Last weekend I attended the Greater Edmonton Skeptics Society sponsored LogiCON at the Telus World of Science. This is a one day skepticamp style event with some bigger named speakers. One of the things they maintained was minimal costs. The event was free except for the entrance fee to Telus World of Science. Lunch was even included for those of us who pre-registered. The GESS has an interesting blog post on their decision to shift away from the skepticamp model.
Daniel Loxton, noted Canadian skeptic, Editor of Skeptic Magazine’s Junior Skeptic and author of Evolution: How We and All Living Things Came to Be gave the keynote speech on “The Reasonableness of Weird Things” in the planetarium. Daniel’s speech was very polished, interesting and entertaining. It was biographical ranging from his idyllic feral childhood amongst the spiritual tree planting hippies of BC through to his conversion to skepticism. Daniel spoke about his father who constantly challenged him to question and to use logic. Right now, could you prove to someone that the earth is round. Could you do it when you were ten?
I have heard Daniel speak before. He is easy-going and soft-spoken and a little unpolished. I was blown away by how much he has improved. His keynote was very polished and engaging. His pacing and timing were excellent.
There were four points I took away from Daniels talk.
- No one is born knowing science or critical thinking.
- Popular culture is a poor source for science.
- Direct experience is the reason most people believe in the paranormal.
- Shepard’s hooked staffs are useful if you are herding sheep.
LogiCON has two main track, a beginner track and an advanced track. Each session consisted of 20 minutes of talks and 10 minutes of questions. I mainly switched between these two tracks. In addition they had a kids track on the Science Center’s stage and two workshops.
- Critical Thinking in Everyday Life
- Vacc-inaction: Shots in the Dark?
- Sky Hoaxes and Myths
- Science Journalism: An Oxymoron?
- The Dark Side of Deception
- Relying on Each Other: The Importance of the Culture of Science
- Evidence-Based Parenting Panel
- What is Climate Change?
- The Death of Alchemy & the Birth of Chemistry
- Celebration of Human Presence in Space
- How to Convince Your Family and Friends that Science is Awesome Panel
- The Logic of Causal Conclusions
- Daniel Loxton Question and Answer and book Signing
- Manufacturing the Miraculous
- The Scientific Evidence for the Big Bang
- Sleight of Mind: The Magician’s Panel
- Brains on Display
- Ghost Photography
- Which Water?
- Radiation and You
- Magic Man: Behind the Scenes