Posts Tagged European Skeptical Congress

Skeptics with a K: Episode #031

The Skeptics with a K discuss the 14th European Skeptical Congress, the Pope’s Holyrood speech and evolution denial in Northern Ireland.  Plus the tale of the Dealer of Death, 30,000 witches, a dead dog and a rodent.

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Day 3 at the 14th European Skeptical Congress

It’s the last day here at the 14th European Skeptical Congress.

Marsh and I have Joe Nickell and Chris French to look forward to.

Even more interest in 10:23 from the delegates, many of whom are keen to join in for 2011 and have lots of good ideas of their own.

I’m writing this whilst listening to a talk about baby bullshit from a mathematician who has mathematically modelled why nonsense treatments are so widespread. He has invented a country called “believia” and an illness called Giant Ear Syndrome!

Joe Nickell’s talk is worth a mention. He’s been personally involved in a huge variety of skeptical investigations and I’m sure his name is well known to many Merseyside Skeptics. One key aspect that he focussed upon was his undercover work. In this capacity he would attend some kind of claimant incognito, and carry out an investigation masquerading as a genuine “case”. However he’s really well known. And to avoid being rumbled he would wear a disuse of some kind. Some of the pictures were very funny.

He recounted a tale of a spiritualist carrying out a “billet reading” technique which he recognized immediately. It reminded me of Marsh’s demonstration of this technique during one of the early MSS social events. I recognized it immediately.

Chris French told some great stories. A couple were in his talk at MSS last year but there was some great new stuff too. In his capacity as editor of Skeptic Magazine, he announced the new issue which has a bit about 10:23 in it, and a new book which is a collection of the “the best of” from the magazine called Why Statues Weep.

This has been a really well organised conference with great speakers from all over Europe and America. From the Turin Shroud to mathematics. It’s been a real eye opener.

We fly back this evening and we’re looking forward to the next MSS social.

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Quick blog from the 14th European Skeptical Congress at the Flamenco Hotel in Budapest

Marsh and I are just into day 2 at the 14th European Skeptical Congress.

Yesterday I got to do a well received talk on 10:23 and I think we’ve been able to recruit a good few countries to participate in 2011. We’ve had dinner with Joe Nickell, Simon Singh and Christopher French as well as meeting luminaries from the Hungarian and German skeptics.

It has also been pretty amazing to meet some Skeptics With a K and InKredulous listeners!  today there’s even a guy wearing a 10:23 t-shirt. He’s from Zurich in Switzerland and is very enthusiastic!

It turns out that there are pockets of skepticism in mainland Europe. Hungary and Germany are particularly well organized but there are also examples where things are just getting going.  Poland, Slovakia, Romania are examples.  Marsh and I just had a nice chat with a couple of guys from Poland who made the point that culturally, people don’t like to speak out in public.

There’s a guy talking now called Istvan Vago.  He is the host of the Hungarian version of Who Wants to be a Millionaire!  He has entitled his talk “why idiotism more popular than clever thoughts?”. All the talks are in English and for most people it’s not their first language.

The interest in 10:23 is two fold.  First of all, people have heard of it and are interested to hear more.  I’m very much realizing that we made a lot more noise in the uk than in mainland Europe.

Secondly, for the countries where “organized” skepticism is in it’s infancy, they see an opportunity to join with other like minded individuals in an international campaign.  The international scale means that they may not feel so exposed by participating.

There are about 130 people here and as usual they are a mixed bag but there’s a good number of younger people.  Lots of scientists, doctors and psychologists.

Simon Singh has spoken this morning was very well received.  He also said some very nice things about the Merseyside Skeptics Society’s work on 10:23. Amardeo Sarma from the German skeptics did the same.

So it’s all systems go over here representing Merseyside Skeptics and 10:23 in Budapest.

More later.

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