By | June 19, 2021

What does this acronym mean?

K.A.S.E.S. – The Kentucky Association of Science Educators and Skeptics

A Kentucky nonprofit dedicated to improving science education and critical thinking.

“Religious factions will go on imposing their will on others unless the decent people
connected to them recognize that religion has no place in public policy.”
Barry Goldwater

More about the organization:

KASES is a Kentucky nonprofit corporation dedicated to improving science education in the Commonwealth.  Our membership includes dozens of science educators at every educational level, as well as attorneys, medical professionals, librarians and other research professionals and many more.  At this time we have no set dues structure but contributions to keep up the website and do occasional mailings are welcome. (Not tax-deductible.)

The founders of the United States were children of the Enlightenment, for whom knowledge and learning were the key to a successful life, and a new vision of self-government.  Unfortunately, the forces of superstition and willful ignorance are strong in every generation, it’s clear that we’re deep in a new age of faith over science.  Everywhere you look, pseudoscience is ascendant, and after the recent presidential election, even more of of American life will be controlled by religion rather than rational thought.

What does it matter whether someone believes something for which there is no objective, scientific proof?
Actually, it doesn’t, as long as they are affecting only themselves.  Charlatans, quacks and grifters are always available to separate such people from their money.  But there are plenty of cases where public policy is being dictated by those who do not value science, who do not question what they’re told.  It’s dangerous for everyone when we don’t use our innate ability to think rationally. For example, American students are falling behind many other countries in science and math education. It’s essential that we reverse this trend by emphasizing rational inquiry and the a better understanding of the scientific process at every level.  Students should be skeptical about everything from A to Z, from advertising, aspirin to zealotry, religious.

I think there’s a ghost in my old house. Is there a scientific way to find out?
Paranormal phenomenon melt away under scientific scrutiny.  Got a ghost or goblin?  We’d love to find a real one!  Let us know.

Do I have to check my faith at the door?
Of course not. There are plenty of scientists who are Christians or hold other devout religious views.  What they have in common, however, is a deep regard for the real mystery of life, the incredible variety of physical and mental experiences available to us homo sapiens, as opposed to relying on a second-hand interpretation of ancient texts by a fellow human who gains earthly power when enough people believe without questioning. 

Why aren’t more news organizations skeptical about religious, political and other topics?
Good question. Probably because it can be hard work to research and challenge an outrageous statement, and most members of the public are scientifically illiterate to the point that they don’t understand ideas like “burden of proof.”  Also, the media is careful not to insult advertisers, who prefer bland celebrity news over dry scientific explanations.  Ghosts and UFOs sell, while skepticism can be painstaking work.  A sensational story sells, while a follow-up may be buried or never appear at all.  Case in point: The single study showing some health benefit from directed prayer got wide play; much less well-known are investigative follow-ups showing what poor scholarship the prayer study involved.  (Does this mean that prayer doesn’t help? No. A skeptic would just be able to say the initial study didn’t prove that it does. There’s a difference.) Same goes with last year’s psychic predictions that didn’t come true–where’s the fun in reading those? 

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