Opinions of SkeptiCamp's presenters do not necessarily reflect those of its organizers.
|10:00 AM - 10:15 AM||Mitch Lampert||
Welcome Speech and Ground Rules||Mitch wanted this to be an ultra-fast, 1-minute thing. But, he was advised to make it longer to add some important stuff.|| |
|10:15 AM - 10:45 AM
||Critical Thinking for Dummies
Teaching critical thinking is difficult for a number of reasons, the most potent one being the telepathic influence of our cephalopod mind masters from the planet Zagron and Fox News.
To fight these evil forces, I propose to provide a number of hands ( or tentacles) on exercises for use in teaching critical thinking in classrooms all around the galaxy.
Copies of materials I have used in teaching Critical Thinking for twelve years will be provided to
attendees. Even if you don't want me to present them, I'll send them in anyway.
|The So-Called Skeptical "Movement"|
|10:45 AM - 11:15 AM||Tim Farley||Promoting Skepticism via Wikipedia||
Like it or not, Wikipedia is a first stop for many web surfers when researching many topics. In fact, the Wikipedia article on a given topic is very often the #1 result for related searches in Google, making it extraordinarily visible content.
This of course includes the skeptical bread-and-butter topics such as pseudoscience, alternative medicine, cryptozoology, paranormal events and so on. As a result, we have to realize that many non-skeptics will get their knowledge of our topics from these articles. Because Wikipedia allows anyone to edit, this is an extraordinary opportunity to affect the public's perception of these topics through careful editing. However, one must tread carefully, as Wikipedia has voluminous rules and a culture all its own.
I'll talk about the efforts I've made in Wikipedia over the last year to both improve the skepticism in various articles and also to document our own movement. I'll give tips on what to do and what not to do, including: how to edit articles in ways that avoid disputes; how to navigate deletion and notability disputes; where to find articles that need work; and so on.
|11:15 AM - 11:45 AM||Scott Stafiej||Strength in Numbers - Skeptic Community||I plan to discuss community building within the skeptic movement. The basic outline for the presentation falls into four parts and will be as follows:
- Human Need for Community - a look at evolutionary and sociological reasons humans need community.
- What we can learn from Religion? - a look at religious communities in general, the rapid growth of Mega-churches, and what we can learn.
- Can secular communities exist? - a look at successful secular communities and movements?
- What is the future of the skeptic community? - one of the potential futures for the skeptic movement viewed through the eyes of a community builder.
|11:45 AM - 12:15 PM||Michael De Dora Jr.||
Skepticism Includes Atheism (So Deal With It)
||With the general movement for reason and rationality gaining more coverage, there has seemingly been a trend of skeptics tending away from criticizing religion, specifically avoiding any endorsement "atheism" on tactical grounds that skepticism doesn't deal with religion (to be sure, many humanists also avoid endorsements of "atheism," usually on grounds we should be for something, not against -- but this is a conference about skepticism and talks are brief). Of course, skeptical inquiry in not necessarily about religion and morality (though it does deal with specific religious claims), and moreover, we all have our own interests. But it's becoming somewhat apparent this division will effect the larger movement, and so there are questions to ponder: What is a skeptic (or skepticism), and what is an atheist (atheism)? Does skepticism entail atheism, or are they outside one another? Is there room for a god -- perhaps of the deist type -- within skepticism? And if the skeptic avoidance of atheism is tactical, is it wrong or right?|
|12:15 PM - 1:00 PM
We are not providing lunch (only refreshments), but several nearby
restaurants will happily serve
you some great food.|| |
|1:00 PM - 1:30 PM||Joshie||The Rant of a Hasidic Atheist||Your entertainment for the afternoon includes this fresh, young stand-up comedian.|
(We might also have a skeptical music performer share this time slot, but we don't know, yet.)
|1:30 PM - 2:00 PM||Michael Rosch||Anti-Vaccine Movement Fallacies and Tactics||I intend to discuss some of the problems with the most common arguments I've encountered by the anti-vaccination movement since co-founding the website stopjenny.com. Some examples of what I intend to discuss are the
Big Pharma Shill Gambit; mercury, formaldehyde, aluminum, squalene, antifreeze, and other "toxins" in vaccines; common H1N1 vaccine myths; The Arrogance of Ignorance Gambit; The
Anecdotal Evidence Trumps Carefully Controlled Studies Gambit; the post hoc ergo propter hoc fallacy, etc.
||Applied Skepticism |
|2:00 PM - 2:30 PM||Anthony Leotta||Personal Genomics||Companies are already claiming that if you send them a DNA sample, they will determine your risk factors for diseases. Should you send them your money? What are your options? What works, what does not? What are the current state of the art technologies that are really leading to medical breakthroughs? In this talk, I'll explain the various types of DNA tests and what types of data they generate. I'll address issues of ethics, privacy and balance the hype with the science.|
About me: I work at a local molecular biology research center where we study cancer and autism. I create ways to organize, visualize and interact with large volumes of genomic data.
|2:30 PM - 3:00 PM||Lisa Bauer||Evaluating Claims by Research Design Analysis
||Knowing the difference between experimental and non-experimental studies, and what can and cannot be inferred from the different kinds of data collected, are important skills in improved critical thinking about research. In this presentation, I will discuss design methods, including appropriate/inappropriate procedures, hypothesis testing(and associated errors), and the limits of potential conclusions of a study. Basic concepts of experimental design (extraneous variables, controlled variables, P values) will be reviewed throughout the presentation. Participants will be offered additional resource material to aid their continued study of experimental methods.
||The Skeptic's Toolbox|
|3:00 PM - 3:30 PM||Gregory Lopez||Stupid Bayesian Tricks||Skeptics are often familiar with the major mechanisms of deduction and deductive logical fallacies. However, what may be less clear is how and what kind of inductive reasoning is proper and how much strength certain evidence lends to inductive arguments. The goal of this talk is to give some qualitative rules of thumb stemming from Bayesian epistemology in order to judge the strength of inductive arguments. Some probabilistic fallacies as well as a Bayesian view of deductive fallacies may also be covered.|
|3:30 PM - 4:00 PM||Page Van Meter||How to Read an Academic Journal Article
I will go over some simple steps to reading and gleaning information from the academic or medical literature. We will talk about author order (What does it mean to be first author?), what you can and cannot get from an abstract, reading methods and results sections without getting bogged down, and summarizing conclusions. If there is enough time, I can also talk about how to get some of these articles without having institutional licenses.
|4:00 PM - 4:05 PM||Mitch Lampert||Closing Ceremonies||Mitch will thank a lot of people, etc. But, He'll keep it short and to the point.