In an entertainingly weird form of meta-technology, here is a YouTube video of my Skyped-in talk at Skepticon 5. I had to cancel my scheduled talk at Skepticon 5, which was sad and frustrating and drove me up a fucking tree. In fact, when I was talking with my oncologist about scheduling my hysterectomy, for about three nanoseconds I considered postponing it until after Skepticon. I love Skepticon, it’s one of my favorite events on the atheist calendar, and I hated that I had to miss it.
But the Skepticon organizers set it up so that I could make an appearance anyway, via the wonders of 21st century technology. So here is the YouTube video of me giving my talk, and taking questions, in the form of a giant floating head on the video screen, Skyped-in remotely from San Francisco to Missouri. I am the great and powerful Oz!
My topic… well, I didn’t bother give this talk a title, since it was pretty specific to these circumstances and I’m unlikely to repeat it. But if I were to give it one, it would probably be, “How Atheism and Skepticism Help in a Shitstorm.” In it, I talk about how atheism, humanism, materialism, naturalism, and skepticism have helped me through the difficulties of the last couple of months… and why I think these comforts and supports are stronger and more powerful than the false ones offered by religion. Ingrid also makes a brief appearance, as does Houdini.
It was a deeply weird experience: I couldn’t see or hear anything that was happening on the Missouri end of things, so from my end it just felt like a very long-winded Skype call. It’s weird giving a talk when you can’t see or hear your audience, and so can’t gauge their reactions and adjust your talk accordingly. Also, some people were watching it live through streaming, which added yet another layer of techno-meta to the proceedings. Also, I was hopped up on Vicodin. Watching it now, I’m kind of amazed that I managed to be that coherent. But as weird as it was, I’m very glad I was able to do it, and am deeply grateful to the Skepticon organizers and technicians who made it happen. Enjoy!