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Committee for Skeptical Inquiry Timeline, 2001–2016

For the twenty-fifth anniversary observance of CSICOP (now CSI) and the Skeptical Inquirer in 2001, we published “A CSICOP Timeline: A Capsule History in 85 Easy Steps” in our May/June 2001 issue. You can find it on our website at http://www.csicop.org/si/show/csicop_timeline. The timeline covered a series of highlights, among them our founding at SUNY Buffalo April 30–May 1, 1976, and publication of the first issue of SI (initially called The Zetetic) that fall; news in 1978 that CSICOP was generating “tremendous enthusiasm” among scientists, scholars, media, and the public; the start of construction of a new building, the Center for Inquiry, in Amherst, New York, in 1990; court sanctions imposed against Uri Geller in 1992 for prosecuting a “frivolous” case against CSICOP; CSICOP’s campaign calling for newspaper astrology-column disclaimers; various announced expansions of our mission; adding the subtitle “The Magazine for Science and Reason” to the Skeptical Inquirer in 1994; our increase from a quarterly to bimonthly publication and from digest-size to magazine-page size in 1995; asteroids Skepticus 6630 and Kurtz 6629 named for CSICOP and its founder Paul Kurtz in 1996; cover stories on CSICOP investigative delegations to China in 1988 and 1996; SI’s first “Science & Religion” issue in 1999; our January/February 2000 cover story on ten outstanding skeptics of the twentieth century; and reports on our many CSICOP conferences over the years, national and international.

Here now, in observance of our fortieth anniversary, is an update of that timeline adding key events over the most recent fifteen years.

2001

July

SKEPTICAL INQUIRER republishes Ray Hyman’s classic “Proper Criticism,” long an influential guide to good skeptical investigation.

September

Second SI “Science & Religion” issue includes articles by Arthur C. Clarke, James Lovelock, Steven Weinberg, and Neil deGrasse Tyson.

October 3–5

CSICOP and the Russian Academy of Sciences cosponsor a special international conference in Moscow on “Science, Anti-Science and the Paranormal.” CSICOP’s Paul Kurtz cochairs with two distinguished Russian scientists, Valerii Kuvakin and Edward Kruglyakov. A plenary session adopts a formal resolution “Against Antiscience, Charlatanism, and Irrationalism in Russia,” published in the July/August 2002 SI along with articles by Kurtz, Kruglyakov, and Russian astronomer Yuri N. Efremov.

A Quarter Century of SI Covers, 1976– 2001, displayed.

2002

June 20–23

Nearly 500 people attend CSICOP’s Fourth World Skeptics Congress in Burbank, California. It features sessions on confidence games and financial scams, evolution and intelligent design, urban legends, fringe psychotherapies, space age pseudoscience, plus concurrent sessions that challenge attendees’ choices and flexibility.

September

On the first anniversary of the 9/11 terrorist attacks on New York and Washington, DC, SI’s cover article, “A Skeptical Look at September 11” by Clark R. Chapman and Alan W. Harris, examines reactions to the attacks and calls for evaluating such situations more rationally so as not to multiply the damage by inducing irrational fears. The article invoked tremendous controversy. It is republished in The Best American Science and Nature Writing 2003, edited by Richard Dawkins, who in his introduction says the article “far from denigrating the tragedy, offers hope” and is “a type specimen of how the scientific way of thinking might influence our lives for the better.”

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40TH ANNIVERSARY CELEBRATION PART II ODYSSEYS SCIENTIFIC SKEPTICISM NUCLEAR POWER and the Psychology of Evaluating Risk MICHAEL MANN and the Climate Wars Superstition Masquerading as Science
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