Let me start off by saying that The Amaz!ng Meeting is a pretty shmancy event. I’ve never been able to afford to go, but the stories I hear from others paint it as a rockin’ good time.
That being said, it has one of the highest price tags attached to it of any skeptic conference, if not the highest. It always has. It’s the JREF’s big fundraiser every year and there’s nothing wrong with that. Hell, it’s a good thing. But recently I got an email with six reasons to attend TAM which contained this one at number 6.
6. TAM 2013 is actually cheaper than any other skeptic conference when hotel, travel, and meals are factored in. Hotel rates for similar conferences range from $150-200 per night, while our TAM group rates go as low as $45 a night! But the group rates end tomorrow, so book your hotel room right now with JREF’s group code AMA0707!
Say….what? The blog Dubito Ergo Sum breaks down why this claim is rivaled only by Christianity for being flagrantly untrue.
Like me, the writer at DES’s first thought was that Skepticon is free (and that includes access to everything, at TAM you have to cough up even more than the $475 price tag to get access to all workshops and what not) and in a much cheaper (and more accessible) part of the country. The response from the JREF would most likely be that Skepticon is not a skeptics conference, which just plain silly. It’s a skeptics conference that includes critiques of religion, the same way TAM criticizes psychics and UFOs. If that’s the distinction upon which the truth of this claim hinges, then TAM is the cheapest skeptics conference in the same way that Corn Pops are healthy because they’re packed with vitamins.
Look, I have nothing against TAM or the JREF, which is probably why I expect them to be better than this kind of misleading bullshit. If you can afford it, go nuts. You certainly won’t regret it. But the JREF should be honest about what it is. Don’t go thinking TAM won’t have a hefty price tag attached to it. And if you’re like me and money is really tight, don’t think that TAM is your most affordable option. It won’t be.