Monday, September 01, 2008
I started the day with wandering through the shops, something I haven't had much time to do this time around. The shops area pretty much always the same, so unless there's something I'm especially looking for, then I skip a lot of the shops. The t-shirt shops are usually pretty fun and some of the woo-ist shops (or woo-woo-ist as Randi would say).
The first panel I went to was the live recording of the Skeptics Guide to the Universe. The video clips they filmed at the convention with Superman, a Klingon, and other assorted costumed people were a lot of fun. James Randi, Derek Colanduno, and Pamela Gay were guests on the show.
Then the Skpetic Zone, formally the Skeptic Tank or the TANK vodcast had their live podcast. Ginger Campbell and Phil Plait were guests.
Later in the day I went to another panel by Lori Lipman Brown about Pastafarian? Zoroastrian? Atheist? Monothiest? Can't we all just get along?. She brought up a good point about allies. If atheists are going to get past discrimination we're going to have to have allies that aren't atheists, since we are still a small percentage of the world (or America). She encouraged people who don't consider themselves non-theists to stand up for the rights of non-theists.
Jeff Wagg presented a discussion about Skepticism vs Dogma about as true skeptics we can never be 100% confident in anything. Even if we draw good conclusions from the evidence presented, new evidence should make people re-evaluate their positions. I agree to an extent. Being skeptical means that I have to evaluate all evidence, even if it means re-visiting topics I feel confident about. However, no one can live life without making decisions and judgments. My decisions and judgments may be wrong, but that's why I have other skeptics around to challenge me.
Finally there was a panel on The Future of Skepticism - Where Do We Go From Here? with James Randi, George Hrab, Jeff Wagg, DJ Grothe, Lori Lipman Brown, Ben Radford, and Karen Stollznow. It turned into a discuss of atheism and skepticism, with Jeff stating they should stay separate. I'm not convinced. I'm not going to criticize someone's personal belief as long as social policy and ethics are based on reality. I still agree with DJ who said that traditionally skeptics have stayed away from religion, because science cannot speak to religion because it is not material. But that when people are using religion to impede science, knowledge, and to actively discriminate, then we need to focus on those areas as skeptics, whether believer or non-believer.
Then I headed off to a zombie film festival. One of the shorts was really good, but unfortunately I can't remember the name of it. I'll find out and try to post a link to it later on. I bought a bottle of wine and smuggled it in and I'm not sure if the first festival started out with some uninteresting shorts or if they just got better as I got more inebriated. The wine made everything a bit surreal.
Unfortunately I fell down a stair (very embarrassing) in my rush to get food between a couple of sessions and sprained my ankle - though, not badly. It didn't really bother me yesterday, but it throbbed last night and although it's just stiff and a little sore it's tough to walk on. So I'm going to miss any sessions today. My flight isn't until 4:00 and I have to check out at 11:00. I'm not sure what I'm going to do for the next 6 hours, but it will not include lugging my suitcase along with me. Maybe I should just get a cab to the airport and spend the time waiting for my flight.. or get an earlier flight.
I'll post a wrap-up of Dragon Con sometime in the next week as well as some clips of a few of the sessions in the next couple of weeks.