Skepticon 3 Here I Come!


In just a little less than a month the third annual Skepticon will be underway. This year promises to be really good. There will be such luminaries as PZ Myers, Rebbecca Watson and The Amazing One himself, James Randi. Along with the big kids in the skeptical pond yours truly will also be there splashing about.

The schedule looks interesting. I’m really looking forward to John Corvino’s talk called “Coming Out Skeptical”. I’m also VERY interested in the Confrontation vs accommodation panel. As you all have probably figured out, I fall on the accommodation side of that debate. This is one of the reasons I very rarely bring religion into Fledgeling Skeptic.

I have some very strong convictions that we as skeptics need to make room for everyone who is willing to attempt critical thinking in at least SOME aspects of their lives.  While a hard-core approach can be effective on occasion, letting people come to their own conclusions is MUCH more effective and will grow the community more efficiently. It will be interesting to hear the other side.

I also try to follow Wil Wheaton and Phil Plaitt’s motto: Don’t be a dick. But then I have been told by a number of people, including James Randi, that I am nice. While I take that as a complement, it is also a flaw. Sometimes I’m TOO nice. The question them becomes, “Where do we draw the line?”. Of course I have no tolerance whatsoever for Fred Phelps and the Westboro ilk. I don’t think that sort of bigotry SHOULD be tolerated. I’ve talked about this recently in “The Dawkins/Plaitt Dilemma”.

That is, however, not the kind of person I’m talking about. I’m talking about someone who is looking for answers but they are afraid that everything they have been brought up to believe is true. I’m talking about the kind of person who is terrified of losing their family and friends because they are questioning their faith. I’m also talking about the person who is only a casual believer and likes the ideas presented in skepticism. Or how about the person who IS a critical thinker but is holding on to their faith even though they know it might be irrational because it is comforting? Their skeptical journeys are just as valid as the person who was raised by skeptics and atheists who never had to deal with that matched set of baggage.

THAT is the kind of person we should be accommodating.

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