Last Word on The Conference

Proceedings on Saturday were meant to be opened with a talk from Elric Hooper, but we were denied the opportunity to hear that leader of New Zealand theatre. In order to keep appointments in the USA in the following week, he had been forced to fly out on 11 September, the only day on which seats were available.

Although disappointing, this did tie in neatly with the theme of the previous evening. After all, we all know what happens on 11 September, don’t we? Se we avoid travelling then.

Skeptics Conference 1998

SKEPTICS conferences are always a bag of allsorts. Having piped up at last year’s AGM and suggested the next conference should be in Wellington, I was landed with organising it. Thankfully, I had the Wellington Cabal to help: Cynthia Shakespeare, Tony Vignaux, Richard Sadleir, Mike Clear, Bob Brockie and Wayne Hennessey.

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CSICOP Conference Proceedings

Thanks to a member who was present, we now have a set of audiotapes which record the complete proceedings of the 1994 CSICOP Conference in Seattle, on The Psychology of Belief

Topics discussed include: Alien Abductions, Anomalies of Perception, Memory, CSICOP and the Law, Beliefs in the Courtroom, Conspiracy Theories.

Speakers include Paul Kurtz, Philip Klass, Susan Blackmore, John Maddox, Carl Sagan, Elizabeth Loftus and other illustrious Skeptics.

Members are invited to obtain a detailed list from the Secretary (Bernard Howard, 150 Dyers Pass Road, Christchurch), who is prepared to negotiate loans of individual tapes.

1993 Skeptics Conference

Science, Pseudoscience and Junk Science

Christchurch, September 3rd-5th

The programme for the 1993 Skeptics Conference is still under development, but it’s shaping up to be really interesting. It’ll be a rather omnivorous event, complete with meat and teeth. Come along for the usual humour and frivolity that make our conferences fun, but also be prepared to be challenged.

We know we’re a diverse group, but one of the common characteristics of Homo skepticus/skeptica is the tendency to talk and debate…at length…at the drop of a hat…on almost any subject.

Consequently, this year’s conference is looking at having a number of panel sessions to encourage participation from a range of speakers semi-simultaneously, with plenty of discussion time following to enable extended participation from the floor.

To date, three main panels are under development:

The Nature of Scientific Method — what are the characteristics of good science, what should we be looking for in science, how should science be conducted, and how can it be useful in everyday life?

Junk Science — having got some form of grounding in real science, we then turn our attention to junk science to see the way in which science is used and abused in everything from environmental issues to health research.

Teaching Critical Thinking — what is being done in schools to encourage critical thinking and/or an appreciation of the scientific method, what should be done and how can it be encouraged, is there room for this in the new curriculum, what is the place of science and technology?

There’ll also be a pile of speakers and unspeakable demonstrations throughout the conference, such as:

  • Ghosts
  • Police Use of Psychics
  • Acupuncture
  • Electric Medicine
  • Witches
  • Manufacturing Memory

Last, but by no means least, we are delighted to be able to tell you that we have a magical after-dinner speaker in the form of Margaret Mahy, internationally acclaimed children’s author and Skeptic. She’s living proof that you can be creative and rational at the same time! (Don’t forget to send in you filking and photography entries, even if you can’t make it to the conference itself!)