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I’ve just stumbled over a proposal at Area51 called Rationalists Society. It describes itself as:

Proposed Q&A site for people who have potential questions that can change the world. This is where all the answers on this site will produce such a big connection where skepticism is allowed to rave freely and dominate our world of the many unsolved questions we have.

Somehow, this reminded me of Skeptics.SE, which is why I asked the proposing user why he/she thinks the proposal and Skeptics.SE differ. The answer somewhat boils down to ”this one is about science”.

Now, maybe I’m not getting something, but I looked at the Skeptics.SE tags and detected science, medical-science, rocket-science, cognitive-science, and even social-science.

As a result, I would say the proposal may be a duplicate of Skeptics.SE as Skeptics.SE also seems to cover (skeptical) science Q&As.

Yet, as I’m not all too active at Skeptics.SE, I may be wrong – which is why I am asking: How much is science on-topic here? Or better: How much is skepticism on-topic here when it comes to science?

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The first page of the tour explains:

Skeptics is a question and answer site for applying scientific skepticism.

Science topics are not just on-topic, but are our bread-and-butter. There are other topics - such as history - that are also welcomed, but our ethos of providing appropriate references for every significant claim pervades.

I'm not sure I understand the inverted question "How much is skepticism on-topic here when it comes to science?"

If you are using the term 'skepticism' as we define it, it is an integral part of science, and science is an integral part of it. You can't have one without the other.

If you are misusing it to mean "denialism" or "anti-mainstream" (as some people seem to do), the answer is we follow the evidence. Unfortunately, a proportion of those people get frustrated, rather than educated, when we answer their questions with the evidence that supports the mainstream.


As for the proposal for Rationalist Society Stack Exchange - I rate its chances as very low. It is a poorly-defined proposal, with no legitimate example questions, by a school-kid who hasn't been around the Stack Exchange sites very long, and doesn't seemed to have stumbled on the core of Skeptics yet. I see he helps Mathematics.StackExchange by fixing people's LaTeX, which is a valuable contribution. I hope he hangs around Stack Exchange and sees his needs are already being met.

  • Thanks for the feedback. Much appreciated and gladly accepted. (Have a nice rest of the weekend.) – e-sushi May 18 '14 at 9:38

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