Panel: Skepticism Under the Microscope

Weekend of October 13-14, 2018

Mercure Piccadilly Manchester Hotel, Manchester, England

As the world of pseudoscience has continually evolved, skepticism has had to adapt to keep pace. Where skepticism was once defined by lone figureheads charismatically debunking the claims of paranormal superstars, as pseudomedical claims rose to greater prominence, the skeptical world shifted its focus to alternative medicine and its harms. Lone skeptical activists were augmented by a global ecosystem of bloggers, podcasters, and amateur investigators, seeking to correct misinformation.

As the pseudoscience landscape continues to change, our panel asks: is the current skeptical movement – if it even is one single movement – fit for purpose? As we look to tackle the pseudoscience of our day, what are we doing right, and what are we doing wrong? What challenges do skeptics around the world face, and what can we learn from each other?

Representing the UK, mainland Europe, the US, and Canada, our panel exploring the state of skepticism around the world today is:

  • Jonathan Jarry – Jonathan is a science communicator with the McGill Office for Science and Society, in Montreal, Canada. He is the creator of the YouTube show Cracked Science, and with cardiologist Dr Christopher Labos he co-hosts the award-winning medical podcast The Body of Evidence.
  • Claire Klingenberg – Claire is the President of the European Council of Skeptical Organisations – a pan-European collaboration between skeptical organisations in more than fifteen countries. Claire was one of the lead organisers of the 2017 European Skeptics Congress in Poland, has put paranormal claims to the test as part of the Czech Skeptics’ Sisyfos prize.
  • Thomas Smith – Thomas is a prolific American podcaster, hosting Serious Inquiries Only, Opening Arguments, and Philosophers in Space. In his shows, he has explored some of the issues facing the current skeptical movement in America.
  • Michael Marshall – Michael is the Project Director of the Good Thinking Society and Vice President of the Merseyside Skeptics Society. He has been involved in skeptical activism for almost a decade, and since 2014 has been a full-time skeptical investigator and campaigner.

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