12 steps

I have been annoyed by 12 step programs since high school when I first read the steps after hearing about how many people are sentenced to take them and their success rate (bad). Obvious breach of separation of church and state.

This post has two purposes. One is to make more known what the 12 steps are, since most people don’t realize how faith based, nonsensical, and redundant they are. The second is to promote skepticism, which I’m always about. The most recent Skeptics Guide to the Universe podcast contained this gem. I didn’t find it written down on the web anywhere, though, so figured I’d go to the trouble. The skeptics don’t really need 12 steps, so we use some of the extra ones to be cheeky, so it’s not all seriousness.

Original Skeptic
1. We admitted we are powerless over alcohol, that our lives had become unmanageable. 1. We admitted that our cognition, perception, and memory are flawed and pseudoscience and gullibility are rampant.
2. We came to believe that a power greater than ourselves could restore us to sanity. 2. We came to accept that the process of thinking critically is more important than any belief.
3. Made a decision to turn our will and lives over to the care of God as we understood him. 3. Acknowledged the utility of methodological naturalism as a way of empirically understanding the world.
4. Made a searching and fearless moral inventory of ourselves. 4. Made a thorough study of the various mechanisms of self deception, cognitive biases, and logical fallacies.
5. Admitted to God, ourselves, and to other human beings the exact nature of our wrongs. 5. Acknowledged to ourselves, others, and on the internet, that we are skeptics.
6. We’re entirely ready to have God remove all these defects of character. 6. We vow to listen to the SGU every week without fail.
7. Humbly ask God to remove our shortcoming. 7. Listen to Geologic, too.
8. Made a list of all persons we had harmed and became willing to make amends to them all. 8. Endeavor to examine our premises and logic and correct any misinformation or misconceptions we may have spread.
9. Made direct amends to such people whenever possible, except when to do so would injure them or others. 9. Correct errors and false statements on blog posts and within forums unless doing so would make you a dickish troll.
10. Continue to take personal inventory, and when we were wrong, promptly admitted it. 10. Continue to keep all opinions and conclusions tentative and revise them in the face of new ideas or information.
11. Sought through prayer and medition to improve our concious contact with God as we understood him, praying only for knowledge of his will for us and the power to carry that out. 11. Sought through study and research to improve our critical thinking skills and keep up to date on basic scientific literacy.
12. Having had a spiritual awakening as a result of these steps we tried to carry this message to alcoholics and practice these principles in all our affairs. 12. Having become more skeptical ourselves we will engage in skeptical activism and outreach to make the world a more skeptical place.