Help support Skepticon this year! And if you can go this November, start planning. It’s free and it’s fun. And it’s in the Buckle of the Bible Belt: Springfield, Missouri. This will be the sixth Skepticon. It will fill November 15th-17th, Friday to Sunday (2013). And judging by last year, attendance will break a thousand.
PZ and I are speaking, of course, as well as all manner of cool folk, from Shelly Segal, Greta Christina, and Rebecca Watson to Seth Andrews, Hemant Mehta and Aron Ra, and many more (see the Skepticon 6 Schedule), even live podcasts, a taste of an atheist film festival, the comedy of Keith Lowell Jensen, and a Godless Perverts Story Hour (I kid you not). And like last year, Friday will be filled with workshops (lots of those were really cool, so I’m expecting as much again) until the conference officially opens that evening.
Accommodations at the University Plaza Hotel (where most attendees will be hanging out, just a block from the convention center) are reasonable as hotels go (and you’ll want to ask for the convention rate…the hotel can even sell out, given Skepticon’s tremendous growth of late). But for real cut rate stuff there are even more affordable motels all around the area as well. And as months approach (if last year is any guide), the Skepticon website will start facilitating efforts to find roommates and carpools and other cost-saving thingamadoos. I expect they’ll also eventually have a means up to register (which is free, but it still helps them to know how many are coming).
So to keep abreast of all those developments, and other major conference news, you should subscribe to their event newsletter now (Skepticon Newsletter).
But most importantly, the entire conference is donor supported (with only a little help from merch sales at the event). To keep this free for a thousand-plus attendees in the heart of the midwest, they need money. They explain why and how much and how they spend it (and how you can give them some) at Skepticon Needs Your Support. They need forty grand, and so far have less than ten (check out their nice infographic).
Even ten or twenty bucks actually helps (when a lot of people pitch in), so if you’re planning to go and don’t really need it to be free, just pay them what you think attending the conference is worth, in proportion to what you can afford (you can just make a quick donation here).
Or if you’re one of the lucky ones who can spare even more cash for the good of all, and you want to help support conferences like this that provide sanity and joy to the beleaguered godless community in the middle of the U.S. (attendees come from dozens of states, some driving ten or more hours to get there), then try for something even bolder: just send them a big amount, or get in on one of the amusing fundraisers they have going (a Shelly Segal Pick-a-Song, a Twink-a-Dinks Chocolate Sale, and Dogma Debate Crew Stunts…wild stuff in there).
My own talk for this year is developing under the working title “Is Philosophy Stupid?” A lot of philosophical zombie blood has been spilled over the uselessness or aimlessness or pointlessness of philosophy. What’s it for? Is it all just bunk? Arbitrary opinions in fancy dress? A quibbling over silly minutiae? Does it make progress? Can’t we just replace it all with science? Is it too esoteric to be useful or even meaningful in light of real world issues? Can ordinary people do anything with it? Where did it come from? What the hell is it? Even Stephen Hawking says philosophy is dead. Is it? Or did he really just say that in a book mostly filled with his own conclusions in…philosophy? Find out! I’ll answer all these questions and more.