Respectful Insolence

Last Call For The Skeptics’ Circle

Besides running my own blog, I also happen to have the distinct honor of being responsible for organizing the Skeptics’ Circle. One of the great things about the blogosphere is that anyone can have a blog, either for free through a service like Blogspot or at a nominal cost. This greatest aspect of the blogosphere has a downside, however, as it makes it very easy for myths, urban legends, pseudoscience, and quackery to promulgate throughout the Internet with great alacrity. A little more than a year ago, one blogger going by the ‘nym of St. Nate (who has, alas, retired from blogging) had an idea to combat the rampant credulity that permeates the blogosphere, namely a blog carnival dedicated to applying science, logic, critical thinking, and hard evidence to urban legends, pseudoscience, quackery, and pseudohistory.

Thus was born the Skeptics’ Circle.

St. Nate hosted the very First Meeting of the Skeptics’ Circle, and, because I had been involved in giving him input, suggestions, and support as he hammered out the details, I was given the honor of hosting the Second Meeting of the Skeptics’ Circle. From those humble beginnings, the Skeptics’ Circle has grown enormously and become one of the premiere skeptical sites and the only blog carnival devoted to skepticism and critical thinking. Amazingly, it’s garnered at least two plugs from the Amazing Randi himself, a link from the Skeptics’ Dictionary, and attention from other luminaries of skepticism. In addition, fellow ScienceBlogs blogger PZ Myers has also been a fantastic help in publicizing the Circle, putting his enormous traffic numbers in the service of publicizing each edition and hosting the Circle himself once..

Unfortunately, back in July, St. Nate came to the decision that he had to retire from blogging. Not wanting the Skeptics’ Circle to die, he asked me if I would take over. At the time, I was having a bit of a crisis myself about whether I could continue to devote so much time to blogging and almost turned him down. Fortunately, I decided to take a chance and see if could organize it. That’s when I realized something. Keeping a blog carnival, particularly a popular one, going on an even keel, while involving some work, is not particularly onerous. All the real heavy lifting had already been done by St. Nate. Consequently, I plan on continuing to organize the Circle, and, hopefully, if I ever find that I can no longer do it, I will be able to find someone to take it over and keep the tradition going.

The reason for telling you all this is two-fold. First, although my regular readers certainly know all about the Skeptics’ Circle, given the way I plug it relentlessly and harass them shamelessly either to provide entries or to volunteer to host, ScienceBlog readers may not know what the Skeptics’ Circle is. One thing I hoped to accomplish by my move to ScienceBlogs was to increase the profile of the Circle even more. My second reason is to remind everyone that the latest edition of the Circle is scheduled to appear this week on Thursday at Unused and Probably Unusable. The deadline is tonight at 8 PM EST, meaning that you have only 20 hours left to act, and contact information is here. As always, if you’re a blogger and have written something that would make the Amazing Randi or Michael Shermer proud, by all means submit it. Guidelines for submissions are here and here. And if you really want to strut your skeptical stuff, you could even volunteer to host (there’s that hectoring again). There are some partial guidelines for hosting here.

Please help me take the Circle to new heights in 2006.

Hmmm, perhaps some of my new ScienceBlogs compatriots would now like to volunteer to host…PZ did a boffo job last time, but I bet any of them could do this blog carnival proud.