There seems to be a revolution brewing in the skeptic subculture, parents who want to foster a “family-friendly” science-based community.
It seems that skepticism jumped an age gap in the last decade from scholarly elders smoking pipes in a dusty room to a more modern cabal of young college-aged activists mixing it up and drinking pints in the pub. While both have their place in the community, those of us who are happily shackled with children and domestic obligations are trying to find a way to socialize that doesn’t involve a night of keg stands.
The recent Skeptic’s Guide to the Universe, recorded live at Dragoncon, touched on a simple way to approach this issue. Why not have Skeptic’s in the Park (instead of pub)? We could meet at a museum, have a family appropriate speaker, or just gather together and host a play date for the kids.
Many of the leaders in skepticism have children: Steven Novella, Phil Plait, David Gorski, Brian Dunning, etc. They know how hard it is to be an activist, a blogger, a podcaster, and to regularly attend all the conventions and pub meet-ups. Dr. Novella even suggested that he would be willing to give a tour of one of the local science museums in New England. It would be a mini-revolution to see more of these leaders make time for those of us raising the next generation.
Already, the amazing Heidi Anderson is attempting to pull together a family meet-up in Washington D.C., where we can all attend a concert by science proponents They Might Be Giants. If you’re interested, you can send her a message via her blog. We’re even trying to include the Center For Inquiry, with the hope of focusing the theme of the event on “ghost hunting”.
Eventually, I’ll get something together in my own city. One problem that plagues families is that we are perpetually tired and consistently over-scheduled; my family is no exception to that rule. But if skeptical families can get organized and find the motivation to regularly meet, we would be better for it. What do you think?