Last night’s keynote by James Randi was wonderful, the magic show was a blast, I lost spectacularly at poker to a guy who had a pamphlet that said “Texas Hold ‘Em For Beginners” sticking out of his breast pocket and proceeded to hang out at a bar with a magician. So, I guess what I’m saying is: This trip has been pretty awesome.
I had my last scheduled interview this morning, so I’ll be able to actually watch some of the talks today.
Bigfoot Skeptics: Abominable Science!
Panelists: Sharon Hill, Daniel Loxton and Donald Prothero
Moderator: Blake Smith
So, first of all, 20 percent of people believe in Bigfoot, which is vaguely alarming. Loxton made a good case for the fact that, with that many people believing that Bigfoot exists, it’s worth the time of actual scientists to spend time debunking the myth.
There’s been a lot of talk across the board of shows like “Finding Bigfoot” or “Ghost Hunters” contributing to a larger issue of people accepting bad science as good.
I didn’t realize how closely linked creationism and cryptozoology are, but it certainly makes sense. Both start with the conclusion that they want to find, and work backwards to line up “evidence” to reach that conclusion.
Skepticism for Everyone: Popularizing Skepticism with Entertainment
Mayhew kicked off with a solid Depak Chopra video from 2009 when she asked him a relatively simple question and his response was an unsurprising (but none the less unsettling) string of meaningless words.
Enjoyable talk– a little lighter, which was a nice change from some of the denser, more hard science-y stuff. Great bit about how Sherlock Holmes can make skepticism more accessible by walking the audience through his thought process.
The Truth Behind Washington
Rogers started with some unsettling quotes from actual humans who are actually running our actual country talking about things like science being lies from the straight of hell, etc.
It was a great start, and it really sounds like the Secular Coalition is doing some great work at the national and state level.