SkeptiCamp NYC 2016: Share the apple of knowledge

Home The Schedule Attendees & Sessions Questions & Answers Took place December 3rd, 2016
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SkeptiCamp NYC 2016 Sessions and Attendees

So far, 80 people have registered for SkeptiCamp NYC 2016! However, not all of those attendees will be listed on this page. Some people may have chosen not to make their attendance public. In additional, there are also 9 people on the waiting list.

Session Proposals So Far

Here are the session topics submitted, so far. Please note that placement here does NOT guarantee the topic will be discussed. We are sure most of them will be on the schedule. However, various things, some beyond anyone's control, could force us to change it. The "final" version of the schedule should be available on November 14th, 2016.

To submit your idea, see the Session Host's Guide.

TitleDescriptionName of Leader
Should Skeptics Defer To The Economic Consensus?I'll start the session by reviewing some of the debates within the skeptic & rationalist online communities over whether laypeople should defer to the expert consensus in general. Then I'll shift to discussing polls that reveal the expert consensus in economics, and argue that these may form a good basis for injecting some rationality into the skeptic community's perennial debates between libertarians, center-left liberals, and socialists.Brian Bagzis
Skepticism as PhilosophySkepticism is commonly linked to science & the scientific method. But where did the scientific method come from? Critical thinking and Logic are primarily areas in Philosophy, not science. So why aren't we doing more to appeal to people from the domain of philosophy just as we are to scientists?Christopher Brown
Anthropogenic Global WarmingMost of us hear that 97% of climate scientists believe in global warming and that's all the proof we need. There are many people who are far less easily convinced. This talk will discuss arguments made on both sides of the debate. (The speaker is a self-described "Climate Alarmist").Bill Chapman
Arming Kids with Critical Thinking in the (mis)Information AgeKevin Davis, the Executive Director of Young Skeptics, will discuss the importance of instilling critical thinking skills at an early age. Young Skeptics is the first of its kind after-school club for elementary school kids, focused on developing the skills necessary to navigate through the (mis)-Information Age we find ourselves in today.Kevin Davis
The New Grassroots: An Army of OneLooking to contribute to skepticism? Donating is great (, but each of us has unique skills that can be utilized more directly, on under-examined topics and elsewhere. I'll start with some thoughts from myself and from leading skeptical activists on this subject, and then open things up for discussion. You might find someone to help you with that pet project!Russ Dobler
Why Liberals Suck at Understanding Conservatives and Why It MattersMost of my points will be parroting the works of Jonathan Haidt and Stephen Pinker. But, I will keep it interesting by discussing some of the monetary bets I had made about this election year. (Hint: I won the bets, unfortunately.)Mitchell Lampert
Fukushima: To Run or to Stay? A Personal AccountFive years ago, I was living in Tokyo when the most powerful recorded earthquake in Japanese history hit. The worst of the danger appeared to have passed, until the news out of Fukushima grew steadily more sinister. Some began to flee the region or even the country. Looking back five years later, what was the real danger at the time and what are the lasting consequences?Jonathan Nelson
Science MomsThis session will be an introduction to my forthcoming "Science Moms" documentary. I'll discuss the origins of the project (a #Moms4GMOs "open letter" penned by a number of scientist and science-communicator moms), and the aim of the film in challenging the pseudoscience/fear-based narrative geared towards parents today.Natalie Newell
Origin stories of skepticsThe many stages and realizations I went through as a critical thinker that brought me here. From grade school to adult hood.Craig Sachs
Wolves, Werewolves and SuperstitionsUsing the example of the Wolf throughout history, we will review and discuss the ways in which superstitions, specifically those surrounding the wolf (and werewolf) have changed the cultural and ecological landscape of the world today.Thelonia Saunders
The 12-Steps of Recovery (and Beyond)The "12-Step" programs of recovery from alcohol or other addictions have been a powerful and prominent element in our culture for over seventy years. This talk will go over some of the history of the "movement," and look at some of its pros and cons. Current research and non-spiritual alternatives to treatment will be discussed.Tony Saunders
I've Been Dying to Tell You: The Neurobiology of Near Death ExperiencesNear Death Experiences (NDEs) have been the subject of speculation as to their true nature. The religious often hold them up as "proof" of an afterlife. But why do some on the brink of death have them, while many others do not? A number of plausible neurological explanations have been suggested, but these too remain controversial.Richard Schloss

Note that the opinions of SkeptiCamp presenters do not necessarily reflect those of its organizers.

Other Attendees

These are folks who say they are going. But, they have not submitted a session idea, yet. (If you registered, and do not see your name on the list, you can Sign In to Edit your profile. On there is an option to have your name show up on the public list.)

Name of Attendee
Ron Cohen
Elliot D
Nelson Happy
Sonia Idelsohn
John Levin
Darren Lillian
John Marinelli
Terry Robinson
Dan Schneider
Raymond Strano
Kathryn Thomson
Michael Trollan
David Welshon

Some of session topics from previous years included:

  • "Promoting Skepticism via Wikipedia", by Tim Farley of
  • Comedy pieces by a comedian and reality show star named Joshie
  • The Science and Nonsense in Martial Arts, with John Rennie, former editor of Scientific American Magazine
  • Stupid Bayesian Tricks
  • "Critical Thinking for Dummies"
  • How to Write an Essay
  • A Skeptic's Guide to the Art Scene
  • Anti-Vaccine Movement Fallacies and Tactics
  • How to Preserve a Skeptic Community
  • Teaching Critical Thinking in New York City Colleges
  • Discussions about Atheism with Michael De Dora, executive director of CFI NYC
  • Mercury and Dental Fillings; Safer than You Think
  • Science-based opera compositions performed by Hai-Ting Chin

Some of these past topics could be resurrected this year, with updates and new twists.

Contact us with questions or comments: