Skepticamp Chicago 2014

Registration is CLOSED. We're full up!
(No, really, we're at the capacity for our space.)

We do have a waitlist.

2014's Chicago Skepticamp is on April 5! 

What is a Skepticamp? Not a camping trip (though you know how we love those!) It’s a daylong mini conference where we learn about science, critical thinking and scientific skepticism from our community’s greatest resource: each other!

For General Attendance, please remember to REGISTER for the event on Eventbrite! RSVPing on Meetup and/or Facebook will not be adequate.  

Do we HAVE to register? 

Yes. Through general registration, we will be able to ascertain the number of chairs we'll need to set up, the number of programs to print, and be able to tell the venue how many people to expect they'll have bellying up to the bar for beverages. We'll know how many freebies to bring, and how much lunch to order so nobody ends up grumpily staring at a lone bottle of salad dressing. When we know how many people are coming, we can prepare properly so everyone has a great time.

Is that a firm deadline?

YES. YES. And...YES. Please see answer to previous question as to why.

Do you have swag available?

Funny you should ask! It just so happens that we have recently opened a Cafe Press Store filled with all sorts of awesomeness with the Chicago Skeptics and/or Skepticamp Logo. All proceeds from the store go to keeping events like Skepticamp and Festivus free. Please check it out and sport your doubt on a lovely t-shirt, mug or bag of holding!

Do you need any help? Looking for volunteers?

Let me see...YEEEEEEEESSSSSSSS!! If you've already registered but want to help us out, please contact us at [masked]. If you haven't registered and want to help, you can let us know via Eventbrite!


Skepticamp 2014 Schedule

10:00 Hello! Doors are open, come on in!

10:30 Welcome!

10:40 Benjamin Zalisko
The Central Science: The Failure of Chemists to Engage the Public
Why does chemistry seems to lag so far behind the great traditions of public engagement like those in astrophysics, physics, and biology? Chemistry is the keystone of scientific literacy, however there remain cultural and technological challenges in meeting this need. Given its great importance, the resulting public ignorance and disinterest in chemistry yields broad and pervasive pseudoscientific ideas including homeopathy, GMO-phobia, crystal healing, and “organic” foods.

11:00 Abigail Durnett
That Thing That Happened Was A Lie
Ever wonder what historians actually do? Come find out what happens in the Ivory Tower and how skepticism fits into historical inquiry. Leave those test tubes behind, and don’t worry, no one will have to write an essay.

11:20 Martin Gannon
Ethics and Skepticism
The skeptical movement has 1) some basic interests, 2) a limited amount of resources, and 3) interactions with other people. This combination forces skepticism to deal with ethics. I want to give an outline for how skeptics can think about ethical problems.

11:40 Paul Gonley
Pseudo Science in the Business World
Companies have attempted to increase employee’s “soft skills” by introducing concepts like colors and strengths to categorize individuals. The hope is that this will allow employees to better understand their co-workers and themselves, but has it helped increase understanding or decreased our appreciation of the complexity of individuals?

~ Break ~ 

12:20 Eve Siebert
When Leif Met Bigfoot: The Myth of the Norse Discovery of Sasquatch
In an attempt to extend the history of Bigfoot sightings, many proponents have sought evidence of earlier encounters in myth, folklore, and literature. Some claim that Leif Eiriksson and the Norse explorers of the New World encountered Bigfoot, thus providing Sasquatch with a provenance that reaches back to the first European visits to the Americas. Is there any justification for these claims, and, if not, where did they come from?

12:40 Adam Chalom
Can You Be a Jewish Atheist?
Some question whether one can connect to a religious and cultural tradition like Judaism while not believing its supernatural claims of revelation and divine intervention. Modern skepticism goes far beyond the questioning allowed within traditional Judaism. Can one find footing in both worlds at the same time?

1:00 Matt Lowry
How Can Skeptics Communicate Better (with Non-Skeptics)?
This talk will be a series of anecdotes (gasp!) and advice based on my experiences on how to (and how NOT to) communicate with non-skeptics. Some come from interactions with my students and family, while others occurred in the digital wilderness of the Internet. Hopefully, you will be able to walk away with some tips on how to have a more productive conversation with that crazy uncle of yours the next time you see him.

1:20 Lunch

2:20 Derrick Bennett
Skeptical Trivia Challenge
A skeptical trivia contest with prizes. May the most skeptical player win!

2:40 Chris Long
“Personality” is Not Destiny – See Yourself Differently
Personality tests are everywhere, from job applications to Buzzfeed. Do they provide any accurate information, or just random feedback that sounds believable? Chris will present a simple, tested tool that can dramatically improve the way you communicate with yourself and others.

3:00 Mike Jarsulic
So You Think You’re a Realist?
An overview the debate in philosophy of science between scientific realists and anti-realists which attempts to answer whether the predictive success of a theory warrants belief in the unobservable entities (such as molecules and electrons) that it postulates.

~ Break ~

3:40 Ivan Phillips
Intelligence versus Rationality
Why do so many brilliant people subscribe to preposterous theories? There is a difference between intelligence and rationality. It often requires creative genius to invent a theory and to show that the theory is self-consistent, but it takes rationality to show that the theory is probably true.

4:00 Jennifer Cross 
The Lone Candle in the Dark

Can a Skeptic truly enjoy activities such as martial arts, fire spinning and yoga that are rife with woo and still remain a Skeptic? Well, Jennifer Cross has been doing all of that [and more] for over 15 years, and she doesn’t want to quit! Come listen as Jen will beguile you with stories of how she’s managed to remain doubtful [as well as sane] while immersed in the lands of Chi manipulation and Reiki Healing.

4:20 Dan Price
Unpacking Skepticism: Philosophy and Argumentation for the Doubting
“How do you know?” It’s my favorite question. In skepticism, we ask a lot of questions. How do we know what to believe or what we know, at all? This is often where you have to start when discussing why you should be skeptical. I aim to discuss some of the philosophy of this area and offer some practical tools for these sorts of discussions.

4:40 Louise Kellar
The Places I Go So You Don’t Have To
Darwin, Hitler, abortion and saddled dinosaurs ..why I voluntarily go to creationist events!

5:00 Thank you and good night!

Join or login to comment.

  • Chex

    Great speakers. Thanks so much to them and everyone who organized the event. Venue was nice. Lunch was great too. :D

    April 6, 2014

  • A former member
    A former member

    I had a great time. My thanks to all the speakers and people who made the event possible.

    April 5, 2014

  • Ernest M. Whiteman I.

    Good overall. Great event.

    April 5, 2014

  • Jamilette

    Well organized, awesome speakers, estimulating talks. Thank you!

    April 5, 2014

  • Micah N.

    Apologies, but I am a last minute cancellation

    April 5, 2014

  • Beth

    Skepticamp DOES have a waitlist! If you couldn't register by the deadline because we'd reached capacity, get on the list via Eventbrite and we'll release any tickets that become available. We want as many people to be able to attend as the fire marshal allows!

    That said, if you have already registered but realize you won't be able to attend, PLEASE let us know so we can release your spot to another interested skeptic. Thank you so much!

    1 · March 17, 2014

    • Brian

      I will be unable to go. I did notify you Beth via Facebook. Ill change my RSVP here as well.

      April 3, 2014

  • Beth

    If you haven't registered at Eventbrite yet, it ends TODAY! Go register now while you're thinking about it, we're super-close to capacity.
    http://skepticampchicago2014.eventbrite.com/
    See you on April 5!

    March 16, 2014

  • A former member
    A former member

    It was mentioned at the SkeptiSlam meet that there may be use for people who can show up before this event and help set up. If so I'd be happy to come early and lend a hand.

    1 · February 15, 2014

    • Jennifer C.

      Much appreciated! Please send us your email address to [masked], and we'll send out details closer to the event date.

      February 15, 2014

    • A former member
      A former member

      Cool thanks, email has been sent.

      February 16, 2014

  • Beth

    Hello Skepticampers! We're moving our registration over to Eventbrite. If you've already registered to attend, we'll update your registration and you'll receive a confirmation email. (You don't have to do anything, and you'll be able to check/change your registration.)

    If you haven't registered to attend yet, what are you waiting for? :D

    January 26, 2014

  • Dave B.

    That Irish place last year was a good venue

    October 31, 2013

  • Val

    I'll start thinking of a proposal!

    October 27, 2013

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