Economics really is scientific.
Circumcision can cure Aids.
You can photograph ghosts.
These topics and others will provide food for thought at the annual NZ Skeptics Conference, being held in Wellington over September 25- 27.
“We look at what good evidence is there for claims made about the world, and what we should be wary of,” says Skeptics Chair-entity Vicki Hyde.
It pays to keep an open, yet critical mind — research in New Zealand shows many people being exploited by all sorts of claims, whether those of telephone psychics, touring mediums, the alternative health industry or conspiracy theorists.
“There’s the exploitainment voyeurism of shows like ‘Sensing Murder´, where grieving families are milked for their entertainment value,” says Hyde. “Not to mention the truly dangerous claims made by businesses touring dodgy health cures.”
The conference will bring speakers from across New Zealand and Australia for three days of testing assumptions, learning and a surprising degree of laughter. It also includes the Annual Bent Spoon Award for the most gullible piece of reporting in the New Zealand media over the past twelve months, and Bravo Awards applauding evidence of critical thinking.
“It’s easy to be fooled, especially if you don’t ask the hard questions,” says Hyde. “If someone says they can talk to your dearly departed ask them for real information with full names and dates, don’t put up with a fancy version of charades.”
The annual gathering is open to attendance by the public; more information and an online booking form is available on the NZ Skeptics Websites: http://skeptics.org.nz
NZ Skeptics Annual Conference September 25-27 Kingsgate Hotel, Hawkestone St, Wellington Presentations covering a broad range of topics including alternative health, conspiracy theories, ghosts and economics. More info: http://skeptics.org.nz