Getting Skeptical

by Evan Herbison

Horizon Reporter

“Have fun or whatever,” reads the seventh rule of Whatcom’s newest club. The Campus Skeptic Society was originally conceived during fall quarter, 2009.

Numerous students realized that there was only one religious club representing students at Whatcom, and decided that a more diverse representation of students would likely be a welcome change.

With the room they had planned on meeting in unexpectedly occupied, the Skeptic Society moved their second meeting to the lawn outside Syre to make use of the sunny but brisk spring day.

The topic for the day is the validity of horoscopes, and an experiment is on the agenda. Sample horoscopes are given randomly to those present, and each person is able to see exactly how they work.

“They’re written so they’ll be accurate about anyone,” said club co-president Dylan Richardson. 

“They say things that any person could identify with, and that’s how they get you,” added co-president James Boychuk.

Richardson and Boychuk are just two of the club’s co-presidents; there is no single president. A system of direct democracy is one of the most important aspects of the club, and the officials have relatively little power but much greater responsibility.

Each decision is ultimately left to a popular vote – in this way, anyone who attends and voices their opinion is in charge of the club.

The club hopes to attract students of all faiths and viewpoints, as open discussion is really the overall point. Students are invited to enjoy a safe, open setting to discuss their views on important philosophical, religious, and scientific topics.

“We want to actually discuss these things, not just argue about them,” said Boychuk.

Guy Smith, the club’s advisor, watches the discussion from the sideline with at least as much enjoyment as any student.

“This is your guys’ stuff, I just like it,” said Smith lightheartedly.

A major question of the club is what it will actually do, aside from creating a setting for open discussion among students. According to club officials, the decision is ultimately up to anyone who actually attends, as will be the case with all major decisions.

Especially for such a new club, the Skeptic Society seems simultaneously ambitious and realistic. Club officials stress to the attending members that not every problem is fixable, and that if they want to make a difference, they should focus their efforts where a difference can actually be made.

The club’s selling point, however, remains its open nature. Unlike other clubs, difference in belief and opinion are welcomed, even encouraged.

By becoming diverse, the Skeptic Society hopes to discuss many complex issues and ideas that are in many other settings considered taboo, such as religion, science, and how the two relate. 

“No one is safe from our club,” said Richardson. “That’s the goal, really.”

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