Saturday 25th April, 2015
10:10am to 11:00am
For a skeptic, YouTube can be a double-edged sword. On the one hand, it can be a tool to level the playing field and allow anybody to post their views and build a following based on the quality of their content. Psychologist Richard Wiseman can speak directly to his 1.7 million subscribers to share magic tricks and interesting science, with a level of engagement TV execs would dream of. In America’s Bible belt, atheist Aron Ra spreads science education and atheist debate unfettered by the restrictions of a heavily-religious social structure. Truly, this is media for the masses, by the masses – without the middleman.
And yet, the same freedom that allows skeptical messages to connect around the world propagates without filter credulous spook stories and conspiracist propaganda. Vlogger Myles Power’s deconstruction of AIDS denialist videos brought him to the brink of legal action and into the sights of a legion of conspiracy theorists. Paranormal hoaxes of faked poltergeists hit the mainstream media faster than paranormal skeptic Hayley Stevens can demonstrate their origin and reproduce their effects.
Join Richard, Aron Ra, Myles, Hayley and your chair Rick Owen to explore the role of the skeptic in the changing media landscape, and how the ease of self-publishing video content can be both a blessing and a curse to the would-be skeptical activist.
Psychologist, magician and best-selling author
Richard Wiseman is a psychologist, magician and best-selling author of books including Paranormality, Quirkology, The Luck Factor and Night School. With almost 1.7 million subscribers to his YouTube channel sharing videos of magic tricks, interesting science, optical illusions and bar-room bets, he’s one of the most widely followed scientists in the world. Richard will be appearing on the Every Cloud-based Video Service has a Silver Lining panel.
Texas State Director of American Atheists, host of Ra-Men, YouTube personality
Aron Ra makes videos promoting science education in an area where creationism is often promoted even in public schools. As Texas State Director of American Atheists, he is an activist for secular politics in a heavily religious environment. He was a regular co-host of the Magic Sandwich Show, and Dogma Debate, and he currently hosts the Ra-Men podcast promoting a progressive perspective. He will be arriving at QED fresh from his tour of Australia as part of the ‘Unholy Trinity’, which also featured Seth Andrews and fellow QED speaker Matt Dillahunty.
chemist and vlogger
Myles Power is a chemist and vlogger whose work dissecting and debunking claims made in the “House of Cards” AIDS denialist film saw him incur the wrath of conspiracy theorists and their lawyers. Besides his videos exploring the 9/11 ‘Truther’ movement, chemtrail conspiracies and anti-vaccination misinformation, he uses his YouTube channel to share interesting experiments and promote his love of science to his 30,000 subscribers. Myles will be appearing on the Every Cloud-based Video Service has a Silver Lining panel.
paranormal investigator and blogger
Hayley Stevens is a skeptic paranormal researcher. Believer-turned-skeptic, with over a decade of ghost research under her belt, she examines strange sightings, photos, videos, sound recordings and more to determine their rational causes. She is often sought for an expert opinion on weird stuff - from ghosts to monsters and fairies by a range of media outlets and other researchers. Hayley will be appearing on the Every Cloud-based Video Service has a Silver Lining panel.
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