The Amaz!ng Meeting 2013

TAM 2013: Fighting the Fakers

Dear Friends,

We are thrilled to announce that The Amaz!ng Meeting (TAM) returns in just a few months: July 11-14, 2013 at the South Point Hotel & Casino in Las Vegas, NV.

The Amaz!ng Meeting (TAM) is the leading conference focused on scientific skepticism. People from all over the world come to TAM each year to share learning, laughs, and the skeptical perspective with their friends and a host of distinguished guest speakers, panelists, and workshop presenters.

This annual gathering of critical thinkers is an unparalleled opportunity to make like-minded friends, enjoy some of the brightest minds on issues important to us, and leave with tools for spreading a helpful and skeptical message to those who might be hurt by charlatans and unfounded belief. TAM is like a vacation from the nonsense we confront every day, and a time to celebrate skepticism.

Join us for four days of fun, fellowship and critical thinking!


Join James Randi


This year our theme is “Fighting the Fakers,” focusing on scientific skepticism.The inimitable musician, skeptic, and Geologic Podcast host George Hrab will once again be returning as Master of Ceremonies.

A major motivation for going to TAM is that skeptics care deeply about people and they know that when people believe in nonsense, they often get hurt. And at TAM 2013 we will explore ways to fight back. This is central to the mission of the James Randi Educational Foundation— Randi has been fighting the fakers for decades, and the JREF works to continue and expand that impact.

Our objectives for TAM 2013 are:
  • To feature a variety of presentations by on how to best “fight back” against irresponsible promoters of paranormal and pseudoscientific nonsense in our society, whether through outreach, science education, activism, or new approaches online or in new media.
  • To provide top notch evening entertainment, including live music, magic, and comedy performances; and
  • To foster community among the many hundreds of like-minded attendees, through social activities including conference meals and other events.

TAM has become the largest conference to focus on science, skepticism and critical thinking over the past ten years, and has become the must-go-to event for skeptics and science advocates. Please join the more than 1,000 like minded people for four days of fun, fellowship, and critical thinking in Las Vegas!



TAM 2013 will be four full days of skeptical programing running from 8:00 a.m. until after midnight most nights. At the core of the programing will be talks by some of our leading lights, including:


Susan Jacoby is the author of The Age of American Unreason and many other books. She has been the recipient of many grants and awards, including those from the Guggenheim, Rockefeller, and Ford Foundations, as well as the National Endowment for the Humanities. In 2001-2002, she was named a fellow at the Center for Scholars and Writers at the New York Public Library. Her articles and essays have appeared in The New York Times Magazine, Washington Post Book World, Los Angeles Times Book Review, Newsday, Harper’s, The Nation, Vogue, The American Prospect, Mother Jones, and the AARP Magazine, among other publications. She also writes a weekly column at the On Faith website published by The Washington Post.


Dan Ariely is the James B Duke Professor of Psychology and Behavioral Economics at Duke University. He is the author of a number of books, including Predictably Irrational, and The Honest Truth About Dishonesty.

Susan Blackmore is a psychologist and writer researching consciousness, memes, and anomalous experiences, and a Visiting Professor at the University of Plymouth. She is the is author of a number of books, including The Meme Machine and Zen and the Art of Consciousness.

Russell Blackford is an Australian attorney, philosopher, science fiction writer, and critic. He is the author of a number of books, including Freedom of Religion and the Secular State and 50 Voices of Disbelief.

Dr. R. Elisabeth Cornwell is Executive Director of the Richard Dawkins Foundation for Reason and Science (US). In addition to her work with the Foundation, she is an evolutionary psychologist whose research includes examining the underlying mechanisms of human mate selection.

Jerry Coyne, Ph.D is a Professor in the Department of Ecology and Evolution at the University of Chicago and a member of both the Committee on Genetics and the Committee on Evolutionary Biology. His work is focused on understanding the origin of species: the evolutionary process that produces discrete groups in nature.

Barbara Drescher taught cognitive psychology and quantitative research methods, primarily at California State University, Northridge, for a decade. She developed award-winning material and text for teaching science and critical thinking. As a National Science Foundation Fellow and Phi Kappa Phi Scholar, Barbara studied visual attention, perception, learning, and reasoning.

Reginald Finley Sr is considered one of the pioneers of skeptic-oriented talk media; going back as far as 1999. His program, The Infidel Guy Show, ran for 12 years in which he focused on skepticism, critical thinking, religious and philosophical discussions/debates, and science education. He now runs The Fun Scientists LLC, which aims to encourage children to question unashamedly and without hesitation while at the same time, revealing that science is fun!

David Gorski is an academic surgeon at Wayne State University School of Medicine, where he specializes in breast cancer surgery and serves as the Medical Director of the Alexander J. Walt Comprehensive Breast Center at the Barbara Ann Karmanos Cancer Institute. When not actively engaged in breast cancer research or taking care of patients, he is also the managing editor of the Science-Based Medicine blog.

D. J. Grothe is President of the James Randi Educational Foundation. Formerly a “mind-reader” and magician, he studies the processes of deception and self-deception. He lectures and debates frequently on topics surrounding science and central beliefs at colleges and universities throughout the United States.

Susan Haack is professor of philosophy and law at the University of Miami. She is the author of Putting Philosophy to Work: Inquiry and Its Place in Culture, and Defending Science: Within Reason Between Scientism and Cynicism, among many other books.

Harriet Hall, aka “The SkepDoc,” is a retired family physician and former Air Force flight surgeon who writes prolifically about science, critical thinking, alternative medicine, and quackery. She is a CSI fellow, a contributing editor to both Skeptic and Skeptical Inquirer magazines, an editor of the Science-Based Medicine blog, an adviser to the Quackwatch website, a founding fellow of the Institute for Science in Medicine, and is on the editorial review board of the Natural Medicines Comprehensive Database.

Sharon Hill is a geologist and policy specialist. She has a Masters degree in education, specializing in Science and the Public, and runs the popular critical thinking newsblog, Doubtful News. She writes on topics relating to the paranormal, pseudoscience, cryptozoology, anomalous natural phenomena, and skepticism.

Marty Klein has been a Licensed Marriage & Family Therapist and Certified Sex Therapist for 31 years. He has aimed his entire career toward a single set of goals, among them, telling the truth about sexuality and debunking widely held sex myths. He has written a number of books on human sexuality, and speaks frequently on the psychology, science and pseudoscience of human sexuality.

Max Maven was described as “the most creative mind in magic” by the great movie director Orson Welles. He has published more than 2,000 articles and has been a consultant to the California ScienCenter, numerous universities, and to the magicians David Copperfield, Doug Henning, and Penn & Teller. In addition, he is the author of The Book of Fortunetelling.

Sara E. Mayhew, is a writer and illustrator that the prestigious Applied Arts magazine called “young blood commanding our attention”. The world renowned TED conference accepted Sara into their TED Fellowship program, a class of young world-changers on the cutting edge of their fields, for her work to promote science education through manga.

Steve Novella is a JREF senior fellow and academic clinical neurologist at the Yale University School of Medicine. He is also the president and co-founder of the New England Skeptical Society, the host and producer of the popular weekly science podcast, The Skeptics’ Guide to the Universe, and the author of the NeuroLogicaBlog. He is the author of two courses by The Teaching Company, including Your Deceptive Mind: A Scientific Guide to Critical Thinking Skills.

Edwina Rogers is Executive Director of the Secular Coalition for America. She has spent two decades on Capitol Hill as a lobbyist and attorney, including roles as General Counsel for several high profile politicians. Rogers has extensive experience as a public policy expert and has worked for two Presidents and four Senators, and speaks about the role of nonbelievers and skeptics in our society.

Massimo Pigliucci is the chair of the Department of Philosophy at the City University of New York. He is also the editor in chief for the journal Philosophy & Theory in Biology. An outspoken skeptic and critic of creationism and advocate of science education, his most recent books are Answers for Aristotle: How Science and Philosophy Can Lead Us to A More Meaningful Life and Nonsense on Stilts: How to Tell Science from Bunk.

Massimo Polidoro is an Italian psychologist, writer, journalist, television personality, and the co-founder and executive director of the Italian Committee for the Investigation of Claims of the Paranormal (CICAP). He is the editor of Scienza & Paranormale, and has investigated and tested numerous alleged psychics, astrologers, clairvoyants, dowsers, mediums, prophets, psychic detectives, psychic healers, psychic photographers, telepaths and many others, and has been the host of a number of Italian television shows. He is the author of numerous books, including Final Séance, and Secrets of the Psychics.

Cara Santa Maria is not your typical science journalist. From cheerleader to jazz vocalist, model to tattoo enthusiast, she traveled many paths before pursuing her interest in all things related to the brain. Currently, Cara works as the Senior Science Correspondent for The Huffington Post, where she produces and hosts a science web series called “Talk Nerdy To Me.”

Joe Schwarcz is the Director of McGill University’s Office for Science and Society and teaches a variety of courses in McGill’s Chemistry Department and in the Faculty of Medicine with emphasis on health issues, including aspects of “Alternative Medicine”. Using stage magic to make scientific points is one of his specialties. Professor Schwarcz has received numerous awards for teaching chemistry and for interpreting science for the public, including Royal Society of Canada’s McNeil Award and the American Chemical Society’s prestigious Grady-Stack Award. He is the author of numerous books and articles, including Science, Sense and Nonsense.

Michael Shermer is the Publisher of Skeptic magazine, Executive Director of the Skeptics Society, a monthly columnist for Scientific American, host of the Skeptics Distinguished Science Lecture Series at Caltech, and an Adjunct Professor at Claremont Graduate University and Chapman University. Shermer is the author of The Believing Brain, The Mind of the Market, Why Darwin Matters, and Why People Believe Weird Things among others.

Karen Stollznow is a linguist, Bad Language columnist for Skeptic magazine, and author of the forthcoming books Language Myths, Mysteries and Magic, and Red, White and (True) Blue. She is a long-term investigator of paranormal and pseudoscientific beliefs and practices, a co-host of Monster Talk, and is a Research Fellow for the James Randi Educational Foundation.

Jamy Ian Swiss is a senior JREF Fellow. He has appeared internationally for presenters ranging from Fortune 500 companies to the Smithsonian Institution. He is the author of books including The Art of Magic, and two collections of essays, the most recent is Devious Standards. His U.S. television appearances include CBS’ 48 Hours, PBS’ Nova, The Today Show, and repeat appearances on The Late, Late Show with Craig Ferguson.

Other presentations and appearances by: Banachek, Joshie Berger, Evan Bernstein, Bob Blaskiewicz, Bryan & Baxter, Chip Denman, Tim Farley, Shane Greenup, Miranda Celeste Hale, Kyle Hill, Penn Jillette, Daniel Loxton, Maria Myrback, Bob Novella, Jay Novella, Don Prothero, Stuart J. Robbins, Paul Provenza, Todd Robbins, Richard Saunders, Eve Siebert, Nakul Shenoy, Brian Thompson, and Brent Weedman. More presenters will be announced in the weeks ahead.


JREF and its team of volunteers and staff are proud to bring you talks, panels, workshops, and entertainment featuring some of the brightest and most engaging people in science and skepticism. But the best thing about TAM is still the community and camaraderie. You’re in the company of hundreds of other people who prefer the world the way it really is: real.

Social activities are an integral part of TAM, which is why your registration includes several conference meals and other group activities. Whether this is your first time or you’re a veteran TAMmer, these social activities are a great way to meet other attendees and make new friends.

You'll find like-minded people gathering around the clock, whether at Skeptics in the Pub gatherings in the hotel's Del Mar Lounge, the Skeptics’ Poker Tournament, or at the SGU dinner. We've got comedy events lined up, a magic showcase, and don't forget about the parties!

You'll also find dozens of live podcast tapings going on throughout the South Point, including two live tapings of Skeptics Guide to the Universe, featuring Dr. Steve Novella, Jay Novella, Bob Novella, and Evan Bernstein, on the main stage.


One of the most unique things about TAM is our set of ten workshops offering hands-on activist and educational training. This year's offerings are:

  • How Your Camera Lies to You
  • Blogging Skepticism
  • Skepticism Across the Curriculum
  • Crowd-Sourcing Skepticism
  • Spiritualism 101
  • Supporting Skepticism Around the World
  • Science Based Medicine
  • Preserving Skeptic History
  • How Rational Are We?
  • Taking On Woo in Martial Arts


And our evening shows are among the most talked-about and memorable aspects of TAM. We offer skeptic-themed comedy, magic, and other top-notch entertainment every night of the program. This year, evening events will include:

What “THEY” Don’t Want You To Know — An Evening of Humor from Skepticism’s Leading Dis-Information Agents.
Thursday, 9:00 p.m.
Find out if hypnosis works on skeptics. See the world’s most convincing “proof of aliens” evidence. Watch audience members be transformed into psychics. Witness demonic possession and a live exorcism. See Banachek turn into his own worst nightmare.

Paul Provenza presents ¡SATIRISTAS! — Live in Concert
Friday, 9:00 p.m.
Paul Provenza, the celebrated comic and social critic, presents a cadre of provocateurs and proud comic voices targeting hypocrisy, media distortion and the institutionalized ignorance infecting America. These skeptical comedians are distinguished by the savage bite of their wit, virtuosic command of irony and finely tuned bullshit detectors. Celebrating the spirit of the book of the same name, ¡SATIRISTAS! will chew the fat of traditional credulity and leave you wanting more.

Penn Jillette’s Private Rock & Roll, Doughnut and Bacon Party
Friday 11:00 p.m.
Be forewarned —
This really is Penn’s private party. He’s paying for everything and JREF has nothing to do with it. This party will be whatever Penn wants; it’s not a JREF event.

  • there will be stupid rock and roll
  • there will be obscenity
  • there will be scantily clad people
  • there will be 1200 Krispy Kreme doughnuts and tons of bacon
  • you will learn nothing

Everyone at TAM is invited, and it is free to attend. There is a suggested donation to the JREF at the door of $20.00 or more. Note: This event is neither paid for nor sponsored by the JREF.

Magic, Mayhem and Mentalism!
Saturday, 9:00 p.m.
Produced by Jamy Ian Swiss, this show will feature a variety of literally amazing performers — magicians, mentalists, and more — in an all-star line-up.  Our first foray into “Magic, Mayhem and Mentalism” at TAM 7 was a great success. This year we will be presenting an all-new lineup – featuring none other than Todd Robbins, the King of the Coney Island Sideshow, and star of the hit Off-Broadway show, “Play Dead!” We’re thrilled to have Todd back at TAM after several years, and this show promises to be a great one!

Live Million Dollar Challenge Demonstration
Sunday 7:30 p.m.
Join Banachek and the rest of they team as they detail the Million Dollar Challenge, explore some of its history, explain the process of developing test protocols with paranormal claimants, and conduct a live test of a recent claimant. Last year's challenge was among the most popular offerings at the event. 


Want to see it all? The TAM Experience Package!

Everyone who comes to TAM enjoys the 'TAM experience,' but for those who want to enjoy access to all regular events at The Amaz!ng Meeting, The TAM Experience Package is an upgraded registration option that includes the following: (a) regular conference registration; (b) the All Workshop Pass; (c) tickets to all TAM evening shows; and (d) special, reserved VIP seating in all main program sessions and evening shows. This is the perfect way to have a great time while supporting a great cause. (Note: The TAM Experience Package does not include buy in to the Skeptics' Poker Tournament, tickets to the SGU fundraising dinner, nor the fundraising luncheon with James Randi and friends.)

Enjoy a private luncheon with James Randi and other speakers!

Don't miss the opportunity to have an intimate catered luncheon with James Randi and other selected TAM luminaries. As a fundraiser for the JREF, we are offering an exclusive luncheon limited to 20 people. The luncheon fills up quickly, so make sure to reserve your place today.

Enjoy all of this and much, much more—Register for TAM today!