Building on solid science is the theme for this year’s annual NZ Skeptics conference, an appropriate-enough theme for a meeting being held in Christchurch (26-28 August).
“When we’re unsure of things, looking for better understanding of what’s happening and why empowers people,” says Skeptic media spokesperson Vicki Hyde. “That holds true for whether you’re trying to figure out how to manage environmental issues, assess predictive claims or make the choice to stay in a quake zone.”
Skeptics’ conference are typically wide ranging, and this year will see presentations on earthquake science and non-science, psychic performances, and the controversial use of 1080. This year is the International Year of Chemistry, recognised with a session asking whether an understanding of basic chemistry can help protect people from psuedo-scientific claims and ideas.
Lessons learned across the Tasman will be covered by two Australian speakers, well-known podcaster Kylie Sturgess and author and lecturer Martin Bridgestock. The annual dinner will, as always, be highlighted with the formal announcement of the annual Bent Spoon Award for gullible reporting, and the Bravo Awards praising critical thinking in the New Zealand media.
The conference is open to the general public, and is on at Rochester- Rutherford Hall (77 Ilam Rd, Christchurch) from August 26-28. For further information, including the programme and online registration, see: http://skeptics.org.nz