Friday, March 7, 2014

Chicago Skepticamp Registration extended to March 16

The logo of the Chicago Skeptics.

From the Village of Bolingbrook:  Our friends at the Chicago Skeptics are holding a "skepticamp" on April 8.  They just extended the deadline for registration.  If you're looking for an alternative to the content that's normally found on this web site, we encourage you to attend this event.  At the very least be critical of those who criticize our efforts to make Bolingbrook a place to grow!

Chicago Skepticamp registration is now extended to March 16.  The event is still scheduled for April 5 at the irish American Heritage Center, 4626 N Knox Ave, Chicago.  Participants can register here.

The following speakers are scheduled to appear:

10:40 Benjamin Zalisko
The Central Science: The Failure of Chemists to Engage the Public
Why does chemistry seems to lag so far behind the great traditions of public engagement like those in astrophysics, physics, and biology? Chemistry is the keystone of scientific literacy, however there remain cultural and technological challenges in meeting this need. Given its great importance, the resulting public ignorance and disinterest in chemistry yields broad and pervasive pseudoscientific ideas including homeopathy, GMO-phobia, crystal healing, and “organic” foods.
11:00 Abigail Durnett
That Thing That Happened Was A Lie
Ever wonder what historians actually do? Come find out what happens in the Ivory Tower and how skepticism fits into historical inquiry. Leave those test tubes behind, and don’t worry, no one will have to write an essay.
11:20 Martin Gannon
Ethics and Skepticism
The skeptical movement has 1) some basic interests, 2) a limited amount of resources, and 3) interactions with other people. This combination forces skepticism to deal with ethics. I want to give an outline for how skeptics can think about ethical problems.
11:40 Paul Gonley
Pseudo Science in the Business World
Companies have attempted to increase employee’s “soft skills” by introducing concepts like colors and strengths to categorize individuals. The hope is that this will allow employees to better understand their co-workers and themselves, but has it helped increase understanding or decreased our appreciation of the complexity of individuals?
~ Break ~
12:20 Eve Siebert
When Leif Met Bigfoot: The Myth of the Norse Discovery of Sasquatch
In an attempt to extend the history of Bigfoot sightings, many proponents have sought evidence of earlier encounters in myth, folklore, and literature. Some claim that Leif Eiriksson and the Norse explorers of the New World encountered Bigfoot, thus providing Sasquatch with a provenance that reaches back to the first European visits to the Americas. Is there any justification for these claims, and, if not, where did they come from?
12:40 Adam Chalom
Can You Be a Jewish Atheist?
Some question whether one can connect to a religious and cultural tradition like Judaism while not believing its supernatural claims of revelation and divine intervention. Modern skepticism goes far beyond the questioning allowed within traditional Judaism. Can one find footing in both worlds at the same time?
1:00 Matt Lowry
How Can Skeptics Communicate Better (with Non-Skeptics)?
This talk will be a series of anecdotes (gasp!) and advice based on my experiences on how to (and how NOT to) communicate with non-skeptics. Some come from interactions with my students and family, while others occurred in the digital wilderness of the Internet. Hopefully, you will be able to walk away with some tips on how to have a more productive conversation with that crazy uncle of yours the next time you see him.
1:20 Lunch
2:20 Derrick Bennett
Skeptical Trivia Challenge
A skeptical trivia contest with prizes. May the most skeptical player win!
2:40 Chris Long
“Personality” is Not Destiny – See Yourself Differently
Personality tests are everywhere, from job applications to Buzzfeed. Do they provide any accurate information, or just random feedback that sounds believable? Chris will present a simple, tested tool that can dramatically improve the way you communicate with yourself and others.
3:00 Mike Jarsulic
So You Think You’re a Realist?
An overview the debate in philosophy of science between scientific realists and anti-realists which attempts to answer whether the predictive success of a theory warrants belief in the unobservable entities (such as molecules and electrons) that it postulates.
~ Break ~
3:40 Ivan Phillips
Intelligence versus Rationality
Why do so many brilliant people subscribe to preposterous theories? There is a difference between intelligence and rationality. It often requires creative genius to invent a theory and to show that the theory is self-consistent, but it takes rationality to show that the theory is probably true.
4:00 Faisal Saeed Al-Mutar
My Vision for 21st Century Humanism
As a huge proponent of religious freedom, I assert that humans have the right to believe and do whatever they want as long as their actions or beliefs do not harm somebody else or limit the freedom of another individual to do and believe whatever he or she prefers. The only way to ensure and maintain religious freedom is to have a separation of Mosque and State or Church and State.
4:20 Dan Price
Unpacking Skepticism: Philosophy and Argumentation for the Doubting
“How do you know?” It’s my favorite question. In skepticism, we ask a lot of questions. How do we know what to believe or what we know, at all? This is often where you have to start when discussing why you should be skeptical. I aim to discuss some of the philosophy of this area and offer some practical tools for these sorts of discussions.
4:40 Louise Kellar
The Places I Go So You Don’t Have To
Darwin, Hitler, abortion and saddled dinosaurs ..why I voluntarily go to creationist events!

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