An Amazing Skeptical Night In Melbourne – Thanks To The “Skeps And Specs” / Skeptical Blog Anthology

I can’t write much, as I’m attempting to finish this San Churro chocolate drink without falling asleep in it. I’m not kidding, I have a big chocolate smudge on my nose. You’ll have to settle for pictures of the event itself as I’m a total, if happy, mess.

We just had the most tremendous fun at Embiggen Books for the “Skeps and Specs” gameshow and booklaunch for the Skeptical Blog Anthology. Which is why I’ve got a suitcase full of glitter, a packet of candy bananas and a lovely present from Catherine in a bag that will just have to remain a mystery until I wake up tomorrow.

Firstly, this would have never been possible without the Young Australian Skeptics – I’m so incredibly in awe of Jack, Jason, Richard, Alistair, Belinda and Elliot (and, of course, James – we missed you!!) – and everyone who writes and contributes to the podcast and site. They are truly leading the way when it comes to outreach in this country – having fun with their wit and wisdom, and smashing down silly stereotypes of smug, know-it-alls. If this is the future of skepticism, it’s in good hands.

In saying that, I always think of the YAS as including Catherine Donaldson and Joel Birch, whose generosity and energy knows no bounds. Their effort in pulling the anthology together to look its best, along with all the contributors and co-editors, really made it a work to be proud of.

Many, many thanks to Warren Bonett for providing the best venue on the planet with Embiggen Bookstore – for a small, intimate podcasting session with the Young Australian Skeptics… and a wild, hilarity-filled venue for a quasi-game-show science quiz involving audience members reciting the claims of the Atheist’s Nightmare, complete with real-life bananas!

As a part of making the show what it was – we cannot forget Sharon Hill and Doubtful News blog. In terms of sourcing some great stories for the quiz, it was invaluable and I’d highly recommend looking through the site for inspiration. Huge thanks also to John Rael and Ross Blocher for being kind enough to let us use a section of the video “Shit Skeptics Say” for a video puzzle (it was a hit!). Pink Noise Audio in Collingwood were fantastic, gave great advice and were kind enough to spare some time to help us source and outfit the recording of the night.

Finally, thanks to everyone who came along. I’m going to forget someone, I’m sure and I’m sorry about that! But thanks to Anna, Ben, Praxis, Lord Blackadder, Alison (whose book I’m going to get!) and Sonya and Luke and Debra and everyone who was encouraging to the team. As you could probably tell by our nervous energy, it’s not easy to do a grassroots project and celebrate the booklaunch with a quick-turn-around to fit in with our travels, work and school. It’s really appreciated to have recognition of how much we care about communicating our love of science and have people turning up to show their support.

I also would like to hat-tip PZ Myers, who was NOT in the Skeptical Blog Anthology book but was one of the people kind enough on Twitter to retweet our request that it was on and help gather more attention for the event (even if it was apologies that some couldn’t make it but were glad we’re did it)! When people do even a little thing like retweet or Facebook-post or even just send a response to our emails, it helps remind us that there is room for everyone to contribute to the future of skepticism (particularly the often-marginalised younger generation), not just a few.

It was that spirit that got the Anthology happening in the first place. We’re so happy that the book became a reality and all proceeds help the YAS continue to blog and podcast into the future.

You’ll be able to catch us all again at the Global Atheist Convention!

About Kylie Sturgess

Kylie Sturgess is a Philosophy teacher, media and psychology student, blogger at Patheos and podcaster at Token Skeptic. She has conducted over a hundred interviews including artists, scientists, politicians and activists, worldwide.
She’s the author of the ‘Curiouser and Curiouser‘ column at the Committee for Skeptical Inquiry website and travels internationally lecturing on feminism, skepticism, and science.

  • http://onefuriousllama.com onefuriousllama

    Sounds like it was pretty awesome. I must really make an effort to get across the ditch to visit Melbourn. It’s a crying shame I can’t make the convention either. That makes me real sad.


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