The South Shore Skeptics meet on the second
to last Friday of January, March, May, July, September, and November at
7:30 in the Life Sciences Building, 332 Front Street in Berea. Click on
map at left for directions.
"I am a skeptic", says Calvin Wight. "but in my opinion, being a skeptic is two-sided."
On April 30, Wight, a long-time member of the South Shore Skeptics, will explain why he feels the skeptic movement so often misses the flip side of skepticism and how his own beliefs in Spiritualism and in some paranormal phenomena can be integrated with being a skeptic.
Meetings of the South Shore Skeptics are never boring but the April meeting, presented by longtime member Calvin Wight, promises to be more lively than most.
"Suppose you assign me to go look for a ghost," says Wight, "If I were a typical member of the organization, I would be more interested in casting big questions on the existence of that ghost. But, being a true skeptic, I'd be looking for the ghost too."
The skeptics movement is generally associated with debunking claims of the paranormal-many of the luminaries of the cause, including Carl Sagan, Steve Allen, Joe Nichols and many others-are at the forefront of pushing for rational and scientific approaches to understanding the world. They generally argue against the claims of paranormalists, psychics, conspiracy theories, UFOlogy, alternative medicine, and other unproven belief systems. James Randi, brought to Cleveland last year by the South Shore Skeptics, is internationally known as a debunker of the paranormal and is featured prominently in both print and broadcast media.
But the movement encompasses a wide range of beliefs within its membership and the 16-year-old South Shore Skeptics is no exception to this diversity.
Speaking for the side of the membership not often heard at meetings, Wight will argue that if we are to call ourselves skeptics, we have to believe if our senses, experiences and experiments point to the truth of paranormal events. "I can't deny facts," he says, "I can honestly call myself a spiritualist because of experiences I have had. If an experiment is not repeatable, you have to wait for your own ghost."
Wight taught for 5½ years in technical high schools in Canada and has degree in engineering. He worked as an engineer for the Cleveland Electric Illuminating Company for 26 years, retiring in 1984.
He says he attends meeting of organizations like the South Shore Skeptics and the Free Inquiry of Northeast Ohio (FINO) and occasionally at several "freethought" churches.
He says he is a descendant of Thomas Wight, one of the early pilgrims to this country, but says "In the 11 generations since Thomas Wight, many of that pilgrim's Christian social rules and taboos seem to have been lost, or even reversed, in his many-great grandson."
The lecture will take place Friday, April 30 at 7:30 p.m. in room 18 of the Life Sciences Building at Baldwin-Wallace College, 336 Front Street in Berea.
Highlights from that site include