The Committee for the Scientific Investigation of Claims of the Paranormal (CSICOP) is a well-funded debunking organization with a $4 million headquarters building in Amherst, New York, and a $5 million West Coast centre in Los Angeles. In January 2007, it changed its name to CSI, the Committee for Skeptical Inquiry. CSI shares its headquarters and its Chairman, Paul Kurtz, with the Council for Secular Humanism. Its headquarters building, called The Center for Inquiry Transnational, also houses an organization devoted to debunking alternative medicine, called CSMMH, the Commission for Scientific Medicine and Mental Health. CSI has dedicated professional staff and employees, and runs a very effective public relations operation. It publishes the 'the magazine for science and reason'. It also has an array of fellows, including journalists, academics, and prominent atheists like Richard Dawkins and Daniel Dennett. When he announced the change of name from CSICOP to CSI in the January 2007 Skeptical Inquirer, Paul Kurtz looked back over CSICOP's past and made it clear that the organization's agenda was rooted in an ideological commitment: "We viewed ourselves as the defenders of the Enlightenment". Mixing his metaphors, he continued, "CSI will function as a Socratic gadfly, using the best tools of scientific inquiry and analysis to ferret out what is at stake".
round #1 the postmodern turn and the socratic gadfly
In both his scholarship and teaching, John was a modern-day Socratic gadfly. While reflecting on his teaching, one Virginia alumnus captured the essence of John’s unique strengths. “John Arras is a good example of how professors should interact with students,” the alumnus wrote. “He is incredibly friendly and always willing to engage with students as if they have something important to say. More importantly, he would argue with you when he thought you were wrong.”
minister and Socratic gadfly of the state
Bob has lived a somewhat oversized life and his diverse interests and talents are evident throughout the book. A special strength of this highly polemical work is the in-depth portrayal of a species of educator we only rarely encounter: well-educated (even "overeducated"), versatile, scientifically literate, smart, brash, abrasive and assertive (in the Berkeley radical tradition), uncompromising, a Socratic gadfly—in short, a man who simply cannot be ignored. If J seems a bit arrogant or egotistical at times, Bob assures us that this misperception perhaps reflects our own lack of scientific understanding. The book leaves us no doubts regarding where J (and Bob) stand on a wide range of important issues: overpopulation, abortion, sociobiology, the problematic role of the sex drive and hormones that infuse this novel, the excessive political influence of the conservative right and the super-rich, the dangers of religious zealotry and dogma, the threat of nuclear war, radiation, and apocalypse, the consequences of global warming, and many many other issues too numerous to catalog here.
philosophical "Socratic gadfly." 1 Gillon R