Alfonso López Borgoñoz
| Promotion of critical thinking|
Alternativa Racional a las Pseudociencias – Sociedad para el Avance del Pensamiento Crítico or ARP-SAPC for short (English: Rational Alternative to Pseudoscience – Society for the Promotion of Critical Thinking) is a Spanish nonprofit organisation that, according to its bylaws, promotes the use of reason and critical thinking or scientific skepticism regarding what they consider credulity, rejecting and refuting claims of allegedly paranormal events.
The Society was founded with the name Alternativa Racional a las Pseudociencias (lit. Rational Alternative to the Pseudosciences) at the end of 1986 and renamed ARP – Sociedad para el Avance del Pensamiento Crítico (ARP – Society for the Promotion of Critical Thinking) in 1998, constituting the main reference of the skeptical movement in Spain. It is one of the two major skeptical organisations in the country, the other being Círculo Escéptico (founded in 2006). ARP-SAPC is a member of the European Council of Skeptical Organisations (ECSO). Internationally, it collaborates with other associations with similar ideas in the Hispanophone world and on the global level. Amongst its best-known partners are Spanish scientists, science writers and philosophers such as philosopher and ethics treatise writer Fernando Savater, Mario Bunge, philosopher Gustavo Bueno, physicist and science communicator Manuel Toharia, biologist Francisco J. Ayala and Pamplona Planetarium director Javier Armentia.
ARP-SAPC publishes a periodical review titled El Escéptico ("The Skeptic") and a free online bulletin called El Escéptico Digital ("The Digital Skeptic"), in which one can find articles on topics concerning pseudocience, pseudohistory, and science in general.
ARP-SAPC annually grants the Premio Mario Bohoslavski to people outside the association who have distinguished themselves by promoting the development of science, critical thinking, scientific communication and education, and the use of reason. Amongst the awardees are Fernando Savater, Victoria Camps, Gonzalo Puente Ojea, Bernat Soria and Manuel Lozano Leyva.
ARP-SAPC has been criticised by advocates of the paranormal with ad hominem arguments based on the scientific or moral quality of its members, plus accusations of pseudoskepticism. Some of these specific allegations have been answered in detail, for example, those that suggest an extremist ideology on the part of several of the founders of ARP-SAPC for having been born in the Basque Country, or disqualified ARP-SAPC for events where supposedly members of Opus Dei spoke.
In several cities throughout Spain, ARP-SAPC organises or supports monthly gatherings in pubs, known as "Skeptics in the Pub" (SITP, Escépticos en el Pub in Spanish), where skeptics can meet and discuss science and skepticism in an informal atmosphere. There are events in Barcelona, Madrid, Santiago de Compostela, Tenerife (Canaries) and Valencia.