The Almost-But-Not-Quite "Final" Schedule for SkeptiCamp NYC 2013
The actual sequence of events at any SkeptiCamp is subject to change based on the needs and interests of its
attendees. The following is the schedule we will start with. But, be aware that it could change around a lot.
This schedule was last updated on 12/4/2013.
||Doors Open! Schmooze with your fellow attendees while we set up the place.
||Opening Ceremonies and Other Cool Stuff
||Amy Frushour Kelly
||Adventures In Subjective Probability: "You keep using that word... I do not think it means what you think it means."
||Ambiguity has a quantifiable effect on the decisions human beings make on probabilities. Research indicates that the effects of ambiguity on an individual's decision-making are actually a reflection of the individual's personal preferences and perceptions, instead of relating to the actual statistic probability of whatever it is we're talking about. We'll talk about subjective probability, and use an experiment to evaluate why certain words don't mean what we think they mean.
||Conflict Resolution and the Secular Movement
||Recently the secular movement has experienced a fair amount of conflict. In order to have a more unified and peaceful movement, conflict resolution initiatives should be used.
||Short Break #1
||Strategic Reliablism: An Epistemology for Skeptics
||Epistemology is the philosophy of knowledge. However, modern epistemology has become more and more irrelevant to actual clear thinking and useless to those who want to engage in it. Over the past 15 years, two philosophers have spoken out against "standard analytic epistemology" and proposed what one person has called "an epistemology for James Randi" called strategic reliablism. The purpose of this talk will be to summarize the problems with the modern state of epistemology and give an overview of strategic reliablism.
||Humanism and the Secular Community
||Humanism's place within the secular community.
||Lunch Break! Eat in the room, if you can! We will have meal options for sale, and a cooler for brown-baggers.
||Mitchell Scott Lampert vs. Gregory Lopez
||Putting Science and Philosophy in Their Places: The Great Morality Debate!
||My opponent, Gregory Lopez, and I shall debate the existence of objective moral truths, and how this impacts the roles science and the rest of philosophy play in morality. After short opening statements and cross-examination by both sides, the bulk of the debate will involve questions from the audience. Both of us will then issue brief closing statements. And, we will also conduct a survey to see how many minds were changed in the process. (I, Mitch Lampert, might be the underdog in this one.)
||Skeptic Activism & Moral Values
||As skeptics, we accept that certain beliefs follow naturally from established facts: global warming is real, and creationism is false, and no competent application of scientifically-informed skepticism would say otherwise. But moral decisions are based not only on established facts but also moral values that are not derived from empirical facts alone. Does skepticism lead us to particular, rational moral conclusions the way it does to empirical ones? What does that imply for ongoing debates over the relationship between skepticism and social issues such as feminism or gay rights? I would like to analyze these questions, and offer my own proposed answer.
(Editor's Note: This session talks about morality at a higher level than the preceding debate. The debate will deal with more fundamental issues.)
||Short Break #2
||Of High Heels and Peacocks; Darwin in the House of Dior
||It will be on the evolutionary significance of women wearing high heels as a sexual selective criterion, much like peacock's tails. Please don't put me down for sure yet, as I want to be sure I can do a good job.
||Alzheimer's Disease and Dementia: a Skeptical Approach
||The coming "silver tsunami" of the aging population is most often portrayed in an alarmist way that highlights degenerative processes like dementia. The story of "Alzheimer's Disease" is typically told as a medical saga, with a narrative that emphasizes the heavy costs placed on caregivers and society, on the one hand, and the frantic hope for a "cure" on the other. As skeptics, we can examine this narrative and question its prevailing assumptions, especially the emphasis on medical pathology and "loss of personhood."
||Short Break #3
||Humanity is an Asteroid
||A naturalistic response to some common rhetoric regarding the human impact on the environment. A brief presentation followed by a discussion.
||Last Minute Stuff
||Amy Frushour Kelly, et al
||Logical Fallacy Bingo!
||A quote or phrase will be shown on the projection screen. Players must identify the logical fallacy committed in the quote and mark it on their cards. First to get five in a row wins a keen prize that I haven't figured out yet.
||If no one has anything better to fill the time with, Mitch Lampert will cook up a few options. But, no, he will not be discussing his own crackpot ideas about how the mind works, this year.
||Closing Ceremonies and Cleaning Up After Ourselves
Note: The categories aren't very important. In fact, this year, they seem very generic.
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