Afternoon Inquisition 12.19

Today’s Inquisition is a poorly-disguised shameless plug!

As some of you know, the Atlanta Skeptics are getting ready to host Atlanta Skepticamp next year. For those of you who aren’t sure what a Skepticamp is, check out this site.  The basic idea is that a group of skeptics get together for an ‘un-conference’ – where the participants provide the content by doing short presentations and discussions with topics about skepticism and science. 

We’re still in the planning phase for Atlanta Skepticamp. If you’re interested in helping, or donating to help us out, check out the Atlanta Skeptics site for more information.   But on to today’s question:

If you were participating in a Skepticamp, what would your presentation be on? And, what topic would you like to hear about from others?

Note: We’re going to shamelessly steal all your ideas for our topic list for Skepticamp.  :) Duh.


Maria D'Souza grew up in different countries around the world, including Hong Kong, Trinidad, and Kenya and it shows. She currently lives in the Bay Area and has an unhealthy affection for science fiction, Neil Gaiman and all things Muppet.

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  1. Two ideas:

    Are atheism and skepticism mutually inclusive? Conversely, are faith and skepticism mutually exclusive?

    Also, at last year’s Denver SkeptiCamp, a local M.D./Skeptic (Joe Albietz) gave a really excellent talk about vaccine safety. He also included some really alarming statistics about the consequences of the anti-vax campaign, and the potential risks to public health.

  2. “Teaching kids critical thinking using toy commercials”
    “The essential elements of a successful urban legend”
    “Lose money fast!”
    “How to sabotage a cold reading”
    “Post hoc ergo propter hoc vs my lucky t-shirt”

  3. Maybe people will disagree with this because they get tired of hearing about certain things all the time, but the topics I would most like to hear about at SkeptiCamp would be things that have recently been in the news. i.e. vaccines, Ponzi scheme, or any specific news story that’s extra-worthy of skpeticism. Other than that, I would also like see things that fall into “skpeticism 101” because it’s always useful to be reminded of the basics.

    Also. I would ask Santa for people to donate money to SkeptiCamp.

    The End.

  4. Well, I am participating in this particular skepticamp, but I’m not sure what my presentation is going to be yet. What’s The Harm turns 1 year old a week or so before the camp, so maybe I’ll do something like, “What I’ve learned in the first year of maintaining a new skeptical resource on the net.”

    I would like Steve DeGroof to show up and present both the “toy commercials” and “cold reading” topics, those sound awesome.

  5. I also like the “toy commercial” topic. So much that I might steal it if I can’t think of a better one for myself (which I’ve been racking my brains over for days now).

    (Sad offtopic note: I’ve been lurking around here for over a year now but I only just got around to registering to comment, since I’m generally in too much of a hurry to add anything worthwhile. How sad, my existence…)

  6. @wytworm: Only if I can sit in the back of the room wearing a clown suit next to a table loaded with cream pies who’s top has an image that look disturbingly like an angry Buddha giving Thomas Aquinas the finger !!

  7. For Q1, it would be about how skepticism does not preclude celebrating holidays such as Thanksgiving and Xmas.

    For Q2, maintaining emotional control when arguing as well as how to argue in general.

  8. How to create a performance piece about some skeptical topic that gullibles (as opposed to skeptics) would actually watch. (Interactive, this. Participants choose a topic, then create some artistic means of expressing the information/attitude while making the gulllible want to see more.)

    How to effectively change the subject when a conversation with a gullible is obviously futile.

  9. @taypro: things that have recently been in the news. i.e. vaccines, Ponzi scheme, or any specific news story that’s extra-worthy of skpeticism.


    I want to hear about how to watch and read the news skeptically, spotting faulty assumptions, understanding spin, conducting analysis outside your area of expertise, etc.

  10. How about the history of Palestine? That’s how I came to atheism, studying history and archaeology to gain a better understanding of the holy texts (and better serve god).

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