Skeptics form new association in Portugal

A group of Portuguese skeptics has established a new national association to coordinate their activism and build a community of critical thinkers across the country. COMCEPT, or the Comunidade Céptica Portuguesa (Portuguese Skeptical Community) has existed informally as a group of friends with a love for science education ever since 2012, but now the tedious process of registering legally has finally been completed.

The first formal general assembly of the Portuguese Skeptical Community was held on 24 September 2016, where the three boards were elected. (Photo: António Vilas–Boas)

The recently amended Portuguese law on associations is less strict, which made the formalisation, which the group delayed for some time, somewhat easier. However, due to all kinds of odd regulations, the full name had to be ‘Associação COMCEPTORG – Comunidade Céptica Portuguesa’ (‘association’, and the abbreviation and the whole name needed to be included, and ‘COMCEPT’ already resembled existing company names, thus ‘ORG’ had to be added).

But in the end, the rules exist to ensure a structure of checks and balances where the powers are separated, making an association in Portugal a kind of small democracy. Three bodies, consisting of at least 3 unique people each, share responsibilities: the executive board (elected: Diana Barbosa, João Monteiro and Leonor Abrantes), the general assembly board (elected: Marco Filipe, Cláudio Tereso and António Gomes da Costa) and the supervisory board (elected: Cristiana Pimenta, Maria João Borges and Nuno Fragoso Gomes).

COMCEPT’s logo features Charles 
Darwin’s famous first sketch of an evolutionary tree, which might explain how the Earth’s species originated, with the words ‘I think…’.

It is expected that the registration will give many legal benefits and help the community grow and reach the general public easier. The Portuguese skeptics are expecting to continue their past activities and expand on them. President Diana Barbosa has highlighted these in an interview with The European Skeptics Podcast earlier this year.