Question of The Week: If You Were Given A Million Pounds to Promote Skepticism, How Would You Spend It?


Greetings!

Once again our perennial Question of The Week has arrived, providing our lovely listeners/readers/trolls with the opportunity to take a break from their lives and have a good old skeptical think.

Many thanks to all of you who responded to our previous Question of The Week, which can be found here. We got some interesting answers. Like that one, this week’s Question comes via a suggestion from one of our listeners, long-standing visitor to this blog, DaveTheDrummer, who said:

“If you were contacted by a wealthy benefactor who was willing to fund the activities of the society and donate substantial sums of money to the cause, and by substantial I mean several tens of thousands of pounds, what would you do with those funds?”

What, indeed?

So this week’s Question of The Week is: If You Were Given A Million Pounds to Promote Skepticism, How Would You Spend It?

Would you set up a woo-fighting army? Maybe you’d send all the homeopaths away on a spaceship like Douglas Adams’ middle men were? Maybe you’d just give it all to charity or to your favourite skeptic? Whatever it is, we want to know. Just bear in mind that we don’t actually have a million pounds to give. In case you were wondering. And salivating.

We look forward to your answers!

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  1. #1 by w_nightshade on June 18, 2010 - 14:15

    I would use it to buy masses of micro- and telescopes for schools. Looking at the big and the small fosters a very visceral sense of our place in the scale of things, and draws out wonder at the natural world like few other things. Get ’em young, as they say.

  2. #2 by John on June 18, 2010 - 16:17

    I think an important issue would be continuity.

    The answer varies according to whether this is a one off or a steady stream.

    If a one off then i would organise an advertising campaign and competition (similair to the million dollar jref) of ‘baffle a skeptic’ where people could try to prove there nonsensical claims in a time limited venue.

    OTOH if this was a steady income then i would fund a ‘youth challenge group’ whose job is to goto schools and whilst promoting science, teaching critical thinking and evaluating evidence would challenge peoples beliefs and ask them to defend them.

    This would tick some science boxes as well as debating skills and could tie in nicely with some currculum requirements. What i am not clear on is what age group to tackle. Too young and it will mean nothing. Too old and they are already committed.

  3. #3 by Jon d on June 18, 2010 - 16:50

    Campaign to keep Darwin on the back of tenners after the next and all subsequent redesigns. Eventually it’ll be Charles III on the front so perhaps with careful folding you could make Darwin appear to nut him.

  4. #4 by sys on June 18, 2010 - 19:17

    I’d buy a lorry full of beer, and drive around giving a free beer to everyone who can correctly answer “Does homeopathy work?”.
    Those who fail the test can have a pint of homeopathic beer.

  5. #5 by Professor Woland on June 19, 2010 - 20:55

    I’d like to say I’d spend it bringing scientific understanding to the world, but really I’d use it to have a threesome with supermodels, surrounded by bottles of vintage champaign, and on a massive pile of cocaine.

  6. #6 by Michael Gray on June 20, 2010 - 07:39

    I would immediately donate all of it, tax free, to the Merseyside Skeptics.
    And don’t “go all skeptical” that I wouldn’t!

  7. #7 by Stu on June 21, 2010 - 13:54

    Every bus in the country would be adorned with a warning about psychics poisoning peoples minds!

  8. #8 by Andy on June 22, 2010 - 15:51

    We could use it to buy the homeopathic cure for AIDs? I’m sure there is one? send this to africa when it doesn’t work …..

  9. #9 by T J Williams on June 23, 2010 - 14:07

    Actually in terms of implementing a societal change a million pounds is bugger all. Where it would do some good is promotion through entertainment.
    I would fund the development of an entertaining prime time TV series in which the protagonist finds himself forced into the role of skeptical investigator thereby debunking conspiracies, homeopathy, magical thinking, alien investigation and finally all religion.

    …now it just so happens that I have a script here…

    (…actually could I use the money to buy some shame instead?)

  10. #10 by KenWor on June 30, 2010 - 23:14

    I agree somewhat with TJWilliams.
    A TV show! A proper one with the tone of a cross between Thedaily Show and The Andrew Marr show.
    The Pitch: What if you could tune into a show each week that has interesting and educated men and women speaking about the truth behind most of the nonsense in the World? Ben Goldacre on Bad Science, Chris Hitchens, and Richard Dawkins on faith, Prof Wiseman on fluffy thinking and Prof Brian Cox on science. All these men would make good TV on their own but put them togeather….mmm thats a good meataballs! Throw in Derreen Brown and Jame Randi just cos they are brilliant…I’ll host it for you…forget the £1m, petition C4, BBC, and Sky to get this on NOW!

  11. #11 by KenWor on June 30, 2010 - 23:15

    Sorry about the misspellings…I got all excited

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