I will be speaking on “miracles and the historical method” at Skepticon this year, greatly updating my old but popular talk on the subject with what I’ve discovered and worked out in writing Proving History. This will build on last year’s talk about Bayes’ Theorem, but will be more about method than math, and cover a lot of real-world examples from the ancient world. The gist will be: how to think critically about history generally, using miracles as an entertaining example. I will be selling and signing copies of my new book and my previous ones.
This year Skepticon is happening a little earlier than usual, November 9 to 11 (2012). Things start Friday (workshops in the day, talks and events begin at night) and conclude Sunday night (the specific schedule might change but not the general plan). If you want to attend, and you haven’t already registered, you should do that now so they can plan ahead for how many will be there (as always, it’s free; but donations of any amount are welcome–the option is provided at registration). My talk is presently scheduled for Sunday afternoon but there is a scheduling conflict and I don’t know which way it will get resolved.
Skepticon is in Springfield, Missouri. And this year it’s being held in the ultra-modern Springfield Expo Center (I assume this time without the gun show next door). That’s at 635 East Saint Louis Street, roughly across the street from the University Plaza Hotel. There is a lot of useful info on the Skepticon website, including forum-based help on getting there and getting accommodations (and a bunch of other cool stuff). So check that out.
The speakers list this year is even more amazing than past years, a group of fascinatingly diverse skills and backgrounds. Returning wonderfuls are, besides myself, of course PZ Myers (evolution science), Greta Christina (gender and sexuality…and all around common sense), JT Eberhard (asskicking), David Fitzgerald (Jesus, Mormonism, and the Atheist Film Festival), Hemant Mehta (mathematics and critical thinking), Darrel Ray (psychology and sexuality), Julia Galef (education, rationality, and critical thinking), and Rebecca Watson (feminism and laser-sharp cheekiness…wait, are lasers sharp?).
Newcomers include Jessica Ahlquist (atheist activism and general bravery in the field…or translated into churchspeak, “an evil little thing”), Sean Carroll (cosmological physics), James Croft (philosophy, humanities, and humanism), Matt Dillahunty (television host and counter-apologetics kung fu master), Phil Ferguson (godless financial expert, and godless parent, who has been deep in the belly of the beast), George Hrab (all things musical…and skeptical), Deborah Hyde (cinematic make-up artist, editor of The Skeptic UK, and expert on the supernatural), Keith Jensen (a real actual atheist comic), Amanda Knief (atheism lobbyist for the Secular Coalition for America; probably knows ten times more about politics than you do), Teresa MacBain (ex-pastor, atheist PR guru, and major figure in The Clergy Project…in fact hers is one of the most sensational coming out stories of the 21st century), Jennifer Ouellette (English major, science writer), and Tony Pinn (professor of religious studies, significant figure in black humanism).
Katie Hartman makes a really beautiful case for donating to help fund the event, which is almost entirely dependent on donations (with only a little help from sponsors and exhibitors).
And last but not least, Secular Woman is raising money to fund grants to send more women from around the country to Skepticon. It’s a great idea and they need your help, so donate to that cause if you can. Men can also apply for grants through Skepticon, and you can donate to their funds, too (see here).