SkeptiCamp NYC 2016: Share the apple of knowledge

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

The actual sequence of events at any SkeptiCamp is subject to change based on the needs and interests of its attendees. The following is the schedule we will start with. But, be aware that it could change around a lot.

The opinions of SkeptiCamp presenters do not necessarily reflect those of its organizers.

This schedule was last updated on 12/03/2016.

Date: December 3, 2016, 10:00 AM - 6:00 PM Location: Baruch College, Skylight Room, 17 Lexington Avenue (at 23rd St), New York, NY 10010
Starts Ends Session Host Title Description Category
9:00 AM 10:00 AM Pre-Con Meet and Greet! You are allowed to schmooze with your fellow attendees while we set up the place.
10:00 AM 10:10 AM Opening Ceremonies and Other Obligatory Stuff
10:10 AM 10:35 AM Tony 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. Applied Skepticism
10:35 AM 11:00 AM Kay Feldt Weight and Woo I'd like to explore some of the basic pseudoscience ideas related to nutrition and weight loss, fad diets, and actual biochemistry/thermodynamics of how weight works.
11:00 AM 11:25 AM Richard Schloss I've Been Dying to Tell You: The Neurobiology of Near Death Experiences Near 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.
11:25 AM 11:35 AM Short Break #1
11:35 AM 12:05 PM Jonathan Nelson Fukushima: To Run or to Stay? A Personal Account Five 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?
12:05 PM 12:35 PM Thelonia Saunders Wolves, Werewolves and Superstitions Using 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.
12:35 PM 12:55 PM Spiro Condos Zen and the Art of Dental Maintenance An update on modern dentistry, including recent headlines on flossing and sealants. This will be used to expand on the value of meta-analysis and the importance of being skeptical of lay news interpretation of scientific research.
12:55 PM 1:55 PM Lunch Break! Eat with us in the room, if you'd like! We will have meal options for sale, and a cooler for brown-baggers. Or, you could go out to some of the nearby restaurants.
1:55 PM 2:20 PM Christopher Brown Skepticism as Philosophy Skepticism 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? Applied Academics
2:20 PM 2:50 PM Bill Chapman Anthropogenic Global Warming Most 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").
2:50 PM 3:20 PM Brian Bagzis 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.
3:20 PM 3:30 PM Short Break #2
3:30 PM 4:00 PM Craig Sachs Origin stories of skeptics The many stages and realizations I went through as a critical thinker that brought me here. From grade school to adulthood. Rational Transformations
4:00 PM 4:20 PM Natalie Newell Science Moms This 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.
4:20 PM 4:50 PM Russ Dobler The New Grassroots: An Army of One Looking 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!
4:50 PM 5:00 PM Short Break #3
5:00 PM 5:25 PM Kevin Davis Arming Kids with Critical Thinking in the (mis)Information Age Kevin 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.
5:25 PM 5:45 PM Mitchell Lampert Why Liberals Suck at Understanding Conservatives and Why It Matters Most of my points will be based on the works of Jonathan Haidt, Carol Tavri, 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.)

(NOTE: Mitchell will NOT be discussing his crackpot ideas for how the mind works, during this conference.)
5:45 PM 6:00 PM Closing Ceremonies and Clean Up - Leave No Trace!
6:00 PM 6:30 PM  
6:30 PM 9:00 PM After Party! Location to be announced.

Alternate Sessions:
If someone above cancels, we might hear from one or more of these fine folks:

Session Host Title Description
Robyn Stein Deluca with Spiro Condos Effective Political Activism More of a discussion with the audience, than a lecture, about effective grass roots strategies.
Niki Athanasiadou Citizen science and Everyday experiments Some things we know, some things we don't and some things are waiting for us to discover. Working as a research scientist for the past 15 years, I had the privilege of making discoveries my business. In this brief talk, I introduce how I resorted to science, taking experiments to the New York subway and my kitchen, to settle party disagreements. The goal of the talk is to dedicate most of the time discussing your own suggestions about interesting -and logically sound!- everyday experiments.
Arnold Friend A Unique Business Opportunity Do you want to be your OWN boss, work from your OWN home's bathtub and make a magical $50,000 a week; in a seemingly legit, and currently legal manner?! Sure, we ALL do! That's why you need to STOP EVERYTHING, and invest in this new, unique business venture, that is totally disrupting even the formidable English Muffin market!!! Fully endorsed by either Warren Buffet or Donald Trump (whichever you happen to trust more), and totally recognized by both Forbes and Comsumer Reports as a new, potent scheme to "beware of"! But, you have to ACT FAST! There's no telling how long this company will last, under its current name and telephone number!

Note: The categories on the side, as usual, aren't really very important.

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