James Randi Delivers some of his lecture material that has been presented to audiences all over the globe in past years, and showed selected video clips of some of the highlights of his life as a curmudgeon.
Richard Dawkins
Dr. Richard Dawkins, internationall-famous zoologist, philosopher, humanist, educator, author and lecturer, is our featured speaker for TAM3. Born in Nairobi in 1941, he studied at Oxford University and graduated in 1962, remaining there to work for his doctorate. He became assistant Professor of Zoology at UC Berkeley in 1967, then lecturer in Zoology at Oxford University and a Fellow of New College from 1970. He presently holds the Charles Simonyi Chair of Public Understanding of Science at Oxford. His first book, The Selfish Gene in 1976 - second edition in 1989, - was an international best-seller. The Blind Watchmaker won the Royal Society of Literature Award and the Los Angeles Times Literary Prize in 1987, and has been translated into all major languages. His other best sellers include River Out of Eden (1995), Climbing Mount Improbable (1996), and Unweaving the Rainbow (1998). Since 1996 Dr. Dawkins has been Vice President of the British Humanist Association. He's no stranger to the TV camera, and his wise words have been quoted and noted by scholars from many disciplines. Professor Dawkins will celebrate with us the progress of knowledge and education all the way from Biblical mythology to the present day, stopping off en route to visit with Isaac Newton and various other geniuses who have enlightened us.
Dr. Michael Shermer Our perennial, our keynote speaker, a dependable, erudite, productive and interesting scholar who publishes Skeptic Magazine. He's always there, front and center, when we call on him. This well known figure, author of many books, articles, and speeches used in the battle against crack-pottery and fraud, returns this year to outdo his last exciting appearance, which got raves from everyone.
Julia Sweeney Last year we were thrilled by the prodigious talents of this Saturday Night Live alumnus, as she told us of her personal experience, "Letting Go Of God," Outstanding actress, writer, comedienne, she's one of the people who make our work rewarding. Most importantly, she's serious about sharing her epiphanic experiences with us. This year, she'll offer us her newest contribution to sanity, which will certainly "lay us in the aisles" again.
Brenton Ver Ploeg manages an 11-lawyer Miami litigation firm. With a lifetime interest in science, he's long served as counsel to skeptical organizations, presently as corporate counsel to both CSI0COP and the JREF. He welcomes any opportunity to demonstrate that the Courts are effective guardians of the scientific method. Mr Ver Ploeg will inform us about how the law can be effective in going after the scam artists who take money from Naïve believers.
Jamy Ian Swiss has graciously offered to return, too, but this time as a lecturer. We're very honored to welcome him back, one of the magic professions brightest stars. His unique perspective and strong views on psychic scammers will satisfy and inform you. He will be enlightening us on some of the specific methods and tricks used by the "psychics". We look forward to his informative and entertaining presentation.
Dr. Phil Plait An Amaz!ng Meeting Favorite and close friend. Everyone went nuts last year over Dr. Phil Plait aka "The Bad Astronomer" and authoer of that remarkable book "Bad Astronomy". This year Phil will play host for part of the meeting. Philassured us that he has an endless repertoire, and he'll once again outrageous pseudoscience. This one speake is worth the price of admission! You'll learn a whole lot from Phil!
Dr. Joe Nickell is Chief Investigator for the Committee for Scientific Investigation of Claims of the Paranormal (CSICOP), a forensic expert, former private eye, and author of several fascinating books and many articles. Widely traveled, Joe has closely investigated everything from the Shroud of Turin to signature forgeries, turning his keen eye on them all. His professional approach is evident in his books, and, as you'll see, in his public talks.
Penn and Teller the Bad Boys of Magic, my close friends from decades back, are revved up to again participate in their energetic and slightly mad manner. They'll actively join in our panel groups - a very popular feature from last year. Excellent allise in the battle against nonsense and pseudoscience, these guys have brought skepticism to much higher recognition by the public through their wildly popular television series "Bullshit"
Banacheck, a.k.a Steve Shaw performed at previous meetings, but now you'll hear him as on of the original "Alpha Boys" who infiltrated a parapsychological lab decades ago, proving that scientists can be fooled if they aren't careful. He and partner Mike Edwards deceived scientists, only to rescue them at the last minute. His empathy with the parapsychologists and the victims of psychic flummery, is unmatched.
Rick MaueMagician and authoer of The Book of Haunted Magick will talk about his 25+ years of creating and producing theatrical seances.He will discuss how - and why - he mixes his message about critical thinking onto ever performance. He will also share several stories of memorable seances, and possibly even a message or two from the Beyond. Rick will be running concurrent theatrical events during the conference, as seperate items.