Was there a theme to Skepticamp NYC 2010?

Thanks to Craig Sachs for the use of this early Skepticamp photo.

It might just be me, but every one of our skeptical events seems to develop its own meta-theme. Our first NECSS seemed to mostly revolve around skepticism and the media, our second about how can skeptics represent themselves in today’s media world. With that in mind, what do [...]

Skepticism = Skepticism, X = X

Michael Rosch posted an article on GS on Tuesday about another article by Jeff Wagg. The following was originally a comment I was posting to his piece, but it got so involved I decided to just submit it as it’s own piece. Please to enjoy.

I read the Wagg article, and I think you’re misunderstanding it (or perhaps I did, maybe), but I don’t think anyone is suggesting that atheists don’t belong involved in skeptical movements. A large proportion of skeptics seem to be atheists (I have data to support). But I think there’s an important distinction between atheism and skepticism.

I’m a lot of things: a feminist, an atheist, a liberal, a Joss Whedon fan, a grad student, a bisexual, a nerd, a gamer, a woman…a skeptic. And yes, I’d say there is significant overlap in the various things I am. For example, my experience as a woman might have made me more likely to self-identify as a feminist. My skepticism might led me to the sort of examination resulting in the conclusion that I’m an atheist. My general nerdom might have led me straight into the Whedonverse. However, if I found that a majority of feminists were Joss Whedon fans (he does favor strong, female characters), could I say that being a Joss Whedon fan and being a feminist are the same thing? I certainly couldn’t. Because even if the experiences and characteristics I had that led me to Buffy also inspired my strong feelings about the equality of men and women in society, they are still two different parts of who I am. … continue reading this entry.

Flash Wednesday

SkepticampNYC is just a couple of week away! Registration is still open but we are sure to sell out and tickets may not be available at the door. Secure your seat today! Registration is $15 for the full day conference. Skepticamp t-shirts are also available for an additional $5.

Don’t forget, Rationally Speaking co-host and NYC Skeptics [...]

Flash Wednesday

SkepticampNYC 2010 is filling up fast. Reserve your spot today!

The latest Rationally Speaking podcast is now available for download featuring Joshua Knobe on Experimental Philosophy. Our last episode has been downloaded a record 20,000 times. Thank you everyone for listening!

Rationally Speaking co-host and NYC Skeptics board member Julia Galef will be moderating a panel [...]

Flash Wednesday

Save the date for NECSS 2011 with keynote speaker Dr. Phil Plait! April 9-10, 2011 in New York City — for the latest news and updates, stay tuned to www.necsscon.org, the NECSS facebook page, and twitter feed (@NECSS).

SkepticampNYC is only a month away! Registration is still open for the second annual “Skepticamp” — an “un-conference” where [...]

Flash Wednesday

  • The latest Rationally Speaking podcast episode is now available. This week’s special guest is Brendan Nyhan discusses why false beliefs refuse to die.
  • For the third year in a row, Brooklyn’s high-tech Gravesend Inn haunted attraction at NYC College of Technology is welcoming NYC Skeptics. This year, in addition to a backstage tour with systems designer John Huntington, NYC Skeptics attendees are invited to participate in a skeptical psychological research study! The festivities will take place on Saturday October 30, 2010 at 6PM. For more information click here.
  • This year NYC Skeptics is proud to sponsor our second SkeptiCamp — an “open” skeptical and scientific conference. The format differs from a traditional conference in that the attendees themselves also function as presenters. This year we will have more space, more presenters, and more fun! We again expect to have a full house of attendees and we encourage you to register early, as we cannot guarantee tickets will be available at the door. This year’s SkeptiCamp will take place on December 4, 2010 from 10AM-6PM. Registration is $15 and directly helps cover the costs of the conference. Register today!
  • In case you haven’t heard, President Obama will soon be appearing on Mythbusters to promote science education. AWESOME!

SkeptiCamp NYC 2010 Registration Now Open!

Register to Attend!

Saturday, December 4th, 2010 in New York City

What is it?!
SkeptiCamp is like a science conference, except that the content is provided by the attendees themselves! Some prefer to call it an “unconference” for that reason.

It is based on a successful model of gatherings referred to as “BarCamp“, which have primarily focused [...]

Why Skeptics Should be Atheists

Enrapt audience at SkeptiCamp2009 (photo by Mitch Lampert)

Enrapt audience at SkeptiCamp2009 (photo by Mitch Lampert)

Editor’s note: this is a rebuttal to The Quixotic Man, about De Dora’s talk, “Skepticism Includes Atheism (So Deal With It),” at SkeptiCamp NYC 2009. TQM’s post can be found here.

Jacob, it was nice meeting you at SkeptiCamp NYC 2009, and thanks for inviting me to join this back-and-forth about skepticism and atheism. We  seem to agree on at least one thing, that the conversation is worth having. I tend to think we agree on more than just that, and that some of your “disagreements” with me, outlined in your post Monday, are actually due to poor communication work. I suppose the following will tell us if I’m correct. (On the topic of communication, I’d like to quickly thank Scott Stafiej, Michael Rosch, and Julia Galef for clearing up some of what I meant in their responses to your post. They did such a wonderful job I urge everyone to read their comments, because I can’t cover everything even in a 2,000-word essay).

Skepticism Includes Atheism (So Deal With It)

Let me briefly provide some background on my talk. … continue reading this entry.

Letter from (Skepti)Camp


Dear Mom and Dad,

I really loved my day at SkeptiCampNYC. I participated in all sorts of activities and made new friends. We almost had a rousing round of Kum By Ya after lunch! My favorite part was that I could shout out my thoughts from the back of the room whenever I wanted.  I hope to earn my merit badge in Skeptical Activism soon.

Love, Page

The first SkeptiCamp NYC was a smash success. SkeptiCamps http://skepticamp.org/wiki/Main_Page are designed to be open-format, community organized conferences (mostly for adults), which allow for flexibility and interactivity to pursue the interests of the skeptical community and conference attendees. … continue reading this entry.

Why Skeptics Don’t Have to be Atheists


Michael De Dora speaks about atheism and skepticism at Skepticamp NYC 2009.

[You can read Michael De Dora's response to this post here, and an additonal commentary by Massimo Pigliucci here.]

A disclaimer.

It is Sunday Night.  I have just returned home from Skepticamp NYC.  It’s been a long day, I may not be thinking my best, and right now I’m getting ready to piss off… I dunno, maybe half of you.  Joy of joys.  Let me go back a step.  Right before we broke for lunch today, Michael De Dora Jr. gave a talk he called “Skepticism Includes Atheism (So Deal With It).”  After the talk, I pulled Michael aside.  “Hey Mike,” I said.  “I’ve been writing for the Gotham Skeptic and, well I’m like the only person still writing two pieces a week (okay, sometimes Page does too…), and I’m really trying to find a way to only write one this week.  So I’m going to write up why I think you’re totally wrong, and if you want, you can have my Thursday spot to refute everything I say.”  He agreed.

I’m an idiot.  I should have just found a way to turn some skeptical story into a dick joke.  Oy.

This is always true, but sometimes, like right now, I feel it should be stated loud and clear.  The views expressed here represent only me, Jake Dickerman.  They are not representative of everyone who writes on the Gotham Skeptic or the NYC Skeptics in general.

Why Skeptics Don’t Have to be Atheists … continue reading this entry.

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