Sexuality is an area of human experience where pseudoscience and woo frequently prevail. How can skepticism and atheism enhance sex? What are the harms of allowing quackery and unexamined biases into the bedroom? Our panelists have a wide range of experiences with sexuality and skepticism, and their views on these questions will be diverse and thought-provoking.
Our three panelists will discuss the importance of critical thinking, the many cognitive shortcuts that prevent us all from thinking critically at times, and the ethical considerations involving critical thinking.
Jason Thibeault discusses his life’s path through various social justice awakenings, and how social justice movements - atheism and skepticism included - all inevitably convergently evolve toward intersectionality.
by Paul Wright, Daniel Midgley and Madge Carew-Hopkins
A lot has been said about promoting social justice in large groups of atheists, like forums, blogs and conventions. It's not always easy to keep out the trolls and harassers and to say what needs to be said, but it can be done. But what do you do in a small university atheist club, or a local skeptic meetup group? Paul Wright, Madge Carew-Hopkins and Daniel Midgley talk about atheist groups in Perth, Australia and how the arguments that rage in the wider community have parallels in local atheist groups.
"Have you tried yoga?" "You just need to pray harder." "You should try this herbal supplement." People with mental illnesses get advice like this all the time. Although it's not particularly helpful to anyone, with skeptics and atheists it's especially misguided. What should we say to freethinkers dealing with mental illness? How do we support them in an evidence-based way? How can we use skepticism and critical thinking to reduce the stigma of mental illness? How can we improve access to treatment that actually works?
Privilege, by nature, can blind us to the ways we harm others. Just as the religious majority, unwittingly, steps on our toes, we can often step on the toes of other minorities or women. This can lead to hurt feelings and anger directed at us as the toe steppers. How should we react once our toe treading is pointed out to us? What tools can you use to overcome the initial emotional backlash for said toe stepping? Why is telling people to "Get steel toed boots" not an answer?"
Get the latest news on climate change and find out why it's important.
As proven by the deep rifts that exist within movement atheism, a common acknowledgement that there is no god is often not enough ground on which to build a coherent, lasting community. Social justice movements often encounter tipping points where they either take into account the natural allies that are other movements, or they fail. This panel will discuss how movement atheism should not be the end-point of a journey into social justice, but the beginning.
Panel will cover what the experience of chronic pain is like, why the skeptic community should care, how the skeptic community can be welcoming and accessible to people in pain, common myths and truths about chronic pain, and good resources for skeptical perspectives on chronic pain.
How to confidently engage in conversations about atheism with your friends, family, and peers. Picking your battles. Growing your arsenal of arguments. How to speak to fundamentalists without losing your mind.
One of the masters of online science communication, Bora Zivkovic, will provoke and inspire us with ideas.
Artists within the secular, scientific and skeptical communities online discuss using their art to popularize their preferred field. Hosted by Amy Roth and Glendon Mellow.
A panel of reproductive rights activists come together to discuss access to abortion in current events , clinic escorting and some common religious and non-religious arguments against abortion. Our panel consists of clinic escorts - including one panelist who volunteered before FACE laws went into effect (Freedom of Access to Clinic Entrances), health care professionals, an author and several bloggers who write about reproductive rights. Our panelists hail from Minnesota, Kentucky, Virginia and Ireland.
by Aron Ra
You want to hear That Voice tear into the absurdities of creationism, don't you?
Despite the popular assertion, one does not need to believe in a god to have love in their lives; however, disbelief surely shapes the kinds of loving relationships atheists can have. What effect does lack of a god belief have on things like sexual desire, shame, and the types of relationships we feel comfortable with? A panel of people with different experiences and perspectives discusses some of the issues and takes your questions!
The wild and crazy crew of godless heathens from Springfield, Missouri will tell us about the great things to look forward to at Skepticon on 15-17 November.
by Kate Donovan
Multiple personalities? Personality disorders? The Diagnostic and Statistical Manual (DSM) contains a list of all recognized mental illnesses. How valid is it? Kate will look at the best and worst mental health diagnoses and talk about what makes for useful skepticism when it comes to mental health.
A discussion of immigrants' rights from a social justice perspective. Panelists from the US and Europe will be discussing the human impact of governments' immigration policies, how detention and deportation harm people, how immigration controls intersect with racism and xenophobia, and what activists can do to stand in solidarity with marginalized immigrants.
Although much of the bestselling YA literature in the last few years has featured female main characters, ofttimes the portrayal of these characters is problematic in terms of gender stereotypes and lack of minority characters. This is a discussion of the ways YA literature succeeds and fails and why it needs to change.
Join us to hear a few songs and have a casual chat with ukulelist and FtB blogger Ashley Miller, and Australian singer-songwriter Shelley Segal. In 2011 Shelley published An Atheist Album, and she has played at the Reason Rally, the American Atheist Convention, Women In Secularism and other events. Panel facilitated by Brianne Bilyeu.
by Chris Clarke
The press often portrays environmental activism as being at odds with science, but the putative divide is news to those working on protecting biodiversity. A panel of bloggers from the biodiversity-centric Coyot.es Network discusses.
Religion and morality systems in video games are often grossly oversimplified, to the point where choices are entirely binary and you’re often forced, as a gamer, to do things that you might otherwise find appalling, like working in service of a god or gods. How are these heady topics handled in the slowly-maturing video game industry? Who’s already doing this stuff right? How can these topics’ treatment be improved?
Atheists have an image problem. We didn't create it, but we're the ones with an interest in fixing it. Let's talk about the range of strategies for doing that while still fighting our fights.
Three of the volunteers of the Pathfinders Project, a yearlong international service and research trip sponsored by Foundation Beyond Belief, will be discussing the project, themselves, why they are involved, and why humanist service is so important.
The atheist community is often dominated by an American perspective, but what about its closest neighbour? What lessons can non-American atheists learn from the similarities and differences between the US and Canadian experiences? A panel of Canadian atheists from across the country discusses and takes your questions.
Women make up 45% of the gamer population, a number that’s climbing rapidly toward parity. And yet, female protagonists in games are few and far between -- and when games are exclusively fronted by female characters, they get far less marketing budget than their equivalent male-led titles. Why? What can be done about this?
Richard Carrier gives a personal talk about his experiences in the military and what they taught him about feminism. He’ll be telling some embarrassing and personal stories about his time in the service twenty years ago as a young naive man, and reflecting on how they changed him and contributed to what he knows and how he thinks today.
Warning for Viewers: Some of the stories will be about the sexualization of women, and Carrier will be repeating sexual slurs and other things he saw and heard that can be quite shocking.
Religious and pseudoscientific communities often claim to promote mental health, whether through treatment or social support. Our panelists will discuss their experiences with mental illness and how religion and pseudoscience have influenced them. They will talk about the religious and pseudoscientific treatments they have gone through and how friends and family from those communities have responded to their mental illness.
TV, Movies, Comic books... our popular culture is soaked in depictions of religious people, but what about atheists? How are atheists portrayed in the public sphere? How can we do better? A panel of atheists gets at the real issues.
19th–21st July 2013