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Rational Inquiry -Volume 6 Number 2

From the Editor

On November 29, 1995, a group of San Diego citizens, prodded by the Committee for the Scientific Investigation of Claims of the Paranormal (CSICOP), decided to form a local organization to promote and encourage critical thinking, science education and the use of reason and rational thinking in dealing with local and national issues of importance. The San Diego Association for Rational Inquiry (SDARI) was formed. It was the second attempt to establish such an organization in San Diego. The first one, the San Diego Skeptics, started some years earlier, did not last very long as an organized group due to lack of participation and support from the community. Yet, some of its members joined as founding members of SDARI.

The issue of community interest has been with us from the start. How do we get our basic message to the public? How do we get the public interested enough in our goals to become members or, at least, attend our meetings and read the newsletter?

Foremost, it is essential that we have presentations that deal with issues of interest or of concern to larger groups of people, and have newsletter articles that do likewise. The issues we have explored have covered a wide area: from religion and philosophy to science and medicine to law and politics, and "just about everything else". There have been good debates. Naturally, we donít all agree on every idea that is presented or even which issues we should take up; our backgrounds and personal philosophies are too diverse for this to be possible, or even desirable.

Recently, there have been discussions among some of the more active members about what types of issues should be pursued by SDARI. For example, it has been suggested that we limit ourselves to issues that can be tested by scientific methods; such issues include paranormal and supernatural phenomena, pseudoscientific claims, and bogus therapies. This may be too restrictive because there are areas where reason and rationality have a say but which cannot (yet) be tested per se. Another form of restriction was discussed at the SDARI board meeting on March 7, 2001. It was agreed that if rational minds can rationally disagree on an issue, then SDARI should not be concerned with that issue.

As to where SDARI shall focus its activities, such guidelines may be worth considering. But, specifically, what are the things we should do? Keith Taylor has expanded on this question in his article "Whither SDARI?" in this issue. I urge you to read them and respond to him with your opinions. Also, Rational Inquiry would welcome your views in the form of articles, essays, notes or letters. We need your input!

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