeptics.

And, happily, people have replied to the request for money. With the time made available by the volunteers, we will shortly embark upon finalizing our recognition as a tax-exempt subsidiary of THE COMMITTEE FOR THE SCIENTIFIC INVESTIGATION OF CLAIMS OF THE PARANORMAL (CSICOP). When this finally comes through, contributions to Bay Area Skeptics FROM INCEPTION will be recognized as a tax-deductible charitable contribution.

CSICOP, and its excellent magazine, “The Skeptical Inquirer”, have been supportive to Bay Area Skeptics, its first local chapter.

The word of our organization and reactions to it have produced such good, uh, vibes that we will shortly be seeing other local groups springing up, and subsequently affiliating with CSICOP.

All of the above, with the considerable contribution of time, effort, and money of you folks who are reading this right now, have enabled us to make the inroads on behalf of reason that we have made in the past several months.

And that, friends, is how you can judge the strength and health of this new organization, Bay Area Skeptics. Thank you all for that!

The end.

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