TAM 8 – Friday pt 7

After Phil Plaitt’s wonderful talk about how we should be a kinder, gentler group of skeptics, Carol Tavris spoke on the topic of why all of us, including skeptics, tend to justify our bad decisions, dated beliefs and harmful mistakes. She is the author of “Mistakes We Made But Not By ME.”.

She spoke about how we all justify our mistakes even when presented with the data that shows the error. This is a part of human nature. I will be writing more about this in future issues of Fledgeling Skeptic.

The last discussion of the day was a panel discussion on The Origins of the Modern Skeptical Movement. DJ Grothe, the president of the JREF, moderated the panel discussion. The panelists involved were James Randi, Ken Frasier, the editor of Skeptic Magazine; Founder and chair emeritus of CSI Paul Kurtz; Ray Hyman, also a founding member of CSI (formerly SCICOP); and, via video, Martin Gardner, recreational mathematician and skeptic.

Under DJ’s guidance these men talked about the origins of SCICOP, the first skeptical organization in the country that investigated paranormal claims. They talked about the history of skepticism in general and their own personal experiences in bringing about this first organization.

When SCICOP was first begun there was a great need for an investigative organization like this. Belief in the paranormal and the charlatans who were touting this were much more widespread in the US than they are today.

They also talked about the two types of “psychics”: The people who are intentionally defrauding believers and those who genuinely believe they have some sort of paranormal “ability”.

This was an excellent discussion on the roots of our modern movement. If you are interested in learning more I suggest you contact the James Randi Educational Foundation for more information.

Over the next few weeks I will be posting about Saturday and Sunday’s panels and workshops. There is SO much information that it will take me time to get it all out to you. In the mean time I would encourage you, if you support Phil Plaitt’s position, to contact him and thank him for his courage.


1 Comment

  1. sgerbic said,

    July 28, 2010 at 11:29 am


    I had forgotten about the panel discussion that day, thanks for reminding me of that. They did say that things are getting better didn’t they.

    Thats why I can’t wait for the DVD’s so that I can rewatch everything.

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