Back in the 1980’s I was big into Atlantis, aliens (the cute grey guys) and UFOs. Towards the end of the 1990’s an unhealthy amount of conspiracy theories, doomsday prophecies and related matters crept in. I was also into Tarot.
Then came the point when a prediction based on “reliable sources” within the “real world government” completely failed once more. In this particular case it was the invasion of Europe by Russia on the 26th of July 1998.
After this non-incident, I started rejecting all these far-out claims about “secret information”, “ancient wisdom” and conspiracy related matters but still held onto my views on cryptozoology and UFOs.
Looking back now, my fringe-believes were always somewhat technology-related. The “ancient wisdom” (i.e. Atlantean Wisdom) I believed in, was due to super-advanced and probably alien-aided ancient civilizations, not because “ancient is better”. I never thought there was any merrit in homeopathy or other kinds of pseudo-scientific cures peddled these days.
The final push into full-fledged skepticism came through an interest of mine that goes very well with aliens and UFOs: Astronomy.
I have was into astronomy before I was able to read properly and one of my heroes is Carl Sagan. I was always fasciated by the his TV programs and later by his books. Eventually I read The Demon-Haunted World: Science as a Candle in the Dark.
To say it was an eye-opener would be a massive understatement. The Baloney Detection Kit alone was more than worth the price of the book. I recommend it to everyone. Read the book and do the thinking and do not be afraid to get rid of some pre-conceived notions on the way.
The next big step on the way to Skepticism came when a colleague introduced me to the Skeptoid podcast. After that, there was no turning back. Although it is still painful sometimes to listen to Brian, such as in the episode he ripped the Barney and Betty Hill abduction case to shreds, Skeptoid is one of my favourite podcasts.
So much for my way into skepticism.
By the way: I am still hoping Big Foot is actually out there and as a good Cthulhu cultist I steadfastly choose to believe that The Bloop is a giant undersea creature, so there!
Now why Steampunk and Skepticism and how do they mix?
To me a big element of Steampunk is weird science and the (now often falsified) scientific ideas which were around from the Victorian Age to the beginning of the Atomic Age (which roughly covers the Steampunk and Dieselpunk Eras).
Science and education was also far more to the fore of society. It was fashionable to be educated, to have some interest in science. We have to capture this approach towards science again and banish pseudoscience and the superstitions of the modern world (conspiracy theories etc.) back into the darkness from whence they came.
To me, the fun, jovial and sometimes quirky approach Steampunk has to science combined with its inherent inventiveness and creativity form ideal conditions to make science, rational thinking and therefor skepticism fashionable again.
That’s the long and the short of it for now. I guess I will tinker and modify this page several times before it gets its final form.
And here is a video by my friend C0nc0rdance, check out his Youtube Channel, where he quotes Carl Sagan and which also surmizes my view on Skepticism while keeping an open mind pretty well: