Skepchicon starts in two days. For those of you who don’t know, Skepchicon is a “track” at Convergence, which in turn is one of those science fiction conventions where everyone dresses up as a Klingon or something.
The Skepchicon track and related events is an organized effort to bring skeptical conversation to the masses, focusing specifically on one very diverse group of people some of whom being very amenable to this sort of thing, and others perhaps not so. Normally, these conversations are very civil and informative, though there are times when one needs to take the argument outside and settle things like real geeks.
Anyway, my schedule for the Con is here, including panels I hope to attend as well as those I’m on: I Will Be at the Con. (I realize that a lot of people did not get my joke about The Con. Re-read the title of that post once or twice.)
I’m hoping to see you there, but even if not, perhaps we can get some conversation going about the topics at hand.
We start with Skepticism 101. This is with Steve Thoms, Pamela Gay, Lois Schadewald, and me. To me, this is a place where we might discuss what skepticism is, how individuals who have an interest in the community of skeptics might begin to interface, where individuals who have had some experience with either skeptical thinking in their own social context, or with their own skeptical community might share experiences, etc. If, that is, we the panel can remain quiet long enough to hear what the audience says. I’m interested to see what the audience consists of. Why does someone decide to go to an intro session on a major philosophical movement at a science fiction convention? I can think of a lot of good reasons, but the real question is who will actually be in the room this year? (S-101 last year drew a pretty good crowd, as I recall.)
So, if you are a “skeptic” and you found yourself, say, at Easter or something with a bunch of relatives and they asked you about this “skeptics” thing, what would you tell them (assuming that you only get about 30 seconds to grab everyone’s interest before they go back to smashing the PiÃ±ata)? If you were a professional skeptic and your kid dragged you to school on “Drag a Parent to School Day” what would you tell the kiddies? In other words, how do you explain what a skeptic is, or what being skeptical might consist of, concisely but not so tersely that your definition’s pithiness overcomes it’s utility…. A paragraph or two.